No-Hassle Bed Making and Tangle-Free Sleep with SimplfiedBedding

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Who knew bed making would be such a chore when I got bunk beds for my son?  Had I known of the daily morning backache and head bumping from making his bed, I would have opted for a trundle.  Thankfully, there is a solution that makes bed-making a lot easier.

Simplified Bedding came up with the genius idea of creating a European-style-inspired duvet cover with a zip-in flat sheet.  With this system, you do not have to take out the comforter and launder the duvet when you change the sheets — you just wash the detachable flat sheet.  This system makes the morning routine go faster, especially since now my 7-year old is making his own bed.

The company conservatively estimates that this system saves at least 8 hours a year the time spent in bed making, but actually, if the time is figured in that you must spend to wash and dry a comforter every month or so, the time wasted would be much greater.

Besides the convenience, really this type of bedding is a lifestyle choice.  I see it that the way we sleep is very personal, and sleep is so essential to our health that anything that makes us sleep more restfully contributes to our overall wellbeing.  For those of us who like to sleep with one leg sticking out of the covers, or for those who cannot sleep a wink when the sheets are tangled, this system gives us a good night’s sleep.

My only wish is that the covers were available in other colors and patterns besides pure white, but maybe designer covers will come in time when this system catches on.  The materials are 100-percent cotton sateen for comfort and durability.  And while the cost is $159 for a twin size, $189 for queen and $209 for king, for me and my son, the ease of making the bed each morning makes the investment well worth it.  Readers can enter the code simple15 at checkout for a 15% discount thorough May 31, 2015.

Improve Your Posture, Improve Your Life in 2015

Only 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, but if you are motivated to rid yourself of muscle pain, improve your posture and feel your best in 2015, here are some DIY health products that can help you keep your promise to yourself for a healthier New Year and beyond.

Sit Straight

Good posture can not only make you look better, it can make you feel better from head to toe.  Proper alignment can not only relieve back and neck pain, but it improves breathing and body movement for better circulation and helps your organs better perform their functions. Improved posture can also give the appearance of a 10-pound weight loss instantly. BackJoy’s SitSmart Posture Plus ($39.99) seating aid helps you achieve ideal sitting posture by tilting your hips upright and comfortably “floating” your spine over the seat. Crafted from a durable, flexible proprietary material base, it supports you in optimal posture, yet reacts to every move you make.  Posture Plus is completely weatherproof for indoor or outdoor use and fits adults 100 to 300 lbs.BJPPS-006_ALT150

Stand Tall

When you are on your feet, maintain good posture with the help of BackJoy’s StandRight Bliss shoes (women’s Lace Style, $64.99).  This unique footware line is created with active stabilization technology to help you stand and move better with optimal posture from head to toe, and 85 percent of wearers report improved balance. BackJoy’s Natural Gait Line System is crafted into each shoe to guide your foot so you walk correctly. A neutral footbed keeps your head, hips and feet balanced in good posture, so that you stand correctly.  Shock-absorbing materials cushion the foot and heel at impact for extra comfort and support.  FWWBL-001_IS
Move Right
Remember when your mom told you to stand up straight? Those reminders often made you pull your shoulders back and stand straighter and taller, but mom can’t always be there. That’s where BackJoy’s Posture Wear Elite comes in. The Comfort Fit Shirt ($89 for men’s and women’s styles) is designed to enhance your posture and relieve back pain. The shirt’s unique active stabilization system pulls the shoulders back while correctly aligning the spine and promoting optimal posture while allowing complete range of motion.  The shirt features a seamless construction and moisture-wicking fabric that is comfortable enough to wear during all intensity of sports wicks away moisture. APMTS-001_IS
Sleep Well

A good night’s sleep can help you feel rejuvenated for your day, but waking up with a stiff neck can put a damper on productivity.  BackJoy’s patented, handcrafted SleepSound Pillow ($99) combines the support of memory foam and the soft comfort of down fill to comprise a pillow that self-adjusts to your body and sleeping position to support optimal sleeping posture.  The layered design does not clump or flatten and provides a breathable downy surface that allows you to fall asleep in comfort, while the Cool Comfort Memory Foam layers conform to support your head and neck in proper alignment throughout the night. Available in standard and travel sizes.PLDEP-001_IS

Kneel Right

Whether you are doing chores around the house, gardening or other jobs and hobbies that require kneeling, you should focus on the task at hand rather than uncomfortable knee pain. The BackJoy Kneeler ($19.99) puts a firm cushion between your knee and hard surfaces to give your knees a break while you work.  The ergonomically designed pad transfers the pressure of kneeling onto the product while stress free acupressure nodes take additional strain off the body.KNLER-002_IS

These and other BackJoy products available at Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS, Staples and www.backjoy.com.

A Labor of Love: Labor Day Grilling

Labor Day weekend is the last chance for a summer bash before fall sets in and weather gets cooler, so celebrate the end of a great summer season with a barbecue to remember.

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Up on My Grill

If you have been thinking about replacing your old rusted-out grill, Labor Day weekend is a perfect time to find end-of-season deals. The centerpiece of any barbecue is the grill, so treat yourself to a great grill you will want to use year-round like the Weber Genesis E-330, a built-to-last beauty that will light up any backyard. In either a copper, crimson, black or green finish, it looks as hot as its sear station burner cooks. This sturdy welded tank-of-a-grill features aluminum end caps for durability and a porcelain enameled lid with a built-in thermometer for precise temperature grilling. The cast-iron cooking grates retain heat and cook food evenly, while precise controls allow grill chefs to turn up the high heat to perfectly sear steaks, roasts and chops. The Genesis E-330 starts up easily with an electronic ignition system, and a fuel gauge accurately measures how much propane is left to eliminate the guess work. Handy stainless steel side tables with integrated tool hooks flank the grill for food preparation, and ample under-grill storage offers space for BBQ tools and accessories. Features three internal burners, and a side range-top style burner, 38,000 BTU per-hour input. Home Depot, $799.99.

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The Perfect Burger

If you thought there are just a few ways to cook burgers — rare, medium and well-done, the Bib Book of Burgers by master grill chef and New York Times best-selling author Jamie Purviance offers 151 burger recipes that will keep you grilling until next Labor Day. Along with beefy treats like the classic Route 66 burger with mayo, ketchup relish and shallot sauce; the big-eater Extreme burger made with two Worcestershire sauce-infused patties and heaped with spicy guac; and the gourmet delight Fontina-Stuffed Burger topped with arugula and prosciutto and lemon-zest mayo, the burger tome features recipes for beef-alternatives including bison, poultry, lamb, pork and seafood and side dishes to complement burgers, along with grilling tips, burger bits such as a history of burgers. Available at Amazon, $9.99 for Kindle, $16.87 paperback.

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Don’t Cook Alone

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, then you have a Siri sous chef to help you prep and grill your Labor Day feast, courtesy of SideChef, the step-by-step cooking app that guides cooks of all levels through recipes with voice-activated instruction, along with beautiful photos and plenty of delicious recipes provided by SideChef’s foodie blogger partners. The app allows you to follow along food-covered hands-free and even has idiot-proof built-in timers to keep you burning your BBQ to a crisp. Besides plenty of fun and exotic burgers, the app features plenty of grilling favorites, like Grilled Chicken with Herb Dry Rub, Grilled Halibut with Cherry Tomato and Corn Salsa, Grilled Eggplant with Sumac, Capers and Mint, and for dessert, Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream. The app can also make a shopping list for the recipes you choose with the right amount of food based on the number of guests. Download SideChef free at iTunes App Store or go to http://www.sidechef.com.

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10 Take-Alongs for Your Labor Day Road Trip

The last days of summer are here, so get on the road for a family final farewell to warm weather.  Stock up for your road trip with these 10 take-alongs for comfort and fun.

Hot Seat

Little ones may chill on the “are we there yet” mantra if they are sitting high and comfy on a rad booster, like the Olli in tokidoki pattern ($99). The award-winning cool seat is designed for kids 40 to 120 lbs and built with a comfort cube to eliminate “numb bumb.”  Its cover is removable and washable and it features a quick-release strap and carrying strap plus a cup holder.  It clicks in to vehicles’ anchor latch system for extra stay-put security.  Available in several kid-friendly patterns at major retailers or shop.clekinc.com.olli-tokidoi-all-over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Your Entertainment Pleasure

Even if you’ve sworn never to make electronics your babysitter, long trips with kids in the car were made for headphones and tablets. The Note Galaxy Note 8  ($349 at Best Buy) is your portal for games, movies, music and ebooks which can be stored on its 16GB internal drive plus it can expand up to 64GB with a microSD card.  It comes with a stylus for writing, drawing and doodling on the HD touch screen.

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Protect your tablet with an Otterbox case like the Defender Series ($69.95) with an armor-like shell that shields against drops and dust and features an integrated screen cover that guards against scratches and smudges.

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Sharing is caring with the Wicked Audio Splitter ($9.99) which allows a second person to to plug in and share music with any pair of headphones or earphones and raise and lower their volumes independently.

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Tech for the Trip

For the armchair tourist in all of us, hook up SlingTV ($299) on your home entertainment system before you leave so you can tune into whatever is playing on your home TV from a laptop, tablet or phone.  Placeshift your TV and launch the Slingplayer app on your device and control your TV like you were sitting in your living room at home, no additional subscriptions required.  It even works internationally and anywhere there is an Internet connection.  Available at slingbox.com.

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Work, Synch, Play

Even if you must take your work along, you don’t have to lug a laptop.  Tote the slim Nokia Lumina 2520 ($499, or $299 with AT&T contract) and its companion keyboard ($149) which features two USB ports and adds up to five hours extra battery life.  This quick-charging tablet powers up 80 percent in one hour and then is ready to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the go. Synch your email and calendars with Outlook. And with up to 64GB of expandable memory and OneDrive, you can save your documents and pick up where you left off whenever you want. And with 4G LTE connectivity for a super-fast experience, you can spend more time out and about.Nokia-Lumia-2520-jpg

Here Comes the Sun

Don’t let sunburn ruin your last days of summer.  Cover up with sun protection that won’t wear off, because you are wearing it.  UV Skinz UPF 50+ sunwear for the whole family is fashionable and comfortable in dozens of styles for everyone from baby to mom and dad.  Whether snorkeling or surfing, UV Skinz has an outfit for that, from hoodies to aloha print shirts and bucket hats.  Available at uvskinz.com.

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Bee Prepared

If anyone along on the trip has allergies or special medial needs, pack along needed supplies, like an EpiPen or inhaler, in cute cases by AllerMates  ($17.99) that kids don’t mind carrying along.  The cool and colorful cartoon designs suit kids tastes, and the insulated cases are free of BPA, phthalates, nickel and latex and contain an emergency contact and medications info card.  Available nationwide at CVS, Kmart, Walgreens and allermates.com.

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One for the Road

Avoid traffic and hit the road when the roosters crow, but don’t skip the day’s most important meal.  Take along liquid breakfast to-go, Naked Juice Protein Zone, a satisfying smoothie that serves up plenty of protein and fiber.  Stopping for meal breaks can slow you down, so pack along refreshing nutrition you can drink down, like loaded-with-veggies Naked Juice Green Machine.  Take in a meal or snack every 3-4 hours to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and your energy levels soaring, and stay hydrated naturally with Naked Juice Coconut Water, straight from Mother Nature and chock full of electrolytes and available in flavors like pineapple, mango or peach.  Available at grocery stores nationwide.

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Naturally Refreshing

Stock your cooler for the car or beach and keep that bikini bod year round with stevia-sweetened Zevia, the all-natural alternative to fattening sugary carbonated drinks.  Available in 15 flavors, these sparkling refreshers have zero calories and no artificial sweeteners. Available in grocery stores nationwide including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway and Target.

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Getting a Jump on Trampoline Safety

jump highTrampolines are rebounding as the must-have backyard accessory. Back in the day, trampolines had the reputation as too dangerous for even insurance companies to cover, and they lost favor among parents. Today, trampolines are springing back, thanks to new designs that make them safer than ever.

Jumping on a trampoline is not just fun for kids, it is great exercise and a way to develop coordination and athletic skills. In fact, just 10 minutes of jumping on a trampoline is equivalent to a 30 minute run.

Still, trampolines have their perils. The likelihood of a severe head injury is higher on a trampoline than in a car crash, and each year over 105,000 kids are sent to hospital because of trampolines. These statistics mostly owe to either misuse or old-style trampoline equipment.

Proper enjoyment of a trampoline includes one participant jumping at a time. So much for those trampoline parks, where kids go wild — which is why many of these parks have waivers requiring parents to sign away all liability. The most common other reasons for trampoline injuries are collisions with hard parts, such as springs, which are the main mechanism for bounce on a traditional trampoline.

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Many manufacturers are building safer trampolines. One company, Springfree Trampoline, touts their product as the world’s safest trampoline, thanks to its unique design that eliminates 90 percent of the impact areas on traditional trampolines. Instead of springs, a metal frame and rigid enclosure, the Springfree trampoline uses fiber-glass rods, a soft-edge and flexible enclosure. Springfree was created by an engineer and father of three, Dr. Keith Alexander, following 14 years of injury-prevention research, and has been recognized by The Parents’ Choice Foundation as the safest trampoline and received several awards, including the U.S. Children’s Product of the Year Award, the Family Choice Award, and Recommended Children’s Toy Award.assembly - ribs

Even with a safe design, children can still get injured using a trampoline, so the following precautions are recommended:

• One jumper only – butting heads with another jumper could result in serious injury
• No flips – most trampoline injuries result from landing on the head or neck
• No other objects – Empty your pockets before jumping and do not play with balls or other toys on the trampoline
• Supervise – prevent horseplay by watching children at all times
• Stay clear – do not allow children to go underneath the trampoline or lean on the enclosure
• Safe clearance – locate the trampoline away from walls, trees, etc.
• Secure it – lock the enclosure when not in use to prevent unauthorized jumpers

With safe practices, jumping on a trampoline is terrific full-body exercise for the whole family, on at a time of course.

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The Little Girl Who Inspired Her Parents to Shake the World

 

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Most people think of meal replacement drinks as tasteless chalky swill that either geriatrics patients or very sick people imbibe, but the Komlete line of shakes from Kate Farms were made to be delicious enough that a picky kid would drink them.  As the world’s first meal replacement shake, Komplete is organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free for optimal health benefits without many of the ingredients that can have side effects for the sensitive system.

 

The inspiration behind Komplete is a little girl, Kate Laver. Kate, the daughter of Richard (cousin of tennis legend Rod Laver) and Michelle Laver, was born with cerebral palsy.  Her parents struggled through her childhood regimen of feeding tubes, hospital visits, and numerous pharmaceutical drugs. Years later, after being diagnosed as “failing to thrive,” the meal replacement formula prescribed to her by doctors was laden with sugar and dairy for added calories. Some negative side effects that Kate endured were digestive problems, sleep apnea, and bottle rot.

 

The Lavers, along with the help of a family friend, created their own meal replacement shake in their kitchen. Leaving out the sugar and dairy products, they replaced them with all-natural vegan ingredients.

 

Their efforts resulted in the Komplete Ultimate Shake, which contains 24 fruits & vegetables, a high-level of plant-based proteins and 21 superfoods, like acai, mangosteen, black currants, raspberries, green tea extract. Kate Farms believes that their “passion for healthy foods and belief in taking care of one another is the reason” they exist.

 

Komplete can be found locally throughout California in many Santa Barbara and Palm Springs retailers including but not limited to Lazy Acres, Tri-County Produce, Lasson’s, Clark’s, Pacific Health and Harvest Health among many others.

Celebs Take Home More Than Awards During Hollywood Award Season

Drool Worthy SWAG and Pampering Lead Up to the Big Night for Celebrities

Award season is upon Hollywood, and that means lots of glamour, glitter and gifting.  The latter is the way smart brands are reaching celebrities and other tastemakers by providing samples of their wares at gifting suites and in gift bags surrounding the ceremonies.

Free Stuff We All Get, or SWAG as it’s known, is a hot commodity, usually presented to VIPS at designated gifting lounges or at after parties.  With fierce competition, many savvy marketers have found unique ways to get their goods in the hands of Hollywood influencers.

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A guest awaits her makeover at Prive salon in a pre-Golden Globes event sponsored in part by Colgate to help get their products in the hands of Hollywood influencers

Fashion personality Jayneoni Moore found her niche in the scene by hosting the Boom Boom Room for celebrities who are expectant parents or who have young children.  The event at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel featured brands such as BambiniWare designer Burba wear, SpeCtra blinged-out breast pumps, Au Lait fashionable nursing-friendly clothing line, Fourth Love maternity comfort clothes, Wee Drool designer bibs, Daddy & Company apparel for expectant fathers,  Lov’d Baby children’s organic clothing, and the services of Educated Nannies, a vetted provider of discreet and degreed household help good enough for A-listers.

While big brands come out to showcase their products, enterprising independent vendors like Lil’ Hands, a purveyor of baby sign language services, SleepBelt baby holder, Blink’d mini kiddie tattoos, Fancy Pantz Designs jewelry maker and Monkie Birdie décor designer attend the suites hoping for their big break.  In today’s celebrity obsessed culture, these startups know that celebrity buzz about their products and services or a photo of a celeb sporting their designs or placement in a celeb’s nursery can make their career.

Other treats at the Boom Boom Room gifting suite were of the edible kind.  Along with samples of Nine Natural pregnancy-friendly shampoo and conditioner and Blissful Booby Butter in their goodie bags, guests took home baked delights from Nothing Bundt Cakes and pouches of applesauce inspired snacks from GoGoSqueez and Lifeway Kefir probiotic dairy beverage coupons and a recipe book, all taken away in the Sureshop reusable tote, designed to clip onto strollers so they won’t tip.

Besides the traditional gifting lounges, brands appeal to celebrities by pampering them with salon and spa treatments, such as at doMAIN’s Golden Globes Beauty Bar, hosted at Prive salon in Los Angeles.  The salon was made over for the event to resemble a swanky lounge in which VIPS were treated to hair styling and blowouts along with manicures and pedicures, while they sipped wine and noshed on fresh berries and Kefir cups.  As they departed, guests received gift bags with OPI nail polish, StyleSexyHair products and a full supply of Colgate Optic White products.

A wall in Prive salon in LA displays a wall of Colgate products for an event where Hollywood inlueencers got complimentary makovers before the Golden Globes

A wall in Prive salon in LA displays a wall of Colgate products for an event where Hollywood influencers got complimentary makeovers before the Golden Globes

The reality is that much of the time SWAG products do not reach the celebrities themselves and end up in the hands of assistants, publicists and others close to the celebs.  Still, the association with the awards and the stars gives the brands bragging rights, and often that’s all they need.  After all, who wouldn’t want to use the same hair gel or mouthwash that the A-listers got in their Golden Globes SWAG bags?

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