Friday, June 29, 2012

Which sunscreen is best? {The winner is...}

In my opinion, nothing beats a protective clothing.  Leila happily wears a sun hat outside (unless I take it off for photos) and a swimsuit with decent coverage. Last summer we had a long sleeved swim shirt and I'm still looking for one I like this year. 

Although we have more sunny days than not, the temperature by the San Diego beaches rarely reaches 80 degrees.  This allows me to dress Leila in protective clothing, long sleeves and pants, even on some of the warmest days.

On the other hand, since it is mostly sunny in San Diego, we wear sunscreen all year round.  It's important to me to find the perfect sunscreen: safe, effective, and affordable*.

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Here's the breakdown of the products I tried:

For information about WHY I chose these three products read part one of my search for the perfect sunscreen. 

I love how easy this sunscreen is to apply and re-apply.  It goes on clear and rubs in with little effort.  It is greasier than chemical sunscreens, and I wouldn't use it on my face.  Cost: $22 for a 4.3 oz bottle ($5.12/oz).

This option is less greasy than the other two I tried.  A little goes a long way!  Be sure to knead the tube before using it.  When it is applied it goes on white and takes a while to rub in, which Leila doesn't like at all.  The smell is a too strong (and wrong) for my liking.  (Chamomile just doesn't remind me of the beach!)  I would consider trying it in an unscented formula because it is the cheapest of the three.  Cost: $16 for a 2.9 oz bottle  ($5.52/oz).   I found it on sale at Sprouts for $13 ($4.48/oz)   

3. Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+ Sunscreen

I bought this one in a 2.5 ounce bottle.  I love the travel size for my diaper bag.  (I will refill it when it is empty).  For some reason this size bottle is the best to just comes out easier.  It turns out that Adorable Baby (#1) and Loving Naturals Clear Body are made by the same company.  This sunscreen is also easy to apply and re-apply.  It goes on clear and rubs in with little effort.  Cost: $13 for a 2.5 oz bottle ($5.20/oz) 

*Yes, these sunscreens cost more than Coppertone, Neutrogena, and other common drugstore brands.  One bottle costs about the same as a pedicure, a hardcover book, or a bottle of wine.  Hopefully the sunscreen lasts longer than the wine!

The winner is... Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+

What I love about it:
It is 100% natural and I can pronounce all the ingredients.  It goes on clear and makes my skin feel moisturized, not dehydrated by the sun.  Because it is easy to apply, I can re-apply it often, even on an ever-moving toddler!  Although it differs from Adorable Baby by only two ingredients, those two ingredients feel less greasy and tacky on my skin.  (I am still not sure I would use this sunscreen on my face.)

Next up...I'll be searching for the best face sunscreen.  Suggestions are welcome (and needed).  What do you recommend?

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is your sunscreen safe? {The perfect one}

I never thought about whether or not the sunscreen I bought was safe. Heck, I assumed I was being safe just by using my SPF 30+ sunscreen daily, a vast improvement from my tanning oil days.

But after reading a blog post written about a local mom's sunscreen stresses, I too got a little stressed out.

I read through the Environmental Working Group's Sunscreen guide, and apparently my stress was warranted. Their "Hall of Shame" list convinced me to ditch the sunscreen I was using on Leila, sunscreen full of hormone-disrupting chemicals.

That was only the first step. Next up was more reading and eventually choosing some sunscreen products to test out in this San Diego sun.

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The Environmental Working Group posted this on their Facebook page:

EWG researchers assessed about 1,400 products with SPF, including beach and sports lotions, sprays and creams, moisturizers, make-up and lip balms. The 39 beach and sports products that earned EWG’s coveted “green” rating for safety and efficacy all contain the minerals zinc or titanium. We could find no non-mineral sunscreens that scored better than “yellow.”

So what does it come down to?

Pick your sunscreen "poison": nano-materials or potential hormone disrupters.

I chose three chemical-free sunscreen products to try, based on the EWG's 2012 rating, affordability, and availability:

1. Adorable Baby SPF 30+ Sunscreen Non-Nano Zinc Oxide UVA/UVB 

2. Badger Chamomile Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ (purchased at Sprouts) 

3. Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+ Sunscreen Non-Nano Zinc Oxide UVA/UVB

Each sunscreen I chose scored a rating of 1.

They all ranged in price from $13-$22 depending on the size.

All three sunscreen products are available on Amazon and one can be picked up at our local grocery store.

In search of the perfect sunscreen (if there is such a thing), I have been using these products on Leila and myself for the past two weeks.  

Click here for the results.  

Do you have any sunscreen you would personally recommend?     

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Monday, June 25, 2012

My fun girl

Last week Leila and I spend a lot of time together, just the two of us.

Jeff was working late, her friend Charlie wasn't feeling well, and I didn't feel like leaving the beach.

On Thursday, we kept it simple and went for a bike ride along the ocean boardwalk.  On the way back home we discovered a new park on the bay side.

The location was beautiful, but the children were lacking. Leila had no one to play with (except me!) so there was lots and lots of swinging.

Leila is such a fun girl to hang out with!   

Sunday, June 24, 2012

That face!

Leila has the cheesiest "smile" face...

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Was this learned or do all kids make a similar face for the camera?

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Unless you tell me otherwise, I am blaming her father.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Dear Leila

I'm sorry no one can pronounce your name. It's my fault. I should have known better. Please forgive me, it could have been worse.

Mommy xoxo

I'm guest blogging at It's a Vol today about the lifetime of awkward moments I have bestowed upon my child. Head on over to read more!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating summer

We kicked off summer in true SoCal style yesterday.

A bike ride along the boardwalk...


Followed by locally brewed beer and dining at the beach.


Does it get much better than this? I think not.

Happy summer!  Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm here, I like it, and that's alright.

Last month I shared how I became a stay-at-home mom. I lost my job, and until recently I had a difficult time accepting my new role. Or at least that's what I thought.

Last week I got a message letting me know that I need to remove all my stuff from my classroom. They'll be needing the space this fall.  It's final...and it sure feels that way.

I'm a mess when it comes to my emotions. Anxiety is high, tears have been shed, feelings of anger and resentment resurface.  I miss my friends. I miss teaching. I miss the old Jen.

I'm surprised I feel this way because I do not want to work right now.  I really though I was over this!  I like being home with toddler Leila.  I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, literally.  I like my stay-at-home mom lifestyle.  I like the new Jen.

I am on a different path, headed in a different direction, than I pictured for myself, and that's alright.

It's okay to be glad that I'm not working.

It is perfectly fine to be a stay-at-home mom, and not love it or hate it.

It's okay to be happy.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{Our big plan} Skipping a toddler nap

Nap time is sacred around here. Leila's nap occurs at the same time everyday. This girl loves her bed and is well-known for her over 3 hour marathon nap. I need my time, she needs hers.

Unfortunately, it takes place right smack in the middle of the day. Who wants to go out to lunch at 10:30? How about a beach day starting at 9:00? Well that's how we do it around here. All of our daytime adventures must be wrapped up by noon for Leila's 12:30 nap.

Until today's installment of the toddler summer bucket list, Leila had missed only one nap on purpose. (Like I said, nap time is sacred around here.)

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Today we headed to Coronado on the ferry. This was Leila's first experience on a boat. She mostly just wanted to explore, climb, and sit on every chair.

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The girls had a great time. It is adorable how Leila will mimic the little things Charlie does and vice versa. I love hearing them call out their friend's name.

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After an exhausting morning the girls started to get tired. Our big plan was to push them in their stroller for a short nap and then continue our day. Their plan was to stay awake and wonder if the other was sleeping.

Their plan was more solid than ours.

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Luckily they both made it all the way home without a meltdown!

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I decided to put Leila in bed for a nap at 2:30 when we got home. I woke her up at 4:30 because certainly didn't want to mess with a later bedtime.

As for nap didn't happen this time. It is great to know I can be a bit more flexible with her rigid nap schedule, if it seems necessary. (I don't want to miss out on MY time!)

Do you ever skip nap time? Any tips for special occasion nap skipping?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Almost two years into motherhood, I can firmly say that having a child changes things. (Even the little things!)

But you already knew that.

I have to go to bed early so I can keep up with my toddler's energy. I wipe boogers with my sleeve. I get a hangover from two (very large) glasses of wine. I wear a ponytail seven days a week. I never leave the house without baby wipes. I schedule my day around nap time. I sing in public, loudly.

Expected changes, right?

What I didn't expect was NOT changing how I see myself.

I expected to see myself as I see other moms.  Mom-ish. Whether it be frazzled or put together, in yoga pants or heels, they all seem like moms.

Surprisingly, I don't see myself as mom-ish even though I clearly am.

I am stuck somewhere between my perception of what a mom is and what I am...just me!

Mom-ish: Ponytail, comfortable shoes, little make-up, causal clothes, child

Writing this ensures my words will come back to haunt me in years (or months) when I am feeling like nothing else but mom-ish.

Have you become mom-ish?  Or, like me, were you maybe a little mom-ish to begin with?

Linking up again this week with Melissa over at Growing up Geeky.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What's she saying?

Mommy get it, is the newest demand coming from Leila's mouth.

She's been pretty good at bossing people around for a while now,
Mommy sit. Daddy sit. Sit down. She tells anyone who will listen what to do.

I know exactly who she got that from.

Today I'm guest blogging for Melissa over at Growing up Geeky.

Head on over and read what else Leila's been saying. Now.

Guest post:
 Toddler Talk- What a girl wants


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A lesson on germs

Dear Leila,

It's been three months since your first head cold. Since then, it seems like you have been a snotty mess just about every other week.

Yesterday when you sneezed, your baby boogers shot out of your nose and dripped towards your chin. I laughed out loud when I turned around to look at the damage. You loved the attention so much that when you sneezed later that evening, you looked at me, smiled ear to ear, and waited for me to bust out laughing again. I did, and you felt proud.

This is the thing, I love you and your drippy boogers, but I'm your Mommy. That's what I do. You see, the other adults that we hang around do not view these boogers as anything but germs. Big, fat, nasty germs that you are passing on their child (or them).

You know, when you wipe your nose with your hand, then play with their toys...GERMS. When you reach your hand into the snack bowl, touching all the crackers, then just pull out the one you want...GERMS. How about when we are at Teacher Lee and you decide to "eat" pancakes with the play kitchen fork, yep, more GERMS.

My dear Leila, I know all the other kids are doing it. (How do you think you got this cold?) Please stop eating half-gnawed apple slices that belong to your friend. Please stop drinking from their sippy cups.

And finally, it's summertime, please stop getting these colds!


Mommy xoxo

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Wanted! {Guest bloggers}

Even those of us that live in paradise need a vacation.


Leila and I will be leaving Jeff home all by himself for three weeks in July. We'll be heading back to our hometown, the good 'ol suburbs of Chicago, for our annual vacation.

This year I am even more excited to eat delicious pizza, hang with old friends, and have a live-in babysitter (thanks Mom and Dad!), because two of my cousins had babies that I haven't met yet.

Wanted! {Guest bloggers}

I'm looking for guest bloggers for Leilaland during the month of July.

Some topics you to consider: your summer vacation, toddler activities, toddler behavior, easy recipes or DIY ideas, family life, and motherhood. 

Humor, fun, and a photo (or your blog button) required.  

Interested? Send me an email or leave a comment including your email address.

myleilaland (at) gmail (dot) com 

Friday, June 1, 2012

For once and for all

I chose not to make a resolution this year. Instead I decided to challenge myself one small goal at a time with one ultimate goal in mind:

Lose this baby weight.

I no longer have a baby, but I still have the weight. Leila is a twenty month old toddler and these last seven pounds have been around long enough!

Seven pounds seems like nothing after losing 43 of the 50 pounds I gained during pregnancy. But these seven pounds don't belong on my body.

I'm not ready to accept them. I don't want them anymore.


I have been consistently working out for over a year and my weight hasn't budged.

I can still wear the same summer clothes I bought last summer that were suppose to be "transition" clothes. They were suppose to be too big on me now.

What's my problem?
I eat just about whatever I want. Basically I workout so that I can eat.

What's my plan?
For once and for all, I will lose this toddler weight.

Writing down and accounting for everything I eat is the ONLY way I've been able to lose weight in the past. It works for me, but it takes time and dedication.

I'm worth it!

This first month I plan to eat from 1200-1500 calories a day while I continue my current exercise routine of running, circuit training DVDs, walking, yoga, and Pilates.

That's it. One small goal at a time.

I'd love your support!

Do you want to join the Simmworks Weight-Loss Challenge?  

There's a spot waiting for you! It doesn't matter if you have 7 or 50 pounds to lose. This is about YOU feeling good about your weight for once and for all.   Read all the detail about joining here.

Already feel good about your weight?

Lucky! I admire you and am jealous of you at the same time.  Enter our giveaways anyway, you never know!

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