Category Archives: Product Review

Interview with Amanda Lazarski of Amanda Lazarski Portrait Photography

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Any parent will admit, we snap photos to hold onto the memories we cherish so deeply.  A single photo can illustrate a story that words cannot.  Some of us use our own camera’s or our smart phones, but sometimes we stumble across photographers who can truly capture the moment and make it look effortless.  I personally know of one whose photo’s speak for themselves.  Amanda Lazarski is a working mom of 3 precious children, owns her own successful photography business and manages to find the ultimate balance with stunning grace.  I will admit that I am slightly biased as Amanda and I have been friends since we were 14 years old and I was fortunate enough to attend her wedding as well as watching her at work as the go to photographer for my friends and family.

Based out of Trenton, Ontario, Amanda Lazarski provides many photography services such as Newborn, Maternity, Weddings, Family as well as Baby and Pregnancy Loss photography.  Amanda is affiliated with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization that provides grieving families with beautiful photography in a compassionate setting.  With October being Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month, I know of many families that would greatly benefit from this type of service.

Why did you become a photographer? And why chose family portraitures?

I have always loved photographing others and locations, but what really pushed me was after the birth of my daughter 4 years ago, I realized how precious these moments are and how badly I wanted to capture them! I love photographing all stages, weddings, engagements, newborns and children. But now my focus tends to be more on Children and newborn portraits( Babies,Maternity,Families etc)

With 3 children of your own and one being a newborn, how do you find the balance between home life and work?

This is ALWAYS going to be tough like every job but I really think balance is key! Especially I have realized when you don’t have it everything starts to crumble. When I started out I spent way too much time photographing other families and very little on my own, through the years I have realized so much more is important, as my family really changes and grows I need to be able to devote myself to my little ones. Ages 8 months, 2 years and 4.

Do you draw inspiration from your own children?

Totally, the way you connect with a child and see who they are and their personality inspires me, and of course they are always my inspiration!

How has being a mom affected or influenced your work?

 I see things differently, even if the shot is not a smile, I understand that it may mean that it’s that sweet little expression that a parent can connect to and really cherishes when it’s captured.

The babies in your photo’s look so peaceful.  Tell me, what is your secret?  All the mom’s are dying to know.

Patience, although little ones are always sleepy in the shots, the outtakes can sometimes be a bit more revealing. Typically newborns sessions take anywhere from 2-4 hours in length, so you have to wait it out. Also practicing, I have been photographing newborns now for 4+ years, attended workshops, been mentored on posing, techniques and more, it takes time and a lot of dedication to get those sleepy shots parents adore!

How do you think being a working mom has transformed your parenting?

Hmmm this one is tough, there are pros and cons, I have had to cut back to maintain my family life currently with work, but I love being able to do something I am passionate about and stay home with my children, but supplement our income at the same time.

Can you give me a little background on your business?

We just re opened our studio back in the country where we live, after spending 2 years in a commercial studio space we decided it would be nice to be close to home and also have a bit more control over the hours of operation and area. My business I offer photography, professional products such as frames, albums, canvas, prints and more!

What tips can you offer parents wanting to take that “special” photo?

Capture life as it happens, and keep it simple! Over processing images can date them.

Are there any photographer’s that you admire? If so, who?

Totally! Memories By Marie, Karen Hunter Photography, Baby as Art, My Newborn is Art, Glow Portraits

Your pregnancy photo’s are stunning, what about it lead you to photograph it?

I have really went in a new direction lately just wanting to showcase the simplicity in the beauty of pregnancy, I think the fact that a new life is growing inside is just something remarkable and just needs to be captured. I myself did not have photographs taken when I was expecting with our daughter and until this day I still wish I had, and regretted that. Its one of those times in your life that is SO poignant in your memory.

Any advice on how to balance work and home life?

Trust your gut and watch your children, 9/10 times you CAN TELL! If you are not balancing your work life and home life, something is missing and everything will be off. When I am away too much my children miss me, and I miss them, their behaviour usually changes as well and they have a hard time coping. I also find that I feel like I am running around too much and not getting to “stop and smell the roses” and just enjoy life and them being little.

Be sure to check out Amanda Lazarski Photography on Facebook and on Twitter.

Product Review – Ovulation Days Blackberry App

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As most of you are aware, I am trying to catch my rainbow and have become an ovulatory investigator.  I track my BBT (basal body temperature), CM (cervical mucus) and other ovulatory symptoms.  I will admit that I am horrendous at keeping track of all that information but after looking through the available app’s on my Blackberry, I found Ovulation Days.  Created by Sentinel Solutions, this is a free app that you can download onto your phone.

All you have to imput is your cycle length and the date of your last period and it will calculate when you are most likely to ovulate and when the best time to conceive is.  Obviously, red indicates your menstrual cycle, white indicates infertile times and green means its go time!  It also has symbols for if you are trying for a specific gender, although I’m not so sure how scientifically sound that is.  What I like most is that you are able to save notes such as your BBT, CM and if you are experiencing any moodiness, cramping, etc.  You are able to scroll through months and years to track your progress and it can be password protected so no one sees your personal information.

Here is its’ disclaimer;

The ovulation dates are calculated based on normal menstruation calculation logic for women having regular periods. This calendar works on simple calculation logic, so always consult with your doctor about pregnancy related matters. Women having irregular menstruation period are not advised to follow this calendar. You are advised to contact your doctor about any health related issue. Sentinel Solutions Ltd will not be responsible for consequences of any kind of wrong prediction of your ovulation or fertile days or accidental pregnancy.

   I would rate this a 4 out of 5 for ease of use and the fact it is free.

Product Review – Homeocan Kids 0-9 Cough and Cold

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Homeocan 0 – 9 Cough & Cold

Anyone who has children knows better than most that like toys, children have an innate ability to pick up germs, viruses and other nasty bacteria.  The Princess is no exception.  While she was in daycare, she contracted everything, and I mean everything.  Three days after going into daycare, our Princess contracted Norwalk Virus, and had vicious diarrhea for 3 weeks.  She lost so much weight and her poor bum was so blistered that we had to put a steroid cream just to keep them from bleeding.   She was so miserable it was devastating.  The daycare fortunately refunded us 2 weeks of the cost, however, Hubby and I had to alternatively take days off work just to care for her.  I had literally just started a new job and was missing days out of the week.  I thought for sure I was going to be fired.  But I had no one else.  The daycare wouldn’t take her.  After she finally got over that, it was maybe a week before she got an ear infection that spread to her eyes, throat, sinus and lymph nodes and sent her into a fever that was so high I had to put her in bath of cold water.  She screamed bloody murder.  I put her on the couch naked to try to cool her down when she started to have a seizure.  Her eyes rolled back in her head, she started to shake uncontrollably and was gasping for breath.

Her immune system has strengthened greatly but she still gets the occasional cough and cold.  Now most medication is not suitable for children under the age of 6 for obvious reasons, but as a parent you feel helpless because there is very little you can do to ease their symptoms.  Rest, fluids and a lot of tender love and care are a given, but what can you do for those runny noses, phlegm and nasty coughs other than wait for it to run its course.  I was at the pharmacy and saw a homeopathic cough medicine for children ages 0 to 9 years.  First I thought to myself, really what is this going to do?  I had my doubts that there would be any significant improvement in the Princess’ symptoms, but boy oh boy did I eat my words.

Homeocan Kids 0 – 9  cough & cold is a homeopathic medicine that helps relieve cough, pain, fever, congestion and mucus build up.  It does not have any harmful side effects and is dye and sugar-free.  For children under 6, it’s a 1/2 teaspoon every 4 hours.  The best part though, is that it tastes good.  Now recalling my childhood memories, medicine either tasted like fake bananas or indescribable bitterness.  But the Princess will swallow this without so much as a wince.  Thumbs up for that all on its own.   There also is a night-time cough syrup that works wonders.  With a soothing sedative, this helps relieve symptoms while allowing a good nights sleep that ill children so desperately need.

I have no complaints with this medication.  It’s all natural, great tasting, homeopathic with no side effects.  It does what it claims and now when Princess gets ill when she’s past the age of 6, I will still be using this medication instead of the other brands.  5 out of 5 for this product!  For a full list of ingredients, please click here.

 

* I was not paid to do this review and I purchased the medication myself.*

I Got Beef…Well Sorta

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Sometimes when I have had a long day and need to turn my brain into mush, I will watch TV.  And of course you cannot watch TV without watching commercials every 5 minutes.  I drown them out as commericals are crap but sometimes a commercial will play that makes me scream out “I call Bull $hit!” A Boston Pizza commercial was unfortunate enough to receive such an exclamation.  My beef, claiming their “All Meat Wings” are actually chicken wings.  Here is a definition of a wing;

Wingnoun, either of the two forelimbs of most birds, corresponding to the human arms, that are specialized for flight.  A wing consists of a wing shoulder, feathers, drumettes, mid-joint wing, and wing tip.

This is a chicken wing!

I am no Ornithologist or understand the complete skeletal system of a chicken, but having raised 200 of them from chicks to sending them on their way to the slaughter-house, I will tell you what I know for sure.  Wings have bones in them. Boston Pizza’s Boneless wings, don’t have bones in them, and are not made from wing meat!  Again, I call Bull $hit!  On their online website, their “supposed” boneless wings is “a boneless wing, lightly breaded and fried, made with seasoned chicken breast.”  Wait, what?!  Did they just say that their “wings” were made of “seasoned chicken breast”? Umm.  I didn’t know breasts could fly?  Oh, that’s right, it’s bull $hit!

Boston Pizza Meatless Chicken Wing

Now some may say I’m being nitpicky or that I am wasting my time complaining about the difference between a wing and a boneless wing, but if you are going to essentially make a chicken nugget, just call it a chicken nugget.  I know there were and probably are a lot of people who saw this commercial and went out and bought these little gems.  Sheep!  Sheep I tell you!  Did you know that Boston Pizza sells Thai Chicken Bites and Chicken Fingers that consist of seasoned chicken breast and are LESS expensive than those so-called wings?  If I were a patron of Boston Pizza, I would not pay a chicken wing price for a chicken nugget.  But people did and people still are.  Don’t be fooled by the flashy commercials and their motto “here to make you happy.”  They are here to fool sheeple and cheat them out of money!

What Do Those Codes on Produce Really Mean?

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I have been on a journey of fitness and well-being lately and in an attempt to learn more about what I put into my body and the results I expect out of it, I’ve been reading up on genetically modified foods, pesticides, and basic nomenclature so when I read the labels, I know what those ingredients really are.  I came across a blog from Chef Marcus Guiliano on a mission to inform and educate about healthy living.  He recently posted about what those codes on produce in the grocery stores really mean and I am in know now.  I will now be looking at those codes more closely so that I know which are organic, conventionally grown and frankenfood!  I have posted this so that I may share the wealth.

 

Image from chefonamissionblog.com

 

Bio Oil Challenge Revisited

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On April 23rd, I posted that I would be partaking in the Bio Oil Challenge.  According to the company, by rubbing the oil on your stretch marks for three months, twice a day in circular motion, your stretch marks will fade.

I have to admit, I didn’t rub the oil on my belly twice a day for three months.  I was pretty intermittent with it actually.  I started off doing the twice a day for the first two weeks and I did notice a difference.  But life got in the way and soon it was once a day, then every other day and then once or twice a week when I remembered.

It became a bit of a pain to remember to do it in the morning after the shower and then before I went to bed.  I found that I would have to wait a while until the oil sunk in and if I didn’t, my clothes would get the oil on them and a little would seep through the front.  I wasn’t a fan of oil marks on the belly of my shirt, looked like I competed in a greasy cheeseburger eating contest.  And I didn’t always have the time to wait as being a working mom with a toddler, my schedule doesn’t always allow me the free time to sit, rub oil on myself, much to my Hubby’s chagrin 😉 , and let it dry.

So despite my lackadaisical effort in the Bio Oil Challenge I created myself, I will say that there was some noticeable results.  My stretch marks are  lighter than they were and I’m sure with continued effort on my part, they will lighten even more.  I wasn’t expecting them to go away entirely, but I am impressed with how they faded taking into account my inconsistency.  Based on this, I give Bio Oil 3.5 out of 5.

Product Review – Boogie Wipes

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Before today, I had never heard of Boogie Wipes by Little Busy Bodies, Inc.  I was at Toys ‘R’ Us today and Miss Princess’ nose was running like a faucet.  I told Hubby that we needed to get something because I had no tissues in my purse and all I could use to wipe her nose was left over receipts from my wallet.  Princess was running away from me screaming.

“Mommy, that hurts!” She would cover her nose with her hands and run away and hide like I was the Boogey Man (pun intended).

“Can you please stop hiding?  I really need to wipe your nose,” I pleaded.

Hubby had mumbled something to me but I was too busy to chasing her around that I didn’t even hear what he said.  I assumed he picked up a small case of wipes or something, but it wasn’t until we had stopped for lunch that I took the package out of the shopping bag that I realized it was specifically for boogers.

It is made with natural saline to dissolve the mucus and has Vitamin E, Chamomile & Aloe to soothe sore little red noses.  It is alcohol free, hypoallergenic and is gentle for kids of all ages.  The package I purchased was grape scented to which Princess said, “It smells like candy Mommy.”

When the Princess’ nose usually runs, I use either regular tissues or baby wipes.  I find that while they take care of the loose, wet stuff, the dried crusted stuff doesn’t come off without repeated wipes.  And my Princess hates repeated wipes.  I was surprised when this stuff wiped the dried stuff off in just one wipe.  Princess didn’t mind me wiping her nose this time.  For a 30 pack, it only cost $3.99 and is for external use only.

Goodguide.com rates this product an 8 out of 10 as it has some ingredients that raise a low-level health concern.  The ingredients that raise concern are Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate and Phenoxyethanol.  Phenoxyethanol  is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants according to the FDA.  Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate is a water-based preservative agent originally used in the wood and paint industries, now also used in some cosmetics and personal care formulations.  Use is restricted in some countries due to its toxicity, especially acute inhalation toxicity.  According to the site, the ingredients are not potent in small doses, but only when exposed to high levels.

For this product, I am only giving it a 3 out of 5.  The deciding factors are cost, ease of use, and the negative ingredients.  You can visit the Boogie Wipes on Facebook and Twitter.  I received no compensation for this review and this is all my own opinion from my own experience.  I found facts about the ingredients online.

Boogie Wipes