It’s important to remember that children under 10 are still at risk for potential holiday hazards. Parents must be very careful when purchasing holiday items and toys that they are safe items to have at home. Please read each label and check consumer reports or websites such as the American Academy of Pediatrics when considering holiday safety tips.
If you are celebrating Christmas, and want to purchase a tree which is artificial, make sure it is labeled “fire resistant.” A real Christmas tree must be fresh, but the needles may break and can be hazardous to a young child placing things in their mouth. Keep your tree away from radiators, portable heaters, or fireplaces and out of the way of any type of doorways or anywhere with high family traffic. Wrapping paper burns quickly and violently in a fireplace so be sure you remember to throw it away immediately. You may also want to block off the tree if you have young children so it may not fall on top of them or they don’t break anything or put dangerous things in their mouth.
If you are choosing to use tree lights, make sure all the bulbs work, no frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Turn off all lights when going to bed or leaving your house so it could not start a fire. With a metallic tree, never use electric lights on it because a person could be electrocuted. Keep small batteries and magnets away from young children. Button batteries are also found in many toys, cards, hearing aids and electronics, and a young child can swallow them easily.
Young children under 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before you give them to your child. Toys that have strings that are longer than 12 inches can strangle a baby or preschool aged child. Keep older children’s toys, such as electronics, games, and other products with small parts, separate from younger children’s toys.
If you are travelling, just remember this can be stressful for both you or your young children. Try as much as possible, whether staying at a hotel or family members home, to set up a usual routine, a sleeping routine, an eating routine, napping, so that it can reduce stress within the family and among relatives or friends. Try not to overdo too many visitations, shopping, museums, and parks in one day. Spread it out.
During a holiday visitation with other friends or relatives, make sure you assign an adult or older teen to watch a baby or toddler at all times. Do not leave leftover food such as alcohol, nuts, grapes, hotdogs, peanut butter, tobacco or any choking hazards around on tables where they can reach or ingest them. You must childproof the home ahead of time.
Women’s purses, cleaning products, stairways, hot radiators, unlocked cabinets are hazards to young children during parties. Make sure you have numbers in case of emergency of police, fire departments, doctors, hospitals, or poison controls and your insurance card if an accident were to happen.
Make sure that young children do not have access to light strands, tinsel, or other ornaments that may contain lead or other poisonous materials. If you have a pool, make sure the gate is locked so the child has no access to getting inside a pool area or an aquarium. Do not leave doors unlocked where young children can open them or runaway.
We hope these suggestions will guide you and prevent any accidents to your family members. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season filled with joy, love, peace, and friendship.
One of the many perks of having a baby girl is being able to dress her up in fun clothes and accessories.
The older she gets, the more input she has on what her outfit of the day will be. As a single mom, I like to give my daughter all the love and attention that she can take. One thing we love to do together is shop. While she is under two years old, she already knows what she likes and dislikes. At such a young age, she already has her own sense of style.
With Christmas right around the corner, I decided to put a spin on our outfits. My daughter and I went shopping for matching outfits. While some believe that is a very cheesy thing to do, it is another way to spend time with and connect with your child.
Don’t worry about getting the exact outfit for the both of you. It is not easy to find matching outfits for two completely different age groups. Try to find outfits with the same design, pattern or even color. In my case I found two dresses that came in black and red. I accessorized both our looks with stockings and black shoes. Ladies, don’t be afraid to throw on those pumps with an outfit, there is nothing wrong with adding some extra glamor to it.
Don’t feel that you have to spend your whole paycheck on two outfits that you will only wear once. Pick items that can be worn in different ways. Adding accessories like a scarf or stockings can give your outfit a completely different look and allow you to wear it in many more occasions.
Remember; try to take your child along with you when shopping. Allow them to have a voice and show them that they can have an input in something like choosing what to wear. A simple gesture can show your child that they are just as important as you tell them they are.
Happy Shopping and Matching!
Volvo cars and trucks are a household name in Europe, especially Sweden. In Sweden, mom might say to Sven, “Here are the keys to the S60, please pick up your little sister.” Here in the USA, the equivalent would be “Hey Joe, here’s the keys to the Camry, can you drive yourself to practice?”
Volvo is high-end, safe and well designed vehicle catering to a select clientele with very high standards. Are you a present or future Volvo owner?
The 2014 Geneva Auto show again showcased the upcoming changes both in technology and design. The biggest news was the introduction of Volvo’s new infotainment system, a new option across the brand’s model range. It is called Sensus, in which the system uses a seven-inch touchscreen display that can even be operated with winter gloves. I can see why in Sweden or Minnesota that’s a big deal.
Volvo’s sources say the driver who connects a 3G or 4G phone can use the Sensus system to browse the internet…of course not while driving. Like other infotainment systems, Sensus also provides streaming audio through internet music sites like Pandora.
In 2014 the Volvo S60 will see a major change; a front end facelift which includes a new grille and daytime running lights. It will also have new colors to choose from as well as new interior surfaces. All the models will also see some modifications and innovations. Volvo never stops making their vehicles safer, sleeker and more stylish.
The Best of 2013 for Volvo
That’s all good for next year but we’re still in 2013 and I want to compliment Volvo for what I think was one of the best video TV commercials in the auto industry. Just when you are finally able to pronounce Jean Claude Van Damme’s name he disappears for ten years. Then one day, carrying his AARP card he proudly does a split between two Heavy Duty Volvo Trucks.
The Jean Claude Van Damme split video quickly went viral with 48.5 million views in nine days setting a record in the auto industry. All of a sudden Jean Claude is getting TV and movie offers he hasn’t had in 20 years. It also reintroduced Volvo’s image as a technology leader to 48.5 million people.
Letter from the President
After my recent article here on SmartFem, 2013 Volvo XC60 SUV is a Doggone Safe Car, about the pet cage installed in a Volvo of Phoenix XC60 SUV I received a personal note from the President of Volvo saying how much he enjoyed the article, and how Volvo does care about people and their beloved pets, including my dog “Doc”.
Holiday Cheer for VolvoBeing in tune with the Christmas spirit, I perused the Volvo internet site and found a number of unique holiday recipes and craft projects. For those of you of like mind, our Ikea geniuses have posted some traditions that may be of interest.
The one I picked and plan to make is the Lingonberry Wreath. The wreath itself is not difficult and is rather plain. However, it is the history behind the Lingonberry wreath, part of the Swedish culture, which I enjoyed. Swedish girls wear Lingonberry wreaths with candles on their heads during the celebration of St. Lucia.
Whether Volvo invents a new safety device, creates a fun and exciting video where a celebrity star performs an incredible stunt split between trucks, or a DIY project we can all assemble and enjoy, I strongly urge automotive enthusiasts and car shoppers to test drive the Volvo products. There will come a day when someone says, “Hey Mom, can I borrow your S60?” and it will be the equivalent to, “Mom can I drive your ‘vette’ tonight?”
Every year thousands of women across the globe get the chance to marry their dream man…SmartFem decided to highlight a handful of the dazzling women and their weddings as a part of the Most Beautiful Brides of Arizona for 2013. We asked them what they thought the most magical part of their wedding was:
Jen Snider- ”I have two Magical Moments on my special day! The first magical moment was seeing my father tear up as he was reading the embroidered handkerchief I gave to him right before we walked down the isle. It said”
“Daddy, Of all the walks we have ever taken together, this is my favorite! I love you Dad! “
The second was seeing my soon-to-be husband standing at the Altar with tears in his eyes as I was walking up to him. His tears became raindrops as he was telling me his vows and how much he loves me and can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together. ”
Catherina Anaya- “It was a romantically, beautifully perfect day. But the most magical thing about my wedding was my son and daughter walking me down the aisle with love and excitement – not just for my happiness – but for all of us, knowing that we were now officially a family.”
Nicole Levy- ”Standing behind those doors getting ready to walk down the aisle to the man of my dreams, hearing our song come on… it’s a moment I’ll never forget. It’s been almost a year now and every time I hear that song, it takes me back to that moment and I’m still overcome by emotion
For those of us that celebrate Christmas, we know that it is one of a child’s favorite days of the year. They look forward to Santa, the presents and if they’re mature enough to know…family time.
But what do you do when you’re a single parent and still trying to give them the best during the holiday season. It’s simple… you give them YOUR best.
Although I am not as financially stable as I would like to be, I have come to realize that I cannot buy my 18-month-old’s happiness with money. But I can give her what is in my reach, and what I know she will get the most use out of.
This year, I decided to limit her Christmas presents to only two, a tricycle and a play kitchen. Why? Because they are things that she can get a lot of use of, and don’t come with a million little pieces that are just going to end up in the trashcan.
One good tip is to get your child something that he or she can enjoy not only inside, but in the outdoors as well. Arizona weather is amazing, and nothing makes a child happier than being active and around nature.While an Xbox or tablet might be entertaining, it only enables children to sit around inside and not get the required 60 minutes of physical activity.
Another guideline is to pay close attention to the toys’ age recommendations. While a lot of us parents choose to look past those safety standards, they can make a huge difference in keeping your child from harm.
Remember, you don’t have to spoil your kids in order to make them happy. If you educate them while they are young, they will learn the value of money, and the meaning of Christmas.
The Coen Brothers are at it again with the recent release of their film set in the 1960s, “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Set in 1961, Llewyn Davis struggles with being involved with the music scene which everybody was trying to be a part of at that time. With strong wit and whimsical melancholy, “Inside Llewyn Davis” shines in the open mic spotlight with its characters, dialogue, and aesthetic.
Joel and Ethan Coen are notorious for having impeccable character development. From “Fargo” to “The Big Lebowski,” these filmmakers create human beings instead of fantastical caricatures of them. For “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Oscar Isaac plays the brooding, bitter, idealistic main character.
The audience gets an inside look at his life from the first scene: We figure out that he is, for lack of a better word, a deadbeat musician with no place to live and a paycheck that depends on sporadic gigs at a local café.
However, instead of being obnoxious and disappointing, Isaac’s portrayal of the protagonist is realistic, hopeful, and tragic. Llewyn Davis inspires audiences to pursue what they love, no matter the cost.
Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan play Davis’ best friends, Jim and Jean. They are also trying to make it big in the music scene, but not necessarily alongside Llewyn. Mulligan’s performance is pungent as the films twist on a “love interest.” She constantly verbally abuses Llewyn for squatting at the apartment her and her boyfriend Jim share. Timberlake as Jim is a quirky counterpart to Mullligan. Although he does not get much interaction with either character, his musical performance in one scene stood out from the entire film.
The music in the film was a standout as well. While Davis was a folk artist, his friends and comrades sang everything from Mamas and Papas-esque harmonies to a goofy space age number by Timberlake and Isaac. The original soundtrack, which featured Mumford & Sons front man, Marcus Mumford as an associate producer and performer, is fraught with painful folk songs as well as upbeat adaptations and variations on the 1960s music style.
Although the film has been previously criticized for lacking a plot, the point of the movie was to get an insight on this difficult, strange, and all around hopeless situation people like Davis were a part of. Like most of the Coen brothers’ films, the relatively dramatic plot is sprinkled with humor. But despite the light comedy presented by some of the minor characters, (see John Goodman; Ethan Phillips) the serious themes pull through and the emotional vulnerability catches in your throat. It becomes nearly impossible to hold back tears when Llewyn performs his final song.
It’s definitely worth seeing, if not just for the fact you will probably become familiar with it when the Oscars roll around. “Inside Llewyn Davis” leaves you with that feeling of dissatisfaction, but in a positive way. The Coen brothers remind you, though in a harsher manner, that success is not measured by fame or money. Llewyn Davis is more than just a character, he is a symbol for doing what makes you happy and living a life that fulfills you, despite what other people think.
It’s that time of year again, where sparkle and shine come out to play during the wonderful winter season. Winter is also the time for one of my personal favorite things: holiday parties! Whether you are attending an office party, or are leaving work to celebrate somewhere else, there are tons of different outfit combinations for you to choose from. So, unwrap the sequin skirt or plaid dress from your closet, and arrive to your next holiday party in style!
Plaid and Leather
If you want to try an edgier look this holiday season, pair a plaid dress or skirt with a leather motorcycle jacket. The preppy plaid will bring in winter’s hottest colors with deep reds and greens. The leather jacket will harden the combo, adding a tough but approachable detail. Finalize the look with a simple black pump and gold accessories.
Sequined Skirt and Sweater
Sequins were practically made to be worn at holiday parties and are the perfect way to dress up any outfit. If you don’t want to look too overdressed, pair a sequin skirt or dress with a light sweater in a complementary color. Add tights and chunky ankle boots for extra warmth and glam.
Metallic is a huge trend this season and can be seen on any over-the-shoulder bag, peplum blouse, or work trouser. The best thing about metallic is that it can be dressed up or down. To really stand out at a holiday party, mix a bold metallic cropped pant with a simpler top. For this shimmery look, you won’t want to be seen without a strappy heel or statement necklace.
Holiday Dress and Blazer
One of the easiest and most chic pairings is a fancy dress and a long blazer. This year, grab your favorite holiday dress and then pull on a blazer (every girl has one, or two, or three) over it. Accessorize with a dramatic necklace and small clutch to emphasize the elegant simplicity of the look.
Personality and Confidence
The best way to get noticed at a holiday party is to walk in with your two best assets: personality and confidence. It sounds cheesy, but some of the most memorable outfits come from using your creativity. Try a new combination you haven’t thought of before and play around with different patterns and textures. Use as many bows and polka dots as you can – after all, the holidays are meant to be a cheerful and fun time!
On Saturday, December 7th, 2013, Beyoncé made another stop for her tour, The Mrs. Carter Show, in Phoenix, Arizona.
People of every ethnicity and age came out to the long awaited concert. Lines stretched out from U.S. Airways Center, exceeding the maximum capacity, and requiring the security to create alternate entrances for the ticket-holders.
JohnJay and Rich had a red carped laid out outside of the arena to make every guest feel like a celebrity. They made it an entertaining wait for the thousands of people waiting outside.
Luke James opened the show with his passionate and seductive music. While he isn’t a household name yet, he did not disappoint his audience.
While concerts’ main goal is usually to entertain, Beyoncé made it so much more than that. She shared clips about how important it is to give back to the community. Something we recently talked about in Oscar De Las Salas’ article.
She also educated her audience throughout the concert. “We fight to find who we are,” she said. A quote that fits every single individual in their journey in trying to find themselves through life.
The Mrs. Carter Show was one for the books. From the stage setup, to every dance number, the concert had everyone on their feet.
B remains the Queen.
Christmas came a little early this year thanks to Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding event. The Solid Rock Foundation puts on a Christmas show yearly to benefit The Solid Rock Teen Center. The show is always a little different and this year was no exception. This year’s event was hosted this past Saturday December 7th at the Comerica Theatre. It was amazing to see all the rock stars of my childhood come together under one roof to aid Sheryl and Alice Cooper in their quest for keeping teens safe.
This year’s line-up included: Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer of Kiss, Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Stephen Pearcy of Ratt, Tom Keifer of Cinderella, Kip Winger of Winger and Joan Jett. Seinfeld Star John O’Hurley hosted the show, and Bill Engvall was a special guest comedian.
This year’s event was very special as Rock Demarco, the world’s fastest painter enlisted the help of Alice and Sheryl Cooper to help him propose on stage to girlfriend Olivia Haine. Demarco comes out to paint some of the celebrities every year for Christmas Pudding to serve as auction items. This year he painted legendary rocker Joan Jett, and the man himself, Alice Cooper.
It is fun to work with people who are passionate about what they do and give a hundred percent every time. That is one of the things that endear me personally to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock in addition to Alice and Sheryl Cooper and the entire Solid Rock Team.
The Cooper’s are a very community-minded and gracious couple, and that is why celebrities donate their time to Christmas Pudding every year!
I would also like to publically acknowledge Coye Pointer of Scottsdale Airpark Dodge and Cherylanne DeVita of DeVita International who have been generous Solid Rock sponsors for years, and who I have the honor and privilege of working with on SmartFem.com.
Christmas is a very special time of the year; help Alice and his friends keep teens safe by giving them the gift of music, dance, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. To find out more go to www.alicecoopersolidrock.com.
Also to see more photos of this fabulous event check out our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/smartfem.az
Photos courtesy of Surrealsister Photography
I realize that this seems to be a no-brainer, but I am uncomfortable with how many people do not understand what is going into their bodies. If you are going to eat packaged foods, please, for goodness sake, take a moment to read what is in it!
Time and time again, people complain to me that they watch what they eat, but still can’t lose weight…
“Ok,” I say, “let’s go through your diet and take a look.”
Sure enough, packaged and processed junk that does not belong in the human body is marketed as healthy and even the most conscious among us, grab for it. Every day, millions of Americans eat items that look like food, but are merely “food-like.” All of the nutrients have been eliminated, and toxic junk has been added to “preserve freshness” or “enhance flavor.” As if they are doing us some kind of favor…
Serving size and servings per package: before you go any further, check to be sure that you are accurately assessing nutritional information. For example, a serving of boxed cereal is ¾ of a cup. Do yourself a favor and grab a measuring cup, pour out ¾ and put it in the bowl you are going to eat from. Does that look like the size you normally eat? One of my favorites is Gatorade or other sports drinks and soda. The bottle we grab at the convenience store is 2.5 servings per container. How much do you normally drink? Less than half the bottle? Didn’t think so… Multiply the nutrition facts by 2.5, there you have it.
Fat: Not the evil we were taught to believe unless its “trans-fats”. This is the yucky stuff that was developed in a factory using low quality oils (read rancid) that have been hydrogenated (extra hydrogen was added.) Companies are now required to label it, because it is SO dangerous, but they can get away with saying it has zero if it is less than one gram per serving size. Note serving size and ingredient list! No amount of Trans Fat is ok! Saturated fat depends on what it is derived from. Coconut, yes! Animal product…not so much. Unsaturated fat, also be aware…soybean, sunflower, safflower, and corn oils can all be toxic to your body in the manufactured form.
Cholesterol: Also not the bad guy in the big picture of heart disease. Animals produce it and that means you produce it. Trigycerides in your system and Trans Fats in the diet, increase production. If it is a plant based food, there is no Cholesterol, so it will always say zero. That doesn’t mean the food is healthy to eat, however. See a clinical nutritionist for details if Cholesterol is a concern for you.
Sodium: Holy moly, salt is convenient, and cheap, and therefore in all packaged foods. The salt used in preserving packaged items is the least valuable to your body because it is bleached and processed. Although there are questions about the relationship between high blood pressure and sodium intake, it is always wise to err on the side of caution and steer clear of high sodium foods.
Potassium: An important electrolyte that is required in the human body, along with many others, to help conduct the electrical charges of the heart and nervous system, and control blood pressure. (It is found most widely in fresh fruits and vegetables, which obviously won’t have a label.) Of course, since it is important to keep a vital ratio of potassium and sodium, it makes sense that the current labeling laws would include it.
Carbohydrate: You are looking for a sugar to fiber ratio here. Preferably, more fiber and less sugar will ensure a good glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates break down into sugar, so the protein and fiber content is very important! Sugar, in excess, in any form, can cause problems. Americans typically eat 10 times more than the human body needs on any given day. And we wonder why we are fat? A good rule of thumb is any serving that has more than 10-15 grams of sugar should be avoided. The only exception to this would be directly after intense or long duration bout of exercise. P.S. sugar is in everything!
Protein: Let’s just say that for the most part, protein is your friend. It is rare to over-consume it from packaged foods. Steer clear of soy based protein, it has most likely been genetically modified, and the fillers are from animal parts that you just don’t want to ingest…EW! The protein to carbohydrate ratio is important for those trying to manage insulin response, and because protein is the building blocks of healthy cells, it’s definitely a winner at dinner. Just check the ingredients to see where the heck the protein is coming from.
The vitamin percentages: The government is still using outdated RDA requirements based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. Honestly? There is no proof that this is accurate information, or that the nutrition is actually bio-available. Processing itself kills most of the nutrition, but if there is something you need to fortify or avoid, then check the label and act accordingly.
Ingredients: Here is the motherload of information you need to be aware of. Read it, and weep. Can you pronounce it? The amount of poison that can enter your body, legally, is astounding. Thank God, for the liver, and the kidneys, that have to sort through all that stuff and get it to a safe place (your fat cells), so you don’t die immediately. Packaged foods need to last a long time on a shelf and still taste good. Billions of dollars have been spent to ensure that the consumer has a pleasant taste experience upon ingesting, so companies have developed thousands of ingredients that ensure you buy the product again and again. I challenge each one of you that read this information, to take some time to google search the stuff you can’t pronounce. Better yet, have your kids do it!
Bottom line: real food should perish. It was once alive, that is what makes it food. Don’t be fooled by the package that says it’s healthy. Do your research. Know what you are eating and how much. Be responsible for knowing, because the government and the large food industries, would probably prefer you just dig right in!