The Happy Times

A Lala Land Review: "MyShower" Bath Storage

Hey all!

I have had the fabulous opportunity to review a new product for your bathroom! The brand is "MyShower" (http://www.myshower.com/) - and they have all sorts of nifty bath storage helpers! The kind of storage that doesn't take up even more room on your floors or counters...sure you can put more stuff in it but you now have less floor room.  In this case, MyShower has the kind of storage that sticks to the walls, or your mirror, or the shower itself. I was lucky enough to get to try out all of them, but here are a few of my favorites.

The MySoap holder is truly my favorite thing.  I honestly would love to talk to them and see if I can't offer this beauty myself!  Its genius. With handcrafted soap you really need to keep it out of the water.  This not only does that, but it also keeps your bath tub from getting all soap scummy.  Plus its nice because its hanging right on the wall right where you need it! I honestly love it...I want more of them...one for me and one for my husband. We both like to use different soaps because we like different fragrances and this would be a perfect way to keep them separate and out of the water.  In addition to that I want a third one because I also use our bar soao as a shampoo.  So seriously...long story short, I love this and you should totally get it.

The MyGrip is probably my second favorite of the MyShower products. My husband always uses a separate shampoo than I do as I haven't quite gotten him convinced that you can actually wash your hair with a bar of soap.  So his big bottle of shampoo fits perfectly on the wall now instead of on the ledge of the bath.  He tells me its "convenient" so that means he likes it.  It's placed at his eye level so he can pop the bottom open and get his shampoo easily without even having to remove the bottle from the holster.  Pretty nifty.  They have all sorts of other hooks like this one (MyHandstand and MyHolder) for odd shaped bottles - so if my hubby ever decides to change bottles I'd use those and get the same effect.  Quite nifty and again, keeps your shower all clean. 

My third favorite is the MySmile and MyHook.  My son has a perfect little bedtime routine that includes brushing his teeth. We have this right at his level (stool height) so he can pick it up and do his thing and feel like a big boy all at the same time. I'm pretty sure he loves it because he always puts it back where its supposed to go and then claps for himself.  A job well done.  While the MyHook is technically supposed to be for loofah's and things, this worked rather well for our weirdly sized tube of toothpaste.  And to bring it back to the MySoap holder...if I got yet another one of those it would probably work even better. 

They also have a MyShave that I used - it works for any type of razor. It definitely worked and served its purpose but with all the things now gripping to my shower walls I felt like it was overkill. 

So with all that said, I really like these products and find them to be super cool.  And I'm not just saying that.  I really do think that its a perfect way to store your stuff without getting all cluttered up. I think the only thing missing would be if they made something like a MyBasket or something so you could put scrubs and other products that don't fit in their hooks and holsters. That's probably where I would put my electric razor too since it doesn't fit in the MyShave.  Overall I give the products an 9 out of 10 - if they added the basket I think I could give it a 10.  They are super convenient, work with any type of product, and are interchangeable so if you change a product or your product switches bottles on you, you have a way to store it. 

I'd love to know what you think! Have you tried these? if not, what do you use to store your bath stuff?

As always,

Happy Memorial Day

A special thanks to all those who serve most especially to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country

My Super Mom Moment

Seeing that we just had Mother's Day I wanted to share my proud moment with all of you.  My Mother's Day was filled with awesome of course - since my kids are of course the best and most wonderful kids to ever exist (no bias there of course!).  I got to sleep in while Daddy took care of the kids, and then I got to read my book while the babies napped (so quiet!!).  Then because we have the coolest family around, we got to visit with my Mom to celebrate how awesome she is AND visit with my husbands Mama to celebrate how awesome she is too!  It was perfect! We had a drink at both grandparents houses and the little one's got to hang out with their grandparents which is always a good time.  My Dad especially enjoyed it since he has a crazy busy schedule and doesn't always get to see the little one's.  On the way home from my in-law's place I was struck by just how awesome it really is that we live so close to our family that we can stop by both sets of parents and still have a whole day to ourselves.  We are extremely blessed that everyone gets along and we all have family events together...Easter is spent with my husbands family including all the aunt's and uncles on the east coast (we all meet in Delaware). Mother's and Father's Day we can spend with our actual Mother's and still have time to celebrate with our own family.  Birthday's are huge celebrations including cousins! And of course Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite since we get the whole family on both sides together to celebrate.  I feel so incredibly blessed ALL the time to have the family that I do.

But of course that's not my proud moment I wanted to share with all of you.  Today while making 3 batches of soap (pictured above), I held a nursing baby, peeled and helped feed a banana to my oldest, all while stirring and making colors for the batches while my mother did the stick blending, and then added the mica swirls on top of the soap ALL while nursing my youngest.  It was my super mom moment! I was so proud of myself...it was a little odd...I mean I'm sure you can get the picture easily enough...but I was so proud that I was able to do all of that while working that I just had to share it.  Trust me...I'm not always this awesome.  I was then able to come home and get my oldest down for a nap. Came downstairs and while holding the youngest because of course she didn't want to be in her chair, made dinner for tonight in the crock pot.  Oh yeah!!

Of course I still feel like I have 800 things to do since I still have tons of work to do for my part time FSO gig and of course updating this fine website is always on my list of things to do. And yet...I am still rather proud of myself for getting done what I've gotten done.  Wooooooo!

Do you have a moment like this? Where you felt like you were God's gift to parenting?  Tell me!!! I think its always nice to share your wins...even if they're silly to everyone else but you!

As always,

 

Out Pinterest Pinterest with this DIY Recipe for Bath Tea Gifts

Hey all!

Reading is something I've been doing a lot lately.  One of my favorite magazines, Handmade Magazine, has TONS of free recipes and tips into how to make fun bath stuff for yourself or as gifts! I personally love making this stuff for gifts because not only are they beautiful (which makes you look like one of those Pinteresting awesome people) but its actually easy (unlike all the recipes you actually find on Pinterest).  Seriously...you'll never be more thrilled with just following directions!

Relaxing Spa Recipe (excerpt from Handmade Magazine by Wholesale Supplies Plus)
SECRET GARDEN BATH TEA

A wonderous mixture of salts and buttermilk combined with the delicacy of calendula petals and rose buds sets the stage for this tranquilizing and aromatic bath tea blend.

Project Level: Easy
Estimated Time: 1/2 hour
Yield: (10) 4 oz Bottles

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 3 cups Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate
  • 1.5 cups Salt Blend (Dead Sea Pure Salt)
  • 3/4 cups Buttermilk Powder
  • 1/8 cups Oatmeal - Colloidal NF
  • 1.5 Cups Calendula - Petals Only
  • 2 cups Rose Petals - Red Buds & Leaves
  • 6 ml Peony Fragrance Oil 424
  • 10 Pieces Mesh Bath Tea Ball
  • 10 Pieces 1.5 x 6' Clear PETG Tube with White Cap
  • 1/2 Oz Natural Raffia
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • Mixing Spoons
  • Droppers - Plastic
  • Wire Whisk
  • Scale

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine Epsom Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Buttermilk Powder and Oatmeal-Colloidal Powder
  2. Mix until ingredients are completely combined
  3. Add 6 ml Peony FO to salt and powder mixture and stir with wire whisk until combined
  4. Add Calendula Petals to mixture
  5. Measure out the rose buds reserving the largest buds to be used later in the recipe. Yield of reserved rose buds should be approximately 1 cup
  6. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups of rose buds to th mixture stirring t incorporate.
  7. Pace 4 oz of completed mixture into each tube.  Place a few of the reserved rose buds at the top of each filled tube.
  8. Place the cap on the salt tube and tie with raffia.  Tread the chain of each mesh tea ball trough the tied raffia to hang at desired length.

TO USE

Place Bath Tea mixture into the mesh tea ball.  Place in bath water and enjoy.  The salts and powders will flow into the water but leave the botanicals inside so they won't clog the drain. 

I told you it would be easy! :)

You can find ALL the ingredients you need on Wholesale Supplies Plus website

As always,

 

Superstar Dads & The Helper's that Make Things Work When You're Broken

For the last week I've been dealing with a LOT of recovery.  As you know, our latest Lala Lander was born on Friday, April 17th.  It was a scheduled C-Section due to my bazillion complications that I have when pregnant including preeclampsia, a breech positioned baby, a ginormous baby (she was 10lbs 4oz!!), polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) and a lovely condition actually named "irritable uterus" which means I got to cramp all the time for no reason.  Needless to say, pregnancy is not awesome for me...but the result sure is!!  I couldn't be happier with our new little Princess (aka: Peach, aka: Anna). 

Unfortunately I also don't do after pregnancy well and I've been in and out of the hospital all week with various complications including a possible stroke - thank God it was not a stroke, and I'm doing just fine!  But that's not what I wanted to talk about...I wanted to talk about my amazing husband who is not only a Superstar Dad but my very best friend.  I honestly don't know what I would have done if I didn't have someone like him to help me through all of it. He not only took care of me and helped me cope even though I was terrified, but he also took care of BOTH kids and hosted our family who kept coming to visit.  My family is of course amazing and do help out a lot (like when my poor hubby needed a nap, my mom stayed with me to let him sleep) - but when you're the person taking care of everyone, its just hard.  I felt so bad that I couldn't help him...that there was nothing I could do except get better.  Watching him take care of our babies, me and my family just makes me fall in love with him all over again.  I'm so incredibly blessed to have him, and to have the family that I do. 

Are any of you blessed with a wonderful and loving family? I would love to hear any stories you have! Family is precious and I am so incredibly grateful to have one so generous and kind. 

As always,

The Giant Peach has Arrived!

Hey all!

On Friday, April 17th, the Giant Peach arrived safe and healthy!  We'll show some pics of us in our new happy little family soon!  In the meantime, I've got to recover a bit before I can share more about the big day. 

Thanks so much for all the prayers and well wishes! We appreciate each and every one of you!!

As always,

Baby Brain - Loss of Memory When Pregnant is Totally a Thing

I've mentioned it a few times before - but I'm expecting my second baby this Friday (baby is currently breech and I have 10,000 complications that can lead to some pretty bad things so its a planned c-section) !! It's pretty much all I can think about right now.  We're frantically trying to get products created/labeled/packaged all before the new baby comes.  On top of that, I'm trying to get my house ready for this new little one!  We currently don't really have space...I live in a townhouse and while it would be plenty of room if I didn't have a business, there isn't much more space as things stand now.  We've got the master bedroom of course, a storage room (we don't have a basement) where we keep all our stuff that would normally go in a basement, my son's room, and then the guest room/business room where I've got all the products and supplies to make all our products.  Its not even all of our supplies - half of it is at Mom's house (check the About section - I totally work with my Mom and she's awesome) and my linen closet has also been taken over by soapy amazingness.  My linens have been delegated to the bottom shelf in the closet and any open drawer in the guest room.  So where to put a Giant Peach?
We don't know whether its a boy or girl yet so its hard to say that we'd just put them both in the same room.  If its a boy I have no problems making them share space, but if its a girl I personally have issues with that (I know there's nothing wrong with it most of the time...but I can't help myself).  Its fine while they're younger, but the older they get the weirder it is for me and I'd rather not give them my psychosis by worrying about it all the time. For the time being, we've been gifted a super awesome new dresser for Peach so we at least have a place to put the baby's things and we have a basinet that will be good for about 4 to 5 months (depending upon how quickly this baby transitions to a crib).  However we currently don't have space for another crib, let alone anything else for another baby and still have some semblance of organization. So the question of course is, What are we going to do about it? 
We're moving! So to add to the craziness that is this house right now - we're getting a storage unit and starting to move all our stuff that will go to the new house into storage so we can fix up this place to put it on the market.  Once we've gotten most of our stuff out of the way, we can fix holes in the house, repaint, fix up the front and back yards and then get rid of anything else we don't need so we can pretend we're on HGTV and stage our house all pretty-like.  We'll have to add more light (its a center unit so the lack of windows can make the house a bit dark sometimes). I'll be sharing pics as we rework the house in some (hopefully) TV-land magic.  It's a great house and we've redone the kitchen completely so I know it will sell fast!  Once it does, we better have a new house to move into! (I may love working with my mother but living with her is definitely NOT an option). We want to stay in the same area - so don't fret friends, Just because we're moving, doesn't mean we're going to disappear!
So that baby brain thing - its totally a real thing! Its really all I think about (hence this post). I also forget everything (just ask my husband) including what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.  I live by lists.  I honestly cannot WAIT until I meet this little one and introduce them to the world!  The Giant Peach will be a force to be reckoned with!  (and I'll also get my memory back, my body back, and my mobility back which is an added double plus good). 
Here's to Peach!! You'll be meeting the world in just 5 days!!!
As always,

Entrepreneurial Endeavors - A Special Note to Our Fans

Hey friends!

Most of you don't know what goes on behind the scenes of a small business.  There's a lot of hustle and courage - and there's also a TON of learning.  Once a business reaches its limits of the owners knowledge, the owner is faced with a decision. Do I continue on with what I'm doing? Or do I push forward into new territory? In my case, I've decided to push forward into new territory.  What that means for me is a lot more school!

I know school is not for a lot of people - I happen to be one of the crazy people that LOVE it.  If I could get paid to just learn stuff, I totally would (providing of course it was in the subjects I enjoy...as in anything but math), but I digress.  For me, that schooling has taken shape in Marie Forleo's B-School.  It's an online business school devoted entirely to the creative entrepreneur, like me, who is looking to push their business to the next level "to create a business and life that you love." Its essentially all the meat of what you would get in obtaining an MBA, but without any general knowledge courses - Marie gets straight to the gut of what I need to know to get my business to where I want it to be.  There are of course many more things you'd learn in an MBA that you don't in this program (so I'm completely NOT bashing MBAs...they are completely awesome and if I had money/time/ability to do so I'd get my second masters in business) - but it IS exactly what I need to help me streamline my processes, brand my business in a way that actually targets who I want to target (and makes sense), and gives me the necessary steps to push forward into that new territory I was talking about. 

I actually started B-School in 2014.  The results of which are the website you're reading this on, new logos and a better idea of who it is I think would like what we create and sell.  We've since updated our packaging (and continue to do so) and we're working to get an actual newsletter out to all of our adoring fans.  The blog itself has been quite an undertaking for me as I am a rather private person who would not consider herself a "writer" and yet I write every day.  The first round of B-School taught me what was possible and that I'm only limited by my own creativity and willingness to learn and make mistakes. 

This round of B-School (once you purchase the program, you are in it for LIFE!!) things have taken yet another turn for the better.  While Lala Land has served us well, we have found that the name itself confuses a lot of our target audience.  We do market to children, however our main goal is their mama's! Kids don't buy soap after all, their mama's do! We want to highlight more about WHY we started this business in the first place, and how that's changed and grown over time.  We are committed to providing cruelty free, handcrafted artisanal products - for us that means all of our products are vegan (slathering animal fat all over your body does NOT sound appealing to me either) and we put a lot of time, care and attention into each product we make and choose to sell.  Any of our outside artists are local to Virginia and also put the same care and attention into their products.  We also like to use ecofriendly materials and packaging and encourage you to reuse the bottles and jars that we package our scrubs, creams and butters in.  These are all things that I can share in person when people visit us at shows - but it doesn't currently show any of that in our online presence.  We want to ensure our customers know who we are as people, why we do what we do, and how much care we place in each of our products. 

So what does all this mean? It means that Lala Land is going to become a separate brand encompassing all of our children's products. The bath monsters, SOAPer Heroes, Children's Books, and the art prints will all stay under Adventures in Lala Land as a kid friendly brand (we may even create a whole line of soaps just for kids!).  While the remaining products will be under a new umbrella, PeachesNGrapes. This isn't going to happen overnight - in fact, we're not planning on making the switch until 2016 - and all of our products will still be as awesome as always.  What this gives us the opportunity to do, is to reach out to more people who need a little happiness in their life.  It will also give us an opportunity to find more amazing handcrafted, eco-friendly and local artisans to show off to you! That means we'll have even MORE awesome and MORE things for you to get excited about.

All of this is still in the brainstorming phase - and yet I wanted to make sure that our fans know what's ahead for Lala Land.  We care about you and want you to be happy!

If you have ANY questions whatsoever about this process or about our products - let us know! We'd love to chat about any concerns you have.  Just reach out to me at laura@myadventuresinlalaland.com

As always,

In the Pursuit of Happiness Communication is Key

Communication (verbal & nonverbal) is vital to the maintenance of ALL relationships

Have you ever wondered why you get so frustrated with other people? Whether they're friends, lovers, coworkers or family, it sometimes seems like having a relationship with them is always a struggle.  You end up in a screaming match, or if you're like me, you shut down and either stop talking all together and feel bad about the disagreement all day, or end up in a puddle of tears (always embarrassing).  The truth is that we are all terrible at communication.  We may have learned words that we call "language" but those words do not always serve us.  In fact, sometimes what we're saying is the complete opposite of what we're doing, which just confuses others around us even more!  Communication, whether verbal or nonverbal, is vital to the maintenance of ALL relationships.  We need to relearn how we make requests of others and figure out what it is we're actually asking for.

So what kind of requests am I referring to? Everything! From asking someone to wash the dishes, to asking if they'd help you with a project you're stumped on.  Requests happen all the time - the trick is actually understanding whether what you're asking is actually a request or a demand.  What are YOUR conditions for happiness? If you're asking someone to do the dishes - is that a request? If so, the person responding to the request has several options: Yes, No, or Counter-Offer.  Will any of those responses help in your pursuit of happiness? Probably not.  Unless the other person responds with an emphatic "Yes!!" I'm pretty sure you'll end up frustrated.  This "request" will then end in a shouting match, or worse, you'll just end up doing it yourself.  So was asking this person to do the dishes really a request?  Not at all!  In your mind, doing the dishes right then would be the only condition in which you'd be happy.  If you change the request to a demand, the tables are turned and the other person can only respond with "yes!".  If however your conditions for happiness were that they do the dishes sometime today, they could have responded with a "yes but I can't do them right now...perhaps after dinner?" - then its YOUR opportunity to respond with Yes, No, or Counter-Offer.  This type of back and forth can completely change the way you communicate with others, leaving them, and you, happier as a result.

So how about the other way around? You ask someone to come help you with a problem that you know makes them uncomfortable.  The other person responds with "yes" because they feel they have to out of an obligation to you.  This leaves the other person miserable, and it doesn't help you with your problem. What's more, you then end up feeling guilty for asking in the first place! So what were your conditions for happiness? In this case, we'll say that your conditions for happiness were really that you just wanted a friendly face and some warm conversation to brighten up a situation you're troubled with.  So perhaps instead of demanding that the person come help you with your problem ("hey, I need your advice on an urgent matter") you change it to a request ("hey, I'm having trouble with something and could use a friendly face, can you come help?").  This leaves it open for them to either help you with the problem you're dealing with, or just come chat with you because they're your friend.  Both of you come out happy in the transaction.

How do you differentiate between a request and a demand? 

The question you should be asking yourself before any request or demand, is what your conditions for happiness are in this scenario.  If your conditions for happiness mean that you need for the person to do a thing immediately, its a demand.  If however, you are okay with receiving a NO or a Counter-Offer - then its a request.  Always think about your desires when you're asking something of someone else....people aren't mind readers and its up to YOU to be clear about what it is that you want.  When we're unclear, it just leaves both parties upset which can color their entire day. 

As always friends, I would LOVE to hear from you (but you don't have to).

--->Have you ever made a request that turned out wrong? What happened? What could you have done to change it?

Enjoy the Little Things: Spring is Here!!

It is so important to enjoy the little things in life!! If you do, it really can make life pretty epic.  Every day gifts of kindness, appreciation, and support can brighten you day and the day of the person who receives them.  Right now I'm experiencing the gift of appreciation for our beautiful planet! I'm so unbelievably excited that Spring has finally come!! Winter can be beautiful, still, and calming - but oh my goodness is Spring the best thing ever after a super long winter!!

With our new found warm world, it was the perfect opportunity to take my son out for a walk.  He LOVES the outside as any little boy should.  In fact, his very first word was "outside" - it surprised all of us.  We were heading out the door of my in-laws place.  Grape was being held by his Grandpa and surrounded by me, Daddy, and his Nana. We were all talking about the vacation we were about to take in Connecticut (where my husbands extended family all live) and Grape couldn't stand all the waiting I suppose and yelled out "OUTSIDE!" and pointed to the door.  He was only a year old and the clarity of his declaration completely astounded us.  Baffled, Grandpa laughed and said "Outside it is!" and took him out the door.  I have never seen a baby so happy with himself.  He didn't say the word again (he's now almost 2)...so I'm pretty sure he was just as surprised as we were when he said something and we understood what he wanted. 

On our walk outside, Grape got to visit his two favorite trees out front of the row of townhouses we live in.  He yells at the bark of one tree and picks at it a bit, laughs, then heads to the other one to do the same.  Then he immediately runs up the hill and around to the path that heads around the townhouses to the great open public space behind them.  There he can run around to his hearts content, and was even lucky enough to find a puddle!! What luck!! He was so happy with just running about we didn't bother with the playground that is right up the hill...but I'm sure we'll have plenty more time for that this Spring (and I'm certain I won't be able to resist sharing it with all of you). 

So without further adieu, here's some cute baby pictures of a Grape enjoying his first taste of Spring 2015 - they certainly brighten my day...I hope yours too!

When you're a little man, all you need is a book, a stick, a puddle and a bright sunshiny day to make you smile!

Awesome Stuff