It's About Food Allergies

I want to talk about food allergies...
But every time I sit down to write about food allergies I find myself with too many thoughts and emotions making it hard to make sense or make a point.  So I'm just going to go back to what I wanted to do initially express myself, relate to whoever you are out there without trying to make a point. 

Almost four years ago our journey with food allergies started when my son was six months old when he had an anaphylactic reaction after being fed a little homemade soup with wheat flour.  Since then we have met many with food allergies, but not one that has the same food allergies as my son.  That's one thing about food allergies, even when you've found others that can relate, you're still alone.  I guess that can be said about anything though, it's always your experience with it. 

Our first year with food allergies I used to look forward to relating with someone, hoping to meet someone, wanting so much to spread awareness, getting excited to meet someone that can relate with us somehow...  But now I don't want to run into anyone, I don't want to talk about it at all really.  After the ignorant responses, the know-it-all answers/suggestions, and the one too many "I have allergies too" responses I'm all drained.  My frustration isn't all with these people that I've come across, it all goes back to my love for food allergies.

Food allergies makes me upset, makes me sad, scared, mad..the emotions are endless.  Anyone with food allergies understands that, no matter how severe or subtle your food allergies are, you get it. 
Not a day goes by without all these emotions and more making any little moment challenging.

As I type, I sense a vent coming along so I'll focus on that...
I understand there are many different kind of allergies, different level of sensitivities but I've heard far too many say they have allergies to x, y, and z and then eat it right infront of me.  When asked, or reminded of what they had just told me, they say "oh I just itch a little sometimes."  Then there's the moms that really seem to want to relate to me having a son with severe food allergies.  "Oh yeah my son can't eat aNyThInG either..." then bring out all the junk they bought from the store to give to their child walking around covered in cake.  Really?!?  At moments like this I just want to take my family and live under a rock, it's probably safer there. 0_o

I rather meet someone that knows nothing about food allergies than to meet these people, or the ones that have met/talked to these people.  They're the reasons why people don't take my sons food allergies seriously.  His is life threatening, no he can't just taste some, and no when I say life threatening I mean it. 

Oh and there are those lovely people that try to tell you that you are sheltering your child by not letting them live their life, like allowing them to go to daycare/school.  "He should learn to protect himself and learn what he is allergic to early in life, besides most schools have peanut free tables" they say!   Note the "peanut free" part of that sentence.  Most people seem to think food allergies=peanut/nut allergies.  That may be the most common allergen or most known but it isn't the only. 

I respect every one of you that has food allergies, I do, even if you just get a little rash or itch or tingle, but state that to anyone you may talk to about food allergies.  You saying "I'm allergic to dairy" and then drinking it or even have it baked into foods, makes it seem like that's the way it is for everyone with a dairy allergy.  You might think who cares, but please educate those around us so we spread awareness of food allergies and help everyone with food allergies safe.  My son has a dairy allergy amongst many others, and can't even touch a drop without getting a serious reaction.  See what I'm saying? 

It's unpleasant no matter the severity.  But people need to know/learn that they are different kinds of foods people are allergic to as well as different level of sensitivities.  Everyone reacts differently to different foods.  Treat every person you meet with a food allergy different from the last.  Know that every case is different from the last. 

Free Giveaway Opp - $200 Gift Card

I usually don't do group giveaways but saw this one come up for a $200.00 gift card and have signed up! carries all your baby needs and I've come to rely on the site for so many of my baby needs.  Blog with Mom and Adventures of 8 have teamed up with a wonderful online meeting place for pregnancy and mommies of babies and toddlers called BellyHood!  They are looking for 50 other family-friendly pregnancy or baby/toddler niche blogs to join in.  Once approved each blogger will receive a free twitter link for posting and promoting the giveaway opp and event.  Keep a look out for this awesome giveaway soon!

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Smiling Brighter Thanks to Prime Time Smile from Duane Reade #DRsmile #cbias

image of Prime Time Smile Dual Action Whitening System
One of the many things I would love is to have some time to take care of myself, and by take care of myself, I mean my appearance.  I'd like to get my nails and hair done, go shopping, you know..many of which I don't get to do these days.  I treasure the days I get to take a long bath or actually have time in front of the mirror.  Speaking of in front of the mirror, I got to look at myself the other day!  And sadly I wasn't not pleased, my teeth seemed to have lost some shades of white.  I'll blame it on the extra amount of coffee and tea I have been consuming in the last three months with my infant.  Luckily I went to Duane Reade and purchased Prime Time Dual Action Teeth Whitening System that not only worked but didn't give me the sensitivity that I highly feared.  Oh and of course a huge plus was that it only takes 30 minutes at a time for one treatment. 
two pens and instructions inside

two pens and instructions in the kit
apply morning and night for 30 minutes at a time

twist to release gel, takes a good few twists for first time application
 apply the blue pre-whitening treatment first
 then brush on the teeth whitening gel right after-
leave on for 30 minutes and you're done

Like many I've always wanted my teeth whiter and brighter, but never gotten passed just trying a simple toothpaste or mouthwash with extra whitening ingredients.  As I mentioned I was terrified of possible sensitivity that teeth whitening products/treatments might cause so I was always scared to actually give a product a try, but with this Prime Time Smile product I read some reviews online as I've learned to do before I headed to Duane Reade to purchase.  One thing I read repeatedly was not only that the product worked but it didn't cause sensitivity - I had to give it a try, I wanted a bright #DRSmile!  I haven't tried other similar products to compare but I've seen friends use the tray, and this was much more convenient and easy.
specific instructions the kit comes with - also available online :)

The whitening system came with two pens and the instructions, it couldn't be simpler!  It only took thirty minutes of my time twice a day.  Morning right before the kids wake up and right after they fell asleep at night for five days.  I feel more confident and although my husband initially said that he didn't think I needed teeth whitening, he has mentioned that my smile is brighter - which makes me smile!  My biggest fear was sensitivity and after four days, I have no complaints! If you give these a try, the only added suggestion I have is to place a cotton under your lips to help with saliva.  Let me know if you have you try it, I'm purchasing one for my husband and more for me once I'm done!  I'm so thrilled to have seen results and no sensitivity!! :D*  Remember you can always keep up to date and in touch with Duane Reade on twitter and on facebook of their latest products.  And of course you can learn more about Prime Time Smile on their twitter and facebook accounts as well as to connect with them.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as a part of the social shopper insights study of Collective Bias, Duane Reade and Prime Time Smile. #Cbias #SocialFabric Bias.  All opinions are always a 100% my own.

Gaming Like Never Before #IngressDR #cbias

#IngressDR sticker
Whether you are a "serious" gamer or like most of us - simply love to play games, Ingress is a game worth trying.  For me it's a first of it's kind.  I love video games at home and when I can, enjoy playing games on my phone so when I first learned about Ingress, I was intrigued and excited to give the game a try.  There's a scavenger hunt like feel to the game as I tested it out while finding the unique sticker, and location at Duane Reade.  I was already interested once I saw some tweets coming from players on twitter.  I couldn't help but wonder I wonder if it's the beginning of more mobile games like it, technology is fast moving, and since we are always connected it seems like a true possibility.  It uses your real time location on your Android device to help you complete missions, as you hack portals, charge up, connect with other players and so on.
once you are near a portal the app detects it...

 connect with other players
In the game, there is a mysterious energy that has been released by a group of scientists in Europe, it's said that this energy can potentially influence the way we think.  "We must control it or it will control us."  You get to choose if you are a part of the Resistance which is the side where you are choosing to fight for what's left of humanity, which is the side I chose in the game.  And "The Enlightened" make peace with this energy and embrace it.  But what's to be remembered as I tell you about the game, is that our world is the game, without moving around, there's no moving forward in the game.  I think for the best game experience, recruit friends to join in.
  exciting to find a location and see Duane Reade pop up
While playing the game, you will be able to find many locations in your real life so you can successfully play the game.  I got to test out the game at my closest Duane Reade store once I trained a bit at home.  Duane Reade is one of the locations a part of the game.  You will know by the Ingress sticker on the entrance of a location letting you know that there is something to do with Ingress inside, and another sticker inside with a special code on it.  Every store has it's one unique code helping you to move forward in the game, giving you extra energy, power, weapons etc. 
finish any last minute tasks while on the check out line
I honestly felt distracted while with my kids, shopping and playing the game so found it to not be a game for me but that's not to say I won't be "playing" the game every time I visit a Duane Reade location.  So will I make it a priority or task to play this game?  Probably not, but I will most likely be whipping out my phone every time I see the Ingress sticker.  I think Ingress is suitable for the one that is already all over the place in their daily routines, or perhaps a group of friends that are free to compete and complete the game...  The simplest of mobile games allow you to connect with friends and strangers to compete/compare but this definitely takes it to another level.  I'm glad Duane Reade is taking part, keep an eye out for those window stickers, it's for those that are "in the know" and indicates that there is something to do with Ingress inside the store.  Try it out for yourself today, download Ingress today on your Android phone and learn more about it at, and visit the Investigation Board at it's filled with clues and secret codes. 

So tell me will you choose to join the Enlightened or the Resistance? ;)

(*reminder“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.
“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.*)

Below are activation codes so you can play too! 
Click here to download the game and enter code when prompted to start your mission!

*I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been
compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric

The Monkey Mat - Review

If you have a little one in your life, or expecting...the Monkey Mat is something you will love this product. The Monkey Mat is this super portable lightweight little mat that folds away, and opens up to a very nice 5' x 5' size when you need it.  It can be used whenever, wherever your little one needs to be placed on the floor.  I've already found this very convenient when visiting family or friend's homes.  It just gives baby her own space, and eliminates worries of putting her on an unclean surface.  As a New Yorker, it's something I'd love to have had in my bag before I became a mom, great to use at Central Park with friends.  Great for anyone really, but especially useful for our little ones.
I open the Monkey Mat and place it right on the rug, and if the floor isn't carpeted, I place a blanket under since she is just lying down now.  Since it is portable it can be tossed into my diaper bag or attached onto my bag or stroller by the buckle it comes with.  I look forward to using it at the park once the weather is nicer out, and really any place where I might need to put baby down - I'll have the Monkey Mat.  Of course you could carry a blanket if you are going to the park but the Monkey Mat comes in handy when you can't carry so much or you find yourself in the need of a mat for baby unexpectedly.  I for one have way too much I carry with my two kids already so I would avoid carrying any sort of blanket just in case, but the Monkey Mat makes being prepared convenient.  It would be great for little picnics, really large enough for us four to sit around on at the park.

The reason why I love it, is obvious.  It's water repellent, machine washable because you know it will get something spilled on it!  It's soft, lightweight which is great because as I mentioned I definitely don't need to carry anything heavier than I already do.  The corners are weighted down, and if you are outside there are loops you can use to keep mat from flying in the wind.  Not just a mat for cleanliness, the little one/s can have with it too, you can attach their favorite toys in the loops in the middle. 
As I said, I love our Monkey Mat and the best part is that as big as it is, it folds away into it's little pouch.  The pouch is attached so there's no losing it either!  The product is simple and genius, versatile and convenient.  For more information including where to get your own, go to  And of course you can connect with them on facebook and twitter.  

*I received the product for the purpose of review, no other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own. 

Chobani in just about everything... #JustAddGood

Did you know that Chobani Greek yogurt could be used in so many ways - as a healthier and tastier option?  Substitute it in baking, cooking, and more.  With all natural ingredients and so versatile, it's all about getting creative in your kitchen and enjoying your creation! ;)

I've always just had it as is, maybe with some sugar sprinkled on the plain nonfat ones, but decided to venture out.  One of my go to late night snacks and cravings I've had is ice cream..I know it's bad, but it's the truth.  So recently I've replaced that with Chobani Vanilla yogurt.  Just a little scoop of it takes care of my cravings, much healthier and fills me up too.  It's thick unlike regular yogurt so gives me that creaminess I crave.  Also try freezing it, so good!  I've had it topped with fruit, or a little bit in a bowl of fruit as dressing for my fruit salad. 
 over cereal
create your own dip
in sandwiches, or simply over whole wheat toast

Use it in cereal instead of milk, this came about when I was out of milk and scooped a little of Chobani, it was how I had my cereal for the rest of the week. ;)  You can bake with Chobani, and you can use it as dips.  I've had it as a dip for chips, as is or with your favorite herbs sprinkled in.  Other delicious ways - in between sandwiches, and on top of whole wheat bread.  My ideas aren't as creative and don't take much time for you to #justaddgood into your days! :)

Want more ideas on different ways to enjoy Chobani Greek yogurt?  Visit for inspiration and follow the #justaddgood hashtag on twitter for more and join in!! :)

*I received complimentary Chobani, all opinions are a 100% my own. No other compensation was provided.