Real Ways to Observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (also dubbed Pinktober). Breast Cancer Awareness Month is “an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.”

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The older I get and the older my followers become, the more likely it is that we will know someone who will be affected by breast cancer. That’s why I feel it is important to talk about breast cancer. Some of you reading this may have had a friend or family member diagnosed with breast cancer, or you may have been yourself.

Understand the Risks

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According to CNN, “The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 271,270 new cases of breast cancer in 2019, 99% of which will be diagnosed in women.” Outside of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. The CDC reports that “more than 40,000 women die from the disease.”

Additionally, “most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.”

While it is impossible to predict your risk by 100%, you may find it worthwhile to use a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool.

Know the Signs and Symptoms

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It is also wise for women to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. According to CNN Health, “Many women are taught to look for new lumps or masses in their breast tissue but it's important to be aware of other abnormalities. Skin swelling or redness, change in breast shape, nipple discharge (other than breast milk), pain in or on the breast, and skin flaking or dimpling can be other possible warning signs of breast cancer.”

Donate Money

One of the best ways to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to donate to a reputable organization, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, where your donations go towards raising awareness of the disease and providing mammograms for women who can not afford them.

Wear a Pink Ribbon

Obviously, wearing a pink ribbon or a pink t-shirt will not cure the disease, but it will inspire hope for those battling the disease and their loved ones fighting alongside them.

Share Your Breast Cancer Story

If you or one of your loved ones has had breast cancer, tell your story on your social media outlets. Often, people fall into the trap of believing breast cancer will never happen to them because it hasn’t happened to anyone they know. By bringing awareness, you may inspire another woman to look for symptoms or schedule a mammogram.

Purchase Products That Give Back

Again, buying a pink breast cancer awareness product will not cure the disease, but many of the products being sold during October do give a significant portion of the sales directly to breast cancer organizations, which are providing funds for research. I love People’s Breast Cancer Awareness Products That Are Giving Back in a Major Way article.

Schedule a Mammogram

Last but certainly not least, if you are 40 or older, you need to schedule a mammogram. Here are the age recommendations from the American Cancer Society:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.

  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

According to Susan G. Komen, “Mammography is the most effective breast cancer screening tool today for most women.”

Have Mom Brain? Here’s What I am Doing to Improve My Focus and Memory

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I don’t have to tell you that being a working mom is challenging. But I may be able to tell you something to make you feel a little bit better. If you are feeling forgetful and distracted, you are not alone. And you are not going crazy. Moms everywhere forget to sign field trip forms, can’t seem to focus for long periods of time, and struggle to learn their child’s playmates names. If this sounds familiar, science has your back. There is a real reason why you feel this way. And, there is a way to feel better.

Yes, Mom Brain is Real

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There is a long-held belief in something called “pregnancy brain.” This occurs when a typically smart woman suddenly has difficulty remembering things, like where she put her car keys, when she is pregnant. There is scientific evidence that proves momnesia is real! As one doctor explains to WebMD, “It’s 100% normal to have memory lapses or be forgetful when you’re busy, stressed, or short on sleep.” That describes every working mom I know!

The article continues, “Women accumulate up to 700 hours of sleep debt in the first year after having a baby, and that causes the brain not to be at its best for things other than caring for the baby.” See? You have a very good reason for being forgetful!

Tips for Improving Your Overall Brain Health

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While it has been proven that mom brain does exist, that doesn’t mean women should just sit back and let their brainpower weaken. Instead, we need to take extra efforts to keep our brains sharp, so we can be the best moms, employees, and friends possible. Here are some proven ways to strengthen your brain:

  • Exercise – Exercise has been proven to strengthen cognitive abilities, so make a point to exercise regularly.

  • Sleep – It seems impossible with kids and a busy work schedule, but you must make sleep a priority. As Schiff Vitamins explains, “While you sleep, your brain is hard at work restoring information and memories and preparing you for another day.”

  • Eat Healthy – The way you eat also affects your cognitive abilities. Therefore, it is important to eat healthily.

  • Work Your Brain – There is a reason why senior citizens do crossword puzzles and play sudoku – it’s to work their brains and keep them sharp! Likewise, moms should find ways to exercise their games. For example, look for games and activities that will help you improve your focus, learning, memory, concentration, and accuracy.

I also like the tips from Dennis Kravetz on the HuffPost article 10 Ways to Boost Your Cognitive Fitness and Longevity because they include fun ways to boost your brain activity such as going to museums, which is easy for those of us calling NYC home to do.

What are you doing to help you deal with mom brain? Let me know in the comments!

Wellness Needs for Every Woman

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There’s much talk about wellness these days, and I am here for it. As women, we too often put our own well-being on the back burner while taking care of everyone else around us. When we do, we feel depleted. When we burn out helping others instead of ourselves, we put our overall health and well-being at risk. Ladies, it’s time to take charge of our wellness.

Healthy Eating

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Let’s talk about food. I love food, but I have learned that what I eat really matters. I’m not saying you have to be extreme when it comes to what you eat – I love a savory carb-filled meal and a sweet delicious sugary treat. However, I’ve learned that when I am not balancing my indulgences with healthy meals, it takes a toll on my body. I feel gross. Since I know this is true for myself, I take strides to eat healthier.

Proper Sleep

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When you are a working mom, it seems like you never have enough time. So, you wind up staying up late at night trying to get to the things you didn’t during the day. Or, we toss and turn all night worrying. According to Everyday Health, “81% of woman report having problems getting a good night’s sleep daily. When women get a bad night’s sleep, they are 4x more likely to feel irritated or angry.” If I want to smile, I need to sleep.

Regular Exercise

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I always feel better after I exercise. I know not every woman feels the same, but regular exercise is important. The American Heart Association recommends, “Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.”

Self-Care Management

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Another wellness area many women tend to neglect is self-care. Women often feel guilty for taking time to do something for themselves. If this sounds like you, stop it now! I am all about self-care – whether it is a spa day, yoga, or meditation – you need to take time to do something that improves your overall well-being from time to time.

Staying Up to Date with Annual Physicals

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Yes, life is busy. But it isn’t too busy for you to skip your annual physical exams (especially not for years at a time). No, they are not fun, but they are absolutely necessary. It is at annual physical exams and mammograms where doctors can identify possible issues. It’s always better to be proactive than find a problem too late.

Work/Life Balance

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Finally, achieving a solid work/life balance will do wonders for your overall well-being. According to Everyday Health, “Financial health is tied to our wellness.” Therefore, it is natural for women to work hard at their jobs. However, we should not allow work to be the only thing that defines us or determines our wellness. Instead, it is important to do things outside of work that bring you joy. By having a healthy and happy work/life balance, you will do better at your job and feel better about yourself.

Does Your Skin Have the Winter Weather Blues? Here are My Best Tips

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I love the changing seasons – especially winter. I love the snow and the excuse to cuddle under warm blankets. I especially love having clear reasons to wear all my favorite winter clothing items and accessories like boots and scarves.

What I don’t like about winter is the way it wreaks havoc on my skin. As all women know, the chill of the winter air leaves our skin feeling dry, itchy, and chapped. And who wants that?! After dealing with dry skin and NYC winters, I have learned some tricks to make my skin feel soft and nourished even on the coldest, driest days.

I’m sharing my winter skin wisdom with you below.

Moisturize and Moisturize Some More

As the winter air dries out your skin, you can battle the dryness by using moisturizers all day long every single day. Put on a good moisturizer after you shower. Keep lotions in your purses, on your nightstand, and in your car. Anytime you feel dry, lotion up. I love Olay Whips to keep my skin feeling soft and nourished all winter long.

Avoid Hot Water Baths and Showers

Yes, you are cold, and nothing sounds better than a hot, steamy shower. Unfortunately, those hot showers only dry your skin out even more. Instead, use lukewarm water for your showers and washing your face. You’ll thank me later.

Lip Balm is Your Winter BFF

My lips are constantly dry day and night during the wintertime, so I always have lip balm nearby. On my nightstand, in every one of my purses, in the pockets of my coats, and the car. I like to use Blistex Superfruit Soothers because it includes ingredients with antioxidants and vitamins C & E. Plus, with SPF 15, it protects my lips from even more protection.

Just Because It Is Cold Does Not Mean the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Too many people forget to wear SPF during the winter because they mistakenly believe that since it is cold, the sun doesn’t shine. Wrong! You should use SPF every day, including the winter. Plus, the sun reflects off snow and ice and can do damage to your skin.

Drink Water All Day Long Every Day

Possibly the best way to keep your skin hydrated during the winter is to drink water. Healthy skin is just one of the many benefits of drinking water. You can also use water-based products like Neutrogena Hydro Blast Water Gel to keep your skin hydrated in the winter.

Switch Out Your Summer Products for Winter Ones

Last but not least, you need to change out your beauty and skincare products. As much as we love our products, this is something we neglect to do. The stuff you put on your skin in the summer should be different than the stuff you put on your skin in the winter. Why? In winter, you need products that moisturize whereas in summer you need products that keep you from being oily. Likewise, since winter air is hard on your lips, it is best to skip matte lipsticks.

What tips do you have for having beautiful radiant skin during the winter?

To Hike with Kids or To Hike Alone – That is the Question

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It’s no secret that I love to get outdoors and hike. When you live in a city, it is so important to get a break from city life, and hiking is one of the best ways to get away from the noise and busyness of NYC.

Let’s face it. It is easier to hike kid-free, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the added complications. Moreover, studies show that kids who participate in outdoor activities, such as hiking, as children are more likely to participate in these same healthy, outdoor activities as adults.

When I am planning my outdoor escape, I often have to choose between hiking alone or with other adults or hiking with my kids. There is no right or wrong answer here! It all comes down to how I feel that day.

So, when it comes to deciding whether to hike with kids or to hike alone, the following thoughts guide my decision-making.

The Benefits of Hiking Alone

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  • I can enjoy the peace and quiet. A major benefit of hiking is that you leave behind all the noise. However, if you hike with your kids, you are bringing the noise along with you. If I am in the mood for peace and quiet, then I hike alone. If I would rather hear the birds chirping and the leaves rustling than my daughters singing the same song over and over again, I’m going to go alone.

  • I can hike at my own pace. We all have a pace we are comfortable hiking. Some people like leisurely hikes, while others walk at a brisk pace. Either way is fine – unless you are walking with kids. If your kids are with you, you must walk at their pace for safety reasons.

  • I can choose more advanced or challenging trails. Similarly to walking at your own pace, you can choose the trails you want to try rather than the ones that are kid-friendly.

  • I can think. Hiking provides the space to think – especially if you unplug. However, if I take my daughters with me, all I am doing is thinking. My mind is constantly on them and their safety. So, if I need time away to think, then I go at it alone.

The Benefits of Hiking with Your Kids

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  • I can teach my daughters to appreciate the outdoors. Kids love nature, but they must be taught to appreciate nature. When I point out trees and birds, I am drawing their attention to the beauty of creation. Likewise, hiking provides the parents a chance to explain the importance of taking care of nature and why it matters.

  • I can bond with my family. Hiking is a great family bonding experience. You are together away from the usual distractions. You have tons of time to talk and laugh together. Plus, it helps you bond when you conquer challenges together.

  • I can help my girls get out their excess energy. Kids need opportunities to burn energy – especially on days when they don’t have recess at school. Hiking is a great way to get them up and moving – and it makes bedtime so much easier.

  • I can use hiking to build my kids’ confidence. Each time my daughters hike, they are learning how to navigate more independently. When I allow them to push themselves a little more each time, they are building confidence.

Which do you prefer? Let me know if you see hiking as bonding time or kid-free time in the comments!

Back to School with Zarbee's Natural Elderberry Immune Support Gummies!

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This post is sponsored by Zarbee's Naturals. The content and opinions expressed here are that of Inrachelshoes.

It is almost time for my girls to head back to school and I need to make sure they're healthy to start the school year. I also need to take care of myself so I can keep up with them! It's important to maintain a healthy immune system and that's why me and my family take Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support Gummies – for both adults and children.

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For us, it's important when taking immune-supporting products that they are made of wholesome ingredients. What's special about Zarbee's Naturals is their products are packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Specifically, the Elderberry Immune Support Gummies are packed with real elderberry and zinc along with the essential vitamins. Instead of using gelatin, Zarbee's Naturals uses a plant-based alternative called Pectin that gives a soft and chewy fun texture to the gummies. Their products are free of any gluten, artificial flavors, sweeteners, alcohol, and dyes whenever possible so you can feel good about bringing them into your home!

A great way to start our day before we head to school (work for me) is to make sure my girls each have 2 gummies and I have 3 gummies. That way I know I’m getting a little extra support for the rest of the day. Both me and my daughters have a little bit of fun taking our gummies so they don't think of it as a chore. When they see mommy eating the same thing as them and know mommy is being healthy, they want to also!

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Start your day with Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support Gummies and make it part of your routine so you and your family will always get that much needed extra support in staying healthy and getting through the day! You can check this out to learn even more about what makes Zarbee's Naturals products so special and where you can easily get them!