Archive - July 2017

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» REVIEW: Hyatt Zilara Rose Hill – Montego Bay Jamaica
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» Review: Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste
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» On attachment, blindness and the support we need
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» Review: Jarrow Probiotics

» REVIEW: Hyatt Zilara Rose Hill – Montego Bay Jamaica

Calvin and I celebrated ELEVEN years of marriage this year. We have always desired to grab some special time away on a fabulous beach but the logistics just have not panned out until this year. After months of planning and researching we chose to spend our 11th anniversary at the Hyatt Zilaria Rose Hill, an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was very nervous once we made the full commitment. What if it didn’t live up to my long-awaited expectations for a tropical getaway!? Fortunately it absolutely did and we enjoyed a perfect weeklong stay on our own slice of paradise. Here are the highlights in case you are looking for your own little getaway!

Arrival

Upon arrival we were ushered to a Hyatt waiting area in the airport. We received cold water and pineapple juice while they checked us into the resort. After approximately 15 minutes the staff gathered our luggage and we took a short bus ride to the Hyatt. The front desk was waiting for us and knew exactly who we were when we stepped off the bus. June is a slower season and we were immediately upgraded to a higher level suite upon arrival. Our room was not quite ready but the staff pointed out a great lunch spot and we enjoyed a meal while we waited the 30 minutes for our room to be ready.  From the second we stepped off the bus we were extremely impressed with the beauty of the resort and the friendliness of the staff. We knew we had made the right decision.

Room

We stayed in a Junior suite on the adult-only side of the Hyatt resort. The room was very spacious and decorated well with a modern, island feel. Lots of white, stone and metal tones. The bathroom was open and included a very large walk-in shower and a huge soaking tub. The king sized bed was cozy… not to firm or too soft. Perfect for several uninterrupted nights of sleep. The balcony, however, was the icing on the cake. It was large with a lovely lounging area and it faced the pool and the ocean. We spent many hours reading, writing and napping on that beautiful balcony with the sound of the ocean in the background. The resort was all-inclusive so our fridge was stocked with snacks and drinks daily. I drink a larger than normal amount of water and they quickly brought more when I ran out one day.

Dining

There were so many dining options that we were not able to eat through the entire list! It was so much fun trying different things everyday and not worrying about anything due to the all-inclusive nature of the resort. The food was always fresh and delicious at each place. Our favorite meals included the French fine dining experience at Petit PareZ, Di Roza Italian, and the Jamaican Jerk chicken shack by the pool. We also enjoyed long, lazy breakfasts with ocean views each morning at the buffet. We chose the buffet most morning because I enjoyed the unlimited papaya and other fun island fruits. Additionally I was able to have a fresh, green smoothie made each morning as well. Here’s the bottom line about the food, it wasn’t cruise ship food. That was our biggest fear when it came to all-inclusive. The food was fresh, creative and plentiful. We looked forward to our meals and enjoyed each one of them.

Activities

The all-inclusive nature of this resort carries over to activities as well! Ocean kayaking, sailboats, boogie boards and snorkeling are all available at no extra cost. We typically enjoyed an activity in the early afternoon before lounging around in the beautiful pools and clear, greenish/blue ocean. There is full drink service, also included, at the pools and oceanside. There was also plenty of entertainment available during the day and in the evenings. We stayed on the adults only side, but also ventured over to the family side at times to enjoy their restaurants and coffee shops. During these ventures we dreamed big about enjoying this resort with our family one day. The beach area and pools were perfectly set up for long, relaxing family days in the sun. The staff also seems to go over the top to care for and serve these families well. Truly cannot say enough about the kindness of the staff at this resort.

The Resort

The resort in general was beautiful and very, very clean. There were always plenty of lounge areas and chairs around the pool and beach. The towels were plentiful, the views were gorgeous, the staff was amazing and the resort was large. There was never a need to leave the resort to do other activities as we felt that there was plenty to occupy us right where we were.


Our Tips

Pack a float in your luggage! The pools and ocean area are wonderful and you will want to take advantage of that. A float from home will make your experience that much more relaxing. We also recommend bringing an umbrella and being prepared for a rainy afternoon or two. The rain comes and goes quickly, but expect to see it on occasion. Be sure to pack a mixture of nice clothing and things to relax in, a few of the restaurants are formal and require at least a collared shirt and don’t allow flip flops. Lastly, bring small bills. Although tip is included at the all inclusive, the staff is truly wonderful and you may want to tip them extra for their hard work and cheerful attitude.

» Review: Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste

Our family made the switch to “natural” toothpaste years ago. Many of the toothpastes on store shelves contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can do more damage to our systems than good. Additionally, many so called natural products still contain carrageenan, a known carcinogen, and fluoride, a neuro-toxin. It has always been a challenge to find a toothpaste that steers clear of those ingredients while still delivering a great taste, a smooth brushing experience and a really good clean.

Recently we were given the opportunity to try a natural toothpaste line from Himalaya. We thoroughly tested the waters with this sodium lauryl sulfate free, carrageenan free, fluoride free and gluten free toothpaste. Instead of filling their paste with the above harmful ingredients they add neem, pomegranate, triphala, xylitol from birch trees, papain and bromelain enzymes from papaya and pineapple. These lovelies clean teeth, act as astringents, detox the teeth and gums and remove surface stains. I jokingly call this Plant Power!

Thankfully Himalaya makes these great switches without compromising taste or quality. The paste thoroughly cleans the mouth without leaving a gritty or filmy taste behind. The cinnamon is especially amazing, leaving a fresh feeling for hours. The kids found the cinnamon to be too spicy but really liked the pomegranate and neem flavor. I even asked my parents to try out Himalaya with us when they recently visited. They liked it so much they snuck a tube out of our house and home with them! I’ll call that a win. With regular brushing this great tasting herbal formula will help remove plaque, maintain white teeth and support healthy gums.

Himalaya Botanique toothpastes get 12 thumbs up and six shiny smiles from the Goodbye household. We are thankful to have found a great choice to keep our teeth looking and feeling their best without the addition of toxic chemicals.

Use coupon code MF6FLSMP to receive 25% off one single tube of Himalaya on Amazon! Links and flavors listed below!

Whitening Peppermint

Neem and Pomegranate 

Cinnamon 

Whitening Simply Mint

Complete Care Spearmint

Complete Care Simply Mint

 

 

**I received Himalaya products as a Mom’s Meet blog ambassador, all opinions are my own.**

» On attachment, blindness and the support we need

This may be the hardest blog post I’ve ever written. It’s hard because it may offend people who had good intentions. And I’m thankful for those intentions. But at some point life must be lived and explanations must be given and teaching moments should take place.

My daughter is legally blind. She was also adopted at 5 1/2 years old. This creates a complex set of issues that we, as a family, deal with on a daily basis. The blindness/visual impairment… honestly not a big deal. The attachment issues and past trauma… really big deal.

This summer marks four years home for our daughter and we decided that it was time to let her fly a little bit. To go and do all the fun things that our other children were doing. We have NEVER restricted her from activities due to her vision condition. She has gone on the tallest water slides, rope climbing courses, swam in the ocean… you name it, she’s done it. However, we did restrict her from activities that involved adults and older teenagers because she has difficulty discerning who she can and cannot attach to. When an adult shows her attention she thrives on it and begins to seek an inappropriate amount of attention from that adult.

Here’s what we have learned in the past several years. People often do not know how to react to children with disabilities such as blindness. They are either intimidated, over-indulgent or hands-off. Fortunately we have met people who reacted appropriately, but honestly those people are few and far between. It seems incredibly difficult for kids and adults to treat her like a typical child. Rather we frequently get two extreme spectrums: the celebrity treatment or name-calling and excluding. Neither of these are healthy for our daughter, yet we can’t seem to convince people to treat her just like any other kid.

No child is more special than any other child. They are all created differently yet deserve equal treatment. Elevating a child and giving them extra attention because they have a disability can be incredibly crippling. Lola’s life is going to take a lot of extra work and she can be just as successful as any other person. BUT if she is surrounded with people elevating her beyond her peers and making life easier on her she will never learn to work as hard as she needs to. Lola needs the chance to be treated like every other child her age. 

Our difficulties in this area are compounded because our daughter is also struggling with attachment. When adults give her extra attention, more than other children, it causes a bigger rift in our relationship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given adults guidelines such as: please don’t hug Lola, please don’t call her name with huge high-fives EVERY time you see her, please encourage her to play with other children when she tries to hang out with you… only to have these guidelines completely disregarded.

When she returns from a place or event where she has been showered with attention and allowed to do things her way without question our home becomes chaos. We are placed at square one again, no matter how much work we’ve done on the front end. All of our efforts are completely wiped out.

I am explaining all of these things because you may know our family or a family like ours. We desperately need your support to help our child grow emotionally. We need you to allow US to give the hugs and compliments and we need you to provide structure, boundaries and normalcy when you happen to be with our child.

» Review: Jarrow Probiotics

Jarrow Formulas was founded in 1977 in Los Angeles by Jarrow L. Rogovin. Jarrow’s early formulations earned the company a reputation for producing innovative and ef cacious supplements at a time when the health benefits of dietary supplements were just beginning to be recognized. Jarrow Formulas’ complete line of nutritional products includes vitamins, minerals, probiotics, standardized herbal concentrates, amino acids, enzymes, and enteral nutrition products. Both retailers and consumers are assured of purity, value, and potency when choosing these products. Jarrow Formulas’ mission is re ected in its motto “Superior Nutrition and Formulation”.

We recently had the opportunity to try a variety of Jarrow probiotics in our home through Mom’s Meet. We already knew the benefits of probiotics and did incorporate them into our lifestyle but we had never tried such a high-quality probiotic supplement with so much research to back it up.

The kids and I have both used the products for close to 3 weeks at this point. I had recently taken a break from probiotics and experienced a mildly uncomfortable 3 days while my body adjusted and produced a few side effects from the die off effect of all the bad bacteria in my system. Don’t read that as I was running to the bathroom, it was more like bloating and general stomach discomfort. I’m thrilled that I hung in there because things improved greatly after day three. I have suffered with inflammation in my joints and shoulders and that was just one of the things that eased as I continued to use the probiotic. I have no doubt that the benefits of this particular probiotic were even greater as it was carefully formulated specifically for women. After just 3 weeks I feel better in countless ways and no longer have the need to take Tums or other digestive aids.

Additionally, the cool ship was flawless. The items arrived in a cooler on ice and the temperature was not compromised whatsoever.

The kids have given me very little feedback on how they are feeling but I can say that the tummy ache complaints have been few and far between. I’ll take that as a win. In addition, the kids probiotic was tasty and easy to chew and swallow. There were no complaints about flavor, texture or taste. Another win.

The benefits of probiotics go well beyond a settled stomach and smooth digestion. You can read more about how “strains matter” on the Jarrow website and hopefully get started on your own gut health! Use code WOMEN to receive 30% off any women’s supplements and probiotics.

You can also find Jarrow products on Amazon. 

 

 

**I received Jarrow products as a Mom’s Meet blog ambassador, all opinions are my own.**

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal