Cornstalkers + Corny Family Photos

It’s a favorite tradition. Pumpkins, scarecrows, hay bales, and cornstalks; we like to do this each year in the fall, and we spend a little time cyberstalking our best attacks of the season. This year, we stopped in at Anderson Farms!

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We stand on, in front of, or near a prop that makes us look like we’re having fun in the chilly fall weather. The secret to this…we actually end up having fun!

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This year, we didn’t have a chance to combat any zombies or break out of an escape room, but we did turn some frowns upside down and clocked the first, official Anderson Farms Smile-o-Meter smile for 2018!

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Often, we stay a while, play hard, and relax in the barn with a steamy bowl of chili. This year, however, we were on the go and tried something a little different. We tailgated! Well, if sushi and Caesar salad counts as tailgating. It was also a good chance to complain about obligatory family bonding…and wearing plaid.

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Childhood traumas aside, I think they had a fantastic time. When I suggested this may be Si’s last year visiting Anderson Farms, my sister gestured to a young couple and teased, “You know he’ll be back, just not with you!”

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Learn more about past adventures and discover helpful tips for your next fall outing!

Four Feet to a Pig’s Nose at Anderson Farms

Mile High Farms, Fall Traditions

Anderson Farm’s aMAIZEing Fall Festival

Flat Acres Farm & “Corny” Family Traditions

What’s Your #FallFamily Tradition?

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At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

Increase Your Attractiveness…by smiling more :0)

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Ever feel like not smiling? I use the “try not to smile” game with my kids if they’re in a funk, takes about five seconds to achievement. The simple act of transforming the face from a scowl to a grin lifts the spirit and scientifically impacts the body in several positive ways. A healthy smile lowers the heart rate, calms the nervous system, decreases overall stress levels, and promotes happy thoughts…who doesn’t want joyful headspace?

Take a look in the mirror. You’re darn cute. Are you better looking when you smile? Most people will say absolutely! I believe a happy person is the most beautiful kind. So, the question is…HOW to smile more?

Coffee, red wine, and blueberries pose the biggest threat to my bright smile. Giving them up is NOT an option, of course.

When I was young, my mom would occasionally have us brush with baking soda (not tasty). A dash of peroxide also worked for an occasional brighten up, but as I learned more about the condition referred to as Black Hairy Tongue (BHT) {yes, really!}, a filiform papilla elongate with discoloration that can be caused by oxidizing mouthwashes, yikes, I decided against that home remedy and turned to the professionals. Here’s what I’ve learned about teeth whitening:

Whitening with Smile Brilliant

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Shipped to My Doorstep!

Custom-Fitted Trays …AT HOME
(impressions mailed to the lab)

Plenty of Whitening Syringes

BEST PART: Desensitizing Gel

 

Orthodontist Whitening
Trip to the Orthodontist
Long Wait to Make Impressions
Another trip to Orthodontist to Receive Trays
$$$ Per Syringeof Whitening Get
LOTS of Lingering Sensitivity

Both methods resulted in pearly whites! However, Smile Brilliantwas MUCH more convenient and cost a LOT less. Smile Brilliant’s Sensitivity Gel eliminated my sensitivity immediately, and I could use a small amount at any time I felt discomfort. I had plenty of supplies, so as I continued to recover my bright smile, I was also able to eliminate discomfort. Life changing. {coffee & wine threat removed!}

Smile Brilliant $$
Orthodontist $$$$

COUPON & GIVEAWAY DETAILS!!!
20% off coupon code: wineglasslipper20
Giveaway link: www.smilebrilliant.com/g/wineglasslipper

Smile Fearlessly!
Tooth Whitening Gel

Youthful Preservation, 2 Simple Steps

As a parent of a teenager, I know all too well how quickly the years can fly by. Sometimes I take a little joy in the thought of a clean, quiet home free of random crusty socks, but most of the time, I wish I could press pause…if even just for a moment.

Now, with this new product, I can! What is it you ask? Imagine your mom’s Tupperware, now add INSTAVAC technology…and bamo, like magic, it’s Ozeri!

IMG_3670 Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating on the time-force continuum bit, but I *did get him to hold still for a moment. A bigger feat: I captured a photo of that moment! #success

Unfortunately, my children are too far gone to fit in my conveniently stackable Ozeri containers. However, my lunch, leftovers, and most any perishable item (including some very strange slime concoctions) have stayed well preserved for days! Oh, and the dial on the vacuum seal lets me know exactly how long I’m willing to let hunger trump potential spoilage, a game I triumph in most of the time.

Ok, so now you’re shopping Ozeri containers, you’re ready to learn PRESERVATION SECRET #2 …Label Daddy!

Any great parent will tell you the best way to keep and preserve your kids is by first, not misplacing them. No brainer, maybe, but better safe than sorry…so, I use name labels! (So  much more attractive than the black Sharpie! But, I’ll use the Sharpie in a pinch.)

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These handy little stickers have been saving the day(s) for years, and let me tell ya, they can stop bickering between siblings, clearly identify items in lost-and-found, AND they survive even the most brutal torture on the slopes and in the dishwasher, as demonstrated in Honey, I Shrunk the Sippy Cup, a tale of name label heroism.

Now a word (mostly their words) from our sponsor:

Save 25% on Label Daddy labels! Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! Exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection to survive most anything! Go nuts: label all clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places. Your kids won’t think you’re strange at all. I promise 😉 Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others – the items, not your kids…but you can label them too! These labels are also great for adults! — Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more. Yep, use them EVERYWHERE. You’ll be cooler for it, trust me.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick, washable labels — they’re washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on any label order from Label Daddy – this is the best discount available anywhere. Click here labeldaddy.com/usfamily The discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

Photo Credit: Two awesome (but reluctant) kid models
Blogger Appreciation: Thanks to US Family Guide for continually trusting my take on editorial products, and a sincere thanks to #Ozeri and #LabelDaddy for trusting my promotion of their products…which really are quite fantastic, all humor aside. 

Ozeri

Label Daddy

Dangers of the Road: RAGE

ROAD RAGE. It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all drivers have experienced an extreme level of anger while driving.

For the second time in five days, I’ve been involved in a frightening road rage incident in Denver. Sadly, this morning the offender caused a terrible accident in a busy intersection throwing a vehicle from oncoming traffic into my neighbor’s yard. My daughter, on her way to school, was horrified. Thankfully, a kind lady walking her dogs came over to help calm her from frantic tears. The offender had pulled up behind us, honked, inched forward a couple of times aggressively, then zoomed around us. We had been waiting for a safe break in traffic to turn left. It all happened fast, and I tried to give the offender a warning, but it was too late, and we had to watch the collision with front row seats.

The loud honk, followed by the crunching of cars, one almost flipping over before jumping a curb and landing in the grass, was horrifying, especially for my ten-year-old. The officer said the offender’s driver’s license was invalid and he had an extensive record including 12 open tickets. Sadly, he had his young son in the car with him. Everyone was ok.

The other incident of RR happened last Wednesday, after I had dropped Noelle off at cotillion. I was alone and headed to REI downtown. I heard someone behind me honk, but traffic was heavy so I thought nothing of it. As I merged onto the Interstate, a guy pulled up aggressively next to me and was shouting and gesturing. He was dressed like a young businessman, so I wasn’t immediately alarmed and even wondered if I had a flat tire or something wrong with my vehicle. I rolled my window down and he told me I had hit his car. My mind was racing, I was sure I would have noticed something like that.

I took my exit, because it was right there, and he followed me. He started to get aggressively close, flashing his lights and honking hard. That was then that I knew this wasn’t a normal situation. I panicked, missed my turn, and ended up doing a U-turn in a well-lit intersection by the Downtown Aquarium (before I headed too far into a Denver neighborhood I was unfamiliar with). The guy stopped his car perpendicular to me in the middle of the intersection and jumped out. I rolled my window down and told him to back off (with tears, I’m sure) and that I had the police on the line (which was a lie). I took a photo of his license plate as he tried to point to some damage on his car, there was none. Realizing this, he started calm down and said “Well, you at least cut me off.” followed by, “I’m not crazy.” He threatened to call in a hit-and-run, which I welcomed as I drove away. When I stopped shaking and truly did call the police, there was no report of a hit-and-run. The photo I had taken was blurry and I was a mess, I clearly need to be better prepared. And that makes me sad.

I currently live and work in both Hawaii and Colorado. In Hawaii, there’s a driving concept referred to as Aloha (this term is used for many beautiful things). Driving With Aloha is letting someone in when you may not legally have to, or even pausing on a busy road to help keep side traffic moving. People go out of their way to help everyone, shakas and smiles are frequently exchanged.

In Colorado, driving is a different experience. People are in a hurry and don’t often exchange courtesies on the road. I sometimes see an act of Aloha, but it’s a rarity. I hear a lot of angry honks and see people rushing around without much consideration for others. I’m sure I’ve been quite guilty of all of these things myself, and that’s an awful thought.

Road rage, however, is something bigger. I’m not sure I can explain it, and I don’t think I experience the sentiment as some people do. I know that road rage scares me. I saw today that the consequences are very real.

I don’t like to talk about it much, but I almost lost my mom, brother, and baby sister in a car accident on a two-lane highway when I was in high school. It wasn’t a case of road rage, it was an unfortunate accident. It was life-changing. I was left to care for my two-year-old sister while my mom and brother fought for their lives in the hospital (Jordyn had a fabulous nanny and several adults helped me in many ways). Two years prior to that, I was in a rollover accident with young drivers (too young) that resulted in friends teaming together as we lifted a truck bed off of a fellow teen trapped in the ditch. It was also a life-changing event and a hard lesson learned. While my mom and brother were still recovering in the hospital, I was in a school bus crash. It was much less serious, but lots of glass and a beam from an old woodshed broke through my window (slow motion per bus speed, thankfully). That one is a bit funny now, especially the look on everyone’s faces – I’m from a small town, so everyone knew my situation and was very compassionate. I didn’t freak out or even cry then (shock is a helpful emotion), but I’m pretty sure all of it instilled a permanent feeling of insecurity in a moving vehicle.

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Even after 23 years, seeing the photo of our family’s car after the accident makes my stomach turn. The smell of fresh blood mixed with my brother’s bottle of cologne, shattered inside his duffle bag in what was once the trunk, is memorable enough that I often try to forget. One of my good friends quit wearing that scent for me back then, I’m still grateful. The car metal trapped most of my family; I walked away, out the unfolded convertible top, with a couple of bruises on my shins. It didn’t ever feel like a great blessing that I was fully aware and unharmed, but it helped me realize some things that teens often forget. My brother told me, after surgery and when he was conscious again, that he was glad it was him and not me. It was a feeling I wish no human ever has to endure.

It may be hard to imagine when you are feeling pissed off at the person annoying you on the road, but in an instant, your next decision could change lives forever.

Embarrassing confession: I get irrationally scared as a passenger in a vehicle sometimes, my best friends know that, most of them understand.

I suppose I think things happen for a reason, and I certainly believe in purpose and a higher good. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make my bad memories go away. I definitely don’t feel comfortable talking about it. But, as a subject that continues to cross my path, I felt I should share my stories, talk about my concern, and do what I can to help make our roads in Colorado a safer place for everyone.

This morning was hard for my daughter and me, but it was far worse for the victim of road rage. Please help raise awareness of the dangers of road rage & spread a little extra Aloha on your drive home today.

Fall Frolics with Gregory

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All it took was one, long afternoon in the backcountry, and I knew he was the one.

What’s better than a city escape to a colorful hike at the peak of fall season in Colorado? Testing your NEW backpacking pack and day dreaming of upcoming mountain hut adventures, of course!

WHAT DID WE TRY?
His: Osprey Aether AG 70 Pack
Hers: Osprey Ariel 65 AG Pack

His: Gregory Baltoro 75 Pack
Hers: Gregory Deva 70 Pack

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WHAT DID WE BUY?
Gregory

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Both the Osprey and Gregory packs were ideal for what we were looking for. The true test: packing a little weight and giving it a trial run. The Gregory packs took the win by a small margin, and one feature we both agreed was a must-have: Gregory’s comfortable hipbelt.

Read more about these other hiking backpack options at REI.com

WHY REI?

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, and they mean it 😉
  • Expert advice on-site.
  • The 10% member benefits are pretty cool too.

SPECIAL THANKS
ARCTERYX for styln’ sun shade!
Louisville Endurance Race Series for keeping us cool in race tech t-s.

TEAMWORK, The Big Picture

 

With CENSEO’s recent growth, our team has been focusing on the importance of working together effectively. After researching our options, we decided to make a trip over the Pali to Honolulu for a Wine & Design company outing. An evening of pupus and paint was exactly what we needed for company bonding and social time outside of the workplace.

Wine & Design’s corporate painting party package is a bit different than the traditional paint night, which was a big part of the entertainment!

*Spoiler Alert…

Only one member of our team knew that our canvases would be placed together to make giant painting of the Mokes (because someone had to select our design). All other team members had only a piece of the puzzle to paint from. Some puzzle pieces were simple, while others were more complex with pieces of the islands or plumerias in the scene. It was mysterious and felt a little intimidating for those who were expecting a normal night of painting instruction.

After painting our single canvases for only a few minutes, we were asked to stop and move to someone else’s easel. It felt strange, painting on someone else’s work, but after a few rotations we started to realize that the overall result was quite beneficial. The look and feel of each canvas was coming together. In the end, we lined up all six canvases on the table and corrected our mistakes. A couple of paintings (the more intricate ones) still needed finishing details, so we were able to choose our top talent to help out with the tricky parts.

Our team agreed that this was probably the most enjoyable and educational team building activity we had participated in AND we now have a beautiful mural in our office space. I think we’re all pretty proud of our accomplishment!

 

Art Breaker
The icebreaker, or “artbreaker”, was our initial warm-up. We divided into two teams and drew secret assignments out of a jar. The jar was full of communication blockers and disabilities. Some of us could not talk or use our hands, others had to be bossy or defiant. It was tricky to understand some of the roles, such as the person doing exactly the opposite of what was directed. It led to some major difficulties in painting the assigned scene, and there wasn’t time for any one member to finish the painting on their own. Our teams did a decent job, considering, and laughing at the silly, out-of-character behaviors was most of the fun!

 


Corporate Painting
Not knowing what the finished art was going to look like was a great mystery. It forced everyone to follow the guidelines for their own canvas closely. When our own canvas became someone else’s canvas too, it shed new light on the process. As we continued to work on others’ paintings, we realized the many techniques and skills that were coming together. The final product was impressive, and the time spent on finishing details pulled everything together. I think we were all impressed at how far we had come in just a short amount of time. The instructor explained the teamwork skills we were developing and made observations of our specific team’s ability to work together. Her hilarious sense of humor and wit assured that we were all laughing the entire time.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: It doesn’t get more Colorado than this!

 

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Voted one of USA Today’s 10 Best Caves, Glenwood Caverns is a must for your family summer fun list. Three cave tours offer varying levels of difficulty to suit the whole family! I have a little dare devil, so this year, we opted for the Wild Cave Tour (10-year age requirement AND we finally made the cut). What is it!? Only the most extreme caving expedition a kiddo is permitted on, an adventure for the true thrill seeker.

Then and now

Then & Now (2011/2017)

Make the Most of Your Day Quick Tips…

  • Arrive early, when the gondola opens, to avoid long lines.
  • Claim a small $.50 locker before they fill.
  • Get in line for the bigger, more popular rides first.
  • Break early for lunch to beat the rush.
  • Don’t let the kids get caught in the speleobox. (Especially right before your 4-D movie begins!)

It’s hard to avoid – the one thing that happens and risks ruining the day for everyone. We generally count on Noelle to keep us on our toes: Water World wardrobe malfunction, lost races to the bathroom, and the time she didn’t get out of the elevator! But, this trip, it was me.

Theme Park Fail

I consider myself daring, for a mom. So, maybe it was first ride shock, or maybe just the fact that the ride swings OUT OVER THE CLIFF’S EDGE! But, I saw my life flash before my eyes…over-and-over again. Faint or scream, I made the obvious choice. A lot. With a scratchy voice and trembling hands, I exited the swing of terror, a theme park walk of shame, through the line of sweet little girls waiting to get on. Wide eyed, they kindly asked if I was going to be alright. I may still have the occasional nightmare, but hey, check that one off my list.

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Park Favs

Tho I struggled with the Giant Canyon Swing, the kids LOVED it! They rode several times, throwing their hands in the air or striking nonchalant poses. I may have felt theme park envy.

The Alpine coaster was another top-pick. Scary enough to cling to the breaks but enjoyable enough for mom to survive. I’m sure the views are fantastic, but I’ll admit, my eyes were steady on the tracks and my heart was still jumpy.

The coming soon fav-to-be: Haunted Mine Drop. Opens THIS SUMMER!

Adventure of a Lifetime :: Our Wild Cave Tour was something spectacular. Stacked up against all the other amazing options, it was still unanimously #1 with my bunch. The 2-hour, underground crawl through spaces as small as 18 inches left us exhausted, in the very best way. It was a perfect grand finale for an unforgettable day.

 

 

TBT Glenwood Springs Adventure

Adventure photo remake coming soon!

Alpine slideDelightfully traumatizing ride down the Alpine slide.

In early spring 2011, I introduced the kids to a historic Colorado destination located in the Roaring Fork Valley near the Colorado River and Roaring Fork River: the city of Glenwood Springs. At that time, the kids were four and eight, which I assumed would make our adventure a lot less thrilling…I was wrong.

2011 GlenwoodGlenwood Springs Vacation, 2011

Our stop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 7,100 feet above the town, included a chilling, snow flurried zip down the Alpine coster; our first 4-D movie (I wasn’t expecting all that); a “cave dark” experience in the caverns; and a recovery soak in the natural hot springs pool.

So, when I asked Noelle what she wanted to do for her upcoming 10th birthday, I should have known Glenwood Caverns was at the top of the list. This time, she wanted to do something that she has been waiting “FOREVER” [said in a most dramatic tone, of course] to do… Glenwood Cavern’s Wild Cave Tour! A two-hour extreme caving tour *with a minimum age limit of 10 years.

On the books for this weekend. I’m forecasting epic.

#GlenwoodCaverns #GlenwoodSprings

Summer Camp Survival Gear

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Save 25% on Label Daddy labels! Exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must-have for summer camp (if you want belongings finding their way back home). Clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings…hey, put one on your kiddo! My kids always get returned.

Label Daddy labels keep belongings from getting lost or mixed up with others. These labels are great for adults too! — Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more. Ok, that might be pushing it, but you get the idea.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels — they’re washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant. Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order – this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFAMILY25 at checkout. http://www.usfamily25.labeldaddy.com

If this feels like a pitch, it is. However, I do LOVE and use these little labels (maybe too many places). I asked my teen if he was too old for them (his keep disappearing) and he still can’t break my heart, lol!