Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why Tires Are So Important

So why are tires so important?

Well, if you're like me, you've always been more concerned about the size and safety features of your vehicle. But your tires are one of the most important safety aspects of your car/truck.

When picking out a vehicle, we chose a GMC Yukon Xl for it's size (I think I would have drove around in a tank if possible) and for the extra interior room. I also wanted 4-wheel drive.

But when it came to tires, I really never gave them much thought. I knew I wanted something that was safe in the winter months, but that was about as far as my concern went for the tires. I always just left tire purchases to my husband.
 I recently learned that no matter what the vehicle, size, frame or safety features, in the end it all comes down to what's in contact with the road...and that's your tires.

Back in May I was invited to the Cooper Tire Test Facility outside of San Antonio, Texas. Here's a little recap of what me and some other bloggers did while we were there:


And specifically, here is what I did there:


 We tested out the new Cooper CS5 Touring Tire, featuring Cooper's new innovative Wear Square. I just think this is the neatest thing, and it takes the guess work out of tire buying.
No more feeling like you're being taken for a ride at the tire store (no pun intended) ;)
 


“Our new Wear Square underscores Cooper’s commitment to tire safety,” said Scott Jamieson, Cooper’s Director of Product Management. “Consumers will appreciate this new and easy way to check their tires’ remaining tread life, which is a key part of overall tire health and vehicle maintenance, which is important to safe operation.”
The following tips from Cooper take less than 10 minutes a month to conduct. In addition to these routine tire maintenance checks, drivers should also perform checks prior to any long road trips and bring their vehicles to a tire dealer for a professional inspection if consumers are in doubt about the condition of their tires.
 As a general rule, the deeper the tread depth, the better. Tire tread depth should exceed 2/32s of an inch deep all around the tire. If not driving on the new CS5 Touring tire from Cooper with the Wear Square included, drivers can check tread depth by inserting the edge of a U.S. penny in between the tread, with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, it is time to replace the tire.

  • While examining the tread, consumers should also look for signs of uneven wear or damage, such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and, if not corrected, could cause further tire damage, tire failure or air loss if left unnoticed.
  • Drivers should follow the guidelines in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle's tires. A common myth is that the pressure listed on the tire sidewall is the optimal pressure – in reality, it is the maximum pressure.
  • Air pressure should be checked when the tires are completely cool, meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.
  • If any of these checks signal the need for tire maintenance, or if drivers are doubtful about the condition of tires, vehicles should be brought to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.

I also learned that if you are only able to purchase 2 new tires, that those new tires should be placed on the back of the vehicle for optimal grip.
 During my time at the Cooper Test Track, I tested the Cooper CS5 against the Pirelli Cinturato p7 tires. I have to tell you that the Cooper CS5 blew the Pirelli tires out of the water! I really was shocked at the difference in grip. I wish you all could have tried out the wet track like I did, because it really was the best way to feel the differences in the tires. I was 100% sold on the Cooper CS5 tires after that.

We also experienced the differences between having the new tires on the back of the vehicle versus the front. Let me tell you from my own experience....put the new tires on the back of your vehicle. There was a HUGE difference in grip. 

After testing out the tires, and also having a little fun on the distracted driving course (which being a  mom on twins and a little girl, I am quite used to driving distracted), we got to have some fun with Indy Race Car Driver, Johnny Unser.


This was an absolute blast and something I will never forget. Also, Johnny Unser is a very kind man who has a heart for charity and our veterans. He was recently involved with the Word Of Honor Fund which provides a continuum of support that facilitates milestone events for the surviving children of SEALs and Special Operations personnel who die while assigned to a select Naval Special Operations Group. 

I learned more about tires than I ever thought possible, but I also learned that tire buying is not as complicated as we make it out to be. YOU CAN DO THIS LADIES! 

I want to thank everyone at Cooper Tires, The Zimmerman Agency,  Mr. Johnny Unser and As Mom Sees It for the opportunity to attend this great event. 

Now who wants to WIN 4 new Cooper CS5 tires?!?!?!?!?
 Disclaimer: Cooper Tires sponsored my trip to this event, however, the views expressed in this blog post are all my own. The tires for the giveaway are sponsored by Cooper Tire. 
Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and over.
I am not responsible for prize delivery.
Please let the Rafflecopter widget fully load below:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Orkin Fact Or Fake?

“Daddy longlegs are poisonous.”
“Mosquitoes prefer adults over children.”
“Ants can survive underwater.”

You’ve heard the myths about bugs before. Do you know what’s fact and what’s fake?

I'm working with Orkin, and I really thought I knew the correct answers to these questions. I only got 3 out of the 5 answers correct though.

Take Orkin’s Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake™ Quiz to test your knowledge, and be sure to watch every clip for the scoop on these infamous bug myths.

Orkin uses the latest technology and unparalleled training to develop a treatment that's right for your home and your needs. To learn more about pest control that's based in science or to schedule an inspection, visit orkin.com or call (844) 503-8251.


Well, how did you do?

Enter to WIN  an  Orkin Scientific Back-to-School PRIZE PACK that includes:

  • - Clip-on Fisheye Lens (iPhone, Galaxy, Android compatible)
  • - Orkin On-the-Go Drink Tumbler
  • - Orkin Drawstring Bag
  • - Orkin “Field Notes” Notebook w/ Pen
This blog post is sponsored by Orkin, and they are supplying the materials and prizes mentioned in this post.
Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and over.
I am not responsible for prize delivery.
Please let the Rafflecopter widget fully load below:
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer Giveaway Hosted By Gladden Construction


My husband & Gladden Construction  are hosting a fabulous giveaway where you can WIN a Kitchen Aid Ultra Power Series 4.5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer! 

All you have to do is live within 50 miles of zip code 21801 (Salisbury, MD).

Giveaway is open to those 18 years or older.
Prize will be shipped.
Please let the Rafflecopter widget fully load below:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hi, I'm Mandy And I Have Panic Disorder

What is Panic Disorder?

People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes. Sometimes symptoms may last longer. These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack.
A person with panic disorder may become discouraged and feel ashamed because he or she cannot carry out normal routines like going to the grocery store or driving. Having panic disorder can also interfere with school or work. 
Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and is twice as common in women as men. Panic attacks often begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, but not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Many people have just one attack and never have another. The tendency to develop panic attacks appears to be inherited.
"Panic attacks?!?!?! What in the world are you so worried about? Can't you just relax?" 
These were the words from my husband (bless his heart, he just did NOT understand at the time). 
Looking back on my life, I can now recall 3 instances (there may have been more) where I had a panic attack, but at the time had NO idea what was happening to me. The first time I was in college, and two other times I made trips to the ER because I thought something was seriously wrong with me. 
Back in 2005 I was at work and suddenly felt light headed, dizzy, and the side of my face started to go numb. I could feel my heart start to race, so I stopped what I was doing and told my boss that something was wrong with me. My boss and coworkers could see that the color had left my face and told me to sit down and began taking my blood pressure. It was somewhere around 147/93 or something (I'm usually 100/70 or even lower sometimes). 
Thoughts started to enter my head.....high blood pressures, light headed, heart pounding, numbness on one side of my face....was I having a stroke?!?!?! My boss recommended I head to the ER (which even fueled my fear) and when I arrived at the hospital I was hooked up to an EKG and they took my vitals. My heart rate and BP was still high, but coming down. My EKG ending up being normal. The ER doctor ending up sending me home with a muscle relaxer because he thought I was having neck spasms. 
I had also drank about 3-4 cups of coffee that day and that's when I found out that caffeine and I don't mix. 
The second ER trip was again in 2005 and again, everything came back normal. I did have two caffeinated drinks that day so I made the connection that it must have been from that. I pretty much just diagnosed myself as being caffeine sensitive and left it at that.
Fast forward to 2014, when the biggest attack ever happened. Now I had started to make the connection between 2005 and 2014 that little "episodes" that were happening to me were actually panic attacks. Usually they were very short lived (a few heart palpitations and dizziness and then they'd quickly pass), but I was able to get through them with no issues. I knew that I could handle about 1 cup of coffee a day and that I had to have caffeine before noon, or "issues" could arise. 
In January, my grandmother passed away from breast cancer. When someone close to you dies, you tend to think about your own mortality (or at least I do), and now that I'm a mother, I think of it even more. I'm not so much concerned about myself or where I'll go, but I tend to dwell on what would happen to my husband and children if God called me home sooner than later. 
In February I found a lump in my breast which really started to scare me. I had it checked out and it turns out it is just a fluid filled cyst.  As stressful as it was, I am so glad I got it checked out.
Well in March of this year, I started having chest pains off and on. They would happen mostly at night and a lot of the time they would be accompanied by heart palpitations. I told Jamie one morning that I probably needed to get checked out....well the next day a family in our church lost someone from a heart attack. He was a wonderful man, who left behind a wife and five children (all who are very young). The day that happened, something hit me inside. Thoughts of the children and his wife, and thoughts of my own mortality began to fill my head. Then the chest pains really stared to scare me. I was at my daughter's dance class when I could feel a panic attack start to come on. 
At the time I wasn't too concerned about it, because I've always been able to get through them without any issue. However, this day was different. This time I was having chest pains and tightness. As much as I kept telling myself that it was just a panic attack, the physical symptoms were getting worse and worse. I took my daughter home and told my husband I was driving myself to the ER (that's a dumb decision by the way...get someone to take you). 
On the way to the ER I was feeling very light headed, and could feel my arms and legs beginning to go numb. All I could think about was that I HAD to make it to the ER without passing out behind the wheel. I put my hazard lights on and definitely broke the speed limit getting there. As I was pulling in front of the hospital, my muscles in my arms and legs started to cramp up. My fingers started to cramp and bend and I had no control over them. I didn't even get the chance to park my car, but stopped right in front of the ER doors and made myself in.
The poor man at reception looked at me, and I gasped "CHEST PAINS....PANIC ATTACK!!!"
I was taken right back and they began taking my vitals. My blood pressure and pulse again was pretty high and my body was shaking as I was sitting in the chair. The nurse was asking my name and birthdate, and I had the hardest time getting the correct words out. I remember I kept apologizing to them because I knew it was a panic attack, and felt like I was taking up space when someone who was "actually sick" could be sitting where I was.
They hooked me up to an EKG, BP monitor and pulse oxygen monitor. I asked for some oxygen because I thought I was going to pass out, and felt like I couldn't get enough air. Then they left me (alone) for a good 5 minutes or so. I remember the alarm kept going off on my machine....either because of my pulse or BP or something, but that further fueled my anxiety.

My sister-in-law (God bless her), shows up and starts to pray over me and play worship music for me. I remember I started crying because I was so ashamed of myself for letting fear completely take me over. I remember thinking, You're a Christian!!!! Where is your faith?!?!?!  I really thought when it came down to it, that I'd have more faith....and I really had none at that moment. I was terrified. 
Scriptures began to race through my head like "God doesn't give you a spirit of fear, and Fear not, and Do not be anxious about anything." 

I remember praying, God, forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for my fear...I know it's not of you.  I don't think I have ever felt so ashamed of myself as I did that night.

The nurse came in and gave me a shot in my shoulder and within 5 minutes or so, I was starting to calm down (the photo above is about 10-15 minutes after they gave me the shot).  

The doctor prescribed some Xanax for me and recommend I follow up with my primary and also a counselor. He also wanted me to see a heart doctor since I told him I have a leaky heart valve.

After that night in the ER I began having what I called "after shocks". I would have three or more panic attacks every day and would need to take the Xanax to control them. I felt terrible for having to use medication, and of course told no one (but family) about what happened. There is such a stigma with things likes anxiety and depression, and you think you can have better control over your life when these things happen to you, but the truth is....sometimes....you just can't. And no one understands what it is you are going through unless they too suffer/ed from panic attacks. 
As much as my husband tried to understand what was happening to me...he just couldn't. He could not understand why I couldn't just calm myself down (He's much better now with everything).

That next week was filled with blood work and doctors visits. I had an Echocardiogram done and they did see my leaky valve and also diagnosed me with a heart murmur. My blood work came back all normal. I've had the leaky valve as long as I can remember, so the heart doctor agreed that while it can cause some palpitations from time to time, it really is nothing to worry about. He did not think it was causing the chest pains, but that my stress and anxiety were causing the chest pains. He did send me home with a heart monitor though just to see how things went over a 24 hour period.   
Everything came back normal with my heart monitor. I still had the panic attacks daily and still was getting chest pains, but noticed that the chest pains went away as soon as I took the Xanax. I knew then that it was anxiety that was causing the chest pains and not that something was wrong with my heart.

The funny thing is...that even as I write this, it all sounds so absurd and illogical to me that something was seriously wrong with my heart. However, when you are in the midst of a panic attack, all logic flies out the window. You are operating on fear alone. The total loss of control over what is happening to you is a very REAL and a very SCARY thing.

Signs & Symptoms

People with panic disorder may have:
  • Sudden and repeated attacks of fear
  • A feeling of being out of control during a panic attack
  • An intense worry about when the next attack will happen
  • A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
  • Physical symptoms during an attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, or stomach pain.
When you are experiencing these physical symptoms listed above, it can honestly feel like you are dying. You body is sent into fight or flight:

What Happens When the Fight-or-Flight Response Is Triggered?

Researchers have identified numerous physiological changes that occur during the flight-or-flight stress response. These changes are believed to be triggered by the sympathetic nervous system through the release of stress hormones, such as, epinephrine (adrenaline) into the blood stream. This release causes immediate physical reactions in preparation of the muscular activity needed to fight or flee the threat.
Some of the changes during this process include:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Constriction of blood vessels to some parts of the body and dilation of blood vessels to the muscles
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Auditory Exclusion (hearing loss)
  • Tunnel Vision (loss of peripheral vision)
  • Sweating to cool your body in response to the heat generated as your body gets ready to contend with a predator
These physical changes occur rapidly and automatically. If one were experiencing a life-threatening event, they would be expected. But, when they occur while picking up a few groceries for dinner or sitting in a meeting at work, they can be quite frightening.

How Fear Is Reinforced When There Is No Danger

During a panic attack, the body’s alarm system is triggered without the presence of any danger. It is the absence of identifiable danger that actually intensifies the fear associated with panic attacks. If there is an identifiable danger, we understand the symptoms. We can then fear the danger, not the symptoms. However, if there is no danger and someone experiences sweating and changes in heart rate, breathing, vision, and hearing, it would seem logical to fear the symptoms, even believing they are life-threatening.

This is exactly what was happening to me. Most of my panic attacks have no trigger and happen out of nowhere for no reason at all. So when you start to experience the symptoms above while you are watching tv, or eating dinner,  or getting your hair done, or even sleeping, it can become very scary.
I was weened off of the Xanax and was put on Celexa (which is an antidepressant, but also treats panic disorder). I took Celexa for about two months and my panic attacks went completely away. I then went off of the Celexa to see if I could go on without any medication (I was also seeing a counselor at the time) and things were good until about a month ago. I started waking up in the middle of the night in full blown panic attacks and then they started happening in the day again.
The last big one happened while I was waiting to get my hair done (something that always is very relaxing for me). I hurried and took some Xanax that I carry with me, but it still was not going away. I took half of another Xanax and the panic attack finally subsided after about a half hour. The only bad thing is that I actually dozed off in the chair while getting my hair done lol. My poor stylist had no idea what was going on. I had to call my husband to come get me because I knew I shouldn't drive like that.  
So I now am back on the Celexa and the panic attacks are back under control. As much as I am prideful and want to say I don't need any medication, I know right now I need it and that's ok. I also know that taking medication for panic attacks does not make me any less of a Christian.  When you have a headache, you take something for it. This is the same. I would never think to ask someone who is Diabetic to stop taking insulin because Jesus is all that they need. Now don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer that Christ has the power to do anything and can heal anyone at His will. However, I have found that most condemnation and shame concerning these disorders comes from other Christians who just do not understand what you are going through.
I also know that as a Christian I can have freedom from this, and that is something I pray for. I know God will deliver me from fear and anxiety according to His will, and I trust in that. Taking medication to help with things is not a lack of faith.

We all go through things in life, and I know there is a reason for everything. We just might not understand it at the time.  I remember saying "God, if this is a season I am to walk through; then I will walk through it with You and come out better on the other side." If panic disorder brings me closer to Christ, or if I can help someone else out there who also suffers with it, then surely it happened for a reason. 
So that is my prayer and reason for writing this novel lol. If you suffer from panic disorder or depression or general anxiety disorder, or similar mental health issues, please....know YOU ARE NOT ALONE and YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE. Let people help you and find others who have been through it. Let others pray for you, and NEVER feel ashamed of what's happening to you. 
Life can be very stressful and hard on a person (especially moms), so please take care of your mind, body and soul the best you can. If you suffer from panic attacks and need someone to talk to or someone to pray for you, please feel free to message me on Facebook HERE anytime. 
I hope this reaches someone who is suffering, and that they know they CAN and WILL get through this. There is always hope. :) 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rodan + Fields Review

A few months ago, I was sent the Rodan + Fields Reverse skincare line and also the Rodan + Fields Redefine Macro Exfoliator.

What I realized over the couple of months that I used the skincare line, was that I should have reviewed the Redefine line instead.

The Reverse line is said to "Erase the appearance of premature aging, including brown spots, dullness and discoloration." I have a few fine lines, but I really don't suffer from discoloration or brown spots.

So with that said, I didn't see a huge difference in my skin from the Reverse skincare line alone. However, I did see a huge difference in my skin from the Redefine Macro Exfoliator.


The Redefine Macro Exfoliator "Reclaims your skin’s radiant glow in just five minutes.  Used once a week, this hand-held, personal use exfoliation tool sweeps away dead skin cells leaving behind a smoother, healthier-looking and more luminous complexion. 
The proof is in the filter where you can see the dulling, dead outermost skin cells and debris that have been covering up your best skin.

 This is what happened after I used it for the first time....gross!
You can clearly see all of the dead skin that came off of my face, and my face felt like baby skin after using it. I've had Microdermabrasion in the past, and my skin never felt this smooth and soft afterward.
My skin then started to have a natural luminosity about it. I really think it helped give me a more youthful appearance, and my makeup also lasted longer, and looked better than before. 

The great thing about the Redefine Macro Exfoliator, is that you only have to use it for 5 minutes, once a week. Your skin will truly be transformed! 

So one thing I wondered while reviewing the Macro Exfoliator, was how it compared to the Clarisonic. I've wanted a Clarisonic for years, but I wanted to see if I even needed one now thanks to the Macro Exfoliator. 

Here's how the two compare:


*The Clarisonic brush cleans, softens and smooths skin. The brush is gentle, and does remove makeup, oil and dirt better than manual cleansing alone.

*The Macro Exfoliator from Rodan + Fields is a hand-held, personal at-home exfoliation tool that sweeps away dead skin by removing the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin) leaving your skin smoother and healthier looking with a more luminous complexion. The treatment improves cell turnover, thus rejuvenating the life of your skin. Easy to use and no downtime.

*It's diamond tip head is the first thing you should notice that is different between them. 5 minutes each week removes 5 MILLION dead skin cells. (like a tiny vacuum)

*95% of participants experienced an improvement in their skin texture after one use!! (Clinical Study)

So don't get me wrong, the Clarisonic is good for general cleansing. However, the Redefine Macro Exfoliator pretty much blows it out of the water when it comes to how your skin will look and feel. 
It's just something you need to experience for yourself. You will L-O-V-E the Macro Exfoliator! 

So if you are ready to try Rodan + Fields skincare products, then Jody Gawel is here to assist you.
She is also offering deals when you purchase though her website:
 
Anyone who becomes a Preferred Customer will get all the perks (10% off products, free shipping, access to R+F nurses, access to new products, control of their own account, 60 day guarantee), 
AND Jody will reimburse the enrollment fee ($19.95) AND also throw in a free product - for orders under $200: REDEFINE Eye cloths ($20 value) OR for orders over $200: REDEFINE Multi-function Eye Cream ($30 value).

Please contact Jody through her site https://JodyG.myrandf.com in order to ensure your reimbursement and free gift.

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

So I tried The Nia Technique the other day...

What in the world is The Nia Technique?!?!?!?
 My first impression of Nia was....well...to be completely honest, I thought it looked like crazy hippie dancing lol.

However, being a dancer most of my life, and also into fitness, I decided to look into it.

First off, I'm a Christian woman. This mean I don't subscribe to some of the aspects of Nia; like Chi, Yin and Yang, and the religious components of Yoga or other Martial Arts. I like the movements, but Christ is my spiritual center (So I basically plug Him into the spiritual aspects of Nia). 

That being said, I really love the free-flowing movements of Nia. I found it to be a great workout and stress reliever.  It's kind of like Zumba, but with more free-flowing movements. It's very low-impact and reminded me a lot of my dance classes. 

So what is Nia?
(according to nianow.com)
  • Nia was created in the early 1980’s by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas.
  • Nia is based on The Body’s Way, which means using the body’s natural design to improve function. The biochemistry, joint and muscle action are triggered using imagination, music, emotion and vocal sound. Movements work with and against gravity and include: abduction, adduction; flexion, extension; eversion, inversion; dorsal flexion, plantar flexion, pronation and supination; horizontal flexion, extension; rotation inward, outward, upward and downward, elevation, depression, and circumduction. Nia addresses the body’s five main sensations: flexibility, strength, mobility, agility and stability, and focuses on conditioning the body and the nervous system.

  • What are the benefits of taking Nia?

  • Increase the pleasure of living in your body
  • Facilitate weight loss and proper weight maintenance
  • Strengthen muscles, improve muscle tone, and increase muscle definition
  • Calm the mind and relieve stress
  • Improve endurance
  • Increase grace and flexibility
  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Improve posture and even increase height
  • Improve organ function, particularly that of the heart and lungs
  • Enhance sensory awareness
  • Heighten sexual function
  • Build reservoirs of chi energy
  • Alleviate emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Improve circulation of blood and improve lymphatic drainage
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Improve concentration and cognitive function

So this was my first experience with Nia.
I must say...it was invigorating. It's a great workout, and a nice change from my usual workout routine. 



At first I felt a little "odd". The moves felt weird and the dancers looked weird (just not what I'm used to...but hey, I'm not judging). But then the whole "dance like no one's watching" quote popped into my head, and I just went along for the ride lol.  



 So I rather enjoyed The Nia Technique. If you're looking for a dance-like workout, then give Nia a try.



My friend and fellow dancer from my hometown, Suzy Finnefrock, is a Nia Blue Belt Instructor, and you can find her at Shelburne Health & Fitness in Vermont.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Life Songs Of A Busy Mom 7k Giveaway!


I am so grateful for all of you who follow my blog. You really have blessed my life, so I wanted to thank you all with this giveaway!

One lucky follower will win a $50 Amazon gift card, as well as a $50 Sephora gift card!

Thanks for all the love!!!! :) 

Please let the Rafflecopter fully load below to enter.
Giveaway is open to entrants 18 years or older.