Thirteen

This is a letter to my daughter,

I can’t believe that you are a teenager! Although I do see some major eye rolling and a lot more time away from the “mommy” you used to be glued to, you’re still the beautiful, loveable you! You will always be our baby.

I want you to know that the day you were born was the most magical day of our lives. God blessed us with the most amazing little girl in the world. You are the most precious gift we have ever received.

You changed our lives forever. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. You are an old soul, wise beyond your years. You fill our hearts and our lives with so much love and purpose. I know that whatever you do in life will positively impact the world. Your beautiful heart is filled with love, kindness and compassion. The love and loyalty you have for your family members and your friends always amazes me. We are so privileged to have you as our daughter. While we help shape the person you will become as an adult you have helped us to grow and learn as well. I know you will teach us a lot more as you continue to grow into the beautiful woman you will soon become. Know that love and the bond you shared with your grandparents will sustain you for life. You will always have them watching over you. They were so proud of you just as we are. I know that you will continue to make us proud.

We love you Sophia and wish you the happiest of birthdays. Welcome to your teen years, they go fast, so learn, live well, make the right decisions and always know that your family will be here for you. Remember, God and family first, always, that’s the legacy that is left for you by your grandparents.

Love, Mommy

I love this manifesto on parenting by Brene Brown and thought that I would share it with you all.

If you want to download the parenting Manifesto..click on this link. Wholehearted_ParentingManifesto (5

And if you want to shop for some pretty gorgeous little girl clothes make sure to visit http://www.ariaandsophia.com

Friendtastic

When was the last time you went out with a group of your girlfriends? If you have to stop and think about it, it’s been way too long.  A new study by a group of researchers from the University of Oxford, recommends that you go out with your girlfriends at least twice a week.

I’ve always been a girls girl. I love my time with my friends and I cherish my friendships. Those relationships are so important to me, I don’t think that I can live happily without them. I love talking to my girlfriends, listening to them and just connecting with them in general. It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and share your life with someone who cares, it’s even better to see them in person. It always leaves me feeling happier.

According to the study, spending two days a week with four of your gal pals will help you recover quicker from illness, strengthen your immune system, and decrease anxiety levels. But, when the group is bigger than 5 people, funny situations that generate the necessary endorphins for happiness and well being are less probable.” says one expert. That’s why it’s recommended to meet in a group of maximum four friends.

Research shows that we women need to maintain our friendships because it increases serotonin and oxytocin. Having these close connections becomes even more important as we age. I know that whenever I go out with my friends, I always feel amazing! And a happier me means that I’m a better mom, better wife, just better overall.

So pick up your phone, call your girlfriends and plan your outing, remember, it’s good for you!

 

Essential Oils

Do you have a child that suffers from constant ear infections? Before it gets really bad try treating it holistically.
.I’ve been using essential oils to keep my family healthy for years. It has made a world of difference in our lives.


Here is what you do for children suffering with ear discomfort….

.INGREDIENTS

  • 1 drop Lavender
  • 1 drop Frankincense
  • 1 drop Tea Tree
  • 1 tablespoon carrier oil
  • Cotton Ball
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a small dish, combine the essential oils with the carrier oil. Saturate the cotton ball with the mixture.
  2. Rub essential oils around the ear and down the neck, them put the cotton ball right on the outside of your ear.
  3. Refresh the cotton ball every 30 minutes until the pain subsides and then every 4 hours for the next two days.

For Babies and Toddlers…

MASSAGE BLEND

  • 20 drops Tea Tree
  • 20 drops Thyme linalol
  • 20 drops Lavender
  • Carrier oil, warmed
  1. Combine tea tree, thyme, and lavender in a small stock bottle.
  2. To use, place a teaspoon of carrier in a small dish and add 4 drops of the blend.
  3. Massage around the ear, on the cheek, and down the neck.
  4. Follow with a warm compress.

For adults…

This blend can help to support a healthy immune response.

  • 10 drops oregano
  • 10 drops clove
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops lemon
  • Carrier oil
  1. Place oregano, clove, rosemary and lemon in a 2 ounce stock bottle. Fill with carrier oil.
  2. Shake well to combine.
  3. Place 5 drops on the bottom of the feet ever 30 minutes until pain subsides.

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DISCLAIMER: While I do believe that natural remedies are a sage and effective way to deal with minor ear pain, it’s important that you seek medical attention should your ear ache persist. Use the holistic alternatives when you feel discomfort, if there is no improvement within a day and if the pain is acute, please seek medical attention.
These remedies have worked for my family but should not be taken as medical advice.

Winter Break

East Coast parents are getting ready to have the kids home for their winter break. While, some of us are lucky enough to take a few days away with the kids, others may have to work or just can’t afford to get away.

Here are some fun things I’ve done with my daughter when we have stayed home. It’s not so bad when you live just a few minutes away from New York City.

  • Spend a day or two in New York City, visit a Museum, see a Broadway Show or just go out for a great meal. God knows we have some of the best restaurants in the country. There are also so many amazing Museums in the city, there is so much culture and history. 
  • The Long Island Children’s Museum is such a great place to spend the day with the family. If you want to stay local, there’s a lot to see and do there. I’ve spent an entire day at the Museum with my daughter when she was younger..
  • Take your child to see a show at the John W. Engeman Theatre in Northport.  It’s Long Island’s only year-round professional theater, and you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy a great show with some great seats.
  • Take a family hike. it’s gorgeous on the North Shore, and it’s not too cold this year so get out and enjoy it.
  • Plan a special day with the kids. Go out to lunch, maybe it’s a good time to introduce your child to something new on the menu and then go see a movie together.
  • Take a road trip. Go anywhere, as long as you’ve never been there before, or go somewhere you always like to visit. We love going to the Mohonk Mountain House, a beautiful resort in Hudson Valley. We gone there for over twenty years.
  • Discover the neighborhoods nearby. You never know what little gem you are going to stumble upon, I’ve found lots of great places just by exploring.
  • Get out and meet up with a few of your mom friends and their kids. This is a great way for both you and your children to enjoy the day.
  • Give your kids time to do absolutely nothing. Catch up on what you have been postponing to do and just let your kids have a lazy day or two, they need a break.
  • Host a sleepover. it’s always a great time for the kids. All you need is some pizza, a bunch of board games, a karaoke machine and it’s on. Adult supervision is a must.
  • Spend quality time with your kids.  If you are working, try to take a few days off to enjoy your children. Talk to them about how they are feeling, let them ask you questions, listen to them, be present, be mindful.

Regardless of whether or not you are going away or staying home, a week with your children is a treasure. Before you know it they will grow up and we won’t have the privilege of having them with us for an entire week. There is no doubt that raising children is hard work, but it’s the biggest gift that we can ever have. So, enjoy your week together. And don’t forget to check out my new store for something beautiful for your favorite girl.

 /https://ariaandsophia.com/

 

 

Entrepreneur, ugh!

I’m venturing into uncharted territory. I’m about to become an Entrepreneur! This adds nicely to my many other supposed titles, writer, producer, reporter, blogger, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.

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We all have so many different titles, but who are we really? Ever think of that? Ever ponder why you are here? What are you meant to do? What is your function in all of this dysfunction? Well, I don’t know, I’m doing the same thing that you are doing, searching. I’m always looking for the meaning of life. I grew up with parents who always told me that life was all about helping others. Family has always been my priority and helping others has also always been the core of my parent’s existence. So yes, I am jumping in to this new title but it does not define who I am. I am a human being who is having many experiences and evolving.

 

Back to my new title, simply defined, an entrepreneur is a person who identifies a need and starts a business to fill that void. But this definition doesn’t really give you insight into what really makes a successful Entrepreneur. Here’s what 20 company founders and business leaders told Business News Daily about what they think makes a truly successful entrepreneur.

  1. To be courageous and sometimes reckless to actually do it, check!
  2. To be constantly hungry,  the idea that you are never satisfied with how things are, check!
  3. To have a mindset, a way of thinking and acting. It is about recognizing an opportunity and capturing its value, check!
  4. To balance vision with a willingness to embrace change, that’s my weak point, but I’m working on it.
  5. To go into uncharted territory and to be able to deal with the roller coaster of emotions that comes with failing, this one is really hard but I’m ready to conquer it.

I can go on and on but here is the shortcut of it, in order to be a successful entrepreneur you have to:

  • make a passion of learning,
  • to have courage and perseverance,
  • to stay optimistic when things fall apart.
  • be people oriented,
  • to see opportunity everywhere,
  • to take calculated risks,
  • to look at the bigger picture,
  • to have the creativity to question, the strength to believe and the courage to move,
  • be wired to be driven by an innate need to create, build and grow,
  • to push the naysayers aside, and turn possibility into a reality,
  • to be able to take the bumps in the road and remain focused

That said, being an entrepreneur means being in full control of your destiny. If that’s something that is meaningful to you then all of the challenges associated with striking out on one’s own are worth it. And, this one is something that’s important to me. You need to be supportive of other women who are venturing out to do what you are doing. As women, we need to be supportive of one another. That’s what I teach my daughter, to be happy when her friends succeed and be supportive.

I’m focusing on my dream, I have many things on the burner, but this one is ready to happen. I have an online children’s store opening on Monday.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for about 10 years, since my little girl was two. Now she is 12, about to turn 13 in three months…better late than never.

My store,  Aria & Sophia is named after my daughter Sophia and my niece Aria, the two girls who own my heart. The desire to open a store that reflects my style has been something that my daughter Sophia has inspired.

Aria & Sophia will launch tomorrow. I would love to know what you think. Feel free to shop for the little one’s in your life,.

Stay tuned….www.ariaandsophia.com debuting on Monday, January 21st.

Aria and Sophia 2

Essential Oils, “The Bomb”

It’s the time of year where most of us are run down and sick. I’ve committed myself to sharing what I know about essential oil remedies. So here is what I give my family when any of us are under the weather. I use a blend of essential oils that we call “The bomb”.

It’s a combination of various essential oils that help boost the immune system. I use Doterra’s On Guard, Frankincense, Lemon, Oregano and Melaleuca essential oils. I’ve researched Doterra and I love their essential oils. You can use it two ways, either ingest it by putting two drops of each oil in a gel capsule, this is something I recommend for adults only. Make sure you eat something fatty when you ingest the oil. You can eat some eggs, yogurt, something fatty to dilute it. Take the gel capsule three or four times a day and within two days you will feel better.

For children and my husband who refuses to ingest the oils, I put 6 drops of each oil in a roller bottle and I add fractionated coconut oil to the rest of the bottle. I role it on feet, back of the neck, and down the spine.

For babies and toddlers, use 2 drops of each oil and fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, roll it on the bottoms of the feet, in the back of the neck and down the spine every couple of hours.

You can buy both the gel caps and roller bottles from amazon.

Try it, you’ll love it.

Bringing smiles to children of war

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I would like to tell you about my friend David Mason and his amazing plight to bring smiles to the faces of innocent children. He has dedicated his life to helping children of War.

Unfortunately, right now, while our kids are safe and thriving, there are millions of children around the world suffering. This is happening right now, in our lifetime. Those of us who are parents can imagine the horrors that these innocent children have face. Think of what they feel and how they are able to survive.

I met David in 2003, when I was on a trip to Afghanistan, my parents homeland. I had not been there since before the war, so I was vey young. My family was in the US, when Afghanistan was invaded by Russia. My father was a diplomat in the United Nations and so, the trip in 2003, was my first time back “home”.

It was an emotional trip. Before our plane even descended, the landscape of the country took my breath away and took me back in time. Seeing the majestic mountains ignited a rush of  bitter-sweet memories.

 

My cousin Wais introduced me to David, a Danish-Iranian, in his early 30’s who had left his comfortable life in Denmark to help the Afghan children. He was inspired after 9-11. He wanted to do something good, for the most innocent of us, for our children. According to David, my cousin kind of adopted him and his dream of what is now the Afghan Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC). 

 

David, is the founder, MMCC, an educational non-profit that uses circus activities to educate and empower kids. The program also manages to bring smiles to the faces of Afghanistan’s children and promote peace in the war-torn country.

At MMCC’s flagship school in Kabul, Afghanistan, 120 children ages ten to 17, learn juggling, unicycling, acrobatics, theater, singing, puppetry and magic tricks. They then perform and conduct workshops across the country, spreading awareness about health, land mines, the importance of education, and other issues along the way.

 Most of the circus activities are led by the kids themselves.

This wonderful human being continues to spread joy and awareness with the Afghan Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC) for all these years. 

 

Now they are looking to raise money to transform the harsh winter of 900 underprivileged Afghan Children into a cheerful one. By donating, you will help ensure that the children will be safe and secure from the cold and bitterness of winter, while learning English, Computer, various Artistic, physical, Social and Life Skills while having fun.

Please take some time to log onto their site and give what you can. 

46% of the funds for Cheerful Afghan Winter for 900 underprivileged is raised, Thanks and keep Donating and Sharing please: www.globalgiving.org/projects/Cheerful-Af

ghan-Winter

 

Essential Oils

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

For the past couple of years I have leaned to use essential oils as a way to keep the people I love stay healthy. At first, many family members, including my husband, were skeptical, but eventually they came around.  They saw the benefits of using essential oils first hand.

I was recently asked to share what I know about how to use essential oils, so from now on, I will be sharing what I know one essential oil at time every week. I’m not an expert, just a mom who has spent many hours researching the benefits of essential oils. I would love to help you learn from what I know.

More people, especially parents are turning to more natural & holistic approaches when it come to healthcare. By using natural remedies to heal ourselves we can be free of the worries of unwanted side effects.

My use of essential oils began over a decade ago when I got into meditation, to help my anxiety. The person guiding the class applied Lavender essential oil on our temples to help us relax.  Lavender has a wonderful smell and it really helped relax me. I used it every night before bed for a long time, I still do but now I tend to alternate oils, not just Lavender. I loved it so much I started to seriously look into essential oils more.

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Also, I grew up with an amazing, magical mother who always used natural remedies for us. She would have us gargle with salt water for a sore throat, massage sweet almond oil once a week into our scalp and hair to keep it healthy. She taught my sister and I how to use yogurt as a face mask, put cold cucumbers on our eyes to bring down any puffiness, toothpaste for our burns and a million other holistic remedies. She would even make ridiculous faces and claim she was exercising her facial muscles so she would not need a face lift. She was brilliant and beautiful with such class, strength and impeccable manners. She had a heart of gold and a smile for whomever crossed her path. She and I started writing a book together that included all her beauty and health remedies, but then my dad got sick and then he passed away and then she left this earth and left us.

Today is the first anniversary of her death, she has always been the wind beneath my wings, and she continues to be even in death. I know she would want me to be strong for my family. I’m doing just what my mother would want me to do, helping others like she always did. Thank you mom, I love you so much and will miss you all of my life. She was the first to want to learn and then use my essential oils. I hope to pay it forward and help you help yourself.

So the first thing you need to know is that you should always use pure essential oils, that way you avoid any pesticides. Do your research, I prefer to use Doterra, but there are some other companies that use pure essential oils as well. There are a few ways to use the oils, you can inhale them, diffuse them, use them topically and there are a few that you can actually ingest. It’s a lot to learn but if you take your time and do your research you will use them without even thinking.

When I use essential oils topically, I aways dilute it with some sort of carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, a heat pressed refined oil. Using essential oils straight or neat is usually too abrasive and can sometimes harm you, even burn your skin.

This week’s essential oil is Peppermint oil. It’s one of the most versatile essential oils out there. It can  help with muscle aches, seasonal allergies, low energy and digestive problems. Its also used to boost energy and improve both skin and hair health.

The next time you have a headache, instead of taking a Tylenol or an aspirin,  use a teaspoon of a carrier oil with two or three drops of peppermint oil. Apply it to the back of your neck, to your temples and your forehead. I usually make a roller , most of it is filled with fractionated coconut oil, with a few drops of peppermint oil and I roll it to my temples and back of my neck. Be careful not to get any in your eyes. Wash your hands after handling any essential oils.

For fevers, you can rub it down the spine on the hairline and the neck. To help boost energy, rub peppermint with some lemon essential oil on the back of your neck,  you can also put a drop or two in your water.

To help relieve seasonal allergies symptoms, diffuse peppermint and eucalyptus oil at home, or apply 2–3 drops of peppermint oil topically to your temples, chest and back of neck.

To boost your energy levels and improve concentration with peppermint oil, take 1–2 drops internally with a glass of water, or apply topically to your temples and back of neck.

You can put a drop on your toothpaste to freshen your breath and kill bacteria. Add 2–3 drops of peppermint to your shampoo and conditioner. It’s actually used in many high-quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. It helps  stimulate the scalp.

There are so many other ailments that peppermint essential oil aids, here is a list of a few,

  • Relieves itchiness
  • Relieves sunburn
  • Reduces nausea
  • Repels bugs
  • promotes healthy skin

Let me know if you want to know about a particular oil and it’s benefits. Next week I’ll tell you all the benefits of Lemon essential oil.

Happy Holidays, enjoy the ones you love.

 

 

 

 

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” -Bill Keane

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There are mornings when I wake up and the reality that I have lost both of my parents hits me hard! My heart falls into my stomach, I feel sick and so lost. To be without them always feels like a punch in the gut. It still takes my breathe away. My father is gone a year and four months, my mother passed away almost a year ago. It’s a pain that I would never want for anyone to experience, yet we all will. Some morning  I feel completely paralyzed, unable to accept that they are both gone, until I hear my 12 year-old call out to me. Her voice helps me to  refocus and be grateful for her existence.

It’s not easy to deal with loss, especially when you suffer multiple losses. Regardless of my pain, I put a smile on my face and try to begin my daughter’s day on a positive note. We chat as she gets ready, some mornings we are frantic, trying to get out the door.  After I drop her off at school, I return and often find myself unable to leave the couch.

I try to enjoy and be mindful of my first cup of coffee. It always puts a smile on my face. I thank God for my husband, who almost never leaves the house without making me coffee. That’s love.

As soon as I allow myself to feel gratitude,  my heart gets lighter. I am grateful for the people I have in my life. Today is a present.