Archives for February 2015

Craniosynostosis – new memoir calls attention to ‘Cranio Kids’ defect OVERLOOKED AND MISDIAGNOSED: Memoir Calls Attention to ‘Cranio Kids’ Birth Defect


Author shares his struggle with cranial birth defect and interviews families, doctors, and surgeons in new memoir to offer first-hand perspective (and relief) of Craniosynostosis.

Your baby is going to be developmentally delayed, is the nicer, water-downed, version of what the nurse said in the delivery room the day Kase Johnstun was born. She inappropriately and incorrectly labeled his condition to his sobbing mother. This type of misdiagnosis happens more often than you’d think. In Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis: An Inside View of Life Touched by the Congenital Skull Deformity (Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub), which publishes this December, author Kase Johnstun sets out across the country to interview families struggling with his same condition, accurately known as Craniosynostosis, and interviews doctors, craniofacial surgeons, neurosurgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists, and other experts who can help demystify the often misdiagnosed birth defect.


Children born with Craniosynostosis, often referred to as cranio kids, are born with a defect in which one or more of the sutures between the bones of the skull close prematurely. This prevents the brain from growing into its natural shape, as the brain controls the shape of the skull.


Treatment for Craniosynostosis usually includes surgery to help with the symmetry and appearance of the head and to relieve pressure on the brain and allow it to grow naturally. Craniosynostosis can be genetic, can be a result of environmental limitations in the womb, or can be caused by many other factors.


“I interviewed a mother who told me her brave little boy loved his ‘superhero scar,’” said Johnstun. “It’s unbelievable the roller coaster of emotions cranio families have to deal with and how frequently the feelings can grab you by surprise.”


In Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis, Johnstun is gentle as he is thorough in his due diligence. Throughout the book he dispenses critical information and paints a vivid picture of life behind the statistics.


“I’m told repeatedly that Craniosynostosis is rare, that 1 in 1,700 or 1 in 2,000 children are born with this,” he said. “But just over 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year. When you do the math, that’s a lot of parents who are in the same vulnerable position my parents were in and a lot of kids growing up with all these mixed feelings. I want to provide comfort and recourse to them.”


Part memoir and part medical study, the book touches on the modern medical history of cranial sutures, as well as ancient treatments dating to the time of Hippocrates as well as surgical techniques used today to allow the brain to grow naturally. It is with great care that Johnstun chronicles the experiences of American families affected by Craniosynostosis. Each entry demonstrates the uniqueness of that case, the chosen treatment, and its result. A true testament to a second coming of age, Johnstun, now in his thirties, encapsulates a rite of passage that everyone will be able to relate to. Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis highlight’s one man’s quest for information, the internal conflict that arises, and the desire to break down the enormity of a situation into smaller manageable pieces to regain a sense of control.


About the Author

Kase Johnstun is an award-winning essayist. He is the co-editor/co-author of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front (History Press). His work has appeared nationally and internationally in journals and magazines such as Creative Nonfiction Magazine, The Chronicle Review, Label Me Latina/o, Prime Number, and as a regular contribution to The Good Men Project. He has an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing, and his set of essays Tortillas for Honkies and “Other” Essays was recently named a finalist for the Autumn House Press 2013 Award in Creative Nonfiction. He is a full-time lecturer in English at Utah State University. Learn more about Kase on his blog or on Facebook.

Find the book here!

Credit: Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis: An Inside View of Life Touched by the Congenital Skull Deformity (Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub)

Surpahs Over the Sink Multipurpose Roll-up Dish Drying Rack A Kitchen Must-Have!


I really like this product for a few reasons! I like the warm grey color and that it is quite versatile. It can be used for drying dishes and I love that I can also place hot cookie sheets on it when I am baking cookies. But, my favorite thing is that it is just perfect for my “not big enough” kitchen. In my dream world I have a big spacious kitchen with lots of space. In my real world, this isn’t the case. So, this is perfect because it doesn’t take up space and can be easily rolled up and stored when not using. It doesn’t take up much space at all! It’s a real Must-Have for the kitchen!

More info:

  • Size: 20-1/2″L x 13-1/8″W x 1/4″H
  • Multipurpose space-saving over the sink drying rack, heat resistant trivet mat
  • Constructed from durable, non-slip, silicone-coated steel
  • Rolls up for easy storage
  • Heat resistant up to 400°F (204°C), BPA- Free

You can purchase on

Self Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for an unbiased review. Photo Credit: Surpahs.

Shiseido Get The Look KYE show

unnamed (1)

“I wanted the look to pick up on the graphic elements of the collection.” – Dick Page, Shiseido Artistic Director.

·         Created By: Shiseido Artistic Director Dick Page

·         Inspiration: This collection was a bit sporty and collegiate looking, so Dick created a look that was young and a little rock-and-roll. The blacks and reds in the collection inspired the black eyeliner and red lip in this look.

·         Products:

o    Eye: Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil in Black (BK901) was applied in a solid line which was then smudged and diffused with Shimmering Cream Eye Color in Caviar (BK912). Then, Automatic Eyeliner in Black (BK901) was layered on top to finish the eyes.

o    Lip: Lacquer Rouge in Drama (RD501) and Lacquer Rouge in Sanguine (RD314) were mixed together and loaded heavily onto the lips, then immediately blotted with a flat tissue to break down the color. This application process kept the red lip from looking too glamorous and to ensure the models still looked young. Lastly, a bit of Lacquer Rouge in Drama (RD501) was dabbed onto the bottom lip to complete the look.

o    Face: Concealer and foundation were applied very minimally as needed, using the NEW Perfecting Stick Concealer and Sheer and Perfect Foundation SPF 18.

I received samples of the Lacquer Rouge in Drama (RD501) and love the shade and it is a Beauty Must-Buy! My favorite is the Perfecting Stick Concealer. It goes on smoothly and isn’t too heavy. It’s actually my to-go-to concealer for everyday use. The Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil in Black is also a hit with me! I love how smoothly it applies and how long it lasts!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this beauty post. Photo Credit: Shiseido.


Moms & Acne: ZAPZYT Skin Care


Damaged skin, scarring, a lack in confidence and even depression are just a few of the symptoms that are associated with adult acne. Today, one in five women between the ages of 25 and 40 suffer from it.


From stress to hormonal influxes during or after pregnancy, there are a number of causes for breakouts in adults, but very few effective solutions. ZAPZYT offers one of them!


Using a variety of dermatologist-recommended formulas, ZAPZYT acne treatments are fast-acting, effective and are free of alcohol, fragrances and dyes. The line offers two cleansers – the ZAPZYT Acne Wash Cleanser and Pore Clearing Scrub, and two on-the-spot treatments – the ZAPZYT Acne Treatment Gel and Pore Treatment Gel, which features medications AND soothing botanicals to help heal and moisturize skin. Each product ranges from $4 to $9.

I received a sample and fortunately, I don’t often suffer from adult acne. I did have a friend try this one out for me though and she was quite impressed with how well it works. She liked that it didn’t leave her skin looking and feeling dry and flaky.

They are also currently offering  5$ off on their Pore Treatment Gel. Click here to find out more!

Self Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this featured post. Photo Credit: ZAPZYT.

Cuties wants kids everywhere to “Do the Cutie Curl”


Getting kids to eat healthy – and love it – is no easy feat. So Cuties® is putting a fun, new ‘curl’ on healthy snacking.

I received a free voucher for Cuties and they are simply delicious! I can easily see why kids will love them!  Cuties knows that every kid out there has a hidden talent they’ve been waiting to show the world: their ability to peel a Cutie in one, continuous curl.

That’s why sweet, small, easy-to-peel Cuties is launching the search for the best Cutie Curl.You have until March 1, 2015 to enter this fun contest!

Check out the website here and upload your photos! But hurry! March 1st will be here soon!    Good luck!




Self Disclosure: I received a free voucher to try Cuties and to feature this post. No other compensation was received. Photo Credit: Cuties.


Keep Calm and Ace the Test The Test by Anya Kamenetz is a Must-Read for parents!



Anya Kamenetz author of THE TEST: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing—But You Don’t Have To Be believes a child is more than a number. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, to an estimated 113 tests by the time students graduate. This spring, tens of millions of students in 44 states will be getting ready to take Common Core-aligned tests for the first time. In an environment where students are already spending up to 28% of their instructional time on test preparation, these tests are going to be even harder; the scores are predicted to drop off the “Common Core cliff,” by at least 25 percentage points.


How do we stop the madness? NPR’s lead digital education reporter and renowned commentary on our country’s education system, Anya Kamenetz provides some guidance in the form of NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FOR PARENTS OF OVER-TESTED KIDS. Yes, it is not too late for New Years Resolutions!


THE TEST is the essential book helping parents make sense of the changing education landscape, answering the big question: what do I do about all these tests? THE TEST provides the understanding and tools to move our children toward the future we want for them, from elementary school, high school, and beyond.

 I received a copy of this book to review and although I homeschool, I found this book to be interesting and very well-researched. It really is  Must-Read for all parents today. One reason I am a homeschooler is because I have concerns about all the testing in public schools. It is not the only reason we homeschool. I do believe this book is a great resource for parents.

You can find our more and purchase the book here.

*Photo above is a checklist for parents, offering strategies to combat testing fatigue and help your children, and yourselves, be successful with as little stress and arguing as possible! *

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book to facilitate this feature.

Francois et Mimi Stacking Mug Set with Rack is a Must-Buy!


I just love this pastel color Francois et Mimi Stacking Mug Set with Rack! They look so stylish and fit so nicely by my coffee brewer. My favorite thing is the colors. I love the pink & blue! I love that they save space in my kitchen. I don’t have the most cupboard space so this is just perfect! They don’t take up much space at all. They are also Dishwasher and Microwave safe and are made of Stoneware Ceramic. I love that they seem very durable and they would also make a great gift! I can think of so many family members or friends that would love this set. If you love pastels, these really are a Must-Buy! I really can’t think of any cons in regards to this product. I simply love this set! Each much is 12 0z. They really are a Must-Buy!

You can purchase on



Self Disclosure: I received a free sample for review purposes.

The Rootlets Planting the Seeds of Vegetable Power! March is National Nutrition Month!

unnamed (1)

Veggies are cool! Veggies are powerful! Veggies are awesome! Enter The Rootlets™, a new brand of characters so adorable and uniquely memorable – you’ll want to eat them right up! Launching now for March’s National Nutrition Month with The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book (40p. soft cover, SRP $12.99) children and their families will be introduced to The Rootlets, a new generation of superheroes who, with their veggie hair and healthy habits begin the adventure of their lives!


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities, created and written by Vicki Marquez and illustrated by Jeremy Russnak, introduces readers to the Rootlets – Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley – who live on Planet Planted in the town of VeggieVille with their dog, Basil, and their guardian and caretaker Yammy Grammy, who plucked them from the ground when they were just sprouts..Hilariously fun with bright, bold, colorful illustrations; The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities is a thrilling journey that showcases the super powers of plant-based foods and explores the magic of friendship and imagination.Super Rootabilities is recommended for ages 4-9.


“The Rootlets are so much more than adorable little superheroes, they’re positive role models with the power to help kids embrace and love veggies,” says Marquez. “It’s my dream that families use The Rootlets as an entertaining resource to get their little ones excited about healthy living and yummy plant-based foods in a refreshingly fun way.”


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book is the first product launched by The Rootlets brand, whose mission is to familiarize kids with fruits, veggies, and healthy eating. Future Rootlets products include apps, more books, games & toys, and an animated TV show. The Rootlets will also be launching their website, which will be an interactive experience filled with games, activities, learning resources and exclusive content about the characters and their magical world.


“Veggies rock and The Rootlets take veggie coolness to a whole new level – especially for the kiddos. My daughter is a huge fan. Great book, great brand, great message. I can’t wait to see what’s next for these rad little characters,”  says Chad Sarno, Plant-Based Chef Educator.

We received a copy of this book and it’s a good one for children ages 4-9. It is a fun book with great illustrations!  What a fun way to motivate young children to eat healthier!


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book is available now for a SRP of $12.99. To order please visit For more information or to join The Rootlets fan club visit


About the Author

As a certified health coach, wellness expert, plant-based chef and author, Vicki Marquez’s dream is to break the stigma that healthy living is boring and to show both kids and adults that plants, especially veggies, are ridiculously cool! Vicki lives in Chicago with her husband, stepdaughter and two quinoa-loving Yorkies.


About the Illustrator

Jeremy Russnak is an illustrator from Chicago.  He has created illustrations for Time Out, Chicago Reader and other publications.  He currently resides in Los Angeles pursuing his passion in the field of animation.


Self Disclosure: I received a free book to facilitate this feature.