Sharing Some of My Personal Best Practices for Self-Care

I’ve been talking a lot about self-care lately but the truth is, it’s really hard for me. With the kids back in school now, I have a little time to focus on my own self-care. Today I’m sharing some of my personal best practices for self-care, including my bullet journal, an incredible detox scrub and mask from Teami Blends that are like a reset button for my face, some of my favorite scents, and my favorite relaxation playlist. If you want to try Teami’s awesome mask made with a blend of Matcha Tea, Bentonite Clay and Lemon Grass, use the code RATM for 15% off today! #teamimommi #thankyouteami

Source Link: Sharing Some of My Personal Best Practices for Self-Care

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,


Our weekend OC Bus adventure

This post is sponsored by OC Bus

I’m great about using public transportation when I travel. I’m enthusiastic about to taking the subway when I visit New York. I’ve taken the tube in London and the metro in Paris, and when the kids and I visited Amsterdam last year, we rode the bus everywhere. And yet, in my own city, I must confess that I’ve never even taken the bus.

The other day, I found myself with 15 kids at my house. I usually have an extra kid or two at the house on any given day. We live in a family-oriented neighborhood with lots of incredible kids and I love having them over. But this day was definitely extreme.

I decided that this was the perfect time to give our city bus a whirl. The kids wanted to go get ice cream and I had too many people to fit in a car. So we rounded everyone up and walked to our nearest bus station, which only took about five minutes.

One nice bonus was discovering that the map app on my phone would give me perfect instructions for my route using public transportation. I popped in the ice cream shop we were headed for, and hit the little bus icon, and it provided me with walking instructions to the stop, the bus number I needed and where to get off, and then walking instructions to the ice cream shop. Also handy? OC Bus has mobile ordering, so we grabbed the tickets with our phone and then it was just a simple scan when we got on the bus.

The kids were so pumped. It was hilarious to see how excited they were for this little adventure. I swear, the bus was as exciting for them as any ride at Disney. They loved the anticipation of it all, sitting at the bus stop like big kids and waiting for it to come along. And of course, they headed straight to the back of the bus.

With that many kids, we sort of took over. They had a blast on the ride, and we got to the ice cream shop much quicker than I anticipated. It was fast and easy, and the bus was modern and clean.

All 18 of us (15 kids and three adults) filed into Afters for handmade ice cream. This was a local place I’ve been wanting to try but hadn’t found the time. They had all kinds of fun flavors like cookie monster and tiramisu, but the real gem on the menu is their milky bun, which is basically a doughnut sandwich with ice cream in the middle. My goodness, it was delicious.

After ice cream we moseyed around, exploring our city. We went into a skate shop so the boys could get some oil for their wheels. We stopped at a fountain and walked around a shopping plaza, letting the kids run into the stores they were interested in. Then, we walked over to Thunderking Coffee Bar, which our friend owns, and let the kids hang while the adults had a quick cocktail at SOCIAL next door. One more bonus of the bus: no designated driver needed.
It was a really fun day and the kids are already asking to do it again. I think the bus will be a regular option for outings in the future.
If you live in Orange County and want to try the bus, first-time riders can receive 2 free day passes at It’s a great option for family excursions, and also the perfect way to commute to work so that you can relax (or even work) on the way.

Source Link: Our weekend OC Bus adventure

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

Assisting Hands Houston Named “Premier Provider” of Home Care

Terri Robbins of Assisting Hands Houston

Terri Robbins of Assisting Hands Houston

Under the leadership of franchise owner Terri Robbins, Assisting Hands Houston was named the “#1 provider for elder and senior care in the Houston area.”

Terri and her team provide the best in-home care to their clients because they have a passion for caregiving. In the article published by the Digital Journal, clients give testimonials about the Houston team and how they alleviate the stress and worry of finding good quality home care.

Read the full story here.

Congratulations to Terri and all of Assisting Hands Houston, and thank you for all you do for the people of Houston.

The post Assisting Hands Houston Named “Premier Provider” of Home Care appeared first on Assisting Hands Home Care.

TBT: The joy and sorrow of kids who grow up

On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from June 2014.
Next year is the year, people. It’s when Karis starts kindergarten. My youngest. My last. I haven’t quite figured out how that’s supposed to feel.
Part of me thinks I might break into song and go skipping jubilantly through my house. Because freedom! I will be able to work without distractions every weekday. I will not have to struggle to maintain a work-life balance because I can just WORK during those precious hours. I can blog and write and Facebook and plan dinner and all those things without my tiny little mini-me lurking in the background.
Then part of me wants to sob because my tiny little mini-me will no longer be lurking in the background. Because THE TIME: Where did it go? Who’s going to ask me to read to her? Who’s going to sit in my lap and snuggle? Who’s going to inspire my #assholeparent hashtags on Instagram?
No one. I will be alone.
Joy and sorrow. Beauty and ashes. That’s the struggle of the human experience, especially from a parenting standpoint. We long for the freedom of the future—potty training, independent kids, simplified travel, empty nests—until those things actually arrive. And then we pine for the good old days when they were babies. It feels like I’m always on the verge of the next big milestone, and always ready for it to get here as soon as possible. But when that next stage arrives, it brings along a little sadness, because we also lose something. Transition always leaves something lovely behind, and in the immortal words of the great 80s glam metal band Cinderella, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
I’m gonna miss little Karis, just like I missed little Jafta—who’s now going into 4th grade and is growing up so fast he probably already has his own YouTube channel I don’t know about. Kembe and India were just in diapers, it seems. Now they are little little adults. Childhood seems to take forever until you’re a parent. Then it takes, like, two weeks and suddenly they’re showing you their new tattoos and helping you fix the wifi and the whole childhood thing’s DONE.
So I’m wavering between excitement and sadness. Between optimism and deep, sinking woe. I guess you could say all those things average out, which makes me…ambivalent?…about these changes. I long for them and then I find myself on the bathroom floor ugly-crying when it finally happens. 
Awhile back, I wrote about the song “Stop, Time” from the musical version of Big. (Yes, there was a musical version.) That song still haunts me. Those lyrics:

You want your kid to change and grow but when he does, another child you’ve just begun to know leaves forever 

So this is just a long way of saying I’m really feeling it today. The parenting paradox. How do you find a way to experience every moment and celebrate every stage of life while also holding aside some dreams for the future? How do we focus on contentment in the present rather than longing for either the future or the past? 

I’m still trying to figure that out.

Source Link: TBT: The joy and sorrow of kids who grow up

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

What family preservation looks like in Haiti

When we set out to adopt from Haiti, the ethics of the organization we would work with was a top concern. I believe in family preservation, and I did not want to adopt a child who was removed from living birthparents for monetary reasons. I did a ton of research and kept getting the same answer: Heartline. They had a great reputation in Haiti, and they tried very hard to reunify birth families when they could. The people who work at Heartline will always hold a special place for me, because they helped Kembe join our family. But they have also become close friends. Troy and Tara are two of my favorite people in the world.

Their value for family preservation meant that they felt conflicted about facilitating adoptions. While there are many kids in need of a family, there are even more who are at risk of being orphaned and need intervention BEFORE that happens. As a result of that concern, Heartline made a dramatic shift. They closed down the orphanage and adoption branch to focus on maternal health and orphan prevention. You can hear founder Beth McHoul talk about that passion here:

Haitians suffer the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere, by far. Millions of Haitian women either cannot access health care, or cannot afford it. Those who can’t afford it are often left to go it alone. Even those who can afford it are often treated in conditions that are unimaginable here in the US. Women are left to labor alone, often in dirty rooms with no one attending until the baby is actually crowning.
My friends who run Heartline Haiti offer a very different experience for the Haitian women in their program. Each week the Heartline prenatal program sees twenty pregnant women. Most of them have never received pre-natal care. When it comes time to deliver their babies the women can come to the birthing center to have their baby. 

Heartline offers women in Haiti a safe, clean, peaceful and loving place to experience labor and delivery with trained midwives to assist the ladies throughout their labor and delivery. This should be a given to all women, regardless of where they live, but unfortunately, it’s not the case.

In addition to a safe birthing experience, Heartline offers holistic care to try to prevent orphans, by empowering mothers with the help and skills they need to parent their own children. Their education center provides literacy and job skills that enable them to start businesses, earn an income, pursue their dreams, and provide for their families.

A few years ago we made the decision to give to Heartline every month.  Haiti continues to need help rebuilding after so many natural disasters.  These are some of the people we trust will do that.  The mainstays of their ministry – a sewing school and a birthing center – will continue to help make a brighter future for the next generation in Haiti.  If you are looking for a place to give, I highly recommend Heartline.  They are celebrating ten years of doing orphan prevention this year. 

To learn more, or to donate, visit their birthday campaign page.

Source Link: What family preservation looks like in Haiti

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

Wednesday’s Child: Tommy

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday’s Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

Source Link: Wednesday’s Child: Tommy

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,


This is our hair episode. We talk all things follicular, from going gray to the best flat iron to whether or not those hair pills really work. Plus, body positivity – we’re positively conflicted about it. We love the movement and yet . . .  we have concerns and feelings and confusion. You’ll just have to listen:

// Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS

And Thinking vs. Feeling: what the third Myers Briggs quadrant means for your personality and your own self-care habits.

In this episode, we talked about:

Lisa from This Organic Girl is growing out her gray and we are here for it.
Hairprint is a great nontoxic hair dye.
If you are looking for a good biotin supplement, Natrol has great ratings on Amazon.
Sarah has rounded up all of her favorite organic haircare products on her blog.
We are both fans of Acure Organics Shampoo and Conditioner. So affordable!
Kristen loves Grove Collaborative for clean beauty products.
Pharmaca always has great deals on natural and organic haircare and makeup.
If you are looking for higher-end natural haircare, Sarah loves Rahua and True BotanicalsJosh Rosebrook has great styling products.  
Kristen swears by Chi Silk Infusion for her brittle gray hair.
Wanna learn to do beachy waves? Check out Sarah’s tutorials. Waves with a curling iron or waves with a flat iron.
We are both fans of the more spendy Sedu flat iron for creating waves, but on a budget, check out this Conair number. Sarah also loves Hot Tools for curls.
Want to upgrade your hair dryer? Sarah loves the Sedu 4000i and Kristen is a fan of the Babyliss.
In our next few episodes, we are talking about the Meyer’s Brigg’s personality types. If you’ve never figured out your type, check out this Myers Briggs online test for free. It’s fascinating and informative.
We were touched by this open letter from Serena Williams to her mom about body positivity.

Source Link: HAIR + BODY POSITIVITY + MYERS BRIGGS T VS. F: It’s Selfie episode 4

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

The mall camp: when refuge happens in unexpected places

Last month I had the chance to visit Iraq and Lebanon with World Vision to see the work they are doing with families living in refugee camps. I’ve seen footage of the violence and destruction that ISIS has wreaked on families in Iraq and Syria and I think that their stories desperately need to be told. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to what is happening to both the Iraqi and Syrian people because it’s happening so far away. It’s also so incredibly painful that I think it’s hard to even process it, especially for Americans who have never lived under occupation or experienced sustained violent conflict in our home country.

The first IDP (internally displaced people’s) camp we visited on my trip to Iraq did not look at all how I expected it would look. In my mind, I envisioned a dusty, remote environment with rows of temporary shelters. And many of the camps we would later visit would look just like this. But the first camp we visited looked just like a shopping mall. In fact, it sat on top of one.
The first camp we visited was in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The city of Erbil is host to many Iraqi refugees who fled cities like Mosul when they were besieged by ISIS. The number of displaced people has overwhelmed neighboring cities, which means that finding a place for them to settle takes some creativity.
In the city of Erbil, there is a large mall that has allowed the building of modest apartments on the roof. A French NGO helped to build the apartments, which are now inhabited by hundreds of Iraqi families. The apartments are small but functional, with 4-5 families living in most apartments. It has created a sort of tenement environment above all of the shops below. When you walk through, there are scenes of domestic life that feel out of place for a retail space . . . laundry hanging outside of doorways, kids riding trikes through the hall, women congregating for tea.
This particular camp is a camp for Christian displaced people. Given that it was our first stop, I had a moment of fear that perhaps World Vision was more invested in helping the small Christian minority in Iraq than the large number of Muslims. I would later find that was far from the truth. But this happened to be one of the few camps in which Christians were the majority. In a sort of self-selected segregation, no doubt fueled by distrust of other cultures after having been oppressed by one, most camps are religiously homogenous.
We had the chance to talk with one family that has lived in this camp for three years. It was never their intention to live there for so long. Everyone thought it was a temporary solution. But because they don’t yet feel safe returning to their hometown, they remain.

Nithal fled ISIS with her aging parents, her husband, and her five children. They fled on foot, and walked for several days. In the last three years while living at the camp, her husband passed away. The family believes he died from the stress of having to flee. They received reports from friends that their home had been destroyed, and all of their belongings stolen. They left with nothing, and rely on the charity of others to survive. They used to be a middle class family, selling bread to their community. Now, they are dependent on aid. It’s clear this wears on them.

Nithal desperately wants to return, as does her mother Maryam, who is 80 years old and has not left the camp in three years because the stairs are too difficult for her to traverse. Maryam’s husband has also been confined to the camp. He is battling cancer and receives treatment in his apartment.
Between Nithal, her parents, and her adult children and their spouses and children, there are 14 people living in their small apartment. They are very tight-knit. It is Nithal and Maryam’s greatest wish to return home, and I get a sense while talking to them that nothing but a homecoming will displace their grief. They are fixated on the idea of a return and have not been able to find any hope in their current circumstances. When asked what she does to occupy her time, Nithal says “I do nothing for fun. I sit here all day and wait.”

Their children feel differently, and I find this to be true with many of the families we talk to. They are younger and more resilient. Their ties to their home are not as fixed, and they are moving forward and finding things to do in Erbil. Nithal’s son works for  World Vision. Another son just got married and is looking for local work. They say that they do not want to return, but also know that it would break their mother’s heart if they did not stay with her.

This is one of the unseen losses of occupation. Families are forced to leave their home and then splinter apart. The Iraqi people are very community and family oriented, but losing their home and community means that some of the natural structure that kept their families close is no longer there. Both Nithal and Maryam talk at length about their fears of their families breaking apart.

One of the ways that World Vision has helped this family was through a series of classes meant to strengthen family bonds. It teaches coping skills and conflict resolution, and each member of the family reports that it was incredibly helpful. Nithal’s son Housam now works with the younger people in his community, hoping to impart the same values for them.
Despite feeling adrift and without a home, Nithal has managed to make her home a warm and welcoming space. She has done the best with what she has and it’s clear she has given much attention to the interior space of her house, as it’s all that she has. She has hung wallpaper and art, and has sewn pillows. She offers us tea and sofa on trays with matching glasses, and urges us to eat from plates of candy and snacks. Her hospitality peeks through her despondences. It’s a way that she copes, and while the details are certainly different, I relate to this.

Nithal has made a home in the midst of insecurity, and that home gives her solace while she waits to return.
World Vision is helping to meet the needs of these people, in ways that are both practical and hope-infusing. I was incredibly impressed with the work  World Vision is doing, and if you would like to support that work, please visit their website and become a sponsor of their refugee work.

Source Link: The mall camp: when refuge happens in unexpected places

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

Friday Finds

1. Bauble Bar Pinata Tassel Earrings | Nordstrom 
2. Max Acrylic Statment Earring | Urban Outfitters 
3. Ashira Fringe Earrings Baublebar | Nordstrom 

4. Beaded-Coin Hoop-Drop Earrings | Old Navy 

5. Circlet Earrings | Jcrew  
6. Petal Chandelier Earrings | Old Navy 
7. Modern Ring Statement Earrings | Banana Republic 
8. Sparkle Cuff Hook Earrings | Anthropologie 
9. Sugarfix by Bauble Bar Beaded Tassel Earrings | Target 

Source Link: Friday Finds

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,

Odds and Ends

1. A bunch of new paint colors gone hilariously wrong, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

2. If you read anything today, I recommend this. Beyond frightening.

3. The new midlife crisis. Are you feeling it? Yep.

4. Trolling protestors. I’m down with this.

5. Sexism is so incredibly subtle, many don’t even realize. Heard it all, how about you?

6. I have been known to engage in this kind of behavior. Kristen Bell, I feel you. #workinprogress

7. Hey dudes, not sure about your behavior? Like, maybe it could be considered sexually harassing but you just don’t know? #megaeyeroll Just do The Rock Test!

8. At 42, it’s official that I can’t wear stilettos anymore. No way, no how, just NO. These (in black velvet) are my new go-to wedding/cocktail party kicks. (Under $100!)

9. WTF is going on here and why is it so pretty?

10. This. Rupi Kaur always speaks to me.

11. Hair, hair, hair. This week’s podcast is all about hair. Listen below and/or show notes here.


Happy weekend to you all!

image credit: weheartit 

The post Odds and Ends appeared first on whoorl.

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog ,