Conquer Your Backyard with DC Mosquito Squad

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Mosquito season is around the corner. As we’re beginning to enjoy the warmer weather, planning our nightly dinners outside on our patios, we need to get a jumpstart on controlling those pesky mosquitoes!

Mosquitoes are more than an itchy nuisance, especially for our children. Though uncommon, serious diseases such as West Nile, Encephalitis and dengue fever can be spread by mosquito bites and even cause heartworms in pets. The itchy bites can be scratched open by children, leading to scabbing, scarring, and the skin infection impetigo. Prevention is the best strategy. And ticks are just as serious a threat as they easily travel across outdoor landscapes and latch onto pets that enter our homes and then land on a human host, spreading Lyme disease, Erlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other tick-borne illnesses.

As a community, we can all attempt to keep our  local mosquito population under control by making it more difficult for the insects to breed. Mosquito control expert Damien Sanchez of D.C. Mosquito Squad offers a variety of services to keep mosquitoes out of clients’ properties. He shares that those on a tight budget can take a number of inexpensive, preventative measures that can drastically reduce the mosquito population in their yards. It all begins with targeting the breeding areas, finding ways to be less attractive to mosquitoes, and using effective repellants.

  • Empty any containers of standing water, including tires, empty flowerpots, or birdbaths.
  • Avoid allowing gutters or drainage pipes to hold water. Mosquitoes are “home-bodies”—they don’t typically wander far from their place of birth. So reducing the mosquito population in your own yard can really help.
  • Keep landscaping neat by limiting foliage, yard clippings, and leaf piles, where mosquitoes and other bugs like to harbor or feed. Keep landscaping trimmed and limit ivy and junipers to decrease places where the mosquitoes can seek shelter.
  • Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants. Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by a variety of plants. Fill your garden with plants such as marigolds, rosemary, catnip. citronella, peppermint, and garlic. If you don’t have the room for a garden in your yard, try some potted plants.
  • Don’t Wear Perfume. Fragrances such as cologne and perfume can make you more appealing to mosquitoes. Avoid wearing scented fragrances when spending time outdoors for any lengthy amount of time.
  • Choose an Effective Repellant According to the CDC, the most effective repellents on the market today contain DEET. If you’re shopping for a repellent, look at the label to see if DEET is an active ingredient. An alternative is Avon Skin So Soft with picaridin, a synthetic version of piperine, the active component of black pepper. (Unlike DEET, it won’t dissolve plastics.)

Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington D.C. will get rid of mosquitoes and ticks on residential and commercial properties. When applied on regular basis, mosquito spray will reduce and control the mosquito and tick populations. Regular treatment programs for mosquito abatement are available to suit most budgets. Mosquito Squad professionals can apply Barrier Sprays, Event Sprays and Tick Tube Treatments. Abandoned Pool Treatments are also a necessary “mosquito barrier” for many homeowners. Controlling mosquitoes and ticks helps protect you, your family, and your pets from the nuisances and illnesses carried by these pesky insects.

For more information on DC Mosquito Squad, visit www.dcmosquitosquad.com

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with DC Mosquito Squad. However, all opinions are my own.}

Knowing Who’s Injecting Your BOTOX

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BOTOX® Cosmetic is the go-to wrinkle treatment for millions of Americans. It’s been the top cosmetic procedure for 6 years running and there’s no close second. There are alternatives, Dysport® and XEOMIN®, but BOTOX commands the vast majority of the market.

The reasons for the popularity of BOTOX are pretty simple. In a culture that values youth, getting a few injections and then returning to work or meeting someone for lunch is easy and effective. It’s not exactly cheap, but the $300 to $500 most people pay for a treatment is worth trimming a few years off their appearance — and it’s a fraction of the cost of cosmetic surgery.

The relative ease of getting BOTOX treatments, however, has led to individuals assuming that just about anyone can perform the injections. In fact, BOTOX parties, although less common now than a few years ago, are still around. Friends gather at someone’s home, drink some wine, and have a guest injector provide BOTOX to the attendees. Sometimes the treatments are discounted.

Reducing a medical procedure to the equivalent of a social gathering, doctors says, devalues the risks inherent with any medical treatment. BOTOX injections are relatively safe when given by an experienced doctor, but complications do occur. Pain and bruising are the most common, but in the rare instance that something goes wrong, patients need a doctor in a medical office to treat them.

Besides the physical risks, patients may unwittingly be getting ripped off by injectors who either dilute the drug or use something that’s not BOTOX at all. Fake BOTOX (and other drugs) is a real threat, prompting the FDA to issue a warning to physicians last fall to beware of “rogue wholesale drug distributors.”

BOTOX and other neurotoxins are injected with precision into tiny muscles that are responsible for causing wrinkles around the eyes and forehead when we make facial expressions. The prescription drug blocks transmission of nerve signals to the muscles.

The Physicians’ Coalition for Injectable Safety (PCIS) states that at a minimum BOTOX should be injected by a registered nurse or physician assistant under the supervision of a qualified doctor who has prescribed the injection for you. Additionally, the organization states the patient should always have the option of requesting a doctor to perform their injection.

But too often, says one plastic surgeon, doctors don’t even see patients who come in for cosmetic injections.

Dr. Houtan Chaboki, a specialist with BOTOX injections and facelift surgery in Washington, D.C., told The New York Times that the growing trend of injections and other non-surgical cosmetic treatments being performed by physician assistants is concerning.

“They might be under physician supervision, but the physician may not even be in the room,” the surgeon told the newspaper in a story published last August. “They may just be reviewing the chart afterward.”

The concern that practitioners without enough training or experience are performing cosmetic injections prompted the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) to recommend that only physicians administer injectable soft tissue fillers (such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane®) and neurotoxins, including BOTOX.

Exactly who can perform injections is regulated state to state, but all states require a healthcare professional to administer BOTOX. In England, where rules regulating who can administer cosmetic injections are more lax than in the U.S., the Royal College of Surgeons has pushed for allowing only trained doctors, nurses, and dentists to give BOTOX injections.

The bottom line for patients is to ensure that the person performing the injections is a qualified doctor or licensed RN or physician assistant. That’s especially important for anyone getting the treatments at a salon or day spa, which may not have a doctor directly supervising the staff on a daily basis.

Dr. Chaboki’s Offices are located at: 2021 K Street NW #206, Washington DC 20006 and at Sibley, 5215 Loughboro Road NW #210, Washington DC 20016. For more information, click here or visit www.potomacplasticsurgery.com. 

{Disclosure: Compensation was provided in exchange for this sponsored post.}

Local Business Spotlight: Dr. Houtan Chaboki

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There are dozens and dozens of plastic surgeons in our metro area, but few are as qualified as Dr. Houtan Chaboki. At his facial plastic surgery practice with 2 Washington, D.C. offices, he specializes in treatments just for the face. He offers common surgical procedures such as facelift and popular non-invasive treatments including BOTOX® Cosmetic injections. Check out this interview.

Clarendon Moms: Hi, Dr. Chaboki! Here a few questions to help my readers get better acquainted with you. How long have you been a plastic surgeon?

Dr. Chaboki: I finished my facial plastic surgery fellowship training in 2006 in New York City at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and then moved to start my practice in downtown Washington, D.C.

Clarendon Moms: What age were you when you decided to become a plastic surgeon? A little boy, teenager, med student?

Dr. Chaboki: Like many physicians, I’ve always been interested in science and math, which led me to medical school in the first place. Ultimately, it was my facial plastic surgery mentors during medical school and residency who inspired me to become a facial plastic surgeon.

Clarendon Moms: What inspired you to become a plastic surgeon?

Dr. Chaboki: Plastic surgery is a great area of medicine to practice. You can really help everyone. You can use your skills to help with such a variety of issues, whether it be post-cancer surgery, reconstructive work, or cosmetic treatments. Additionally, I find the practice of plastic surgery to be so interesting, as it truly blends the art and science of medicine together.

Clarendon Moms: What type of activities do you do for fun to relax and enjoy yourself?

Dr. Chaboki: I spend time with the family. I like to cook simple, healthy foods that my children will actually eat. Impromptu dance parties with the family are always fun. And streaming TV shows and movies with my wife, once the kids are asleep, is always relaxing. We avoid reality television and focus on sitcoms, late-night talk shows, and drama. We miss the challenges of Walter White and look forward to the adventures in Westoros!

Clarendon Moms: Tell us about your family.

Dr. Chaboki: I’m married to a smart, hard-working, and compassionate woman and have 2 beautiful and mischievous daughters. My wife was a banker in New York and now works in finance policy in D.C.

Clarendon Moms: Before someone considers plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons, what are some recommendations you might make?

Dr. Chaboki: How you look is a reflection of your overall health, so all patients, regardless of age or skin type, should do the following: avoid smoking, drink plenty of fluids, use sun protection daily, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. My plastic surgery patients who have the best cosmetic results do all of the above.

Clarendon Moms: Are there questions someone should ask themselves before scheduling a consultation?

Dr. Chaboki: With the large choice of options for aesthetic improvements, it’s daunting to determine what may be “best.” Doing a little bit of homework prior to the initial consultation definitely helps patients. For example:

  • What specific areas are you considering for cosmetic treatment?
  • What about the area concerns you (too big, too small, asymmetric, etc.)?
  • How long have you been considering cosmetic treatment?
  • How long do you have for recovery: a few hours, days, or longer?
  • Lastly, developing a potential financial plan will help alleviate concerns for any given budget.

Clarendon Moms: What is a typical consultation like? Is it like all the plastic surgery shows we see on TV, where the doctor takes a marker and makes suggestions on what can be improved?

Dr. Chaboki: Consultations for office treatments such as BOTOX or facial fillers (such as Restylane® or JUVÉDERM®) are typically quicker than surgical consultations. Patients will often know within the first office visit if they would like to proceed with such a treatment.

Patients who are considering surgery will often require more than one office visit before they make the appropriate decision for themselves. As with any big decision, providing adequate time to consider surgery is important for patients to make an informed decision. Following the initial cosmetic surgery consultation, I may perform a computer simulation to help the patient visualize potential outcomes for his or her procedure, such as facelift or rhinoplasty.

Skin markings are performed immediately before cosmetic surgery. I don’t need or use markings before BOTOX or fillers. Patients after non-surgical office treatments often can return to work the same day, if they desire.

Clarendon Moms: What would you like to share with readers who are considering a procedure? Any tips?

Dr. Chaboki: Sure, I have a few tips:

  • Tip: Have realistic expectations. Plastic surgery shows on television glamorize the field of plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery has inherent risks, which should be discussed with your plastic surgeon.
  • Tip: Try arnica montana tablets before and after any cosmetic treatment to help minimize bruising.
  • Tip: Topical petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline or Aquaphor) is good to limit scarring after cuts and scrapes. It must be used continuously until skin has adequately healed. I encourage all cosmetic surgery patients to use topical ointment for at least several weeks after plastic surgery. In fact, I chase my children around with Vaseline whenever they come home with scrapes from school!

Clarendon Moms: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dr. Chaboki: When choosing a plastic surgeon, other factors to consider are before-and-after photographs and online patient reviews. Patients share their plastic surgery experiences on a variety websites to help other patients in planning their own treatments.

Lastly, while cosmetic surgery is common, it is a personal choice that each individual makes. Please don’t feel pressured by friends or family members to change yourself.

Dr. Chaboki’s Offices are located at: 2021 K Street NW #206, Washington DC 20006 and at Sibley, 5215 Loughboro Road NW #210, Washington DC 20016. For more information, click here or visit www.potomacplasticsurgery.com.

{Disclosure: Compensation was provided in exchange for this sponsored post.}

Yogaso Boutique at Pike & Rose

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Ella “flying” like the butterfly outside of YOGASO.

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Ella & Logan. YOGASO Boutique.

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Alem Beshir & her beautiful family. The inspiration for YOGASO.

Alem Beshir & her beautiful family. The inspiration for YOGASO.

I met Alem Beshir at the opening party of one of DC’s hottest restaurants last year. Her electrifying, positive energy was instantly contagious. We bonded over being mothers, our multi-ethnic backgrounds and our passion for fashion. Alem reached out to me a couple months ago to let me know that her brand new boutique YOGASO had recently opened at the new North Bethesda town center ,Pike & Rose. I recently visited the boutique with my children, Ella and Logan during one of the final snowy days we’ve had this spring.

YOGASO was founded by Alem Beshir. Her vision for YOGASO was inspired by her multicultural background and her three children. Alem designed her boutique from top to bottom without consulting an architect or interior designer. She considered every detail of the boutique herself. The 1700 square foot boutique is bright and beautiful. From the moment you walk in, the wide open space feels welcoming. The boutique is a real showcase for the beautifully curated clothing designed for children ranging from infants to 12 year olds. Architecturally, the boutique is very impressive and showcases the clothes, accessories, books and toys in a way that allows the merchandise to awake your visual senses.

The clothing is imported mostly from Europe, but  the collection also consists of American, Japanese and South American designers. Prices are very affordable at a price point of  $35 to $50 for clothing items, much less expensive than jetting over to another country and buying the clothing there–which is something Alem did regularly while visiting her family abroad and attending expos and trade shows. Alem said she’s attracted to European kids’ clothing because it tends to be higher quality than mass-produced items sold in larger American department stores and I completely agree. Her collection is eco-friendly and sustainable, the style is very classic, very personal to Alem’s distinctive tastes. Definitely a world class boutique.

One of the lines of clothing sold at the boutique is Aleme, inspired by her children, the word “Aleme” means “My world” in Amharic, a primary language of Ethiopia. Her children are her world! “Aleme” is not only a clothing brand; it’s also the reflection of love, culture, and Style. The YOGASO name is derived from the first two letter of each of her 3 children’s names: Yohannes, Gabriella, and Sofia.

Ella, Logan and I really love this boutique because it doesn’t feel like a standard retail store,  it feels like an exhibition, an innovative take on a boutique. The entire space is open, very minimalistic and has that “wow” factor. When we visited YOGASO to see Alem and have a look at the boutique we had no idea what to expect and were absolutely blown away with the boutique. I think you will be too.

YOGASO offers kid’s birthday parties, kid’s yoga classes and fashion events.

YOGASO is located at: 11803 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda MD at Pike and Rose . For more information, visit www.yogaso.com 

 

Best Birthday Party Ever: All You Ever Wanted Parties

 

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When I was growing up in Ohio, all birthday parties consisted of was a homemade birthday cake and ice cream, party hats and a few streamers. The parties back then were always about the kids. Fast forward to today and we have so many options available, the options can become overwhelming, stressful and expensive.

All You Ever Wanted Parties offers stress free, affordable birthday parties that take the focus off the parents and place it on the person who really matters—the birthday boy or girl.

From set up to managing the event to cleaning up, All You Ever Wanted Parties makes it possible for parents to enjoy their child’s birthday.

“As the parents of a five-year-old, we are deeply experienced in the stressful event that a kid’s birthday party can be. We’ve watched other parents frantically trying to make sure that everyone has a good time, while also trying to focus on their child – the star of the show.

With All You Ever Wanted, the stress is gone. The parents of the birthday girl or boy and all of the other parents in attendance can enjoy themselves while the expert team from All You Ever Wanted makes the party perfect. They turned our backyard into a wonderland captivating the kids from the moment they arrived. All You Ever Wanted stage-managed the experience from beginning to end.

We watched. We Played. We enjoyed. Best birthday party ever both for us, our guests and, most importantly, our guest of honor. I highly recommend them.” –Joe (Kai’s Father)

All You Ever Wanted Parties offers a large variety of options to create the perfect party at your home or a private venue! For more information, visit www.allyoueverwantedparties.com.

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from All You Ever Wanted Parties. A sponsored party for my son Logan’s pal Kai was gifted in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.}

Hoppity Easter Weekend at Fair Oaks Mall

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Hop into Bunnyville at Fair Oaks Mall

Next weekend, March 28 & 29 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Bunnyville will be having an “eggciting” Family Event! Take the entire family to Bunnyville, a charming, three-dimensional Bunny town featuring the Kid Junction Home of the Ultimate Party Experience, Hare Salon, and 24 Carrot Bank. The last stop in Bunnyville is a professional photo with the Easter Bunny in front of his Bunny House. Customers will receive a $10 or $20 card from Shutterfly with the purchase of select photo packages ($22-44), and all children receive a small gift from the Bunny just for visiting!
Locally presented by Kid Junction. enjoy FREE face painting, balloon creations, spring crafts, and more in Fair Oaks Mall’s Grand Court West. For more information about this event and Fair Oaks Mall, click here.

The Honest Company Introduces Honest Feeding Line

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The Honest Company is an innovator in the baby industry with its commitment to healthy, eco-friendly products for babies and families. Their trendy diaper designs are effective and aesthetically pleasing. And the auto-shipment bundle subscription adds an element of convenience and efficiency that keep busy moms organized. I absolutely love this brand.

The Honest Company just launched its feeding line including: Organic Premium Formula “carefully modeled after breast milk, nutritionally complete, easy to digest, and meticulously blended using ingredients sourced from trusted organic farms; ‘Honestly Free’ of gluten, GMOs, hexane-extracted DHA, and steroids.”

Honest’s new feeding line also includes a liquid-based fish oil baby DHA, which the company is marketing separately instead of adding to the formula because the synthetic DHA available to the powdered formula market didn’t meet the company’s purity standards. “The FDA is very rigorous, but in this one key category, DHA, I felt there wasn’t the choice that I needed,” says Christopher Gavigan, co-founder of The Honest Company. “So we are offering a pure version as an extra add-on.” For breastfeeding parents, the product line includes a lactation supplement for moms to stimulate breast milk production, as well as aids like a nursing pillow and coverup includes products to support breast feeding as well as the new line created around the organic formula.

The Honest Company has a philosophy that I completely embrace:

No breast versus bottle, no right or wrong: We believe how parents choose to feed their babies is a personal process based on the needs of their families….We’re aware that breast is best, but we also understand that families may choose or require other options. No parent should have to feel guilty for choosing to feed her or his baby one way or another. Parents have been nourishing their children in all kinds of ways since the beginning of time as we know it. With Honest Feeding, The Honest Company hopes to represent the next step in the evolution of nourishment as we help you lay the foundation for a safe, healthy and happy future.

The entire collection includes Nipple Balm, Lactation Plus Vitamins and Nursing Cover + Scarf for breastfeeding moms as well as Nursing Pillow, Formula Dispenser, 5 oz. Bottles and 8 oz. Bottles and Natural Feeding Peristaltic Nipples.

{Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by The Honest Company via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of The Honest Company or Momtrends.}

Faith’s Baby Shower: Event Photography by Big Bash Photo

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When my friend Faith’s best friends and family reached out to me to help plan her baby shower, I knew I wanted to hire  professional photographer TC Coffey of Big Bash Photo to cover her special day.

TC Coffey was a professional party event planner when a friend of hers realized that she “had an eye for photography and suggested that TC explore the idea of becoming a professional photographer. TC began her professional photography business almost 10 years ago after taking courses in various mediums, particularly film. Her passion stems from an enormous interest in documenting memories from a family history perspective.

Whether you have a baby shower, kid’s birthday party, holiday party or playmate, I recommend Big Bash Photo to cover your event. For more information, visit www.bigbashphoto.com.

Entertainment Pick for Kids: Ringling Bros Presents LEGENDS

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Confession: My parents never took me to see the circus as a kid. And last night was the very first time I had ever attended the GREATEST Show on Earth in my entire life! I allowed Ella and Logan to stay up past their bedtime to enjoy one of the most impressive and amazing live shows we’ve ever seen together as a family. Johnathan Lee Iverson treated us with an awe-inspiring performance as a ringmaster. He introduced the most talented acrobats, dancers and circus entertainers!

My son’s favorite act was the motorcyclists. My daughter’s favorite act was the female acrobats that appeared in bubbles. My husband and I gushed about everything!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s LEGENDS is still in town this weekend continuing their tour in Baltimore and Fairfax in March and April. Check it out:

Washington, DC
March 19, 2015 – March 22, 2015
Baltimore, MD
March 25, 2015 – April 05, 2015
Fairfax, VA
April 08, 2015 – April 19, 2015

For schedule and ticket information, click here.

{Disclosure: My family was gifted complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for review.}

Cool Kid Stationery: Letter Learning Cards & Thank-you Notes

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Here’s a neat tip: writing birthday cards, holiday greetings and thank-you notes just became a lot more fun and educational thanks to fellow Arlington mom and former elementary school teacher Ellen Richard.

Letter Learning stationery is traceable stationery designed so your child can write his or her own thank-you notes, birthday cards and holiday greetings all by themselves. Yes! You read that correctly, all by themselves. Your young child can trace the pre-made words so you never have to worry about misspellings, sloppy handwriting or letters that fall off the page.  To ensure personalization, blank space is available for your little one’s artistic drawings, and there is a designated space for the child and recipient’s names.  Letter Learning cards can be customized to offer you fully personalized stationery for your child.  Pick any design on their website and add your child’s name to make it all their own.

Save 20% off right now during Letter Learning’s Spring Sale! Free shipping on orders over $15! To place an order, please visit www.letterlearning.com