How to Keep Your Garden Healthy with Ladybugs

Did you know your garden needs ladybugs? It's true! Ladybugs are one of the most beneficial bugs you can have in your garden. They eat up aphids and other bugs that can wreak havoc on your blooms. 

The first thing you need to do is get some ladybugs. You can go to your local nursery or garden center. I got mine at Armstrong Garden Center in San Diego.

For the best results, release the ladybugs when it's still cool out, like early morning or late evening. If it's still warm out, pop them in the fridge for a few minutes. It's a completely harmless way to stun and slow the ladybugs down.

Water your plants and flowers to make the leaves and blooms stickier for the bugs. Plus, they're probably thirsty after all that time in the bag, so be a good host and give them a drink, huh?

Water Plants Before Ladybug Release

Clip open the side of the package, taking care not to accidentally clip a bug. Shake the bag up a little to get the ladybugs closer to the opening of the bag.

Ladybug Days - open packet

Pull leaves back to reveal the base of your plant. Release the ladybugs here. They'll find their way to the plant and crawl up the stem and get to work right away.

Releasing Ladybugs
Ladybug Released in Flower Pot
Ladybug on White Flower
Ladybugs on Leaves

If you're lucky, some of them will hang around a while and give you a little tickle.

Ladybug on Fingertip

Go to your local Armstrong Garden Center this weekend for Ladybug Days and pick up a free packet of these cute little spotted critters when you make any purchase.(while supplies last). While you're there, take advantage of their organic gardening classes and maybe pick up some beautiful blooms for your yard to celebrate Spring.

Have fun!

Why You Should Eat More #Veggies

I'm going to mom you right now and ask you if you're eating enough vegetables. Do you see my raised eyebrow? That's me not believing your answer. Shame on you for lying to Sugar Mama!

My style of mom-ing is of the persuasive persuasion, so rather than force feed you the information, I'm going to appeal to your vanity. Here are three reasons you should be eating more veggies, as well as a few suggested servings for getting your greens.

1: Veggies Make You Beautiful

People always ask me... they say, "Sugar, how the heck do you stay so damn beautiful?" And before I can answer, I wake up. If I were to stay asleep and answer my dream fans' questions, I would have to tell them that it's two things: Drinking lots of water and eating plenty of leafy greens and veggies. 

That healthy glow on your face is simply evidence of how healthy you are on the inside. That's not to say that you should toss out your moisturizers and masques. But you can help nature along by eating a diet rich in vegetables. Cartenoids, a type of phytonutrient, can be found in vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, squash and green leafy vegetables. Those Cartenoids create the "glow" on your skin that makeup can never quite duplicate.

2: Veggies Will Get You to Your Goal Weight

The number one mistake I see people make (and I'm guilty of this, too) is eating too many fruits when looking to lose weight. It seems like the right thing to do, right? "Fill up on Fruits and Veggies" sounds like sound advice, and it is, but nobody tells you to limit the fruit and up the intake of the veggies.

Fruits like oranges and bananas are actually really high in fructose. Eating more than two servings of fruit can have a disastrous effect on reaching weight loss goals. Vegetables, on the other hand, are bursting with as many nutrients as fruit, but are overall lower in fructose. AND... they're high in fiber, so you'll feel full. 

Speaking of...

3: Veggies are High in Fiber

Fiber is something that we all need more of, and veggies have tons of the stuff, so if you find that you're not "going" at least once a day, you may just need to up your veggie intake. In other words, they'll clean you out. 

It’s said that an accumulation of five to 20 pounds of fecal matter is not uncommon in the western population. Over the years, these deposits increase and seep into the blood stream. This is when symptoms of illness arise. Think about it... if It's your body's most obvious way of removing waste and toxins, and that removal isn't happening, you're holding all that junk in your body. You're literally full of crap. 

Side Note: If that nugget of wisdom doesn't get you to eat more veggies, I CAN'T HELP YOU!!!

Now for a few examples of how I add more veggies to my family's lunches.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM

Here's a fun one that kids LOVE. It's a Dr. Seuss themed meal that includes, what else, Green Eggs and Ham. The green eggs are actually quite easy to make. Just boil eggs as you would. Once they're done, take out the yokes and mix with spinach in a food processor. They yokes will pick up the green color fairly quickly. I didn't blend the ingredients too long, but a few more pulses and the spinach disappears into the eggs.

LEAFY AND SWEET GREENS

The long leaves of Romaine in this lunch do two things: They keep the savory chicken away from the sweet muffin and the soft popcorn, AND they can be used as boats to eat the chicken pieces with when it's lunch time.

What you don't see are the veggies packed in the GardenLites Chocolate Muffin. These muffins are a great way to satisfy that sweet craving while still getting more veggies in your tummy. They're made with fresh zucchini and carrots. Not a fan of chocolate? GardenLites also makes a tasty Blueberry Oat muffin!

BEETS AND BITES

I have a hard time paying $10 or more for lettuce and veggies, so I've taken to packing my salads when I'm on the go. It ends up costing me just a couple of dollars and I don't have to waste time looking for parking or standing in line. Packed in this salad box is a big mound of red leaf lettuce, roasted beets in Dijon Champagne dressing, carrots, and Veggie Bites from GardenLites. 

About GardenLites -

Garden Lites offers foods made with clean/simple ingredients, but go a step further to deliver the nutrition consumers are seeking. As pioneers in this movement, Garden Lites is bringing solutions that meet the next stage in the ever evolving consumer definition of healthy food – delicious veggie-rich foods. They're products are not only filled with veggies, but are also gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free! You can find them in the freezer section at your local Costco.

GardenLites boxes.jpg

Enjoy!

A New Kind of Club Subscription

Go on line and you'll see any number of ads selling you on a subscription box. There are subscription boxes for clothes, toys, jewelry, snacks, make up, spices... pretty much anything that can ship in a box.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Stitch Fix and Dollar Shave Club. Having shaving supplies and toiletries automatically ship keeps me from scratching up my legs with dull blades, and it's always fun to open up a box of clothes that I never would have picked out because I'm an impatient shopper and stick to boring blacks and grays.

But now there's a new subscription box that has instantly become my new favorite. 

Riding high (sorry, I couldn't help myself) on the wave of recent medical marijuana laws, ClubM is looking to raise the bar when it comes to cannabis. Launching in -- where else -- California, ClubM is looking to create a high end culture around your favorite little weed.

The first thing you'll notice is the beautiful packaging. Unlike other subscription boxes that get tossed, ClubM's boxes are meant to be collected. Possibly even... dare I say... cherished. Well, at least put up on a shelf in some place of honor. The outside of the box is impressive with its binding and gold lettering. But what's really impressive is what's on the inside.

Not unlike other curated boxes, ClubM's boxes will have a monthly theme. Volume I, or the LoveBox, was curated in time for Valentine's Day. Besides all the goodies that my eyes were scanning, there was a sweet aroma that was anything but ganja. It was an inviting blend of oils, incense, and candles mixed with chocolates. Definitely a scent you could fall in love with.

The box is stuffed full of premium California cannabis products, including a vaporizer and two cartridges, cannabis candy cane flavored sweets, chocolates, premier pretzels, a cannabis-infused nutella-like spread called "Potella," and a cannabis-infused oil for, umm... well... sexy time. The value of the box is $200, but ClubM members get the box at the subscription rate of $97.

THAT is a pretty sweet deal! 

A subscription to Club M isn't for everyone. For starters, you have to live in California (for now) AND you have to have a "green card" making you eligible to purchase. If you're a go on both of those and you like to have a nice little surprise waiting for you on your doorstep once a month, then click over to ClubM to get started!

BONUS: If you have discerning friends that you'd like to invite to ClubM and you share your special link with them, you could be eligible for FREE boxes!

This is Seriously the Best T-Shirt Bra

Do you know how hard it is to find a bra that makes your boobs look great in a t-shirt? I don't mean "good" or "good enough." I mean GREAT.

And do you know how hard it is to find a bra that you look great in a t-shirt in that you don't have to constantly be adjusting the boobage so that it's not popping out the top or letting you slide out of the bottom of?

That's nearly impossible to do without spending a healthy chunk of change. I know because I've spent over $100 for the "perfect" bra before. But because of the cute design on it, it never looked perfect under a tee. So while my boobs stayed put and looked perky, they looked less than smooth when wearing a t-shirt.

A couple of months ago, at the Mom2.0 conference, I was fitted for and received my new go-to undergarment: 

Vanity Fair Caress Full Coverage Underwire Bra

The Body Caress Full Coverage Underwire bra is soooo comfortable, I sometimes forget to take it off at night. The strap is wide and soft with a satin trim that comes up and over from strap to strap, so there's no digging in on your shoulder. The front covers right up to the spot where your boob usually does the squishy peek-a-boo thing over the cup that is cute in a sexy strappy dress but annoying as hell the rest of the time. The wires hold the girls up and the architecture at the bridge keep them separated, so there's none of that center boob squish, either.  The convertible straps allow you to wear it as is or to crisscross for narrower tops. And, of course, because of its smooth-all-over design it looks great under a t-shirt.

You might think that I'm just posting this because I got a free bra at a conference once, but I just found out that they're on sale, so I bought them in every color available in my size!

If you want your boobs to look great in a t-shirt, get one!