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How to stop hating your own body image: Tips from a Neuropsychologist

 

Diet

Psychologists use the term ‘body image’ to describe our internalized sense of what we look like. This can be thought of as a mental representation or map of our body, against which we judge our external appearance. For most of us, there is a relatively good match between what we think we look like (subjective appearance) and how we appear to other people (objective appearance). Thankfully there is eating disorder treatment for women, as well as for men, teens and children.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Manhattan neuropsychologist. She says that, “To some extent our body image is idealized (based on how we would like to look). It is also based on a mirror image of our actual appearance. Other people see animated or moving images, whereas we view our own image mainly through photographs or mirrors where our expression is still. Body image also changes as we get older.”  As a woman Dr. Hafeez understands the perils that gals fall into in our Instagram, Facebook and Photoshop society.

The following are some tips from Dr. Hafeez on how to love yourself more.

Forget the diet hype.

People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders, are more likely to binge eat and cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues that include depression, irritability, anxiety, digestive problems and metabolic syndrome. Looking and feeling good are common sense. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success! 

Put body image in perspective.

Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self – consider focusing your attention on education, hobbies and socializing with your friends. Keeping your mind engaged will help you notice others with the same interests. Working to get fit and healthy is an admirable goal but it should never consume your life.

Know your body and accept it.

Perhaps you inherited your mother’s larger hips or your father’s height and broad shoulders. Our genetics are a strange cocktail that are unique to every person and learning to love your body is the first step in working with your particular body size and shape. Having the same size and weight goals of a person six inches shorter or taller than you is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure. You may be the same height as a friend who is a perfect size six but may have a much larger build. Don’t diet to fit anyone else’s expectations. It is YOUR  body, YOUR  health and you are the only one who has the right to dictate what is “right” for you. 

Celebrities are not “average” people!

Remember that most celebrities are paid based on how they look on camera. They have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair. When they become pregnant or go through a tough time, they have a team of people who helps them drop the weight fast and get back to “camera weight” without the distractions the average person has. Many celebrities have spoken out about suffering for years with eating disorders, emotional problems and drug addiction to maintain their public image. 

Focus on what you have the power to change.

Rather than spending your energy on wishing you were taller, redirect your focus on something you can change, like toning up with a yoga or Pilates class, or honing one of your talents. Then celebrate with a new handbag. 

Surround yourself with beauty.

Creating a beautiful environment at home or in your work space will provide a greater sensual experience, which is what we all crave. Keep fresh flowers on your desk or table, add some silk pillows to your sofa, play your favorite music while cooking dinner, and drink mineral water out of a nice wine glass! 

Ask for help if you need it. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up – who contribute to your happiness – and look to them when you falter in your goals. Whether you need help sticking to a healthy eating plan, a buddy to workout with, a personal trainer to show you how to do the exercise that is right for you or someone to discuss emotional issues with – ask.

Workout

About the author

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.  She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University. 

Dr. Hafeez’s provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc.…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

4 Essentials to Hit the Gym Hard

 

Have you made a resolution to lose weight, be more active, and live an overall healthier lifestyle? Signing up for that gym membership might what pushes you to realize your goals.

Finding the motivation to go workout in your free time can be difficult at times, especially with the temptations of at-home entertainment like Netflix and YouTube.

Investing in these 4 pieces of equipment will make your gym experience more enjoyable and seem less like a chore.

Running Shoes

Don’t go to the gym with the Converse shoes you wear on casual nights out. You won’t receive the support you deserve and you’ll ruin your everyday shoes.

If you are just beginning your routine of going to the gym, invest in one pair of high quality shoes. Ideally, these should be a pair of all-purpose athletic shoes that will support your feet during a variety of activities, like walking, light jogging, and weightlifting.

If you are a more seasoned athlete, consider buying multiple pairs of shoes that are specific for different activities. For example, indoor rock climbers benefit from the mobility that flexible and rubber-based climbing shoes offer.

Headphones

The speaker at your gym can be distracting and even difficult to hear at times. Make going to the gym fun by investing in the right equipment.

Get a quality pair of Bluetooth headphones so you can be in control of what you’re listening to without the distraction of wired headphones. Your favorite music will serve as great motivation to finish even the toughest of workouts. If you’re doing activities where you’re able to stare straight ahead, like indoor cycling, catch up on your favorite TV shows.

Since you’ll be frequently using your phone as entertainment in the gym and it will likely get jostled around, make sure it’s protected. If you have the latest iPhone, get a cute iPhone XR case that will protect your phone from potential drops.

Consider getting a phone case that also serves as a wallet, so you can have your gym pass, identification, and credit card on you without worrying about finding storage in a gym locker. You can find one for all phone types that matches your personal style online.

Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle will ensure that you always have access to water when you need it. This is especially important when you’re confined to an indoor cycling machine during a spinning class.

Reusable water bottles vary in price. If you are willing to invest a little more money, there are insulated bottles that will keep your water ice-cold for the duration of your workout. Whichever reusable water bottle you choose, you’ll feel more refreshed during your workouts and have to take less walking breaks, all while being conscious of the environment.

Gym Clothes, Accessories and a Towel

The right gym clothes, like a workout top, compression shorts, running shorts, a sports bra, and socks will help you confidently and comfortably exercise without experiencing chafing or blisters.

Make sure you have a reliable way to secure your hair with a tie or headband that will prevent your hair from getting in the way.

Don’t reuse gym clothes from the day before. It is best to always use fresh clothes, as this will prevent odors from settling in your favorite workout clothes.

An absorbent, cotton-based gym towel will allow you to wipe down equipment after use. Not only is it sanitary to adopt this habit of wiping down equipment, but also it is just proper gym etiquette.

The Bottom Line

We all know how difficult going to the gym can be sometimes. Get these 4 pieces of equipment so you can comfortably focus on getting fulfilling workouts accomplished.

What in the world is ErgoErgo, and why do you need it in your life?

 

Do you spend a lot of time at a desk? Or are you a confessed “couch potato?”

I spend a lot of time at my desk. After all, I am a blogger.

I mostly use my laptop, but I do have a desktop too. I know that the laptop gives me more portability than my desktop, but I prefer working at my desk. I have Carpal Tunnel in my right wrist and I find it easier, and more comfortable, to work on a desk as compared to my lap or the coffee table.

I sit a lot during the day. I know I shouldn’t but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

If you find that you sit too much during the day, or you just want to find a way to sneak in a little exercise on a regular basis, then you should check out ErgoErgo.

What in the world is ErgoErgo?

According to the ErgoErgo website:

ErgoErgo is a extraordinary seating concept combining the benefits of active sitting with a bold contemporary design.

ErgoErgo encourages us to sit as nature intended. And itʼs recyclable. With its durable quality and timeless design, you can sit joyfully for years to come.

ErgoErgo is perfect for offices, schools, libraries, healthcare facilities, dorms and your own home. It’s fun public seating and compact enough for the smallest space.

It’s ergonomic, ergo it’s good for your body. It’s ErgoErgo.

ErgoErgo sent me a seat to check out for myself.

I have to admit, it’s an interesting and unique design. It looks like an accordion.

Check out ErgoErgos being used by others in a brief video made by the company.

 

They are certainly unusual looking, and they will make for interesting conversation with guests when they visit your home if you have one.

I will have to admit that I was hesitant to sit on it when it first arrived. It’s made out of lightweight plastic. Being an obese person, I was worried that the ErgoErgo would fall flat to the ground and be unable to hold my body weight. I was pleasantly surprised to see it held my weight. My weight does flatten it down a bit more than it does when my husband or kids sit on it, but I can still benefit from sitting on it.

I like that it’s portable. I can easily move it from room to room and from my desk to by the television.

It’s an odd feeling at first sitting on it. You almost feel like you are going to tip over. Once you get used to it you’ll be able to wiggle around and enjoy it’s maximum benefits.

At first I felt like a little kid when I sat on it. I intentionally wiggled around and around. But once sitting on it became “second nature” I stopped intentionally doing that. Instead I just sat on it as if it was a regular chair. The only difference is that subconsciously I was keeping my balance which helps to strengthen your core. You can even use the ErgoErgo for core exercises by simply sitting on it and moving your body around (wiggle your behind in a circular motion for example).

My ErgoErgo.

I have been slowly replacing my desk chair with the ErgoErgo. I am a “creature of habit” and sometimes I don’t adapt to change too quickly. The first few times I sat at my desk to work using the ErgoErgo it didn’t feel right. I think it’s a height issue. I sit higher up on my desk chair than I do the ErgoErgo. If I wasn’t so heavy I’d be at a better height while sitting on the ErgoErgo.

I CAN use it at my desk, and I have been alternating between the ErgoErgo and my desk chair, I just haven’t fully given up my desk chair yet. It’s a work on process.

I find that using the ErgoErgo at my desk keeps me from feeling lethargic. Honestly, sometimes when I am writing a blog post, or watching a movie I need ot review, I find myself wanting to take a nap. Using the ErgoErgo I can make my body constantly move, which helps to keep me more alert and awake. I even find myself intentionally taking a “wiggle break” to simply just play around while seated on the ErgoErgo.

I can see how this type of “chair” can benefit kids at school, especially kids who need to fidget in their seats constantly. I see that some schools use the Pilates balls as seats. The ErgoErgo is the same principal as a balance ball, it’s just designed differently and looks different.

Who knew that sitting down could actually be FUN, and have health benefits too. Now I don’t have to feel guilty when I sit too long because I’m utilizing “active sitting.”

The ErgoErgo is available in a regular size, kid size, and a size for larger/taller people (I have the regular ErgoErgo).

ErgoErgo ranges in price from $75 (kids size), $100 (standard size) and $139 (extra large). They are also available in a variety of colors to suit your tastes or home/office decor, including black or white.

ErgoErgo is available at several retailers, including the ErgoErgo storefront on Amazon.

For more information about ErgoErgo and “active sitting,” visit ErgoErgo.com. The brand can also be found on social media. Their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

What do you think about the idea of “active sitting?” Do you think you or a family member would benefit from having a ErgoErgo?

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Take your exercise equipment on-the-go with KICHIGO

 

Christmas has come and gone (sadly). Presents have been unwrapped (and possibly returned) and friend and family have probably returned home. Sigh…

If you are like me (and most people), chances are you overindulged during the holidays. It’s only natural. Who can resist the plethora of cookies, cakes and candy canes.

New Year’s Eve is coming up in just a few days. Most people will make resolutions. One of the most popular is loosing weight (especially the holiday weight gain) and exercising.

“Diet” and “exercise” are probably the two most cringe-worthy words to think about.

I’m good when it comes to making better food choices. I’m still obese, but slowly I’m losing weight. What I have a problem with is exercising. I hate it. I truly do.

I run around a lot at work, walking up/down six flights of stairs at home (we live on a top floor condo), and I park far from stores I have to shop in just to squeeze a little more exercise into my day. I used to get 10,000+ steps in daily. These days I get a lot less, only because my job is different (less running around).

I have always said that if I had equipment in our condo that I would exercise more. I would LOVE a treadmill and/or exercise bike. Sadly, those types of equipment is very expensive.

I was recently introduced to an ingenious product called KICHGO.

Famously known for being Jennifer Lawrence and Kesha’s secret weapon, there’s nothing better than having celebrity trainer, Kit Rich, by your side. With her new product, KICHGO, a big gym in a little bag that weighs less than 2 pounds, you can whip your body into shape in no time. The bag packed full of tried and true equipment that can be used for Pilates, Circuit Training, HIIT, Tabata, and Yoga routines. In addition, customers receive 20 downloadable videos of varying lengths and styles. KICHGO makes fitness attainable for everyone, by keeping it simple and helping everyone achieve consistency with their workouts ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE.

I was sent a KICHGO bag to review.

I was a bit worried about taking everything out of the bag. I was afraid it was going to be like a puzzle to get everything to fit back together again inside the bag. I was wrong. The contents are easily removed and put back inside the bag.

First and foremost, I love that I can get different pieces of exercise equipment, which allows me to perform a wide variety of exercises, in one small, compact bag. Everything fits inside a draw string bag and it can be easily tucked away under a bed, behind a dresser, in a closet or simply hang the bag from a door handle. I find it better to keep it in sight so that I am encouraged to use it. If it was in my closet or tucked under a bed it would be “out of sight, out of mind.” That is NOT something you want to happen.

The KICHGO bag comes with the following pieces of equipment.

  • 2 resistance bands: light and medium
  • 1 set of resistance band handles
  • 1 set of resistance band ankle / booty strap
  • 1 set of dual-sided sliders
  • 3 resistance loops: light / medium / heavy
  • 1 inflatable Pilates Core ball (with inflation device)
  • 1 jump rope
  • 1 door anchor

I didn’t receive the jump rope, but I did receive a branded workout towel.

I had been wanting to try out the resistance bands. I see them a lot on social media, and it looks like you can do (and achieve) a lot with them.

Resistance bands with handles and ankle straps.

I like that the bag comes with different “strength” resistance bands, so novices, like me, can start off with the easiest one and work my way up to the harder band. The medium band is not even the hardest. Even with the lighter band, you can still get a really good workout.

The bands allow for a variety of exercises to work out most areas of your body. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of exercises that can be done with them. I feel it the most in my arms after I use them, which is a good thing. I have flabby arms and I have been wanting to get rid of some of the flab and tighten them up.

Elastic bands

The resistance loops that come with the KICHGO bag REALLY give you a workout. You wouldn’t think that these giant rubber bands (that is what they look out) can give you a great workout – but they do. WOW! Do they ever! So far, these I’m having the hardest time with. I have little energy and the strength of a butterfly (LOL), so it takes a lot to stretch the elastic bands out. I can do it, but it takes a lot of effort, which is a good thing. It means that I am working out my muscles by providing them with a lot of resistance.

Sliders

My favorite piece of equipment in the KICHGO bag are the sliders. They are simply little pads that you can put under your feet or hands to enable you to smoothly glide across the carpet or floor. I know that doesn’t sound much like a piece of exercise equipment, but trust me, you can do A LOT with these. Just Google “exercise sliders” and check out the various exercises you can do with them.

My favorite exercise to do with the sliders is to put them under the ball of my feet and put my hands on the ground. Then I move my legs back and forth, as if I am running. I can’t do it for long (I’m obese, so it’s hard for me to stay in that position for too long) but I CAN do it, and I can feel it working out my legs, buttocks, and arms. It’s a good exercise for the various parts of your body.

Mine didn’t come with a jump rope for some reason. We live on the top floor condo and jumping up and down not only makes the stuff on our walls vibrate and shake, but it can do the same things in our downstairs and next door neighbor’s walls. Oh the joys of living in a condo (I mean that sarcastically of course). It’s OK that I don’t have the jump rope. I wouldn’t really use it anyway.

The Pilates Core ball is not one of those huge ones that you can sit on and bounce around. The one that comes in the bag is much smaller, but there is a lot you can do with it. Admittedly I haven’t use it that much, but I have tested it out with the included (and much appreciated) pump to inflate it.

The bag takes up very little space. You can even hang it from a door knob.

The KICHGO bag is available on it’s own, or you can purchase the bag AND the online exercise videos. The videos utilize the equipment that comes in the bag.

The videos you get with the bag and video purchase include;

  • 5 Circuit Fusion Videos: Approx 30 mins
  • 6 Pilates Videos: Approx 5 mins – 30 mins
  • 4 Gentle Yoga Videos with Instructor Rachel Grant Jackson: Approx 10 mins
  • 5 Focused Strength/Circuit Videos: Approx 5 mins

I have dabbled in most of the videos. It’s not easy for me to watch them on my laptop and follow along with them (there is not much room near my desk to exercise). I have tried to follow along, but mostly I watch the videos, make notes (and mental notes) on what to do and then do them. If I have any questions I refer back to the video.

The videos are also available WITHOUT purchasing the KICHGO bag.

Overall I think that this is a great bag. I love that it takes up very little room and that you can do A LOT with the pieces that come with it. I also like that it’s small enough to take with you when you travel. It wouldn’t take up much room in a suitcase.

If you are interested in learning more, visit KICHGO.com. I found the brand on Facebook, but I am not sure of any other social media accounts they might have.

What do you think of KICHGO? Does it sound like something you need in your life?

What are YOUR New Year’s resolutions? Is exercising one of them?

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

7 Ways To Stay Fit and Healthy Over the Holidays

 

With so many different events and social occasions coming up over the festive season, it can be hard to stay healthy.

Colder weather means less exercise, Christmas candies are EVERYWHERE and it seems as though there is something to celebrate every weekend. Whilst it can be hard to stay motivated, it’s definitely not impossible.

If you’re looking to stay fit and healthy over the holidays, we’ve put together 7 of our best tips to ensure this happens.

  1. Get At Least 7 Hours Of Sleep Every Night

Getting a good sleep may not seem like it affects your health, but having 7-8 hours each and every night not only improves your mood but your metabolism too. Make sure you’re going to bed around the same time every night, reducing the electronics you use before bed to get an uninterrupted nights’ sleep.

  1. Don’t Say Yes To Everything

There are always lots of festive parties around the holiday season but you don’t have to say yes to everything. Weigh up the events that are the most important to them and stick to attending just those ones. You’ll help reduce the chance of burn out at the same time as saving money.

  1. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

With so many different parties going on the amount of alcohol you drink will be more than you do in an average month. Whilst you don’t have to cut out alcohol altogether, limiting the amount you drink at each event will help you feel better in the long run – especially when you wake up hangover free.

  1. Consider A Structured Diet Plan

If you find it hard to resist temptation over the holidays then why not consider a structured diet plan? Having a plan that will help you stay in control may be exactly what you need to help you make better choices. Whether it’s joining a programme like Weight Watchers or looking at fast keto weight loss, a plan could help minimise the holiday damage.

  1. Exercise for 30 Minutes A Day

Although it’s getting colder outside that doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. There are lots of different routines you can carry out from the warmth of your own home, so make sure you’re still getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you need fitness inspiration, try downloading one of these incredible apps.

  1. Drink AT LEAST 8 Glasses Of Water A Day

Drinking 8 glasses of water every day is important all year round, but it’s important to remember to continue doing it throughout the winter – even if you don’t feel dehydrated.

  1. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself

It can be difficult to feel the pressure to stay fit and healthy over the holidays but if you put too much pressure on yourself you may find that you don’t enjoy yourself. Stick to the points we’ve mentioned above, but remember that above all the most important thing is to have fun this Christmas.

How do you stay fit and healthy over the festive season? Let us know in the comments below.

A quick and easy way to get in shape – Core Max

 

I hate to exercise. I feel like it’s more torture then it is something to make my body look and feel better. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I do.

I am on my feet A LOT during the work week. So much so I can accomplish the required 10,000 steps before I even leave work in the late afternoon.

Walking is a great form of exercise. It also helps to get your heart pumping. But walking alone is not enough. You need to “challenge” other muscles in your body.

I have purchased a lot of exercise equipment over the years… the Gazelle, a trampoline, an exercise bike (aka “coat rack”), elastic bands… you name it. Over all they are all great exercise aides, but you have to keep with it in order to reap the benefits.

We also live in a tiny (and I do mean TINY) one bedroom condo. We don’t have room for US let alone exercise equipment. For that reason we got rid of the Gazelle and our exercise bike. We simply didn’t have the room.

As for the trampoline, you had to remove the legs in order to store it away. It was too much of a hassle to take the legs off to put it away, then screw all four legs back on when you wanted to use it. We ended up getting rid of it too because no one wanted to be bothered to keep putting the legs on and off again.

The only thing we ended up keeping are the elastic bands. At least we can tuck them away in a drawer.

I was recently introduced to a new exercise tool. It’s called Core Max. It’s a unique piece of equipment that helps you to work out the major areas of your body (legs, arms, core…) in just minutes per day.

OK… we’ve all seen those products that guarantee results in just minutes per day. I’m not one to fall for that. But I do believe if you stick with something and do it daily, you can see results.

 

I received a Core Max to review. When I first received it I was unable to use it. I was dealing with major pain in my right hip, buttock and knee. Nothing was helping it. I ended up having plasma injections and having to suffer with the pain for over 6+ weeks. Walking up stairs and trying to sleep at night was a nightmare. For that reason, trying out the Core Max was impossible.

Both of my kids (young adults) go to the gym (our condo complex has a gym for residents). There are days they simply didn’t want to get themselves up and out the door, let alone work out. They wanted something they could do from home. Our daughter would sometimes do Yoga or the Hoola Hoop to exercise. Our son would do sit ups and push ups.

With the Core Max you can work out the major areas of your body.

Check out this brief video to that shows you what you can do with Core Max.

 

Both of our kids used Core Max (and still do). My son tells me that doing sit ups is much easier with the spring-like tension of the “arms” (those pieces that stand up right on the Core Max). He used to tuck his feet under the dresser to help him do sit ups, but now that he uses Core Max he can do a sit up in the middle of the room.

I have seen my kids do pretty much all of exercises you can do with Core Max (both refused to let me take their photos “in action”).

I have asked both of them if they feel like Core Max is making a difference. My daughter said she hasn’t noticed any difference, but my son feels like it has helped him a bit, especially in his “gut” as he puts it (abdomen area).

They both have told me that they can “feel the burn”, so I would assume it’s doing something.

FINALLY my leg felt better. It’s still not 100% (my knee tends to buckle when I’m walking), but I have been able to finally try Core Max for myself.

First and foremost you CAN feel it. I have used it to try and do sit ups/crunches. WOW! I sure felt that. Keep in mind I’m obese and don’t normally do those types of exercises. I’m not sure if people who work out will notice the “burn.”

I do have a bit of a hard time using Core Max to do sit ups/crunches, but I think my weight and being out of shape has a lot to do with that. It does help though. Like my son, I need to put my feet under a piece of furniture in order to give me an “anchor” to help me do sit ups/crunches. With Core Max I didn’t need to rely on furniture to help me.

I have been using Core Max to help my legs. You can “peddle” it (push it up and down) to work out your legs. I was hoping I could do that while working at my desk, but the device it too big (I’d have to sit too far away from my desk in order to use it). So I just use one of our dining room chairs. I sit on the chair, place Core Max in front of me, and “peddle” up and down.

I feel like Core Max is helping my legs get back their strength. My thigh on my injured leg was very tight in the beginning (when I first started to use Core Max). I couldn’t even sit on the floor without the top of my thigh pulling like it was really tight. Since using Core Max I have some how worked out that tight muscle (or muscles). I can sit on the floor now without being in total pain.

Core Max folds flat making it easy to store/tuck away.

I’m slowing trying out new things with Core Max. So far, so good. I don’t “see” a difference, but I can “feel” a difference, if that makes any sense?

You can even adjust the tension to make workouts easier or harder. I use the easiest tension where as my son tends to put it up the the higher level so it’s much harder.

I’m not sure if Core Max was made for people who frequent gyms, but for people like me who won’t step inside a gym in fear of being ridiculed or judged because of my weight, or for people who don’t have the time to go to the gym, Core Max is a great solution.

In addition to being easy to use, Core Max comes pre-assembled which I love (I hate having put things together). Even better, when not in use, Core Max folds flat so it can slide under a bed or be tucked away in a closet when not in use. We live in a tiny condo, so we don’t have much space. I’m able to tuck Core Max behind the love seat.

If you would like more information about Core Max, visit BuyCoreMax.com. The brand can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Those links are found at the bottom of their website.

Do you work out regularly? Why or why not?

Please share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.