Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Without Valentine's Day, February would be... well, January.

Ok, so...I am a holiday freak.  I go overfreakingboard for birthdays, anniversaries, name it.  Except for, sadly, Valentine's Day.  I totally phone it in on Valentine's Day.  Our wedding anniversary is December 23rd, Christmas on the 25th, Emme was born on the 29th, my birthday on January 18th-by the time we get to February 14th, I am out of gift ideas and over it.  However, I am married to this little love:

and as he is a totally swoon worthy Valentine, I've got to pull something out.  Thankfully, I've got Red Envelope on my side.  Full of unique and personalized gifts, I knew that they would have something my hubby would love.  And what do you know, I found something great!

Personalized Pub Glasses.  We do love beer in this house, and how better to serve our guests than with these fun personalized glasses?  The set of four costs $49.95, and ordering could not have been any easier.  There was only one easy to understand short form to fill out for personalization and ordering.   The glasses were personalized and delivered to my door in three days flat!  They were insanely carefully wrapped and arrived in perfect condition.  I just know Mr. Floren is going to love them!

No matter who your Valentine is this year, check out Red Envelope for the perfect unique and personalized gift!

Red Envelope was kind enough to provide the pub glasses to me free of charge for my review, however, all opinions contained within this review are unbiased and 100% my own.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Emerson Claire Floren

Born December 29, 2011 at 9:04 PM

5 pounds, 15 ounces and 18 inches long

We are all totally in love.  :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

EB Awareness Week

Have you heard of EB-Epidermolysis Bullosa? Via Wikipedia, by definition Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is an inherited connective tissue disease causing blisters in the skin and mucosal membranes, with an incidence of 1/50,000. Its severity ranges from mild to lethal. It is caused by a mutation in the keratin or collagen gene.

As a result, the skin is extremely fragile. Minor mechanical friction or trauma will separate the layers of the skin and form blisters. People with this condition have an increased risk of cancers of the skin, and many will eventually be diagnosed with it as a complication of the chronic damage done to the skin.


I had never even heard of EB until I came across the blog of Courtney Roth, "EB"ing A Mommy.  Courtney is the mother of Tripp, an absolute angel who has one of the more severe forms of EB, Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa.  Tripp has to live every day with the painful aspects of EB.  He has to be constantly bandaged, fed via tube, and breathes via a ventilator-just to name a few of the symptoms the poor guy faces.  His mother is his very dedicated and loving 24 hour a day caregiver, and I am blown away by their strength.

Courtney has been steadfast in her dedication to Tripp and to helping raise awareness and finding a cure for EB.  She has never asked her readers for any help for herself, just for helping to do something to fight this awful illness.  October 25-31 is EB Awareness Week, and my friends at wanted to do something to help the cause.  There are several different ways you can get involved in raising awareness for EB.  Via Courtney's blog:

"EB" a part of the Cure by joining the Facebook page HERE.
Create your own awareness page.
Post about EB on your Facebook page or blog.
Share the awareness video at the end of this post.
Educate yourself about EB ( is a great way).
Simply tell another person about EB.
Educate your children about EB so that they will be able to recognize it. has also come up with one more way.  From now until Christmas, we've given Tripp his very own promo code- "TRIPP".  We will donate 10% of the purchase price of every single personalized Christmas ornament purchased with this code to to help raise awareness for EB and fund research for a cure.  It's a win-win situation-you can get some goodies for your tree and potentially help save lives in the process.  Also feel free to head over to "EB"ing A Mommy and give Courtney and Tripp some love-we want them to know they are not alone!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

DaGrosa Naturals Review and Giveaway

The human body is a very complex thing.  A complex, yet well oiled machine-that is, if you give it the things it needs to run well.  I think there is more than just one key component to keeping your body running at an optimal level.  Healthy diet, appropriate medical care, getting enough rest-these are the things most people already know about.  But I think there is even more.  I have been a believer in aromatherapy for a long time.  

Aromatherapy, by definition, is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being.  Today's featured company, DaGrosa Naturals, is an expert in the practice of aromatherapy.  In the words of Diana, the owner of DaGrosa Naturals:

"DaGrosa Naturals is a small, privately owned company that makes small batches of natural skin care products that do not contain artificial preservatives, colorants or fragrances. Diana and Angela Da Grosa started DaGrosa Naturals in 2000. We had been experimenting with making potions since we were 6 years old. We had always hoped to learn more about making products that are enjoyable but also healthful. We began creating blends for our patients' ailments and watched for specific changes in their mental, emotional, and physical health while receiving feedback from each person. We observed remarkable changes in using these blends from clearing up acne, skin infections, bug bites that would not end, clearing up staph infections, stopping toe nail fungus, reducing inflammation before our very eyes, reduction of grey hair, and clearing up sinus infections to name a few. This clinical information proved to be the best type of learning for us.

After 10 years of practice, our patients encouraged us to start selling these blends as they themselves wanted to continue the beneficial effects they had experienced from these blends. In 2000, we decided to create Da Grosa Naturals. We have now created this website that offers a sampling of some of the products we use in practice. We also custom create blends for health and wellness - you can contact us for personal blends and consultations on whatever ails you. We hope you enjoy the use of our products and begin experimenting with some of these essential oils in your own health and healing. We LOVE using Aromatherapy in our daily lives - it brings happiness, health, and healing on so many levels. We wish this for every person in the whole entire world."

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try out some of the wonderful products from DaGrosa Naturals!

Sleeping Beautty

Yes, with two T's-for the double beauty that you are! This product is GREAT! A customized blend of essential oils in a base of jojoba in a convenient roll on bottle to keep by your bedside. It truly helps sleep and is one of DaGrosa Naturals' most popular products. Men, women and children ALL LOVE this. Great to take also when you travel!

This fabulous product keeps your face nice and blemish free.  It helps naturally lift out black heads and you can place it on any acne spots-even those that appear when PMS sets in. It takes away the redness and swelling and you can see them shrink and start to disappear immediately. The scent is wonderful! It is a wonderful step in truly healing your skin!

A treat for the hair and scalp. This yummy blend of essential oils is non-greasy, stimulating, and smells great! A little goes a long way. Place a few drops on your finger tips and massage vigorously all over your scalp just 5-10 seconds and you are good to go. It is highly anti-oxidative and may help keep gray at bay and also may help normalize problems with the scalp. You can even place a few drops in your shampoo to help wake you up in the morning. When used daily, this bottle should last you at least 3 months.

An essential oil blend of peppermint, rosemary, sage dalmation, and cardamom. It comes in an easy to use applicator. Just open the tube and place the inner tube at the entrance of each nostril and breathe in…you will instantly feel more awake, in-focus and rejuvenated. A MUST have at your desk especially if you have a position where you must read and focus and need to be on the ball. 

Do any of these products sound intriguing to you?  DaGrosa Naturals is kind enough to offer a discount exclusively for In Through The Out Door readers...enter the coupon code GVAWY20 for 20% off all products at!

Now here's the best part-FIVE lucky winners are going to win the 7 Products Package from DaGrosa Naturals!  Including all the products I mentioned above, plus Lavender Spray and Lavender Essential Oil, these packages have a retail value of $104.75-and FIVE of you will win one!

To Enter: Please go visit the DaGrosa Naturals website and tell me in a comment here about one product that you would love to try!

Additional entries (Please leave one comment for each entry you complete):

-"Like" DaGrosa Naturals on Facebook
-Share this giveaway with your Facebook friends
-"Like" In Through The Out Door on Facebook

Most importantly, have fun and good luck!  This giveaway will be open to all residents of the US that are 18 and over until 8 PM PST on November 7th.  The winners will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

26 Weeks.

Today, I am 26 weeks pregnant.  I believe this marks my entry into the third trimester, but it holds much more meaning than that to me.

The morning that I turned 26 weeks pregnant with Katelyn, I awoke not feeling well.  I waddled into the bathroom and was shocked at what I saw-my face was so swollen I was almost unrecognizable.  My hands were so swollen that I could not take off my engagement ring.  My blood pressure was sky high...180/100.  

That day marked the beginning of a nightmarish journey, one that thankfully ended well but nearly killed me getting there.  An ultrasound showed dangerously low amniotic fluid, and a sick baby with a hole in her heart.  My bloodwork was awful, with my kidneys and liver already showing signs of trouble.  I ended up being admitted to the hospital that day, with a neonatologist warning me that if anything got worse in the next 48 hours, I would be delivering an extremely premature baby.

Somehow, I managed to hold on, spending four out of the next seven weeks hospitalized until I finally met Miss Katelyn Jayne at 33 weeks and 3 days.  After three weeks in the NICU, she came home happy and healthy.

Me?  Not so much.  I told myself I had nothing to deal with-after all, all's well that ends well, right?  Wrong.  I was damaged, and it took me two years to fully deal with all the ramifications of what I went through.  Suffice it to say, PTSD is a dirty whore.  It didn't help that I refused to admit that I had anything to be post-traumatically stressed about-I didn't die.  My kid didn't die.  Hell, she didn't even have any lingering issues.  So I had no room to whine about anything.

After totally fucking up everything in my life, I realized that whether I thought it was legitimate or not, something was going on in my head and I needed to figure it out.  It was a long, painful road, but I came to terms with the entire situation and put the PTSD behind me.

That is, until I went and got myself knocked up again and the anxiety and stress and worry hit me like the proverbial freight train.  I've been a hot mess the last 26 weeks, but have been hiding it.  Keeping it to myself. Refusing to admit that I have anything to worry about.  But last night was nearly unbearable.  I had myself convinced that I was going to wake up today with the same fate I experienced the last time I was 26 weeks pregnant.  Or worse.

Luckily, I did not.  No swelling, blood pressure stable, Baby Floren happily kicking the crap out of me.  As "fixed" as I like to think I am, I don't know if I could have handled any other outcome.  Fragility is not something I do well, but damn it if I don't feel like I could shatter into a million pieces right now.

Hopefully another happy, healthy little girl will be the glue that holds me together.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Breathing Deep.

Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale.  

I rest in child's pose in yoga yesterday, attempting to do the hardest thing about yoga-shut my damn brain up.  The physical stuff seems challenging at times, but the real difficulty is getting over yourself and out of your head.

I feel like I've been drowning in my brain lately.  About a year ago, when I was at the height of my quest for physical fitness and at the best of my mental health, I deemed myself cured.  I foolishly declared to myself that I was done being anything else but absolutely fantastically healthy and high functioning.

Enter pregnancy, hormones, anxiety, and loneliness.  I'm a wreck.

I have many things going for me that will keep me out of the dark abyss.  I'm not self medicating (yay for a healthy fetus), I'm still exercising (kind of), and most importantly, I'm aware of what's going on and I refuse to feel helpless.

I have the luxury of choice.  We all do.  There are a lot of things that are out of control..circumstances, the behavior of others, karmic events.  But we can always control how we react to them, how we handle them.  So, as my wise, wise yoga teacher says every time we are deep in a challenging pose..."You can freak out, you can panic, you can bail.  Or you can just breathe deeper.  No drama, just breath."

So, I'm not going to freak out or panic about how I'm feeling.  I'm just going to breathe a little deeper.


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