On Gun Violence in America

Thank you Amnesty International for sponsoring this post.

Between the four walls of a classroom, the sanctuary of a church, a concert, a movie theater, an airport, a post office, a gaming event, a home, a military base, a neighborhood, a grandmother’s porch.

And,

and,

and,

and.

Phones go unanswered. Children don’t return home from school. Families unimaginably, irreparably scattered and broken.

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Gun violence is a public health crisis and its disease is distinctly American.

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Every day, over 100 people in America die due to gun violence. In 2016, 38,658 people were killed as a result of gun violence, and over 116,000 people were injured.

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According to Amnesty International’s recently released comprehensive report, American gun violence is a human rights crisis – and the U.S. government must be held accountable. The report details how high rates of gun ownership, and ease of access to firearms by individuals likely to misuse them compromises all aspects of life in America – and the U.S. governments refusal to pass sensible gun control laws is a violation of human rights.  No one’s human right to life can be considered secure in a nation where our government’s response to gun violence is inaction.

It isn’t OK that as parents, so many of us instinctively search for the closest emergency exit when taking our kids to the movie theaters. I dream of a future that is free of lock down drills, bulletproof backpacks, clear backpacks, specialized attack-resistant doors and stoppers, and words of “thoughts and prayers” wrapped in inaction.

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Like Amnesty International, I believe that gun violence is a human rights issue. We need sensible gun laws and policies. It isn’t normal for kids to fear being killed in their homes, schools, streets, and playgrounds in their neighborhoods. Yet all of this has become part of our daily lives in America.

Collective outrage fuels conviction and resolve. Communities across this country are coming together to solve gun violence. We have the knowledge and conviction to get this done. And the gun-violence-prevention movement is winning like never before.

How Can I Help?

  • Get to the polls this November and encourage your friends and family to elect candidates committed to ending gun violence.
  • Learn more about gun violence as a human rights crisis and stay informed by reading Amnesty International’s latest report on gun violence. Amnesty is campaigning on bills in states across the country. One bill is to end illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill would require common sense measures to help stop the sale of dangerous, illegal guns in the state. It would make communities safer by requiring video surveillance outside dealerships, and it would make our kids safer by prohibiting new gun dealerships from opening within 500 meters of a school.
  • Help to stop the spread of illegal guns and take action to support the work of Amnesty by signing the petition here.

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Sony’s New WH-1000XM3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Will Let You Block Out ALL The Outside Sound

This post is sponsored by Best Buy. 

September brought a needed and welcomed return to a routine. Although I love the summer months, it feels great to have much more designated work time now that the kids back in school. I’ve also been carving out ways to give back to myself – while diving head first into all the projects on the horizon.

Music has always been an escape for me. It helps to carry me through deadlines, along with workouts, while elevating my mood. That’s why I’m so excited about Sony’s WH-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Headphones, packed with a proprietary noise cancellation processor. They are perfect for my busy work-from-home routine. The design is super comfy featuring 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms that are Hi-Res Audio compatible. These super cool headphones are capable of reproducing a full range of frequencies – making your music the ONLY thing you hear, whether in a house full of boisterous kids, in mid-flight, or on the bustling streets of NYC.

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When fully charged, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Headphones will give you up to 30 hours of battery life. With the option of a quick charge (in just 10 minutes charge time), you’ll get an additional five hours of playback time. Bluetooth connectivity allows for your favorite music on the go with connection to any of your Bluetooth enabled devices.

The superior noise canceling aspect is truly an incredible feature. There are so many scenarios in my life when I want to block out ALL the outside sound. With built-in Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control, activity is detected automatically, and noise canceling levels are intuitively balanced. All of the controls (volume, voice assistant, forward & backtrack) are all accessible on the headphones too! If you’re serious about your music, you won’t be disappointed with this feature-packed pair.

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The Vitamin C Serum You Need In Your Skin Care Routine

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This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx on behalf of VICHY.

How many times have you been told to reach for the Vitamin C when attempting to fight off, or prevent sickness? Did you know that Vitamin C, in its powerful antioxidant serum form has quickly become a hero product in a solid anti-aging skin care routine? It has been proven to help fight dullness, hyperpigmentation and visible lines by packing a concentrated level of nutrients onto the skin while helping to halt the accelerator on the overall aging process (sign me up, please!). Last week, I was lucky enough to take a break from surf-camp-chauffeur to indulge in morning Pilates and a facial perched atop the city – while learning all about VICHY‘s new LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum: Brightening Skin Corrector.

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Sunspots and overall dullness are my biggest skin issue. I’ve certainly had my share of skin-careless years, and it’s no secret that I spent a portion of last winter receiving several laser skin care treatments to help correct sun damage and sunspots with a top NYC Dermatologist. Thrilled with the results and a new skin care regime, I also left with quite the education in Vitamin C. Since my treatments, I’ve been applying a Vitamin C serum every morning before moisturizing and applying sunblock, but the hefty serum price tag never sat well with me. Since VICHY is among the list of brand recommendations that I received with my laser treatments (and the ONLY brand that my derm recommended at a reasonable price point) – I couldn’t wait for their breakthrough Vitamin C Serum to hit shelves. VICHY LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum: Brightening Skin Corrector, is officially here, combining 15% pure Vitamin C with natural-origin Hyaluronic Acid. I learned from the VICHY team that you won’t find this HIGH dosage of pure dermatologist grade Vitamin C at such a great price ($28.50, yay!) anywhere else.

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Despite my diligent sunscreen and hat-wearing, my skin will always be prone to hyperpigmentation.  And since we are all about the ocean life during the summer months, a great skin care routine is especially crucial in prevention and overall brightening.

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I’ve been using my new VICHY Vitamin C Serum, daily, for one week and I can already see impressive improvements. I wake up to what feels like my best-looking skin, and a pesky post-pimple mark is even gone. I learned that unlike other Vitamin C products, Vichy’s serum is comprised of their signature proprietary Mineralizing Thermal Water that so many know and love about the Vichy brand. This water is naturally rich in fifteen minerals to help protect against oxidative stressors and environmental aggressors. In addition to the serum, I was introduced to VICHY Mineral 89which I learned to layer over my VICHY Vitamin C Serum to really secure in the serum’s potent Vitamin C, along with sticking to an evening retinol regime.

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Like so many moms I  know, I care about quality ingredients for myself and my family. One of the reasons why this product is the right fit for me is because it is free of parabens, fragrance, silicon, and oil. It is also suitable for sensitive skin, which I sometimes deal with, especially during the colder months.

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Want in on brighter, firmer skin, with a product that’s clinically proven to produce results in just ten days? Grab your supply for 20% off and free shipping HERE until 9/30/2018 (with Discount Code: BABBLEBOXX).  Give this one a go and you’ll thank me later!

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Nourishing Skin From The Inside Out

PURENEW-skin-vitaminsThank you to PURENEW for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Do you ever feel like your skin could use an overhaul? So many of us look to topical products in the pursuit of looking and feeling our best – but I figured I’d try to make a change in my daily habits, by taking one application of supplements a day (for 10 days only!), in hopes of bringing a visible change to my skin.

I was given a sneak peak of the launch of PURENEW supplements – hitting shelves this mid-August. PURENEW is designed for specific life stages to nourish cells, increase physiological function while nourishing skin from the inside out.

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For starters, as with any new supplement change to your health routine, I suggest getting the OK by your physician first. After learning about the company, I became interested – as PURENEW’s supplement facts profile didn’t contain any of the ingredients that I’ve previously been sensitive to. And, the supplements use premium ingredients sourced from nature (hello Wild Red Sockeye Salmon Oil!), backed by clinical studies. They are also manufactured in California in a cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) certified facility in accordance with the highest quality and control standards enforced by the FDA.

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PURENEW will be available in two different product lines to address specific age-related issues:

  • Professional Skin Clear for women age 35+: In your 40s and 50s, expression lines and dark spots on your face become more visible due to cumulative sun exposure and free radicals. Professional Skin Clear is aimed at reducing wrinkles and promoting clear skin in women age 35+. It is also designed to nourish your skin from the inside out, regenerating healthy skin cells and increasing collagen, boosting moisture and elasticity to reduce wrinkles, while reducing the formation of both visible and hidden age spots to brighten skin tone.
  • Essential Skin Clear for women age 20+: Your 20s and 30s are the most critical time for optimizing your skin health – the way you care for it now will determine future skin quality. Essential Skin Clear, formulated for those age 20+, rehydrates and promotes healthy, glowing skin, relieves clogged pores, and fights fine lines, dark spots, and sensitive skin conditions.

Popping a packet of six pills a day in pursuit of beauty was a bit of an adjustment to my daily regime but I did notice a positive difference in the appearance of my skin (and also in my hair, nails and energy levels) after taking just a 10-day pack of PURENEW’s Professional Skin Clear regime. Grab your supply here this August!

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Tech Feature: A Great Deal On The HP Envy x360 at Best Buy

This post is sponsored by Best Buy. 

Back to school is on the horizon and while that may be hard to believe – we’re always happy to share great deals on solid laptops.  Our latest find is the HP Envy x360 at Best Buy – a 2-in-1 device that can transfer from a laptop to a tablet in seconds. Best Buy is offering a really great deal on this device for the next few days and we’re sharing a few stand-out features!

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Complete with the Windows 10 operating system – the HP Envy x360 includes the start menu from Windows 7 with the introduction of cool new features, like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup web pages on your screen.

The HP Envy x360 also boasts a full HD touchscreen with crisp and clear color and clarity (1920 x 1080 resolution ) alongside an energy-efficient WLED backlight.

The 8GB system memory is perfect for students and professionals who work remotely like I do. There’s nothing worse than short battery life and the HP Envy x360 is designed to last – even with multiple programs and browsers open!

This device is also built for Windows Ink – perfect for quickly jotting down notes and ideas with ease – another great feature for students and those who work on the go.

I’m a huge fan of the HP Envy x360 360° flip-and-fold design. This versatile design accommodates so many different modes including laptop, audience, tabletop, presentation and tablet modes.

HP Envy x360 at Best Buy

If you are looking to upgrade or purchase a laptop for your student – don’t miss this amazing deal! Save $100 on the HP Envy x360 only at Best Buy until this Saturday. This device is available in both 13in and 15 in options.

 

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Meet Carlos, The 5-year-old Boy Behind Bars For Nearly 700 Days

I’ve partnered with Amnesty International to create a video series about the children and their parents fleeing horrific violence, conflict, and persecution in their home countries only to be thrown into detention here in the United States. They have come here asking for asylum, a form of protection recognized under U.S. and international law. Please join in urging our government to stop locking up families merely seeking safety.  Please join in demanding an end to family detention. 

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Carlos, 5, greets me with a warm and curious smile. Peeking up at me, from behind his mother Lorena’s legs, he clutches a book given to him a day prior by Kristin from Amnesty International’s team. As I ease my way into earning this sweet little boy’s trust, he shows me how he’s already memorized his new book, naming all the animals in both English and Spanish.

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I soon learn that Carlos can’t wait to go to Kindergarten, dreams of riding a bike, enjoys coloring, and loves to spend time playing outside. I sing a song that my mother used to sing to me as a child. Carlos joins me; he knows the lyrics. This song from my mother’s childhood is one of the many commonalities we uncover – yet the stark difference in our trajectories from South and Central America is never lost on me.

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Although Carlos reminds me of my own children at age five, his story is far from typical. At an age where most kids enjoy unstructured play as they come into their own, Carlos spent his time behind bars. Alongside his mother Lorena, this loving little boy spent nearly 700 (yes, seven hundred) of his early childhood days detained inside what is known as the oldest “baby jail” in America, the Berks County Residential Center in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Carlos learned to talk behind bars.

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As Lorena unravels personal accounts of their story it shakes me to my core. The trauma inflicted by our government, and along every step of their escape from violence is beyond unfathomable.

Despite all that Lorena has endured, she is incredibly resilient and affectionate. She is the sort of person who carries (and spreads) such palpable joy. Spending time with Lorena is indeed a gift, and her openness in revisiting her layers of trauma (which often triggers debilitating migraines) is entirely rooted in helping others still behind bars.

Lorena and Carlos fled gang violence, extortion and kidnapping threats at gunpoint in their home country – a place where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence. This mother left everything she knew, with her 2-year-old son in her arms to make the arduous and dangerous journey to the United States in hopes of a simple human right: safety. Lorena and her son could have lost their lives, like so many others, had she stayed paralyzed in fear and not fled.

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As a mother, I cannot even begin to imagine being in this impossible predicament. But I sure as hell know that I too would flee with my family wrapped in my arms if conflict threatened the lives of my children. I would leave everything I knew, and trade every dollar, for the hope of a path to safety, and security.

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Lorena and Carlos were apprehended crossing the border to Texas. Lorena was holding her young toddler in her arms as they were pulled out of the water. The details which weave their testimony together are gut-wrenching, cruel and unjust – along with the experience of their time in Berks, behind bars.

The Berks is not a hotel stay or a home. It is a jail with guards and cameras. Berks is a place where families, babies, children, and teens are woken up for bed-checks at all hours of the night. It is a place where kids can’t consume home-cooked meals. It is a place where children and parents are forced to eat unfamiliar processed, cold foods. Berks is the place where a guard was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager detained there.

Mothers and fathers are facing an impossible choice – flee violence and persecution in their home countries – or stay and risk their children’s lives. If you aren’t outraged, sickened and profoundly saddened by the brutal reports of the U.S. government forcibly separating children from their parents, then you are not paying attention. Sadly, this is hardly over. Thousands of children and babies forcibly separated from their parents at the border must be reunified. President Trump’s recent Executive Order is not a plan to stop violating the rights of people feeling unimaginable violence. This Executive Order imprisons families indefinitely, inflicting further harm on children and their parents.

Detaining families seeking asylum together is not a solution.

We must be morally obligated to demand this stop.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Carlos and Lorena are now free, thanks to Amnesty and its dedicated supporters – but so many others are in dire need of help.

Amnesty International is tirelessly working to stop the inhumane practice of jailing families seeking asylum. Please join in taking action today:

CALL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: Call upon your representatives to end the inhumane practice of jailing families seeking asylum. The number for the congressional switchboard is 1-844-879-0282.

SIGN THE PETITION: I always thought that signing petitions felt like the most inactive form of activism – but my time spent with the Amnesty team taught me that signatures on their petitions absolutely make a difference. If you do one thing today, please sign the petitions here and here.

USE YOUR VOICE: Talk to your family, friends, neighbors, and social media communities about how the Executive Order only inflicts further harm. Talk about the families behind bars on U.S. soil at places like Berks, and spread the word that we’re fighting for the end of family detention, and for the recent ruling baring family separation and ordering reunification to be implemented.

I will be sharing further. Thank you so much for reading.

Carlos and Lorena are not their real names. *

Thank you, Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.

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