EyeQue’s Kid-Centric Vision Tracker: Insight!

Enter disclaimer text For this post, I’m partnering with EyeQue to bring you information on their newest product, a kid-centric vision tracker – Insight.

Before I tell you about the latest technology find that’s got me excited, how about a (related) Throwback Thursday teaser? It’s related, I promise! Me. As a kid. With glasses. Oh, mercy.

If you’re wondering why I shared that photo, it’s because thankfully my parents (or maybe a school nurse) detected my need for glasses when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and we started to get it corrected. I wore glasses all the time and now only need them for reading and working at the computer.

Remembering those early visits to the eye doctor, it really wasn’t fun or convenient. While we knew my brother was always going to need glasses, we weren’t sure I always would. Visits were sometimes “do we really need to go”, probably causing a whining stretch to my parents’ wallets. If only we’d had this awesome new vision tracker, Insight back in the day!

EyeQue, makers of the Personal Vision Tracker, announced yesterday their Kickstarter to launch Insight, a “super fun, engaging experience for kids and parents to test their visual acuity” right at home with their mobile phones! As a mom of four kids, this is music to my ears and sunshine to my eyes!

Insight Attached to Phone
Insight, attached to a smartphone

Wait, so I don’t have to drag my six-year-old to the optometrist to see if maybe he needs glasses? Yup! That’s what this means! While Insight from EyeQue is not a replacement for optometrist visits, nor will it create a prescription, it is a way for parents to monitor changes in eyesight (without having to wait for a benefit calendar to roll over) at home. It is the answer to the vision tracking needs of a self-tracking era!

Taking Insight Vision Test
Kids Taking the Insight Vision Test

How Does Insight Work?

I got to see a demonstration of Insight the other day and it looks so fun and easy to use. The device looks like a set of binoculars that attaches to your mobile phone with an elastic band. Kids and adults can both use the tracker (as well as the gamified app), so it’s convenient for the whole family. (Note, the recommended ages are 6 and up based on the ability to follow instructions from Seymour, the fun, animated host of the app.)

PD Test
Mom testing her daughter’s Pupillary Distance (PD) using Insight

Once you set your PD (Pupillary Distance – the distance between your pupils) with a simple in-app test and adjustment to a dial on Insight, Seymour walks your child through a test one eye at a time followed by both eyes, simulating what you’d see on a vision chart from 20 feet away. The longer the test takes, the closer to 20/20 vision you likely have! 

At the end of the test, your child receives a virtual sticker as a reward for taking care of their eyesight. (Actual stickers will also be included with the set – I know my kids are super motivated by stickers!)

Insight Vision Test
Results of Completed Test

If you didn’t know, 20/40 vision means you can see an object at 20 feet away that someone with normal vision (aka 20/20 vision) can see from 40 feet away, hence less than perfect visual acuity. Eye tests at eye doctor’s offices are conducted at 10 or 20 feet distance to determine your visual acuity.

Why should you get the Insight?

Why is this so important and a technology you’ll want to have in your home? As parents, we should promote proactive self-care. Knowing if your child(ren) need glasses or vision correction in a 3-minute at home test with the vision tracker Insight sure can save you a lot of time and hassle. With Insight, you’ll be able to check the accuracy of glasses or contacts as well as track changes in vision over time. To me, this is a no-brainer!

To learn more about Insight or get in on the launch prices for the Kickstarter, please visit EyeQue’s Kickstarter page for EyeQue Insight at kickstarter.com. Retail price for the Insight will be $130 following the project. (There is a low $4.99 annual fee associated with this app.)

Do you worry about your child’s vision? How will Insight help make your life easier? Please comment and share this post if you are as excited about Insight as I am!

Sinus Season is Here

Disclosure: I was sent products from ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ in exchange for this review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

Oh, hello sinus season. This year, you are going down. My family, all four of us, are chronic sinus sufferers. Fall and winter can be absolutely miserable, to say the least. (Think about it, man cold for months, and I’m guilty, too.)

This year, my family will be using ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ to keep us breathing free and clear (provided we can keep Evan from sticking chocolate up his nose).Families have been using ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda (from Church & Dwight, Co., Inc,) for over 165 years to keep their homes fresh, so the power behind Simply Saline™ shouldn’t be a surprise to you.

The majority of the line of nasal mists and nasal moisturizers are drug-free ways to clear up congestion. With few ingredients in the list of each product, simple sounds like a good way to fight congestion. (Added bonus, Simply Saline™ is endorsed by Dr. Travis Stork, ER physician and host of “The Doctors” because he agrees with finding simple ways to maintain health.) Some of the products, like the Neti Pot, do include real ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda to help minimize the sting (I’ll have to check this out in stores, I’ve always wanted to try a Neti Pot, but was worried about the sting).

As for the products my family will be turning to this sinus season, we’ve been armed with a range of options for our varying ages.


Evan (age 2) will be using the Simply Saline™ baby line to keep a moisturized nose. Bonus? These products are all safe to use as often as needed to keep babies congestion free (thank you, drug-free!).

  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Baby Nasal Relief is a mist to flush dust and other irritants out of the nose. Purified water and salt are the only ingredients!
  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Baby Nasal Moisturizer plus Aloe Vera is a no-drip gel formula that stays in place around the nose for lasting relief. This will likely be Evan’s favorite. 
  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Baby Nasal Swabs (Personally, I am most excited about these, but I am not sure how crazy Evan will be about me taking a swab to his nose. I love that it doesn’t mean having to worry about spraying him anywhere but in the nostrils.) These swabs keep noses clean and moisturized.

Arianna (age 5) will be using the Simply Saline™ children’s line (for ages 2+).

  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Children’s Cold Formula plus Moisturizers is one of the products in the line that is not drug-free (it contains homeopathic ingredients) and is considered extra-strength. The mist can be used for sneezing, runny nose, and sinus congestion as often as needed. It also has a child safe nozzle.

Greg and I will be using the adult line of  Simply Saline™ to fight our allergy and sinus issues this fall. We have two options to fight over (I’m not one for recommending sharing a nasal mist), and since they recommend spraying in one nostril while tilting your head to the side over the sink, we’ll likely be sure to not use them in each other’s presence for the sake of romance. 😉

  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Allergy & Sinus Relief nasal mist can be used with your allergy and sinus medication, as often as needed, to help keep the nose congestion free.
  • ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Extra Strength Nighttime Formula is extra strength for the times when sleeping is difficult due to nasal congestion.

These products, as well as the Neti Pot, Wound Care, and Contact Solution, can be found at mass retailers and drug stores nationwide. They retail from $2.99 to $9.59.

Lice Shield: Review

Disclosure: I was sent products (Lice Shield) to review in exchange for a review on my blog. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Arianna has been attending school for three years, and (knock on wood) we’ve been lucky to not have a lice scare so far. (I know, that probably sounds horrible, but with all the dress-up, hugs, and bean bag sitting in pre-school, I’m a nervous mom. As a kid, I had one lice scare, and lucky Jack or I never got it. I say we’re lucky, because I’d honestly probably freak out and shave my own head out of fear!)

Shaving my babies’ hair will not be necessary though, it’s just an extreme. With products like Lice Shield (from Lornamead), we’re armed and ready if the letter “there’s been an outbreak” ever does come home. This line of hair care products to help repel lice is safe enough to use daily to proactively avoid infestation but also to react if we do ever encounter lice*.


“No parent wants to endure the torture of treating a lice infestation; it’s one of the hardest things to do as a parent, so we developed a product that can help keep lice away in the first place,” said Randy Sloan, President of Lornamead, Inc. “Lice Shield not only helps keep lice away, but it is affordable and pleasant on one’s senses.”

I have to agree. When I first sniffed the shampoo, I thought it almost smelled like limes; however, I think that’s the combination of citronella and Lemongrass (among other essential oils). That’s definitely good on my senses. Beyond the smell, it’s functional, touting an 80% repellency rate. There are two products you can use (together or separately):

  • Lice Shield Shampoo & Conditioner in 1 (for use in place of your shampoo and conditioner to prevent an outbreak)
  • Lice Shield Leave-in Spray (which you spray on washed, towel-dried hair, it also detangles and conditions)


While I hope my readers and I never have to use this product line, I’m glad to know it’s out there for us to use. At under $10 per product, it’s affordable and something you can find at many mass retailers and drug stores.

*Note: Lice Shield is not used to treat an infestation, but to prevent it in situations like when a student in your child’s classroom has it. It is safe and gentle to use daily (for the whole family) if you’re concerned that lice may be an issue at your school, or if your child is headed out to camp or a youth retreat. Please use it to reduce the risk of infestation. 

Finding My Peace

I’ll admit, for the last 29 years I have not been so kind to myself. This year, I turn 30 and have turned over a new leaf in my quest to be healthy (and that’s not just the physical, it’s the mental, too).

Specifically, the years I spent in college and in Myrtle Beach were the harshest on my body. I entered college at  253 pounds (eek!) and “never looked back”. There were days when I would eat pizza for all three meals and did not care in the least. I had a “plateau” weight that I pretty much maintained through college then dropped a good bit of it off upon moving to Myrtle Beach, only to pack it back on during an abusive relationship (where I forgot how to love myself, since I figured I was unlovable being beat and broken).

Enter Arianna. I lost 42 pounds during my pregnancy (part of it was that I was worried sick about being a single mom, the daughter of a pastor, and having an on-again/off-again “thing” with a black man in the south, the other part being I danced my butt off, literally, 3-4 nights a week at the Beach Wagon). I kept that off for all of 5 months after she was born and then I found my happy with Greg and moving back home to (cold) Pittsburgh full of family, food, and cuddles.

Being pregnant with Evan was much different. I was just as sick, but was put on Zofran around month 6 so I could actually eat with him…and eat I did. That scale tipped so far, so fast. I thought that breastfeeding would help, but I found myself using the excuse of “I am really still eating for 2” and I hovered at post-baby weight for 6 months.

Then, through work, I was introduced to a nutritionist who has literally saved my life. I did a “10 in 10” program and lost 16 pounds in 10 weeks. That was great, but for me it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t 10% of my body weight. I put off personal nutrition coaching for a few months and easily gained back 4 of those pounds in 3 months. It was clearly time to say YES to myself and get a new start on life.

For those of you that personally know me, you know I strive for perfection. The past 14 months of working with Jeff have been a great blessing, but I find myself still hating parts of me, feeling like I am not enough. Struggling to love me, whether or not the scale shows what I want it to. It’s not been an easy ride.

During this time, I was inspired by a friend to start running and tried the “Couch to 5K” program. My VP at work said we’d do Mud on the Mountain for team building, but budget issues kept that from happening. Too bad, I set it as a goal and instead of a 5K, I did 7 miles in the mud. Two weeks later, Greg and I did run a 5K (unofficially, it was actually a walk), but then I stopped because I was running on a sprained knee, busted up MCL, and severely pulled hamstring (ouch). I had a few months of PT and kept working on the eating part.

In November, you know I ran the Turkey Trot and hit an all-time low in weight…but have kind of stuck there over the holidays (and a ‘lil beyond). It’s been cold, and I’ve been whiny. Blah!

So, to the real reason I set out to write this post, finding my peace. In January, I went on my annual girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach to scrap and craft. Jess and I bought a pass to do unlimited yoga at Inlet Yoga (if in Myrtle Beach, you should ABSOLUTELY GO). I thought I couldn’t do yoga because I can’t relax. I am working on finding my inner peace, you know? Well, I found it there. I fell in love with the studio, with the readings, the music, the mats. It was beautiful. I cried (I guess I might not of had they not played “Angel” during the relaxation part of hot yoga?). I breathed. I found my peace.

Upon coming home to Pittsburgh, I knew I had to find a mat to put in my Inlet Yoga strap I bought and a place to wear my Inlet Yoga t-shirt. I had bought the Bob Harper “Yoga for the Warrior” DVD and decided to give it a try since I am not sure I am ever going to find another beautiful studio like that. It’s been working, although finding “ohm” at home isn’t always the easiest thing (as you’ll hear about in a later, funny post), so I am still consider a drop-in at a local studio once the weather warms up and I can wear my capris out of the office and into the “wild” of the city.

I am not quite there, but folks, I am so close to my peace. This morning, I cheated. I felt lighter, so I stepped on the scale (something I only like to do on Monday mornings). I found out I’ve lost 3.4 pounds this week (so far). I swear, it’s because I’ve been running again and feeding my yoga addiction. I am so close to my peace. I was going to be “okay” with only hitting -88 pounds by my birthday, but now that’s only 4 pounds (and 2 months and 1 week) away. I can do this, I can hit -100 by my birthday, and I will.

But I am also going to find my peace. I am going to understand again what it means to love myself (because, I am sorry, I am beautiful inside and out) and what it means for someone (Greg, Arianna, Evan, both of my sets of parents, my best friends, my favorite cousins and aunts and uncles) to truly love me with no conditions. Whether I am tipping the scales or wearing baggy skinny jeans (I love you, Ella!). I am finding it, I promise. God made me beautiful, and this body was a gift. It’s time to really love it.

source: pinterest

Thirty Days of Thankful and NaBloPoMo Day 4: Health

Yesterday, Greg, the kids, and I walked in the Pittsburgh Heart Walk. It was a 5K, and although the crowd and the wagon pushed us over 20 minutes per mile, the fact that we are able to just wake up and walk that far is super.

Today, I am thankful for health. For those who look for cures for heart disease, for those who live every day as survivors. And for my own health. While I am a pretty healthy person, I have been on a year-long journey to keep doing better for myself. I’d like to think there’s a nice difference in my health from last year…

2011 from Tote Bag Project’s Flickr

…to this year…

IMG_3435 (Copy)


This post is part of NoBloPoMo.

NaBloPoMo November 2012