Skiing During Pregnancy? Yes or No?

alyssa erickson the kid project ski while pregnant

Alyssa Erickson, of The Kid Project, rocking a baby on board while skiing.

brave ski mom logo

Dear Brave Ski Mom, 

I am expecting my first child and I recently shifted from downhill to telemark skiing.

I would really love to spend time this winter tele’ing on the blues. Can I ski during pregnancy?

How do I make this decision?


H in Colorado

Dear H,

As you’ve probably gathered most doctors and midwives warn against activities such as skiing, surfing, and horseback riding during pregnancy. These activities are considered “risky” because of the risk of falling. 

From my experience, I was just as likely (if not more likely) to fall off a curb while walking as I was to fall during skiing, but since doctors can’t justify putting all pregnant women on permanent bed rest, they have to assume we’ll take a few “risks”!

That said, there is a lot of evidence that a fit pregnancy is a healthier and happier pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:

  • Less back pain and discomfort
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Increased stamina and strength
  • Happier moods and emotional stability

Staying active during pregnancy is a good thing — actually a great thing — for you and your baby. 

So, if skiing makes you happy and keeps you fit during the winter, and you feel your skill level is high enough that you can manage the risks, it’s your choice and your call.

As with anything in this big, beautiful world, there are factors we can’t control, such as being run into by another skier or rider, or catching an edge on the bunny hill, so common sense should prevail.

Tele when you feel good and strong and the conditions seem right. If you have any doubts, sit out a run or a day and see how you feel next time. 

In the scheme of things, 40 weeks is a really short time and you’ll have many ski days and ski seasons ahead. 

Good luck and congratulations! - The Brave Ski Mom

lee lay photographer extremely canadian backcountry ski

Lisa Richardson, 7 months pregnant during an Extremely Canadian backcountry clinic. Photographer: Lee Lau.

For more advice on skiing during pregnancy, I turned to some girlfriends. There’s simply no advice like girlfriend advice.

Alyssa’s Story (The Kid Project)

Alyssa Erickson and family

Alyssa Erickson and her family.

I skied during each of my pregnancies, from roughly three months to six months pregnant. The limiting factor for me was that at about 6 months, I no longer had ski clothing that fit. Then I switched from skiing to snowshoeing, wearing lots of fleece layers — all from my husband!

My doctor was okay with me skiing and asked me to stick to easy, comfortable terrain and away from crazy crowds. Of course, I had an appointment with a different doctor one day and she said, “Well, it isn’t like you’d do something stupid, like skiing while pregnant.”

I kept my mouth shut, smiled and nodded.

Lisa’s Story (Lisa Richardson Bylines)

lisa richardson british columbia

While Lisa Richardson thought XC skiing might be easier, she fell more on skinny skis than on alpine.

It was my first pregnancy, a surprise at that, and I had no idea what to expect of motherhood. I felt a bit like I was on death row, only happier, in that every meal was my last meal, every adventure was my last adventure, every uninterrupted conversation was my last chance to hold onto a thread of dialogue until it was resolved.

That said, I figured I had better get as much skiing in as I could.

I skied every week until I was 34 weeks pregnant. I know people who skied right up until they went into labor, women who make a living on their skis – but I was happy to call it around then.

Jessica’s Story (Bring the Kids)

Jessica Averett skiing bring the kids

Jessica Averett skiing at 27 weeks in Colorado.

I have skied during all 4 of my pregnancies. I have taken it easier and easier with each pregnancy, not necessarily because my ability or confidence level had decreased but because I had more and more little kids that I needed to ski slow with and less “me time” on the hill along with that.

Getting out and enjoying a day on the hill is great even when pregnant. Even better, it sets you up with the attitude that you can still get out and have adventures once you have kids!

Words of Wisdom

  1. Each pregnancy and each mom-to-be is different. We all have different skill levels and different circumstances. If you want to ski during pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. Come up with a plan that makes you both comfortable.
  2. It’s all about balance, and in this case, your balance. Pregnancy changes your center of gravity and throws your balance off. Be aware of your body and how you feel.
  3. Avoid crowds. Your greatest risk may be being hit by another skier or snowboarder. Ski midweek. Ski at lunch. Ski at less crowded resorts.
  4. Dial it back. Plan to ski at about 50% of your ability. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion. Avoid bumps, breathe in the clean air and soak in the sunshine.
  5. Cold mountain air helps a lot with morning sickness. If you don’t want to downhill ski, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and get outside!

 Ready for the Next Step?

Posted in Health, Skiing | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Gear Notes: Hydrate, Look Great and Keep Bruises at Bay (Spring Giveaway)

gear notes LIF Flasq, Sidesaddle plaid shirt, demon padded baselayer

The Sidesaddle Plaid Shirt from Mountain Khakis, LIF Flasq and padded baselayer from Demon.

This post includes a fantastic giveaway from Demon, Life is Fluid and Mountain Khakis. For details, please see below. Thanks! 

A Next Gen Water Bottle from Life is Fluid

brave ski mom logoDoes the world really need another water bottle? Not if it’s the disposable kind that you drink and toss in the trash.

Yes, if it’s a smarter bottle, a bottle where every feature has been carefully designed and a bottle that could someday provide safe drinking water around the world?

That’s a bottle we can all use.

If you’re looking for a new hydration option, check out the LIF Flasq. Designed to combat any number of problems associated with regular bottles, the LIF Flasq looks funny, but works smart.

Two Chambers. Many Options.

The LIF Flasq holds nearly 20 ounces in two chambers. There is a large 16 ounce fill chamber for water and a small 3 ounce chamber that you can load with energy drink, juice or other beverage, or use it to hold water from the main chamber. Dividing the chambers is a straw-like tube that pushes water through a small, optional charcoal filter when you squeeze it.

The two chambers give you lots of flexibility. And while they are not completely separated (some water will likely get into your energy drink), the dual chambers mean you can carry just one bottle, instead of two.

The Flasq comes with a neoprene cover, with a strap, loop and carabiner. Because the bottle is weighs only 4 ounces when empty, and is a low-profile two inches wide, you can strap it to a belt loop, your skis pants, a backpack or, use the soon-to-introduced Qlip and carry it on your bike.

Life is Fluid. Qlip

The Qlip. Coming soon.

I’ve even seen a testimonial from a mom whose toddler carries the Flasq everywhere, alternating apple juice and water, all day long.

The LIF Flasq is completely made in the US of recycled and recyclable plastic. The bottle is dishwasher safe (remove the charcoal filter) and freezer safe.

And while the current filter is akin to a Britta type filter for taste and basic purity, the company is working on a filter that would remove biological contaminants and could become an on-the-go purification system for use in places where the water supply is unsafe.

That’s pretty cool.

Skiing with a LIF Flasq

Photo courtesy Life Is Fluid.

A Bright Burst of Spring Color from Mountain Khakis

Spring calls for fresh colors and lighter weight clothes, but since the weather can be fickle, it’s always good to have a few temperature spanning tops hanging in your closet.

This spring, one of my favorites is the new Sidesaddle Plaid shirt from Mountain Khakis. I may live in the West, yet I’m not really a Western gal. But this shirt has just the right amount of country casual for me, without going overboard. Yes, it has snaps instead of buttons, but they are clear and look terrific.

sidesaddle plaid shirt mountain khakis

Photos courtesy Mountain Khakis.

I also like the fabric, which Mountain Khakis describes as “cotton dobby”. A subtle weave of red, orange and grey (in the Pink Salmon color), the effect is a nicely textured, substantial fabric that is also lightweight.

The fit is flattering and just a little bit tailored with bias cut side panels. I found that the Medium fit true to size.

It’s a winner, whether you’re headed out to dinner, riding the range, hiking in the desert, or doing whatever your do to get your Spring on.

Bruises, Be Gone! Banished By Demon. 

I’ll admit. It was skeptical when Brent Davidson from Demon suggested I try padded baselayers for skiing. As I explained to him, I’m not that hardcore, you won’t find me in the park.

But then he explained to me, that some of his best customers are beginner skiers and snowboarders, who are worried about falling and feel more confident when they know they’ve got some safety gear on.

So I tried ‘em, both a long and a short version.

Here’s what I think.

If you’re a snowboarder, the long Flexforce baselayers are awesome, especially if you fall on your behind (or sit on the snow on your behind and want to stay warm), thighs or knees. The pads are fairly unobtrusive and easily fit under snowboard pants without making your behind look big (this is important!).

The knee pads are adjustable with an exterior Velcro strap and all pads are removable and washable.

demon long base layer

Women’s Flexforce X D30 pants. Photos courtesy Demon.

The Flexforce Pro short is similar to the long version, except there is no knee protection. You can buy knee pads separately from Demon, or if you’re primarily concerned about your tail bone, wear these alone over your regular baselayer.

demon padded ski and snowboard shorts.

Photo courtesy Demon.

While the target market is snowboarders, Brent sells a lot of these, as well as padded tops with shoulder, arm, chest and back protection, to skiers who are worried about falling, have been in accidents, or just want an additional layer of protection.

ski protection demon

Photo courtesy Demon.

In addition to snowsports body armor, Demon has full range of padding for skateboarding, mountain bike and BMX, roller derby and snowmobiling. They’ve even got ski and snowboard tune kits.

Check ‘em out!

Giveaway Details

Thanks so much to Life is Fluid, Mountain Khakis and Demon for donating three great items for this giveaway.

One winner will receive a LIF Flasq, Demon Flexforce Long base layer (Women’s or Men’s), and a $30 Mountain Khaki gift card! What a perfect way to celebrate spring!

Two runners-up will each receive a LIF Flasq.

To enter, leave a comment. For an additional entry, “like” Braveskimom, Demon, Life Is Fluid and Mountain Khakis on Facebook, or follow each of us on Twitter (@braveskimom, @demon_dirt, @lifeisfluid, @mountainkhakis).

One winner will be chosen randomly from all entries received on Friday, March 21. Two runners-up will then be chosen randomly from all remaining entries. 

Good luck!

Related Posts: 

To facilitate this post, I received a variety of padded gear from Demon to try, a LIF Flasq and I borrowed sample items from Mountain Khakis. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends. 



Posted in Equipment and Gear | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Hard Truths About Skiing With Teens. And Some Good News, Too.

skiing with teens

Nothing makes a teenage boy quite as happy as a photograph. Deer Valley, Utah.

braveskimom logoHard Truth #1: No matter how intelligent, fit and talented you are, there is always someone more intelligent, fit and talented. Usually your teen.

Hard Truth #2: No matter how well you ski, or snowboard, there is always someone who skis, or snowboards, better than you. Usually your teen.

If you’re the parent of a teenager (or two, or three), you’ve already figured out that they rule the world. Or at least they think they do.

As they grow into their bodies and brains, each day brings them more muscle and more brain connections. While you’re struggling to remember what to buy at the grocery store, they’re mastering advanced chemistry. While you’re stopping to catch your breath part way through a long mogul run, they’re impatiently waiting at the bottom for you wondering why you’re SO SLOW.

Skiing with, not to mention living with, teenagers can be demoralizing, but it can also be infinitely rewarding.

Here’s the Good News.

teens skiing

Chairlift Time Can Be Quality Time.

Recently, my 14-year-old and I were skiing together, without anyone else.

On the chairlift, shivering under a weak sun, we had an intense and valuable conversation. I don’t know how it started, but soon, my son was tearing down his teenage defenses and sharing with me all the things my husband and I do that drive him crazy. And while that might sound annoying, it was incredible. He opened up and told me things I needed to hear. He alone had my attention and he ran with it.

It was a conversation we would never have had at home.

Not every chairlift conversation has to be intense. Some are just fun. But either way, take advantage of your time together on lifts. Turn off the music, stash the phone and share the moment together.

chairlift chatting

Discussions, laughter and more. It’s all part of the family chairlift experience.

It’s Your Turn to Be Schooled.

Off the chairlift, I deal daily with the fact that my two teenage skiers can really rip. It seems like only weeks ago, I was praying for them to get off the bunny slope. Then we were pushing them to get off the groomers. Now, they are the ones pushing me.

Without my teenage sons, I would never have jumped into so many chutes, launched onto such steep faces or bounced along so many traverses. It would have been easier to stick to my favorite terrain, and rest content on the single blacks.

Not with these guys.

If there’s extreme terrain to be found, they’ll find it. And while I sometimes demure, especially in tight trees, some of my best days have been when they’ve challenged me to extend my skills.

No matter what your ability, take some chances with your teens. What skills do you want to improve? Ask them to help you. Ask them to choose terrain that they think you’d like.

You’ll be surprised how far you’ll go.

Squaw Valley

About to drop something steep at Squaw Valley!

Your Teens Will Keep You Up to Date.

Wondering who the latest freeskiing superstars are? Looking for beta on the best new ski movies? Trying to figure out which coat looks least “gaper-ish”? Or what they real events are the Olympics are? Let your teens tell you.

Natively equipped with built-in barometers that measure “cool” and “uncool” on a continual basis, my sons are encyclopedias of skiing (and lots of other) knowledge. They know what’s in, what’s out and the latest in ski design technology. While I’m content wearing my old goggles, they know all the reasons why I shouldn’t. And so much more.

I don’t always take their advice, but I do appreciate how much they know and their passion for learning is exciting. And while I will never be hip, or up-to-date in their eyes, at least I can keep up on the conversation.

Yes, they are more intelligent, more fit, and more talented than me. They ski much better than me.

And they are better-looking.

What more could a mom ask for?

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Posted in Parenting | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Spring Break at Sierra-At-Tahoe, California

grandview sierra at tahoe

Are you planning your spring break?

Last year, my boys and I went to Lake Tahoe to ski Sierra-At-Tahoe and Squaw Valley. You can read about our visit to Squaw Valley here. This post is all about Sierra-At-Tahoe. Portions of it were originally published by Tahoe South, on April 5, 2013. 

brave ski mom logo“What are you doing for Spring Break?” a friend asked me in late March. “Hot or cold?”

“Cold,” I replied. Adding, “We’re going to Lake Tahoe.”

It turns out the surprise was all mine. My answer should have been “Cold…and hot.”

Bike, Beach…Ski

With temperatures in the 50s and a cloudless blue sky when we arrived, the temptation to rent bikes and set out for the beautiful Tahoe beaches was real. Still, we traveled from Colorado to California to ski, and ski we did.

sierra-at-tahoe californiaI visited South Lake Tahoe for the first time in 2012 and skied four days at Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe. The day at Sierra was incredible. Sixteen inches of fresh snow, with more falling all day. The visibility was just about zero and I spent the summer wanting to come back and see where I had skied.

This time I brought my two sons, ages 13 and 16.

The Sierras Aren’t the Rockies

First impressions mean a lot, especially to kids. Driving up Echo Pass, my two Colorado natives quickly noticed that the Sierras are not the Rockies. “Those boulders are massive,” one exclaimed. “Yeah, and look at the trees — I’ve never seen such big trees,” chimed in the other.

Arriving at Sierra-At-Tahoe, we got oriented, picked up our skis and zipped through the line at the Grand View express quad. “Everyone is really nice,” one son noticed. “This is going to be fun.”

As we zoomed up the mountain, anticipation ran high.

lake tahoe view

Something else you don’t find in the Rockies: a view of Lake Tahoe.

All Weather Fun at Sierra-At-Tahoe

Blue skies and lots of sun were the hallmarks of our first day at Sierra. Falling snow and colder temperatures were the highlights of day two.

Sun or snow? Hot or cold? It was all good.

With 2000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet, Sierra-At-Tahoe is a surprisingly sizable mountain. There are three high speed quads, six fixed grip chairs and five surface lifts. The mountain is divided into three sections, Grandview, Backside and West Bowl.

Grandview is on the front side, with access to a wide variety of terrain ranging from right-under-the-lift moguls on Dynamite to themed adventure zones for kids, along with groomers, glades and most everything else you might want to ski or ride.

wampa cave sierra at tahoe

Sierra-At-Tahoe is known for its Star Wars Experience for little riders. But even little skiers can get some Star Wars action in the Wampa Cave Adventure Zone.

Freestyle Fun

From Grand View, it’s easy access to Backside, where you’ll find a boarder cross course and several terrain parks. The only downside to Backside? It’s south facing, so on sunny spring days, you have to ski it in the morning. On day two, when it was overcast and snowing, the conditions were good all day.

boarder cross course sierra at tahoe

All told, Sierra has five terrain parks spread across the mountain — even on the bunny slope, right under the beginner lift. As resort rep Steve Hemphill put it, “we believe in park progression — right from the beginning.”

Clearly, this emphasis on freestyle terrain has paid off, with three local athletes, Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman and Hannah Teter competing in the Sochi Olympics.

The third section of the mountain is West Bowl which has a nice mixture of intermediate and advanced terrain, moguls and groomers, as well as perfect glades for tree skiing. With a high speed quad, yet more freestyle features and the Baja Grill at the base of the lift, one could easily ski West Bowl all day.

west bowl sierra at tahoe

And who else was skiing West Bowl? Tanner Hall, getting ready for the Tanner Hall Invitational.

Three More Reasons to Ski Sierra-At-Tahoe

On our second day at Sierra, we were joined by our friend and long-time Tahoe local Curtis Fong. Curtis has spent his life skiing the Tahoe resorts and he characterizes Sierra as the “local’s mountain.”

That being said, why should visitors ski where local’s love to tread?

sierra at tahoe spring break

1.            Value. Single day lift tickets at Sierra-At-Tahoe are a relative bargain, especially if you buy a three pack of tickets. A one-day adult ticket during peak season will set you back $82, while a three pack will give you three days of skiing or riding for only $55 per day. Rates for young adults and children are even more affordable.

Thinking about lessons? First-time adult skiers and riders can score a half-day lesson including rental gear for only $39 (booked online). And, if you like what you learned, a lesson three pack works out to $58 per day.

For kids, Sierra offers the acclaimed Burton Star Wars Experience for little snowboarders ages 3-6 and Wild Mountain for young skiers.

star wars adventure zone

Photo courtesy Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort.

And then there’s the food. I rarely classify ski resort food as a “value,” but I do at Sierra. Check out the on-mountain smoked ribs, pork and brisket at 360° Smokehouse BBQ. You get an enormous sandwich and a generous helping of sweet potato fries. Even my two teenagers were impressed and overwhelmed. Next time, we’ll share.

bbq sierra at tahoe

2.            Snow. With an average of 480 inches of snow per season, Sierra-At-Tahoe is located in one of the snowiest spots at Lake Tahoe. Read that again: 480 inches of snow. And then contemplate this: an average winter daytime high of 45 degrees and an average winter overnight low of only 19 degrees.

3.            Terrain.  In addition to Grandview, Backside and West Bowl, Sierra also has “The Gates,” 320 acres of inbounds terrain in Huckleberry Canyon. When The Gates are open, expert skiers enjoy glades, pillows, chutes and cliffs, all within easy access from the top of Grandview.

huckleberry canyon sierra at tahoe

Sierra-At-Tahoe is well-known for its trees. In addition to being really big (at least to our Colorado eyes), the glades are perfect for skiing, with broad lanes and plenty of room for turns as tight or wide as you want to make them.  Local history holds that when miners settled the area, pine and spruce were cut liberally for timber, while the softer red fir trees got left behind. One hundred years later, the thinned out forest makes a perfect playground.

While spring conditions didn’t allow us to ski Huckleberry Canyon or any of the glades, I know from my previous visit, that the tree skiing is excellent.

sierra at tahoe red fir tree skiing

As we stood on the deck at the 360° BBQ, we looked out at the chutes falling from the top of Huckleberry Mountain.

“This is really fun,” my younger son shared. “But next time, I want to ski those chutes. I want to be here in winter. We need to come back.”

When You Go…

Sierra-At-Tahoe is about a thirty minute drive from South Lake Tahoe. A free shuttle service runs all day between the town and the resort.

ImageWe stayed at the independent Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (formerly an Embassy Suites) in South Lake Tahoe. Same large rooms, same amenities and the same central location make this property a good place for families.

Finally, when you’re out and about, don’t miss Base Camp Pizza. With après pizza and beer specials, live music and a deliciously fresh pizza and pasta menu, it’s a good spot for families and friends alike. Save room for the hot pear crumble.


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Posted in Ski Resort Reviews, Skiing, Skiing With Kids | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

The World is Coming to Vail in 2015. Bring Your Kid’s Ski Gear in a Kinderkarry Bag (Giveaway).

kinderkarry bag

Vail Beaver Creek 2015 Kinderkarry bag. Yes, it will carry your kid’s skis!

brave ski mom logoThe Olympics may have ended, but don’t let ski racing skip your mind.

Because next year, the world comes to Colorado for the 2015 FIS World Cup Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek.

If you follow ski racing, you know that Beaver Creek has hosted the World Cup men’s tour for many years.  In 2013, the Women’s tour also came calling.

vail beaver creek 2015

Image courtesy Wikipedia.

While these races are a big deal, the World Championships are an even bigger deal. Beginning with the opening ceremonies on February 2, 2015, they close nearly two weeks later on the 15th, with 19 training and championship events in between.

Think of them as the Olympics without skates or sleds.

Kinderlift and Kinderkarry: Official World Cup Merchandise

In honor of the World Championships, Colorado entrepreneur Randy Burkland is introducing Vail 2015 branded items into his product line.

Working with the Vail Valley Foundation and the 2015 committee, Randy’s company, Kinderlift of Colorado is making two “official” items for kids with the 2015 logo on them.

kinderlift vail beaver creek 2015

Good looking Kinderlift vests ready for Vail 2015!

The first is the popular Kinderlift vest, which I reviewed two seasons ago. The vest is used by ski and ride schools across the world including Vail, Copper Mountain, and Portillo in Chile.

Parents can also buy the vest, which makes it easier to pull your child back onto a chairlift, as well as pick them up when they fall. Plus, they are awfully cute!

Better Living with Bags

The second official product is new: the Kinderkarry bag.

As you may recall, I am a huge fan of bags. I believe that everyone in every ski family needs their own bag to keep their gear organized. We keep our bags packed year round – and when it’s time to ski, we just grab and go.

kinderkarry bag

Photo courtesy Kinderlift.

The Kinderkarry bag is designed for little skiers who are too small to lug a heavy backpack. Actually, it’s really designed for their parents, who may already be lugging a heavy backpack.

Made of sturdy nylon, these distinctive lime green bags will hold a little ripper’s boots, helmet, jacket, mittens, extra socks, baselayers and more. Really, they’ll take just about anything you can stuff into them.

Plus, the bag also has straps on the outside to carry little skis.

I shared a bag with some product testers (i.e. moms and dads). To a person, they liked the overall design of the bag. They found the bag roomy enough to carry everything their child needed, and they also liked how they could carry the bag “hands free” with the shoulder strap.

As one dad put it, “The bag definitely made the trip from the car to the lodge easier because I could carry all of my son’s gear and skis along with my skis and poles.”

kinderkarry bag

KinderKarry Bag packed and ready to go!

For the most part, testers found the bag easy to use, although one family discovered that the straps lined up exactly with their son’s bindings. Solution? Compress the bag a little and move the straps to the inside of the bindings.

One parent raised the caution that you have to be aware of the skis’ position as you walk next to people and cars. If you just throw the strap over your shoulder and let the bag rest behind you, you’ll be wider than you expect.

This seems to me like good advice for all of us, of any age, carrying skis: Be aware and don’t smack anyone or anything.

Click here for more information on Kinderlift and Kinderkarry. Plus, as a thank you for reading this post and checking out Burkland’s products, take 20% off of your order with this code: KIND20.


kinderkarry bag

Win this bag!

I think that Kinderlift of Colorado makes great products, at a reasonable price. While 2015 Logo gear costs a bit more than their other product, it’s a fun way to celebrate ski racing in 2015 and make your family part of the action.

Randy Burkland has graciously offered a 2015 logo Kinderkarry bag as a giveaway today. To enter, please leave a comment.

For a second entry, “like” both Braveskimom and Kinderlift on Facebook.

One winner will be chosen randomly from all entries received on Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Good luck!

Thank you to Randy Burkland and Kinderlift of Colorado for this giveaway. To facilitate this post, I received one non-logo Kinderkarry bag which I shared among friends with small children. As always, all opinions are my own (or my testers) and are exactly what we would tell our families and friends.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Teresa and Jill!





Posted in Product Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments