Health/Nutrition

Focus and Doing the Work Equals Success

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Steph HoaglundI didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.

I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.

Solidcore Ashburn

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The Eat More Protein Diet Plan

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Tulips  - live fit and soreI’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused –  in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).

Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.

The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.

So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.

First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.

Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me.  I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.

Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat.  I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.

I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in phliosophie -superfood a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…

Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.

I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE.  I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie:  Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.

So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.

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The Mediterranean Diet: Heart & Mind Healthy

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Mediterranean DietHave you heard of the Mediterranean diet? Here’s the basics…

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

Recent research has shown that eating this way can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death: Science Daily: ‘Mediterranean’ diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes in heart patients.

“A ‘Mediterranean’ diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease, according to a study of over 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. The research also showed that eating greater amounts of healthy food was more important for these people than avoiding unhealthy foods — a ‘Western’ diet.”

In addition to lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke, the Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

If you look at the basics of this approach, you can call it whatever you want. It’s eating healthy: not eating a lot of processed foods and exercise!  (I’m sure many of us love the drinking red wine part!)  No shockers, no surprises.  Most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.

When I am on point, this is very much how I eat – although I do use Kerrygold butter and don’t eat legumes often. I am also gluten and dairy free (minus the butter!) for sensitivity issues Through trial and error, I have found that Dairy causes eczema and congestion for me and gluten seems to cause me gut and fatigue issues. So, when I do partake in eating them – it’s after careful deliberation on the pros and cons of what’s being eaten.

Want to learn more? Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan That Can Save Your Life

MediterraneanDietBenefits

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Alive or Breathing

Goals: Focus, Patience and Acknowledgment

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Weigh in again this week — I’m down 1.5 more pounds and about .5% lower in body fat (2.5% lower total). So, it wasn’t a whirlwind amount, which bummed me out a bit, but it is lower. And before anyone lays into me, I realize that in the grand scheme of how much weight I have to lose, it’s actually a good amount to be down. I know this! But you know how you focus and stay on point and then get that sort of let down feeling when you see the number? Yeah – i felt that.  It’s so damn easy to put weight on, but to take it off – seems double the effort.

And earlier this week, I craved some carbs big time. With the focus on more protein and no crap food — I haven’t been super hungry and for the most part, not even a little tempted to go hog wild. But the other evening, I wanted nothing more than carbs – so I had them. I opted for some crunchy rice rolls. So while not the worst thing I could have chosen (no gluten, soy, GMOs) – it was empty calories and I of course ate the entire package because stuff like that are like potato chips to other people. I can not eat just one —  But the next day was a new day and I moved on…

I know that if I want to reach goals I set for myself, it’s all about focus, patience and acknowledging any and all steps that get me there and that set me back.

musclevsfatweb12 day stats:

  • 4.5lbs lost
  • 2.5% loss in body fat
  • More energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Skin looks better

Training Progress

Working out with a personal trainer has been challenging and fun. I am learning to appreciate as well as just get used to having individual attention throughout 30 minutes of training. There is no where to hide or skirt around the reps or exercises which has me pushing myself farther than usual.  For some of the work I am doing, Wayne has me lifting lighter weight for higher reps to increase muscle tone. Previously, I was used to going heavy for strength training.  I am now learning to incorporate both concepts into my training to improve my overall fitness.

Here’s a good article about low vs high rep strength training and which approach is better (or are they?):  High Reps vs. Low Reps: Which is Better?

And here’s info on some recent research about low weight, high rep training:  LOW-WEIGHT, HIGH-REP EXERCISE INCREASES BONE DENSITY

Currently, I am scheduled for 2 weekly training sessions with Wayne and then I hit up boxing 3x a week, including one 12 round (1hr 15min) class.  As I mentioned before, working out has not been an issue for me for years now. I can’t imagine not being active. My challenge has always been eating — and the reality is, it will be always be a challenge whether I like it or not.

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Personalized Health: Helping us Live Better Lives

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This is a guest post by By Matt Riemann, ph360 founder and entrepreneur, who is introducing what I think will be a cool, virtual health assistant, called Shae™. The product will be available soon. Find out more here. Although I don’t accept many of the guest post requests I receive, the ones I do post are those that I personally find interesting and are relevant to my health and wellness philosophy.  Please note: I have not personally tried the ph360 product, but I do have a real interest in personalized health care and wellness and am excited to learn about the up and coming technology that we will use to live better, healthier lives. The product ph360 is currently working on is part of an exciting trend of developing cool technology to help us live better and be smarter about health and wellness in our own lives… 

You Can Stop Wasting Time On Trial and Error For Your Health, Your Diet and Your Fitness.  The Answer To The Question – How Do I Get It All? – Is Here.

Imagine Gina and Marie have just signed up for ph360 – the personalized health program based on Epigenetics. These two have known each other since their college years and have always done everything together.  Now they plan to go on a diet together to lose the 10 pounds they each feel they want to lose to get their bodies beach ready.  They’ve taken twenty minutes to do the online questionnaire that will determine the food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations that will help them achieve their goals.  They look at their diet plan and they are surprised to see so many differences! How can that be?

Well here’s how it works.

for ph360 - the personalized health program Although the two women may look the same to many untrained eyes, being roughly the same height and weight, without signs of obesity or large waist-to-height ratio, ph360 offers customized food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations to each based on their specific biotrend. This is part of what was determined by the online questionnaire they completed.  Gina is a Crusader, according to ph360’s general biotrend, whereas Maria is a Diplomat. Though we can’t reveal exactly how we assess specific biotrends, they’re based on phenotypes which is just a small piece of the puzzle and that there are many more layers to their complex algorithm.

For Gina, being a Crusader means she has mostly ectomorphic and mesomorphic tendencies. She has a body that can remain relatively lean without much effort, and can build good muscle tone with resistance exercises. Her bone structure is also related to her heightened sensitivity due to a more active nervous system. Her physical structure may also be an indicator of impaired calcium signaling, as well as a genetic predisposition to be naturally lean and remain so because she has a more favourable metabolic profile.

Maria’s higher level of endomorphy may increase her risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, but both are rather tall women, so their risk of cardiovascular disease isn’t too high for either of them. It would therefore be more prudent to focus on metabolic issues for Maria. Her physical structure indicates an active GRB14 gene on chromosome 2q24.3, which is a growth factor receptor that binds directly to the insulin receptor and increases her risk of type 2 diabetes.

So what does that mean for their diet?

Well for Gina, we’d recommend increased carbohydrates to ensure proper glycogen storage by the liver and muscle and give her plenty of legumes that will enhance mineral absorption, especially calcium for her bones.  However, a low carb, high protein and fat diet we’d recommend for Maria would be ideal for her to prevent the onset of diabetes or insulin levels. The USDA Food Guide may actually be over prescribing pasta, breads and cereals for Maria, who should follow a Mediterranean style diet, with a low-carb twist. The low carb diet we’d recommend for Maria wouldn’t suit Gina, who could end up having lower blood sugar, concentration and fatigue after exertion than her more suitable higher carbohydrate diet would offer.  Gina would also benefit from healthy fatty acids to protect her active yet sensitive nervous system.

marie1for ph360 - the personalized health program
 

The take home message here is to not overgeneralize what’s right and what’s wrong for healthy dieting.

Each person’s physical constitution, bodily needs and health conditions needs to be taken into consideration for an appropriate diet to keep the body healthy. Both Maria and Gina will reach their weight loss goals for their body, but they will need to do so differently.

In addition to general recommendations for the amount of proteins, vegetables, fats, etc. to consume in a given day, specific foods with their particular nutritional makeup may be recommended (ie: exactly what kinds of vegetables to eat and how often).

To learn more about exactly what kinds of foods are good for your body, which to avoid, and the amounts of each that would best help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals, please visit us at www.ph360.me. Right now, ph360 is introducing its next generation technology.  Shae™, our virtual health assistant, is in development and you can be a part of it through our Kickstarter campaign.

 

Introducing Shae from ph360 from ph360 on Vimeo.

Please note: As I mentioned above, I have not personally tried the ph360 product nor am I a part of their kickstarter campaign. The links above to their campaign do contain an affiliate link and I have been offered free membership once Shae is available.  I have not been asked to personally give my approval for this product nor have I been asked to provide any statements in exchange for their offer. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Adventures of a Personal Training Session

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Me after the workoutThis pic is me after my 30 min session with Wayne. I was crushed. Fair to say it was a very long day. I did a 6A intense boxing workout, then worked my day job, and then went in for my PT session (add in parenting duties too!) Wayne didn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable or unfamiliar with — the focus was strength training – dumb bell arm work, back squats, push ups and a few other things, including a long session of db walking lunges. When I say long — I mean it felt like it was miles.  After the session, my muscles twitched for quite some time, i drank a ton of water and I felt the soreness start within minutes. Now that’s a good session.. Wayne said that he could tell I was a ‘worker‘.  Truth.

As for my clean eating — I am now on Day Three. The first two days weren’t that big of a deal, but today I woke up with a headache and just feel sluggish and cranky. I am warning everyone that interacts with me that cranky Steph has arrived. Fair warning to them all.  I’m not starving, but I am craving sugar and carbs. To combat them, I am drinking water and/or herbal tea whenever I feel the cravings creep up. I am peeing a lot more thanks to that strategy…

Wednesday evening I got out the good ole crockpot and made some Cilantro Lime Chicken, which I figured would last me a few days but my family liked it too –so it only covered me for dinner that evening and lunch the next (because I packaged some up right after it was ready to eat!). I am going to make some more – it was that good!

As I sit here, I can feel the soreness every time I move. It’s not immobilizing or anything but it’s a sign that I worked hard. And although I am bit achey and cranky from this clean eating detox period, I can feel the excitement start to flood back with this challenge – which is a good thing.

My next session is Sunday, so stay tuned…

After sharing my last post, I read this article:  I’m a Fit Chubby Girl and I’m Sick of People Telling Me I’m Unhealthy which I thought was relevant and timely. While I see the point she is making, I am not necessarily of the same mindset when it comes to my own health.  For me, I don’t want to be the chubby fit girl because I know mine is caused by the nutritional choices I have been making. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a fanatical nut about it all either. It boils down to I am not happy where I currently am and I don’t feel my best. If the author feels she is at her best –more power to her. Healthy living is what matters in the end – not the number on a scale. Keep exercising and moving your body on the regular.

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Crockpot: Cilantro Lime Chicken

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Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken This is an easy recipe! Feel free add/subtract spices as you prefer…
Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • A handful or more of chopped cilantro
  • 1 med onions (sliced or diced)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Dump it all into your crockpot and coat the chicken. Set it on low for 5-6 hours. My crockpot then goes into warm mode. It’s very tender when it’s done and easy to shred. I served it as is with a side of broccoli. The following day I mixed up the broccoli with it and put a bit of natural, organic salsa in it. So two easy, delicious clean eating meals which could have lasted me even longer if it weren’t for my family enjoying it!

Cilantro Lime Chicken  Lunch

The Tarts Take Manhattan

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I have been so busy that I haven’t had a ton of time to update, which is good and bad. I often find posting in here a cathartic experience and one that forces me to stop for a few moments during the week and think – about what has caught my attention during the week, what is spinning around in my head – and document it for lack of a better word. So, it’s been well over a week with no entry – and I feel the guilt creeping up.

NY Tartan Week 2016

Rumor has it that I do have some Scottish genes from my fraternal grandmother, but in all honesty, no one would ever mistake me for being Scottish. That didn’t stop me and 10 of my Outlander friends from traveling to the Big Apple to celebrate the yearly New York Tartan Week yearly event, including marching in the parade down 6th Ave.  We had been planning this girls trip (dubbed Tartcon 2016) for more than six months as a way to get together beyond online. We had no idea that the leading actor Sam Heughan would be the Grand Marshall of the parade and cause thousands of other Outlander fans to drop everything and head to NYC too.

Here’s a photo gallery of Sam, leading the parade in all his handsome, dreamy glory – kilt and all.

AOL Build Event: OutlanderSeeing the Outlander Stars

As part of Tartcon, we were able to see the OL cast at the Apple store in SoHo (although I was too short to really see anything).  The following day, Scotty was able to pull a few strings and get two front row seats reserved for me and my friend Mandy to watch Outlander Cast: AOL Build Interview.  I was able to fan-girl for a few short minutes and then it was over. Mr Heughan did make eye contact briefly (I quickly got flustered and looked away) and shook my hand (which was soft but a bit on the cool side). Then – it was over. I never saw Mr Heughan in person again. Sigh…

New York Tartan Day Parade

On Sunday, we were able to march in the parade as part of the Outlanders United group. Normally this would be fun, but it was cold and rainy. Most of the marchers were not prepared for the weather, including me. I did have a hat and jacket on but boy, my hands were frozen by the end. Not to mention, something had upset my stomach big time so I was struggling to finish the parade, so I could run off to find the nearest restroom (TMI).

Tartan Day Parade 2016

There is something really endearing about the parade tradition. People gathering together, for a common cause/theme. It’s a very old fashioned tradition and even though it was rainy and cold, the energy surrounding the event was palpable. There were doggies wearing special tartan sweaters, bag pipes, traditional Scottish gear, lots of kilts and of course WHISKEY!

After the parade, was the after party at Papillion Bistro. I wasn’t feeling 100% and I looked like a drowned rat – so I wasn’t in the most festive, partying mood. Despite that, I made the best of it and spent the next few hours with some lovely, amazing friends and some serious Scottish lovers drinking lots and lots of water. (Well – I was drinking the water anyway).

After the party, we walked over to the Director’s Guild to watch a special screening of Episode 1 of the Second season of Outlander. Well, that was the plan anyway. One of my friends, Kathy and I were so cold and over it all, we decided to pre-order pizza (Johns Pizza) and leave the screening early to pick it up and enjoy some carbs, water and down time in our hotel room.  Think about the constant activity and noise I was being barraged with the past few days – I needed some down time. Living in the suburbs is not good training for being in a big city. You tend to forgot how loud and always on the go it is. It’s not a bad thing, just not something I am used to.

There were a ton of other activities and moments I shared with my amazing group of friends this weekend. Imagine 11 of us (some just meeting in person for the first time), all hanging out for 4 days together. There was fun, good food, Whiskey, great memories and a lot of support. There were also a lot of strong personalities in one group, but we all got along amazingly well.  This was the sort of trip we needed -getting away from our lives for a few days. Our wonderful lives that are full of husbands, kids, jobs, real life responsibility and enjoyed each other’s company with love, laughter and support. Each of the women on the trip has a story and personal experiences. After this weekend, I think we all found something magical and powerful in one another and combined.  And after it was all said and done, we ended up adding two new Tarts to the group as well.

 

Fancy Facial Time: HydraFacial at NOVA Plastic Surgery

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Hydro FacialLast month, I was asked to visit NOVA Plastic Surgery to try out one of three treatments (I was given a choice) and share my visit and experience via social.  I firmly believe taking great care of your skin is an important part of living fit and sore. As we get older, we have to do more than just rely on good genes and youth. Getting regular facials and other treatments should be done regularly, not just as an occasional treat.

I also believe investing in good, high quality skincare products is important too. I currently use products by SkinMedica but have also used Skinceuticals (which is sold at NOVA Plastic Surgery) in the past and highly recommend either.

After researching and talking with the staff there, I opted for a hydrafacial.  I was considering doing the BBL facial which uses a laser, but after they looked at my skin and the lack of overall sun damage, they suggested going with the hydro facial. So, that’s what I chose…

What is a HydraFacial? 

Hydrofacial HydraFacial MD is a deep facial cleansing treatment that utilizes natural plant extracts, peptides, acids and earth minerals to deeply hydrate, nourish and energize the skin.

No part of the body is exposed to the elements as much as your face – UV rays, wind, smoke from cars, what we eat, make up, normal wear and tear – all fill your face and pores with toxins and debris. This can give you a dull tired look, making your skin sensitive to breakouts, blemishes and age spots.

The 20 minute HydraFacial MD treatment revitalizes your skin by cleansing, exfoliating, extracting impurities, and restoring essential nutrients.

My Thoughts

The treatment took about 30 mins and other than some slight stinging from some of the products, it was painless and fairly relaxing.  During the treatment, the esthetician was very good about explaining to me what each product was and its benefits and making sure I was not in any pain.

I took a before and after pic (shown below) and what you should notice is how refreshed and dewy my skin looks after the treatment. It’s been a few days now, and my skin is slightly peeling  (which is expected) and has kept the glowing and refreshed look. My skin feels softer and I have been complimented many times on how great my skin looks.  I asked how often people go get one of these facials and was told many clients get it on a monthly basis. I can definitely understand why — it really does refresh your skin and you leave feeling relaxed -which was an unexpected bonus.

I recommend giving it a try if you have been wanting a facial that cleans deeply and revitalizes your skin.  The staff at Nova Plastic Surgery could not have been friendlier and nicer as well. They took the time to talk with me about my skin and evaluate which treatment to go with and I was never made uncomfortable.

 

Hydrofacial

 

Thanks to NOVA Plastic Surgery for inviting me in to try the Hydrafacial treatment. Although I did not pay for the treatment, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own and I would recommend the treatment and NOVA Plastic Surgery. 

The Magic You Were Born With

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PinkI was trying to figure out what really bothered me about the latest Kim Kardashian instagram image.  It’s her body, so what do I care if she wants to show it to the world. But yet, it still bothered me. Then I read something posted by Pink today on Twitter that captured what I was feeling:

“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much ‘attention’ or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of attention. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention, you will feel something called pride and self respect.” -Pink

It is absolutely her right to show her body off and be proud. I just can’t help but think about what happens when her ‘looks’ stop getting her attention. What happens then? More plastic surgery, treatments, perfect lighting to keep up the facade? I would imagine that when your fame and career all stem from how you look – you get wrapped up and it consumes you.

Pink QuoteWhen I saw her IG posts, I didn’t stop and say oh, i wish I was just like her. Quite the opposite actually, It bothered me. It felt cheap, unnecessary and an over the top cry for attention.  It also angered me – my teen daughter sees images like that all over the place now and in her still forming mind, she begins to think that’s worthy of attention and worthy of emulation.

It makes parenting that much harder…

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