Play Hard and Be Seen with Zapped Outfitters COVERT REFLECTIVE GEAR FOR RAD KIDS

We live in BC, which means for a significant part of the year we’re travelling to and from school, sports, and activities in the dark. Or at the very least, in the rain – the seemingly non-stop grey and gloom of our beloved temperate rainforest.

As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the rain clouds with a resigned sigh, we need to ensure our kids are visible, especially when conditions are less than ideal. If I could, I would send my kids out into the world wearing head-to-toe fluorescent and light-up helmets. But what my kids wear isn’t 100% my decision anymore. They have their own opinions and want to make their own style choices. They are fashion while I am all about function.

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Zapped Outfitters is a Canadian company inspired by our dark winters. Founded by Scarlet Kux-Kardos, Zapped Outfitters makes covert reflective gear for elementary school-aged kids that’s waterproof, resilient, and visible at night. Their custom-designed fabric is embedded with glass beads, making each item fully reflective, without looking like safety gear. In fact, the reflective print on Zapped gear works the same way that high-visibility reflective tape works, and in a very similar manner to the paint used on street signs and road markers. You can send your kids out into the world feeling cool in their stylish, urban active-wear and breathe easy knowing they’re actually decked out in gear with retroreflection properties.

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Excuse me while I adjust my science hat.

Retroreflection occurs when a significant amount of reflected light is returned directly to the original light source, e.g. a car’s headlights. When headlights hit Zapped’s reflective material, the millions of microscopic glass beads that make up the Zapped custom print refract the light and the silver paint underneath becomes light reflecting. Your child becomes very visible to the driver of the car is what I’m saying.

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Zapped provides all the essentials: kid’s shoes with reflective material for safety, reflective backpacks, fully reflective rain jackets, and cool kids’ ball caps. Each item is designed with an edgy style for rugged active play with impressive abrasion resistance, breaking strength, and water repellency so kids can play hard and be seen.

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We received the Zapped reflective backpack and ball cap to review. At first glance, their charcoal exteriors with black and yellow accents give an edgy vibe. According to Grady, the Zapped logo is “so cool,” but I know he hasn’t seen anything yet. We turn off the lights and snap a picture with my camera’s flash turned on. The back pack and hat light up, the print fully illuminated. It’s magical. It blows Grady’s mind. “That’s SO AWESOME,” he yells. When Shawn gets home from work Grady asks me to show him the magic light trick. I feel like Fun Mom (a feeling I’m not used to) and try not to blurt out the safety features and reveal my secret: this is cool gear, it is fun gear, but it is also safe gear. I fail, of course, but Grady doesn’t care. He’s too busy taking pictures with my phone to listen to my explanation of reflectors and the speed of light.

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Zapped Outfitters’s tagline is: Play Hard / Be Seen. To celebrate their launch, they’ve partnered with backpackbuddies.ca, which helps fill children’s backpacks with food items for the weekend when other food programs are unavailable, and rubensshoes.com, which donates shoes to kids in developing countries who might otherwise miss school due to a lack of footware. A portion of proceeds from shoe and backpack sales will be donated to both organizations to help all kids play hard and been seen for the incredible tiny humans they are.

Use code HILLARY20 to receive 20% off your purchase on zappedoutfitters.com. Not valid on in-store purchases.

{Disclosure: I received Zapped Outfitters product in exchange for this review; all opinions stated are my own.}

Meal Plan 09/10/2018 - 09/14/2018

Everything feels overwhelming and unmanageable right now so in an attempt to quell the despair spiral, I spent today meal prepping my butt off. It helped that the weather was rainy and dreary all weekend. It was the perfect weather to have a stove of something soothing bubbling away for an afternoon. 

I made a big pot of spaghetti bolognese that we'll have one night and use the leftovers as Michigans. I made a batch of mujadara to support my goal to eat more iron-rich non-meat foods. I made devilled eggs to grab as quick breakfasts or to throw in salad for a quick packed lunch. 

And I made Smitten Kitchen's purple plum torte and a batch of chocolate chip cookies for snacking. 

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Monday: mujadara and green salad for Meatless Monday (with a side of chicken wings for Shawn).

Tuesday: spaghetti bolognese served with green salad and garlic bread.

Wednesday: turkey burrito bowls. We had these in our HelloFresh box last week and they were a huge hit. If you are interested in trying HelloFresh and want $40 off your first box, use this code (and I'll get $25 off my next box!)

Thursday: Michigans using the leftover bolognese sauce. Roasted broccoli.

Friday: out with friends

What's your menu look like this week?

Meal Plan 09/03/2018 - 09/07/2018

Grady's first day of school is tomorrow and weeks ago I figured I wouldn't want to spend the last weekend of summer break meal prepping so I ordered HelloFresh. I am very fond of weeks' ago Hillary. She didn't know it then but this week is absolutely bonkers for Shawn with work stuff and band stuff and two days in San Diego. I'm pretty stoked to not have to worry about food this week is what I'm saying. 

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Monday: We barbecued burgers and ate a suboptimal watermelon in a desperate attempt to pretend it's still summer.

Tuesday: Cajun-spiced Chicken Burgers with DIY Dill and Parsley Mayo from HelloFresh. In our experience, whenever the HelloFresh delivery has a bread product in it, it's best to eat that meal first. 

Wednesday: Turkey Burrito Bowl with Avocado Pico de Gallo and Cilantro-lime Rice from HelloFresh. 

Thursday: Delivery pizza for the love of lowered expectations. I will throw a vegetable in the children's general direction. 

Friday: Fusilli al Forno with Beef, Homemade Marinara, and Fresh Ricotta from HelloFresh. 

If you want to jump aboard the "we have to feed these people multiple times a day every damn day SOS" train, you can get $40 off your first box using this link (and I'll get $25 off my next box and love you forever). 

What's on your menu this week?

Tired

So here's a fun* game I've been playing recently: Am I doing this because that or because I'm depressed?

Am I sleeping for nine hours straight and waking up bone tired because my meds are off? Or am I depressed? Am I paralyzed at the thought of picking up the phone and calling the dentist to make appointments for the kids because I hate talking on the phone? Or am I depressed? Am I unsettled and frustrated at work because I have very little control over a situation that negatively affects my day-to-day work? Or am I depressed? Am I crying at anything and everything because the world is a terrifying place to raise children, am I overwhelmed by the fact that it's September because it signals the return of busy schedules and less downtime, am I short and irritable with my children because they're children and children are kind of the worst while you're teaching them to be good, kind citizens of the world, am I sad - a lot - because I miss important people who I wish could be a bigger part of my life, am I dwelling on words spoken about my children and my parenting style because my biggest fear is screwing up this parenting gig, am I not coping well because my therapist took the summer off, am I drowning in laundry / dishes / dust because I have young kids and that's just part of this season of life, or am I depressed? 

I truly don't know.

Anxiety is my jam. I can describe the different ways I've experienced anxiety throughout my life. I can read lists, listen to spoken word, and acknowledge the experience of others, while identifying strongly. I recognize anxiety. Anxiety is a familiar beast.

Depression is more foreign to me. I've definitely experienced periods of being blue. I'm a feeler. I feel all the feels - the good, the bad, the ugly. But I've never felt like this. It's entirely possible that this is the end of summer funk. That the thought of rushed school mornings and packed lunches and the return of the rainy season has messed with my equilibrium. Maybe in a few weeks we'll be back in the swing of things and I won't feel so defeated. But right now, I am struggling. I am not coping well. I do not want to give up caffeine / sugar / alcohol or call my doctor or go to the gym to sweat it out. I want to send my words out into the universe and hear that I'm not the only one. And then I want to curl up in bed and sleep for nine hours because soon it will be morning and I'll be waking up tired.  

*it's not fun at all. It's terrible.