Baby Bow-Ties: Above Time Launches Children’s Line

Toddlers model bows and ties from Stripling Line

Last year I began blogging about a San Diego-based company called Above Time. Founder Carey Reddick II wanted to rock bow-ties that were both fashionable and hand-made of organic, luxe and vintage materials.

“Above Time is about living in the moment and not letting time get the best of you. The company was founded in February 2015 by brothers, Carey A. Reddick II and Christian D. Reddick. They began by designing and producing hand-made bow-ties.”

Above-Time LogoThe line emphasized men’s bow-ties, then quickly added fashion ties for women. The company launched in August 2015 with a fashion show.

There is something about a man in a bow-tie. Within the last two years, bow-ties have become a fashion statement, especially for the younger crowd.

Once the company went live online, an unlikely set of consumers…moms… wanted to see a line of bow-ties for kids and toddlers.

Bowties worn in hair by young girlAt a recent photo shoot, while the toddlers were being prepped, one young mother approached and commented “I’ve never seen bow-ties for children in such vivid colors. Where can I buy these?”

Another mom appreciated how the girl’s hair bow was an easy accessory to attach to her African-American daughter’s hair.
“When we started designing bow-ties for men, we had no idea that the requests for children’s bow-ties would be this big,” relates Carey Reddick, II. “We are thrilled to offer the Stripling Line.”

The Stripling Line boasts fun patterns and colors rarely found in children’s accessories. The ties and hair bow materials are made of organic cotton and are all hand-washable, since kids will be kids.

With the season for celebrations in full swing, dressing yourself and your family in fun, affordable, yet elegant bow-ties will garner attention at holiday brunches, graduation ceremonies, weddings and other special events.

Other ideas in development include matching bow-ties and socks, as well as a line of bow-ties for dogs. You can also build your own bow-tie with custom design.

Above Time is not just another fashion accessory line. Reddick emphasizes that Above Time’s San Diego roots are important because everything about the company is local to San Diego and Southern California living.

“We want to support the local San Diego community by providing jobs and opportunities within all aspects of Above Time, including the PR and production teams, brand ambassadors and models, seamstresses, and other supporting staff.”

Above Time continues to donate proceeds from sales to Interactions for Peace, a non-profit organization based in San Diego that educates students and their families to create awareness about the behaviors of bullying.

How appropriate the new Stripling line allows for a child to wear an accessory that supports the mission of this organization.

Click the logo on my sidebar for a direct link to their website.

This is a review of Above Time bow-ties and products. I am being compensated to write this review, but I wholeheartedly endorse and support these products. My opinions would be the same.

The ABCDs of Being Water Safe

Young children get swimming lessons and learn water safety skills.
Image by Kimberly Glaster, used by permission.

This is the third and final part of my series for May is National Water Safety Month.

Memorial Day Weekend in the United States heralds in the summer season. This three-day holiday weekend kicks off warm temperatures, family outings, BBQs, and of course, swimming and water recreation.

Memorial Day Weekend also brings an increased risk of child drownings, reports this article.

Pool, lake, and beach parties are favorite ways to celebrate, but parents must remember to stay alert and vigilant while children are in and around water.

For children between the ages of one and four, drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States (just behind auto accidents). Even when not fatal, water-related accidents cause significant, life-changing injuries from the lack of oxygen to the brain, including permanent brain injury and loss of basic functioning.

There are thousands of tragic stories about children, teens and adults drowning in swimming pools, rivers, lakes and oceans.

Fortunately, most of these can be prevented by being aware of these four drowning prevention tips.

A is for Adult Supervision. Simply put–Parents, WATCH YOUR CHILDREN! Do not assume someone else is going to watch your child at a backyard birthday pool party, or that the lifeguard will see your child in distress in a crowded swimming pool or beach front. It is simply YOUR job to watch your child.

[bctt tweet=”It is simply YOUR job to watch your child when he or she is in or around the water.” username=”windigenredhead”]

B is for Barriers. Backyard swimming pools without proper fencing can be a potential death trap for young children. Installation and proper use of barriers or “layers of protection” is crucial. Check your county’s ordinances for proper fence height and rules about self-latching gates. It only takes one moment for your child to slip away and head for the water.

C is for Classes. Children and adults should learn to be comfortable in and around the water.  Never consider children “drown-proof” or “water-safe” despite age, swimming skills, previous lessons or experience. Adults should take classes in CPR and first aid. Enroll children into swimming lessons. Non-swimming adults and teens should take swim classes, too.

In the featured image, the sheer joy of children taking their swim lesson is priceless! For children to be that excited about swimming while learning to be safe in the water should be encouraged and rewarded.

D is for Devices. In your backyard pool, keep rescue devices handy. Wear a life jacket (PFD or personal flotation device) in open water. In late May and early summer, water temperatures in lakes and rivers can be deceptively cold despite the warm sun. Rivers and lakes this time of year can be filled with swiftly moving debris which can trap unsuspecting swimmers and drag them under the water.

[bctt tweet=”Wear a life jacket in open water. ” username=”windigenredhead”]

Additionally, there may be state laws and local ordinances requiring the wearing of PFDs. Children and adults should wear life jackets in open water and while on a boat.


logo2 May national water safety monthThe NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association) recognizes that May is National Water Safety Month and offers these water safety tips

Are there ordinances or laws about public water safety where you live? Has your community ever experienced a tragic drowning?

Please be safe as the summer swimming season begins.

The above photo was included in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant.

Weekend Coffee Share: Blogging Strategies

blogging strategies weekend coffee

If we were having coffee today, (and yes, I admit, it has been a few weeks), it would be nice to have your company. Hubby was gone all weekend at a retreat in Lake Tahoe and I stayed home and caught up. Try some of this caramel-flavored coffee I just bought.

Lecturing at the university was a lot more work than I bargained for! Rather than bore you with the details, let’s just say I was very busy putting two two-hour lectures together each week for the last 4 months. The final grades were submitted on Friday for 90 students. Done.

I can breathe now.

My next project for summer…?

I’m working on the E-book. A little research, a lot of writing, then self-publishing…the summer will fly by, then school will start again.

On top of that, you know by now that my blog is self-hosted. Since my posts do not show in the WordPress Reader any longer, it takes more TLC to reconnect with readers using social media and other means. Many bloggers I have followed over the past two years have moved on to self-hosting. Because of the need for more blog promotion, I have found the need to employ some new and more consistent strategies.

Let’s take a few minutes and I’ll share some of my strategies for blog promotion. Need a refill on your coffee?

1. Sharing posts at link parties. I participate in three. There are endless opportunities to find link-ups hosted by other bloggers. Following the hosts and the rules of the link-ups are important for their success. Most link-ups have a goal for being featured (the most clicks on the post by other link participants). This extra exposure is guaranteed to bring more readers to your blog.

2. Interacting in Facebook Groups. I belong to several groups where sharing and promoting blogs has been helpful for finding and connecting with new readers.

3. Securing Sidebar Sponsorships. For a small monthly fee, my badge image is featured on the sidebars of two popular blogs. As readers scroll through posts on these blogs, the badges are revealed and can be clicked to read their latest posts. Plus the host blogger makes a little money in the process.

  • Please stop by Dream Big, Dream Often. Here you will see my badge. Dan re-blogs his “Dream Big” partners’ posts each week. He also hosts a weekly meet and greet.
  • My blog is also featured on Suzie Speaks. While you are there, here is your chance to vote for your favorite bloggers in the 2016 Blogger Bash. Please stop by and support fellow bloggers!

4. Sharing Others’ Posts. I always think it is wonderful when another blogger randomly shares my post on Twitter or Facebook. [bctt tweet=”When I read a great post, I find the Tweet button at the bottom of the post and Tweet. Very quick and easy.” username=”windigenredhead”]

My Twitter following has also grown. Recently I published a post on the benefits of using Twitter Tools. Check it out if you missed it.

5. Being Featured on Other Blogs. This week I had the pleasure of being featured in an online magazine, Making Midlife Matter , 5 TIPS FOR A BETTER AND SAFER BICYCLE RIDING EXPERIENCE. I shared this older post with the editor and it was selected for publication.

6. Featuring Bloggers on Your Blog. Speaking of sharing, I came across two blogs this week that I’ll share with you. [bctt tweet=”Featuring other’s blogs in a round-up post is also an effective way to share the love and bring in more readers.” username=”windigenredhead”]

  • Sue Loncaric is a busy midlife blogger who writes about fitness, wellness and similar leisure subjects. She also co-hosts the Over the Moon Link Up Party that opens on Sunday nights. Please check out her latest post on adult play.
  • Another blogger I love reading is Lynn from Encore Voyage. She is happily retired and writes interesting posts. Her latest, Using Time Intentionallyis a must-read for those who are retired or thinking about it.

Well that took a while, but I really enjoyed having coffee with you today. Do you need a refill on your beverage?

I hope you discovered some creative yet easy ways to promote your blog. Come back soon! In the meantime, feel free to join Part-Time Monster’s weekly feature.

I would love to know what strategies have worked for you! Leave me a comment!

Is a Life Jacket in Your Beach Bag?

is a life jacket in your beach bag?

Part Two of my series for “May is National Water Safety Month” covers information on life jackets.

Any activity in and around water has potential for risk. As a former swim lesson instructor, I constantly taught children (and adults!) about water safety. I am always incredulous as to why parents send their young child out into a body of water without a life jacket. I smile as I see these two young children enjoying a day at the beach in their life jackets in this photo below. Kids wearing lifejackets playing in water

Thankfully, Sacramento County has beaches with the “Kids Don’t Float” life jacket loan program. Adults don’t float either, especially if they have had a few too many adult beverages.

Not long ago, I heard the local news person interviewing people on the beaches of the Sacramento River. One gentleman said he always made sure there was a life jacket available…for his dog! He claimed he didn’t need one for himself. Hmmm, I wonder how he would hold up swimming under the influence of those adult beverages?

Life Jacket Safety

The US Coast Guard is the authority in determining safety of lifejackets. Other terms for these are life vests and PFDs or Personal Flotation Devices. Life jackets come in a variety of forms. The Coast Guard recognizes five types. Look for the wording “Coast Guard-Approved Type I,II, (etc).

Type I off shore flotation vest
Type I Life Jacket

Type I (Off-Shore) 
This is the full life jacket intended for boating, racing, rough waters and stormy conditions. This PFD will turn most unconscious wearers face-up in the water. This style tends to be bulky and uncomfortable, but will keep a victim afloat indefinitely.



Type II (Near-Shore) Type 2 life jacket
A popular style, these PFDs can be purchased for as little as $10. These are worn for day cruising, fishing and sailing, and for swimming in open water or swimming pools. This type is less buoyant and requires wearers to tread water to keep their head above water. This type will turn some unconscious wearers face-up in the water.

Type 3 Life jacket
Type 3 Life jacket

Type III (Flotation Aid) 
This style of life jacket is the most popular and seen everywhere. These are recommended for boating, water skiing, fishing, paddle sports such canoeing, kayaking and SUP. More comfortable than either Type I or II, it will NOT turn an unconscious victim face-up in the water.


Type IV (Throw-able Devices)
These are throw-able devices such as a seat cushion or ring buoy and are not to be worn. These should be immediately available to throw over the side of a boat in case of an emergency. Not intended for unconscious, weak or non-swimmers.

Type 5 special PFDType V (Special Use Device)
The US Coast Guard recognizes several styles in this category, most notably the self-inflatable belt/vest popularly worn by boaters and paddlers to meet federal requirements. This type is also modified for windsurfing and other board sports to wear with wetsuits and harnesses.


Also popular for young children are PuddleJumpers which fits into the Type V category. puddlejumper life jacket

With all life jackets except Type I, an adult should be within arm’s length of weak or non-swimmers who wear these.

Life jackets are also available for dogs and come in all shapes and sizes. Dogs can instinctively swim (dog-paddle), therefore a PFD is not required. However, when our dogs accompany us on our SUPs or kayaks at the river, their life jackets have a convenient handle in which to grab them when they decide to jump off!

[bctt tweet=”Six words about water wings. Don’t let your child wear them. ” username=”windigenredhead”] Not only do they provide a false sense of security in the water whether at the pool or beach, they do nothing to protect your child from drowning.

water wingsYears ago, I heard a tragic story of a three-year old girl whose parents let her play on the shore of a lake. She happily splashed around in shallow water wearing her bright yellow water wings. Her parents got distracted and took their eyes off their daughter thinking she was protected. A passing boat stirred up a wake which surged onto shore, knocking the child off balance. Just minutes later, the parents found their daughter drowned, face down with her water wings firmly attached to her upper arms.

California Department of Boating and Waterways regulations require the following:

  • If you are operating a boat, canoe or kayak of any length, you must carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. If stored, they should be readily accessible.
  • [bctt tweet=”In California, children under 13 years of age must wear a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway in a boat.” username=”windigenredhead”]
  • The law also says any person on board a personal watercraft (like a Jet Ski) or any person being towed behind a vessel (as in water skiing or wake- or knee-boarding) must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

For example, if I go out on my stand-up paddle board or kayak without a visible life jacket, and the Department of Fish & Game or Coast Guard vessel approaches me, I can be fined!

When visiting beaches, swimming pools, or taking a boat cruise, if you are going to be on or near the water, please protect yourself and your family.

Here are several helpful links about life jackets.

Info-graphic from BoatUS Foundation: Different Life Jackets

infographic how to fit a life jacket

Life Jackets aren’t just for boats— Red

Children aren’t waterproof–
2016 logo national water safety month


The Legend of the Face of Half Dome

half-dome the legend of tis-sa-ack

Yosemite’s history includes Native American legends and lore to explain how the monolithic granite structures came to be.

Many generations ago, long before the Great Spirits completed their work on the cliffs and domes in the Valley of Ahwahnee, Tis-sa-ack and her husband, Nangas, traveled to the fertile valley to make it their home.

As was the tradition in those days long ago, the woman carried a beautiful, but heavy cone-shaped basket that was woven from reeds and course grasses. Tis-sa-ack labored under the weight of her heavy burden and papoose carrier, while Nangas carried his bow, arrows and staff.

The sun shone high and hot and the couple had grown very thirsty as they finally arrived at the Valley they knew as Ahwahnee. Nangas, tired and hot from the long journey suddenly lost his temper and struck Tis-sa-ack with his staff. She ran away to escape his wrath.

The Great Spirits caused the path she took to become a stream and the acorns she dropped became oak trees. Tis-sa-ack came upon the beautiful Mirror Lake. So great was her thirst that she drank every drop of the water. When Nangas arrived the lake was dry!

So enraged was he that there was no water for him, he again struck her with his staff. As Tis-sa-ack fled again, tears streaking her face, she turned and threw her heavy basket at her husband.

As the Great Spirits watched this scene, they were displeased. “Tis-sa-ack and Nangas have broken the spell of peace,” they said. “Let us transform them into cliffs of granite that face each other, so that they will be forever parted.”

Tis-sa-ack is known forever to us as Half Dome and Nangas as Washington Column. Her basket became Basket Dome, her papoose carrier became the Royal Arches.

Can you see the tears that still stain Tis-sa-ack’s face? You can make out her light gray silhouette as she faces to the left.

Photo and story submitted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

Story borrowed in part from Yosemite and Undiscovered Yosemite.

Thursday Doors: Earthen Tunnel Opens Onto Grandeur


“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” -Rachel Carson

What is better than a view of Yosemite Valley? Not much really, unless you drive through the nearly mile-long Wawona Tunnel carved out of solid granite…which bursts open to this view of the Valley.

Tunnel opens onto Yosemite Valley

I thought this photo made a lovely entry into Norm 2.0’s Thursday Door challenge. Is a tunnel opening a door? Sure, the doorway to the Valley!
This is the breathtaking view of  Inspiration Point, a popularly photographed view of the Valley.

contemplate the beauty of earth in Yosemite

These were also included in the Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth. Please feel free to join these photo challenges at any time.


Is Your Public Pool Safe for Swimming?

is your public pool safe for swimming

May is National Water Safety Month.

This will be the first post of three to share vital knowledge about water safety and what you can do to protect yourself and your children from the hidden and apparent dangers of playing in and around water.

Due to the great recession of 2008-2012, many public recreation and parks departments were forced to close facilities: community centers, park restrooms and swimming pools, in particular. Several communities elected to outsource their swimming pools to organizations that may not have had strong aquatic backgrounds. Pool operators need to know a variety of facility-related functions specific to pools like chemical handling, state and local laws and codes and regulations; and establishing and maintaining public relations in the community.

Sadly, there are many instances of well-meaning facility operators who failed in their attempt to successfully run a public pool because they were unaware of the aquatic industry’s best practices.

[bctt tweet=”Has your favorite public swimming pool lived up to its reputation in the community? Here are some simple ways to determine if your pool is being operated properly.” username=”windigenredhead”]

What Do You See? Water Clarity
As you walk into the pool facility, can you see the main drain in the deepest part of pool? If the water looks cloudy and you see can’t see it, tell the Pool Manager immediately, then ask for a refund and go home. Do not swim in cloudy pool water. The cloudiness is a tell-tale sign of a chemical imbalance, where the pH balance and chlorine levels could be out of equilibrium.

The danger? If lifeguards cannot see the main drain, they may miss a drowning patron. Chemical imbalances are temporary conditions which can be remedied quickly. A good pool operator will close the pool for a short time to fix the problem.

What Do You Know? Swimmer Safety
Lifeguards are not there to supervise children and teens. Their job is to safeguard all swimmers by preventing accidents and anticipating problems. Too many parents expect lifeguards to babysit their kids while they settle into their lounge chairs for reading or a nap. Parents still need to have both eyes on their kids.

This does not mean that lifeguards are incompetent. Again, their only job is to scan the pool from bottom to top, inside their zones, and meticulously note potential threats. Of course the lifeguard will firmly communicate with unruly patrons when necessary, but they cannot be expected to pay particular attention to any one swimmer.

[bctt tweet=”The danger? A distracted lifeguard may miss a distressed swimmer.” username=”windigenredhead”]

If you are visiting a public pool, be aware of the rules and practices. Children under 6 years of age, or older children who are weak swimmers, should be within arm’s reach of an adult in the water. This means the parent or guardian must be in the water with them.

This also goes for day care providers and day camp operators. For example, if your child or grandchild attends a swimming pool as part of a summer program, find out if the recreation leaders actually get into the water with the kids. A surprise visit to the facility by you may not be a bad idea.

What do you hear? Evidence of Lifeguard Training
Next time you visit a pool, listen for any signs of a drill. Usually, the blaring sound of an air horn or a piercing whistle blast is evidence that emergency protocols are activated. Oftentimes, pool operators will train staff by holding “red-shirt” drills whereby a designated person pretends to be a distressed swimmer, in hopes the particular lifeguard responds appropriately.

Other on-site training techniques may include drills where first aid or CPR is demonstrated. During these drills, it is customary for lifeguards to clear the pool and gain control of the crowd, while another set of guards responds to the emergency. If you see these occasionally during public swim, it means the staff is well-trained and keeping their rescue and CPR skills up to date.

The danger? An untrained lifeguard helps no one. Remember, most lifeguards are as young as 15 and 16 years old and for most of them, lifeguarding is their first job. While lifeguarding is a fun and seemingly glamorous job, a lot of hours of training go into becoming a vigilant watcher of water. As Mark Twain said, “Training is everything.”

If a pool operator is to be trusted with running a clean pool facility with competent well-trained staff, you are likely to freely enjoy the benefits of your community’s public pool.

logo2 May national water safety month

Last May I shared posts about the importance of water safety education (links). For further information, read “Somehow I Kept My Head Above Water.”

Stay tuned for parts two and three as part of May is National Water Safety Month.