NuGo Bars Review and Giveaway

nugo nutrition barsToday the mail carrier brought me this incredible selection of NuGo Dark Chocolate nutrition bars.  I am already quite familiar with the Chocolate Pretzel variety.  That is my breakfast most work days.  It is easy to throw in my work bag and it is so good, it makes me happy. The combination of the sweet and crunchy filling, the dark decadent chocolate and the amazing sea salt is something I will never get sick of.

NuGo bars are  Gluten FreeNon-Dairy, OU PareveVegan and have 10 Grams of Protein.   My husband has one of the Peanut Butter Cup bars everyday.  Before switching to a plant-based diet, my husband was a huge peanut butter cup fan.  This bar fills that craving without making him compromise his dietary plan.  They are truly delicious and pack a load of flavor into 200 calories.  The NuGo Dark bars are filling and almost make me feel like I am cheating and eating something unhealthy.

You can buy NuGo Bars online or use their Store Locator to find one of many stores in the US and Canada that carry them.  I get mine by the case at my local Whole Foods Market.  NuGo Bars are clearly labeled and NuGo Nutrition, the company that makes REAL dark chocolate coated protein bars for many lifestyles, urges the FDA to create a standard of identity for dark chocolate. Consumers deserve to know what is in their food!  They have an online petition that can be signed to support this issue.

NuGo Nutrtion Bars giveaway  vegan gluten free dairy free

NuGo also likes to give back to the community.  They donate a portion of their sales to The Children’s Alopecia Project which is the only non-profit devoted specifically to all forms of the incurable autoimmune hair loss disease, Alopecia. Their mission is to help any child in need who is living with this life altering disease. Their goal is to build the self-esteem in children so they become stronger teens and more productive adults and become the advocates of tomorrow.

 

NuGo has offered to giveaway a mixed box of all five certified gluten-free NuGo Dark flavors (a total of 12 bars) to a winner who lives in the continental US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Samples of these bars were provided to facilitate the review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Abby’s new American Girl Doll

Last month, when I found out my son has Alopecia Areata, I reached out to my friends at American Girl to see if they had images of the new wigless dolls that were not stock photos- images of little girls with no hair who were loving their dolls.  Not yet, they said, but would you like us to send you one?  Being the lover of American Girl, I of course said yes, and the doll now known as Abby arrived a few days later. I’ll explain her name in a few minutes.

American Girl knows that many girls have lost their hair to medical conditions or to medical treatments.  They know it, and they decided to broaden their doll line to include dolls without wigs, so that girls with little or no hair could also have a doll just like them.  Just like in real life- there’s nothing different about these dolls except they have no hair.  Same bodies, same loveableness, same sweet faces- just a soft, smooth head instead of a wig of hair.

Just like any little girl (or boy) who has no hair.  She’s not different, she’s just not got hair.

I think it’s pretty awesome of American Girl to work so hard to have a product line that encourages acceptance and inclusion.  (You’ll see more on the service dog and the wheelchair soon).

So after this doll arrived, I had a talk with my kids.  We came to the conclusion that perhaps this beautiful doll, no matter how much we love her, would maybe make a little girl’s day, or week, or month.  Maybe there is a little girl out there, who already did lose her hair, or doesn’t have any left already, and maybe having this particular doll would just be a wonderful thing for her.  A quick sendout on Facebook and my friend Andrea sent a message.  My friend’s daughter Abby would love this doll, she said.  She’s going through another round of chemo soon, and she’s lost her hair.

So we did what many would do.  We took the doll out, hugged her, kissed her, made some cards for little Abby, and filled that box with all of the love we could (in the form of paper hearts, and a prayer chain from paper)….and sent her on her way.

About a week later, I received this email from Abby’s mom.

Abby meets her Just Like Me (wigless) American Girl Doll

Brett,
I wanted to thank you for the American Girl doll that you sent Abby.  She was beyond excited when she opened it.  It arrived the day after her discharge from the hospital after five days of chemo, so it was a welcome distraction from all the chemo side effects.  She named herAbby because she looks just like her.  She kept rubbing her head and saying, “She has no hair, just like me.  Her head is so soft, just like me.  I have little eyebrows and my baby has little eyebrows.”  She kept rubbing her head and had to put her to sleep because she felt sick from chemo too.
 
I am so thankful that you were able to send her this doll.  We’d never have been able to afford one for her with all the costs of treatment and being off work.  It is definitely something that she can identify with.
And that’s how Abby got her American Girl doll, named Abby.  It’s also how my children learned important lessons about doing for others, and how amazing it can feel to know that you did something pretty special for no reason at all.
I hope that my friends at American Girl see this post, and see Abby’s face, and read her mom’s email sharing what Abby’s reaction to seeing her doll was.  Because  I think they should know that this doll, this one doll, has made a pretty huge impact on one family’s life.  I think companies should get the chance to see photos like this, that Abby’s mom was kind enough to share, so that American Girl and other companies like them can see what an impact their products and decisions have on us.  I’m so honored I could be part of it.
If you or someone you know would like to order one of the wigless dolls from American Girl, you can visit the “doll hospital” on the site- or give them a call at the number listed below.

We’re delighted to provide a My American Girl® 18″ doll that’s just right for your girl. Each of our new dolls without hair is specially designed from a variety of doll faces, skin tones, and eye colors.

Plus, if you already own a My American Girl® doll, you can admit her to the Doll Hospital where our experts will be happy to replace her head to create a doll without hair.

For more details, call customer service at 800-628-5145to discuss options and to order a doll without hair.

 

I did receive Abby’s doll to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own.

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Top Mommy Blogs.

Unexpected Parenting News, continued- and I went shopping, of course.

Yesterday I shared with you some new words in my vocabulary: Alopecia Areata.  I did what many of my friends would do- I started poking around online.  Shopping is therapeutic- but this was a different kind of shopping for me. It’s funny- looking around online – Bratz and Moxie Girlz both have dolls out with bald heads.  Moxie Girlz actually sent us one, which I knew immediately would be donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center– what a cool gift to be able to give a child losing their hair from a treatment was my first thought.  Now, I think it’s pretty cool that a kid with Alopecia Areata might get to take one of those Girlz home.  I cannot explain to you how great it is that companies are taking steps and being proactive to help raise awareness and give kids toys and playthings that can help them to have a better self esteem- to have dolls that look like them and are still marvelous and awesome in every single way.

Back in February MGA announced that they would be coming out with hairless fashion dolls to support the fight against pediatric cancer. Under the banner “”True Hope,” MGA released three Bratz® dolls – Cloe™, Yasmin™ and Cameron™, and three Moxie Girlz™ dolls, Avery™, Sophina™ and Jaxson™.  Available at Toys“R”Us® stores and toysrus.com ,  MGA will donate $1 for every “True Hope” Bratz® andMoxie Girlz™ doll, sold to distributors, to City of Hope for cancer research.

My blogging friend Jeanne from Inside Out Motherhood shaves her head for St. Baldrick’s each year.  This year, she went pink.  She wears it well.  She’s awesome with and without hair.  Like we all are. Mattel has a Beautiful and Bald Barbie. Barbie.  Well, a beautiful and bald friend of Barbie.

The Beautiful and Bald Barbie is finally becoming a reality. A bustling Facebook campaign urged toymaker Mattel to create a doll that appeals to kids undergoing cancer treatments or suffering diseases such as Alopecia, and after receiving 150,000 “likes” in under four months, Mattel will soon put the bald doll into production. Mattel spokesperson Alan Hilowitz told CBS News’ HealthPop that the doll will be created as “friend” of Barbie. She’ll come complete with wigs, hats, scarves and other accessories, with the option of going fully bald. While many of the 152,000-plus fans that the movement has garnered will be clamoring to get their hands on one of the dolls (this writer included), Mattel said that the bald Barbies will not be sold in stores. Instead, the dolls will be donated to children’s hospitals, as well as the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/30/mattel-agrees-to-manufacture-bald-barbie-amid-social-media-campaign/#ixzz20TC4ANB2

American Girl has a wigless doll out now…or you can send your child’s doll to the doll hospital and they can send her home bald.  I can imagine that could make a pretty big impression on a little girl going through a chemotherapy treatment, or a little girl with Alopecia Areata.

American Girl has announced a new line of dolls without hair as part of the My American Girl® line for girls affected by cancer, alopecia, or any medical condition causing hair loss. This new product line provides even more possibilities for a girl to create a doll that’s as unique as she is. Customers can choose from a total of five different dolls in light, medium, and dark skin tones. In addition, girls can choose their dolls’ eye color from a selection of options. Finally, because we know that not all hair loss conditions are permanent, American Girl is proud to offer one free doll head replacement should a girl’s need for a doll without hair ever change. Charitable Giving: To help provide comfort to kids who may be affected by medical conditions that cause hair loss, American Girl is including the new dolls in its annual $100,000+ donation to the Children’s Hospital Association.

American Girl also just released an option to have a (pink) hearing aid onto your doll.  I think that’s a pretty cool step for them to take.  There’s also a sweet, adorable Service Dog setthat will make your heart melt.

American Girl has a long history of creating items that speak to diversity and inclusion, and these new products are yet another way we are expanding in this important area. As part of the My American Girl® line, we are providing even more options for a girl to create a doll that’s as unique as she is. Hearing Aid This removable hearing aid is specially made to fit 18” My American Girl dolls and can be worn on either ear. Purchase includes a permanent piercing to ensure the hearing aid is expertly fitted to the doll’s ear for easy placement and removal. Service Dog Our new service dog-in-training set comes with Chocolate Chip (a soft-fur, solid-body dog), a service vest with a handle that a girl’s doll can hold, and faux treats.

Bald doesn’t have to be a stigma.  We can all be beautiful and amazing and accepted for who we are.  Hair is not defining us.  We need to  work together to embrace and accept diversity and inclusion.

Unexpected News as a Mom- How do you handle it?

Earlier this week, I noticed a bald spot on my almost 5 year old son’s head.  His friend had pulled his hair the day before…there wasn’t even mention of it to me, or his friends mom.  It was kind of matter of fact.  Right after I took this photo, my little guy looked up at me and asked me if I could glue his hair back in tomorrow.

Alopecia Areata

My mama instinct kicked into overdrive.  It made no sense to me that a 6 year old could pull that much hair out and leave no marks, none at all- or that there was no pain when it happened.  My oldest had actually come to me earlier in the day with her hand full of hair and it looked like cut hair.  I thought (wrongly) that someone had cut her hair- or that she’d cut her own.  No skin, no blood. It didn’t make sense. The spot on his head was smooth, not at all red or irritated…the skin is a slightly different color than the rest of his scalp…but it sure didn’t look to me like any trauma had occurred.

I sent this image to my sister and one friend.  They agreed with me that this just did not seem like hi friend pulled his hair out.  I couldn’t figure out how it was possible…something didn’t click. Within minutes my sister (who is a licensed cosmetologist by trade) introduced two new words into my vocabulary.

Alopecia Areata.

The images came up.  The description.  I kept seeing bald and hair loss and suddenly I really just wanted to call my mom.  Really would have loved to hear her thoughts on this.  Many, many tears were shed that night.  

First thing the next morning I called the pediatrician.  They got him in as soon as possible. It took the doctor a few seconds to use those same two words.  Alopecia Areata.  I’m going to do an exam, she said, but I think that’s what it is.  You’ll need to see  a pediatric dermatologist for some testing and treatment, and some counseling.  I have a list of names…

Do you know that getting an appointment with a dermatologist is really hard?  I wanted to go RIGHT then.

My baby boy – I just want to know he’s ok, that this isn’t something more…I read that it’s an autoimmune disorder, I just want to be sure it’s only this and not more.    Can’t someone just squeeze us in today, right now?  I’m floundering here, I may not look it but it’s taking every ounce of my strength to hold these tears in and not let my boy see his mama upset.  

I think I called 37 phone numbers.  Some offices had more than one, so I tried both options.  Not until the end of November, some said.  We’re not taking on new patients, was what many others said.  Finally I got someone who stopped to listen to what I was saying.  My son- they said he has this thing, and we don’t know much about it…we don’t want to wait 5 months to find out more…that’s a long time, he’s not even 5 yet.  Do you know where we can bring him, that has an opening?

She found a cancellation.  We’re going July 23 at 1:30.  (For those of you taking stalker notes, there will be an adult here with the other kids, so don’t be all Oh! They won’t be home.  This mama doesn’t mess with naptime).

Writing that appointment on the calendar felt great.  I shifted gears.  There’s not much I can do at this point.  I’m a mom, I have 3 kids, they are all kinds of awesome, each talented in their own way.  One of them has a bald spot. He may get more.  He may never have one again.   I can’t do anything about it, there’s no cure, no magical potion…so I’ll start educating myself.  Maybe I can help erase some of the stigma that comes hand in hand with hair loss and baldness.  I can also most definitely find some awesome and cool hats for my little dude to wear, with one bald spot or one spot of hair.

I have nervous energy about this whole situation and I have to channel it somehow, right?

 Are you here looking for some fun BABY prizes?  Head here next!!

 

To be continued…(continued here)