Category Archives: ExMo Challenge

Spotlight on Smora

Smora is a natural skin care company started by  Midwest sisters Robyn and Christa Raskowski. I reached out to Robyn and Christa to see if they would be interested in giving some of their product away to all of our film-goers this Sunday, they said yes! Read about the women and their new company below.

 

 

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How did you come up with the idea of Smora?

I took a class for fun years ago on how to make ones own body care products at home.  I really enjoyed learning about all of the natural ingredients and started making some products for myself to use. I gave a few of the items I made to Robyn to try as well.  We both liked knowing exactly what ingredients we were using on our skin. Robyn started doing a lot of research about natural body care products and we started developing our own recipes to make exactly what wanted.  We started telling a few friends what we were doing and they wanted to try our products as well.  Our friends really liked the items we made and kept coming back for more. A couple of years ago Robyn and I started more serious conversations about bringing the skin care we make to a wider audience by selling our line. We decided if we were to do it, we were jumping all in. After a year of cooking in Robyn’s kitchen, we launched Smöra in November of 2013.

 

Sisters Robin and Christa. Photo credit: Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Sisters Robin and Christa. Photo credit: Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

 

 

You and your sister live in different cities, right? How do you find time to collaborate?

Yes, Robyn lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When do we NOT collaborate? Ha! No, really we talk everyday about Smöra over email, texts or phone calls. At one point we started shipping everything to Robyn’s home to streamline the ingredients as it became too difficult to cook in multiple locations with the quantity of the supplies. After shows when we are running low on product, I will drive to Sioux Falls about every third weekend for “cook weekends”.  Robyn is constantly making soap as it takes about six weeks to cure. (We joke that we should really purchase a RV and cook it Breaking Bad style in the middle.) 😉

 

How long have you been working on Smora?

Officially for about two years.

Do you have other jobs outside of Smora? 

Yes, we both work full time. Robyn is a School Psychologist in the Harrisburg school district outside of Sioux Falls and is finishing her PhD dissertation. I work as a Neuroscience Research Coordinator at the University of Minnesota. We both have Psychology and Studio Art backgrounds.

 

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What type of marketing have your used?

We have done all of our marketing through social media and word of mouth.

 

Where can we buy Smora?

Smöra is available for purchase on Etsy at smoraskincare.etsy.com. We had a launch party in Sioux Falls and just had an open house sale in Minneapolis. We continue to book live open house shows to introduce the products to people who haven’t used them before or who want to try our products.

 

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What is Smora?

Smöra is the Swedish word for “buttering”, which was inspired by our Swedish heritage and the use of shea butter in many of our products. In addition to shea, we use all-natural ingredients like cocoa butter, argan oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax. You won’t find synthetic colors or fragrances in our products. Instead we use ingredients from nature like clays and plant-based materials to add color and concentrated essential oils to add fragrance, both of which adding beneficial properties to the products as well. The line includes body butters, lotion bars, lip balms, a tinted lip balm, a healing balm, face oil, beard oil, sea salt scrubs and a variety of soaps.

Photo Credit: USA Today.
Photo Credit: USA Today.

 

Good luck ladies and a big thank you for sponsoring our first official ExMo Meet Up this Sunday!

 

KleanLA

**This is not a paid post. Just an over-share from an LA mom, me, who has three kids and a muffin top that she wants to minimize.

I’ve been improving my health for over a year now. Really I’m always working at staying healthy in between wine and late night snacking.

The last little part was focusing on strengthening my core and losing some weight. To help my back feel better.

I’ve always said I would do well with a chef so I decided to order Nutrisystem as I just called it my budget friendly chef. Instead of reaching for a handful of whatever when I was starving I’d have a meal planned.

A box arrived at my door New Year Eve. Good timing.

I last about 4 days and actually felt better due to not overeating. But it felt very 1980’s to me. I didn’t want to have a chocolate donut for breakfast one AM. So I decided to splurge and have researched some local home delivery food options in LA. There are some amazing options.

I was interested in Paleta but I never heard back from their rep in regards to if they would deliver to me, I’m a bit outside of their range.

Then I started looking around and happened open LA mom blogger Jennifer Brandt of Perfectly Disheveled. I saw that she had been eating KleanLA and then I realized that the owner was married to someone I know, a fabulous trainer who trained a good friend of mine. So KleanLA it is.

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KLEAN LOGO STAINLESS STEEL EMBOSS

It’s not cheap.

But I’m splurging and they have offered Expressing Motherhood a discount code to save $25. Use KLEAN25. Kiki, the owner is really friendly and they are having some web issues right now at check out so just email her if you experience that. She helped me right out.

Owner and founder Kiki.
Owner and founder Kiki.

My food for a week arrives on Friday and I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t diet, don’t believe in them but I do need a little help in feeling good, helping my back and making sure I stay strong for my family.

 

 

ExMo Challenge: Proving Challenging

Um.

Well.

I have a few confessions to make. This week, only met my goals on Monday. Then Tuesday I had big time PMS and had some wine. It’s been down hill from there.

I texted Shannon admitting I had not been able to meet my goals and this is what she texted me back:

“I STOLE candy from my kid WHILE we were walking around last night! AND I was drinking bourbon out of a thermos the entire time!”

 

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Clearly we are struggling.

I’m so relieved she is too. Strangely enough we both stayed the course this summer and here is my conclusion. When the temperatures drop so too does your will power.

So we are of no help to you.

But maybe this will make you chuckle and that’s always good for you so there you go.

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I aged myself in Old Fart Booth.

ExMo Challenge – Seriously This Time

ExMo alum Shannon Noel and I were supposed to start another round of the ExMo Challenge last Monday but somewhere between Palm Spring and LA that got lost….

So, we begin this Monday.

If you are interested in making some healthy lifestyle changes for 30 days or 30 weeks(gulp, go Shannon) feel free to join us. We are unprofessionals but real moms struggling with work, kids, tendencies towards indulging and we will help inspire you(?) or at least we can be in it together. We did this last July and we both went 30 days and fulfilled our goals.

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Totally typical scene in Hollywood. I was like 4 months pregnant here. That’s how big I got during each pregnancy. Not joking.

ExMo Challenge Time

Shannon and I are going to do another ExMo Challenge, starting this Monday. After some potential debauchery for me in the desert.

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Woah, I just re-read Shannon’s text, she’s doing 30 weeks!!

Stand by I just texted her to see if she’s ready to start this on Monday.

Her text:

I’m doing it! 30 weeks. No flour dairy sugar. Except one night a week drinking with a 2 drink limit. Hahahaha. This 30 weeks will take me to my birthday on June 2.

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Wow.

I was feeling good about signing up for 30 days. I did feel so great after our ExMoChallenge this summer and I’ve felt worse and worse in regards to my AVNRT, it’s a fast heartbeat every once in awhile that can be brought on especially by caffeine, lack of sleep and alcohol.

ER visit on January 1st.  Body was saying drink more water. Get more sleep. Take it easy and do less. Just took going there to listen.
ER visit on January 1st.
Body was saying drink more water. Get more sleep. Take it easy and do less. Just took going there to listen.

I’m taking beta blockers and I don’t like the way they make me feel. As if an elephant is sitting on my heart, then I start to get scared and have to take a long acting xanax.

This is all new to me so I’m figuring it out. My alternative is a catheter ablation. I want to avoid that but right now something needs to change. This is not life threatening at all, if it is don’t tell me! Just a nuisance and a bit unnerving.

So first up, making it healthier again.

My goals:

1. Exercise 5 times a week

2. Alcohol one night a week (2 drink cap – hahahahah – but seriously)

3. Only meat will be from the sea, I’ve been leaning this way for awhile now.

4. Seeing a friend every week. (Imperative for a healthy, functioning heart & my family)

So, how about you?

If you want to join, we’ll start this Monday.

Shannon just texted me again:

The number 42 has received considerable attention in popular culture as a result of its central appearance in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as the “Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.” Gotta be ready for that! Hahaha

And that’s why I love Shannon, as well as everyone else does!

Shannon Noel
Shannon Noel

ExMo Hike

Yesterday a few of us met up and went for a morning hike. It was a beautiful, cool LA morning. We hiked up to the Griffith Observatory. We were laughing so much as we asked someone to take our picture he asked us if we were from here.

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We talked about the ExMo Challenge. Shannon is looking mighty amazing if I do say so myself.

We talked about how this week we(Shannon and myself) did drink again, hesitantly and with some fear.

I know I don’t want to get back into the habit of nightly wine drinking but with this onslaught of heat I must say wine tastes pretty good to me.

I’m still working out hard and eating more protein, so I’m staying the course. But it’s a real issue trying to figure out how much alcohol you will allow or our able to stop/start back into your life.

On Friday I lost my iPhone.

I had a very good day without it.

I actually didn’t want to find it, at least not fast.

I thought about actually getting rid of it and going to a phone that just allows calls. I do like the iPhone for travel though.

So…my next ExMoChallenge will be iPhone related.

When Benny, my oldest, was little I didn’t have one, I simply checked my emails when he napped. My new goal is to not carry around my iPhone. I will use it when the kids are napping or at night or of course if I’m without them and NOT driving. Never when driving. 

As soon as I found my phone I felt my mind split again.

I felt the kids clamoring for my attention.

I’m so sick of that feeling. I’m tired of reading about news that scares me and leaves me almost immobilized constantly.

So, here we go, a break from the iPhone. A much needed break.

I don’t need to catch every single beautiful moment on camera.

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OK, OK, you get the picture.

I need to capture their eye contact.

I also would rather have real time with humans. I’m kind of lonely, that’s another post though. And please don’t consider stalking me, I’m not THAT lonely. But I long for the image of these two older Iowa women who I watched sit on their patio and talk every day I last visited Des Moines, about 5 years ago.

I only saw the back of their gray heads but I was envious. So I need to work on building a porch, installing a swing and making and deepening friendships with people, in the flesh.

Love to hear from any of you that are challenging yourselves in different ways. Drop us a line if you have time.

Meet Upcoming Chicago Performer Shannon Noel

LA mom Shannon Noel is no stranger to Expressing Motherhood. We’ve been lucky enough to have had her talent as part of our show for years now. Shannon was also the friend who started the ExMo Challenge with me over wine and food in July. She’s awesome and we are delighted to have her in our Chicago show.

 

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This is me and boys – we love cowboy boots.

 

 Where do you live, how many kids do you have, ages?
I live in Silverlake, an awesome little neighborhood in the hills not far from downtown Los Angeles.  I have a 3 year old son named Riley and a 4 year old son named Booker.
How are you creative post children? How has it changed since pre-baby?
Pre-babies I performed sketch comedy, improv and stand up all over Los Angeles.  Most of my shows didn’t even begin until 9 or 10pm at the earliest.  And then there was a lot of hanging out afterwards until the very wee hours of the morning.  It was a lot of fun but these days if my boys are asleep (which is rare) I like to be asleep as well.  I find that writing on my own time is much more conducive to my working mom schedule.  When Stacie and I plan ourI’m Not From Here But My Kids Are shows we always consider our audience – mostly moms – and try to have them out the door no later than 10!
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This is my gang! This picture makes me so happy. We have a lot of fun.
When do you find time to create?
My commute to work is an hour each way.  I do a lot of creating while on this drive.  You can see me pulled over to the side with my notebook and pen on any given morning.  If by some miracle my boys go to sleep before 9pm, I try to write until I just can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
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A recent photo of Shannon with her friend Amy Levinson. Both have done and/or are doing the ExMoChallenge.
How did you hear about ExMo?
 I got an e-mail from a former writing teacher, Amy Friedman.  She had heard about the show and knew that I was focusing my efforts on “writing what you know” ie; breast pumps and pacis – so thought it would be a good fit for me.  She was right!  It has been a life changer for me.  I really want to thank her for that first e-mail!
Do you have a background in acting/writing? 
Yes.  I have been performing and writing in some capacity since I was 8 years old, when I played the role of Hildegard Hamcocker, a toothless, singing, town flirt in the school play.  When I heard my brother, who never laughs at anything, laugh at something I said on stage, I was hooked.  I love the theater.  Honestly, I cannot imagine my life without it.  I’m still singing but luckily I still have my teeth.
What creative projects are you up to? 
I’m doing a lot of work on my blog, www.lullabiesformommy.com.  I really love this outlet and want to get more active on my site.  I’ve been doing it for 4 years but am still very much a beginning blogger.  Stacie Burrows and I are having a blast writing songs for our next I’m Not From Here installment.  We have so much fun creating together it’s ridiculous.  She really is my comedy soul mate and I cannot imagine my life without her.  She also has (energetic) 2 boys and is my mommy mentor!  We are both Southern too and we like our cowboy boots and mason jars – I’m will be forever grateful to ExMo for introducing me to one of my best friends.  I also love to create and write with Lindsay for her Fix the Toaster Blog.  Her passion for road safety is contagious and I am so happy to be a part of her movement.  I’m a contributor on Felicity Huffman’s WhattheFlicka.com as well. My goal for this next year is to write more!  
Billy Crystal and Shannon
This is a benefit of my day job at the Geffen Playhouse. Who doesn’t love this guy?
Boys Eating!
My boys and Stacie’s boys enjoying a feast during a camping trip we took together last summer!
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These are my superheroes!
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Another benefit of my day job. I was the assistant to the Producer of this Oscar show. He’s one of my faves!  Super fun!

ExMo Challenge: 30 Day Goal Obtained, Now What?

A post by Co-creator/Director/Producer Lindsay Kavet.

A little over a month ago ExMo performer Shannon Noel and I decided, over wine and good, to put it out there that we were going to stop drinking for 3o days, among other goals.

We called it the ExMoChallenge.

I hit 30 days, 2 days ago.

I found the experience really pretty damn enjoyable.

I have been experiencing a year of a lot of anger this last year.

We all have our stuff we go through and for some reason I’d been sailing through it and perhaps it was because I had two babies back to back I just skated over it. But once I stopped moving my anger has taken ahold of me.

I have progressively been drinking a little too much and exercising not enough. Feeling guilty leaving the kids to go exercise, even though I do leave them at times of course, but I just took on too much this last year, combined with some major life changes and I call it my year of rage.

Leaving me in not the best state to be a mother.

So I was happy to have talented, humble and positive Shannon say, let’s do it.

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I have found that I really enjoy getting really sweaty on a stationery bike, set to loud music, with a disco ball at 8AM.

I am the least flexible person in yoga class but I like the mellow vibe it gives me.

I’ve discovered I can have great nights out with friends while drinking coffee and not alcohol.

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And I’ve discovered I still haven’t figured out exactly what is eating at my heart but I’m working on it.

My #exmochallenge will continue because I have been feeling better and I want to continue that.

Even if whatever is at the bottom of this scares me, I need to keep figuring out what makes me happy.

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Me and my little guy taking an afternoon nap.

I will admit to have a glass of wine tonight.  But I want to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I felt better. I have only lost 2 measly pounds but my clothes fit me drastically differently and I’m not bloated anymore.
For me this will be ongoing.

I have incredible role models to look up to in my family. And of course I have incredible little people looking up to me.

 

 

 

 

ExMo Challenge: Week 3

Technically it’s a few days over 3 weeks but wanted to post on my 3 weeks of having made some changes.

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Expressing Motherhood performer Shannon Noel and I came up with the ExMoChallenge over food and wine of course, almost a month ago.

Shannon’s been doing the Whole 30 and I’m doing this:

-No alcohol

-Exercise 5 times a week

-Less snacking after 6PM

-More protein and water

I feel so much better.

Exercising is my new vice now. I am enjoying the high that I get at my
spinning class. My kids cry when I leave to go exercise but I shake off the guilt and pound it out on a bike.

I did a 3 hour yoga workshop last Sunday. Let me repeat that, 3 hours.

My husband took care of the kids. They were fine. Again, leaving my mom guilt in the car.
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It was all women and it was to celebrate the new moon and open up your heart. It chilled me out and made me think about some intentions. I’ve never been one to follow new moons or horoscopes but I love trying new things.

I’m also trying to set a new racket in my head.

Instead of being so hard on myself I’m trying to be positive so I blurted out in my head, while on a bike granted, you are f#$%ing rad Lindsay. Trying to set a new record in my head versus the old guilt and feelings of unworthiness.

I was glad the music was so loud that there was no way anyone could have heard that thought in my head. I swallowed a laugh but I know that  thinking better thoughts is a positive things. Otherwise it sounds like this, “Not good enough, dumb, not good enough, dumb, be nice! be nice!” All these yoga people keep saying, be kind to yourself, so I’m going for it.

As I sat on the floor of a bookstore this week with a fellow mom friend she admitted she was so anxious all the time about the safety of her kids. I’m finding that when I exercise I’m able to channel my fear. Albeit, it doesn’t last all day but it helps.

I love when my spin teacher plays this song.  It’s when I crush my fear.

I’m also realizing I can’t worry about every tragedy I read on the internet and that I’m better when I don’t read about everything happening everywhere. It just makes me worry. Worry, worry. Think globally act locally that’s my motto.

I’m on a tangent.

At any rate, clearly, I am benefitting from some changes.

Shannon and I are both nervous about the 30 days ending and wondering how to we not slip back into old patterns.

I dont want to cut alcohol out completely so I need to think about how much I’ll allow myself to drink. Right now I have little desire for it.

One more week to go but I think this will keep on keeping on.