Sunday, April 29, 2018

My Warby Parker Experience.

 **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

I have had a fascinating experience with eyesight over the past two years. After my concussion, I struggled with nystagmus and received some intensive treatment to fix it. It improved dramatically, but I still felt like things weren't quite right. When I would drive my kids to school, my eyes and brain would feel so tired and foggy afterwards that I had to lay down and nap. Finally, I made an appointment to see an optometrist in the area that does vision therapy. I went in for an appointment and the Dr. informed me that the accident "activated" astigmatism in my eyes that wasn't there before! So crazy. I was fitted for a pair of glasses with prisms for the nystagmus, a prescription for the astigmatism, and blue-blocking tint to reduce overstimulation.  I call them my "magical" glasses. Partly because they work so well, and partly because they were so damn expensive.

The Dr. also gave me a prescription for reading glasses, which I haven't filled yet. I figured I could have my magical glasses for out in public and my reading glasses could handle being just lenses without the bells and whistles.

I chose to start my search with Warby Parker for a few reasons:

- The Home Try-On Program. I took their fit quiz, chose five frames, and they sent them to me in the mail. I had five days to see which I liked best. There is no purchase obligation with the home try-on program.

- The price. $95, including prescription lenses, is a great value. They also work with some insurances and you can use FSA (flexible spending account) money for Warby Parkers! Order today using your flexible spending account (FSA) dollars.

- I also love that with each purchase, Warby Parker gives a pair of glasses to someone in need and has thus far distributed over 2 million pairs of glasses!

- Andy bought a pair of Warby Parkers a few years ago and they've held up well and he's very happy with them, so I've one happy customer already under my roof.

- Unique and varied frame shapes, styles and colors. It was hard to choose five. Right now, they're featuring their Summer Collection and Archive Collection. 

- One con is that Warby Parker doesn't offer specialty lenses like I need for other scenarios, but they do offer Progressive lenses if you can get a prescription from your eye doctor.

How the Home Try On (HTO) Program Works:

- Browse the styles at Warby Parker and choose 5 pairs
- The glasses are sent to your home, free, for 5 days
- Be awkward and take pictures of yourself to see how they *might actually* look. Feel kinda weird
- Pick your favorite(s) and purchase them at Warby Parker
- Pack up your glasses and send them back with postage covered by WP.

Once I received the glasses in the mail, I wore each of them for a bit. I felt strange taking photos of myself but it is really hard to get a sense of how the glasses actually look on your face - photos are necessary, in my opinion. It's amazing how shape and color can make a face look really different! 

Verdict - Caspar's are fun and trendy, a lot of people in Portland coffee shops have clear glasses. Laurel is a definite No. I'd get more miles out of Finch and Keene...but it would be fun to have something more quirky. Right now, Keene is the winner.

Luckily, Warby Parkers aren't so preciously expensive that I'd have to be happy with them for years (like my magical glasses, those are set.), so the pressure is not so intense and I can experiment a little!

I'll do a follow up post and let you know which ones I go with! Want to try Warby Parker's for yourself, for free? Check out their Home Try-On ProgramShop Warby Parker's New Summer Optical Collection Today!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life {Book Club}

I remember the day I realized I was raising city kids. As a child growing up in a small valley in Southern Oregon, visiting the city of Portland was intimidating and felt huuuuge. But we've now been here a decade and all my kids were born here, and it's what they know. They know the city! So strange.

Although we are fortunate to live in a very lush part of the United States with wilderness and natural areas close by, it's quite often that the pace of city living and the traffic, air quality, and general busy-ness of life still gets overwhelming. Even something as annoying as a bright streetlight shining in the window will sometime just put me over the edge.

If you've read or heard of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, you might be interested in his book Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. Louv coined the term "nature-deficit disorder" and has compiled a solid body of research and reasoning for why kids should have a strong connection to the natural world.

While nature-deficit disorder is not a real diagnosis, according to Louv, it is "the price paid, particularly by children, for our societal disconnect from the natural world." The antidote? Vitamin Nature - or Vitamin N. 

I picked this book up at Powell's a few weekends ago, and it's already been a great tool to stoke my creativity in how we engage nature with our little city kids, and I'm hopeful that being intentional will help foster a healthy and dynamic relationship between them and the wilderness for the rest of their lives. And the adults need it, too!

The first page of the introduction opens with this story:

"In 2009, Janet Ady of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stood before a crowd of grassroots leaders gathered from across the nation by the Children and Nature Network. She held up an outsized pharmacy bottle...the label read: 

DIRECTIONS: Use daily, outdoors in nature. Go on a nature walk, watch birds, observe trees. Practice respectful outdoor behavior in solitude or take with friends and family. REFILLS: Unlimited. EXPIRES: Never. 

Here was a deceptively simple treatment for improving physical and mental health, for stimulating learning, creativity, and a sense of being fully alive..."

Vitamin N builds upon his research and is a more simplified, accessible guidebook style with lists galore of ways to encourage engagement with nature while also building strong family and community connections.

There are over 500 activities for children, adults, families, and professionals, sprinkled with essays, personal experiences, resources, and testimonies from families. It's creative and full of inspiration for those times when you know you want to get outside with your kids - or yourself - but don't want to do the normal park-and-hike.

Vitamin N is divided into eight parts covering different themes:

- The Gift of Memory
Example: Simple ways to expand time and space for kids and adults (p.7)

- Ways of Knowing the World
Example: Discover the lost art of finding your way (p.31)

- The Nature-Rich Home and Garden
Example: Build a backyard nature preserve (p.75)

- Nurturing Natural Resilience
Example: A brief developmental guide to nature play (p.105)

- Go Wild and Wilder
Example: Nurture your inner hunter & gatherer (p.140)

- Grow Outside: The Nature Prescription
Example: Create your own nature gym (p.157)

- The School of Nature
Example: Ignite natural learning at home and school (p.190)

- The Nature-Rich Community
Example: What every parent, teacher, and young person needs to know about the coming opportunities in nature-smart careers (p.215)

Check is out and let me know what you think! I'm also making a goal for our family this summer to try a new activity from this book every week. Maybe we'll make it an official nature challenge and share our experiences here.

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