Two cousins, Arden and Rory, are as close as sisters and they both end up in a coma after a fire that happened in their college dorm room. This novel goes through their family history, as told through the eyes of Arden, Rory, and Arden’s mother Natalie as the traumatic event causes the main characters to reflect on their complex relationships and events leading up to the fire.
The story jumped back and forth between present time an flashbacks. I was completely immersed in thoughts of Rory, Arden, and Natalie and the characters were so richly developed. I was reminded of how it felt to be a teenager again through the eyes of Arden and Rory. I also felt the pangs of sibling rivalry as they went through memories of their childhood together because they were as close as sisters.
There were some parts that were slow, but ultimately I kept reading because I wanted to know what exactly caused the fire and who was going to live. It was well worth sticking through the end because of the surprising plot twist. However, there were certain parts of the plot line that were left unanswered.
This is about a man named Jason who is looking forward to a very normal Friday evening with his wife and teenager, but ends up getting abducted at gun point while coming home from an ice cream run. When he wakes up, he is in a familiar place – but in an entirely different life that is not his own.
The story twists and turns and turns as he tries to figure out where he is and how to get home. It is smart, suspenseful and gripping. It gets a little hairy towards the end, but in a good and unexpected way.
This book had me questioning everything I knew about life, about the universe, the multiverse and every decision I’ve ever made. It’s about love, regrets, the endless possibilities – with science and suspense written across the pages. I loved that it was based in Chicago because I grew up in the surrounding area.
Right now I’m reading The Power of Habit. I figured if I’m reading books, I might as well read something that might make me smarter or more productive. LOL So far, I’m really digging it! Stay tuned for more reviews on my monthly bookish series…
Got any book recommendations for me? I’d love to hear it!
I just adored her cake, but when it came time to dig into her smash cake she was overly distracted from all the singing and the people and a giant giraffe (don’t ask).
Overall, I think she enjoyed her birthday. I bet she won’t even remember this short and sweet celebration, but I certainly will. I loved the pink and gold theme so much that I think that I will carry the theme over to her bedroom when we get our new house. In the meantime, if you are feeling inspired to have a pink and gold star themed birthday for your little girl, here’s my Pinterest board for some other great ideas.
After an hour, my total earnings was one dollar and forty-eight cents. (You see what I did there? I spelled it out because it looks like a lot more than $1.48.) My original plan was to do six hours on Friday and six hours on Saturday. At the rate I was going, my total earnings would be $15.36.
By noon, I made the call to quit my own garage sale. There were so many other things I could have done on my day off than to sit around and wait for my stuff to sell. I could spend time with my kids, have a nice lunch, and then take a beautiful nap…and I did just that!
As for my goldmine of unwanted crap, there was still hope. I ended up selling a big chandelier on a local Facebook group for $40 later that same day. The house and baby stuff were in good condition so donated those items and now I can claim it as a tax deduction. Lastly, I saved my designer purses and shoes so I could sell them on Poshmark:
So I’ll admit that I’m a quitter and that my garage sale was an epic failure. I’m sure there are some people who make a ton of money when it comes to garage sales. But the time it took to plan, set-up, and wait for someone to buy something for waaaaaay less than I hoped for was just not worth it for me. I’ll just stick to the garage sale shopping!
Have you had any luck with selling your stuff at garage sales?
Soooooooo now that you know all the reasons why I decided to go 100% full-time and exclusively with AppleCheeks, here is your chance to win a free AppleCheeks diaper cover + microterry insert of your choice. (Subject to availability.) And big thank you to AppleCheeks for sponsoring this giveaway!
I covered MommyCon Chicago as a journalist back in February, which is a boutique style conference on modern and natural parenting. I was all about the babywearing and breastfeeding, but had no interest in cloth diapering. I didn’t know anything about cloth diapering other than the fact that I’m terrible at laundry and poopy diapers were not something I wanted to add to my always overflowing hamper. But as a journalist, I approached the notion of cloth diapering with an open mind. I attended the Cloth Diaper 101 seminar and even bought a few pairs of AppleCheeks diapers to test out.
There’s a huge learning curve to cloth diapering and it was a bit intimidating at first. It’s definitely not mainstream (i.e., not something you’d find on a starter registry at Babies R Us or Target) so if you want to learn about it, then you have to seek the information on your own. So far, I’m pretty impressed by the cloth diapering community and I’m jumping on the bandwagon of the #makeclothdiaperingmainstreamchallenge campaign.
Here are five surprising things that you didn’t know about cloth diapering that I’d like to share with you:
1. Cloth diapers can save you a crapload!
I’m a numbers gal and this is what caught my attention:
I never realized that I was literally throwing money in the garbage with the amount of money spent on disposables throughout my baby’s lifetime in diapers. The initial investment to build up a stash of cloth diapers is hard to swallow, but after reusing them and possibly selling them (more on that later), I learned that it’s money well spent.
I’d also like to add that cloth diapering is good for the environment, but we already knew that. That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about cloth diapering. However, if the cloth diapering advocates campaigned on this money saving statistic alone, I think more parents would consider using cloth diapers instead of disposables.
2. Cloth diapers are collectables
They say that you need approximately 24 cloth diapers to go full-time and ditch the disposables. At that point, you’ve built yourself a decent “stash” and when you no longer need to purchase more cloth diapers, then you are considered “stashified.” You see, the cloth diapering community has its own set of vocabulary and behaviors. One of the most surprising behaviors that I discovered was that people collect, buy, sell, and trade cloth diapers.
It’s kind of like how Beanie Babies were back in the 90s, or how Jordans are for the sneakerheads – except babies poop in these commodities and they still hold their value. There are Facebook groups for cloth diapering support and on Saturdays, some mommas proudly display their collection and call it “Saturday Stash Shot” or “SSS”:
Special shout-out to my Peace.Love.AppleCheeks mommas who shared their awesome stash shots with us from top left, clockwise: Ashley S., Melissa F., Jessica M., Alicia R., Natalie H.
At first, I thought it was a little cray, but now I see stash shots and I’m completely mesmerized like, “Oooh! So pretty, look at all that fluff! Must…buy…more….diapers!”
So back to the money part – because just like the wise Snoop Dogg, “I’ve got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.” Here’s an example: You can buy a diaper for $20 at retail value. Your baby can poop in it many, many times then you can sell it USED for $17 if it is in good condition. (If it’s a limited edition diaper, you can may even make a profit from selling it.) So if you buy 24 diapers and sell them once your child is done potty training, then your total cost of diapering was $72. I’m no math genius, but that sure does beat $1400 spent on disposable diapers, or “sposies” as the cloth diapering community calls them.
3. Laundry is not a problem. I repeat, laundry is not a problem.
Laundry is my kryptonite, so I’m inclined to avoid anything that would result in MORE laundry. To my pleasant surprise, it’s really just one extra load of laundry! I can handle that. Once you figure out a wash routine that works for you, then it’s pretty easy. It basically goes like this:
As for the yuck factor – exclusively breastfed baby poop is 100% soluble so I don’t have to prewash or scrape off poop before throwing it in the laundry. My baby has not started on solids yet, so we can revisit this topic when that happens.
4. It’s YOUR baby’s butt, so you diaper it how you see fit.
Your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your cousins, and your friends will all have their opinions on cloth diapering. The beauty of it is, it’s YOUR choice and you can customize your cloth diapering experience based on what works best for you and your baby. For example, it doesn’t have to be a 100% all or nothing experience – my husband still insists on using disposables when we go out or at nighttime, but I use cloth any chance I get when we’re at home.
You can also choose what type of cloth diaper you want on your baby’s bum. There are different types of brands, covers, inserts, materials, patterns. The possibilities are endless – that’s also where it can become overwhelming. I found that I love AppleCheeks diaper covers and their bamboo inserts (more on that later…and maybe even a giveaway!) so I’m building my stash that brand alone.
5. They are so darn cute
I can’t even stand the cuteness factor of Alyssa’s fluff butt. I’m looking forward for summer so I can have her in dresses and her adorable diapers. Ruffles? Yes, please! So I’ll just leave this here:
I hope you learned a thing or two about cloth diapering, or at least opened your mind a bit on the #makeclothmainstreamchallenge. Here are some other helpful groups on Facebook filled with experts and lots of great parents who are happy to help you learn more about cloth diapering:
This is the only area of the house that had the Paw Patrol decorations, so I wanted to make sure it had big impact. I started by hanging streamers against the wall, then hung Paw Patrol decorations from the ceiling:
The centerpiece of the sweet table was the Paw Patrol birthday cake. I had a local bakery make the cake and we were able to save some money by topping it with a Paw Patrol toy instead of having the cake designer create it from scratch using fondant. Plus, Zavier got to keep the toy after the cake was gobbled up:
I bought donuts and popcorn from the store and made the Puppy Chow the night before. I gave it a customized look by creating Paw Patrol food labels using Canva. Then I printed them out on 5×7 cardstock paper and folded them in half.
You can use my designs and edit them in Canva. It’s free, click here It should be pretty easy to figure out how to modify the labels, then you can save it as an image and print them out.
I also used Canva to create custom favor bag toppers for sandwich bags. I printed these out onto 5×7 cardstock paper, folded them in half, and stapled them onto the sandwich bags.
You can use the template in Canva to change the picture, name, and age: click here. Makes for a quick, easy, and cheap favor bag!
Feel free to follow along on my Paw Patrol Birthday Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration:
This is the only area of the house that had the Sofia the First decorations, so I wanted to make sure it had big impact. I started by hanging a chandelier from the ceiling that I got from a garage sale for $5 using command strips, then hung Sofia the First decorations and added balloons around it:
The centerpiece of the sweet table was the Sofia the First birthday cake. I had a local bakery make the cake and worked with them on the design – it had to have the Sofia the First dress pattern, a tiara, and the number 6 for the birthday girl! It was just as delicious on the inside as it was gorgeous on the outside:
I bought cupcakes, cookies, and chocolates from the store (saved a ton of time!), but gave it a customized look by creating Sofia the First food labels using Canva. Then I printed them out on 5×7 cardstock paper and folded them in half.
You can use my design templates and edit them in Canva. It’s free, click here It should be pretty easy to figure out how to modify the labels, then you can save it as an image and print them out. Seriously, you’re welcome. I love Canva!
I also used Canva to create custom favor bag toppers for sandwich bags. I printed these out on 5×7 cardstock paper, folded them in half, and stapled them onto the sandwich bags.
You can use the template in Canva to customize the picture, name, and age: click here. Makes for a quick, easy, and cheap favor bag!
Feel free to pin this on Pinterest or follow along on my Sofia the First Birthday Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration:
The grey tones with the plum accent in this entryway:
This cherry blossom tree painting:
Over the course of six months, I slowly started acquiring things that reminded me of my inspiration board:
I scored all these things at over 50% off at sales or clearance prices:
Console Table – Home Goods $99
Woven Basket – Home Goods $16
Glass Jars – Sears $10
Cherry Blossom Light – Kirkland’s $20
Birds on a Wire Canvas Art – Kirkland’s $30
The painting of the birds on a wire makes me happy. All the colors match the palette throughout my home – grey, blue, plum, and cream.
I was hoping to get a lamp, but holy crap – those are ridiculously expensive! Then I scored this cherry blossom tree light at a local Kirkland’s that was closing. I think it gives my entryway a little character.
My husband asked me why I bought a little Christmas tree. LOL!
I think it makes the space look warm and inviting.
So there you have it. This is the first thing you’ll see when you walk into our home. (You’ll also be greeted by a scruffy white dog with no teeth, a curious little girl with glasses, a little boy with a dirty face, and a crying baby.)
Thanks for checking out my entryway! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!
…and get it right away! MommyCon Chicago was all SOLD OUT this year, so it probably will be a hot ticket for other cities as well. For a list of MommyCon cities and dates, click here. Presale tickets are $30. General Admission is $40 and you can get $5 off with promo code MOMMYAZ15. It’s worth it because you get that money back from all the products in the gift bag. GIFT BAG?! Yes, more on that later!
After you purchase your ticket online, all you have to do is go to the registration desk at the event with your ID and email address. Then, you’ll be given a badge that will serve as entry into the conference, your pass to get your gift bag, and your raffle number to win some prizes.
*Insider tip: Every General Admission and VIP ticket holder gets a gift bag and entry to win the giveaway prizes at the end. If you bring your significant other along, then that’s double the gift bags and double the chances of winning!
It’s great that you get to bring your baby to the conference, but strollers are not recommended since it gets pretty crowded. I suggest wearing your baby in a wrap or carrier and using a backpack to carry all your stuff. You’ll definitely have your hands full as you start to aquire goodies at the event.
*Insider tip: Some vendors provide reusable shopping bags that you can use to haul your goods.
Review the MommyCon schedule and plan out which sessions you want to attend. They offer interactive sessions on cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding, and other fun natural parenting classes. The line-up of speakers and classes is usually posted on the MommyCon website within 30 days of the event.
*Insider tip: Set the alarm on your phone to remind you when sessions are about to begin. Get there early and sit towards the front. Some speakers throw products out to the audience and usually the people in the front grab them first!
Set a Budget
Before the event, review the exhibitor list and make note of the ones you want to check out. Give yourself a budget on how much you plan on spending on things like cloth diapers, wraps, breastfeeding products, safety gear, teething soothers…There are so many amazing products and exclusive items, that it can be easy to get carried away with MommyCon purchases.
I knew for sure I wanted to hit up Chompy Chic Chewerly to get a matching set for my Tula. I even got to meet founder and owner Sonia who helped me pick out a Petite Elephant Silicone Teether Necklace.
*Insider tip: Most of the vendors offer discounts if you make a purchase at MommyCon. They might even offer a promo code if you want to shop online after the event!
Visit the Babywearing Lounge
The sessions were super informative, but one of my favorite spots was the Baby Wearing Lounge where you can try on different brands of wraps and carriers. It’s like a giant fitting room for babywearing! They had experts standing by to help navigate through the different types of carriers and what might work best for you.
Make Some Friends
This is a great opportunity to meet owners of some of your favorite brands, boutiques, and bloggers. I learned about cloth diapering from the co-owners of AppleCheeks and even got branded with an AppleCheeks tattoo! I bought my two first pairs of the sweetest cloth diapers.
I attended the event by myself, but I met some awesome mommas. At lunch, I sat at a table full of new and expecting parents and we exchanged birth stories. And all throughout the event, I took selfies with my fellow Tula mommas. Ca-caw!
This event was way too exciting and overstimulating for both my baby and me. Fortunately, there was a breastfeeding lounge, changing stations, and quiet rooms for much needed downtime. There were also huge water pitchers everywhere so us mommies could stay hydrated.
*Insider tip: Don’t stress if you forget the diapers. There are complimentary diapers and wipes available at the baby changing station.
Get your goods
Stay until the very end because that’s when they do the big giveaways – car seats, cribs, wraps, bouncers, diapers, breastfeeding supplies. You must be present to win. I was hopeful, but I did not win. Womp, womp, womp.
Here’s what was included (Note: All items in the gift bags may vary):
Grovia hybrid cloth diapering trial pack
Crane Belly Glo Night Light
Crane Organic Lip Balm
Nursng Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf
Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter
Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator
Munchkin Diaper Bag Dispenser
Munchkin Deluxe Fresh Food Feeder
Bumb Genius Wetbag
Here are the freebees I got from visiting the exhibitors:
Kiinde Twist Breastmilk Storage Set
Evenflo nursing pads
Planet Wise reusable food storage bag
Here are some of the awesome products that I will be doing a review on soon:
AppleCheeks Cloth Diapers
Baby Jack and Company Sensory Tag Blanket
I had an amazing time at MommyCon and highly suggest this for moms and even dads who are expecting, new, or seasoned parents. Seriously, this should be in every city. For at least 2 days. Twice a year. It was that much fun!
One more time, here’s a link to the 2015 MommyCon event schedule. You are more than welcome to use my promo code on General Admission tickets for $5 off: MOMMYAZ15.
I’m thankful everyday for my husband, my kids, my family and friends, our health, the food on the table and the roof over our heads. That’s obvi. But sometimes it’s those little things that deserve a special thank you note. So here goes:
Thank you, boobs, for giving me the superhero powers to feed and nourish my little baby. Special shout-out goes out to Left Boob, for being a ridiculous overachiever and making me my chest look freakishly lopsided.
Sometimes I feel like my world revolves around my boobs. Seriously, I have to drop everything when it’s feeding time! My parents refer to me as a “Milk Production Agency” or call me the “Milk Lady.” Arielle once drew a picture of me as a cow with udders and a calf sucking from them. (I really wish I saved that picture!) Again, thank you to my boobs for plumping up these chubby cheeks:
Thank you, confused receptionist at the hair salon, for totally forgetting that I arrived for my appointment and keeping me waiting for so long…and then making up for it by giving me a complimentary massage and 50% off my entire service! And thank you, Cara at Spa Bleu, for making this momma feel pretty again! (Even though the only place I went was to Target to walk around aimlessly.)
Thank you, Tula baby carrier, for letting me hold my baby close while getting stuff done around the house! I thought my hands would be tied with three kids, but I’m able to cook, do laundry, get A&Z ready for school/ready for bed, work, and even hang pictures on the wall while carrying the baby. This thing has been a life saver!
She’s close enough for me to kiss her anytime I want! And when I glance down, I see this cutie pie looking up at me:
Don’t you want to kiss her???
Thanks for reading along on my first “Thank You Notes”! (Please excuse the grainy iPhone photos and the glasses.)
What are you writing “thank you notes” for this week?
I’m officially back to work from the Best Maternity Leave Ever. It’s been a challenge to get into the swing of things like dealing with the cold weather, getting the kids back to school, and keeping up with the fast-paced work environment. So far I didn’t forget to wear pants to work (yes, that actually happened! Read about it here), but I did forget my baby’s name. Someone at work asked me what her name was and my mind went completely blank. You can blame it on the “mommy brain” but I assure you, it’s more complicated than that.
Let me ‘splain. I forgot my baby’s name because we’ve all been calling her different things:
(And while I’m at it, here are Alyssa’s newborn photos that I’ve been meaning to share. She’s already three months old so it’s now or never! These photos were done by Ashley Gee Imagery)
We had a hard time deciding on what to name her and she had no name for the first two days after she was born. At that time, she was known as “Baby Girl Tamanio.”
I decided that I wanted to name her “Alyssa” because it sounded nicely with her siblings’ names, “Arielle and Zavier.” Also, I figured that if Arielle’s nickname is “Arie” and Alyssa’s nickname is “Allie,” then “Arie and Allie” would have a nice ring to it.
Jeffrey wanted to name her “Jaime” after his late father. However, Zavier was already named after Jeff’s dad because his middle name is “James.” Also, I’m not a fan of the unisex names (personal preference, no offense). So the compromise was that her middle name would be “Jaime” on her birth certificate. Regardless of what her name is on paper, Jeff insists on calling her “Jaime.”
And then there are the many silly names that Zavier gives her. He’s three years old and is super proud to be a big bro. I don’t know where these names come from, but they’re pretty cute. There’s “Baby Ana,” “Bean” or “Beanie,” and my personal favorite – “Uncle Baby.”
In summary, her name is Alyssa. AKA Jaime. AKA Uncle Baby.
I guess it doesn’t matter what her name is. All I know is that she is so sweet and squishy and much bigger than she was during her newborn photo shoot. Here’s a more recent picture of her at 12 weeks:
My parents go there all the time for the bike trails and the fishing areas. They brought their beach tent so we could lounge or nap (or eat burgers) as we pleased.
On the gloomy or not-so-hot days we chill at the mall just to get out of the house. I feel like a teenager again! Except instead of getting crazy around the mall with my girlfriends, I’m getting nauseous around carousel with my kiddos.
Even Alyssa is a baby mall mouse. No stroller for this little diva! She likes to be toted around in a wrap or sling. I’m new to this babywearing thing, but so far it’s working out great!
My mom is loves wearing her in the sling, too:
We’ve definitely earned our “mall rat” status. So far we’ve been to Brandon Mall, International Plaza, Ellenton Premium Outlets, and the newest one, the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota.
The malls here are very nice, although I wish my bank account was fat enough so I could fully take advantage of all they have to offer! I swear, I’m not a shoppaholic. We just like to walk around and window shop…and eat.
And occasionally wear lampshades on our head. LOL
So that’s what we do the majority of the time here in Florida. Beaches and malls. Malls and beaches. Occasionally, we throw in a day where we exercise or golf, or learn a thing or two at the children’s museum, zoo, or aquarium…but mostly malls and beaches. Weeeeeeeeee! Love it!
Thanks for reading along. Don’t forget to check out what else we’re up to on Instagram:
I knew Alyssa was going to be spoiled even before she was born. At least, I intend on spoiling her with love and attention since she’s my last baby. It’s a bonus that my last baby ended up being a girl – that means I can go all out with all things pretty and girly. Yes, I’m talking about pretty bows, pearls, flowers, bling, and hearts. ***Squeals!***
I was thrilled when Heather from Knitted Reverie introduced me to her Etsy shop. She makes the cutest knitted baby headbands and I immediately knew these would be perfect for newborn photos. I just had a hard time picking one out because they were all so adorbs (click here to see what’s available at Knitted Reverie’s Etsy shop. You can even request custom headbands!)
Alyssa was teeny tiny when she was born, but the headbands fit perfectly. They even have a little stretch to them so I’m sure she can rock ’em for the next few months or so. They are soft to the touch and not itchy on her precious newborn skin, and they keep her head warm. My favorite part was the uniqueness of each piece – just as precious as my little one!
Are you ready for some serious cuteness?
Those were taken at the hospital while Alyssa and I were bonding. I just couldn’t help myself!
Here are some pictures from Alyssa’s newborn photo shoot this past weekend:
Usually they run to the playroom and pick out their favorite book for me to read, but after some time I got tired of reading the same ol’ books. About a year ago, I came across a children’s book app for the iPad called Farfaria and mixed up the routine with traditional books and electronic books.
I was thrilled when the nice folks at Farfaria partnered with me for a review and giveaway since I was already a fan of the app! Here’s some of the cool features:
Variety – More than 600 stories, with 5 new stories added weekly. There are stories old and new, for boys and girls. I found some of my favorite stories when I was a kid like The Princess and the Pea. Zavier is crazy about snakes these days and there was a picture book of different types of snakes. I cringed the entire time, but he loved it! And there’s even a “Preschool Playground” section for books for Arielle to enjoy.
Read-to-me feature – Each story has a read-to-me option where the app reads the story to you. Seriously, don’t judge me – when I read regular books, I skip words or even pages sometimes on those really long, hard days. Or if its a book that I know all too well, I close my eyes and recite the words and turn the pages as needed. Like I said, don’t judge! So Farfaria’s read-to-me feature has been a lifesaver – the app reads to my kids and all I have to do is swipe the page as needed. But I try to use it sparingly – I still want the kids to find comfort in my story-reading voice and not the Farfaria app voices.
Easy to use, no adds or pop-ups – Zavier is 3 years old and quite the expert iPad user. He throws mini-tantrums at apps that have pop-ups or take him to the app store, but I don’t have to worry about that with this app. It’s a clean, easy experience for my tech savvy toddler.
You can try the Farfaria app for free by downloading the app here and read one story a day, or you can enter for a chance to be one of two lucky winners to win a free 3 month subscription to Farfaria with access to unlimited stories.
Zavier, who just turned 3, is anxiously waiting for his life to begin because tends to live in the shadow of his big sis, Arielle. The Disney cast members started square dancing in the middle of the street and they invited Arielle to dance, but she was not in the mood to participate. Then, when they asked Zavier to dance, he jumped out of his stroller without hesitation and danced his little heart out. The opportunity to dance or do other great things can pop up when you least expect it. You just have to be ready, don’t hesitate, and just go for it – even if you don’t know all the steps.
3. No matter how busy you are, your kids deserve your attention.
The lines (OMG, the LINES!) just to meet the characters were at least 45 minutes long. But even though they had an endless queue of kids waiting to see them, they acted like my kids were the only ones in the entire park. They took their time with A&Z, answered all their questions, and gave them extra hugs. Merida stopped and played Spidey with Zavier after noticing his Spiderman shoes. Ariel made Arielle feel special because they had similar names, even though Arielle totally got star-struck and didn’t say anything to her favorite mermaid.
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger have adventures to get to, the Fairy Godmother has millions of wishes to grant, and the Princesses are super busy, no doubt. These character encounters taught me that even though I’m a busy mom, I should still stop and give my kids my undivided attention at their precious, young age. Sometimes the dishes, the emails, and the laundry can wait.
4. Every Little Girl is a Princess
One of my biggest fears is Arielle as a teenager. I’m scared that she will try to grow up too fast. You know, like girls who wear make-up at a young age and go totally boy crazy before they hit sixteen. Arielle is my little princess. She’s five and I love everything about this age. She has big dreams and the world is amazing and beautiful and exciting in her eyes. She’s sweet, curious, and charming all at the same time. Every little girl is a princess and seeing Arielle experience all-things-Princess at Disney World made me want to preserve and cherish that innocence for as long as I can.
5. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true
I’m so happy we stayed for the show where the “Cinderella’s Castle comes to life” and the fireworks at the end of the night. The entire production left me in awe and totally inspired. All the mean people, negativity, limitations, and boundaries ceased to exist and I actually believed that anything was possible!!!
And then we left sunny Florida, came back to the miserable cold weather in the midwest, I went back to work, and reality set in. Womp, womp, womp…
Just kidding, it wasn’t all that depressing. Those feelings of hope, inspiration, and wonder can exist no matter where I am, or how old I am. I think that’s what the magic of Disney is all about – instilling hope, dreams, and possibilities. Just see what these friends have to say:
Thanks for reading along! Have you been to Disney lately and learned something new? It doesn’t have to be about life – general park tips would be welcome, too. For example, we learned in the late-afternoon that our ticket came with 3 free fast-passes so we actually only got to use 2 of them. Also, those character dining events have to be booked months in advance so we missed out on that as well.
This time they sent me Dove Advanced Care Deodorant with Nutrium Moisture to cheer up my armpits. Seriously, 36% of what you remove when shaving is skin (64% is hair). As a result, armpit skin loses 50% more moisture, which can lead to dryness and irritation. I bet your armpits are feeling a little depressed now, too.
As one of the #RaiseYourArms Influenster VoxBox recipients, I was put to the test to see if this Dove deodorant helps moisturize and soften my pits. I would show you, but EWW – I don’t think we wanna go there. What would my kids think if they scrolled through my photos and saw armpit selfies? Plus, it’s winter here and my armpits are well hidden under layers of clothes…
Instead, I give you 10 things that make you #RaiseYourArms:
2. High fiving
3. Diva Snappin’
4. Being a Super Hero
6. Raising the Roof
9. Knowing the Answer
Thanks for reading along. What makes you #RaiseYourArms?
Last weekend, the internet gods kept showing me these Rivet & Sway ads for me to try on glasses at home for free. Their website has a nicely curated set of stylish, feminine glasses, so it was pretty easy to pick out which ones I wanted to try on without being overwhelmed. Two days later, I had 5 pairs of glasses in a pretty little box at my doorstep. Kinda cool, right? It sure does beat having to go out in the nasty weather with A&Z to try on glasses at the store.
I have several disclaimers that you must read before continuing:
I’m not affiliated with Rivet & Sway, I’m just trying their nifty program and all opinions are my own. I need your opinions, too!
WARNING: Multiple selfies ahead! I heard that #selfie was the word of the year in 2013, and yes – I got the memo that it is now 2014. However, I just couldn’t get around to do this exercise without all the obnoxious selfies. Please, forgive me.
I suggest you play this song while you review the choices below. Yes, I was thinking about #StarbucksDrakeHands while I was taking these photos. (That’s not a good thing.)
Don’t let that pimple above my right eyebrow sway your opinion in any way.
Now that I got that off my chest, here are the choices:
#1: Ticker Tape:
#2 Cherry Blossom:
#3: High Five
#5: 5th Avenue
And if you’re a side-by-side comparison kind of person, here are the choices one more time:
I’m going for glasses that make a statement, but don’t overwhelm my face. I’m going for smart and feminine, but not like I’m trying too hard to look like a hipster. Easy-peasy, right? NOT. I have my top faves in mind, but I won’t share which ones just yet.
Leave a comment with the number the glasses you think I should get! Thanks so much for weighing in!
I received my first Vox Box from Influenster back in December. Influenster is a free program where trendsetters, social media divas, and opinionated consumers get exclusive offers and perks for sharing their opinions. They sent me the Jolly Vox Box filled with goodies for me to test drive. So what’s inside??? Check out this video of Arielle and me un-boxing the Vox Box and our first reactions:
Doesn’t Arielle make the perfect little co-host? So here’s what I thought of these products:
NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow
Pros: Cheap! About $2.74 at your local drug store. Natural look and goes on smoothly. Cons: Lacks intensity. Quick tip: Wear this trio on those days when you’re channeling your inner Aretha Franklin and wanna “feel like a natural woman.”
This trio was called “Long Beach Sands” and looked super fun because the label tells you how the colors work toghether: crease (left), all-over color (middle), and highlighter (right).
I was a little disappointed by the pigmentation on this product because colors didn’t show up as vibrant on my eyelids as it did on the palette. The first color on the left was meant to be for the crease, but didn’t show up on me at all. Probably because it’s too close to my natural skin color. The middle all-over color went on smoothly, but was not intense enough for my taste. I wear a dark smokey eye almost everyday, even to work. However, if I did want to go natural for a day this would do the trick. Surprisingly, the lightest shade on the right which is meant to be used as a highlighter, was my favorite among the trio. This brought a subtle definition under my brow (please ignore that random unplucked eyebrow).
Ducklings Mini Rolls
Pros: It sticks! Fun colors. Cons: Need scissors if you want a clean cut. Quick tip: It does its job, with style.
This roll of mini ducklings mini saved my New Year’s Eve bash! After all the gift wrapping from Christmas, I ran out of tape to hang the NYE decorations and it matched perfectly! Festive, sticky, and impeccable timing – I couldn’t have asked for more from this #JollyVoxBox product!
Skinny Cow Candy
Pros: Guilt-free yummy goodness! Cons: There are no cons when chocolate is involved. Quick tip: Yum, yum, say whaaaaa? Only 130 calories!
Skinny or not, you seriously can’t go wrong when chocolate filled with peanut butter is involved. Nom nom nom! A&Z and I ate these right up and we didn’t once talk about how this would appear later on in our thighs or other problem areas. That’s what I call guilt-free yummy goodness! I think the individually packaged servings helped control us from eating the entire thing in one sitting.
Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer
Pros: Not sticky, great shine! Cons: No color, just a sheer gloss. Quick tip: Pair it up with your favorite lipstick for added shine.
I have naturally pale lips with freckles on them, so whatever I wear needs to have color! My Jolly Vox Box came with the color “Stargazer” that just went on clear, but glossy. So I just paired it up with my favorite lipsticks for added shine and I was good to go! Otherwise, I really wouldn’t use this product on its own.
Pros: Conveniently packaged and easy to just throw in my purse. Cons: No cons here! Quick tip: Always, always have a pack of these Puffs in your purse for unexpected tears, runny noses, or boogers.
This was by far my favorite product in my Jolly Vox Box. It’s functional, convenient and something I’d use all the time. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a runny nose 365 days of the year. So having this in my purse has been a life saver!
So there you have it! My very first batch of product reviews thanks to Influenster and the Jolly Vox Box. Hope you found this helpful!