Dec 222014
 

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Cake Boss. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I have always enjoyed baking.  It’s kind of funny that my sister and I love baking so much, as my Mom is totally not a baker at all.  Growing up, we spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house, and she was always in the kitchen baking up something tasty.  I’m sure we both learned everything we know about baking from her. 

I love baking because it relaxes me.  It’s something that I can put my heart and soul into, and I just love that feeling I get when I share my homemade goodies with friends and family.  Everyone loves baked goods, and it’s really fun to be able to share something you made from scratch with other people.

In addition to my love for baking, I have always had a strong interest in cake decorating.  I would absolutely love to be able to decorate cakes as well as the Cake Boss does.  When 8 seasons of Cake Boss came to Netflix earlier this year, I quickly became hooked on watching the show.  I was just in awe of his talent, and the talent of all of his employees, most of which are his family.  They are so creative and have made some of the most beautiful and amazing cakes I have ever seen in my life. 

I know if I ever want to get up to their caliber of cake decorating, it will take lots of practice, but in the mean time, I am having fun learning and experimenting with Cake Boss cake decorating supplies.  That’s right, the Cake Boss actually has his own line of cake decorating supplies that really help to simplify the cake decorating process for beginners like me.  They are great for experienced decorators, too!   

I recently held a cake decorating party at my parents’ house, where my husband, John, my Mom, my two sisters, my brother-in-law, and a friend of the family all sat around the kitchen table to practice our cake decorating skills, using several different Cake Boss decorating supplies.  Here are just some of the supplies we tried out – frosting, icing, decorating tips, icing spatulas, sprinkles, fondant, fondant ribbon cutter and more!

Cake Boss Cake Supplies

I had pre-baked the cakes ahead of time in Cake Boss cake pans (which I absolutely love!), so we just had to decorate them.  I really loved how well the cakes turned out.  They were a really great consistency, and tasted so incredible too.  I had to travel over an hour away to my parents’ house with them in the back of my car.  I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t travel well, as other cake mixes I have used before resulted in a very crumbly cake, but these cakes held up perfectly.  I was very impressed!

We started our cake decorating party off by icing our cakes with the vanilla frosting.  We used the icing spatulas, and they made the job really easy.

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

The frosting went on nice and smooth, and was the perfect base to place our fondant on.

Cake Boss Party

Next, we rolled out our fondant.  We had a really pretty bright pink color, and a chocolate fondant to choose from. The fondant was really easy to work with and rolled out nice and smooth, and we were able to smooth it even further with the fondant smoother. 

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

Some of my party members also chose to use the acrylic fondant rolling pin with a pretty floral design on it.  It left an imprint right into the fondant.  None of us had ever worked with fondant before, but we really liked the finished look of it.  The excess fondant is cut off with the fondant cutter.

Cake Boss Party

The fondant ribbon cutter was a really neat tool!  There were lots of different designs to choose from and it was so easy to work with.

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

 There were lots of different decorating tips to choose from, and we had fun learning how to pipe it onto our cakes.  

Cake Boss Party

The party was a huge success.  We all had a lot of fun decorating our cakes and showing off our creative sides.  

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

 John used the letter and alphabet fondant stamp set to get those perfect letters on top of his cake.  He then outlined them with icing.

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

Cake Boss Party

I am so excited to have all of these awesome cake decorating supplies now, and will be practicing my skills.  It would be really nice to be able to decorate Kayleigh’s birthday cake next year!

Want to be a Cake Boss too?  You can get your own Cake Boss Cake Mixes, Tools and Bakeware at Michaels stores and online at Michaels.com!

Are you a fan of TLC’s hit show Cake Boss? Would you love to use these awesome Cake Boss cake decorating tools, cake mixes and other products at home? 

 Posted by at 12:21 am
Dec 192014
 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Holiday Tree

This isn’t Kayleigh’s first Christmas, but this is the first Christmas that I think she will actually have fun getting together with family, eating a big, delicious Christmas breakfast, and opening gifts of course!  She was only 7 months old at Christmas last year, so she wasn’t really aware of what was going on, but this year she is 19 months old, and so much fun to watch as she explores her surroundings and learns new things.

This is definitely going to be a Christmas I want to always remember, and taking lots and lots of photos is a great way to keep those memories alive for years to come.

I am in the market for a new camera to help capture holiday memories, and as you probably already know, Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories.
 
The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs, and it is at the top of my wishlist this year.  I’m not the best photographer, but this camera makes advanced photography easy and fun.  It gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.
 
Capture Holiday Memories with Canon at Best BuyIn addition to taking amazing photographs, this beautiful camera allows you to capture Hollywood caliber full HD video. It also has a continuous autofocus while taking HD video, which I think is really awesome.  It’s one less thing for me to have to worry about when I’m wrapped up in capturing the moment.
 
I’ve taken many videos of Kayleigh over the last 19 months with my phone.  It always makes me tear up to watch videos of her from her first few months, but I really wish they were of better quality.  Most of them are very dark and grainy, and I would love to have Hollywood caliber videos to play over and over again.
 
The Canon EOS Rebel T5i also features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.  Wow!!
 
I think my favorite feature of this camera is the 3″ vari-angle touch screen.  I love having a touch screen on all of my devices.  My laptop, which I purchased from Best Buy, even has a touch screen. It just makes navigating so much easier! 
Capture Holiday Memories with Canon at Best BuyThis camera is perfect for capturing all of those special holiday memories, and you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy through 12/20/14. Visit Best Buy to learn more. 
 
 Posted by at 7:52 pm
Dec 192014
 

This post is sponsored by Lunchbox.

The holidays can be a very busy, stressful time of year, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything, especially if you are pregnant.  I just entered my third trimester in this pregnancy, and I was also pregnant with Kayleigh during the holidays two years ago, so I know first-hand just how difficult it can be to get everything done. 

Between shopping for gifts, wrapping them, ordering and mailing out holiday cards, preparing food, attending parties, etc., all on a lack of sleep and a growing belly getting in my way,  some times I just feel like giving up all together!

This year, I have kind of taken a step back, and figured out some things that will make my holidays run a little smoother, and help take some of the stress away.

How to Survive the Holidays When You're Pregnant

1)  Scale BackIf you usually go all out with Christmas decorating and gift-giving over the holidays, try to scale back while you are pregnant.  This year, I kept it really simple by putting up our tree and decorating it with lights, ribbon and bows.  I didn’t even hang any of our ornaments.  The tree still looks beautiful and brings the spirit of Christmas into our home, and I didn’t exhaust myself with decorating this year.  As far as gift giving goes, I only bought 1 gift each for my niece and nephew, and a few things for Kayleigh.  I told family members that I wasn’t planning on buying gifts for everyone this year, and that they did not have to feel obligated to get me anything either.  They were very understanding, and now I don’t feel overwhelmed by a huge Christmas shopping list.

2)  Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No.” – During the holidays, it seems like everyone wants to throw a holiday party.  John and I were invited to quite a few this year, but we will only be attending one.  Not only do parties take time away from your already busy schedule, but they can be quite exhausting for a pregnant woman.  So, decide which party or parties you really want to go to, and politely decline the other invitations.    

3)  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help - If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do this holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family for help with some easy, but time-consuming tasks, like addressing holiday cards or wrapping gifts.  Crossing even one thing off your to-do list will help you feel a little less stressed.

Holiday Tasks

4)  Schedule Some Relaxation Time for Yourself – If you don’t make a point to take some time for yourself, just to relax, you will get burned out very quickly, and when Christmas finally arrives, you will be too exhausted to actually enjoy it.  Try to take at least an hour each day to do something for yourself.  Put on some relaxing music, take a nap or a warm bath, read a book, watch a movie, etc.  The alone time will help you unwind and feel better, both physically and mentally.

5)  Get Comfortable - When you’re pregnant during the holidays, comfort is key.  Now is not the time to try to squeeze into a cocktail dress or heels.  You’ll quickly regret it if you do!  Wear comfortable clothes that are loose and breathable, and flat slip-on shoes that you don’t have to bend over to tie.

6)  Pamper Yourself - You may not be able to find the time or money to hit the spa any time soon, but there are some simple things you can do to pamper yourself at home.  Soak your achy feet in a tub of warm water.  Relieve dry skin by giving yourself a facial.  There are plenty of ideas for DIY facial masks and scrubs on Pinterest.  Give yourself an at-home manicure.  I know I always feel better when my nails are looking pretty.  Finally, bring the shine back to your hair with Suave® Moroccan Infusion Shine Shampoo & Conditioner.

Suave Moroccan Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner

My hair always tends to get a bit dry and dull looking during pregnancy, but Suave® Moroccan Infusion Shine Shampoo & Conditioner really helps bring it back to life, by making it feel super soft and looking healthy and shiny.   I feel so much better when my hair looks and feels great, don’t you?

I have always loved Suave products.  They are very inexpensive, but work so well, and they smell great, too.  They are very comparable to those expensive products you find in the salons, but are a fraction of the cost.

You can purchase Suave® Moroccan Infusion Shine Shampoo & Conditioner at BJ’s Wholesale Club.  I love shopping at BJ’s, especially when pregnant, because I can stock up on all of my favorite items, and not have to go shopping again for a long time.  That saves me lots of money, time and energy!  Click here to find a store near you!

Image 1

GIVEAWAY

Five lucky readers will receive a $100 BJ’s Gift Card!

This giveaway is open US residents only, who are 18+ years of age, and ends Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm, PT.

Use the widget below to enter for a chance to win this great giveaway!

BJ’s Suave Moroccan Sweepstakes

What helps you get through the holidays when you’re pregnant? Share your tips below!

 Posted by at 9:25 am
Dec 182014
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for DSM. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and forget to take care of ourselves and our health.  Did you know that studies have actually shown that instances of heart attacks increase over the holiday season?  That doesn’t really surprise me, between all of the stress that comes with the holidays (decorating, buying and wrapping gifts, dealing with crowds of people, sending out Christmas cards, preparing meals and desserts, attending Christmas parties, etc.), and temptation of unhealthy treats everywhere you go.

More than 80 million Americans are living with heart disease.  That’s more than 25% of the U.S. population!  After hearing these scary statistics, Mrs. Claus decided it’s time for she and Santa to set a better example – by making nutrition changes that promote heart health.

Mrs. Claus has made a video, with some great tips for staying healthy, like taking heart-healthy vitamins, including Omega3, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E.

You can also find a letter from her on the new Claus Nutrition website, encouraging heart health.  She provides information about heart healthy supplements, a breakdown of bad-for-you foods, and healthy swaps that we can make, and more.  I especially love the recipes she has shared, including a Spinach Berry Salad that sounds delicious!

Mrs. Claus will also be tracking she and Santa’s progress and sharing tips from experts in nutrition and heart health so families can join in on the health plan.

Heart health is something that is very important to me, as heart problems run in my family.  My grandmother has had a pacemaker for several years now, and is on a number of different medications.  It has been very hard to watch her deal with this medical problem during her lifetime, and it’s not something I ever want to have to deal with myself. 

John and I are in our 30′s, and just now starting our family.  I want for us to be around for our kids for a long time to come, and I know that we need to take care of ourselves for that to be possible.  We both take a daily multivitamin, which contains Omega3, and we also take Vitamin D.  That alone, is not enough, though.  We need to start exercising and making healthier meal and snack choices, and right now is a great time to start.

What steps do you and your family take to stay healthy all year long?

 

 Posted by at 12:06 pm
Dec 182014
 

Tracking Pixel

Thank you to Minute® Rice for providing me with a free sample to create this Gingerbread Rice Pudding recipe, and for sponsoring this post.

Minute-LogoI love cooking and baking during the holiday season, but sometimes I get so busy with buying and wrapping gifts, addressing and sending out Christmas cards, decorating, etc., that I just don’t have the time or energy to spend hours baking in the kitchen.

This year, I thought I would whip up a quick and easy dessert, that didn’t involve too much time or energy, but would also be super tasty.  I found a whole bunch of recipes for rice pudding on the Minute® Rice Website that sounded really tasty.  They have some really great flavors to choose from, and are really quite easy to make. 

I’ve actually never had rice pudding before in my life, but I have always been interested in trying it.  I wanted to put my own holiday spin on it though, so I decided to make a Gingerbread Rice Pudding.  Gingerbread is one of those must-have holiday flavors for me.  I just love that warm, rich flavor, and it makes my house smell so amazing, too!

For this Gingerbread Rice Pudding, I experimented with my spices to get the flavor just right.  I have to say, I am absolutely in love with this dessert.  It tastes so delicious, and it really couldn’t be any easier to make.   My picky 19-month old daughter even loved it!

Gingerbread Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Cooked Minute® White Rice
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 2 Teaspoons Ginger
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

Directions:

  1. Cook 1 cup of Minute® White Rice on stove-top according to the package instructions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, whisk the milk, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, cloves and molasses in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Pour milk mixture into pot with cooked rice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 25 minutes.  Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Garnish with whipped topping.

Gingerbread Rice Pudding

I always have Minute® Rice in my pantry.  It’s such a versatile ingredient that can help bring a meal together quickly.   I love that I can have great-tasting, fluffy white rice in just 5 minutes with Minute® White Rice.  Other times, I opt for the nutty, rich flavor of brown rice, Minute 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice.  It’s a delicious, nutritious option, as it has the same nutritional values as regular long cooking brown rice, but it’s ready in just 10 minutes, which is ¼ the time of regular brown rice!  

Minute® Rice

I am really excited to try Minute® Multi-Grain Medley, the newest product from Minute® Rice. It’s a blend of four gluten-free foods and is made with 100% whole grains, including long grain brown rice, Thai red rice, wild rice and quinoa and it conveniently cooks in 10 minutes.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Minute® Rice has more than 400 great recipe ideas on their website, great for any day of the week and any time of the day!  Learn more about all the Minute® Rice products here.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice.

 Posted by at 9:03 am
Dec 162014
 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPS for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

5b69f671-a930-487a-93a3-f33e3b8592eb_zps9ff1d985
A few weeks ago, I shared information with you about the UPS #WishesDelivered campaign. For every wish that is shared on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #WishesDelivered (or on the #WishesDelivered site ) UPS will donate $1.00 to one of their charity partners (The Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club, or Toys for Tots) up to $100,000.00! Have you shared your wish yet??

I just shared my wish on Twitter and Instagram:WishesDeliveredWishesDelivered

I truly love my family. We are very close, and are always there for each other. Around this time of year, they are on my mind quite a lot.

This year, my wish is for my Mom and Dad to have a weekend getaway together. It is very long overdue, and well deserved. My parents have been through so much over the last 10 years, and I really want for them to have a little break away from home, where they don’t have to focus on anything but themselves.

My Dad was always a very hard worker when I was growing up. He worked crazy shift work in a paper mill, and put in a lot of overtime. After I graduated from high school, he decided to go to college. He could see that the paper industry was not going to be thriving forever, and wanted to have a backup plan in case the paper mill he worked at closed (and it has since closed).

My Dad started taking college courses, on top of working full time at the mill. Shortly after he started, he was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called CIDP. This disease basically caused his immune system to attack the outer lining of his nerves and left them unprotected. It caused him a great deal of constant pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling in his arms, hands, legs and feet, his voice grew weak, and he became very unsteady. It was very difficult to watch him go through this.

While battling this auto-immune disease for several years, my Dad completed his college courses and earned a 4.0 GPA and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health and Human Resources. He has always been a very hard working and determined man, and when he sets his mind to something, he doesn’t let anything, including a painful and debilitating illness, stop him.

Two years ago, my Dad underwent an experimental stem cell transplant in Chicago. They completely destroyed his immune system during this procedure and the CIDP was gone. Over the last 2 years, he has worked very hard to regain strength in his arms, hands, legs and feet, and his immune system had to be developed again as well. It will take him several years to fully recover, but he is doing so much better than he was just a couple of years ago.

My Dad is now a licensed substance abuse counselor and has just opened his own counseling office. While my Dad was ill for all of those years, my Mom stood by his side and helped him in any way that she could. She gave up quite a lot to be there for him during his time of need, and never once complained. She has such a loving and caring personality, and it shows through her work as a CNA at a nursing home also. She treats her patients like they are family, and helps to make their final days as comfortable as possible.

My two younger sisters, their two children, and my sister’s boyfriend all moved into my parents’ house this year. My parents wanted to help them get back on their feet, after some setbacks, and they took them in with open arms.

My parents never have any time to themselves, between working full time and having a full house. I would absolutely love for them to be able to take a break away from home, even for a weekend, so they could relax and enjoy themselves. They have always done so much to help others, and they deserve this more than anyone I know.

I’m sure by now you have all probably seen the video of the little boy named Carson who wanted to be a UPS driver for a day, as it’s been taking the internet by storm. UPS granted his wish, and even gave him his own uniform and delivery truck. The excitement on the little boy’s face just makes me want to cry (I also blame the pregnancy hormones!). It is just so inspiring to see someone’s dreams come true, and leaves me with a warm & cozy feeling in my heart.

So, now that you’ve heard my wish, and Carson’s wish, I would love to hear yours! What would you wish for?

Remember to share your wish on Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtag #WishesDelivered, and then you can leave a link to your wish in the comments below. Your wish should be for someone else, and should be something thoughtful and meaningful. What’s your wish?

Visit Sponsor's Site

 Posted by at 7:58 pm
Dec 152014
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Fellowes Brands. I received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Every year when December arrives, my mind starts to think about organization.  Organization is one of those things that I always strive to achieve in the new year, but it can be quite overwhelming.  One thing that I have yet to organize is my mail.

2014 has been quite a year for John and me.  We bought our first home, got married, and I am 29 weeks pregnant with our second child.  Each of those things brings quite a lot of paperwork into this house.  Between the mortgage, insurance, tax papers and other monthly bills, and all the hospital bills that have started to come in for my pregnancy, we are just constantly buried in paperwork! 

In addition, since we bought our home, we have been completely bombarded with credit card offers in our mailbox.  Not only do I find these super annoying, but they also make me feel very uncomfortable.  I don’t want to just throw these away, because I think it is a safety concern to have credit card applications with our name and address on them floating around out there.

We have actually started to dread getting the mail because there is always just so much of it, and we tend to let it pile up for several days before we even go out to get it. 

We don’t have a good system for dealing with our mail once it finally does make it into our house either.  We deal with what we have to right away, and then we somehow end up losing important pieces of mail because they just end up scattered all over the house, instead of organized in one central place. 

We never throw any paperwork away either, because we are really concerned about our personal information being stolen, so we have paperwork hanging around that is several years old, adding to our disorganization.  It’s just a big mess!

In the coming year, we will be tackling this problem head on with the Fellowes  M-12C Shredder!  I am determined to get rid of all of the old and unnecessary paperwork in our home, in a safe manner, and never let it pile up again.

Fellowes Shredder The Fellowes M-12C Shredder has a slim profile design, which is great for us because we have a very small house.  The last thing I want to do is add more clutter to our home, so I am very pleased with the size of this shredder.  We have had this shredder for a couple of weeks now, and I absolutely love it!

Fellowes Shredder

In addition to being the perfect size for a home, the Fellowes M-12C Shredder has some really awesome features:

  • Cross-Cut blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into approximately 302 particles per sheet for greater security.  The ability to shred 12 sheets of paper at once is so great!  That will save me so much time and help make organizing my paperwork a breeze.  I used to work for a law office, and our shredder was only able to shred 5 sheets of paper at once, and it took FOREVER. 
  • SafeSense® Technology which automatically disables the shredder when hands touch the paper opening.  I absolutely love this feature.  Kayleigh is 19 months old, and into everything lately!  While I definitely try to keep her away from the shredder as much as possible, I love knowing that if she ever were to get close enough to it without me knowing, that her little hands would be completely safe from harm.
  • The ability to shred credit cards, paper clips, staples and junk mail for added convenience.  This is another awesome feature.  When I shred paperwork, I don’t want to have to stop to pull out staples, or paperclips.  And to be able to actually properly shred old credit cards?  That is fantastic!!
  • Shreds for 5 minutes before automatic cool down.  You can really get a lot of shredding done in 5 minutes!  This shredder is super fast and powerful, and allows me to do what I need to without interruption. 

Fellowes Shredder

The M-12C is available at Target Stores nationwide and Target.com with a suggested retail price of $99.99, and would make a really wonderful Christmas gift for a homeowner, business owner, or anyone else who has to deal with paperwork on a regular basis.  My Dad just opened his own counseling office, and now this is on my holiday shopping list for him!

Fellowes Shredder

Follow Fellowes on Facebook and Twitter.

Who would you gift the Fellowes M-12C Shredder to this Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Dec 072014
 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

It’s no secret that I love shopping at Best Buy.  John and I frequent the store quite often, just to see what’s new.  He works in network security, so he’s pretty much a big tech geek, and I am a blogger, so I consider myself pretty tech-savvy as well.  For the latest in tech gadgets, you really can’t beat Best Buy’s selection.

Best Buy

This year, I have quite a few items from Best Buy on my holiday shopping list.  There’s the Casio Portable Keyboard with 61 Lighted Keys that we are getting for Kayleigh, a Christmas album for my Mom, and I have a few video games in mind for John, also.

In addition to being a big tech geek, John is a gamer, and I love to play with him when I have the chance.  We actually met while playing World of Warcraft with mutual friends!

We have had an Xbox 360 for quite some time now, and it gets almost constant use.  I’m here with Kayleigh all day, every day, and we usually have the Xbox 360 running to stream Netflix, Youtube, DVD’s, etc., and then after Kayleigh goes to bed, John and I will either watch Netflix or play a video game together.  So, it’s running for a good 14-18 hours every single day. 

Our Xbox 360 is in good condition, but we’ve been talking about upgrading to the Xbox One, and perhaps moving the Xbox 360 down into the basement, to start working on John’s “man-cave”.

XBox One

The Xbox One was built by gamers, for gamers, so it’s definitely right up our alley.  It has the best exclusive titles, including Halo (one of John’s favorites) and Sunset Overdrive, the biggest blockbusters, including Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty (he was actually just telling me he wanted to get this one this morning), and the hottest franchises, including Madden 15, FIFA 15 and NBA 2K15.  It also has great family titles like Fantasia: Music Evolved, Just Dance 15 (I sooo want this!) and Skylanders.

In addition to being an awesome gaming console, Xbox One enables access to the latest TV shows and movies through your favorite apps.  With Xbox One all of your media is at your fingertips when you want it.

JBL_Holiday

Best Buy also has a great selection of JBL speakers and headphones.  The JBL Charge 2 has twin passive radiators for deep bass, a massive 6000mAh battery and a hands-free conference speakerphone.  In addition, the Bluetooth Social Mode allows up to three different users to take their turns to play their own playlists on a single speaker!

The Flip 2 is best known for its SoundClear echo and noise cancellation, combined with the state-of the art microphone system to pick up calls on the speaker.  It also has dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port.

The JBL Reflect Earbud headphones sound awesome!  They have a sweat proof ergonomic design, which I think is fantastic.  There’s nothing worse than your headphones getting all sweaty while you’re trying to workout.  They also have a 5 hour rechargeable battery and a reach of – get this – about 40 feet!!   The JBL Reflect BT’s key benefit is the design of the ergonomic eartips along with the built-in magnets which keep your buds on standby without loose cables.

Garmin and TomTomI am seriously the worst when it comes to directions.  I could get lost in the city I have lived in for 11 years now very easily.  I try to stick to the roads I know as much as possible, but I would really love to have a GPS to ease my mind, and allow me to venture out a little!

If a new GPS is on your holiday shopping list, Best Buy has some great options to choose from, including Garmin and TomTom.  To help you choose which one is best for you, here are the specs for the Garmin 52LM, Garmin 2597LMT and TomTom Go 50s.

Garmin 52LM & Garmin 2597LMT

o   5.0” display

o   Maps of 49 U.S. states, plus lifetime map updates1

o   Lane assist with junction view

o   Displays speed limit and accurate arrival time

o   Easily find addresses and millions of points of interest

o   Spoken turn-by-turn directions

TomTom Go 50s

  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Drive with TomTom Traffic for the lifetime of your device
  • Lifetime Maps (US, Canada, Mexico): Always drive with the latest map
  • 3D Maps. See buildings and landmarks in stunning 3D
  • 5″ touchscreen with advanced lane guidance

If tech gifts are on your holiday shopping list, look no further than Best Buy!  With Expert Service and Unbeatable Price, you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for this #HintingSeason!

Family_Gifts

What’s under your tree this year?

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Dec 052014
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation.

OshKosh Logo

Last month, my Mom had a holiday photo session scheduled for all of her grandchildren, including my 18 month old daughter, Kayleigh, my 16 month old niece, Morgan, and my 3 month old nephew, Owen. 

My Mom paid for the photo shoot, so I decided I would contribute by getting all of the kids matching outfits from OshKosh B’gosh.  Tis the season to #GiveHappy, after all!   

I had previously browsed their selection of holiday clothing, and just knew I would be able to find adorable, high quality matching outfits that would make the photos “pop”, and that would also be very affordable.

BettertoGive

The nearest OshKosh B’gosh store is more than an hour away, but I didn’t let that stop me.  I prefer to shop online when I can anyway. 

I quickly set to work on finding the perfect outfits, and it didn’t take me long at all.  One of the things I love most about shopping on OshKosh B’gosh’s website, is that they show you individual pieces of clothing, but then also show you how you can pair them together to create an awesome ensemble, like this one I got for Kayleigh.

Kayleigh OshKosh B'gosh

I found the perfect matching outfits for the kids’ photo shoot, and I was extremely impressed with just how affordable they were.  I was even more impressed when I received the package, and saw the quality of all of the clothing.  These are very high quality clothes, and I know they will last for a long time, which is really great because we like to share hand-me-downs in this family! 

Morgan looks so pretty in this adorable overall set.  Notice how the overalls match Kayleigh’s collared shirt perfectly?

Morgan OshKosh B'gosh

Here’s a closer look at Kayleigh’s shirt.  I just LOVE the colors in this shirt.  I am always on the lookout for girls’ clothing that is not pink.  It seems like most clothing for little girls is pink these days, and I’m just not a fan.  I love the red and blue combo so much.

Kayleigh OshKosh B'gosh

My sisters were so happy to get a brand new outfit for their kids, and my Mom was happy that they all had beautiful, matching clothes for her photos.  It was a win, win, win all around.  I just love it when things work out like that, don’t you?

Here’s little stud-muffin, Owen.

Owen OshKosh B'gosh

Here he is all zipped up, and ready for our outdoor photo shoot.

Owen OshKosh B'gosh

While I can’t show the professional photos in this post, I will say that they came out just gorgeous.  The outfits from OshKosh B’gosh really did make the photos pop, and added a very special holiday feel to them.  We loved the photos so much, that my Mom, my sisters and I all used the photos for our holiday cards this year, too!  

This was MY attempt at a photo with all of the kids.  Boy, is it ever hard to get 3 kids to sit still, and even harder to get them all to look at the camera at the same time!  This was the best shot out of the bunch.

OshKosh B'gosh

OshKosh B’gosh has a great selection of adorable, high quality kids’ clothing, in sizes 0-12!  You can shop online, or use the store locator to find a store near you. 

Here are just a few sneak peeks of what they have to offer!

OshKosh B'gosh

OshKosh B'gosh

OshKosh B'gosh

EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS COUPON

Now through December 31, 2014, you can save 25% off your purchase of $30.00 or more with this great coupon! 

OshKosh B'gosh Coupon

Follow OshKosh B’gosh on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and promotions!

#GiveHappy is about celebrating the holidays and delighting in the simple joys of childhood that are often thought of when thinking of Christmas.  #GiveHappy should generate feelings of joy, happiness and smiles.  It’s in the simple, everyday moments that #GiveHappy lives. 

How do YOU #GiveHappy?

 

 

 Posted by at 4:58 pm
Dec 042014
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Dunkin’ Brands. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I’ve shared the story of how I finally grew to love coffee at 28 years old before, but I’ll give you a little refresher in case you forgot, or you just don’t know. 

I tried coffee a few times during my 20′s.  It was always coffee that was made at home, and I found it to be bitter, and very unappealing.  Everyone thought I was so weird for not liking coffee.  Pretty much every adult I know drinks coffee!

When I met my husband, John, at the age of 28, he convinced me to try his coffee one day on a whim.  It was a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, and I was hesitant at first, but as soon as that first sip entered my mouth, I wanted more.  I knew that I had finally found a coffee that I would love to drink.  I have high standards, what can I say?  It was absolutely delicious – the perfect balance of cream and sugar, with a wonderful flavor.  It was late fall, and I loved how it warmed my belly and made me feel all comfy and cozy.  Before I knew it, I was just as hooked on coffee as he was!

I had eaten at Dunkin’ Donuts several times before, and always loved their food and other beverages.  I still do!  I don’t think there is a single item on their menu that I haven’t tried.  I get so excited when their seasonal items come out too.  I recently tried their Pumpkin Creme Brulee Latte, and oh my goodness, it was so good! 

DD Perks

John and I love to get a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts on the weekends.  It’s one of our “things”.  He’ll wake up on Saturday morning and head out to Dunkin’ Donuts while I get Kayleigh dressed and ready for the day.  She loves it when he brings her back a bagel with cream cheese.  It’s her favorite!  We are pretty lucky that there are several Dunkin’ Donuts locations around our home, so we can stop there whenever we want.

When I used to work outside of the home, I would stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru before going into work.  All of the Dunkin’ Donuts locations around here are very popular and busy, and especially during that morning rush.  America Runs on Dunkin’, after all, right?!  I guess I’m not the only one who loves a little pick me up from Dunkin’ Donuts first thing in the morning.  It certainly does help me get through the day a little easier!  The line of cars would always be out into the road.  Every once in a while, when I’m lucky enough to get out of the house that early in the morning, I still see the same scene at every Dunkin’ Donuts location around here.

I recently joined the DD Perks® Rewards program.  Have you heard about this yet??  Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to reward their loyal customers, so they launched the DDPerks® Rewards program at the beginning of this year.  Let’s face it… if you visit Dunkin Donuts once, you will definitely go back for more!  Why not get rewarded for your purchases?!

DD Perks

With DD Perks, you will earn five points for every dollar you spend when you pay using an enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts Card, either plastic or via the Dunkin’ Mobile® App. Once you earn 200 points, you receive a coupon for a beverage of your choice!  Free coffee, coolattas, hot cocoa, iced tea???  I’m in!!

DD Perks

They also have some pretty sweet offers!  Are you ready to sign up yet??

DD Perks

~Want to earn $5.00 right now? Simply enroll in DDPerks loyalty program from now through December 5, 2014 using the unique promo code BLOG, and $5.00 will be added to your DDPerks account.~

DD Perks

Connect with Dunkin’ Donuts on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest news and promotions!

 Posted by at 9:04 am