Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Keeping it Cute in Spring Showers with Western Chief

We all know the showers that bring May flowers can start way before April. And while the rain is necessary and even beautiful at times, walking in squeaky, soggy shoes is no fun.  Thankfully, Western Chief has a way to keep your tootsies dry in style.   Along with character rain gear for kids and patterned boots for men and women, Western Chief offers my favorite way to keep my feet dry: Skimmers.  These adorable flats are made of natural rubber, light weight, and easy to clean. (Just wipe away dirt!)  Plus there are so many cute styles available in the Spring/Summer line.  My favorites are the Ditsy Dot (shown in pictures) and Floral Fun.

Best of all, they are super comfortable and go perfectly with pants, jeans, skirts, and dresses.  They can be dressed up or dressed down.  These cute Skimmers are my new go-to's for keeping the Florida rain out of my shoes and off of my feet.

For more on Western Chief go to http://www.westernchief.com/



This post is sponsored.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Top 5 Favorite Youtube Channels (Mama's & Preschooler's)

It's that time again!  Time to admit to the fact that I spend much time on the internet.  About a year ago I shared my favorite blogs, vlogs, and websites of 2014.  And, yes, those are still some of my favorite places to visit on the web.  (In fact, you may see one of them on this list as well.) But, it is now time to focus on my favorite YouTubers! And... even share some of my son's favorite YouTube channels.  That's right.  My preschooler watches YouTube (via Apple TV.) Obviously he is limited in what he is even allowed to watch but there are some great kid friendly channels out there.   And apparently my son isn't alone in his love for "surprise eggs" and toy reviews. (Seriously...its a trend.)  So... Let's get started!




Mama's Favorites

LeighAnnSays

Yep, I am still watching Leigh Ann. And she even started a blog channel title LeighAnnVlogs.  I love her fun, bubbly personality.  She's fun to watch, has great beauty tips (especially when it comes to drug store makeup), and reminds me of a few of my girlfriends.
Image via YouTube.  LeighAnnSays & Grav3YardGirl

Grav3YardGirl

Bunny, aka Grav3YardGirl, is real life friends with Leigh Ann, so they often do crossovers on each others' channels.  Bunny is upbeat, high energy, and adorably quirky.  I love her "Does this thing really work?!" segment and her "Tea Vlogs."  She has over 6 million subscribers, so I'm not alone in my love for her.

JennaMarbles

Jenna was the first YouTuber I started following years ago (pre-baby time) and have watched her adopt two dogs, move across the country, go through a rough breakup, and move in with a new love.  She's funny and off-the-wall random... sometimes seriously inappropriate.  And that's why I love her.  She's very different than what you usually see on YouTube. Foul language is present.  No, for real. Lots of f-bombs.  So if you're easily offended this may not be the channel for you.  But, I personally, don't see myself unsubscribing to Miss Jenna anytime soon.

RachhLoves / RachhLovesLife

I just started following Rachel this month, but she has become a quick favorite.  I love her makeup tutorials, Pinterest tests, and product reviews on RachhLoves.  RachhLovesLife is a little bit more of a vlog channel and a place where she talks  a little more about mommy life and even goes into detail about her labor experiences.  Both channels are fab.

WhatsUpMoms

WhatsUpMoms is comprised of three moms.  Each of them have their own interests and focus on different things in their videos.  I love Meg's recipes, Elle's tip videos, and Brooke DIY project videos.  This channel is a great resource for moms to discover new hacks and there is a little comedy thrown in as well.   Every once in awhile they combine forces to do parodies and skits.



Preschooler's Favorites

HobbyKidsTV

This channel features three kids and their parents testing out, reviewing, and playing with toys.  This is the channel I am most comfortable with because they are always appropriate.  No bad language (not even "Oh my G*d), bad behavior, or anything awkward to worry about my son repeating or mimicking.  They also put their all into theming their videos and often dress up and play the parts of different characters and act out short skits.

FUNnel Vision

This is another toy review channel but they also have a lot of Vlogs including their trips to the Disney Parks and vacation to Hawaii.  They also have the kids participating in different challenges, parodies, and skits. The kids and dad seem to have a lot of fun together and there is a lot of silliness.

Image via YouTube
HowdyTunes

When my son feels like switching it up after watching toy review video after toy review video, he often chooses HowdyTunes.  This is another channel that I am extremely comfortable with because it is super kid friendly and appropriate.  My son specifically likes the DinoStory section.  These are catchy (...you'll be singing them for days) songs with educational lyrics about different dinosaur species.  Kid friendly cartoons accompany the songs.

Toy Pals TV

Yep, just as the title suggests this is another toy review channel.  Though from what I've seen its strictly toy review without any other gimmicks.

Hulyan Maya

Surprise!  Its a toy review channel with kids.  The dad films while the kids (a little boy - Hulyan and a little girl - Maya) play with toys.  The dad also reviews the toys as the kids are playing with them; pointing out pros and cons of each product.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Celebrating Mardi Gras with Community Coffee

So Mardi Gras may be over, but there is still a way to celebrate.  And, no, I'm not talking about getting wild for beads in your local bar.  I was referring to a new, low key way to enjoy the popular party holiday.  And that is with coffee.  Yes. I mean, come on, are you all really surprised?  This is me we're talking about.  Coffee is suitable for any occasion in my house.  And I'm loving Community Coffee's Mardi Gras King Cake coffee.  It's a great combination of cinnamon and vanilla flavoring that is noticeable, but not overpowering.

So, maybe this isn't the most exciting way to celebrate Mardi Gras, but, hey, it's still enjoyable.  And a lot more doable for many of us!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Series: Non-Candy Gifts for Kids

The countdown is on, my friends! Valentine's Day will be here this weekend and I know some of you may still be shopping for treats for the kids in your life. ...Or maybe you haven't even started looking yet. It's OK! I've got you covered!

I know many parents are not found of their kids getting loads of candy (hello sugar crash meltdowns!), so I've put together some non-candy gift ideas for your little valentines.  And while I'm a true believer in "everything in moderation," these gifts definitely add a special touch that you just don't get with candy alone.

Books

I love books as gifts. They are some of the few things you can give that don't cost a fortune, last a lifetime, can be passed down, and provide a fun and educational way to spend quality time together.  One of my son's favorite books at the moment is Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure, by Robert Scott Thayer. When I first received this book I thought it might be a little too old for him and more suitable for a school aged child. But I was wrong. He requests this book almost every night! I love that it has science facts on each page and I know this will be a go-to book for at least the next 5 years.  The cute story with science tidbits weaved throughout makes Kobee Manatee a must have in our house.

Dollar Tree/ Dollar Spot Items

If you're looking to keep costs down, the Dollar Tree and Target's Dollar Spot section are two of the best places to get fun items for less. This year we found a sectioned Valentine's themed kids plate (with adorable robots) and matching silverware at the Dollar Spot.  They also had a ton of Star Wars items such as lightsabers, travel thermoses, and cups. I also found Star Wars items at the Dollar Tree ranging from Darth Vader shaped crayons to a Boba Fett journal.  The Dollar Tree also has Valentine's Day themed decor, cards, stuffed animals, and small toys. But my son's favorite items have to be the dinosaur toys sold at both.

Michael's

You may not think of Michael's as a place to get gifts.  Especially if you are not particularly crafty (I'm with you.) But Michael's also has a ton of other things you can use without crafting.  And their stuff goes on sale BEFORE the holiday.  I went a few days ago and all Valentine's Day items were already 40-50% off.  I purchased Valentine themed photo boxes as a way to "wrap" all of my hubby and son's Valentine's treats.  I also purchased some plain/blank greeting cards and some Valentine's Day stickers and had my son decorate Valentines for our family members.  Super cute, easy, personal, and way less expensive than buying individual cards for everyone. They also had Valentine's Day themed picture frames, small toys, decor, and more.



Photo: Earth's Best
Healthier Alternatives

If you're wanting to skip candy completely but still want to provide some edible treats, there are so many options available to choose from. Earth's Best Sunny Days Snack Bars are made from organic ingredients, are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and feature the friendly faces of our favorite Sesame Street characters.  Ella's Munchy Biscuits are another great option.  These little crunchy treats are made of fruit and oats making them a tasty alternative to the traditional cookies.  Both are great on-the-go snacks for kids (ok and adults too!)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine's Series: Affordable Luxury Dining with Brio Tuscan Grille

As Valentine's Day approaches, restaurants are getting ready for one of their busiest nights of the year. But you don't have to spend a car payment amount of money on your meal out in order to get delicious, high quality dishes, a great atmosphere, and quick, friendly, professional service.  Instead, skip the super expensive restaurant with the name you can't pronounce and head over to Brio Tuscan Grille.




My husband and I  dined at one of our local Brios (The Mall at Millenia location) this past weekend and decided to take advantage of their "Tale of Two Risottos" special menu (running now through March 27th.)  With this special you can choose from either
  • Lobster and Shrimp Risotto: Broiled Maine lobster tail served over risotto with shrimp, mushrooms, asparagus, roasted red peppers, basil and Parmesan 
or
  • Sea Scallops with Risotto: Five large, seared sea scallops served over a roasted vegetable ratatouille risotto
for just $19.95!

My husband chose the lobster, I chose the sea scallops and we, of course, shared.  Both were delicious.  Layers of different flavors joined together in these savory dishes to create some of the best risotto we've had.   We also indulged in calamari and chocolate cake.   Everything was fresh, tasty, and beautifully plated.

Adding to our wonderful experience, our server, Johnathon, was attentive, professional, friendly, and gave excellent recommendations. I also love Brio's atmosphere.  Its completely versatile. Comfortably elegant, its great for a romantic night out, drinks with friends, and even a meal out with the family.

Mouthwatering food, spectacular service, a great atmosphere, and affordable prices:  What more could you ask for?










This post is sponsored.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Valentine's Series: Affordable Personalized Gifts with Zazzle

Valentine's Day gifts.  They are notoriously sweets and flowers, right?  And while I love receiving flowers, getting candy as an adult is a little bittersweet (haha puns).  I mean it's  definitely a special treat.  But it's also an added temptation.  You see, I have no will power when it comes to sweets.  So when candy enters my house... oh man its gone in 1, 2 days tops.  I can't control myself!

That's why I've started giving non-candy gifts.  This, of course, also makes thinking of a good Valentine's Day gift just a little bit challenging.  My husband likes practical gifts.  Things that he will use often and that will come in handy regularly.  But buying a boring, practical gift without a little something to make it personal just feels so... "blah" for me.  It takes out the fun of gift giving!

Thankfully, my friends at Zazzle can take pretty much anything and turn it into a thoughtful gift. So what did I decide to get my two Valentines? (Hubby and son...Oh, and I got myself one as well.) I wanted something we would use year-round.  Something that wouldn't just sit on a shelf somewhere in our house to be forgotten.  So I got... beverage coolers.

We live in sunny, funny Florida.  Hydration is very important, especially in the summer months.  So a great water bottle/cooler is always something we are in need of down here. Now, when you hear "I got a beverage cooler" without seeing the picture above, it sounds a little boring.  But this is where Zazzle works its magic, right?  Taking the boring and turning it into something absolutely gift-worthy.

I love how vibrant the designs on the coolers are.  I was also happy to see that they look and feel high quality.  No cheap materials here. The strap (included with the quart size beverage coolers) is a great addition.  I can see us using these to easily carry our coolers around the park and theme parks. And the best part?  The prices are super affordable.  On top of that, Zazzle often runs sales and specials.

Beverage coolers may not fit your Valentine's Day needs but this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Zazzle has pretty much everything you could imagine available in a customizable format. Intrigued? Not sure what to get your Valentines this year? Check out Zazzle here for tons of gift options.  (Side Note: They even have customizable candy bars... I was very, very tempted.)


This post is sponsored.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Valentine's Series: Get the Look with COVERGIRL

It's February!  You know what that means - Valentine's Day!  I know there are many who are not into Heart Day but...  You don't have to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate love!  You can celebrate the love you have for family, your kids, nieces, nephews, and friends.  And, besides, celebrating is so much more fun than... well... not celebrating. I'm all for holiday themed food and decor. And it doesn't have to be some big, pressure packed, fancy shindig.  Just have fun, that's all!

And we all know... whenever there's an occasion to celebrate, there's a chance to try a new look! Luckily for all of us, COVERGIRL has several products perfect for occasion.  This look is also perfect for the upcoming Spring months.  All too often a "Valentine's" look entails a heavy makeup look with smokey eyes and a seductive red lip.  But for those who like a lighter look, or are simply celebrating during the day or more casually, this feminine, bright makeup may be more your style.

First I used my favorite foundation, COVERGIRL's Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation.  Seriously, the stuff is magic...at an affordable price.  Next I used concealer and then COVERGIRL's TruBLEND Blush in Medium Rose.  Its a beautiful rosy tint and highly pigmented.  Its the best drugstore blush I've tried. Seriously.  Gorgeous, lots of color, and easy to blend.

For my lips I wanted a moisturizing balm instead of a heavy lipstick or stain.  COVERGIRL's new Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Lip Balm was exactly what I was looking for.  Genuinely moisturizing with noticeable color. (I'm wearing the color "Jelly")  Its definitely a new favorite/ every day go-to product for me.

Lastly, the eyes.  I LOVE the new TruNaked Eyeshadow Palettes (who doesn't love eyeshadow palettes?!)  Now I normally gravitate towards the nudes (they're just so easy!) but I decided to switch it up with the Roses palette since it is a Valentine's look. I used the third and forth shade from the left on my lids.  I used a liner brush  and the last shade (far right) to create a thin line on my top lid, at the lash line.

And lastly, I finished off with mascara.  The Plumpify blastPro by LashBlast is my new daily mascara.  First of all, take a look at that brush!  It's insane!  It grabs every single lash and coats it without out clumpy.  I saw a noticeable difference after just one coat.  I am only wearing 2 or 3 coats on each eye here. Length and volume done quickly and easily!  That's what we like, right ladies?

And there you have it!  A light, rosy, fresh faced look thanks to COVERGIRL!