Preteens can be very hard to shop for during the Holiday season. Most of them, like mine, claim to be too old for toys, but still want something they can have fun with as well as get use out of. My preteen really wants a laptop,(maybe if he gets a job and pays for it himself) a cell phone, (NOT happening. He doesn't even talk on the phone!) and an IPad. (If Mommy doesn't get an IPad, neither does he. Just saying.) But another nifty piece of technology he wants that I WILL allow him to have is a compact, handheld video camera. My son is very dramatic, and loves dancing, singing, and making little skits to share with his friends.
That's why I was so excited to get the opportunity to review the Coby SNAPP Swivel Camcorder! How perfect is this for Christmas? We received the CAM4402 model for review, and this little handheld gem is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts alike. The design is sleek, attractive, and easily fits in the palm of your hand for easy maneuvering. But the really cool part? The Coby SNAPP has a 2.4" LCD Viewfinder that swivels and flips for convenient, easy viewing. This definitely comes in handy when you want a clear view of what you're shooting footage of! You can even take still photos with the Coby SNAPP! This is awesome, since I know I like to be able to take video and still shots alike.
This camcorder also has expandable memory. You can easily extend your recording length by simply adding an SD/SDHC card into the integrated card slot. No worries about running out of space and missing out on capturing those precious memories!
The Coby SNAPP even has some very cool, simple to understand Muvee video editing software that makes uploading video to YouTube a breeze. This is great for those who like web-casting and want to give their videos that special extra touch! My son particularly likes this feature, since he and his friends enjoy communicating with one another through videos. It's also great for school projects!
As the mom of 3 great kids, I am always looking for quality entertainment for them. Note: I did say quality. There are so many television shows and movies that promote messages and values that I do not necessarily want my children exposed to. Even cartoons nowadays are chock full of innuendo and other inappropriate material that I don't feel is acceptable for younger children to be exposed to. Yep, I am one of those "strict moms". Even my 11 year old 6th grader isn't allowed to watch certain programs that are specifically marketed towards kids his age, and I also don't allow him to play violent video games. Some may feel I am being TOO overprotective and too restrictive, but it is my job as a mother to make sure my kids grow to be kind, courteous, and decent adults. I just don't feel that exposure to too much too soon helps achieve that goal. No, you can't protect your kids from everything out there, but overall values begin at home. I just don't think that sarcasm, bad attitudes, materialism, fame-seeking behavior, and killing zombies, soldiers, etc. are values my children need to be learning.
That's why I was so excited to learn about the itty bitty HeartBeats. The itty bitty HeartBeats are an award winning, web-based animated series geared towards children between the ages of 2-6. The itty bitty HeartBeats take kids on a series of musical adventures that keep them engaged, but they also help teach valuable life lessons and positive living.
Each episode opens with a live-action situation, in which a real-life child faces a challenge. The series deals with issues such as sibling rivalry, stage fright, using good manners, and first day of school fears. The animated story in HeartLand parallels the challenge that the live-action boy or girl is facing. The itty bitty Heartbeats™ empower the child to make a positive choice from his/her heart. By seeing how the itty bitty Heartbeats™ solve their problems, the children in the real world learn to solve their own problems and learn “from the heart.” itty bitty Heartbeats™ is a Kids First Award Recipient.
Some of the focuses of the itty bitty HeartBeats are:
By now, you all know that I am a huge fan of natural beauty and skincare products. Many traditional products contain potentially harmful ingredients like parabens, pthalates, sulfates, and even formaldehyde, just to name a few. Yes, I just said formaldehyde. You know, embalming fluid? This is the same deadly substance that was recently receiving so much bad press because of the Brazilian Blowout hair treatments. People were getting ill due to the exposure to this nasty chemical, and were experiencing burning eyes, throats, noses, and suffering from nasty headaches. Now who in their right mind would want to put that on their body prematurely? Not me!
I have been saying all along that if you cannot pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be slathering it on your hair, skin, or nails. I've been using "clean cosmetics" for quite some time, and my skin and hair are in better condition than ever!
That's why I was excited when I learned about Original Sprout. This is a fantastic company that offers a line of Free & Clean hair and skin products that are 100% Vegan and safe for everyone...Even babies! Being the mom of two children under the age of 2, this is something I definitely appreciate. After all, babies have such delicate skin, and it deserves the utmost protection from any and all ingredients deemed harmful. As parents, we want only the best for our babies, and Original Sprout is making that happen with their safe, effective product line.
As the mom of 3 wonderful children, I am always on the lookout for nutritious snacks that taste great and aren't full of chemicals and preservatives. This is easier said than done! Have you ever looked at the labels on popular snacks? They're chock full of ingredients that I, as a literate adult, cannot even pronounce! Now why would I want to load my children with these scary sounding ingredients?
In my home, we like to choose natural or organic foods whenever possible. That's why I was so excited when the nice folks at That's It contacted me asking if I would like to review their fruit snack bars. I immediately agreed, since these bars are made of 2 simple ingredients, and That's It: Fruit and Fruit! No fillers, no chemicals, and no preservatives. Just fruit in all its goodness!
That's It fruit snacks are only 100 calories per bar, which makes them easy on the waistline. They also contain 3g fiber which helps you stay full longer, as well as aids in digestion. Fruit also packs one heck of a punch, since it provides a natural energy boost. That's It snacks are also rich in Vitamins A & C and Beta-Carotene, which are antioxidant powerhouses. Their bars are also Kosher, Vegan, Gluten-free, Diabetic friendly, and will fit beautifully into just about every lifestyle!
By now, you all should know I have a huge obsession with purses and handbags. I love bright, colorful bags to help celebrate summer time, and I equally adore elegant, more classic bags for everyday use and more special occasions. But one of the things that makes a handbag company stand out in my mind are unique prints and styles. The more, the merrier! I love seeing a wide variety of designs, since I truly believe a woman needs a handbag for every occasion, or even to match every outfit!
That's why I was so excited to discover PonyUp! Kentucky. This great company offers a drool-worthy selection of handbags in a ton of limited edition prints. Yep. Every single design is produced in a limited quantity, and they are always introducing fresh, beautiful new styles from classically beautiful to fun and playful and everything in between. PonyUp! Kentucky has something to suit every taste and fit into every woman's lifestyle. The possibilities are endless!
But another thing that makes PonyUp! Kentucky special is that their bags are created using authentic horse harnesses. The real deal. These are used as the straps of each and every PonyUp! Kentucky handbag, and feature a gorgeous brass plate that can be custom engraved! These heavy duty leather harness straps can be buckled or unbuckled to adjust the length of the straps, too! Utilizing horse harnesses makes these bags truly unique.
Why horse harnesses, you might ask? Well, PonyUp! Kentucky is a company with a heart and a passion for equestrian living, and proceeds from their sales go to help rescued horses. Here's a bit more about their history and mission, as found on the PonyUp! Kentucky website:
"Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, founded PonyUP! Kentucky to raise money for horse rescue operations. As Rallie searched for the perfect fundraising product, she was also searching for a handbag that reflected her love of horses and equestrian gear. One day as Rallie was carrying a leather halter slung over her shoulder on the way to the pasture to get her horses, she thought, “Wouldn’t this be a great shoulder strap for a handbag?”
Rallie searched for a purse featuring a horse-halter strap and came up empty. That’s when she decided to design a unique, equestrian-style handbag that she and other horse women would love. After a year of perfecting the design and building a team of skilled craftspeople, the PonyUP! Kentucky line of handbags was created.
For its first fundraising project, PonyUP! Kentucky donated 20 purses to Old Friends: A Kentucky Facility for Retired Thoroughbreds. The brass nameplates on these leather purse straps feature the names of some of the greatest retired Thoroughbred race horses, and all of the money from the sale of these 20 purses goes to support these and other horses at Old Friends. Rallie plans to make the donation to Old Friends and other horse rescue operations an annual tradition. In addition, at least 10 percent of all PonyUP! Kentucky profits will be donated to horse rescue operations."
How cool is that?! So not only can you own some of the most visually stunning purses around by shopping with PonyUp! Kentucky, you're also doing your part to contribute to a wonderful cause and help improve the lives of these gentle creatures. It's a win-win situation!
Remember I spoke of variety? I wasn't kidding when I said they offer a ton of great styles. Take a look at some of my personal favorites!
You may remember that I recently reviewed Mat Kearney's newest album, Young Love. This album is fantastic, and has a wonderful balance of mellow, soothing melodies as well as some more upbeat, shake your bootie type songs as well. Well last night, I had the opportunity to attend a Mat Kearney concert at the beautiful Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia! I was thrilled to receive this opportunity since I love live music, and this is the first "date night" my husband and I have had since the beginning of April! When you have 3 kids, one income, and no regular sitter, it's really hard to be able to go out as a couple. So needless to say, we were quite excited about attending the show.
It was a day long adventure for us. Neither one of us had ever visited Charlottesville before, and the 2 and a half hour drive was scenic, with beautiful farmland, great landscapes, and even a couple glimpes of the mountains. I even saw a Tastee Freeze in person! And I thought they only existed in Trisha Yearwood songs!
Once we arrived to Charlottesville and found parking, we were immediately charmed by the Historic Downtown section of the city, where the Jefferson Theatre happens to be located. We spent about an hour walking through the open courtyard and browsing the various boutiques and open air restaurants. The city was brimming with couples having romantic dinners, as well as happy college students. It was a truly beautiful atmosphere, and we really enjoyed experiencing the local flavor of the town.
Once we arrived at the Jefferson Theatre and picked up our tickets, we were immediately struck by how absolutely stunning this old building is. The Jefferson has been around since the early 1900's, and has hosted performances by legends such as Harry Houdini and The Three Stooges, just to name a couple. The architecture and grandiosity of the theatre was breathtaking, and we knew we were in for a fantastic performance, as the venue was clearly designed to provide amazing acoustics.
Take a look! We were not allowed to use the flash, so many of my photos didn't turn out well. I did get a few showing just how spectacular our surroundings were.
So who's ready for Halloween? I am! Now that school is back in session, the days are finally getting a little cooler, and pumpkins are starting to show up at local grocery stores, it can only mean one thing: Fall is officially here, and Halloween is right around the corner! I have the kids' costumes all ready to go, our Trick Or Treat route mapped, and have stocked up on candy. I even have a sexy little costume of my own for after we get home, wink wink. That's right folks! Halloween doesn't have to be all about the kids! With 2 babies in the house, I doubt that Dan and I will be going to any grown-up Halloween parties this year. But that doesn't mean we have to totally miss out on all the dress up fun that Halloween brings!
I know my hubby loves seeing me in sexy costumes. I have a ton of them! One of my favorite places to buy such costumes is Yandy.com. Yandy.com offers literally hundreds and hundreds of sexy Halloween costumes. I literally spent hours browsing through them all, and I couldn't believe the selection! From sweet and innocent to smoldering and sultry, they have all the bases covered. They even have comical costumes that are sure to be great conversation starters for any costume themed event you may have planned. And many of their costumes also include videos so you can see how the outfit looks in action. Sure, a photo is great, but they don't always give an accurate idea of how a costume will hold up while walking, dancing, etc. I really appreciate the fact that Yandy.com took the time to offer their customers the chance to be able to view these videos before they buy.
Here are just a few of my favorite costumes from Yandy.com. I wish I could have posted a hundred or so, but then we'd be here all day!
I have some very lucky winners to announce! You've all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to reply to claim your prizes!
One thing that matters to me as a busy mom is comfort. I love my Pajama Jeans, a great tee, and a comfy bra. Wait...I know what you're thinking. A comfy bra? Okay, it's no secret that most bras aren't overly comfortable. I have several bras that I find myself tugging at constantly because the straps are digging in, or even worse, the underwire just hurts. And to make matters worse, a lot of the less restrictive feeling bras look like something my Grandma would wear! Until now.
I'm sure you've all seen the commercials on television for The Ahh Bra by Rhonda Shear. You know, the seamless bra that promises ultimate comfort without sacrificing style. I have seen this commercial many times, and always wondered how a bra that looks so comfortable would provide the right amount of lift and support, or of like many "as seen on TV" items, these claims were simply too good to be true?
Recently, I teamed up with Bare Necessities, a trusted retailer of bras, shapewear, and other great designer intimates and apparel to review this new bra. That's right! Bare Necessities is an authorized retailer of the Ahh Bra! I have long been a fan of Bare Necessities, as they have the most fantastic selection of bras, pajamas, and even gorgeous swimwear. They carry coveted brands like Calvin Klein, Bali, SPANX, and even UGG Australia! And now, Bare Necessities has added the Ahh Bra by Rhonda Shear to their already amazing offerings.
Technically, today is my "day off." When my husband has the day off, so do I. That way, we get to spend some quality time together. BUT....I wanted to share a recipe with you all for a decadent, delicious, and oh so easy Chicken Marsala. I made this for dinner last night using my Fagor Electric Multicooker. Since this chicken dish was pressure cooked, it was done and plated within 20 minutes! You CAN, however, make this in a skillet. Just add another 15-20 minutes of cooking time. This recipe is absolutely fantastic, and definitely suitable for company or even a romantic dinner for two!
Pressure Cooker Chicken Marsala
1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence
4 chicken breasts, pounded 1/4"-1/2" thick
6 slices bacon, crisp and crumbled
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cooking sherry
Fresh Italian Parsley for garnishing
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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