***Disclosure: SheSpeaks/Lancôme sent me a bottle of DreamTone to review for this campaign, but all opinions and luminous skin are my very own.***
As a busy mom in her early 30's, I don't always have time to primp and pamper myself. Most days are spent with my long, thick hair whisked up into a messy bun or ponytail, and my daily uniform consists of comfy staples like yoga pants and super soft tops. I am most often at home with my kids, so there is no need to put on airs. My babies think their mommy is pretty no matter what. I can be wearing pajama pants and a peanut butter smeared sweatshirt and they look at me as if I were wearing the most glamorous ball-gown ever. (Gotta love the unconditional love of a child!)
Of course my own confidence doesn't quite match my babies' super-forgiving image of me. I have always suffered from major self-esteem issues, and have never thought I was pretty. I am usually the quiet girl in the corner at a party, sitting shyly, trying to remain as invisible as possible. I don't really know how to react to compliments when I receive them, and I often feel like I don't measure up. With today's often unrealistic standards of beauty, I know I am not alone in this. Still, I try and put my best face forward and look my best when my husband and I go out. Let's face it: When a woman looks good, she also feels good.
One of the best things a woman can do to make her everyday look extraordinary, regardless of her wardrobe choice, in my opinion? Have a few must-have skin care products that make your skin luminous, natural, and hydrated. A good skin care regiment is so important, especially as we age. I have an arsenal of products I turn to to make sure that even if I happen to be a train wreck covered in unidentifiable, sticky goo thanks to my littles, at least my skin looks great.
One of my absolute favorite products is Lancôme DreamTone. Yes, I received this product in exchange for my honest review, but let me assure you...Everything I am about to tell you is totally true, and while this is definitely a beauty splurge at $98 a bottle, it's an investment I will continue to make after my supply runs out. This is an expense I can totally justify, and I think my hubby will agree. He is loving the results as much as I am, and loves the fact that I am willing to wear less make-up with confidence.
***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples to facilitate my review. No other compensation was given, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Did you know that the sacred Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is already in progress? Every evening through December 5th, those of the Hebrew faith will celebrate by lighting a candle on the menorah, playing dreidel games, and of course, eating some amazingly delicious foods like Latkes. (Yum!)
Another food item that is sure to be a hit this Holiday season, regardless of your faith, are juicy, succulent bouquets and fruits from Edible Arrangements. I love the Star of David themed bouquet below! So festive and fun!
***Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for RadioShack. I received a gift card to facilitate a shopping trip and promotional item as a thank you for participating.***
It's almost here...After you're through indulging in all the delicious Thanksgiving foods tomorrow and sharing laughter with family and friends, it's time to start planning all of your Black Friday shopping trips. Yes. Black Friday is right around the corner! This can mean tremendous savings on all of those must-have Holiday gifts!
What's on my wish list? Well, a sleeper sofa is number one for sure, but I would also love this Samsung Galaxy 4S. Not for me, but for my teen son. He has never had a cell phone before, and now that he is in 8th grade and has a busier schedule, I think it would be the perfect gift for him!
Where will I be going to pick up this little gem, or something equally fabulous? Well, I will be avoiding the hordes of insane shoppers by avoiding megacenters and hitting our local RadioShack!
RadioShack is a name I have trusted my whole life. I remember going there with my family as a child, and I was always in awe of all of the cool gadgets and gizmos they had to offer. That was in the 1980's and 90's. Of course what they have now is so much better!
So if you've noticed there hasn't been much posting in the past week, there is very good reason....I have been sick. Very, very sick. I couldn't hold anything down, even water, and was projectile vomiting stomach bile everywhere. It was not pleasant.
I thought I just had a particularly nasty strain of the flu. The the intense, stabbing, burning pain started. It was all throughout my entire torso and extended into my back as well.
The pain was BAD. On a scale from 1-10, I would have to measure it at about a 563,257. I was in tears 24/7, having hot and cold flashes, and it was scaring the crap out of me.
So finally, since I am stubborn and terrified of doctors, my husband, Dan, made me go to the ER.
The diagnosis? Pancreatitis. The docs started grilling me over my alcohol use. I got furious. I really don't drink very much at all. MAYBE 2 or 3 drinks, max, once or twice a month. There have been occasions like parties or whatnot where I have gotten 3 sheets to the wind, but those are very few and far between. I have kids to worry about, you know? They deserve to have a sober mother.
I grew up surrounded by addiction, and I have absolutely no respect for anyone who would choose drugs or alcohol over their kids. I protect my own kids from people like that so they don't get hurt or disappointed by it. I actually yelled at the doctor and told him that if he wanted to see an addict, he was looking in the wrong place. Sorry if this sounds harsh. But as a mother...... A good mother.....I would never allow my kids to witness that kind of thing growing up. It can really destroy a child in ways that can't be taken back.
Turns out, after taking tons of bood and doing a CT scan and a subsequent ultrasound, they discovered it is NOT related to being an irresponsible, addicted person. I have a gall-bladder that hates me and was trying to kill me. In fact, my potassium and electrolyte levels were so scary that if I had waited 48 more hours, I could have died.
As usual, none of the hospital staff had an easy time finding my veins. I literally look like a pin cushion or heroin addict right now.
I have not been allowed to eat anything, or even sip water for that matter. I just been surviving off of IV-fluids. Dan has come to see me every day, and even brought the little ones yesterday. The sight of their beautiful little faces made me cry.
My Dad and Stepmom have also been fantastic. They have come by to see me a few times, and even brought me these cute flower arrangements.
My Dad will be here when I get rolled into the operating room, as well as when I get out alive (hopefully). He will also be picking me up from the hospital and taking me home tomorrow.
So here I am, a mere 3 hours from surgery, and I am terrified. I have never been under before, and the idea of it scares the hell out of me. And I am hungry. SO, SO, HUNGRY. So if anyone wants to send me a pizza or something this evening, it would be greatly appreciated! I can't wait to be able to finally eat again!
If you're the praying type, I could absolutely use some prayers or positive mojo right now. I am a big baby and am about to have a panic attack. I'd love any support or advice you can offer during this horrifying experience. Hopefully I will be back at home recovering tomorrow, and will have some great giveaways for you.
***Disclosure: I am participating in a sponsored blog ambassador program from Sports Illustrated Kids. As a part of this program, we have received paid compensation and a year subscription for placement of digital advertisements and specific postings related to SI Kids.***
If you've got older kids like my teen son, they're probably far more interested in building ice palaces and throwing snow balls than sitting down reading. Now that we're in NE Ohio, my kids are all absoutely thrilled to finally be able to get crazy with the white stuff. Unlike VA (good riddance), my home state of OH has long, cold, frozen winters full of sledding, ice skating, and more!
Just in time for the holiday season, Sports Illustrated Kids is now offering a special subscription for you and your readers. Now when you purchase an entire year of SI Kids in print and on tablet for $19.95, you can send anothergift of 12 issues (1 year) for only $5!
The magazine is jam-packed with action photos, easy-to-read stories, tips from the pros, hysterical comics, and engaging activities for boys and girls who love sports. SI Kids has won highest honors from the Association of Educational Publishers, as well as the Parents’ Choice Award. How cool is that?!
***Disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Maytag Dependable Leader Award Program and received compensation to thank me for my time. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
I am sure that by now you've seen me sing Maytag's praises about a zillion of times. Maytag brings me dependability, convenience, and performance I can trust in. I am a Maytag Kitchen Mom, and I always will be. Once we have the money to redo our laundry room, I plan to bring more Maytag dependability into my home, too!
Maytag has recently teamed up with another organization I truly believe in: The Boys & Girls Club of America. The BGCA makes difference in the lives of children, at risk teens, and transforms entire neighborhoods nationwide by going above and beyond to do real good.
From November 12-29th, visit www.bgca.org/Maytag to learn more about all five finalists and the wonderful work they do to within their communities to help make a difference AND then vote daily for the nominee you think will be the best representative as a Maytag Dependable Leader. $20,000 in grant money can do a lot for a community and you can make a difference by just voting!
Here are this year's finalists:
Albert Hernandez – Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena
Ethan Harris – Boys & Girls Club of Bryant
Nate Ford – Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco
Ricky Gallon – Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay
Steve Hixson – Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
The winner will join 24 of this year’s other Dependable Leaders across the country and receive a $20,000 financial grant to help his Club continue to improve its impact in its community.
The Maytag Dependable Leader Award gives back to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s professionals and volunteers who continuously give their days to help better the world of youth with whom they work.
America’s Vote is an extension of the Awards, inviting Americans to select the final Maytag Dependable Leader Award winner in 2013 by voting online here .
What makes an ordinary person a leader to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
***Disclosure: NAPA AutoCare supplied these materials. All opinions are my own.***
With Thanksgiving only a week away, many families are preparing for road trips. This can be a bit stressful, especially if you have small children. Did you pack the favorite blankies and toys? Are there snacks available for the trip? And of course, there's the inevitable "Are we THERE Yet?!" Over and over and over again....
One thing you should definitely also check before any road trip is the condition of your vehicle. Is it road-worthy? My husband is the service manager at an automotive repair shop, and you wouldn't believe some of the stories he tells about vehicles that should NOT be on the road.
Here are some great tips from NAPA AutoCare to help make your travels as safe and smooth as possible:
***Disclosure: As a USFG Blogger, I am receiving a promotional item to facilitate my post. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
At Restaurant.com, the nation's largest dining deals site, we love surprising our diners with fun ways to save. This holiday season, we've handpicked delicious dining experiences and gift ideas for every budget and compiled them into an exclusive Restaurant.com Holiday Gift Guide. Simply pair any Restaurant.com Gift Card with one of these gift bundle ideas below for the ultimate dining experience and holiday treat:
1. The Movie Buff: For the movie-quoting, obsessed friend, surprise them with two tickets to a movie on their must-see "Oscar" list and a $25 Restaurant.com Gift Card. Enjoy a night of appetizers and plot-dissecting debates! Ready to splurge? Stop at the concession stand for some candy, drinks, and a jumbo popcorn to share! Create your own >
2. The Workaholic: To help someone on your list find much needed tranquility, pair a $100 Restaurant.com Gift Card with soothing bath salts, lavender mist, and a face mask to create an affordable, at-home spa treatment. Ready to splurge? Add a spa gift card and make Dinner reservations for a nice, relaxing evening post-massage. Create your own >>
3. The Wine Fanatic: Bring Napa Valley to every wine lover on your list! Pair their favorite wine with decadent cheeses, crackers, and of course chocolate. Then, cleanse their palate with some late night dessert and a $25 Restaurant.com Gift Card. Ready to splurge? Instead of dessert, make it dinner and BYOB at thousands of Restaurants nearby! Create your own >>
4. The Romantic: Add some romance into your holiday with a $50 Restaurant.com Gift Card, bouquet of roses, some irresistible chocolate covered strawberries, and a candlelit dinner for two. Ready to splurge? Pick up some bubbly on the way home for a classy touch. Create your own >>
5. The Theatre Lover: Add some dramatic flair to the holidays with two tickets to their must-see show and end the evening with our $100 Restaurant.com Gift Card - perfect for dinner and dessert. Ready to splurge? Buy them a memento from the show and two drinks during intermission! Create your own >>
Links / URLs:
***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Like many little girls, my soon to be 4 year old, Sophie, loves playing dress-up. Anything that can transform her into a fairy, a princess, a witch, or even Eeyore can keep this little girl happy and engaged for hours. The funny part? Even her little brother who is almost 3 loves to participate in this creative play. Hey, the way I see it, if the kids want to share toys and can play together nicely, I am all for it. Even if it means that Sophie plays with cars and Xander wears the occasional ball gown.
Sophie has loads and loads of pretty princess dresses, shoes, and accessories. They always seem to end up all over the place, too. This can be frustrating while cleaning, or when a favorite ensemble gets lost.
So naturally, I was really excited when I discovered the Dress-Up Storage Center from the folks at Guidecraft!
The Dress-Up Storage Center features upper and lower storage areas with fabric bins for toys, shoes and dramatic play items; a sturdy wood dowel and hooks for hanging clothes and costumes; and a tall acrylic mirror for dramatic play. Durable laminate construction allows for easy cleaning and ensures years of use. It is recommended for children ages 3+
***Disclosure: As a Tidy Books Brand Ambassador, I have received complimentary samples to facilitate my reviews. No other compensation is provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
I am SO excited about the Holidays this year. The kids are making out like wee bandits, and they're sure to be absolutely delighted. The only problem? Then we need to find somewhere to store all of their new toys, clothes, and books.
Thanks to Tidy Books, where to store our children's books is never a concern. (And we give our children a lot of books!) This wonderful company from the UK specializes in creating heirloom quality book storage for children's books! These incredibly well-made shelves, boxes and cases are the perfect, kid-friendly storage option for all their favorite stories!
We own a few of their products, and truly couldn't be happier. The quality is amazing, and the designs are very modest in size, making them ideal even for apartment or townhome living.
If you aren't familiar with this fantastic company, allow me to introduce you!
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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