Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bubzies Etsy Shop Review

As I've mentioned on my blog previously, handmade items are special to me and one of my favorite gifts.  I just love the fact that you're receiving something that is unique to you and not available in stores.  When you create something catered to the recipient you know it is given with love.  Now is a perfect time as any to make that gift that your friend or relative will absolutely enjoy.

Bubzies is an Etsy Shop ran by owner Megan.  She creates custom free-standing 5-6" decorated wood letters that are just out of this world.  Each letter is personally cut, sanded, and painted to give a professional smooth finish.  All sides of each letter is detailed to perfection so there are no raw or unfinished edges.  Megan then uses only the best paints, patterns, and supplies to ensure you receive a quality product.  She works with you to create the design of your dreams, using your chosen colors and patterns. These free-standing letters would be great for a classroom as well as a nursery.  Spell out your child's name in the colors or theme of your choice to display on a bookshelf or a cubby.  Not to mention the letters would make a fabulous birthday present for a child.

As I start to decorate my daughter's nursery, I'm always on the lookout for unique items to put in her room.  When I came across the letters, I was very excited.  I knew that the letters would look great on top of a bookshelf in her room.  I worked with Megan to create letters that matched the green and pink colors of her room.  She knew I wanted to incorporate flowers, chevron and polka dots among other things into the letters.  The letters turned out absolutely beautiful and are made with love and dedication.  I love how each letter has a different personality and the set is a perfect conversation starter.

This isn't my daughter's name, but a similar example as to what her name looks like. 

As you can see, the set is so fun and full of personality.  My daughter's name is on the longer side so it takes up more room on the bookshelf but that is not a problem.  The letters are incredibly solid. You could even hang them on the wall if you wanted them out of reach of little hands.  I'm extremely satisfied with how the letters came out and I look forward to enjoying them for years to come.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Bubzies for providing me with complimentary product in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are strictly mine.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Michal Negrin Giveaway

If you've been a long time reader of Sammi's Blog of Life, than you know I'm very into jewelry.  Shopping online is something I frequently do, and lately I've been buying a lot of sparkly accessories.  I've had the same accessories for a long time and I'm looking to spruce up my jewelry armoire.  My jewelry style would be best described as fun and includes chunky necklaces and earrings, as well as large bangle bracelets.  I can't pass up a cute cocktail ring either!  Have you thought about adding some new pieces to your jewelry collection lately?

Michal Negrin is an artist and jewelry designer who creates unique, decorative items that offer a romantic style.  Not only does he create jewelry, but clothing too.  Talk about a woman of many talents! The jewelry categories are earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches.  Michal also offers hair jewelry and brooches too.  The colors he uses are bright and vivid and full of personality.  The theme of the jewelry seems to be on the girlier side; featuring lots of flowers and sparkles.  I personally think it's beautiful though! Why not treat yourself to a beautiful new pair of earrings or a bracelet today? It's just what your jewelry box needs.  

Check out some of my favorite pieces from his collection:

As you can see, the pieces are all different and represent the diversity in his collection.  Of course they are all beautiful too.  Anything from Michal Negrin makes a wonderful present for yourself or a friend. Go ahead and indulge in the jewelry today.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Now is a Perfect Time to Check Out Freeway

Everyone loves to win, it's a simple fact.  Although some of us are luckier than others, it doesn't stop us from trying.  There's nothing quite like testing your luck and winning fabulous prizes.

If you have an iPhone, you really must check out the Freeway app.  This recently released free app is a new kind of product discovery application where you have a chance to win daily.  It's designed to connect you with new products you love, and gives you an opportunity to win them for free by playing fun games.  From high tech electronics, to fitness equipment, to fashion and accessories and more. It's simple, you get to choose the products best suited for you.  There are over $50,000 in prizes to be given away!

Tell your friends and spread the word because everyone loves to win prizes.  Go ahead and try out the app today.  Who knows, maybe you'll even win a prize you've been wanting to buy!

Check out Freeway on Facebook and Twitter.

*DISCLOSURE* I received monetary compensation in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Paper Ramma Etsy Shop Review

I've been focusing my free time lately on getting the nursery ready.  My daughter is due in just 3 months and time is flying by.  Now that her furniture is here, the next step is decorating the room.  The walls are green and pink with matching pink curtains done by the previous owners who had a little girl.  One solid pink wall has a hand-painted safari mural on it.  The walls are just screaming for art and prints and that's just what they'll get! I plan to make the nursery as special as possible.  After all, it's my first child!

Paper Ramma is an Etsy Shop ran by owner Amanda.  The store specializes in luxe designs and art prints meant for nurseries and weddings.  All items are truly one of a kind and not anything you could find in stores. Amanda's prints are so beautiful and range from silhouettes and quotes to spiritual messages and more.  The colors she uses are so bright and vivid and the images are printed on quality artstock which looks best when put behind framed glass.  Amanda is open to custom orders and will gladly work with you to match a color to best fit a room for nursery. Why not check out her shop today to fill up a blank wall you have in your home? I bet it's just the piece you're looking for.

When looking for art prints for the nursery, I knew I wanted something feminine and with bright colors. Flowers were a definite bonus, as well as polka dots.  I stumbled across the beautiful You Are My Sunshine nursery prints.  I fell in love with them and knew they would make a fabulous addition to the nursery.
Just put these 11x14 beauties into a black frame and you are good to go!

The prints came in the mail the other day, but I have not had time to frame them and hang them up just yet.  I absolutely love them and know exactly where I'll be hanging them up.  I feel that the colors are not only rich and bold, but cheery too. They lift your mood and will certainly catch your attention when you walk into the nursery.  The quotes are cute and I feel perfect for a baby's room.  I am impressed with the quality of the artstock.  It's incredibly sturdy and high quality, definitely printed with care.  I am looking forward to hanging up the frame art to admire whenever I want.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Paper Ramma for providing me with complimentary art prints in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cutie Pie Kids Names Etsy Shop Review

Ever since my husband and I have chosen our daughter's name, I've been on a mission to obtain personalized items for her.  I remember having pencils and a jewelry box with my name on it when I was a child.  It was fun and made you feel special.  It would be nice to transfer that feeling onto my daughter.  Since her name is common but not overly common, I'll never have to worry about many girls in her class who all have the same name.  Now is a great time as any to personalize an item for your child to make them feel special. 

Cutie Pie Kids Names is an Etsy shop ran by owner Lynn.  She specializes in providing beautifully personalized, hand-painted children's room signs, necklaces, and ornaments.  All of her products are crafted from quality hardwood or birch plywood. Lynn does signs for both a boy and a girl's room.  She doesn't just write their name, but also includes a cutout next to the name.  You can choose from a firetruck, train, soccerball, or dinosaur for a boy's room, just to name a few choices. For a girl's room, you can choose from a butterfly, cupcake, crown, or even ballet slippers.  If you prefer no cutout, that is okay too.  I love that each sign is made to order and unique to your specifications.  These signs make perfect birthday or Christmas gifts for a child.

Since I know I'm having a girl, it's time to break out the glitter and pink everything.  I was very excited when I finally found out it was a girl since little girls things are just so cute.  I browsed through Lynn's designs and decided to go with a sign that had a cupcake cutout on the side.  It was just too adorable to pass up.

This is NOT my daughter's name, but the example that I based my choice off of.  I won't be revealing her name until she's born.  

I am not going to post the exact design I received because it contains my daughter's name.  My design looks just like this one.  I love the soft pink background, it's the perfect color for a baby! The dots on the background add personality, but nothing takes the cake (or cupcake!) like the cutout on the side.  Just look at that adorable glittery cupcake, it's way too precious. I'm a big fan of cupcakes myself so this instantly appealed to me.  The sign has pink shimmery tulle attached to it for easy hanging.  I need to find a tack so I can hang up the sign on her door.

I'm extremely satisfied with the quality of the sign and know that it will look great on the door to my daughter's room. I highly recommend Lynn's Etsy shop for any of your sign needs for children.  Now all I have to do is wait for her to arrive!

*DISCLOSURE* I received complimentary product in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.  

Pregnancy Update Week 25

Hi all!

I thought I'd give you an update on my pregnancy so far.  I have 15 weeks or less to go.  When I stop to think about it, it's gone fast and slow at the same time.  I have 3 months left and I hope the next few weeks and months go by quickly.  I'm trying to write everything down so I can look back and remember at a later point.  I do frequently write in a pregnancy journal, but a blog offers much more space!

Some news since I last updated you at 18 weeks:

-It was finally confirmed that we're having a girl at about 23 weeks! My husband and I have chosen her name, but it won't be told publicly until after she's born.

-I have all of the big ticket items already for the baby (stroller, car seat, pack n play, etc) and the furniture for the nursery has started arriving too.  I'm really excited about doing the nursery and can't wait to share pictures!

-The baby has so many clothes already and I've already started hanging things up in her closet.

-I've started feeling the baby kick and move around a lot!

How I feel:

-I have good days and bad days.  Lately my sciatic nerve pain has been bothering me among other aches and pains.  Some days I don't feel great at all and other days I have all the energy in the world. My doctor told me that it just gets worse the further you progress so I know I have some uncomfortable days ahead of me!

-I finally caved in and bought a pregnancy pillow which has helped my sleep tremendously.

Weight gain:

-At 25 weeks I've gained about 15 lbs.  I am satisfied with this although some days I feel very large! I plan on enrolling in a local gym after the baby is born to get back into shape. I have had no cravings this entire pregnancy and don't expect to have any at all.

Looking forward to:

-My husband and I have been reading the baby books and trying to get as prepared as possible.  We're signed up for a basics of infant care class at the local hospital in October, so hopefully that will give us more insight.  I think it will be very helpful.

-Setting up the crib and decorating the nursery.  I'm also excited to buy more baby items and feel as ready as possible.

-Meeting the baby! I'm curious as to what she looks like, and I'm really ready for her to come!

-Buying a baby book.  I can't wait to write in it and record all of her firsts. 


-I hope our dog Carolyn will be okay with the baby.  She is my first baby and is insanely spoiled.  She gets so much attention and I know she'll be jealous.  I just hope she doesn't act out.  We're trying to let her into the baby's room more just to be in there, as well as letting her smell the baby's toys and books.  We tell her those are for the baby, and we use the word baby a lot.  I don't know if she understands even the slightest amount, but I'm trying.  I'm reading up on articles that provide the best advice for introducing a pet to baby.  Hopefully she'll love the baby quickly.

-Labor.  I don't do well with pain.  I joke to everyone that I want to wake up and have the baby be born, but have felt nothing.  If only it were that easy! Hopefully my labor will be uneventful and the level of pain be kept to a minimum.

I think this is all for now.  I'll be sure to give you all another update in 5 weeks, when I'm 30 weeks!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boot Butler Review

As sad as it is to say, summer's winding down.  Pretty soon it'll be September and we'll be experiencing cooler temperatures.  I'm certainly not a fan of the cold, but I do love Fall clothes like boots and scarves. You can't forget about Fall themed treats like hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins! I'm excited just thinking about it. I have three pairs of boots that are my absolute favorite, but that doesn't stop me from wanting more.  Boots are so comfortable and versatile. I think that everyone should welcome the new season with a pair of new boots, it's practically mandatory! 

The Boot Butler is a boot storage rack that organizes boots in half the space, supports the boot shape, and keeps it from creasing.  If you're the kind of person who has their boots unorganized in their closet or thrown on top of each other, this is the product for you.  It hangs in your closet, allowing you visibility of all boots at once.  You'll never have to worry about your boots getting damaged or dirty again.  It's time to showcase your favorite pairs and make them the star of your closet!

Ooh, those boots are really cute.  I'd love to add them to my collection!

I was sent a Boot Butler for review. Upon receiving it, I knew it would be perfect for me. I've never been great with keeping my boots organized because they are so big and take up so much room.  I recently moved into a new house with a closet that is much, much smaller than my last.  When I think about my old walk-in closet, I get sad.  I miss it! The Boot Butler is perfect for keeping small spaces contained. 

The Boot Butler was easy to install, and in minutes I had all of my favorite boots hanging right before my eyes. Gone were the days of unorganized chaos on the bottom of my closet.  All of the boots were securely hanging and sturdy, what more could I ask for? I like how everything was contained in one unit and the added bonus of having the Boot Butler protect my shoes was fantastic.  I've been looking into buying a new pair of brown flat boots for the Fall season because my current ones are older.  The new pair will certainly join its friends in the organizer.  

If you're trying to be more organized or at least organize your closet, the Boot Butler is calling your name loud and clear.  The best part is that if you have an extra space on the Boot Butler, go ahead and fill it up with a gorgeous pair of black stiletto boots.  You can thank me later. :)

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary Boot Butler for review.  All thoughts are my own.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Check out Lucite International's Pinterest Contest!

Everyone loves contests and sweepstakes.  Of course we love them even more if we are the lucky winner!

This week, Lucite International, owner of the LuciteLux acrylic brand, launched a Pinterest giveaway to bring attention to its 2nd annual Just Imagine Awards program.  Did you know that last year's winner was Light at Play who created the radiance dome? This immersive LED dome design served as a 1,000 square foot dance floor at the 2013 Burning Man Festival.

This year you're in for a real treat.  Follower's of the brand's Just Imagine Awards board on Pinterest have a chance to win the grand prize of a personalized iomoi tray made in the US with LuciteLux. Additionally, 9 other winners will receive a Tour de France-inspired bicycle ring made in England with Perspex (known as LuciteLux in the US.) 

The iomoi tray combines colorful designs with the simple beauty of clear LuciteLux to make a true statement piece to fit any decor. 

What are you waiting for? Head on over to their Pinterest or Facebook page for further details.  Maybe you'll be the lucky winner!

*DISCLOSURE* I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post. 

Office Depot Foundation Giveaway

Most children these days have gone back to school.  If your child still has a few days left of summer break, help them enjoy it to the fullest.  The best part about back to school season is getting a new backpack, lunchbox, school supplies, and clothes. I'll certainly enjoy buying all of the needed items for my daughter for school in a few years from now.  Kids usually are ready to go back by this point to see their friends.  Make sure your child has a wonderful first day back at school!

Office Depot is an instantly recognizable company to many and they are known throughout the world as a company with a heart.  Throughout their history, they have distinguished themselves through their support of charitable organizations and worthy causes on a national and local scale.  The Office Depot Foundation supports programs that enhance quality of life for children, strengthen communities, encourage local and international economic growth, and empower schools and non-profit organizations.  The foundation helps continue their legacy of helping out when disasters strike, and doing what they can to speed up the process of rebuilding.  The Office Depot Foundation is a very admirable company that is doing wonderful things for individuals and communities.

It can be hard for children to look forward to the new school year if money is tight for their families.  As school begins around the country, the Office Depot Foundation is helping deserving children like these start school off on the right foot.

In 2014, the foundation is donating 350,000 sackpacks to children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and a number of other countries through its National Backpack Program.  This program is now in its fourteenth year.  The specially designed sackpacks come in seven bright and colorful designs that are new for 2014. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler, and four crayons.  The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or marking on them.

One of the Office Depot Foundation sackpacks would be a very useful thing for your child to bring with them to school.  They will surely enjoy the pencil, pen, and crayons.  It's essential that every child have a fantastic school year.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Head Said Etsy Shop Review

Lately, I've been on a kick for handmade items for my daughter's nursery.  The color of her room is green and pink, so I've been looking for items that tie into those colors.  As I've mentioned before, I think that handmade items are much more original and special to own than store bought.  When you give someone something that you made, it will mean much more to them than anything that can be purchased at a retail outlet.  When's the last time you made something as a gift for a loved one?

The Head Said is an Etsy shop which offers unique and crazy crocheted hats for all kinds of uses including photo props, newborn shots, and costumes.  The shop also sells handmade afghans, mittens, and drink mitts.  The hats range from animals and characters to color patterns and even bowling pins! I love the unconventional choices offered and there's something for everyone's liking.  The shop owner crochets wonderfully and each hat is made to order.  Go ahead and surf on over to the shop today!

As I was browsing around The Head Said, I noticed something unique that piqued my interest, a crocheted baby bunny available in any color of your choosing.  The bunny was so adorable and I knew it would look great on top of my daughter's dresser.  Not to mention, it was the same shade of pink as her room! I would say it was fate.

How absolutely adorable is this bunny? It's hand crocheted single stitch with double yarn.  This allows the toy to be very sturdy and easily played with.  The eyes on the bunny are plastic safety eyes attached with a washer on the back.  

I received the bunny very quickly and couldn't get over how cute it was.  I've never seen a crocheted animal before and I was impressed.  The quality of the work was top-notch, which is to be expected because the shop owner has been crocheting for over 33 years! The shade of light pink is very pretty and perfect for a child.  It looks great in my daughter's room and I imagine she will enjoy playing with it.  The bunny is very sturdy and will last for years to come.

Even though Easter is many months away, it would be fun to put these in your child's Easter basket next year.  It's much better and longer-lasting than candy! 

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary product in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Baby Box Co Review

As my due date inches closer, I'm buying more and more for the baby and getting prepared for her arrival. We have all of the main essentials like the pack and play, car seat, clothes, bottles, etc.  Pretty soon the furniture for her room will arrive and I'll be setting up the nursery.  I've been buying books for her for months now, and her bookshelf is rapidly filling up.  It's important to not forget the little items that babies need like swaddle blankets, bibs, crib blankets, etc.  Thankfully, The Baby Box Company has all of the smaller items covered for you.

The Baby Box's mission is to give expectant mothers throughout the world the very best start for their baby. The founders enable them to reduce stress and feel confident that they are well prepared for this new and exciting chapter in their life.  For every box that is purchased, a portion of the proceeds goes towards helping a new mother who is struggling to make ends meet.  The Baby Box Company offers four differently priced boxes filled with baby essentials.  Each box has similar items including swaddle blankets, healthkits, bibs, burp cloths, socks, pacifiers, etc.  Depending on what box you choose, you may receive multiple quantities of those items. Whatever box you select comes with a baby mattress with waterproof cover and 100% cotton sheet.  A baby box makes a perfect baby shower gift for the mom-to-be.  The recipient will love so many essential and helpful items all together in one box.

I received the Classic Box for review.  When the box showed up at my doorstep, I was excited to open it and see everything that was inside.

That's one huge box! I know you're wondering what's inside, so I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Open up the owl box and you'll find the following items:

1 baby mattress
1 lovey
2 BPA-free pacifiers
1 onesie
1 muslin swaddle blanket
1 healthcare kit
1 pair of socks
1 terry cloth bib 
1 natural washcloth
1 pair of mittens
1 newborn cap 
1 natural burp cloth

Not a bad haul, right? The owl lovey is just perfect for that soft and cuddly friend a baby needs.  I loved the adorable star printed swaddle blanket.  This will certainly come in handy for swaddling in the first few weeks of baby's life.  It is also very convenient to have as I didn't have a swaddle blanket before.  I was very excited about the healthcare kit. The thermometer and all of the other contents of the healthcare kit are essential for baby's health.

I already have a few pacifiers but it's always smart to have extra on hand, so I liked that another two were included.  The blue bib was slightly disappointing to me because it was a plain and average item.  A lot of the other items featured a cute print or design and this was ordinary.  I felt that a better bib could have been included and it didn't fit in well with everything else sent.   

All of the other items included will certainly come in handy for baby like the newborn cap, the mittens, and the burp cloth.  I'm excited at the fact that this kit has helped me to check off some remaining items that I needed to buy.  It's always a good feeling to be well prepared for whatever new challenge or role you've accepted in life, whether it's a new job, new baby, etc.  

Treat the mom-to-be in your life to a box from the Baby Box Co, she'll absolutely love it and it'll make her feel one step closer to having everything ready for baby.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to The Baby Box Co for the complimentary box in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clevamama Giveaway

Babies require many items in the beginning of their lives.  You'll have no shortage of diapers, wipes, bibs, blankets, burp cloths, pacifiers, and the list goes on and on.  You'll always find something that is essential for their care and well-being.  Since babies can be messy, you may find yourself washing and sanitizing their belongings regularly.  Making sure that your baby lives in a clean environment is mandatory for their health and safety.

Clevamama is a multi-award winning Irish owned and family run baby business.  If you're looking for a unique baby product, chances are you'll find it at Clevamama.  The company offers baby items in the categories of bathtime, bedtime, feeding, and safety.  The products designed are smart and geared to make life easier for you.  How about a Clevawedge that allows increased elevation to help reduce effects of colic & reflux as well as aiding digestion for your baby? The Clevarinse shampoo rinse cup allows you to keep shampoo and water out of your child's eyes at bathtime.   Anything from Clevamama makes a perfect baby shower or new baby present.  Go ahead and introduce Clevamama into your life today, you'll be so happy you did.

Everyone knows that babies love pacifiers, but what we don't love is the fact that they offer a breeding ground for germs.  Children put them into their mouths, and then put the pacifier on the floor or somewhere else equally as dirty.  You can only hand wash or boil pacifiers so often, especially if you're cleaning them one by one. Nobody wants to spend so much time sanitizing them. What is the solution, you ask? Don't worry Clevamama has you covered.

The SootherTree is your answer to clean and sterilized pacifiers all at once.

The SootherTree will soon become your best friend.  This handy little product allows you to clean and sanitize 6 pacifiers in 60 seconds at once in your microwave.  Gone are the days where you're scrambling to find a clean pacifier for your screaming baby, all of their pacifiers can always be clean at the same time.  The unit includes 2 free orthodontic pacifiers.  A handy feature of this product is that you can leave the pacifiers hanging on the provided hooks so you always know where they are.  Moms, rest easy knowing that the SootherTree is BPA free and totally safe for your little one.  Go ahead and sanitize those pacifiers to your hearts content!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Personalization Mall Review

Personalized gifts are truly special and one of the types of gifts that I love.  Of course I am not opposed to a gift that was picked out at a mass retail outlet, it's just more special when the gift giver goes that extra mile.  For our first dating anniversary, my husband gave me a scrapbook filled with pictures of us with his thoughts and memories about that specific picture.  I still have it six years later and it's very important to me.  The next time you give someone a gift, why not make it one they will remember for years to come?

Personalization Mall offers personalized gifts for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, babies, and much more. Anything you could truly want to be personalized is available.  How about giving your wife a personalized photo frame with a picture of the family in it for Mother's Day? Don't forget personalized golf clubs for Dad's birthday, and personalized flower pots for Grandma's garden too! The categories range from kitchen and office to school and home decor, with everything in between! The quality of the products are superb and the personalization is top notch.  If you need a birthday present for a friend or relative in the near future, go ahead and consider a gift from Personalization Mall.

Since my first wedding anniversary is coming up on August 31st, I wanted to do have something special to give my husband for it.  We already have many framed pictures of our wedding, but we don't have a special wedding frame to commemorate the big day.  When I stumbled across the Mariposa String of Pearls Personalized Wedding Photo Frame, I knew I found the frame that was perfect for us.

Insert smiling faces here.

The simplistically, classic design of the Mariposa frame is an elegant compliment to any couple's wedding photo.  You can personalize the frame by engraving the couple's first or last name on the top.  There is room for an optional second line below for a wedding date or small sentiment.  The frame holds a 5x7 picture and can be ordered horizontally or vertically, depending on your preference.  It comes in a blue box featuring a silver ribbon for a beautifully presented gift.  It's the perfect wedding or engagement present for that special couple.

I tried to take a picture of the frame I received but the engraving was too light to be picked up by the camera.  My frame is the same as above except it says Sammi and Jay on top, and August 31, 2013 on the bottom. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since we got married! I do wish that I had chosen the horizontal option of the frame because it's going to be harder to find a picture that fits vertically.  I'm currently looking for the perfect picture to put in the frame, the one that will look the best.  The frame is just beautiful and it has some weight to it so you know it's sturdy.  It's handcrafted in Mexico and made of 100% recycled materials.  The silver is shiny and full of life, while the gorgeous border of pearls adds a true touch of class. The engraving is very special and I love that it's not just an ordinary picture frame but one that holds meaning. My husband also loves the frame and thought it was a very thoughtful gift.

As soon as I find a picture that I like, I'll be putting the frame on the mantle above the fireplace.  The silver frame will pop against my black fireplace.  Everytime I look at the frame, I'll remember my husband and I's big day for years to come.  You can't beat that memory.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Personalization Mall for the complimentary product in exchange for my review.  All thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Traveling with Children is Easy with These Tips

Have kids, will travel: happy motoring with children
If you’re setting out on a road trip with the kids, you’ll need to be a professional safety expert, logistics specialist and entertainer if you want to make it to your destination without losing your mind, or your temper. Read on for some tips on how to keep your cool behind the wheel, when your little darlings are shrieking, battling or inquiring as to the exact proximity of the destination, for the 17th time in an hour. 

Keep them safe
As well as having the correct car seats fitted with appropriate sizing for the age of your child there are a few other key considerations before setting off on a journey with the kids. Never leave your children in the car unattended, and if you do have child locks in the back, make sure they’re activated. Stow all chemicals such as car cleaning products or antifreeze for the windshield in the trunk, and if you have an infant, invest in a large child mirror – it will allow you to check on him or her when it goes suspiciously quiet in the back seat, which can save you a lot of stress.

Go the distance
If you have a long distance journey to take, leave lots of time for getting to your destination to allow for rest stops and diversions. If you can, set off at night when little ones are snoozing. Take regular breaks, and stock the car with blankets, wet wipes, sick bags, snacks and plenty of bottled water. If your kids need to stretch their legs, it might make the difference between a 10 minute break, and 40 minutes of screaming, so let them out frequently to expend pent up energy. Use the time to get some fresh air and recharge your own batteries.

In-drive entertainment
Not everyone can afford to buy a car with screens built into the back seats, but this doesn’t mean your kids have to go without their favorite movie or cartoon. For around $20 you can buy a contraption to temporarily mount a tablet screen on the back of your car seat, which is especially handy to keep antsy toddlers happy. In the absence of a tablet, a portable DVD player or smartphone with pre-downloaded games can help keep children occupied as a treat too. Of course pre-digital tricks still work as well, so try singing to them, playing games such as ‘I Spy’, or bring toys and games they can play as you travel, such as stuffed animals or card games.

Taking the kids on holiday in the car is something most parents will do at one stage or another.  Preparation is essential, and you should also think about how far you want to travel. Try to avoid very lengthy journeys of 10 or more hours and consider going somewhere closer to home.
Monday, August 11, 2014

Daisy Needle Works Etsy Shop Review

Babies shouldn't wear shoes until they hit their first birthday.  It's important for them to be as barefoot as much as possible while indoors to promote proper foot development.  Although when they are outside it is a smart idea to put booties or socks on them to keep their feet warm, especially in the cold weather.  I will certainly follow this advice when I have my daughter later this year.  I've seen so many adorable booties for newborns and infants that it's hard to resist not wanting them all!

Daisy Needle Works is an Etsy shop ran by owner Anna.  Her shop specializes in crocheted baby booties, headbands, and hats for boys and girls.  Her baby booties seem to be her signature item and I can certainly see why. Not only does Anna crochet each pair of booties by hand, but she crochets the boy booties to look like sneakers complete with laces! How adorable is that? Her talent is surely evident and it makes me wish I knew how to crochet too. For girls, the booties look similar to a pair of flats.  They can be created in the color of your choosing and they have the sweetest little crocheted flower on top.  If you're looking for a baby boy or girl gift, a pair of booties or a hat would make the perfect present.

Since finding out I'm having a girl, I've been going crazy with purchasing items for her.  I'm very girly myself so I'm hoping to pass the pink and flowered items love affair on to her. When I stumbled upon Anna's shop and saw the white newborn booties with pink flower on them, I knew I had to have them.  Can you imagine anything more sweet on a new baby's feet than these booties? I know I can't.

Just a few more months until sweet little feet will be inside the booties!

The booties arrived in the mail extremely fast.  They were beautifully packaged in a pink box with pink tissue paper inside.  If that doesn't announce girl, I don't know what does!  Anna's crocheting is top notch and these are made with love, care, and quality materials.  The booties come in three sizes: newborn to 3 months, 3-6 months, and 6-9 months.  I chose the newborn size as you can tell since my daughter is due in December.  I love the contrast of the white with the pink of the flower, it's a great color scheme.

I plan on putting these on baby girl when we come home from the hospital.  Since it'll be very cold out, these will be perfect for keeping her feet warm.  Even though the booties are white, don't worry about them getting dirty since they can be washed by hand.  After you wash them, simply lay them out to dry and reshape them with your fingers.  

What's most important about these booties is that they are handmade and not something that you can just pick up from your local baby store.  I love the fact that they are one of a kind, that's special to me.  

For right now, the shoes wait for my daughter in her room.  Hopefully these next few months will fly by so I can not only meet her, but she can wear these ridiculously cute booties.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Daisy Needle Works's Etsy Shop for providing me with a complimentary pair of baby booties in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are my own.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Graco Review

One of the most important items needed for a baby is a stroller.  You'll need a safe and reliable stroller to push baby around town easily.  Make sure you choose one that fits your needs best and is also lightweight.  Doing your research beforehand is essential in making sure you make the right choice.  There are so many styles and colors available these days that you'll have no problem finding the perfect fit for you and baby!

Graco is the headquarters for everything and anything you could need for baby.  This brand is surely one of the few that instantly come to mind when I think of baby products.  Graco's product line-up includes strollers, high chairs, pack 'n play, car seats, swings, and more. The best part about Graco is that their products transition with your child as they age and grow, so you really get years of use from them.  I've been recommended Graco strollers and travel systems by many parents over the past few months, and I can see why they love the brand so much! If you're attending a baby shower in the next few months or know someone who has recently given birth, a Graco baby gift makes the perfect present. 

As most readers of my blog know, I'm having a baby girl in December.  As my due date nears closer, I knew it was time to start getting prepared for baby.  I live in a neighborhood that is residential and close to a park, which is ideal for pushing baby around.  In the beginning, a travel system is essential transportation for newborns and infants.  A travel system is a full-size stand alone stroller that allows a compatible infant car seat to attach to the stroller if you're on foot.  Once you're in the car, the car seat fits perfectly into the backseat.

I did my research and knew that a travel system would be the perfect option for me.  Graco generously sent me the Graco Soho Click-Connect Travel System in the Presley pattern.
I'm ready to go, Mom!

This travel system is the lightest in its class, weighing in at only 17.5 lbs. The bundle includes the top-rated Graco Snug-Ride Click Connect 35 infant car seat, as well as the stroller.  The stroller's instant motion fold allows you to fold it compactly and quickly, with just one hand.  It's extra comfy for baby, the seat reclines flat to create an infant carriage while the front swivel-wheels offer a smooth ride.  The extra large storage basket, parent's tray, and pivoting child's tray make this travel system extremely convenient.

I received this stroller recently and am very pleased with it so far.  When I received it, I wanted my husband to put the stroller together right away so it would be one less thing for me to deal with.  The stroller comes in pieces that can be assembled in about 10-15 minutes.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but the instructions are very self-explanatory.  The red and black Presley pattern is not overly feminine for my daughter but still stylish enough.  Not everything always has to be flowers and pink for a girl!  The stroller is made very well and seems to be durable and secure too.  I had no trouble clicking the car seat into the stroller base and giving it a quick test ride.  The travel system was easy to maneuver and very light-weight. 

Since I'm due in December, I can't imagine taking the baby on very many walks in the beginning since it will be so cold.  I think as the temperatures get a little bit more bearable, we'll certainly bundle up and go for walks around my neighborhood. It will be fun to go on walks with my dog Carolyn and the baby.  The car seat holds an infant from 4-35 lbs and up to 32" inches tall.   If you use the car seat in the car, make sure baby is rear-facing at all times! The car seat was easy to install in the backseat and clicked into the car seat base with ease.  I'll certainly be using the car seat a lot in the beginning when I take baby to the doctor frequently for well checks. 

What I like about the travel system most is that it grows with your child.  Once they outgrow the infant car seat, you can buy a compatible Graco car seat that is for more age appropriate for your child.  The stroller holds a child up to 50 lbs, so you will certainly be able to use it for a number of years.  The storage basket is convenient for keeping toys and snacks handy, and the child's tray allows them to enjoy a snack or play with their toys at a close reach. 

I'm very satisfied with the travel system and look forward to using it in the near future when baby is born.  I'm sure we'll be strolling around town soon enough!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Graco for providing me with the travel system in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Neutrogena Giveaway

I've been using Neutrogena products for as far back as I can remember. I trusted their anti-acne creams and scrubs when I was a teenager, and I still do for that occasional breakout.  It's important to to take excellent care of your skin. I depend on them now for general facial cleansing, and as I get older, their anti-aging items. I feel that they produce quality products that provide the results their consumers want. This is one company that truly cares about the well-being of your skin.

Neutrogena has been a skincare pioneer for more than 50 years now and I can certainly see why. They produce trusted products for all skin types including cleansers, scrubs, moisturizers, and sunscreen.  You can guarantee that there's always a Neutrogena product in my bathroom cabinet.  Their fantastic products are instantly recognizable on store shelves and I always go straight for them when I'm at the drug store.  If you're looking for a quality product that provides the results you're looking for, please turn to Neutrogena.

If you didn't already know, August 15th is National Relaxation Day.  Now that I'm pregnant, I need all the R&R that I can get before baby comes! Summer is winding down and there are only so many weekends left to plan a beach trip or lounge around at the pool.  Make it count! To help celebrate this day, Neutrogena wants to offer some of their most relax-worthy products for your enjoyment.  How does pampering your skin, moisturizing your cuticles, and repairing and protecting your luscious locks sound?

Looking for a boost in the shower? Neutrogena's rainbath refreshing shower and bath gel offers a unique fragrance of spices, fruits, and herbs to provide a clean, fresh burst that awakens your senses.  A rich, conditioning lather leaves skin in better condition.  The special formula rinses clean without any heavy residue.

If you're looking for body oil, Neutrogena's would be a perfect pick.  Their oil is a delicately light sesame formula that instantly vanishes into the skin, sealing in moisture.  Skin instantly feels moisturized, soft, silky, and of course radiant.

It's never okay to neglect your hands.  Neutrogena's fast absorbing hand cream instantly delivers the moisture your hands need without any greasy after-feel.  This lightweight formula was developed with dermatologists and intensely moisturizes and nourishes skin to keep hands smoother longer. 

Make hair look gorgeous with Neutrogena's triple repair fortifying leave-in treatment.  This product is clinically proven to instantly repair the three leading signs of hair damage: mends split ends, strengthens brittle hair, and protects from breakage.  Nutrient rich conditioner targets damage and can penetrate to rebuild hair, leaving it more resilient to the effects of heat, color, and styling.

Go ahead and make August 15th a day of leisure.  Enjoy a bubble bath, have some chocolate, and don't forget to pamper yourself with Neutrogena's top product picks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Haagen Dazs Review

I don't regularly think about ice cream until it starts getting warm out.  As soon as summer hits, I crave that cool and creamy frozen treat.  I don't discriminate against ice cream, whether it's in an ice cream cake, by itself in a bowl, or even in a milkshake, I love it all equally.  My favorite ice cream flavors are anything involving mint or chocolate. Don't forget hot fudge, sprinkles, and gummy bears too.  Do yourself a favor and enjoy an ice cream cone today.

Haagen Dazs is an ice cream brand which offers the finest ingredients and flavors available.  If you haven't indulged in a treat from this brand previously, you just have to try it.  When I crave ice cream, I usually want Haagen Dazs because the rich and creamy ice cream is always packed with flavor .  Haagen Dazs offers a wide range of flavor options for their gelato, sorbet, ice cream bars, ice cream, and frozen yogurt.  How does chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream or limoncello gelato sound? If you're looking for frozen yogurt, maybe vanilla raspberry swirl is more up your alley? Don't forget about salted caramel ice cream bars too! This is only the start of what wonderful flavors Haagen Dazs offers.  If you're looking for a sweet treat to satisfy that sweet tooth, why not turn to Haagen Dazs?

I was given product coupons to purchase Haagen Dazs products for review. I ended up choosing cookie dough ice cream and vanilla chocolate peanut butter bars.  Can you imagine anything more delicious than these two flavors? I think not.
Love at first bite.

I tried the ice cream bar first.  You cannot go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter together in one dessert.  It's such a classic flavor that always satisfies.  The ice cream bar is small for the amount of calories it packs, but it is a treat after all.  From the moment you see the sweet treat, it's visually pleasing.  The outer chocolate shell has a generous amount of nuts dotted all over.  When you take a bite, the crunch from the nuts along with the sweet chocolate shell and the creamy vanilla ice cream is fantastic.  I started to discover the ribbons of peanut butter that were hidden inside soon after taking another bite.  The cold treat was perfect to revive me from the hot summer sun.  This treat was sweet but not overly sweet where you felt like you couldn't finish it.  I absolutely loved it and finished it very fast.  I'm controlling myself from having another.

I've been a fan of cookie dough ice cream from an early age.  It's very hard for me not to sneak a taste of the cookie dough when I'm making cookies. This ice cream was simply fabulous. It's vanilla ice cream with large chunks of cookie dough pieces packed into it. If you're wondering what heaven on earth is like, it definitely begins in the ice cream container.  The vanilla ice cream was sweet and rich and full of fantastic flavor.  The cookie dough pieces were large and made my stomach and taste buds smile.  

It's easy to say that I enjoyed both of these desserts from Haagen Dazs equally.  I look forward to trying more of the newer flavors in the near future.  It will be very hard for me to stay away!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Haagen Dazs for supplying me with product coupons in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own. 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Emme Bag Giveaway

When it comes to makeup, I'm not that organized.  I keep all of my makeup in one large zippered cosmetic bag.  I'm always scrambling looking for one product that's underneath all the others.  It gets old, and I constantly tell myself I will organize my makeup and make it easier to find in the mornings.  I hope that day comes soon! Wouldn't it be nice to have the products you're looking for exactly all in one place? I know I would enjoy that. 

The Emme Bag was designed with frequent travel in mind.  The bag is a premium quality expandable nylon bag featuring seven interior pockets and two zip-out pockets for liquids and other items.  Whether you're traveling by plane, car, or train, you can never underestimate a fantastic makeup bag.  Wouldn't it be an excellent idea to consolidate your eyeshadows and lipglosses all in one place? The best part about this bag is that it's TSA friendly and stylish too!

Organization starts here.

There are actually many uses for this bag besides just makeup.  If you're traveling with small children, you can use some of the compartments for band-aids, disinfectant sprays, their medicine, etc.  Thanks to Emme, you'll never be disorganized with your cosmetics again!

It's a GIRL!

I found out this morning that I'm having a girl! Due date is at the end of November! We are so excited. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kohl's Review

With back-to-school season on the horizon, parents are gearing up for another school year. Children everywhere are meeting their teachers and buying school supplies.  Even though I don't currently have children going to school right now, I will eventually be on that page.  I always loved buying school supplies and new clothes.  Let your child's personality shine through and let them buy that tye-dye notebook and the polka-dotted lunchbox. They will absolutely love it.

Kohl's is your one stop shop for women, men, and children's clothing.  Kohl's also features accessories, housewares, shoes and much more.  Need a new outfit for your upcoming end of summer BBQ or maybe your daughter needs a new dress for a friend's wedding?  No problem,  Kohl's has you covered.  They have the latest fashions at unbeatable prices. The clothes are made well and last. If you have a new baby or baby on the way, make sure you get all of your newborn essentials at Kohl's.  I'm having my first child in December, and have already ordered many baby items from them.  I couldn't resist, the prices were just too good and the clothes too adorable. I also love how Kohl's always has a sale going on and helps you to save money on the latest fashions. Why not stop on over today and treat yourself to something fabulous?

If you're a working parent, mornings can be tough especially if you have to take your child or children to school.  You have to get yourself ready as well as your family.  Mornings are always hectic and people are rushing to get ready to be at work or school on time.  It is important that your child eat a nutritious and healthy breakfast before school. If you don't have a lot of time on your hands that can be challenging. Whatever you do though, please make sure they don't skip breakfast.  

To support back-to-school breakfasts, Kohl's generously allowed me to choose an item for review that supports this theme.  I ended up selecting the KitchenAid 4-Slice Digital Toaster.  This beautiful toaster is just what you need in the morning to enjoy something warm and toasty.

Push down for deliciousness.

How beautiful is this toaster? I love the shiny stainless steel finish along with the digital temperature control dials.  It's a modern look that fits in perfectly on my quartz counter top. It doesn't take up too much room and is compact.  I used the toaster for the first time yesterday morning to toast my morning bagel.  I was able to choose the shade setting with ease and in moments my bagel emerged perfectly toasted and crispy.  This is just how I like it! The fact that it's a 4-slice toaster means that parents can have breakfast ready at once for each child in the morning before school. This is certainly a convenient feature which saves you time.  Another handy feature is that it beeps a few seconds before your food pops up, which allows you time to get your jelly or butter ready to spread on.  

I look forward to using this toaster each morning for pop tarts, waffles, bagels, and toast. Parents, if you're looking to provide your child with a side to their morning cereal or eggs, I highly recommend toasting their favorites in the KitchenAid digital toaster.  

*DISCLOSURE* This is a sponsored post in which I received a gift card to purchase the item for review.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Love's Sweet Temptation Review & Giveaway

I have a sweet tooth that knows no bounds.  I've been to known to attack a plate of chocolate chip cookies or brownies with great speed.  I can't help it though, the cookies needed to move into their new home in my stomach.  My philosophy is that everyone should indulge in chocolate on a daily basis.  I don't discriminate towards the sweet treat in any form.  I love brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate candy equally.  Go ahead and have a big slice of chocolate cake today.

Love's Sweet Temptation is an Etsy shop ran by owner Brittney.  If you're looking for something to delight your taste buds with, you've certainly come to the right place.  Brittney's shop offers delectable truffles, creamy fudge in any flavor imaginable, yummy cookies and brownies, and so much more.  It truly is the headquarters for any baked goods. All of Brittney's fudge and truffles come in various flavors such as birthday cake, caramel hot chocolate, Andes mint chocolate chip, cotton candy, nutella, golden oreo, cinnamon, and so much more.  Whatever flavor you're craving, I'm pretty sure the shop sells.  Any sweet treat from Brittney's shop makes the perfect birthday or thank-you present. Don't forget corporate gifts and parties as well.  You can even treat yourself, which would be a very smart decision.

I was sent a large sampler pack of fudge and truffles from Brittney's shop.  I couldn't believe the deliciousness that was at my fingertips.  The flavors I received were incredible and varied from chocolate to peanut butter and even mint fudge! I wasn't sure where to start.

Hello, I love you. 

Hello, I also love you.

Can you imagine anything more tasty in the world than fudge and truffles? I certainly can't.  The bite sized treats were beautifully handmade with care and Brittney's talent surely shined through.  I first tried the Andes mint fudge to start.  The cool and creamy soft fudge combined with the sweet and rich chocolate was excellent.  I felt bad for the truffles and knew I had to make them happy by eating them.  I sampled the red velvet bon bon truffle and was in absolute heaven.  It tasted like a round, small version of my favorite full-sized dessert.  The center was fluffy and just wonderful.

Since the initial sampling I've eaten my fair share of truffles and fudge from Brittney's wonderful sampler pack.  I truly cannot complain when it comes to chocolate or desserts and her Etsy shop has made my tummy very happy.

If you're looking for fabulous sweet treats to indulge in, look no further than Love's Sweet Temptation.  You will be one happy customer!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Netflix #StreamTeam Alerts Kindness & Respect August 2014

Many parents have already started the back-to-school shopping and preparation.  By the end of August, most children will be back in school, and the states that aren't will go back soon after that. Children around the world will be excited to see their friends and start a new year.  While parents are thinking about the material their children will be taught, it's also never too early to start thinking about life lessons taught outside the classroom.

Netflix's theme for back-to-school season this year is kindness. They are taking a cue from the newly released series Derek.  This original series is a great way to foster a conversation about acceptance with your teens. This program is from the creative mind of Ricky Gervais, a comedy genius with fans of all ages, this mockumentary style comedy-drama makes tough decisions more approachable.  Derek's mantra of acceptance, no matter age or ability, inspired Netflix's list of television and movie choices which are listed below.  Showing Derek to your teens would be a great resource in reminding them to see the good in everyone.  In the end, teaching values of kindness and acceptance is just as important as any academic learning.

Now that I'm having my first child in November, these are the kinds of talks I will have to have with my child in the future.  It's difficult knowing that my child will encounter people who won't always like them and will have mean or hurtful things to say to them.  Children can be cruel and certainly don't treat everyone equally. It's a parent's job to teach their child from an early age to treat others with respect and kindness.  

Netflix has relevant titles that promote this month's theme for older children:
2. Mulan
3. A Mile in His Shoes
4. Radio
5. Good Luck Charlie: Down a Tree
6. Glee

Of course you can't forget about the younger children either.  They will enjoy watching the following shows:
1. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Vol 1. Ep 6: Friends Help Each Other
2. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Ep 4. One Bad Apple.
3. Arthur, Season 15, Ep 8: Muffy's Classic Classy Club/Best Enemies
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
5. Super Why, Season 1, Ep 61: The Ugly Duckling Became a Swan
6. The Fox and The Hound

It's never too early to teach your child manners and respect.  Teach and guide them with kindness and they will do the same for others.