Sunday, December 11, 2016

Unique Holiday Gifts from NOVICA

I feel like every year it gets harder and harder to shop for friends and family. I am always trying to find unique and fabulous gifts that will make them say, "Oh where did you ever find this!" NOVICA is the perfect place to find these gifts. With their wide selection of handcrafted items, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list.

NOVICA gives artists and artisans around the world the opportunity to share their work with the entire world, and you the opportunity to have these pieces of art in your home. Their website is designed in such a way that when you view a product you get to see and learn about the person or people who create it. You are introduced to an artist who may be on the other side of the world who has something beautiful to share. Novica has a mission - to spread happiness by their commitment to connect, empower, preserve.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shop on NOVICA and see the beauty up close. I was trying to find the perfect gift for my mother-in-law, so I searched for Christmas themed items. A great selection popped up with everything from nativities to ornaments. But these sweet Santas caught my eye.
From clothing to glasses to games to home accents. You can find a wonderful variety of items all in one spot. I would highly recommend that you take some time to explore this wonderful fair trade artisan website that works with National Geographic. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

I am thrilled to share this wonderful shopping experience with one of my lucky readers. One reader will win a $35 Gift Code to make a purchase from the NOVICA website.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tips for Parents in the Workforce

The days of being either a worker or a parent are largely behind us, as more and more parents stay in the workforce, even after they have kids. They still value their careers, and, as much as they also value their families, they don't just want to throw away a college education and everything they've been working to build up over the years.

Of course, this can make it a bit harder to parent as effectively as you'd like. The situation can be rather chaotic, and parents need to be ready for all that it entails. If you're a parent trying to balance work and family life, use these tips to make things go smoothly.

1. Keep in touch. You probably hired a nanny, dropped your kids off at grandma's house, or at least took them to daycare. It's best to stay in touch through text, phone, or online options. Even if you don't need to actively help parent, this makes the transition easier because you can get updates and pictures of yours kids, making you feel more involved.

2. Don't take your work home with you. Stay at the office, get things done, and come home when you can really relax and be with your kids. Time management, and splitting up your time effectively, is key. Thinking about work or trying to get extra things done at the house just adds stress you don't need.

3. Make sure vacation time is family time. You only get so many paid days off every year. Don't waste them. This may mean skipping little things that would be fun to attend, but it pays off when you get 10 days in a row with your kids.

4. Use the time you do have wisely. This is about more than just vacation time. You may only have a few hours from the time you get home to the time your kids go to bed. Spend it with them, not rushing around trying to get other things done.

5. Have emergency plans in place. Kids get sick. Schools have to close due to bad roads. All sorts of things can come up and disrupt your schedule. Having a plan ready in advance allows you to absorb these changes easily.

As many couples are finding out, it's very possible to have both a career and a family. You just need to know how to budget your time and plan ahead. Take a tip from me and hire a service for that holiday home cleaning.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lily the Fancipoo

By Rebekah Phillips
and Sharon Gonyaw

"Meet Lily! Lily is quite the spoiled pooch! However, as much as Lily the Fancipoo has...she is really very lonely and longs for some friends! When her family decides to take a Holiday vacation, Lily is sent to spend some time with her cousins in the country and learns that love far outweighs the benefits of material things! Children will enjoy seeing Lily transform as she lets down her guard and begins to enjoy the farm."

My Thoughts:
My seven year old went crazy for this book! She loved the story of Lily and all of the lessons she learned throughout the story. But perhaps her favorite part is the lovable stuffed Lily that she now sleeps with and takes care of on a daily basis. She also loved Lottie, the little mouse who is hiding on each page. She read the book to her little brother and had him hunt for Lottie throughout the story.

This would make a great gift this holiday season. This book was written and illustrated be Rebekah Phillips, who also has more titles to share with readers (my son is already asking for Piper was Afraid!). But this is the first time she collaborated with her mom, making this a very special book for them and the readers.

You can purchase this wonderful set from Amazon. You can also learn more about Rebekah and her work on her website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cruising with Kids

We just got back from a really fantastic cruise on the Disney Cruise Line. We took the Disney Magic from New York up to Canada. It was a 5 night cruise with 2 days at sea and 2 stops - St. John and Halifax.

I was nervous to cruise with my kids because they are still pretty young. My daughter is 7, so she's pretty easy to travel with. But my son is only 3. We waited until he was 3 so that he could go into the same kids club as her. We also wanted him to be potty trained... which we accomplished over the summer, thank goodness! But my nerves were quickly put at ease, as Disney truly caters to every age - and every single one of us had a great time!

My kids favorite part was definitely the kids club. The Oceaneers Club and Lab was filled with fun activities, crafts, and a giant slide. They had visits from some of their favorite characters, including Mickey, Goofy , Pluto, Stitch, and Captain America! They fed them lunch and dinner if we wanted them to. They loved every second and we loved having some down time to ourselves.

The food was phenomenal. We ate our way through the week with wonderful rotational dining, all the ice cream we could eat, free room service, and so much more. Our waitstaff team was great. They traveled with us every night to our restaurant and really got to know what we liked and didn't like. And they would bring us anything we could dream of!

The shows - oh the shows - from the stage performances to the deck parties to the fireworks. Everything was done in true Disney fashion - to the highest degree of MAGICAL. The stage shows are truly Broadway quality.

To make what could be a very long story, short - IT WAS MAGICAL. We can't wait to get back on the boat!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Raw Shea Butter: One Of The Finest Skin Care Secrets For Women From Head To Toe

Moms, I know how little time we spend on ourselves. Here is some great info from Eu'Genia Shea on a quick and easy way to use Shea Butter for healthier, younger looking skin! - Lara

Raw Shea Butter: One Of The Finest Skin Care Secrets For Women
From Head To Toe

Raw shea butter is an incredible, natural product that belongs in your beauty cupboard. It's versatile and pure and can enhance you from head to toe. It's one of the best skin care secrets ever, with studies showing that raw shea butter stimulates production of collagen. That's the "glue" that keeps our faces and bodies youthful with elasticity.

Let's look at shea butter's fascinating background. For one, there are actually shea trees, and they grow in west and central Africa. The thin-skinned fruit the tree produces is quite delicious, but it's the large oil-rich nut or kernel inside that creates the skin care magic. It naturally contains vitamins A, E and F (essential fatty acids).

Shea Butter when raw, promotes these three assets:
Higher nutrient content
Better natural healing properties
Free of chemicals from the refinement process

Raw shea butter is divine for women of all ages, especially moms, because it can perform amazing things. Here are just a few:

1. Stretch Marks and Cellulite. No one wants either of these body imperfections, but most of us have both stretch marks and cellulite. Laser treatments and the application of prescription retin-A appear to be effective. However, raw shea butter has also been shown to reduce the appearance of both stretch marks and cellulite, thanks to the product's immense hydrating properties, its success at stimulating blood circulation and softening the skin's texture.

2. Clear and Wrinkle "Less" Complexion. It's almost baffling to believe that raw shea butter with its super moisturizing features would not cause skin to break out, but it's true. Its anti-inflammatory elements keep pores clean, and the product is quickly absorbable, so it feels un-greasy. The super butter also softens fine lines and wrinkles, restoring elasticity and buoyancy to the skin.

3. Scalp and Hair Repair Treatment. We spend so much money trying to breathe new life into our damaged tresses and usually get nowhere fast. Raw shea butter can make the ultimate hair treatment and is so easy to do. Warm some shea butter in your palms and apply to hair and scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly and shampoo and condition like you regularly do. Hair will be soft, smooth and healthy-looking.

4. Perfect Outdoor Skin Protection. Raw shea butter is ideal for heading outdoors in any kind of weather. Super hot, cold and dry, snowy, rainy or windy, this wonderful moisturizer already comes with a natural built-in SPF (sun protection factor) of 6, which is beneficial to wear under makeup, too. Apply so lips don't chap, because this pure stuff works like a dream.

5. Super Shaving Staple. When it comes to shaving your legs, you want to eliminate the bumps and possible razor irritation that can occur. Raw shea butter is terrific as a moisturizing shaving cream, and it leaves legs smooth, hairless and with a pretty sheen. It won't clog sensitive hair follicles either and allows your shaver to glide across the skin.

There are many choices out there for buying shea butter, and one of the best brands that delivers purity and luxurious shea butter products is Eu'Genia Shea. Even the iconic New York Times is wild about the high quality 95 percent shea content base of the brand's lotions, which can be found in Everyday, Pregnancy and Dermatological Strength.

Eu'Genia Shea is also proud of its wonderful background story, because it's a family enterprise with deep roots in Ghana and the United States. The company is all about women, opportunity and power, and Eu'Genia Shea is helping build economic opportunities for women in the developing world. Eu'Genia Shea is providing training and employment for some 700 women who work for the brand's business model in local co-operatives. The women are harvesting the shea nuts and learning how to produce the incredible raw shea butter that has become the face of Eu'Genia Shea.

*This is a sponsored post.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

I am so excited for the upcoming holiday season! If you are anything like me, you began bargain hunting for this holiday season on December 26th. I can't help it... I love a good deal!

But as my children are getting older - especially the 7 year old! Buying gifts in advance can be tricky. Now she knows what she wants and makes her own wish-list. So I have been holding out to see what she thinks will make her holiday merry and bright!

This year I will be focusing on all kinds of gifts - for kids, adults, friends, and family. I am hoping you will share some of your fabulous gift ideas with me, too!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Win a Todd English Touch Screen Air Fryer

Phoenix Trading Company is the company all moms have been dreaming of.  One stop shopping on designer items at discount prices! They specialize in plus size clothing, but also have a fantastic selection of home goods and kitchen appliances. Their choices are fantastic... and their prices are even better!

Here is a little bit about Phoenix Trading Company:
First, we’re not in Phoenix, Arizona. Never have been (we’re in Boston). Our name refers to the mythical bird, the Phoenix, which is reborn to soar again. Our clothes and other products are sort of like that. We buy large volumes of out-of-season, overstock and clearance designer merchandise from national retailers and TV shopping channels, then pass the savings to you—on average offering our goods at 60% below retail. And by the way, the pictures of shoes and clothing you see on our site are the actual items that you’ll get in the mail. Nothing photo-shopped here.

People seem to like us. We started in 2001 in 700 square feet subleased from a machine shop, and have grown to be one of eBay’s top three women’s clothing sellers. We’re also an eBay top-rated plus seller. Not that we’re bragging. It’s just true.

There is something we’re kind of proud of, though: A third of our workforce are people who are housebound, either through physical disabilities or childcare responsibilities, and who would otherwise not be able to have a job. And honestly, we couldn’t function without them.

So, that’s us in a nutshell. Phoenix Trading Company, bringing you style and savings at the click of a mouse.

I had the opportunity to check out one of the great kitchen appliances that they have to offer, an air fryer.

I was really excited about this because my family really enjoys fried foods, but we don't indulge in them that often because of all the oil typically used to cook them. This air fryer provided us with a healthier way of preparing fried foods, while still getting that great crispy texture that we just can't seem to get in the oven. And it's super easy to use and clean up.

All we had to do was put the basket in the bottom of the fryer, add a small amount of oil, pop it in at the proper temperature for the instructed amount of time (in this case it was 15 minutes)... and voila! Crispy fries cooked to perfection!

My entire family is a fan of this fun kitchen appliance. We have made all kinds of trasty foods, like fried zucchini sticks, mozzarella sticks, and lots of french fries. 

Phoenix Trading Company is giving you the opportunity to win your very own Todd English Touch Screen Air Fryer! This prize will make the perfect addition to your kitchen - saving you calories, time and mess!

Learn more about Phoenix Trading Company by following them on Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest!
Social Media Links:
Facebook -
Tumblr -
Pinterest -

This prize pack includes:
- Air Fryer Housing
- Removable Heating Chamber
- Fry Basket
- Steam/Meat Rack
- Baking Pan
- One Carbon Filter
- Instruction / Recipe Booklet

*I received an item for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting - on DVD Today!

"Adventures in Babysitting," inspired by the hugely popular 1980s film of the same name, is an upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie starring Sabrina Carpenter (of Disney Channel's hit comedy series "Girl Meets World") and Sofia Carson (of the hit Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants").  In "Adventures in Babysitting," a dull evening for two competing babysitters, Jenny (Sabrina Carpenter) and Lola (Sofia Carson), turns into an adventure in the big city as they hunt for one of the kids who somehow snuck away.

My Thoughts:
As a child of the 80's, Adventures in Babysitting was one of my all time favorite movies.  So when I heard that Disney Channel was making an original movie inspired my childhood favorite... I was excited! This was going to be a great opportunity to see a fun new movie and share it with my seven year old daughter... who just happens to be a huge Girl Meets World and Descendants fan.

We sat down one night with popcorn and this movie for a fun girls night in. I loved how the new movie mirrored some of my favorite parts of the 80's hit. For example: the amazing clip above of the Babysitter's Rap that just brought me back to Chris Parker's fabulous rendition of Babysitting Blues, the towing company sporting the same name, and more! Jenny and Lola kept us engaged throughout this crazy adventure.  While the girls are very different, they have one thing in common - they need to find the kid and get all of the kids back home! But it's not as easy as it sounds. And quickly enough they realize that working together is their only hope.

This was a very fun movie night for me and my daughter. We laughed a lot, and my daughter has been asking to see it again! I would say that's a big win for the Disney Channel!

Download Adventures In Babysitting Activities

* I received a copy of this movie free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influence by anyone. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fuego Box

Father's Day is around the corner and my husband is super hard to shop for. Not only does he fall into the "I don't need anything" category... he also puts himself into the "I don't want anything" category. Making my life way harder when shopping time arrives!

This year I was introduced to something really awesome, right up his alley, and something he would never think of! Allow me to introduce you to the Fuego Box. Yes, it's just as it sounds... a box chock full of amazing spiciness. Any my husband loves spicy! The hotter the better. So I knew he would love this really cool variety of products.

This "limited edition" Fuego Box comes in a rustic wood crate and is filled with small-batch spicy greatness created especially for Father's Day.  Includes a fabulous spicy honey, the world's 1st "Dry Hot Sauce", Chili Oil, Smoked Ghost Pepper Salt, and one of the world's tastiest small-batch hot sauces.  The package also includes recipes selected just for dad.

$49.95 - Limited to 500 boxes
$70 in value
Order Link:

Box Contains:
-Bee Local Hot Honey
-Purple Panda Chili Oil
-Hoff Sauce
-Laguna Salt Smoke Ghost Pepper Salt
-World's 1st Dry Hot Sauce by Vesta
-Limited Edition Fuego Box Wooden Crate

So this is basically an incredibly cool, very different, super hot gift for Father's Day! I highly recommend you check out Fuego Box to learn about all the very cool and unique items they have to offer!

About Fuego Box: The creation of Mike McAdams, a guy who simply went down the hot sauce rabbit hole.  It started with an early Tapatio obsession and advanced with the likes of Cholula, Crystal, and Sriracha.  After that, things really got crazy...bhut jolokia and african fatalii peppers; locally harvested, hand-bottled hot sauces; and unique and delicious flavors that go with just about every kind of food.

Fuego Box wants to bring emerging hot sauces that you've probably never heard of to your hot sauce shelf.  Focusing on flavor over 'ass-burning heat' and avoiding gimmicky hot sauces like the plague.

For More Information:

Monday, May 23, 2016


Does anyone else feel like they spend way too much time in the laundry room? I have discovered that my son is a stain magnet. The stains just seem to find him! I spend so much time treating and scrubbing his clothes. Every day it's something new from grass stains to marker to food.

Well today.... today I want to introduce you to... his dinner. This was a special day. We got all dressed up and headed out to do a Father's Day photo shoot at a local studio. I pulled this brand new polo out of the closet and felt like he looked adorable.

We headed off to the studio where we got a couple of really cute shots. I was happy with the outcome and how well behaved the kids were. So I decided to take them out to dinner. The dinner where he ordered pizza. And then leaned on it. and then dropped it on himself. The dinner where we went from this....

to this....

Fortunately, I had this little buddy on my side.

Purex plus Clorox 2 helped me to fight these stains with minimal effort. It's stain fighting power helped to make my brand new shirt look brand new again! And it's safe for colors, too. Sorry... I know.. time to iron! Seriously... my work is never done.
Thanks Purex, for making my day a little brighter... literally!

Be sure to visit Purex on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to learn about all of their great products!

"The Purex® brand provided me with a sample of Purex® plus Clorox 2® detergent in exchange for a product review. However all the opinions expressed here are my own"

Monday, April 18, 2016

Placenta Banking with lifebankUSA

I have loved having the opportunity to share information with you regarding cord blood banking with lifebankUSA. Having the information and the knowledge when making this big decision is crucial. LifebankUSA has a fantastic website that educates you on everything you need to know to make an informed decision for you and your baby. But today I get to share something unique and special, Placenta Banking.

Saving your babies cold blood is something every new parent should be educated about. Knowing the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is so important. But did you know that you can bank placenta blood in addition to cord blood?

What is Placenta Blood?

Placenta blood is the blood that’s left in the placenta after birth. During your pregnancy, the placenta provides your baby with oxygen, water and essential nutrients and protects your baby against infection. After birth, your baby no longer needs the placenta, but the usefulness of the placenta doesn’t end with delivery. Like the umbilical cord, the placenta blood is a rich source of stem cells which can be collected and stored in case your child or a close family member needs them someday.

Collecting the placenta blood is a quick, easy, and painless process that happens after the placenta is expelled from the mom. 

What are the Benefits of Banking Placenta Blood?

Adding placenta blood banking can make your cord blood collection even more powerful by potentially doubling the number of stem cells that are collected and preserved.5 Here are three reasons why having more stem cells matters:

  • Research studies have shown that transplanting more stem cells can improve transplant success and survival. 
  • Preserving more stem cells means they may be used to treat more than one health condition that may affect your child or other close family member in the future.
  • Placenta blood increases other types of stem cells that have shown promise in regenerative medicine, an area of groundbreaking clinical research that involves the use of stem cells to repair or regrow damaged tissues and organs.

Only lifebankUSA offers this unique and wonderful opportunity. Since you only have one chance to take advantage of this, you should discuss cord blood banking and placenta banking with your family and your doctor before your due date. Having this decision already made will bring peace of mind on your exciting delivery day!

You can visit lifebankUSA for more information on all of the benefits of cord blood and placenta blood banking, and how this blood could help should your child or another family member need it.