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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guess the Panties Bachelorette Party Game

I've taken part in the typical Bachelorette party games, scavenger hunts, suck for a buck tricks over the years of celebrations, so I was pleasantly surprised to play a new game while attending my friend Laura's party last weekend.

We were instructed to bring sexy panties for the bride-to-be as a gift, but unwrapped and with no card. The chosen underwear could be lacy, animal print, dainty or downright dirty, but should be a reflection of the person who brought them and not the bride's own style. Then, without the bride seeing us, we all deposited our chosen designs in a bag anonymously. The bachelorette is asked to reach into the bag and pull out one pair of panties. The bachelorette then shows the panties to everyone and must then identify who bought her those panties. If the bachelorette correctly guesses who gave her the panties then the giftee takes a drink, but if she guesses incorrectly then she takes a drink per each wrong guess.

Now what panties identify me? That was the question I had to ask myself. I also had to think about how the bride sees me too. Finally, I went with a sexy red lacy number from Frederick's of Hollywood. I figured the boldness of them would signify me and that the color red would also reflect the red heart tattoo on my left butt cheek (that's another story). I actually tried looking for panties with hearts on them, but surprisingly I didn't find any.
The bride post panty raid
The first undergarment that the bride selected from the bag was a silly lion thong in orange neon colors, which Laura thought were mine, lol. Drink up! She also thought the next wild navy pair that she pulled out were mine too. Sip again. However, the third selection was in fact mine and she guessed it correctly this time, so it was my turn to gulp. I found it funny that she thought all of the bold and crazy ones had to be from me, but I suppose she wasn't too off in thinking that ;) wink wink.Oh, and another attendee brought official Jets panties since she is a fan of the football team, but luckily enough that is also the groom's team.
Late night pool fun with the gals
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Philips Avent My Penguin Sippy Cup Giveaway

My boys recently got to test out the new leak free Philips Avent My Penguin Sippy Cups and we've liked it so much that I've since recycled their old toddler cups.
Cat not included ;)
The penguin cup for 12m+ is a part of Philips AVENT's new toddler cup range, which boasts an easy transition from bottle to cup. It's BPA Free and features a patent pending valve ensures that water comes out only when your child is drinking from it, thus guaranteeing no spill, leak-free. Moms confirmed (including me!). No more mess and I have a water-stained couch with no new stains to prove it. The cups also come with a cap for travel too.

Ben especially likes the hard bite resistant spout instead of the silicon ones that we were using and I like it too because it's easier to clean and they can't bite and break it either. We had a hard spout from another brand too, but that one would leak if left on its side.

Also, the comfort grips on the cup ensures easy handling for your toddler and creates independence.

Oh, and how cute is the Penguin design?

3 readers will WIN a limited-edition winter design cup. Enter below:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Febreze Noseblind Prevention Kit Giveaway

noseblind [nohz-blihnd] -noun -The gradual acclimation to the smells of one’s home, car, or belongings, in which the affected does not notice them. While many experience noseblindness in their homes, their guests are still able to identify odors. 

Have you seen those Febreze Noseblind commercials? Having 2 cats, these ads immediately caught my attention, but defensively I was quick to dismiss the idea assuming my home was an exception.

Recently, during my mom's visits she would make a comment as she walked by our laundry room, which is where we also house our cats' litter box. This surprised me since we change their litter box frequently and it didn't bother me nor my husband. I even changed the brand of the litter we used as a result, but she would still make comments, so I started to wonder if we had in fact gone noseblind.

Noseblindness occurs naturally over time when a person becomes accustomed to surrounding smells, whether it’s a dog bed or kitty litter box, and can no longer easily detect those distinct odors. With the help of comedienne and actress Jane Lynch alongside the ASPCA, Febreze is prompting pet lovers nationwide to talk about what guests really smell.

Seeking noseblind treatment? Febreze truly eliminates odors, whether you can smell them or not, leaving nothing but freshness behind. So you can feel confident knowing your home is always guest-ready. Best of all, Febreze ingredients have been reviewed by the ASPCA and have been deemed to be non-toxic to animals when used as directed. Phew! I've started using their Air Effects Linen & Sky spray, which eliminates tough odors and leaves behind a light, fresh scent. So far no comments have been made from the peanut gallery lately, so it must be working! I've also been enjoying lightly fragrant smell as I walk by too.

Instagram #Stinkface Contest

Submit a photo of your pet for a chance to win $400 by entering the following Instagram contest. Share photos of your pet's smelliest stinkface moments using hashtags #Febreze and #Noseblind and #Stinkface for a chance to win. Also be sure to follow and tag @toastmeetsworld.

Noseblind Prevention Kit Giveaway

You can also enter the $200+ giveaway below to win a Noseblind Prevention Kit including:
  • $25 worth of Febreze products to combat Noseblindness 
  • Universal smart phone camera lens kit
  • $100 gift card to PetCo 

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Disclaimer: This post and giveaway were made possible by Double Duty Divas and Febreze. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Headed to SoFabU in Miami

During my 10 years of blogging I've attended a lot of blogging conferences to network with other bloggers and brands, learn new tools and get inspired, but in two weeks it will be my first time in a long time that I'll be a newbie at one.

I’ll be attending my first SoFabU On the Road Conference on February 28 during its stop at The Four Seasons in Miami, which is just one of 11 cities that conference will be traveling to this year. Since I'm new to Florida, I'm looking forward to meeting new local state bloggers.

National sponsors include:Johnny RocketsMüllerKraft and iBlog Magazine-- all awesome. After going to so many social media conferences though, I have to admit I often find myself rolling my eyes at the boring topics being covered, however, I'm really jazzed by this show's planned agenda. 

I'm especially excited for the two hour Instagram photo tour of Wynwood Walls with six local photographers and Instagram superstars who will be providing tips and tutorials along the way. Wynwood Walls, which is in the Miami area, features walls and industrial doors covered in graffiti art and street art. I've never been, but my recently married friend Stef posed for her engagement photos there. Take a look at the colorful result:
The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the early morning start date, because the night prior I'll be at a bachelorette party in nearby Ft. Lauderdale. I'm not planning on taking Willy this time, but I'll definitely be packing my Volo Energy to put in my water bottle during the conference. Stay tuned for more on my Instagram and Twitter channels.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Guide & The Best of Me Giveaway

Flowers, chocolates and jewelry may be traditional Valentine's Day gifts, but the clever, tech-savvy gift-giver can truly impress with these Valentine's Day gift ideas for her or consider this a list of some fun presents to buy for yourself ;)

For a romantic movie night ...
The Best of Me just released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on Feb. 3. Based on the #1 New York Times Best Seller from author Nicholas Sparks comes this tender, romantic drama about the timeless power of love, hope and second chances.

When former high school sweethearts Dawson and Amanda (James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan) meet at a loved one's funeral 20 years after tragedy separated them, their love is reignited. As they recall and relive the past, they come to a deeper understanding about the choices they've made. Best of Me also features beautiful scenery along with music by Lady Antebellum. Personally, I'm just happy James Marsden from The Notebook gets a leading role in a Sparks film this time.

Enter below to win The Best of Me “Tears of Joy” Edition Blu-ray ($19.99) from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, which includes deleted scenes, an all-new storyline and “Storybook” Alternate Ending that you didn't see in theaters!

For a romantic dinner...
Nobileweb.pngI LOVE Italian wines and fortunately its grapes and varietals are becoming more popular here in the US. Whether they are on a wine menu or not, is how I gauge if an Italian restaurant is really in fact Italian. One such bottle is Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2011 ($29) made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, a perfect addition to a romantic night in. This noble wine has intense aromas of red fruits, cherry pie, Mediterranean shrubs and sweet spices with underlying hints of fresh mint leaves. The taste is medium-bodied, round and delicate with silky tannins and a long-lingering, balsamic touch. It almost fizzes on your tongue despite the fact that there isn't any carbonation. Is it wine-o-clock yet?

For the 
tech-obsessed special someone ...
Farbe Technik External Battery Case for Apple iPhone 6 ($65) or iPhone 5S. This stylish and ultra-slim external battery case keeps you connected while on the go. Your geeky girlfriend can use this as a protective case as well as a backup battery. It also comes in V-Day colors like red, pink or purple.

For the romance reader or book lover...

I'm in love with this retro-inspired M-Edge Trip Case (Sale $17.99) cover for my Kindle Paperwhite reader. This case is made out of a canvas fabric, with a leather spine and an elastic strap that holds it tightly closed, properly shielding your e-reader. I like that it adds both protection and flair when traveling and and it's great to hold when curling up with a romantic read. The bright pink and orange colors make me smile, but there is also a fun purple and teal option. 

For something more intimate...

This Valentine’s Day, double your pleasure with the ORA2 from LELO, a premium sensual massager ($169) "for surrendering to pure oral pleasure, for the oral sex experience you've always dreamt of." Best of all, the design is compact, elegant and discreet, thus nothing to be embarrassed about owning as it looks almost like a mod bottle of perfume. This luxe gizmo is also 100% waterproof...interesting. It can be used with a partner or solo. More specs can be found on their site, which fortunately keeps it classy.

For Tea Lovers ...

A perfect gift for any tea lover, Amoda Monthly Tea Box. Choose either a 3 Month subscription for $54 or a 6 Month subscription for $108 and this gift will keep on giving past Valentine's Day! Each month your Valentine will receive tea samples and tasting notes so they can experience teas they may never discover on their own.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

To the 15 years ago me

My dad would put his calloused, meat hook of a hand in mine and tell me to squeeze it as hard as I could and I would. It wasn't until I was in high school that he finally pulled his big paw out of my grip and told me with a mix of respect and relief, "You're stronger than you know." He then put his theory to the test when he passed away. 15 years ago to be exact.

The timing couldn't have been worse for me. I know, you're probably thinking there is never a good time to lose your father, but that's not true. Even if I just had one extra freaking week more, he would have at least known my future was in good hands since I received my first college acceptance letter the morning of his wake. Or a few months more and he would have at least been there to see me graduate high school, go to prom, becoming an adult.

The timing couldn't have been better for him. I could tell he was scared about the prospect of dialysis and he was never scared of anything. Pain, both physically and mentally was a constant for him, but the thought of being tied down to a machine had him finally reevaluating his life. We didn't talk about it and I regret that now, but he was probably dreading me going off to college too. We saw each other every Monday after all, during his only day off. What would he do on Mondays now? In the end, I was the one who had to figure out what I would do on Mondays without him.

I remember how supportive my school guidance counselor was. She also lost her father when she was 17. In an attempt to explain that she knew what I was going through, she shared that just the other day she was crying thinking of her dad. I know she was being nice, but her words terrified me. All I could think of was 'great, this painful ache never goes away.' It does though. 'Time heals all wounds' was the platitude that everyone kept telling me, but I wanted to shout, when!?

Yes, I'm always thinking about my dad, my friend, one of the few people who really got me. But thankfully, that painful gut wrenching ache has finally dulled. Yes, some days I'll even feel like his memory and presence is almost palpable and I'll start crying while driving some place or when thinking of some memory that only I remember. However, those attacks on my soul are less frequent now.

So, if I could talk and hug that 15 years ago me, I wouldn't lie and tell her that it's all going to be okay, because we would both know it would never be OK again, but I would tell myself that it does get better. That elusive time that heals will eventually come, at a slow crawl, but it will arrive. Then, believe it or not you'll feel sorry for its loss, because although time heals, it also erases.

How can I have possibly made it 15 years without him in my life? I guess I am stronger than I know.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Interview with Artist Peter Max

I recently had the chance to meet and interview one of America’s most popular living Artists, Peter Max.

Since I've interviewed a lot of celebrities over the years, I can be a bit blasé about it sometimes, yet I found myself quite nervous about doing this one. Mainly because while I enjoy art, I've never really written about it before, so I was a bit out of my wheelhouse. Plus, after reading his bio and resume, I couldn't help but be in awe. After all, by age 23, he was on the cover of Life magazine. Imagine that? I've also seen a lithograph of his sell upwards of $25k at a Princess Cruises art auction.

Known for his psychedelic iconic Pop Art designs commemorating Woodstock to Lady Liberty, he has painted for five U.S. Presidents and his art is on display in Museums, Presidential Libraries and in U.S. Embassies across the globe. He has been the Official Artist of five NFL Super Bowls, the 2006 Olympics, the World Cup USA, The World Series (Yankees vs Mets), The U.S. Open, The Indy 500, The NYC Marathon and The Kentucky Derby.  He's even painted a Boeing 707 and the hull of Norwegian cruise ships (which I previously got to see here), thus, it's easy to say that Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary culture.

Personally, I find his vividly colorful pieces to be optimistic and I like how they can always make me smile and lift my mood. I especially like his heart designs like this one:
Peter Max ©2015
During my conversation with him, the artist said that even at age 77, he still gets an adrenaline rush as he nears his studio in New York. I felt that same feeling and inspiration when talking to Mr. Max on the phone before his recent exhibit in Naples, Florida.

Presented by Road Show Company, the pop-up gallery showcased a never-before-seen collection of Max's exquisite paintings at The Mercato in Naples. As part of the show, Peter Max made two open to the public appearances, where I then got to meet the artist in person and even purchase one of his works. For more meet the artist opportunities with Peter Max in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Short Hills, NJ, you can find the full list here.
Fortunately, he was as friendly and humble as he seems in his on-camera interviews. He started off by asking where I was located and how long I've been writing. He then provided me with some background on how he got started by taking private lessons as a child and going to art school. Although born in Berlin, Germany, his family moved to Shanghai, China when he was very little for 10 years until they moved to Israel and later New York, where he lives 'til this day.

How do you choose the pop icons and objects that you feature? 
Peter Max: "When I put my brush to canvas I never know what I'm going to paint. It's like when you're walking down the street with your hands in your pockets, humming a tune, you don't know what you'll be humming five minutes from now."
Peter Max ©2015
Your work has appeared in The Hermitage to the Louvre, what's been your favorite appearance?
Peter Max: "You know what I just learned two weeks ago? I thought my work was in probably 40 museums or so, but I was just told that my work is in 2,200 museums worldwide from Brazil to Singapore. It's mind-boggling."

How often do you still paint and create art? 
Peter Max: "Seven days a week, I'm always drawing, doodling or painting whether I'm in the studio or on a plane."
With artist Peter Max
Here is a really interesting video interview with the artist on CBS Morning Show.
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Visiting the set of DIG

Back in early December, I traveled to Albuquerque (the hardest city to spell!) for the first time for a special behind-the-scenes set visit of USA Network's upcoming action-suspense series DIG.

DIG premiers on Thursday, March 5 on USA and stars Anne Heche and Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a young female archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making.

While touring the set, I especially had fun role-playing in the interrogation room with fellow blogger @TheRealJethro at Yes, I'd be a terrible actor, lol.
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Besides touring the different sound stages and quietly watching a scene being filmed several times, I was also able to interview the cast including its two main stars. My impression of Heche was that she was pleasantly down to earth and seemed relaxed and comfortable with herself. Also, she wasn't as guarded or as serious in her responses as other actresses are, in fact she let a few minor curses slip and seemed able to laugh at herself.

I was especially eager though to meet English actor Jason Isaacs, but I was also a bit nervous since I'm used to him playing such great bad guys like Col. William Tavington in The Patriot and Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. However, talking with him you'd never guess he was even capable of playing such evil dudes. I found him to be very personable and funny. Apparently, he also likes to play Motown music on the set for everyone. He even agreed to pose for photos and took us back over to the set to do so.
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My piece on The Huffington Post has more on the new series including Exclusive Photos From the Set of DIG in Jerusalem and in ABQ.

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