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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gift ideas for your Valentine - His & Her

  1. Have you noticed that guys are wearing some cool looking socks lately? Grab a pair or three for his wardrobe at Gilt. I'm loving these multicolored Happy Socks (3 pk) Gilt Price: $19. Several other patterns and colors are available too, like a fun polka dot pack. You can make giving socks more romantic too by attaching this cute socks Valentine's Day printable "You knock my socks off Valentine." 

  2. Sterling Silver Pink Cubic Zirconia CZ Bypass Ring ($66.90). Love this two stone ring - one stone for your best friend and the other for your love! Amazing that it's so reasonable, yet finely made too. Bonus, 20% of this item's sale will be donated to and it's delivered to you in a red Berricle jewelry box perfect for gifting. Also, available in smaller and larger sizes 4-9, which isn't easy to find.

  3. A perfect way to keep it light, functional and fun is to gift one of these ceramic Starbucks travel tumblers or mug with an XOXO signature ($12.99 - $19.99). I also spotted a red and black heart ceramic tumbler at the Starbucks at my local Target, which I liked even better. Their is also a $2 plastic tumbler holiday edition with a pink heart on it, which would make a great gift for teachers and coworkers. Throw in an accompanying gift card or a hot cocoa packet inside for extra love.

  4. For your funny Valentine, try this George Takei fortune teller ($20) for quick, hilarious, and sometimes sarcastic advice. Just press the Ask The Wise George Takei Button to hear one of 25 exclusive voice recordings (with sound effects) from George. I don't know about yours, but my guy loves reading George Takei's funny Facebook posts, so know this funny gift will make him laugh and be a fun addition to his office desk.

  5. Create a Custom Instagram Mosiac in under 5 minutes ($8-$139 depending on the size, poster, canvas, etc.) with This site lets you easily pull photos from an Instagram feed or your computer and make a cool photo compilation to put up in your home or office. I have a canvas print of my two boys playing on the beach and from a distance it looks like a standard family portrait, until you get closer and see that it's over a hundred individual photos from my Instagram channel. Really unique! You can select which photo to be the main picture, as well as deselect food shots and other stuff that you don't want to be included too. You can also experiment with different tile settings, tints and hues to get just the look you want. It's super easy to do via their website. Go try it out and see what your photo would look like and then you can decide to order or download a digital version. This personal gift is great for moms, grandparents, social media fanatics like me and pet lovers too.

  6. The NSFW gift - Fiera, Arouser for Her ($250). The buzz (no pun intended) for this foreplay device caught my attention in all the CES coverage this year, having stood out from the typical mobile and engineering gadgets being reported on. What is it? No, it's not a computer mouse. It's an intimacy enhancer for women. Place the hot pink Fiera over the lady area and it creates a gentle suction to bring more blood flow to the area, which makes your never endings more sensitive and ready for a romantic night.  Fortunately, the design of this ‘before-play’ device is nothing to be embarrassed about and I like that it's for use with your partner and not as a replacement. 
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Friday, January 22, 2016

OMG I'm Driving a Mini Van

Queue the Talking Heads song "How did I get here?"... And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile ...

OMG I am now the owner of a 2015 Toyota Sienna XLE mini van and even more surprisingly, I'm loving it! So many parents have told us how much easier it is, but we had stubbornly held on to our SUV, dreading driving a sexless mini van. However, never say never, because apparently I'm a new woman.

I once equated driving a mini van to shopping at Talbots, for when women have given up being a woman and ugh am I now eating my words. I no longer have to worry about wearing a wedding ring either, because I can guarantee you that guys in other cars aren't even glancing my way in this baby shuttle, lol. At least, I'd rather blame the car than my appearance and age.

Doesn't matter the stigma though, it's actually a pleasure to drive this van. It's a smooth ride. I like being up so high too, it really has improved my visibility of the road and the features DO make traveling with kids easier.

Before with two car seats in the backseat, we could never have other people ride in our car. Sure, we had an SUV with a third row, but on long car trips it wasn't comfortable for them, plus there wasn't enough trunk space once those seats were up. Now, grandma and friends can come-along on trips too and so can all the twins' gear and double stroller.

Checking out the Honda Odyssey at the Miami Auto Show
The sliding doors are great too. The boys love pressing the button to easily open the doors themselves and I love that they aren't swinging the doors open and hitting and denting another car.

Not to mention the entertainment center turns complaining babies into gaping silence.

Yup, life is good. Our big, twin, mini van life. *sigh*
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Boys are Now the Age When My Sister Died

At just three years and one month into my sister Serina's life, it ended. My parents lost their first born when tragically their cautious three-year-old suddenly chased after her dog and was struck by a speeding car on their residential road. The dog lived, my sister didn't.

I grew up knowing first-hand that my parents experienced the worst thing imaginable for parents. Witnessed their daily tears, saw their pain that led to them splitting and even heard the terrible retelling of taking Serina off life support, but it took being a parent myself to put it further into perspective.

While I can still only begin to imagine their heartbreak and strength to keep living, I now know just how much personality, moments and dreams go into those three years of raising a child. It's helped make her life more real to me. I keep looking at my boys little bodies and a chill runs down my spine, but more importantly my tears fall for the beautiful little girl lost, her life taken and my poor parents for having to experience something so horrible.

I recently came across a simple photo of our father holding and titling back a cup of water for Serina to drink from. It's such a common parenting task, but I thought 'wow, how many times have I done that for my boys?' and I just started crying.

When I was younger I was a bit obsessed with Serina or rather the lack of her. She wasn't there, yet her presence still was, especially in how my parent's lives changed. I remember I couldn't get enough of looking at her photographs. We were both our parents daughters, yet I lived and she didn't. She had brown hair and brown eyes. My hair was super blonde as a child with blue/green eyes. She was in the 90th percentile and I was in the 20th. I would imagine and wonder what other differences and similarities we'd have. My father had her photos hanging up on almost every wall in his apartment. 17-years after her death, I was once again staring into her eyes as I removed them from his walls after his own passing.

Although I didn't look much like her, I caught myself doing a double-take at the following holiday photo of my son Ben. It reminded me of those photos that I used to see of her, of his would-be aunt. So, just maybe a bit of her still lives on. Maybe I was given twins to give my mom back a life that was taken.
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Monday, January 4, 2016

My Twin Boys' School Photo Meme

So, I just got back my boys' first school photos EVER and well, they look like mug shots.

Their pre-school was nice and apparently let them do a photo together, but as you can see ... it inspired me to do a meme. I have no idea what that photographer said to them, but they ain't happy!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

It's that time of year again.

Below are some holiday gift ideas for the cool dudes in your life. Or at least presents that I plan on gifting. Happy giving!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Him:

  1. Withings Activite Pop ($119.95) - Featuring the latest tech and a timeless look, Activité Pop watch helps you embrace healthy habits while complementing his style. This sleek watch shows you how active you are in real-time and the Health Mate app suggests easy changes to encourage you to walk more. So, forget the fitbit and embrace a more grown-up tracker. It's also waterproof and tracks your movement when swimming too. Other features include Sleep Tracking, plus no charging thanks to an 8-month+ battery life.  Jet-lagged after a long flight? No need to piece together the correct time zone. Once you have landed, Activité Pop automatically displays the local time. Great for the jet setter! Several colors are available for male and females.

    I already have one in pink and love it so much that I never take it off. I also have it set to wake me up each morning with its gentle vibrations and I programmed it to send a reminder to my phone each afternoon to walk and talk instead of staying at my desk. I thought with my cell phone I'd never wear a watch again and I realize how wrong I was, it's so much handier.
  2. TYLT RIBBN Car Charger ($39.99 - $42.99): This powerful car charger with a 3-foot flat cable and a 4.8-amp output can charge two smartphones or even two tablets simultaneously. I've gone through several car chargers in the last two years since they are always breaking, stripping or are no longer compatible with my current phone. This premium charger though is sturdy, durable and with two USB inputs you can charge more than one device at a time. It also has a micro-USB connection or an Apple Lightning connector at the end. Bonus, it comes in four different colors and if you're traveling with someone you don't have to take turns either.
  3. Craft Beer Pretzel & Popper Mixes ($7.99) from  Boardwalk Food Company make great gifts for foodies and guys who love craft beer. They are super easy to make, fun to serve and delicious! Just add your favorite beer for a little bit of beer in every bite ;) No liners are needed either. We especially like the cornbread one.
  4. Simple Loose Leaf Tea subscription box is like having a personal Tea Somalia in your mailbox. Each month, a box of loose leaf teas is shipped right to his door or office for just $15 no additional shipping costs. Each box has 4-5 loose leaf teas from around the world, 2 re-usable muslin tea bags and a beautiful card detailing their month's tea selection. It's the perfect box for the tea lover in your life. Also a great way to introduce your guy to tea! Get 25% off Gift Membership or Ongoing Subscription with code: 25HOLIDAY,
  5. New York Times Store Baseball Cufflinks ($170) This is home-run gift for baseball fans that like to suit up! These stylish sterling silver baseball cufflinks are made from an authentic game-used Major League Baseball from a New York Yankees or New York Mets game. It's a great conversation starter at future business meetings too. Best of all, you can even look up the game in which your ball was played by entering the hologram number on the back of each of these baseball cufflinks at It's also presented in a gift box from Tokens & Icons; officially authenticated and licensed by MLB. For other great ideas see New York Times store's personalized mens gifts.
  6. Conscious Step Socks ($14.95) Socks? Yes, socks. For those looking to buy mindful gifts, Conscious Step meets the criterion. Each sock has a one-of-a-kind design, is ethically manufactured, and partners with leading non-profits for a variety of causes. Looking to join the fight to end HIV/AIDS? There’s a sock for that. Interested in supporting children’s education? There’s a sock for that too. Great stocking stuffer and stylish too. Available online and in 30+ stores throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Clean Radiance Hair Giveaway

It's been a month since I started using Goody's new Clean Radiance hair brush with copper bristles and my hair is looking fabulous and shiny.

I've had several people comment on how healthy it looks. I keep it on my desk and use it to "polish" my hair at least three times throughout the day. Just don't use it when your hair is wet or tangled, but once it's dry for a finishing touch. Read more in my review along with tools to fight frizz and humidity. Great for stocking stuffers too.

Enter below for a giveaway from Goody hair care. The cool thing is that there isn't just one winner, but 28 possible prize winners, so better odds. Good luck!

  • Grand prize: Chi Straightener and CROC Blowdryer (valued at $200) 
  • Second prize: Goody Hair Care Basket (valued at $100) - 2 winners 
  • Third prize: $25 Walmart gift card - 25 winners
Beauty and Glam Giveaway

Disclaimer: Thanks to Acorn Influence, Goody Hair, and Walmart for sponsoring today’s post. As always, all stated opinions are my honest thoughts and these are all products that I actually use and chose to include #CleanRadiance
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas for Preschool Boys

Pre-School Gift Ideas for the Holidays

LeapTV (and me trying out the Bokeh photo effect)

The LeapFrog LeapTV Educational Gaming System is now selling for just $57.99 at most major retailers and on Amazon right now! You can now be the cool mom or aunt and gift little kiddos ages 3-8-years-old their first gaming system. Last year, LeapTV was retailing for $150, so this is really an exciting offer. As a LeapFrog Mom Ambassador, I was gifted a LeapTV to review and I'm planning on putting it under the tree for their Christmas gift. I can't wait to see them play it on X-Mas day.

Suggested LeapTV games to get for little ones: join Anna, Elsa and Olaf in a Frozen mathematics foray in Disney Frozen: Arendelle's Winter Festival Educational, Letter Factory, Blaze and Doodle Craft.

Play All Day Elmo from Hasbro  - $45Click on the link to read my previous post for more details on this hot new interactive toy.

Mega Bloks First Builders Build'n Go Wagon - $37.49 -  My boys Madrina (Godmother) gave us two wagons filled with these child's first building blocks last year and they are still being played with daily. Besides using the blocks to build, they love carting this wagon and each other in it all around the house, lol.

Green Toys Airplane - $7.49 - My boys were fighting over this classic toy plane to the point that I had to go out and buy another in a different color, so they'd each have one. It's also constructed entirely from recycled plastic and offers imaginative play. My boys love rolling it around on the floor and soaring it above their heads. I like that unlike other planes, there are no sharp edges and it's nice and lightweight too. Bonus, no sounds or high tech to deal with either.

Stocking Stuffers:

PlayTape by InRoad Toys: Entertain the kids for hours with PlayTape from InRoad Toys. PlayTape is repositionable tape designed to look like roads and train tracks that can be used on any flat surface without leaving any residue when removed. PlayTape is easily stored and great for travel. I'll put tracks up in hotel rooms and just pack two cars to go with it. Doesn't take up much space in your suitcase and provides kids with a toy while on-the-go. They even have Thomas the Train designs too. $7.99-12.99.

Hot Wheels cars. My boys can never seem to have enough. We have a lunch box tin full of them just for the car and when going out to eat.

Dry Erase Markers - I scored a rainbow pack at a Five Below store.

Crayons - They get broken so fast, that a new box is always welcome.

Jingle, Jingle, Little Reindeer Board Book by Parragon Books for only $6.99. Wiggle the cute reindeer puppet to help it get to Santa's sleigh on time! Since this is the first Christmas that the boys are really understanding and curious about stockings, reindeer and Christmas trees, this book helped introduce some of the holiday iconography to them.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Finding Nemo Birthday Party Cupcakes & Favors

My boys turned 3 last week!

Wow, I have two three-year-old boys. When did that happen?! Everyone kept annoyingly telling us that it goes by so quickly, but during that first crazy year with twins, I kept thinking, When? When will it go quick? But sure enough, once we were out of the woods, it has gone quickly! At least now when I look back or see how big they are in their three year birthday t-shirts.

To celebrate their third birthday, we went with a Disney's Finding Nemo theme for their pre-k birthday party from favors to cupcakes.

Finding Nemo Birthday Party Favors 

Finding Nemo Pre-School Birthday Favors

I couldn't find official licensed gift bags, so I purchased these general fish themed bags on Amazon. For the gifts inside, I ordered bubbles, fish shaped prisms and Finding Nemo character stickers from Oriental Trading Co., plus individual bags of Goldfish Crackers as a snack too.

I then used my HP Envy printer to print out round stickers with my kids names on them and a Dory and Nemo image to seal the bags. Easy peasy and a bit more personal that way.

Finding Nemo Pre-School Birthday Gift Bags

For a fun party activity, you can print out these free Finding Nemo Coloring Book Pages from Mom Junction and put out orange and blue crayons for the kids to color with. Simple and cheap. Or fold and add the print outs directly to the goodie bags.


Easy Finding Nemo Birthday Cupcakes

Now here is where I really had fun. I'm not a fancy or patient baker, but I was really pleased with how these turned out. I purchased aqua blue Pillsbury Funfetti cake mixes and orange easy frost icing to re-create the blue waters and color of Nemo and Marlin. I then topped off with a Goldfish Graham Cracker cookie fish. Voila! Finding Nemo-inspired cupcakes. My boys were really excited about these and kept talking about their Nemo cupcakes for school.


What to get a pre-schooler who has everything? That was the question. My boys have so many toys, cars and balls, that I didn't want to just add more to their playroom. Instead, we gave them each one really nice present that will also help with their continued learning and development - a LeapFrog Epic - a kid-friendly tablet for ages 3-9.

They would occasionally play with some coloring apps on our iPads, but we didn't really want them using those yet, which is why we opted for these safer digital experiences that focus on learning. We also can't wait to take these traveling with us!

The touchscreen LeapFrog Epic is Android based, so game cartridges are not compatible with this device. Instead, you download new content wirelessly just like you would for grown-up Android tablets. Out of the box, the Epic includes 20-plus apps (Wi-Fi, a parent account and device set-up are required to access all included content).  The idea of apps for little children might sound scary, but every app is Leapfrog-certified to ensure there are no in-app purchases, no harmful third-party ads and only age-appropriate experiences. The parental controls also let you manage what, when and how long each child plays too.

We also added Finding Nemo content to the device by downloading a Nemo Reef Builder game on to the LeapFrog Epic.

Disney·Pixar Finding Nemo: Reef Builder

Disclaimer: As a LeapFrog Mom Ambassador, I receive products, promotional items and educational material to use and share as I see fit.
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