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Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

Holiday Gifts For Men:


  1. Korus M20 Hi-Fi Mobile Speaker  - $199.99 - Forget the Beats pill or any Bluetooth speaker or docking station that you may have. This mini portable tower weighs less than 2 pounds and has a battery life of up to 17 hours. Delivering BIG sound with incredible clarity, the Korus M20 is a go-anywhere, water resistant and no wires. You simply recharge it using a USB charge cable. Best of all, it doesn't rely on a WiFi network and thus is portable, able to play in the backyard or park as easily as in the living room with enough sound to throw a party. Using SKAA, it provides a stronger signal than Bluetooth and you can use their free app to control the volume and music. Techy dudes will totally geek out over it.  
  2. Contigo Shake & Go Fit Mixer Bottle - $7.99 -  Engineered to be 100% leak proof for easy transport, this bottle is perfect for the gym, home or office. The carry handle on the lid and included weighted shaker ball, makes it ideal for mixing up protein shakes or powdered vitamin drinks like Volo Vitamins. This gift is great for the active, health nut and for travelers.  It's BPA free too.
  3. Pop Scope - $19.95 - POP Scope is a neat device that attaches to almost any smart phone and helps you extend your reach to get pictures or video that you never thought possible. Giving you just the right amount of reach to get that great shot over a crowd or with a background, the device reaches out 21 inches and collapses down to 6.5 inches - with a swivel head allowing for a 90 degree bend.  It is also a great tripod for watching videos on your phone too.
  4. Ace Rivington Homespun French Terry Sweatshirt - $99 - I was immediately drawn to the fashionable style of this sweater and fell in love with it at first touch. The fabric is soft and warming to the touch, this sweatshirt will instantly become a wardrobe staple for your man. Warning: it will also make him more huggable. I only wish they made a female version as I seriously love the quality of this snug sweater. Available in a dusty orange heather, a faded red, a muted mineral green and more. The green and red obviously great for the holidays, but all styles though have a subtle dark red trim on the bottom. AceRivington.com
     A.R. SWEATSHIRT
  5. Phone Soap Charger - $59.95 - Did you know your cell phone has 18 times more harmful bacteria than that handle in a public restroom? Luckily, with the new PhoneSoap Charger you can clean and sanitize your phone while it charges. This twofer is the safest and most complete way to kill all the bacteria growing on your phone, while not damaging your phone – just pure, clean light. No heat, no liquid and no chemicals. Rub-A-Dub-Dub, safe soap for your phone!
  6. StufZ Burger Builder - $9.99 + $4.99 shipping - This as-seen-on TV gift is great for men manning the grill. This manly cooking device allows you to make stuffed burgers like a professional chef. We have one and my husband loves it and eagerly wants to make new burger recipes, thus it's the gift that keeps on giving! I'm a fan of blue cheese inside. 
  7. Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries - $20-$25 - The holidays just got a little merrier. Gift a jar of Ole Smoky®, Tennessee's first legal moonshine. What is moonshine? It is unaged corn whiskey. A jar of Ole Smoky's Moonshine Cherries are especially festive and original. Each jar is handfilled with fresh maraschino cherries soaked in Ole Smoky’s 100 proof moonshine. You can simply pop the cherries whole as a fun way to eat/drink your alcohol or use them as a garnish for another festive drink. Once the cherries have disappeared, enjoy the remaining Cherry Moonshine straight up or create the ultimate Cherry Coke. Moonshine is all the rage in the beverage industry right now, so be hip and pick a jar up for an equally hip guy on your shopping list. 
  8. iFlask - $29.95 -  This flask looks like a smart phone and features an extremely discreet design, fills around 5oz of your favorite beverage, and even comes with a built-in bottle opener. Basically, making this flask one of the world's best drinking gifts and perfect for sneaking in mixers! goiflask.com
Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Him
  • 12 Pack of Cable and Cord Organizer Clips ($8.90) to hold cords in place with sticker. Use in car, night stand, or desk to hold cables for easy access. No more having to search for a fallen cord when charging your phone, etc. My husband even asked me to order more. 
  • Ben Sherman Socks - ($19 for a 3 pack) These quality socks are stylish and comfortable. Each sock features a colored toe, heel and hem.The three-packs include fun, but subtle prints (stripes, geometrics, dots) and a single plain pair too. 
  • Cuban eCigars ($29.99) are the first e-Cigar product to hit retail stores. They are the perfect gift for new dads, dinner parties, graduation, or anyone looking for a healthier cigar alternative without sacrificing feel or taste. Bonus, no smokey smell on clothes or in the house and no guilt. These eCigars contain 1,000 puffs of rich, bold Cuban-flavored vapor - that is like enjoying 8 to 10 traditional cigars without ANY of the harmful side affects! 
  • Headstrap Flashlight - ($15 and up) seems kind of crazy, but my husband uses the one I gave him last year more often then you'd think for grilling, putting up holiday lights and other projects. Provides light while keeping your hands-free. 
  • TabaƱero Hot Sauce ($9.99 plus $5 for shipping) is a gourmet all-natural hot sauce that will heat up the winter. Perfect option for foodies and for some who like it hot. The TabaƱero Hot Sauce Santa Boots gift set includes two 5oz. bottles delivered in Santa's small boots, which can then be used as tree ornaments.
    Two 5oz Bottles (Gift Set)
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bananas Salon for Kids in Fort Myers

My sons' hair grows super quick. My husband will trim it himself once a month, but every quarter I like to get it professionally cut to give it a nice shape, which we can then maintain ourselves after. Like I wrote in my Babies' First Haircut Post, you're better off paying a little more or driving further to find a salon geared to children only. We went once to a regular hair studio and it was a nightmare - stressful for everyone.

Since moving though I've been on the lookout for a similar studio for kids down here and luckily I finally found one over in Ft. Myers - Bananas Salon.

Inside, they have a whole play area, which kept the other half of my duo entertained while his brother got his hair cut. They have a wooden train set and a clubhouse, which they both closed themselves in when it was time to go not wanting to leave. I had to knock on the plastic door and go in after them.

Instead of chairs, each hair-cutting station has a different car for kids to sit in from a fire engine, police car to a pink power wheels jeep. My boys sat in the fire engine seat and enjoyed playing with the bell and spinning the steering wheel.

In front of each car they also have a TV and DVD player. When we arrived they asked us what film or show from their collection that we would like. They had about 50 titles to chose from too. We went with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. All of these distractions made for a really easy experience.

Their stylist, Keri, was a pro at weaving around their bobbing heads in order to deftly cut their hair. She was even able to use the electric shaver at the end to get the little fuzzy hairs on the back of their neck.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Preschool Playdate #DisneyKids

Show Your Disney SideMy boys love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and dancing to the hot dog theme song, so when I was selected to host a Show Your Disney Side, pre-school playdate we were all very excited. While I've hosted at-home blogger parties before, this was the first time that I ever hosted one for kids. Having recently moved, It was also a great opportunity to socialize with other parents and their kids in the area.

Dressing Up:

For the big day, my boys wore matching red Mickey Mouse & Pluto tees (this is the third size that I've bought these shirts in since it's a favorite of theirs) from The Children's Place and also found on-sale at Zulily.

I also assembled free Mickey and Minnie Ear Print Outs, which were super easy to do and allowed everyone attending to dress up too and feel special in their Mickey Ear hats. Tip: Use stronger paper stock.

At first Logan was not liking his ears and I couldn't help but laugh and take photos of his protests. Yet surprisingly, after the initial complaints he ended up keeping his ears on the whole time, longer than anyone else, even his twin.

The Food: 
I filled bowls with Crunchmaster Cheezy and Grammy Crisps. I also had bags of Doc McStuffins themed fruit gummies and Clif Kid Organic Chocolate Chip ZBars with protein (my boys need more protein) available. Plus, I toasted up some Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets from Costco.

For dessert, I baked Mickey Mouse Cinnamon buns, by arranging Pillsbury Cinnamon Grands in the shape of Mickey Ears.


Decorating:
We had matching Mickey Mouse party supplies like napkins, plates, cups and table cloths and hung fun spiral Mickey Mouse Swirls with Cutouts from our arch way.
Playing off of the lines said in every episode and in the theme song of the Disney Junior show, I printed up signs for the ear hat station and a welcome sign for the door using these Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Free Party Sign Printables! There are a bunch of other personalized options available for purchase on Etsy too.

Playtime & Activities: 
We already had the fun Mickey Mouse play tent and tunnel seen above, which I also found on Zulily, so we put it out in our den and filled it with foam blocks for the toddlers to play in.

Mickey coloring pages were also a big hit with the younger guests like my two-year-olds. You can easily print your own from home here for free. I also like to print out a bunch and keep them in my car with a box of crayons for when we dine out with the boys.

We also played Disney Side Bingo with the help of the other parents and the two winners received fun play sets from Mega Bloks.  Plus, don't forget to play the hot dog song on loop, although be warned it's still in my head, lol.

Along with some favors, everyone walked away with a Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD too. You can plan your own Disney Side Celebration and download a free party kit to get you started.

Disclaimer: I have received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate. The opinions expressed here are my own. There was no further compensation for this post
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas & Stocking Stuffers for Her

Here are my annual fun & fabulous holiday gift guide suggestions for your girlfriend, coworker, friend, mom, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, etc. For all the great ladies in your life or maybe some new wish list shopping suggestions for yourself ;) all for under $75 too.

9 Holiday Gifts For Her 
  1. Personalized Cityline Note Cards - $45.00 - at PaperFinch. This set of 5 x 3.5 inch folded note cards are useful gifts and the perfect way to say hello while also showing off your hometown. Available in a dozen different city skylines including Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit and more.  You can also tailor it further with your gifttee's name (this one just happened to have Tara on it! :) and select a sunburst color from the color chart. You could also have it simply read 'Thank You' or 'Hello!' too, it's up to you! I also like their color-blocking Thank You notes for $25. I already have a personalized Florida print framed from PaperFinch that is up in my boys' playroom. 
  2. Crabtree & Evelyn Ornament Tin & Hand Therapy Cream - $14 for each ornament tin, which contains two ultra-moisturizing Hand Therapy creams, infused with macadamia nut oil and shea butter to nourish and fragrance hands. The decorative tin with velvet loop on top is so pretty you don't even have to wrap this gift. I like to keep a tube of their lotion at my desk to ensure my hands are kept soft and conditioned, thus an ideal gift for coworkers. Available in three botanical formulations including Avocado, Olive & Basil; Citron, Honey & Coriander (this is the one I have) and Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed,  blending the very best of nature and science.
  3. Three-Stack Tower of Memo Pads - $9.99 - These lovely notes from the Northpole Hallmark collection add northpole magic to your office or home. Great for brief notes and lists and are easy reminders of your friendship long after the holiday, but each time your giftee writes a note. Available in Blue Snowflakes or Red Stitchery at Hallmark stores nationwide and online
  4. Royal Albert Vintage Teacup & Saucer Set In Cheeky Pink - $24.99 -  I have this earmarked for a friend who prefers drinking her coffee in delicate cups like these, plus I just might need to snag one for me too. Lighthearted and dainty, the Cheeky Pink pattern is a charming addition to the Royal Albert New Country Rose collection. Classically rendered roses are paired with modern dots and scrolls and splashes of beguiling pink all rendered in fine bone china with a 22 carat gold trim. It makes me smile just looking at it. Also, available in a larger modern mug shape to hold a bigger cup o' joe or tea, yet still delicate. Available online only at Bed, Bath & Beyond
  5. Marvelous Red Blend 2011 - $14.99 and knee socks. It's always time for wine and this spicy, bold red is marvelous, literally. From MarvelousWines- a brand new, collaborative line coming from South Africa. Winemaker Adam Mason (Mulderbosch Wines) has teamed up with award winning Chef Peter Tempelhoff to create a line of multi-varietal blends designed specifically with the intention to pair effortlessly with food. A Rhone-style blend, the Marvelous Red 2011 is all about spice, red fruit flavors and freshness. Makes for a great hostess gift for any holiday parties too. But why the socks? I was inspired by this pin where you can gift wrap a bottle of wine with cute knee socks for a fun extra gift that can make giving a bottle as a gift a bit more personal. 
  6. Coach Cosmetic Case - $75 - I have a similar leather embossed Coach travel bag for my toiletries and I love displaying it in hotel bathrooms. This chic splurge is great for a work trip, romantic getaway or traveling with girlfriends. Available in 7 vibrant colors including purple & orange, in-store or online.
  7. Kiva Gift Credit - $25 - In this season of giving, share the gift of Kiva.org, a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to make loans as small as $25 to a business of their choice around the world, empowering individuals across the globe to start or grow a business, improve their home and more. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Perfect for the girl that has everything and likes to give back. 
  8. SugarWish.com -$25-$75 -  When you send someone a Sugar Wish, they then receive an e-card that guides your gift recipient to select their favorite candies from over 80 fun finds. Their candy is then packaged in darling Tiffany blue box, tied with a ribbon, and shipped right to their door. I was lucky enough to get a  Petite Sugar Wish (1lb of candy) this summer and it was so much fun selecting my candy choices and yummy too. I especially liked their coconut jelly beans. Great for client gifts too.
  9. FlipBelt - $28.99 - Whether she's a fitness guru, marathoner or a busy mom, the FlipBelt is the perfect accessory to hold your keys, cash, and cell phone while on-the-go, hands-free. The FlipBelt comes in a range of sizes and a variety of fun colors. I'm giving one to a friend in aqua, but am now wanting one for myself. Flipbelt.com
Stocking Stuffers 
  • Softlips Cube Seasonal Edition lip balm - At $3.49, this is an ideal stocking stuffer perfect for throwing in a purse, desk or car. I actually have one in all three places as I’m addicted to this round lip balm. This glass-like, cube-shaped balm in a special edition Pomegranate Blueberry flavor provides unprecedented, 5 in 1 lip care to hydrate, replenish, smooth, protect with SPF 15 and add a subtle sheen. Conveniently available at mass retailers, the cheerful-looking holiday packaging is available just for a limited time. I'm also partial to the Vanilla flavor. 
  • Esse Nail Polish - There's the bright Jingle Hi, Jingle Lo from the holiday collection, but I'm also still loving the Summer collection of bright colors, especially Roarrrrange and Haute in the Heat. Any should delight. 
  • Coupon Organizer Wallet - $6.99 - For frugal deal-loving friends, this coupon organizer from Bed, Bath & Beyond will be a welcome and useful gift. I always carry mine in my purse as I also use it to hold gift cards too. 
  • Beauty Blender - $19.99 - These pointed ball-like sponges are used by makeup artists to apply makeup flawlessly. I've been using it for the last year and it's amazing what a difference it makes. Available at Sephora or Beauty.com.
  • Harney & Sons Tagalong Tea Tins - $3.75 - Each tagalong tin contains 5 sachets of their amazing whole leaf teas. Perfect for traveling. Their special Holiday Tea Blend tagalong is a black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. Wonderful for a cold winter morning.
  • Ugly Sweater iPhone Case - $9.99 - This fun hardshell case for your iPhone is tacky chic. Available at Charming Charlie for iPhone 5/5S and 4S models. I ordered one for myself! 
  • Holiday Glitter Tony Ties - $6 for a 3-pack of stretch ribbon bands in red, green and gold glitter.  Even your pony will be in the holiday spirit with these glittery seasonal colors. Sleek, functional and great for a quick, crease-free ponytail. These no-tug hair ties are comfortable in your hair and can also be fashionably worn as a bracelet so you have a hair tie always on hand. Even your pony will be in the holiday spirit with these glittery seasonal colors. Available at ULTA and online via www.miabeauty.com They also have a blue and silver variety option too.
  • Kindle Books - Yes, I know they are digital, but that doesn't mean you can't print out the book cover and slip into a stocking. I also like that I can easily send a Kindle e-book to a friend out-of-state without having to go to the post office. Instead of adding to your cart, just click on "Give as a Gift." For a steamy holiday romp that's only $2, check out J.S. Scott's The Billionaire's Christmas (A Sinclair Novella) or my friend Farrah Rochan's multicultural holiday novel - A Mistletoe Affair
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Reminder: Batteries Not Included...

This holiday season as you buy gifts for your children or friends, don't forget the batteries!

I've always thought that it was super considerate when someone not only buys an electronic gift for my boys, but also wraps up a package of batteries to accompany it. It avoids meltdowns and saves mom the trip to the store. Plus, even when toys come with batteries already they never seem to last too long.

I plan to return the favor and 'gift it forward' this year by including batteries with any electronics that I give. In fact, the packaging on the Furby Boom that is going to my step-niece recommends on the packaging to power up with Duracell, but batteries are not included, so I'm wrapping up a Duracell 4-pack from Walmart as well.

TIP: Duracell recommends storing batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Despite what people say, do not refrigerate Duracell batteries; this will NOT make them last longer. Good to know once and for all. More usage tips here and on their Facebook page.

So, remember to power the holidays this year with Duracell the "#1 long-lasting battery."

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Peanuts Movie & Snoppy Sno-Cone Giveaway

Ready for the latest Peanuts news? For this month's Charlie Brown Christmas interview I got to speak with Ron Smith of Technicolor. He gave me and fellow Peanuts Ambassadors' exclusive insights into the cutting-edge technology—4k scanning and finishing—that’s making the beloved 50-year-old classic look as fresh and clean as the day it was created.

Basically, viewers will see a richer image that’s closer to the original film than any previous digital version of the special. There are more pixels per inch, so the picture quality is better than ever before on any television screen.

Beyond the classic TV special airing during the holidays there is more news for fans to look forward to. Next year, THE PEANUTS MOVIE hits theaters everywhere on November 6, 2015! In the new 3D, CGI animated comedic adventure, Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace! – embark upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.

To extend the Peanuts magic this holiday, we are giving away a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine for classic, delicious fun for the whole family. This nostalgic toy lets children create a refreshingly icy treat with just one cube and a few turns of the handle. You’ll love this updated version of The Original Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine from the 1970s, which both Time magazine and VH-1 named as one of the 100 best toys of all time. You can enter via the form below (my first time using Gleam and not Rafflecopter, let me know what you think), good luck!

Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lalaloopsy’s World’s Largest Pajama Party!

Over the weekend, we headed to the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando to take part in Lalaloopsy’s World’s Largest Pajama Party! The event included activities and craft stations, photo booth, dance lessons, yummy treats, and a screening of the Girls Movie. The event was live streamed on social media channels world wide.

Here are our fun moving photo booth pics from the party:
Logan especially loved the beanbags and the soft Lalaloopsy blankets that were set up to watch the movie, what a perfect way to take in a flick.
If you plan to do your own Lalaloopsy Pajama Party, definitely make these Sew Cute Button cookies:
 
The Nickelodeon Suites Resort meanwhile is a kids dream and perfect for large families. This was the view from our suite of  just one of their two pool areas.
We only spent one night in their 2-bedroom suite, but would definitely come back especially since their suites have enough room for all of us with space to spare. We didn't even make it to any of the nearby resorts this trip as we kept plenty busy at the hotel's water park, playground and even did a character dinner with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Disclaimer: I received a discounted media rate for booking our hotel room.  
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Monday, November 3, 2014

A Berry Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Now that Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is already looming. I was challenged by the #FebrezeHoliday scentspiration kit that I received to switch out my pumpkin centerpieces a little early in prep for the next holiday and I'm glad I did.

The Febreze Home for the Holidays Collection available for a limited time at Walmart can help welcome the upcoming holidays with the scents of Frosted Pine, Apple Tart, Toasted Almond, Vanilla Latte, and Sugared Cranberry. I was especially taken with the Sugared Cranberry scent since every Turkey Day I make homemade cranberry sauce (Tip: after I boil the cranberries with a splash of orange juice, I mix in a can of crushed pineapple to sweeten the sometimes tart dish).

This year, I thought I'd also decorate my Thanksgiving table with cranberries, which can be as easy as filling a clear vase or bowl with loose cranberries or slipping a branch of bittersweet, holly or fall favorite into a ceramic pitcher. I didn't know where to locate real fall branches down here in Florida, so I purchased artificial red berry holly and cranberry branches, which will definitely last longer anyway.


My favorite color is red, so I am really loving this bright home decoration on my table and I can't wait for my family to gather around it at Thanksgiving time (I'm hosting this year!).
While I've already been enjoying the Febreze NOTICEables Sugared Cranberry Air Freshener plugged in, I
plan on getting the Febreze Fabric Refresher spray also in Sugared Cranberry to spritz directly on to the faux berries to add a subtle but festive fragrance to the display.
Febreze Sugared Cranberry Fabric Refresher, 16.9 fl oz
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks and Febreze, but all opinions and above statements are naturally my own. 
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