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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wubble Bubble and my Double Trouble

Sounds like out of the pages of Dr. Seuss, but my double trouble loved the Wubble Bubble, which looks like a bubble but plays like a ball.

I first got to see the Wubble Bubble up-close at Element Associates Social Suite at Blogger Bash. Since my duo are crazy about bubbles and balls and are always trying to steal my yoga ball, I knew this would be a great toy for them. Heck, my own mind was blown (no pun intended).

The Wubble Bubble is approved for play indoors and outdoors, but we've only tried it out inside so far. It takes 2 minutes to inflate to 3 feet tall, however, since my boys are still young we only inflated it to about a foot and a half. Here's a helpful video on how to inflate it, which we also watched beforehand. You can also deflate the Wubble, which is great for storage too.

The Wubble Bubble is made from super-thermo-stretch-tacular stuff, not as durable as a yoga ball, but much lighter, thus allowing my boys to catch it, kick it, squeeze it and make it fly. My boys put it through the test too and all are fine. What's also cool about the ball is that it's bounces are unpredictable as sometimes it bounces backwards or to the sides, thus keeping my boys running in all directions. it also makes a fun bouncing sound when you hit it, which is appealing and fun for kids. As a result, my boys spent a good amount of time just drumming on it.
It also comes in several colors including blue and green, which are the colors I use to color code my twinnies. I know that sounds weird, but believe me it helps knowing that the blue sippy cup is Ben's and the green paci is Logan's etc. They also know which color is theirs and it helps prevent any fighting over objects and toys like this.

The Wubble ball is available for only $19.99 at Target stores nationwide and that includes the battery-operated air pump, but after that it's even cheaper when you want another Wubble Bubble and already have a pump.

Disclosure: I received a sample Wubble for review purposes, but because I'm a human and not a robot, all opinions are my own ;) 
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System

I typically like to do some sort of teeth whitening process every year to give my smile a refresh, especially since I’m often smiling and posting photos here on my blog for all to see. Plus, I do drink green or oolong tea daily, which isn't as harsh as black tea, but can still stain enamel over time.

Also, according to Match.com, teeth are the number one standard by which both men and women judge their potential dating partners, ahead of bad grammar, hair or clothes. Yes, I realize I’m no longer dating, but I’m sure that stat signifies in other types of relationships too. Kelton Research also found that 58% of applicants are more likely to be offered a job and 53% offered a raise if their teeth are whiter. Interesting, no?

I've tried over the counter strips and noticed slight differences, but figured I should try something stronger and more effective. I have a friend who purchased dental trays from her dentist, but it was quite costly and I didn't want to commit to that type of an investment.
My bottom mold

Then, I received a pitch from SmileBrilliant, which provides lab direct, custom-fitted teeth whitening trays and whitening gel from the comforts of home. There is no need to visit a dentist and spend $600+ on the same professional teeth whitening service. Instead, SmileBrilliant provides you with an at-home kit where you take impressions of your teeth just like a dentist would do. Then you mail the molds back in a prepaid envelope and they then send you back custom fit trays and whitening gel.

I was afraid it would be hard to do, but it was easy to make the molds thanks to their clear step-by-step instructions included. I then received my personal trays back in the mail really quickly and was sent e-mail updates along the way letting me know the current order status. I've only used the whitener twice so far, but have seen a difference. I also like that it comes with a desensitizing gel too, so there isn't any burning or discomfort. Here's a video review that shows the entire process.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Planes 2 Mamarazzi with Julie Bowen

Ben and I got to have our mom and son outing this week while attending The Moms Planes 2 Mamarazzi screening sponsored by NatureSmart, the makers of Disney, Marvel & Star Wars vitamins for kids. Logan and I had spent some quality alone time at the Sprout Astroblast launch, so now it was Ben's turn to be away from his identical twin for a bit. He was quite stoic and serious alone, but seemed to have a good time experiencing the first of many firsts.

He had his first hot dog thanks to WindMill Hot Dogs from the Jersey Shore area (Mommy liked them too). He then made his first Step & Repeat photo opp too, while still eating a hot dog, lol.
It was also his first ever movie (Planes: Fire & Rescue) and the first time sitting in a movie theater. 
I was prepared to leave if he got cranky and disrupted the other viewers, but fortunately he did beyond well. He didn't like sitting by himself as he wasn't quite heavy enough to keep the seat from folding shut on him though, so after I moved him to my lap and he simply sat quietly enthralled with the soaring and moving animated planes on the screen. I joked that the poor kid must have been confused not having seen the first Planes movie, hehe. 
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I actually saw the first film though and enjoyed the second one better, same thing with the Cars films too. Oh and did you notice I had Ben dressed in a Disney Cars tee, Crocs and sippy cup? Having formerly worked at Disney Consumer Products representing the fashion business, I had to make sure he dressed for the occasion after all. 
Lastly, it was also his first celebrity sighting! Julie Bowen, the Modern Family and Boston Legal actress was there for a quick Q&A and to introduce the film. Bowen provides the voice of the plane Dipper, which was a really fun character. I was delighted to see that she was just as silly and bubbly in person as she appears on TV. 
Parents, sign-up to get a FREE NatureSmart sample of Disney Gummy Vitamins here. You can download a FREE Race To The Rescue Activities PDF file for your kids from Disney via the following button:
Download Race To The Rescue Activities
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Nautical Baby Shower

My friend who had the nautical themed wedding a few years ago, now just had a nautical themed baby shower. Take a look at the below pics and gifts for inspiration.

The Cake:

 The Favor:

Shower Gifts:

Now this was a very clever baby shower gift idea! One guest had a huge gift bag that revealed a long clothesline of baby clothes, bibs and accessories attached to it. It made for a fun surprise as the mom-to-be needed several friends to help stretch the clothesline out in order to reveal all the goodies. Just look at the fun moment captured. So cute!

I gifted my friend with the Summer Infant Fuze stroller, which is super lightweight and versatile. The seat can fully recline and be easily switched from forward facing to parent facing. The seat can also be removed completely, making the stroller an air-light aluminum frame for a car seat the first several months. Great peakabook window and shade too.

More Decor Ideas:
And here are some more darling Nautical Birthday Party or Baby Shower decorating ideas from Petite Seats as seen at the recent Mama's Expo:

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Easy DIY Toddler Activity: Post-it Note Wall

During a recent afternoon it was too hot, muggy and buggy for my boys to go outside to play and they were getting bored and cranky inside by that evening. I remembered how once my boys ripped apart a new packet of Post-it Notes from my desk, sticking the pieces on windows and on themselves.

So, I grabbed a colorful packet of Post-it Recycled Super Sticky Notes (more of the back side is sticky, so better for clinging to surfaces and not flapping up) and stuck them on a blank wall that the boys could reach. They were immediately intrigued and came over to pull them off and stick them back on the wall. I put a few that were a little out of reach so they would jump and stretch to get them too, which they did.
They began creating their own patterns and were busy scheming and working together and solo for a good half hour. They even returned back to the wall for some quiet fun again later on. You could also use a fridge, window or door. I liked that it was a creative, problem-solving activity and extremely easy and safe to do.

Perfect for inside fun!

My boys are just 19m, but during their pre-school years I plan to do something similar and try this Post-it Notes DIY Matching Game idea and Colored Masking Tape Hop Scotch board.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Traveling with Jewelry Tips & Win $1700 in Jewelry

Do you travel with your best jewelry? Or are you afraid to lose them or have them stolen?

Personally, I love dressing up and sparkling while on vacation, but am always afraid I'm going to lose my good pieces, misplace them or have them stolen. For this reason, my husband and I actually travel with a fake wedding ring and wedding band, however, it would be great to pack the real thing next time instead of the faux bling.

But no matter how careful you are, stones can become loose, hotels are not guaranteed safe places to leave jewelry, and a sandy beach can swallow up a jewel forever. In fact, a 2012 survey by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company found that nearly two-thirds of women will bring or wear expensive jewelry while on vacation, and of those women, over a quarter have lost at least one piece of jewelry. That’s why there’s jewelry insurance though!

I'm definitely going to get insurance for my jewelry the next time I go on a big trip with my husband. I originally had insurance on my ruby engagement ring the first year, but then never renewed it :( I love that Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance protects against jewelry loss, damage, mysterious disappearance, and theft. They even have a "I left it on a beach towel" policy, lol, that's so me. Remember the time I left my ring in Vegas? *smacks forehead* Doh!

Here are some safe travel tips from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, providers of Perfect Circle® Jewelry Insurance:

  • Choose wisely. Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely. 
  • Make a list. List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Keep one copy with you and store it separately
    from your jewelry. Leave another copy at home. Also take pictures or a video of your jewelry. 
  • Carry it on. Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
  • Keep it with you. Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase. When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally. 
  • Use the safe. Always store jewelry in the in-room safe when you’re not wearing it.

My Tip: 
  • Never travel with something that if lost or stolen, can't be replaced monetarily, nothing too near and dear to your heart that it's irreplaceable. Actually, I learned that tip from the opening of the film The Accidental Tourist.

For more tips and the chance to win $1700 in jewelry worth insuring, join me and the TravelingMom panelists for a Traveling with Jewelry Twitter Party on Monday, July 21 at 9 p.m. ET. We'll be talking about the challenges of traveling with jewelry and for the chance to win two beautiful pieces of jewelry–a set of hoop gold earrings (see photo) and a necklace–created by Toby Pomeroy. RSVP and enter to win the beautiful  at: bit.ly/tmomjewelry. Hashtags #TreasuretheVacation and #TMOM. Tweet with you soon!
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