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Monday, August 31, 2015

An End-of-Summer Toast with Sparkling Wines

Sadly, summer may come to an end, but the cocktails don’t have to! As summer winds down, pop the cork on one, or all of these sparkling wines to say farewell to summer in style. Refreshing and light, sparkling wine is the perfect addition to any Labor Day Weekend BBQ or party on the beach, by the pool or at home.
Try the finest Prosecco from Italy with these two lovely bottles from Bisol.
Jeio Prosecco DOC (SRP: $17) is a Prosecco produced with grapes from the low-lying hills of the Veneto. This beautiful straw-yellow Prosecco has a refined balance between acidity and minerality. The floral bouquet of apple, apricot and fresh meadow flowers compliments the fruity flavors and dry finish.

Stand out from the crowd by pouring this pink bubbly before summer is over! Jeio Cuvée Rosé (SRP: $16) is a sparkling wine made from a combination of Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes from vineyards on the steep hills of the Veneto. A brief period of maceration gives the wine its brilliantly delicate pink color, excellent balance, and unique personality. Intense notes of roses accompanied by a delicate bouquet of fresh citrus and lychee compliments the light acidity and dry finish. It is superb as an aperitif, while at the table, it perfectly matches pasta dishes with vegetable sauces, white meat dishes, and all manner of seafood.

You can also look like a hero and bring one of these stylish limited-edition 2015 Chandon American Summer Brut & Rosé bottles with red, white, pink and blue nautical stripes.

Toast to the rest of summer Chandon style!
For three years, Chandon has brought playful and patriotic pops of red, white and blue to summer entertaining with its signature American Summer Limited Edition bottles and now pink. Best of all, they make for great table decorations and no gift bag is needed if providing it as a hostess present. Hurry though as they are available only now until Labor Day weekend!

Cheers to a Happy Labor Day Weekend!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Giveaway: Getting ready for pre-school with Mabel's Labels

I'm not sure I have truly processed the fact that my boys are off to pre-school already! I've kept my emotions at bay by busying myself with all the prep for the big day instead. Things like labeling their backpacks, lunch bags, sippy cups, shoes, extra clothes and books.

Since I can't put labels on my twins,
I've settled for labeling their stuff
Labeling is especially helpful when you have multiples anyway, because while I have no problem telling my identical twins apart, it typically takes a few weeks for others to get the hang of it. I was having nightmares that the teachers would be getting the boys confused and I wouldn't be there to correct them. I'm tempted to put labels on them, in fact, during one silly breakfast I did! From the beginning to make it easy we color coded their possessions - Ben's pacifier and cups were blue due to the B alteration and Logan's were green. They now know their colors too and it keeps them from fighting over the same toothbrush or snack cup. For back-to-school though, I now had to go beyond colors to putting their names on everything.

I didn't want to ruin the resale of their outfits by simply writing in them with a Sharpie. I also knew if I printed my own labels for their cups they wouldn't be durable enough, which is why I turned to Mabel's Labels instead. 

I ordered their Little Kid School Combo, which includes 104 personalized labels from dishwasher and microwave safe labels, to shoe labels that help kids learn which shoe goes on which foot, two tags to attach to their bags, plus laundry-safe stick-on clothing labels (no need to iron them on!). 


To create their personalized labels, all I had to do was enter in my boys names on the Mabel's Labels website and select from one of 16 different cute themes. I went with firetrucks for Logan and blue cats for Ben. They arrived in the mail very quickly via free shipping and all that was left for me to do was apply them. Super easy way to look like a super mom!

For only $9, I already had and been using Mabel's Labels Write Away Labels for when the boys went to the Kids Camp at Beaches Resorts. I have terrible handwriting though and I wanted something more professional looking now that they'd be going to school full-time anyway.  


GIVEAWAY: Get your kids ready for back-to-school and enter below for your chance to win a Little Kid School Combo pack from Mabel's Labels worth $42.
mabel's labels

Disclaimer: I received the Little Kids School labels free for review, but I was already using Mabel's Labels products and I only share stuff I love. Truly.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

New Bunulu Stores Celebrate Land, Water & Style

Over the weekend, my husband I attended a media event to celebrate the upcoming opening of Bunulu, a new store at Coconut Point in Estero, Florida between Victoria's Secret and The Apple Store.

The name Bunulu (pronounced buh-new-lou) is based on an aborigine term meaning of water. The store's motto is "Land, Water, Style" and features clothes, accessories and footwear to support an active coastal lifestyle.

The vibe inside is an open Hawaiian paradise with driftwood accents. There are even fun ocean backdrops in the dressing rooms allowing for picturesque selfies. The new store carries well known outdoorsy brands like Hurley, O'Niell, Garmin and Sanuk (my favorite sandals!).

Take a look inside, it's so pretty:



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I plan on buying this 'Travel Often' shirt from Wildfox!
To reemphasize Bunulu's themes, the media day started with a morning yoga session out in front of the store led by Fusion Yoga also based in Estero, followed by a guided canoe tour out on the Estero River, as well as an exclusive shopping experience at the first Bunulu location.

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Their second location will open in Jacksonville shortly and soon more stores throughout the Sunshine State. The Grand Opening is this Friday, August 28 and starting at 5:30 p.m. their will be refreshments, musical entertainment and more.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Grandfathered Sneak Peek with Josh Peck

During the recent BlogHer '15 conference, I was invited to attend a special, advance screening of John Stamos' new Fox comedy show, Grandfathered with former teen star Josh Peck (of Drake and Josh fame!) who plays Stamos’ newly discovered son on the show,
Speaking with Josh Peck at Grandfathered sneak peek
I thought the first episode was really charming and fun. I look forward to seeing how it will progress. It's about a successful restaurateur and man-about-town Jimmy Martino (John Stamos) who receives a surprise appearance of an adult son, Gerald (Josh Peck), and his baby daughter, Edie. Now Jimmy has to unlearn a lifetime of blissful selfishness and grapple with the fact that he went straight from single to grandfather in six seconds flat. Here's a trailer to watch. Oh, and Full House fans, Bob Saget has a quick cameo in the pilot and there is a Beach Boys reference too :)

Josh introduced the episode and did a Q&A after. One of my pre-submitted questions was asked by the moderator and Josh after seeing me raise my hand when my name was mentioned, joked that the question was awesome already, lol. He was really funny overall. He had the room of women laughing the whole time. I especially enjoyed his honest answers and the funny Stamos stories that he shared with us like how he signs his TXTs xoxo. Watch the video that I shot below to see the whole thing:

I actually chatted with Josh years ago out in LA during the first Stand up to Cancer telecast after I had recognized him from the indie film The Wackness (previous post).

Don’t miss the series premiere of Grandfathered on Tuesday, September 29 at 8/7c on FOX!
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Philips Avent NEW Toddler Cups Giveaway

My boys recently tested out Philips Avent's four-stage toddler range – featuring everything from bottle trainers to grown-up cups. Each of the four unique stages features a variety of drinking options and teach a new skill as children embark on their journey to independent drinking.

Previously, we've been using Avent's My Penguin Sippy Cups that provide 100% leak-free drinking, but we're now ready for the My Twist 'n Sip Straw Cups and Philips Avent My Natural Drinking Cups.

My boys took to the straw cup easily, but are still mastering the natural drinking cup without turning it upside down. I especially like that unlike the previous straw cups that I was using, the Philips Avent cup has a locking system that bends the soft silicone straw back into the cap for on-the-go and preventing leaks. Right now the Twist N Sip Straw Cup is available now Online or at Walmart for $8.99 for a 2-pack.

To help parents discover which might be the best fit for their toddler, Philips teamed up with Scholastic to create “Sip, Sip, Hooray,” a story of several toddler friends and a mischievous Mama “Sippopotomus” who’s hunting for the perfect sippy cup for Baby “Sippo.” You can read the story digitally here. The last few nights, my boys have had me read it to them. They get excited when they spot the sippy cups that they are using in the illustrations.

Enter below to win the full Philips Avent toddler cup range as well as a hard copy of the book “Sip, Sip, Hooray.” Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Important Safety 1st Back to School Car Seat Tips

Having twins naturally means having two car seats, but now that the boys are about to start pre-school we now need four car seats!! Two for my husband's car when he drops them off in the morning and two for my car when I go to pick them up at the end of the day.

So, when we set out to get two more seats this summer, it was important to have ones that would grow with our growing boys, so that we wouldn't have to buy two more car seats in another year either. Luckily, Safety 1st just launched their Grow and Go 3-in-1 convertible car seat. Its rear and forward facing from 5-100 pounds!

The Grow and Go claims to be the first and last car seat parents and caregivers will need, making it simple to keep your little one safe in the backseat. In addition, the seat features side impact protection, a no rethread harness, buckle holders, two cup holders and an easily removable and machine washable seat cover (so important now that we're potty training too). The Grow and Go is exclusively available for $169.99 at Babies ‘R’ Us, but it's on sale for $149 online right now.

With children going back-to-school or starting school for the first time like ours, here are important back-to-school car seat safety tips from Safety 1st. It definitely got us thinking about toys/projectiles in our car!

Installation
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of car seats on the road are installed incorrectly.
• The safest place to install a car seat is typically in the center of the rear seat.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
• Check in with a local Child Passenger Safety Technician to ensure your child’s seat is installed correctly. You can visit a local police station, fire station, AAA office or Safe Kids Chapter for guidance.

Where is Baby?
• It may seem like common sense but never, leave a child alone in the car. Hyperthermia is a severe form of heat stroke and last year 30 children died after being left or trapped in a hot vehicle. Being in Florida, it has me especially concerned.  You can learn more about this issue and easy tips to prevent it here.

Safeguard the Car 
• Just as important as safe guarding your home, don’t forget about the car. Especially on long road trips. It’s important to eliminate projectiles, anything in the car that is not secured is a possible projectile. That could be a child’s toy, wet nap container, or a water bottle. In a crash, objects take on greater weight due to crash forces.
• Make sure unused shoulder belts are not in reach of children as they can pose strangulation risk.

Car Seats Expire 
• Car seats expire. Especially if you get a hand-me-down car seat you should always check the expiration date to confirm the seat is safe for your child. You can find the expiration date on the back or the side of the car seat. Also, another very important tip - once a car seat has been in a crash you should not use it, plastic can warp and materials can fray. To properly dispose of a car seat check with your local waste management facility to see if they recycle number 5 plastic.

Disclaimer: Tips were provided by Safety 1st along with one car seat to facilitate this review. No further compensation was provided and all opinions are of course my own.
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant-Man Screening with Paul Rudd

While back in New York City this week, I attended an advanced screening of Marvel’s ANT-MAN hosted by the adorable Paul Rudd.

Not being familiar with the tiny super hero or the comics series, I wasn't planning on running to the theater's to see Ant-Man. HOWEVER, I was beyond pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it a LOT.

Being a fan of The Avengers films, I was also delighted to discover that it connects to the series as well. I really loved that tie-in and knowing that Paul Rudd/AntMan will be back in future Avengers' films!

If you're not familiar with the story either, here's the plot: The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Evangeline Lilly (Lost) also stars as Pym's daughter Hope, who is a tough chick who begrudgingly helps to train Scott in karate. Besides the amazing special effects that it took to shrink the character and enlarge the rest of the world, I was also impressed with how they made Michael Douglas look like his 1987 self in the beginning of the film. It was like watching him again in Wall Street.

Overall, I thought Ant-Man was a fun adventure and Paul Rudd of course was charming in his role and in person when he addressed the audience of moms beforehand. You can watch part of the quick video interview below where he talks about joining the Marvel universe:


ANT-MAN opens in theaters everywhere Today, July 17th!
Watching Ant-Man with my cousin
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Shaving Cream and Cars - Summer Toddler Activity

While working on a round-up of Kids Summer Projects for Mode.com, I came across a fun sensory activity - Shaving Cream Car Wash and thought I'd give it a try the other day with my toddler boys!

My kids had sooo much fun, I felt like a super mom and it was such a simple project. However, I've listed some tips and lessons learned from my first attempt.


Tips & Lessons Learned:
  • Put on swim clothes or wear as little as possible. I wish we did this at the start, but I wised up and just let my boys be in their diapers, which allowed them the fun of painting their bellies with shaving cream too. I also ended up changing into my bathing suit, because I was soon covered in cream as well. Oh, and be prepared for everyone to jump in the shower, tub or get hosed off after. As you can see below, my boys had it in their hair and everywhere.
  • Buy two cans of shaving cream. We used up one full can in a half hour and my boys kept asking for "more bubbles," but I didn't have a second can handy. Also, be sure and buy foaming shaving cream and not the gel kind. I purchased the cheapest one I could find. 
  • I purchased a box of used match box cars on eBay not only for this project, but it seems we can never have enough Hot Wheels to satisfy them.
  • Find a shady spot as they will not want to go in anytime soon. 
  • Have a clean wet towel ready to wipe any cream from their eyes. 


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