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Beautiful Utility, Wayfair, home decor, utility, utility rugs

You know how they say the eyes are the doorway to the soul? Well, I think the foyer is the doorway to your home, literally and figuratively. The foyer is the welcoming space in my home. It’s where I greet family and new friends. It is where our visit begins. First impressions matter.

Beautiful Utility, Wayfair, home decor, utility, utility rugs


My foyer also happens to be a utility spot with shoes and coats. Every day when my girls come home from school, this is where they drop their backpacks, take off their shoes/coats and if we’re being really honest, they change clothes the minute they walk in the door. There is a lot of things happening in my foyer.

Beautiful Utility, Wayfair, home decor, utility, utility rugs

With all those layers dropping, shoes being kicked off and school children morphing into human beings in that foyer, I want it to be as inviting and welcoming as possible. I want the girls to walk in and be like, this.is.home. I want the warmth to radiate from inside the house and welcome every friend and family member that comes to my door.

My foyer is not huge but it is big enough to invite a neighbor in on a cold winter’s day to admire the snow and discuss the neighborhood decorations. It is just the right size for 6 excited ballerinas to be dropped off for a slumber party after day 14 of Nutcracker performances. It’s perfect for hugging family as they arrive for a celebration. It is the room where every good thing in our lives begins.

Beautiful Utility, Wayfair, home decor, utility, utility rugs

I wanted to keep it light and refreshing. We painted the foyer a light gray with white trim but it just didn’t have the personality that I wanted. I wanted it to be inviting but the space is very utilitarian, it had to be beautiful but functional so I decided on a utility rug. I chose the Brush Strokes design with watercolor peonies from Home Dynamix the ELLE Décor Collection. It is easy to wipe clean and sweep, perfect for a high traffic area like my foyer.

Beautiful Utility, Wayfair, home decor, utility, utility rugs


A rug is such a simple thing but it can change the entire mood of a room. It can take a room from just a room to a gathering space that welcomes people, invites them to be a part of your life.


What do you do to make your home feel warm and inviting? Do you have a special way of decorating that makes your home feel more cozy and homey?

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hefty, mom strong, John Cena, mom

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Disclosure: This is a compensated collaboration with Hefty® but all opinions are my own.

Where there is a will, there is always a way. This is the one life lesson my mom taught me that has always stuck with me. In fact, it plays on a loop in my brain in the background of every single thing I do. I don’t quit, as a rule.


hefty, mom strong, John Cena, mom

I remember this saying so specifically because not only did my mom tell me these words every day of my childhood, she said it to me from a place of desperation. She was living in a metaphorical hole but she loved me so much that she made a point of telling me that I could do/be anything. Imagine if you will a mom in a deep hole with her small children, sacrificing every ounce of strength and hope she had for herself to push her children to the surface. That was my mom.

hefty, mom strong, John Cena, mom

She may not have a wall full of degrees, millions of dollars in the bank, a big house or have traveled the world, but she was, and still is, a simple and humble woman with a big heart filled with love, even if she had nothing else to give. She went without so that we could have what we needed. Sometimes it felt like we had nothing too but we did, because we always knew we had our mom. So no matter how bleak things might have looked throughout my childhood, I knew I had unconditional love and that meant something.

She also told me that chasing my dreams was going to be hard but it would be worth it to catch them and live on my own terms. The gratification of accomplishing the goals I would set for myself could carry me through my hardest times and she was right. This is what I try to teach my girls.

The circumstances are quite a bit different though. Whereas I saw my mother had nothing, my girls see where my hard work has paid off. They don’t see the close to the poverty line, blue-collar hole I was pushed out of to get to where I am. They haven’t felt the ramifications of the hard work or seen everything that goes on behind the scenes. I’ve protected them from feeling that. I shouldn’t have.

hefty, mom strong, John Cena, mom

Recently, I made a point of taking advantage of a teachable moment and explaining to my girls that the blisters in life are what give us the calluses to make it through the tough times. I reiterated what I have always known and what I’ve always told them, “where there is a will, there is always a way.” The only difference was that, in that particular moment, there was a situation affecting them that could make the words tangible. It gave them weight and purpose and finally, they became more than words; they became fact. In that moment, we all became stronger.

Hefty® is celebrating all the strong moms out there. The ones who stay up late forgoing their own sleep for the colicky baby who needs a little extra attention, the ones who make the tough decisions and sacrifices so that their children know they always have their backs, the moms who give all their love and attention to their family even when they are too tired to shave their own legs. We are strong and fierce in our resilience. We are ultra-strong and Hefty® honors that. Game recognizes game.



I love this ad with WWE superstar, John Cena, and his mom, Carol Cena, because they remind us that Hefty® has the best bags ever at a lower price than the competition, but they also remind us that moms are strong, Hefty® Ultra Strong™.

hefty, mom strong, John Cena, mom

Did you know that Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags feature ARM & HAMMER™ patented odor neutralizer, which is awesome because no one wants garbage that’s stinky.stinky.stinky. Thank goodness for all those fresh scents that they come in. I’m partial to Clean Burst.

Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags also have active tear resistant technology for better puncture-resistance, which I love because there is nothing worse than pulling the bag out of the bin to throw it away and getting covered in garbage soup. All caps EWWWW.

Did I mention the break resistant grip drawstring? Because Hefty® Ultra Strong™ trash bags have them and they are awesome because anything that keeps the garbage off of me and the floor is awesome. If all that is not enough, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee: Hefty® can handle all your trash bag needs or your money back. So it is totally no risk.

Disclosure: This is a compensated collaboration with Hefty® but all opinions are my own.



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ballet camp, how to survive camp, ballet, sports, Starkist, Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfire

Need some tips for surviving summer camp? I’ve got you covered. Camps are hard on everyone involved. On paper, they look great. You think 2 weeks to a month of kids who aren’t “bored” and it gives parents a nice mental health break. We always seem to forget how hard it really is; emotionally, physically and mentally. That which doesn’t break us makes us stronger, right?

We are in week 2 of ballet camp. It’s not like a regular camp where you swim, ride horses and eat s’mores with your friends in the woods and miss your parents. That would be awesome, right? No, it’s a lot more like boot camp. 8-hours a day of pushing your body to the limit. It’s basically football camp without the pads. No sleeping away, just grouchy parents and kids who have to get up way too early during the summer and are perpetually tired for 14 days.

ballet camp, how to survive camp, ballet, sports, Starkist

The girls have blisters, leg cramps and blissful exhaustion to show for it. But they’ve stopped complaining and started embracing the challenges. In fact, I think they are actually starting to feel some pride in the hard work even if they do want to rip their feet off and beat everyone with them. I’m proud of them.

Epsom salt, rest, and repeat. That’s the drill. But when you’re pushing your body that hard, some things are unavoidable. Cramps and exhaustion are coming whether you want it or not. Your body can only be pushed so hard before it gives you the middle finger.

Here are our tips for surviving summer camp

1. High protein Snacks

Snacks help to keep you going when you are working out hard. Our favorites are whole almonds that can be tossed into the mouth during classes. Starkist tear and go tuna pouches because you just tear. Eat. Go. no can opener needed. Each pouch has at least 13+ gm of lean protein and only 110 calories, or less.

ballet camp, how to survive camp, ballet, sports, Starkist

It’s perfect for starving ballerinas for lunch or after camp. They can just eat it right out of the pouch but sometimes waiting for dinner is not an option. My girls love the New Tuna Creations Thai Chili Style tuna on a sundried tomato cracker and topped with sliced avocado. It is delicious! And we never get bored because there are so many different flavors. Available in 21 varieties, including 13 deliciously seasoned Tuna & Salmon Creations, tuna & salmon in water or oil, as well as low sodium options.

2. Water and more water

Dehydration is no joke and nothing will make your legs cramp up more than overworking dehydrated legs. The recommended daily amount of water is 64 ounces so when dancing you should strive for at least that amount.

3. Epsom salt baths

Pushing your body hard can cause your muscles to ache and revolt. It’s the price you pay for being awesome. So if you are an athlete, just starting back to working out or a ballerina dancing her toes off, a 20-minute soak in an Epsom salt bath will help tremendously. Bonus points for achy ballerina feet if you use peppermint oil in your Epsom salt bath.

4. Sleep

You know how your mom always told you that you need at least 8-hours of sleep to feel rested. Mom was onto something. When you are working your body out, you need to give it time to heal and replenish. It’s like driving a car. You’ve got to put gas in that baby to get it going. Well, for the human body you need to feed it plenty of good foods and let it rest so it can go hard again the next day. If not, you’ll burn out and won’t be able to meet your goals.

5. Blister Band-Aids

New shoes, old shoes that or too small or just pointe shoes in general if you are going to be dancing for long amounts of time, you need to invest in blister Band-Aids. They are some sort of magical little Band-Aids that are silicon not latex and are very tiny (made just to cover the blister) and helps to speed up the healing process. I used these on my daughter’s toes last week and after one day, she was fine. These would also be great for anyone who has gotten a blister from breaking in new shoes, in general. I wish I had these when I was breaking in all those flats in middle school!

ballet camp, how to survive camp, ballet, sports, Starkist


I know these all sound simple and like no brainers but they are still great tips for any athlete this summer; from the soccer field to the pool and even in the dance studio, these tips will help keep your little one (and yourself) upright and healthy so that they can do their best.

What are your best tips for surviving summer camp?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with Starkist but all opinions and tips for surviving summer camp are my own.

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oxiclean, babies grow up, sponsored

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their Versatile Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.

Every May, our neighborhood has an annual garage sale, and every single year, I say I am NOT going to participate. Yet, once again, here I am sifting through tubs and memories; feeling all the feelings.

It’s hard selling your memories, especially of your children. I just have a problem with it people trying to haggle with me over things that are so precious to me. It’s like every time someone offers me a dollar for my daughter’s newborn rompers or her tiny shoes, I want to shake them and ask, “Don’t you know who wore this? MY baby, that’s who!” I know, I’m so dramatic when it comes to letting go. I fully realize I have a problem.

But I always say, if you are going to do something, do it all the way. So, if I’m going to sell my daughters’ belongings, they need to be at their best. That means clothes and bedding need to be stain free and freshly laundered. I mean, who is going to want to buy clothes that are dirty or look worn? I want them to look fresh.

oxiclean, babies grow up, sponsored

This year, I took all the linens and bedroom sets and washed them in OxiClean™.

It helps to give them that new, fresh look. OxiClean™ does a great job of restoring vibrancy to all the household items that I might want to sell at my garage sale, like the kids’ uniforms they’ve outgrown, princess bedding and even those precious baby clothes.

oxiclean, babies grow up, sponsored

As I was going through the bins, my heartstrings were being tugged at pretty hard and I know, for a fact, that my ovaries were about to explode.  You forget how tiny your babies once were until you are holding those tiny clothes in your hands while looking at the 5-foot, 3-inch 11-year-old she’s become. That’ll make you just want to stop time in that instant.

One problem that I am running into is that I packed clean clothes away and as I am struggling to go through the bins and distinguish which clothes are worthy of keeping for my future imaginary grandchildren and which ones are deserving to go on living their gently used lives elsewhere, I keep finding clothes with magical baby stains. It’s not food. It looks like stains have appeared where saliva once was but I don’t understand it because they’ve been washed.

Oxiclean can help you hold on to the things you love.

Here I am torn because on one hand these clothes are so precious to me but on the other hand, they are completely useless because they are stained. They are no good to anyone stained. I’m not putting my precious; someday-imaginary granddaughters in stained clothing even if their moms wore them, and you certainly can’t sell stained clothing. This garage sale is huge and I’ve made a name for myself as the place to go to get awesome little girls’ clothing. Stains will ruin all of that.

What am I supposed to do? Then I decided to try something different. In the past, I just considered it a wash and either threw the clothes out or put them back in the bins from whence they came because I couldn’t bear to throw them out. Seriously, I have a baby clothes hoarding problem. I just can’t get enough of that new baby smell. Also, every time I touch a piece of their baby clothes, I am transported back in time and I can see them in that piece of clothing and then how can I be expected to throw anything out?

oxiclean, babies grow up, sponsored

Today, I decided to try something different and pretreat those gently loved pieces with a little OxiClean™ soak to see if I could get some of those magically appearing, after-the-fact stains out of those precious baby clothes. You know, the ones that touched my precious babies once upon a time?

Guess what?

Oxiclean worked!

Now, once again, I’m faced with that red wire, blue wire dilemma; do I hoard all the baby clothes for my imaginary, someday, maybe granddaughters or do I sell them? With these stains gone, they look brand new, but I think it may be time to let some of these clothes go on to be loved by someone else’s precious little girls.

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hefty, money saving tips, budget friendly tips for the kitchen, budget friendly tips, Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean, How to enjoy your summer

My house has been a mess all summer. My kitchen has been the worst. It’s been difficult changing my routine and getting used to the girls being home. Don’t even get me started on the dish situation in this house this summer. Between the traveling, the summer entertaining, sleep overs and flow of other people’s children in and out of my house, we have more dirty dishes than a school cafeteria and I thought the never ending laundry was out of control. I do dishes at least 3 times a day and I am never caught up.

I don’t know about you but my girls tend to dirty dishes like they are in some sort of dirtying dishes and destroying my kitchen contest. Speaking of which, is there some symbiotic way for dishes and trash to breed? Because if there is, I’m quite sure the trash and dishes in my kitchen have figured it out. It’s a full time job keeping up with it and it doesn’t even pay.

What are my choices? It’ not like I’m going to stop letting my daughters have their friends over, isn’t that what summer’s all about. I’m also not going to stop entertaining because aren’t friends, family and having fun together making memories the good things life is filled with? So what if people dirty dishes and make messes, I like my life messy. It makes it feel lived in and loved on.

What I don’t want to do in the middle of all of this wonderful living, most of which happens in the heart of my house, the kitchen, is to go broke, be wasteful or have a disgusting house that people are afraid to visit. My kitchen is the natural gathering space in my house and I’ve just learned to embrace that fact.

When all the kids are over and I’m feeding more than just my two or I’m going for the little splurges in life like a hot fudge sundae bar party for a group of energetic 9 to 11-year-olds, I need to stay on top of the state of my house without turning into the crazy lady who made it not fun because she was so worried about the mess. I know you know what I mean. We’ve all been there; that moment when we need to let it go but we can’t.

I want to do all these things but I need to find ways to do it on a budget and while not letting my kitchen spin out of control into a heaping pile of strewn garbage on counters and dirty dishes (and we all know how fast a sundae bar can go south with a group of excited little girls.)

Below are a few tips to save money in the kitchen so that you have it extra for life’s sweet splurges and also how to keep yourself from spending all of your free time washing dishes.

Well, unless you want to put all those extra kids to work in your kitchen. No, probably not the best idea.

save money in the kitchen,hefty, money saving tips, budget friendly tips for the kitchen, budget friendly tips, Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean, How to enjoy your summer

Tip #1 You need durable garbage bags.

Hefty Ultra Strong bags are an outstanding quality for cleaning up all the mess your creating while having all that fun this summer. At a new, lower price it’s a value especially when you consider the durability, Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers and new, invigorating scents that help to keep odors at bay so even when your kitchen is full of people, the smell of garbage won’t be overwhelming your guests. Plus, a scent-free option for those who prefer it that way! Add to all of this a top-quality performance with active tear resistant technology that provides better puncture resistance and you can feel secure knowing there is less likelihood you’re going to leave a streak of shame while transporting garbage from inside the house to the outside. We’ve all done it and it’s bad enough alone, no one wants to do this in front of a house full of party goers?

save money in the kitchen, hefty, money saving tips, budget friendly tips for the kitchen, budget friendly tips, Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean, How to enjoy your summer

The best part is that you can easily pick these bags up at your local Walmart or Target to try them. Plus  you can go on Ibotta and earn $1.00 cash back via Ibotta after purchasing one box of Hefty trash bags. Or you can go on Coupons.com and save $1.00 off one box of Hefty trash bags.

Tip #2 Paper products are your friend

There was a time when I would have scoffed at the idea but now that I have two growing children and lots of extra people coming and going, eating and drinking (and can someone tell me why little girls need a new glass every single time they drink anything?) in my house, I know the value of disposable paper products. Plastic cups and sturdy paper plates can save you a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of aggravation. Just enjoy your people and forget about who’s going to do the dishes and when it’s going to get done. At the end of the party, just put it all in the garbage back and forget about it.

Tip #3 Use a Canning Jar to Keep Leftover Wine Fresh for Up to a Week

I learned this one from Food52 and I love it. I love good wine but my husband is allergic to sulfites so I don’t normally buy the wine I like because I can’t drink and entire bottle by myself and I didn’t want to waste it. Anyways, by limiting the wine’s contact with air, which contains the oxygen that causes wine to oxidize this trick accomplishes the same goal by using a jar that is slightly smaller than the amount of wine to be stored. Place the jar on a kitchen towel and fill to the very top. When the lid is screwed on, the jar should overflow a little, which lets you know there is no air between the lid and the wine. According to the wine experts who gave Food52 this tip, wine stored this way will last up to a week. It’s a total win. I save my wine. I save my money and then I saved money again because, just so happens my dad worked at Ball glass my entire life and we have loads of mason jars, so no need to buy a fancy wine saving gadget or even new mason jars!

Tip #4 Keep Berries Fresh Longer

Who doesn’t love berries in the summer? We buy in bulk. The only problem is that berries ripen quickly in the warm weather and sometimes you end up throwing out an entire container. That not only hurts my heart it hurts my pocketbook. Wash your berries before storage in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water). Then place in a salad spinner lined with paper towel and spin them until they are completely dry (if you don’t do this, it will actually accelerate the rotting process). Store your cleaned berries in a sealable container lined with paper towels. I actually put a piece of paper towels between each level of berries to help soak up any excess water. Leave the lid open so that moisture can escape. Moisture is the enemy. According to Lifehacker, this method extends the shelf life of berries by days and the vinegar destroys bacteria and mold spores on the berries, helping them stay fresh longer.

What’s your best tip to save money in the kitchen?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed  about how to save money in the kitchen are all my own.

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LG appliances, laundry, family, travel,tech, parenting, make life easy

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of LG Appliances but all opinions on parenting are my own.

Life is hectic when you have children who are involved in everything and parents who are equally as involved. My husband works as a global business analyst; his work comes home with him, but it also takes him away from home.

I work from home full-time as a writer which also takes me on lots of travels (which I love!) but I’m also a member of the school board, room mom for both of our daughter’s classes (party days are a workout for me), a member of the junior league and a volunteer for every activity and field trip there ever was, is or will be at school. Yet, this is the life we chose. This is our version of happiness. What’s the saying? Busyness is close to Godliness? Oh wait, no, that’s cleanliness. Oops!

LG appliances, laundry, family, travel,tech, parenting, make life easy

However, now the girls are following suit and they’re involved in cheer, gymnastics, ballet, tap, robotics, choir and violin plus they both secured parts in the city’s Nutcracker ballet this year. Of course, I volunteer for that too. We’ve always said that we’d encourage them to go for whatever they wanted to try but it leaves us really busy with no time for the everyday chores like dusting and laundry.

Don’t get me wrong, we still wash clothes… so many clothes (all of those uniforms and never ending unpacked luggage. We have tutus and leotards coming out of our noses) but it doesn’t necessarily always get put away.

To add insult, in a crazy turn of events (and a terrible twist of my ankle) I took a tumble on my sister’s wedding day (in which I was the maid of honor) while we were taking wedding party photos (no cocktails were involved) and I broke my leg (while spraining the other one). It’s left us in a terrible debacle because now all of the chaos has fallen onto the shoulders of my dear husband, who at this point can barely see straight he is so exhausted.

The other Saturday, amongst all the chaos that is our lives these days, as we were rushing to get the family out the door for a football game at 8 a.m. in the morning before heading off to pointe class and then on to Nutcracker fittings and before celebrating a particularly peculiar distant relative’s toddler son’s birthday, grape jam dribbled from my daughter’s toast down to the bib of her cheerleading uniform! The humanity!

I heard the screech of my daughter, the moan of my husband and I knew surely something terrible had befallen the house of Cruz. I wheeled myself into the kitchen as quickly as possible to find our not so cheery cheerleader. I immediately insisted that she shed her uniform as I went into full-on manic spot cleaning and continuous praying.

After a rigorous hand washing with vinegar and cold water, I was able to throw it in the washer on delicate and maintain my reputation of super (ordinary, extremely exhausted) mom. Thank goodness for quick thinking and short timed wash cycles. She may have been a little damp but thankfully, it was a beautiful, sunny autumn day!

I’m not sure what would have happened had I not had a good washer and dryer to remedy the situation. I shudder to think of the drama that might have befallen our home that morning!

Thankfully, LG Electronics is devoted to creating home appliances that help simplify household chores while focusing on creating feature-rich appliances, with stylish designs that push technological boundaries to improve the home appliance experience as well as save them time and energy.

LG’s Mega-Capacity Top-Load laundry pair (Models WT7700 and DLEX7700VE) offers enhanced convenience and performance, helping save both time and energy. Users can wash a king size comforter and full set of bedding in a single load; saving time.  With the washer at 5.7 cubic feet of mega-capacity and dryer at 9.0 cubic feet of space, consumers have access to the largest capacity top load washer in its class* possible for loads of laundry.

Top-Load Washer incorporates LG’s time-saving TurboWash®, which provides 30-minutes of time savings on every wash cycle, while the dryer features TurboSteam™, which works gently but powerfully to refresh fabrics and reduce wrinkles in half the time of other steam settings. Both settings deliver greater efficiency and world-class cleaning performance. Perfect for school morning cheerleading uniform emergencies.

LG’s EasyLoad™ Dryer is the first to open two ways, from the top (hamper style) to easily toss in wet clothes from the washer and sideways to quickly unload dry clothes into the laundry basket. This unique setup allows users to easily transfer clothes through the top to minimize bending and dropping clothes on the floor, makes it easier than ever to drop in and unload laundry. If only the dryer could fold and put the clothes away, the world would be a perfect place.

What would you do with the 30 extra minutes in your day thanks to LG’s TurboWash® technology? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

*Based on manufacturers published specs of top load washers with a width of 29 inches or less.


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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

Thanksgiving is seriously my holiday jam and this year, I needed a Thanksgiving tablescape to convey that. No joking, aside from Christmas, it’s my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about it; the food, the family and even the chaos. I love the smell of pumpkin, roasted turkey and sweet potato casserole baking that permeate every nook and cranny of my house. As soon as you walk in the door, it’s like a great big giant hug and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Normally, we host between 30-35 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t feel bad for us. We love it. I come from a huge family and it’s always been my dream to give my girls that feeling of a big family. We host dinner for both sides of the family because we want everyone to be close. For us, it is one family.

Nothing makes my heart soar more than hearing my girls chatter on about their lives to their great grandma Gigi or the way they patiently listen to stories of when their Great Aunt Maxie was a child. I love seeing all of my nieces and nephews laughing and joking together. I love seeing the melding of the Latino and the German cultures but mostly, I love all the love that fills the room like air.

Unfortunately this year our guest list will be much smaller. This year it will be an intimate Thanksgiving dinner for 13. Since breaking my leg, everyone wanted to give me a break this year and made other plans with in laws and such. It’s okay and I do appreciate the thoughtfulness. I’m still not fully walking on my own and I know they’ll all be around my table again next year. But I will definitely miss the house being filled with the warmth of family.

You see a long time ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to host both families for Thanksgiving and we always would because no matter what happened, we wanted our parents to always have a place to come for dinner to celebrate.

This year may be small but I thought I’d take the opportunity to make it extra special and kick everything up a notch. This is the year for experimenting with a little more elegance and refinement starting with my tablescape.

Normally, there are so many guests that we use Thanksgiving themed plastic tablecloths and paper goods along with plastic silverware and napkins. This year, with there only being a small group, I’ve decided to break out the chargers and the china.

The food is always spectacular (here are all the recipes for the perfect dinner) but this year, I want the dinner to be an experience. I want it to feel special and cozy and warm. We might not have the bodies this year but I still want the house to feel cozy and inviting. I want the people who are here to know that they mean everything to us.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

For my Thanksgiving tablescape, I decided to go with warm neutrals with a little bit of sparkle for elegance.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I chose a burlap runner because I feel like it gives the table a natural and inviting feel.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I topped that with small wreaths that I used to surround the bottom of my candleholders.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I chose white candles to accentuate the crisp white of the plates.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I went with robin’s egg blue chargers to give the table a little pop of color and tie in the wallpaper in the room.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I opted for my charcoal grey napkins that have silver and gold striations in them. I felt they tied in well with the centerpieces.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I feel like it looks beautiful and I can’t wait to eat dinner at this table surrounded by the people that I love most. For more great ideas to create the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape check out Wayfair.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

What will your Thanksgiving tablescape look like this year?

Disclosure: I am a Wayfair ambassador and  this is a compensated post but, as always,  all opinions and this Thanksgiving tablescape are my own.

Wayfair, Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

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OxiClean, laundry

As a mother with young children, I am no stranger to stains — spit up, baby food, grass stains, coffee, and knocked-over wine, but my least favorite is blood. Not just because that means someone got hurt but also because it’s hard to get it out. It means extra work and time that I don’t have, precious time that I could be spending with my girls.

Both of my daughters are ballerinas. You might not think that would be a dangerous sport but if you add to it a hot, dry studio and a child prone to nose bleeds, you have a recipe for near-constant disaster. White cotton leotards and bloodstains go together like oil and water.

A bloody nose during ballet used to mean trashing the leotards, letting go, and buying a new one, but as the girls get older and the leotards get more expensive, that’s becoming less and less of an option. What’s a mom supposed to do?

Well, the solution is finally here. OxiClean™ Laundry Detergent is an all-in-one solution for all of your laundering* needs. It helps save time since it can help remove stains in only one wash and it helps you save money that you would have wasted on replacing stained items.

OxiClean, laundry

Blood is a protein-based stain that OxiClean™ Laundry detergent can help remove. As with all stains, the faster you can treat the stain, the better the results will be. I rinse the bloodstained leotard immediately and let it fully soak in cold water. Then I use a little bit of OxiClean™ laundry detergent to pretreat the stain, wait 10-15 minutes and then wash with OxiClean™ laundry detergent. Then, before drying the leotard, I double check to make sure the stain is completely gone.

The OxiClean™power we’ve all come to know and love is now available in a liquid laundry detergent.

It’s powered by three color-safe OxiClean™ stain-fighters that penetrate fabrics to get them really clean while removing a wide range of tough stains. It’s available in a Fresh Scent or Perfume and Dye Free.

OxiClean, laundry

OxiClean™ laundry detergent helps remove those stains that all of us moms struggle with: grass, blood, fruit juices, fruits, wine, chocolate ice cream, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and barbecue sauce. It helps me to be less uptight and just let my kids play and enjoy their childhood without worrying whether or not they are going to ruin their “good clothes” every time they wear them. Clothes are made to be worn, and life is made to be lived.

When I see my daughters dancing on stage, I don’t want to worry about whether or not their leotards are blood-stained. I know all the blood, sweat, tears, and years of dedication it took to get there. I want them to look clean, fresh, and ethereal when they dance, and OxiClean™ laundry detergent has the “wow factor” that allows my ballerinas to have the confidence to shine on stage, uncompromised by the limitations of bloody noses or anything else.

OxiClean, laundry

*Please follow manufacturer directions for your garments. For best results, pretreat stains with laundry detergent, wait 5-10 minutes and then wash.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about OxiClean™ n Laundry, all opinions are my own.

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tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

There is a new bed in town, the Sleep Number Sleep IQ Kids Bed and it’s not only intuitive, it keeps your kids in bed so they can get the rest all growing children need, allowing you to get the sleep you need. This amazing new smart bed knows when your kids are sleeping and when they’re awake. It even has a monster detection feature on the accompanying app, so kids feel safe from unwanted visitors. Now, only if it had an invisible force field to keep kids in bed, right?

This revolutionary new kid’s bed monitors sleep cycles and can help parents decipher if diet, stress or other activities throughout the day are impacting the quality of their day. I experienced the Sleep iQ Kids bed for the first time at CES in January and it was amazing.

A monster detector deciphers when under the bed is clear of even the scariest of boogie men. By hovering a smartphone or tablet in the direction of the bottom of the bed, a small monster icon will appear and determine if the coast is clear. This would have been amazing when Ella was having nightmares about chickens and lemurs under the bed!

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

The bed, equipped with tiny hidden sensors, uses digital-signal capture within the mattress and processing techniques to pick up on motion and pressure. It tracks a child’s breathing and heart rate throughout the night too, and blends that data with other factors to determine a SleepIQ score in the morning; the higher the number (based from 1 to 100), the better the quality of sleep.

It’s also interactive. A sleep dashboard (available via an Android app or desktop) shows parents how well each child slept and alerts them in real-time if they need attention and are out of bed. The bed can also tilt if a child wants to read or has a stuffy nose from a head cold or allergies. Meanwhile, soft lights around the bed glow when kids get up or want to read and parents can turn them off remotely when it gets too late or little people nod off to slumber.

The bed is designed to grow with a child. Once they hit 10-years-old, they can manage their own SleepIQ score and see for themselves how exercise, sugar and TV time impact how they feel in the morning. This is intended to teach kids how to make better choices throughout the day and absolutely for newly crowned tween who thinks she knows everything.

tech, sleep, sleep number, sleep iq kids, bed, comfort

SleepIQ Kids, available in stores now, is priced at about $799.99 for the twin size mattress and will come in twin, full and queen size options.

In conjunction with the retail launch of the only smart bed for smart kids, the SleepIQ Kids bed, Sleep Number is rewarding kids who sleep well with six college scholarships! With all the talk about the ballooning cost of college, this contest will truly make some lucky kids’ (and their parents’) dreams come true.

Sleep Number, the sleep innovation leader whose mission is to improve lives by individualizing sleep experiences, is helping make kids’ college dreams come true. In celebration of its new SleepIQ Kids™ bed, which is available today in all Sleep Number® stores and online, the company is launching a contest to give away six college scholarships and six SleepIQ Kids beds.

Sleep Number understands the correlation between sleep and performance, which is why they are recognizing good sleepers who have big ambitions with the opportunity to win one of six college scholarships.

To help parents achieve their kids’ dreams, Sleep Number is hosting SleepIQ Kids Scholarship Contest at all Sleep Number stores, and will award six kids with a college scholarship and a SleepIQ Kids bed – total prize value is $134,000.

Families can visit a Sleep Number store to find their Sleep Number® setting and learn how a better night’s sleep helps kids succeed. Depending on their age, children will either draw a picture or write an essay about why sleep is important to them and how it helps them achieve their dreams.

After visiting the Sleep Number store, parents will receive a special code and Web address to submit their child’s entry online; a piece of artwork (for ages 4-9) or 200-word essay (for ages 10-14). Contest-entry details are available July 31. To find a Sleep Number store, visit SleepNumber.com.

The SleepIQ Kids bed is truly revolutionary. Not only does it offer kids comfort and adjustability with DualAir technology but it also tracks their sleep so parents can help their kids improve both at sleep and in life because the better you sleep, the better you perform. Plus the app includes a monster detector, which is really cool.

Disclosure: I attended CES with Sleep Number to see the bed in person but all opinions of the tech and coolness factor of the Sleep IQ Kids bed are all my own.

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Suavitel. Fragrance pearls, laundry, home, latina
Disclosure: This is a compensated post written as a part of my Suavitel ambassadorship agreement but my love for Suavitel and the nostalgia it brings are all my own.

Don’t you love it when you walk into a house or a room and it smells like freshly laundered linens? Or jumping into bed at night in clean sheets? It’s the best feeling in the world and it is my favorite smell. This is why the smell of Suavitel always reminds me of home. It reminds me of my childhood and folding laundry with my mom or jumping into warm, clean laundry before school on cold winter mornings.

For this reason, I love new fragrance pearls in-wash scent boosters. It not only smells amazing, it keeps that fresh smell lasting longer. You simply toss it into the washer before you throw your laundry in; add your detergent and then your fabric softener. It’s simple and the results are amazing with 5X longer lasting freshness, your clothes, your entire home, will smell awesome for weeks.

Suavitel. Fragrance pearls, laundry, home, latina

New Suavitel® Fragrance Pearls™ in-wash scent boosters with micro-encapsulated technology helps families extend that feeling of comfort and those exquisite aromas synonymous with a fresh load of laundry. It’s safe for all fabrics and washer settings. They’re the perfect addition to my laundry routine.

As a household staple for many Latinos, as I know it was in my house growing up, the Suavitel® brand has become synonymous with a feeling of comfort reminds me of home, more specifically, my mom. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a house with my mom. I miss her often but when my home is filled with the fresh scent of Suavitel, like my mother’s house, it makes me feel closer to her. It brings us closer even when distance keeps us apart.

Suavitel® Fragrance Pearls™ in-wash scent boosters are now available at retailers nationwide in 21.5 oz., 14.7 oz. and 6oz. bottles. Available in two irresistible scents, the Fabulous Field Flowers® and Soothing Lavender® variants of Suavitel® Fragrance Pearls™ in-wash-scent boosters deliver longer lasting freshness to your family’s laundry. I love them because they make that feeling of being home, even when I’m away from home, last longer.

Remember, you can add just a little or a lot. It all depends on what you want out of your fragrance booster. I prefer a lot because I want the smell of fresh laundered linens to greet me every time I enter my house.

If not Suavitel, what smell reminds you of home?

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