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Lifestyle

Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

Have you ever heard of Revo AlcoMate? Neither had I until I was recently sent one to review but now, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t have one. It’s a simple, easy way to keep ourselves safe this summer during all the fun and celebrations.

Summer is right around the corner. You can already feel the electricity in the air.  It happens every year, the weather warms up and the atmosphere is instantly charged. It’s like we can’t help ourselves; we need to celebrate the sunshine. We are happy for no reason and then we become our most primal selves.

I love summer. I love being outside. I love barbeques with family. I love a frosty cocktail after a long afternoon of yard work or playing with the kids. I love the beach, the lake and the pool and exploring on new adventures in undiscovered places. I love late nights with friends around a campfire. I’ve been known to involuntarily dance and smile like a simpleton. I can’t even control it. Doesn’t everyone feel that way when the birds are singing, the world is blooming, the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright in the sky? Summer is the best.

There are a million different music festivals, fairs, and outdoor concerts. There’s baseball and fireworks and beach nights and do you know what comes with all of this? Alcohol. Maybe not for everyone but for a lot of us, summer celebrations go hand-in-hand with sitting on a deck somewhere enjoying a glass of wine, a frosty beer or sipping on an ice cold cocktail. There’s no shame in it. I think most of us learned in college that alcohol makes things a little more fun. Or maybe it makes us a little more relaxed so that we can enjoy our lives.

I don’t think most of us need it but a lot of us like it to be part of our summer ritual. We consume in moderation, or if you’re like me, almost nothing at all. Not because I have anything against alcohol, in fact, in college I was a big fan. Just ask anyone who knew me back then. They would be shocked to know I’m not a falling down drunk these days.

The thing is that once I got pregnant, I obviously didn’t drink. Then there was breastfeeding and then I became this responsible person, the one my mom said to always make sure that you’re wearing clean undies in case you were ever in an accident. Well, I wanted to have a clear mind in case my child ever needed me during the night or there was an emergency. There just didn’t seem like there was anything worth me not being mentally available and alert at all times; spoken from my high horse of 11 long years of parenthood.

Anyways, at this point, I’ve mostly just lost my taste for it. I do still want and have drinks on occasion but it always seems to be predicated on something else happening. For instance, I ‘ll have a drink once the kids go to sleep but by the time they go to bed, I’m too tired to pour my glass. But a few times a year, the Big Guy and I get an overnight baby sitter (grandma, I’m looking at you) and we head out on a date night and return to a kid-free home. On those nights, I have drinks because I can actually enjoy them.

This weekend will be one of those such occasions. The Big Guy and I will be heading to our local RockNBrew Fest! That’s my gift to him for our 17th wedding anniversary. He is a big craft beer fan so we’re going to a fest with 150 different beers to sample. He’s very excited and so am I, just to be out as an adult but we’re responsible so, tucked away discreetly in my purse will be the portable AlcoMate Revo breathalyzer. This way if the Big Guy consumes too many samples, we can check his blood alcohol level before ever getting behind the wheel and aside from keeping us safe and out of jail, it could be saving someone else’s life. The technology behind the product makes it the most accurate of any commercial breathalyzer.

Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

This Revo AlcoMate really is ingenious.

I wish I would have had one in college, luckily I walked everywhere so I didn’t get into too much trouble, other than the occasional wipe out on the walk home. The AlcoMate Revo have replaceable sensors, which means they never have to be sent in to be replaced, can always be manually re-calibrated, have a longer lifespan and can be returned to day-one accuracy. The AlcoMate Revo is so reliable, in fact, that they’re the only breathalyzers trusted by the Marines and the Navy. I think these should be standard issue in every single car and maybe there should be a fail switch that if you don’t pass your breathalyzer, your car stops running?

Anyways, like my mom always says, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” So wouldn’t it make more sense that we have access to a Revo Alcomate because then we could all make the road’s safer by just taking an Uber or a cab instead of “hoping” we were sober enough to drive. We would know.

My point is that I never even thought about owning my own breathalyzer before but the Revo Alcomate has proven to be invaluable when it comes to all the summer time outdoor parties and such. Simply do everything in moderation and always check your alcohol content before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle; its against the law and it’s dangerous.

What do you think of the idea of owning a personal breathalyzer like Revo Alcomate?

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tieks, day time, casual, work outfit

Since breaking my leg, I’ve had to make a lot of changes especially since, you know, the leg is not what it once was. It has been through quite the ordeal and once you get broken, shattered and dislocated all in one trip, well, it takes time to recover but I don’t want to be doomed to a life of ugly shoes.

I get it, heels are not really an option when you are still in physical therapy and still learning to not walk like a pirate. To be honest, I am a little terrified to put my heels back on. In fact, I may have a little PTSD. Not joking. I mean, I fell, JUST.WALKING! It’s been a hard road to recovery.

So I’ve decided since my orthopedic surgeon has told me that it will probably take at least 6- 9 months for the swelling to go down and a total recovery time of 12-18 months, I am going to live in the now. Life is too short for only wearing ugly shoes. I need something fashionable and cute yet comfortable. As if that’s not too much to ask, I want a pair of shoes that can easily transition from day to night; from the office to a night out on the town. I want shoes that can go from casual chic to night time sophistication, plus I want them to be pretty. I want these shoes to be everything plus comfortable. Can I get an amen?

I don’t think it’s too much to ask and I think I found the perfect answer to my dilemma…Tieks. Look, we all know they’re comfy and super cute but we all switch to our heels at night and throw our Tieks in the bag in the bottom of our handbag, until our dogs start barking late at night and then we slip our Tieks back on; full fashion circle. Only, I don’t have the time or a working leg to transition to the heels so I want to eliminate them altogether.

My solution? Romantic Blush Tieks in handcrafted metallic prints leather. These shoes are not only glamorous and gorgeous; they elongate your legs because of the nude coloring with just the right amount of sparkle. They say, hey I came to work all day and play all night because they are so comfortable and versatile.I’m not going to lie, I can’t believe it took me breaking my leg to fully appreciate the comfort and style of my Tieks.

Each of these Italian leathers features a unique snake print on split leather, and is entirely hand-painted. The reflective gold and silver foil accents, which add an unparalleled sparkle unique to this collection, are individually placed. At least five sets of skilled artisan hands work on each piece of leather, making this one of our most special collections. As a result, no two pairs of Tieks made from these leathers are exactly alike.

In case you are hesitant about the day to night look. I will show you!

tieks, day time, casual, work outfit

 

Perfect for a day of work or play. Whether you’re working to meet deadlines or heading to a play date with the little ones, this outfit will not disappoint and your feet will be happy.

With one quick change, you can take those same shoes and go out for a night out on the town. Your feet will thank you.

tieks, day time, casual, work outfit, nighttime

 

What’s your favorite piece that goes from day to night?

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Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly

Discosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMeMedia and Shutterfly, however, all opinions expressed about photo books are my own.

How important is a photo to you? They say a photo is worth a thousand words. When I think of the most precious possessions I own, I immediately think of the people I love. These people that I am honored to call family and friends, they mean everything to me. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and every single photo I own holds a memory of someone I love. This is why I love to give and receive photo gifts.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

In the past, I’ve made mugs with our girls’ smiling faces on them for my husband. I’ve filled countless frames with photo collages for grandparents. This year, I decided that I wanted some special photo gifts for ourselves because nobody loves and adores those two little faces more than I do.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

I made a photo book to keep on our coffee table filled with pics of our family adventures and important moments from the past year. I’ve decided that this is going to be a new tradition. While I’m at it, I decided to do one for my dad too.

My dad shares my passion for family and photographs. Since I was a small child he was documenting all of our special moments on film. These days he’s retired and spends about 6 months of the year in Mexico, his homeland. Spanish is his first language, He’s spent my entire life adapting to us, learning to speak our native language. He has always been thrilled when we make the effort to speak in Spanish to him.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that Shutterfly mi vida now offers an easy, creative and convenient way to share family milestones. Now, it’s even easier to share these with my papi with the new Spanish applications (complete with ñ’s and accents). This makes this gift even more precious for me to give and him to receive.

I took me a couple hours to go through the photos and organize the book but in the end, the result was priceless. My copy is sitting on my coffee table for anyone who stops by to pick up and look at all of the beautiful adventures we lived this year’ our trip to Nashville and the week at the beach in Maine. There are photos of the first day of school, new ballet shoes and first communion. Every moment that touched my heart this year made it’s way into that book.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

It makes me smile to know that while I’m here looking at my photo book, my dad can be in Mexico looking at his when he misses us. Somehow that makes us all feel closer. Thanks to “Mi Vida Shutterfly” he can cherish those moments in his native language.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

What’s your favorite photo of and who would you like to share it with?

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your truth is a lie, moms and daughters, comparing yourself to your mother

Have you been wracking your brain and every gift guide on the Internet trying to find  a gift to wow? The holidays are here and everyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the woman they love. It’s no small feat because women are as different as snowflakes and no two are alike. For example, I am a tech lover but I also like beautiful girly things; CES is my Disney World and beautiful things are my weakness.

These are the top things on my list this year.

If the woman in your life is into tech or fashion, she will love almost everything on this gift guide.

marc jacobs, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dreams

Everyone who knows me, knows that daisies are one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma was named Daisy. Inspired by the boundless spirit of daisies and blue skies, Daisy Dream reflects Marc Jacobs’ irresistible mix of intricate details, elegance, and femininity for a fresh interpretation of the iconic Daisy motif. The fruity-floral fragrance has a light and airy touch, bursting with top notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and pear. The heart notes are introduced with a bouquet of jasmine, lychee, and blue wisteria, and a medley of white woods, musks, and coconut water reveal the base notes.

The glass bottle is enveloped in a shawl of laced daisies, topped with a silver cap, and adorned with gold hues and daisy accents. The bottle is as beautiful as the scent inside. I didn’t think that I could love anything more than my Grandma Daisy but this scent comes close.

 

UGG, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

UGG® Australia Simmens Short Leather and Wool Boot

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal boot, crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations. $170.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, Baublebar, misfit flash

Helena Locket by BaubleBar and Misfit Flash

Make a statement with the Helena locket. It features vintage accents with classic BaubleBar sparkle. The fashion –forward accessories are as smart as they are stunning. The BaubleBar Locket opens to reveal Misfit’s sportiest tech- the Flash fitness tracker. Misfit Flash tracks your sleep and activity levels, including calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and sleep quality and allows you to set your personal goals and check your progress. The Helena is exclusively available at Target. $69.99

STACKED

The first wireless charging ecosystem for iPhone eliminates the need for cords from the lives of iPhone users. The all-too-familiar feeling of sifting through a bag, crawling under a desk or standing tethered to the wall to charge a phone is now obsolete. STACKED advances the busy lives of mobile users by enabling both a full charge and connectivity at all times, without a life full of wires.

The shortest distance between two points is no distance at all. STACKED charges faster than any other technology because it comes in direct contact with the phone. The beauty of the bundle system is that the Power Pack is what needs to be recharged, not the phone itself. The Power Pack is recharged via the included AC wall adapter, which allows up to five Power Packs to be charged at once. Users can now maintain an arsenal of wireless charging solutions at their disposal at all times. $129.

Aventura,  gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Aventura Clothing

Aventura clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand that makes and sells comfortable clothing with an active focus while being thoughtful to both people and the environment. Aventura is family owned since 1965, creating a supportive family-oriented culture where the little details of life (and clothing) are cherished. Aventura makes the perfect every day clothing. It’s well made, quality clothing made to fit a woman’s body.

Aventura is passionate about creating fashionable clothing with low environmental impact. Their eco-friendly styles not only prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil, they look and feel amazing. Now through December 31st, free standard shipping is available.

A-Audio: Rose Gold Lyric On-Ear Headphones

These chic Rose Gold headphones with A-Audio’s distinctive silhouette and sound quality can’t be beat for the music lover on your list. The ear cups with memory foam padding for comfort and isolated sound collapse for easy storage and travel. Built with 40mm custom drivers, powerful circuitry and anti-vibration aluminum for premium sound. Bonus, the Lyric has dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $199

apple watch, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Lavender Sport Band

I’ve wanted one of these since day one. I finally got one and I am in love and you will be too. It’s all the quality and ease of usability that we have come to know and love in Apple products, right there at your wrist. Apple Watch Sport features a rose gold anodized aluminum case, retina display with Force Touch. It also has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope with up to 18 hours of battery life. My favorite feature, aside from voice texting, is that its water resistant so no worries if I accidentally run it under the faucet. It’s beautiful, functional and the perfect gift for any woman on your list this year. $350.

Lily Bed,  gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Lily Bed for Women

Women need the most sleep because generally we are the caretakers of the family. Yet, we are the ones who get the least amount of sleep. LilyBed has taken this into consideration and designed the first bed made for a woman’s body but strong enough for a man. A few of the amazing features of the LilyBed mattress in a box include premium cover that’s soft, cool and hypoallergenic, super soft layer surface, responsive core for perfect balance and complimentary full body support. Bottom line, it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, , light as a feather, Pandora

PANDORA Light As A Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Inspired by the elegance and lightness of feathers, these airy dangle earrings represent stunning, natural beauty. Shimmering stones accentuate the splendor of their stylized form, making them a great choice for eveningwear. Sparkling clear cubic zirconias and swirls of sterling silver depict feathers in these beautiful dangle earrings. $100.00

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, lomo'instant wide central park

Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Edition camera + lens system

Lomo’Instant’s new wide instant camera lives up the Lomo rep. This fun vintage-inspired camera kit features three creative shooting modes and comes with three cool lens attachments (wide-angle, close-up, and splitzer), a lens cap that double as a shutter remote control and easy-change color gels that add a wash of color to your photo subjects. It’s like Hipstamatic but in real camera form. I’m as excited about this as I am the USB TypeWriter and Qwerkywriter. $259

nuyu sleep system, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

Health o meter™ nuyu™ Sleep System

Sleep solution made of a Bluetooth® enabled sleep mat and app that cycles through temperatures through the night to mimic your body’s circadian rhythm so that you wake up well-rested. It warms slightly when you are going to sleep; cools you down during the middle of the night, and then warms you back up to mimic your natural circadian rhythm.  Starting temperature range: 69° – 105°

Controlled using free nuyu™ app which can be used with the Activity Monitor to track sleep. It is also machine washable mattress pad and hose, washer bag included. $499.99

Olloclip Active Lens

I have a great Nikon DSLR that I depend on for most of my travel and family photos but, honestly, I am a big iPhonographer. My phone is never far away and always convenient to shoot with so I’m super excited about the Olloclip Active Lens. Olloclip Active Lens is a compact, lightweight, 2-in-1 with a telephoto lens and ultra-wide angle lens that snaps onto your iPhone 6/S or iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.  It works with both the front and rear facing cameras on the phone too.  Easy to use, just snap it on and snap it off. $99.99

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,  α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

Never miss the moment. When extraordinary happens, capture it with the accelerated α77 II with an astounding 79 high-density AF points, 12fps continuous shooting, and a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Every moment is made eternal. Translucent Mirror Technology enables precise phase-detection AF in live view and movie modes. $849.

Brooklyn Bedding: #BestMattressEver

Built with individuality and simplicity in mind, Brooklyn Bedding delivers personalized comfort with a bed-in-a-box designed for every type of sleeper. Breaking the “one-comfort-fits-all” mold, three sleep comfort levels cater to every type of sleeper with Soft, Medium and Firm options. Luxurious, soft quilted pillow top cover knitted with moisture-wicking cotton for cloud-like feel and breathability. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. $450 – $1,050

xdoria,gps, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

X-Doria: KidGPS 

Every mom I know will want this palm-sized tracking device that notifies parents of their children’s exact location via companion iOS or Android application, providing peace of mind. This user-friendly device that can be tucked in a child’s pocket or clipped on their backpack

Panic alert button sends the current location of a child to multiple devices.

Battery lasts up to seven days and can be recharged via integrated micro-USB port. Tracking services range from $5.99/month for 12 months, or $7.99/month for 6 months

Polaroid Zip

The Zip is a super-simple, instant photo printer. Turn it on, connect it to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and hit the print button on the free app. The result: 2X3” full-color instant prints. The Zip uses special photo paper (a 30-pack only costs $14.99) that’s ink free and comes out dry-to-the-touch. $129.99

zara, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Zara

Zara is my favorite place to buy affordable clothing that is cute and feminine. The inventory is constantly updating for the seasons and I love the feminine fabrics and cuts. It’s a great selection of outfits for work and evening wear.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, dxo-one

DxO One

The DxO One will turn your iPhone or iPad into a DSLR quality camera for less than the price of a DSLR. It pairs perfectly with your iPhone so that you can take amazing photos anywhere. It shoots 2.1-MP photos and 1080p video and you can toggle between the two modes with a tiny 1-inch touch screen on the side of the device. The DxO One gives photographers DSLR-like modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. $599.

tipsy elves,gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Tipsy Elves 

If you are looking for something like nothing else, might I suggest an ugly sweater or Christmas jumper from Tipsy Elves. I recently received the Women’s Blue Reindeer Jumpsuit and they are the super cozy and toasty. The design has a bold blue background a white Fair isle design with grazing reindeer. The front pockets include zippers and a red accent color on the cuffs to complete the outfit. This jumper is great for Christmas morning, lounging during holiday break or wearing to your favorite ugly sweater party. Bonus, it also comes in Mens and children’s sizes.

Margaritaville®: New Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker®
This is the  perfect gift to celebrate at all the holiday parties and will definitley help you ring in the New Year! Refreshed version of this classic now features an extra-large ice reservoir that holds ice for 3 full pitchers so you can enjoy the party longer before it’s time to refill

· Shaves ice, instead of crushing like other machines, for perfectly smooth beverages

· Margaritaville® maritime detailing that features a new silver base to match modern home décor

· Produces 36-ounces of restaurant-quality frozen drinks

· Includes manual shave & blend controls

· Includes a 36 oz., sturdy glass blending-jar and with Easy Pour lid

Price: $399.99

What’s your favorite present on this gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this gift guide were provided for review purposes but entirely opinions are my own.

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gift guide, tech for parents, girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

This Christmas holiday I’ve put together a girl’s gift guide that my daughters will flip over. They love tech, they love travel and they love fashion and of course, they love unicorns. Don’t we all?

Anyways, the point is that they love lots of things. In fact, did I mention they’ve put a Storm Trooper Dress, luggage and a trip to New York at the top of their list? Every child is different and every child likes different things but I think this list covers the spectrum of interests for little girls of all ages and interests.

Here are my top picks for the 2015 girl’s gift guide.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns

Main Sail Studio Plush Unicorn Head Taxidermy

My girls LOVE unicorns and this handmade soft unicorn faux taxidermy mounted on a ready to hang wooden plaque does not disappoint. You choose the colors for the unicorn head and mane and the plaque. Plaques can be a solid, a two-color ombré with or without glitter. The head is machine sewn and hand sculpted from soft fleece. The horn is made from a textured satin and then coated with a sparkly glaze. It comes with a repositionable butterfly or flower clip. The mane textile varies based on color choice. The mouth, nose, ears and cheeks have hand painted subtle blush color. The eyes are embroidered. At purchase you can send a note with your color ideas. This is the perfect present for every little girl. I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she sees this beautiful piece of unicorn art.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze,xdoria, kid's fit

X-Doria: KidFit

KidFit is a wireless activity and sleep tracker for ages 5-13 that encourages and motivates kids to play hard and get enough rest.  The KidFit wristband is a one-size-fits-all slap bracelet and is IPX3 (Splash Proof) rated. A daily activity target is customized for each child and scored out of an easy to understand 100 points.

With each sync, the KidFit app motivates and encourages your child to reach their activity and sleep goals.  Built in goals keep kids challenged and parents can set custom goals tied to real world rewards.  The free KidFit app is available for iOS and Android.

chooze,girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion,

Chooze backpacks, lunch boxes, split leggings and shoes

Chooze is a brand that recognizes children’s innate desire to express themselves through unique wardrobe choices. The freedom to express themselves is the key to unleash their potential. The collection of mismatched shoes, split leggings and reversible backpacks and lunch packs empower kids with creativity, confidence and the power to have a positive impact on the world.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

American Girl Mary Ellen Larkin

Maryellen Larkin, the newest character to join American Girl’s popular BeForever line, is an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the 1950s.

The Maryellen doll is 18” tall with warm brown eyes and strawberry-blonde hair in a high ponytail and sideswept bangs. Maryellen’s authentic 1950s outfit features a striped dress, a lacy-knit shrug with a monogramed M, black shoes, underwear, and a ribbon bow for her hair. Includes the paperback book, The One and Only, the first novel-length volume of Maryellen’s classic series by Valerie Tripp.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin, Julie Albright

American Girl Julie Albright

Julie Albright is bright and sunny on the outside and a fighter on the inside. She likes school, hanging out with friends and playing on the basketball team in 1974. This beautiful, blonde flower child will stand up and fight for what’s right.

American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

Maryellen’s Television Console

A large television console was truly the entertainment center in Maryellen’s day. This set features a 1950s-style TV console with a built-in make-believe record player and encyclopedia books. Plus, your girl can create and watch her own original videos on the console with her iPad!

The Care and Keeping of Us Book Series

This kit includes twin books, one for girls and one for moms, filled with dozens of how-to-say-it scripts to get the conversations going. These scripts give girls the words to talk about all the big topics from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, first crushes, clothing, and more. And mom’s book gives her the actual words to respond to her girl’s questions, as well as scripts to initiate important conversations with her daughter. Plus, a sharing journal lets both moms and girls jot down thoughts, memories, and questions. Two bookmarks are included to guide each other to the latest entry or point out something they don’t want the other to miss.

Disney Playmation

Disney Playmation is a connected wearable experience that triggers imagination and play in children. It’s high tech meets old school and the bottom line is that your child will be moving and using their imagination. The starter pack comes with a arm-mounted Repulsor Cannon that acts as your interface to the imaginary Marvel world.

Little Passports World Edition

Explore the world, one country at a time. Each month, your child will receive letters from Sam and Sophia. The monthly package arrives with fun souvenirs, activity sheets, photos and stickers for your suitcase, map and passport. Your child can also access Boarding Zone for more online games.

How to Survive Anything

Let’s face it. With school pressures, social pressures, parental pressures…the teenage years are tough. Your best friend is with you one day, dating your crush the next. But it could be worse! You could be face-to-face with an angry grizzly, or chest-deep in quicksand. Never fear, National Geographic has the solution! In this hilariously informative take on surviving the trials of middle school and the jungles of South America, we combine our expertise on nature and adventure with the fun-and-learning approach of our Nat Geo style…and voila, the perfect advice to conquer any obstacle, whether it threatens life or social status or both. Edgy, young, authoritative, and amusingly illustrated, this title will grab the attention of young teens and gift-buyers alike.

A Friend for Lakota

The Dutchers have the unique experience of living in a tented camp in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains among a pack of wolves, observing and documenting rarely seen social behavior, including bullying.

Treasury of Norse Mythology

Beautifully told by author Donna Jo Napoli, this book is a gorgeously illustrated compilation of Norse myths of gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes. If your kids are fans of Thor, Vikings, and more, this Treasury contains more of the lyrical tales of the Norse gods, goddesses, trolls, and giants that are perfect for bedtime–or anytime–storytelling.

National Geographic’s Guide to Photography

This amazing book has tips and tricks on how to take great pictures, with advice from Nat Geo photographer Annie Griffiths as well as My Shot kid shutterbugs.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns, sony cyber shot

Sony Cyber-shot QX10

Most tweens and teens use their smartphones to take photos and if they want to improve their images, then a camera that affixes to the phone could be an ideal present. This will give better image quality and most importantly, more optical zoom to images.

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 adds a 10x optical zoom lens, fullHD video recording, and an 18 megapixel sensor to any Android or iOS smartphone, significantly upgrading the camera on most smartphones and giving the extra clarity and reach of 10x optical zoom to boot. Paired with the National Geographic Guide to Photography book and you just may have a little Annie Leibovitz on your hands.

What’s at the top of  your child’s Christmas list this year?

What would you have included on this girl’s gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this list were provided to me free of charge for review purposes for this gift guide.

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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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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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holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMeMedia and Shutterfly. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

The holidays feel as if they came a little quicker this year. It definitely snuck up on me. It’s been a crazy year and with spending this autumn out of commission, it feels like I’ve missed an entire season of my life. In many ways, I guess I have. I hate missing these moments, especially the ones that involve my daughters.

Luckily, I am on the mend and feeling much more like myself these days. Thanks to television and a few over ambitious neighbors I am full-steam ahead in holiday mode. A week from today is Thanksgiving, which marks the official beginning of Christmas. Coincidently, this also is the same day that I become hopelessly behind.

For me, Christmas cards are very important because it is the one time of the year that I know I will reach out to family and friends and they will do the same. I have friends and family that I never get to see in person because of the distance between us but without fail we exchange those cards with photos of our families. Without fail, we think of one another at least for a little while once a year. It is such a small thing but it means the world to me and I look forward to seeing those photos of our friends and their families far and wide each year. It makes us feel so much closer in this great big world.

Life is a celebration, and every moment spent with family and friends is a moment worth capturing. From baptisms and quinceañeras, to Sunday gatherings and Christmas eve, “Mi Vida Shutterfly” ( Shutterfly’s new Spanish-language design offerings) helps you cherish every moment and share them with the people you love who speak Spanish.

Every year, I have this convoluted fantasy of getting our Christmas card design chosen, appropriate photos available, ordered and mailed before actual Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, since giving birth and living with actual children, I haven’t had the time that I’d like to capture those perfect pictures and get them to our loved ones in a timely fashion. Well, at least not since they’ve been able to talk and walk and do anything more than sleep. Motherhood is a full-time job that requires all of your attention and brain cells.

By the time I have actual “free time” (you know the 20 minutes after they fall asleep and before they wake back up trying to get into my bed) I’m simply too exhausted to remember that I’m supposed to be designing, ordering, addressing and mailing Christmas cards. But this year, I tried something different.

holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

I’ve been stuck on the couch due to my broken leg but my days are packed with deadlines. I knew I wanted to order my cards and have them ready to mail out the day after Thanksgiving so I gave myself 30 minutes one day, jumped on Shutterfly used the uninterrupted time to design our Christmas cards.

It was that simple. I chose a photo of the girls in their cute matching outfits and then I picked a photo of the whole family together this fall at my sister’s wedding (ironically it was taken about 30 minutes before I fell and broke my leg), added a couple sentimental statements and placed my order which means, for the first time in years, I will actually be mailing beautiful, personalized Christmas cards on the day after Thanksgiving instead of hand delivering them to my parents and in laws on Christmas eve like some kind of half-hearted afterthought.

holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

They are absolutely beautiful. I love them and can’t wait to share them with family and friends.

Shutterfly offers an easy, creative and convenient way to share family milestones. Now, its even easier to share these with your abuelita, mother, neighbor, tía and other loved ones with Shutterfly’s new Spanish applications (complete with ñ’s and accents). They’ve also added Spanish language customization and Spanish-language customer service.

Take advantage of exclusive offers and promotions visit Shutterfly.com/mivida

Also, I will be randomly choosing one reader from the comments below to win a $50 Shutterfly Gift Card. 

Giveaway ends Dec 2nd at 11:59 EST. Open to all readers over 18 years old.

Simply leave a comment below telling me what your favorite holiday card design is at Shutterfly.

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Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

Disclosure: I am being compensated by SOL ALPACA for your participation in this campaign. You must also include that you are part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network

I love fashion but more than that I love high quality, well-made pieces that can stand the test time. The more unique, the more I fall in love because having a piece that is unlike everything else around you is like having the only one in the world. This is one of the reasons that I love SOL ALPACA.

SOL ALPACA based out of Peru recently opened its online store and now the people of the entire world can enjoy these amazing handcrafted pieces made with only the best fiber and enthusiasm that experts can provide. Peru specializes in an ancient textile tradition and SOL ALPACA is its principal heir.

Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

I was first introduced to the warm people and culture of Peru many years ago when I was 16-years-old and met an exchange student from Lima. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to an entire culture of warm people that I never even knew existed. Soon after, I fell in love with the music, the food and the people.

I am thrilled to be partnering with SOL ALPACA.

They make it possible to experience all the warmth the Andean people have to give; people who love what they do and live with a special passion in harmony with nature, from your own home.

SOL ALPACA works only with the finest fibers of the Andes: alpaca and vicuña and exploit the complete range of 32 natural shades – the world’s largest – to create designs that achieve a perfect balance between the exceptional inherited abilities of Andean people and modern-day trends.

Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

I received a gorgeous, handcrafted scarf in a multitude of colors that are reminiscent of the people of the Indian villages surrounding the place I spent my summers as a child in Mexico. For me, this scarf is a like having my very own piece of sunshine at all times. It’s traditional in that these sophisticated garments originate from a time-honored skill passed down from generation to generation but make no mistake, these pieces are as beautiful as they are warm.

Visit SOL ALPACA in this new online store with its sophisticated garments and accessories. I’m sure you will find a perfect quality piece for that someone special ( or yourself) this holiday season. Let the hands and hearts of Peru keep you warm this winter.

For a limited time,  StoreLaunch2015 is a promocode valid only until december 31st that gives you a 10% discount in their store, with the first online purchase, if you are a subscriber of their newsletter.

Let SOL ALPACA keep you warm.

 

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Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

Our entire lives have been upside down and inside out since I broke my leg but we are learning to deal with it. Honestly, this broken leg has not just changed my life it’s upset the entire ecosystem of my family. It’s been a crazy couple of months so this Halloween, we fittingly went as characters from Inside Out.

joy

I haven’t been out a lot lately so I was really excited to take the girls Trick or Treating. The Big Guy was Anger, which made us all laugh since Anger is small and my husband is 6’5”. My oldest was Joy and my youngest was Disgust. The obvious choice for me was Sadness, to round out the crew, but I figured there’s been enough sadness so I chose to go another route. I decided to be Bing Bong.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

Why Bing Bong from Inside Out, you ask?

Well, I felt like I needed a little whimsy in my life. Though I must say, it’s a challenge trying to bring a child’s imaginary friend to life on Halloween or any other day of the week. I spent the night being confused for Katy Perry and Niki Minaj as the Big Guy wheeled me around the neighborhood.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

It was exhausting to be out and around in the chilly, autumn night air but at the same time it was invigorating. I felt like a human again. Hearing my girls giggle as they ran door-to-door trick or treating made my heart happy.

It’s funny how sometimes the simple things like being outside of your own four walls, participating in life can make all the difference. For one night, I felt like I got to escape my injury and do the things I’ve always done with my family. I felt normal and it was amazing, even if it was while I was dressed as an imaginary friend.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

In the end, maybe I looked like Katy Perry in a wheelchair with a broken leg and a crazy pair of Olivia Newton John sparkly hot pants and not Bing Bong. Maybe no one quite got what I was supposed to be but I needed it.

 

We all needed a little Inside Out to get right side up.

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