Category:

Lifestyle

Neutrogena, #ChooseSkinHealth, skin health, woman, pool
This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with NEUTROGENA® and Latina Bloggers Connect but all opinions are my own.

The weather has been beautiful lately. All these blue skies, sunshine and warm weather will soon give way to lazy days spent lounging by the pool. These are my favorite but it also brings with it my alter ego, the freckled Mexican. Yep, I’m an anomaly. I love to be tanned but with it come my 1 million freckles. I think they are adorable spread across the bridge of my 7-year-old’s nose but not so much on my own face.

I want to avoid the congregation of freckles and stave off any brown spots, so I have started wearing sunscreen like it’s my job and lots of big floppy hats and giant sunglasses when I’m down at the pool. Seriously, people probably think I’m some sort of celebrity. If it weren’t for all of my pack mule antics of carrying all of our own sunscreen, snacks and towels I’m convinced people would mistake me for Sara Ramirez more often.

I’m Latina so I will never have lily-white alabaster skin, nor do I want it, but I would like to have a nice, even olive complexion and more importantly, I do not want skin cancer. Do you know that skin cancer is the number one of preventable cancers? Melanoma scares me. It’s right behind breast cancer on my list of cancers that I obsessively fear.

Let’s face it; my breasts didn’t work for breastfeeding so I’ve convinced myself they are out to get me. Just like my freckles, I see them appear and my mind instantly jumps to the elderly gentleman that used to come into the store I worked at, missing half of his nose because of skin cancer.

Tanned skin is beautiful but you have to be safe and protect it if you want to avoid cancer and wrinkles. Don’t even get me started on wrinkles. The older I get the more I feel like Dracula in the sunlight but instead of disintegrating or bursting into flames, crows feet and laugh lines are slowly, creeping in. So now instead of just moisturizing, I’ve been using sunscreen all the time.

NEUTROGENA® Ultra Sheer sunscreen offers superior sun protection and skincare benefits in one elegant formulation. NEUTROGENA’s Dry-Touch technology instantly absorbs excess oils and leaves skin feeling soft, clean and fresh—never greasy or ghostly white. What’s more, the sunscreen is non-comedogenic and water and sweat-resistant, so it won’t clog pores and run into eyes, it’s perfect for wearing every day.

Neutrogena, #ChooseSkinHealth,  skin health, woman, pool

The Wet Skin is a revolutionary line of sunscreens that are specifically designed to adhere to and protect wet skin, dampened by swimming, sweating or humid weather. It’s perfect for long days at the pool or when working out. I like to take long walks around the neighborhood when it’s nice out and Neutrogena makes sure the entire family is protected, especially my daughters who do happen to have the lily-white alabaster skin.

Keeping your skin healthy is more important now than ever. You protect your children’s skin from the harsh effects of the sun; now do the same for yourself. Your kids need you around. I want to be around for my grandchildren someday, preferably with my entire face in tact.

Neutrogena, #ChooseSkinHealth,  skin health

If you’d like to find out more about how to protect your skin, please join us at our NEUTROGENA® #ChooseSkinHealth Twitter Party on May 19th at 7-8PM EST / 4-5PM PST.

Choose you this summer. How are you choosing skin health?

This is sponsored post in collaboration with Neutrogena® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Suavitel, fragrance pearls, home,mom
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 genuine.

You know how certain sights, sounds and smells remind you of special times and places in our lives? We all have them. Suavitel is one of those smells for me. It reminds me of home, more specifically my mom.

My mom has used Suavitel fabric softener for as long as I can remember. The house that my mom lives in, where I grew up, still smells like Suavitel because the fragrance permeates the sheets, covers, towels and clothes. As soon as I walk in the door, I know I’m home because I’m greeted by the smell of Suavitel and a hug from my mom.

I know, I sound like a super weirdo but it’s sort of how when you open an old storage tub of your big kid’s newborn clothes and you just sniff in all of that sweet baby goodness. No? It’s just me? Of course, I even relate that new baby smell with Suavitel because its what I’ve always used.

Honestly, I tried other fabric softeners when I first went away to college because that’s what all the other kids were using but it was missing something. It smelled awesome but it just didn’t smell like home and I missed home. I really missed my family and I especially missed my mom so I started using Suavitel and never looked back. To this day, Suavitel is the only fabric softener that I use. I hope one day that my girls will crack open a bottle of Suavitel in their local Target and think of me fondly.

New Suavitel® Fragrance PearlsTM in lavender or field of flowers scents with micro-encapsulated technology provides 5X longer lasting fragrance vs. using detergent alone.

Toss a little or a lot into the washing machine at the beginning of the wash and let its long lasting scent system work its magic for clothes that smell fresh for weeks. It’s best if used with Suavitel fabric softener.

What smell reminds you of home and your mom?

My whole house smelling like Suavitel for weeks on end is like one long hug from my mom.

 

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Aetna

Ever see a child eating a bag of Cheetos and drinking a soda and wish you could do better for them? Ever wonder why the poor people are the ones who seem to be the most obese and the most unhealthily? It’s because hungry people eat what they can afford and when you are watching your money, fresh fruits, vegetables and organic are all just beyond your grasp.

Did you know that your zip code is a greater indicator of your health and longevity than your genetic code? Seriously, 23 million Americans live in low-income and rural neighborhoods more than a mile from the nearest supermarket, which means they have to eat what is near them geographically and affordable to them and that is not always what is good for them. Aetna is working to make sure that all children, all people, have access to healthy foods.

Poor nutrition poses a growing health challenge, particularly for those who have limited access to nutritious food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. To help address this challenge and in support of its mission of promoting health and wellness for everyone, the Aetna Foundation has launched an incredible program.

49 million Americans, including 15.8 million children live in food insecure households. According to the CDC 9 in 10 children don’t eat enough vegetables. These are numbers are sobering and sad.

AetnaGraphic

I am thrilled to announce that Aetna Foundation seeks to fund the creation and expansion of innovative approaches to make community gardens, urban farms and farmers markets available to vulnerable communities in order to help all children get access to the healthier foods.

  1. To qualify for funding, programs must include one of the following:
  2. Nutrition education or cooking classes focused on the health benefits of fresh produce.
  3. Growth or distribution of produce that reflects the food traditions of the target area.
  4. Opportunities to learn job skills or entrepreneurship within the context of gardens, farms or farmers markets.
  5. Opportunities for community service or volunteer work with the project

Grants are open to new and expansion programs. All non-profit and community organizations with 501 (c)(3) status, and state and local government agencies are eligible to apply for the grant. Proposal deadline: May 6, 2015 at 5 p.m. ET to learn more visit www.aetnafoundation.org.

Aetna is trying to make fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. If you know of a non-profit or community organization in your areas that qualifies for this program, encourage them to apply for this grant and help save the children from being a victim of their zip code. Doesn’t every child deserve to be healthy?

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Aetna Foundation and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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little luxuries, lavender, angel soft, sponsored post

This week I left the frigid below zero temperatures of the Midwest bound for LA and 70 degree weather to attend the #WeAllGrow Summit for Latinas. To say that I’m excited is a gross understatement. I’ve been doing all the usual fun conference stuff like obsessing over what to wear (in LA since I’ve never been), scheduling a little pampering for myself (so I don’t frighten any other bloggers away) and trying to schedule in face time with some of my favorite bloggers.

I’ve been badgering all of my LA friends about what I should wear because I don’t want to get laughed or pointed at and was told by my friend Jessica that I could wear sandals in February but my pedicure better be on point. I live in the Midwest; so obviously, my pedicure is not on point. Not even close. My feet have been hiding inside of fur-lined boots, my skin has been buried under layers of clothing and my entire beauty regime consists of mostly bathing, brushing my teeth and moisturizing. I’m not setting foot in California in this state, lest the pointing begin.

I’m dying the grays, waxing all the hair and undoubtedly getting my pedicure and manicure. I tried to schedule in a massage too but between deadlines and life, I just ran out of time. While a massage would have been perfect for relaxing my mind before a long day of flying and a week of intense networking, it just wasn’t meant to be.

I can imagine the smell of lavender oils and the ambient lighting filling the room. The scent of lavender always reminds me of a relaxing spa day. It’s one of those luxuries that we moms are not often afforded. I’m like Pavlov’s dogs in that way; I smell lavender, I instantly relax and associate the situation with luxurious pampering.

So imagine my surprise when I received a large box of Angel Soft toilet paper, lavender scented. Yes, it smells so good. My entire bathroom smells like a spa. I know it’s just toilet paper, but isn’t it the little things that make life special. In case you are wondering (because I was), no it’s not purple. It’s the same Angel soft toilet paper that it’s always been, only it smells fantastic and you’ll feel like you are pampering yourself every time you use it.

If you are interested in learning more or winning a year’s supply for yourself, you should totally RSVP for the Twitter party.

#LlevalaSuave Bilingual Twitter Party with @AngelSoftLatino

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015, 5pm PST / 8pm EST

Where: On Twitter with the hashtag #LlevalaSuave

You can use this link for easy access starting now: https://twubs.com/LlevalaSuave

Co-Hosts: @En_TuZapatos @LorraineCLadish @MamaXXI @SassyMamainLA

Moderators: @lbconnect @laflowers

Special Guest: @AngelSoftLatino

Prizes: Three (3) giveaways of one (1) year’s supply of Angel Soft® with Fresh Lavender Scent bath tissue and a $100 gift card to a Spa

This is a sponsored campaign in collaboration with Angel Soft® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

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shaming, fat shaming, slut shaming, mom shaming, embarrassing mom moments

I read the post Veronica Partridge, Oregon mom and wife, wrote after having a conversation about yoga pants and how when women wear them “it creates a stronger attraction for a man to look at a woman’s body and may cause them to think lustful thoughts” and her choice to stop wearing yoga pants so that she would no longer be a part of the downfall off mankind; her and her ass that is.

Okay, so maybe it sounds like I’m making fun of Veronica Partridge and her moral dilemma with wearing yoga pants but I’m actually not. She is a grown woman and if she doesn’t want to wear yoga pants that is her choice. In fact, there are many women who should not be wearing yoga pants in public…myself included but I choose to do it anyways. I’m a rebel that way.

No seriously, the yoga pant situation is completely a choice between herself, her husband and her God. My husband and my God both say, “Hey Debi, wear what you want to because it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The world will not fall because your ass is visible through your Lulumons.” Fabletics, thank you very much.

My issue however is that this woman believes that her ass can take down mankind. Worse still, she feels that it is her personal responsibility to save the world …protect men. It’s like a rape victim blaming herself for being victimized. Hey, lady, I think it’s noble that you want to keep yourself and your * ahem* body for your husband’s eyes only. That is awesome but as far as women being responsible for men’s deviant thoughts. Hell no! Don’t put that on me or you or any other woman. Men are responsible for their own actions. You are making yourself a scapegoat.

Your husband told you because you asked but let’s be real; men need to know how to control their urges. You say you want to be a good example for your daughter. Morally, I think you’ve got it covered but come on, you’re teaching her to believe that if she wears the wrong clothes and gets sexually assaulted, she deserves it. What you wear should have nothing to do with how men react. They need to control themselves. End of story.

So, Veronica go on with your bad self. I’ve tried to quit yoga pants a few times but it just wouldn’t stick. Turns out, when I wear my yoga pants it’s because they are comfortable and I couldn’t care less what men think. I wear my clothes for me. Now, if I were going outside naked, then yeah, that would be disrespectful to my marriage. If I were wearing lingerie down Michigan Avenue at rush hour, yes, that would be exploiting my female body for attention. But I can’t worry about how what I do affects every man in the street because that is simply not my problem.

One last thing Veronica, you may have quit the yoga pants because you don’t want to entice men into having lustful thoughts about you but what’s stopping your husband (and every other man in the world) from seeing women in yoga pants and having lustful thoughts? The only ones who can control those lustful thoughts are the men.

Do you believe that if women stop wearing yoga pants we can save ourselves from unwanted advances of men?

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Aventura Clothing: The Perfect Gift for the Fashion & Enviromentally Conscious Family #AventuraLife

I’ve had the pleasure of being an ambassador for Aventura clothing for the past year. Until then, I honestly didn’t know much about the line. In the past year, I’ve had the chance to try several pieces and I won’t lie, I’ve really been impressed.

I’m 42 years old, so I figured out a long time ago the difference between cheaply made clothing and well-made, high-quality pieces. In fact, I can’t even convince myself to buy lesser quality clothing for myself because it’s simply not worth it in the long run. What’s the point of paying $25 for jeans if you only wear them once? I’d rather pay $100 or $200 and wear them until they fall apart.

Aventura was a pleasant surprise in the fact that they are well-priced but extremely well-made using high quality materials that not only look good and feel good, they are made to fit adult women’s bodies; tall, short, thin or plus sized. Got curves? No problem.

The pieces are comfortable and you feel good when you wear them. I don’t spend the entire time pulling and tugging to get stuff to fit. It’s just cut in a way that falls nicely on the adult woman’s body. Of course, that hasn’t kept my young daughters from snagging certain pieces, ahem, scarves and hats.

Aventura

 

What can I say the girl has good taste. Though I do wish she’d let me wear it at least some of the time, but how can I deny her when she looks so dang cute in the Lachlan hat and scarf?

Here are a few of my favorite pieces that I ordered. With the basic colors and patterns, it is so easy to mix and match to create endless possibilities with just a few great pieces.

 

Aventura

 

This outfit is so cozy and perfect for shopping or lounging by the fire. I am a big fan of Aventura sweaters but the Berlin wool sweater may be my all time favorite. It was perfect for apple picking and cool fall days and has transitioned nicely as a layering piece this winter. I can’t express how awesome the bienne tank tops are. They come is several colors and are long enough for any height and you don’t have to worry about them stretching out or riding up on muffin tops. Definitely a basic everyone needs in their closet. The Morgan cords are like nothing you have ever felt before, soft, stretchy and body hugging without restrictive. I LOVE THEM.

 

aventura

Or if you are need something feminine, yet warm and cozy to wear to girls night out or dinner with your favorite guy. I love this outfit. The Maxine top is light and flowy with ruching on the neckline that makes it look gorgeous on almost every body type and can be worn year round. I like to layer it over a bienne tank in beaujolais  during the cooler months. On top of that, I like the Zuri Jacket because the 100% boiled wool will never fail to keep you warm during these cooler months and the gradient color gives it a air of sophistication.The Blake skinny jean goes with just about anything you want to wear it with. Made from organic cotton and Lycra, it’s an eco-friendly option with a touch of stretch that fits your body like a glove and they look great with boots.

 

aventura

I spend a lot of time in yoga pants so when I get dressed to go out into public for school parties, to the doctor’s office, shopping, the movies or just lunch with a friend, I have an expectation of comfort but I don’t want to look like I just rolled out of bed so Aventura helps me have both; style and comfort. I think this is just the perfect outfit for hanging out and running errands. The Ciera vest is quilter and tailored but the back is stretchy knit, so you may not want to go up a size. I did to accommodate my bust-line and it was a little large on me. The Natalie Reversible skirt is reversible with a fun burnout print on the top layer and a solid jersey on the inner layer and it’s fully lined so if you are over 30, no need to worry about cellulite making an appearance through your clothes. We’ve got you covered. This skirt is super comfy and lightweight. You can wear it definitely wear it round.

You can still get your Aventura in time for Christmas!

Oreder 12/19 before 9 AM PST for 2 & 3 Day Shipping • 12/22 before 9 AM PST for Next Day Shipping.

Just because I am in the holiday spirit, I will give a 60% off promo code for your order up to $250 to the first 15 people that leave a comment letting me know your favorite Aventura piece.

 

 

ecoths

Sportif also has a men’s line, Ecoths brand, which my husband loves.. Same quality as Aventura, made to fit real men but fashionable and stylish. He has the Maddox sweater made of 100% organic cotton. It’s soft and cut to accommodate his broad shoulders, waist and long torso which is something we usually have a hard time finding to fit. He also has the Grady Cords which he adores and he is not a corduroy type of guy but he says that these are so comfortable that he feels like he’s wearing his favorite jeans, plus there’s no awkward swishing sound like with some corduroy pants.

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ecoths' maddox sweater

Personally, there is nothing sexier than a man cooking for me but he’s wearing that Maddox sweater pretty well.

 

aventura, holidays, holiday gift guide 2014

I wear my Aventura everywhere. The jacket I wore to the city tree lighting above my Berlin sweater is the Briarwood jacket and I won’t lie, I wish I had it in every single color. Even the Grinch approves:)

As you can see, my family is an Aventura family. We love it and that’s the truth. Happiest of Holidays to your family from mine.

 

Disclosure: I am a proud Aventura ambassador and as such product was provided to me for review purposes, all 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

Is there anything better than pretty things that sparkle? Sure, massages, a maid and a personal chef but nothing can pep me up quite as much as a piece of a beautiful bling to make me feel all pretty ( and believe me that’s no easy feat for someone who spends most of her days in yoga pants and sweaters.)

Recently, I partnered with Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski’s direct selling jewelry division, to review some of their beautiful pieces and I think any woman would be thrilled to find these baubles in their stocking this year. I know that I was pretty excited when I opened my 3 tiny blue boxes.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

Spotlight Collar Necklace ($169)

The Spotlight Collar Necklace is a gorgeous statement piece and speaks for itself at first I was a little intimidated by all that beautiful bling. It’s definitely an attention grabber. It’s a beautiful gift to give to a special woman in your life or for yourself. It’s definitely the go bog or go home piece of jewelry. So far, I’ve worn mine to see my daughters perform in the city ballet’s Nutcracker performance and to a family Christmas party.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

 

I received more compliments than I can count.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

But, to tell the truth, it works just as well with a nice pair of jeans and blouse for date night with your favorite guy.

 

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace, touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet

Crystal Ice Earrings ($29)

The Crystal ice earrings are simple, sparkly and have become my every day earrings. They pair beautifully with my diamond studs that I wear in my second hole and my wedding ring. They work with anything you want to wear from jeans to a skirt and jacket or even your fanciest cocktail dress and rabbit fur. They are just the perfect amount of sparkle to compliment and not overwhelm your outfit.

 

touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet, touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

Golden Ice Bracelet ($125)

This bracelet is simply gorgeous. It features a continuous row of sparkling crystal golden shadow Swarovski elements. It’s gold plated with a fold-over clasp, with one extra removable extender bar and adjustable 7 1/4˝ to 7 3/4˝ length but I have to tell you, it pairs almost perfectly with my rose gold jewelry. Also, it’s available in other colors and looks AMAZING stacked. The possibilities are endless, 1 single bracelet to daintily adorn your wrist with an evening gown or a stack to add some sparkle to your favorite casual outfit.

 

I won’t lie, I do prefer diamonds but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Swarovski crystals since my husband surprised me with a beautiful bangle bracelet on our trip to Niagara falls when we were first married. I love the idea of the sparkle and the affordability of crystal. Every woman deserves a little sparkle and for that very reason, I am happy to announce that I will be giving a pair of the gorgeous Crystal ice earrings away to TWO luck readers thanks to the generosity of Touchstone Crystal.

 

touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet, touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

 

Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski is Swarovski’s direct selling jewelry division a fun, social shopping direct sales business where consultants can earn substantial income, and discounts, by hosting Touchstone Crystal events or selling via the online catalog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided these baubles for review by Touchstone Crystal but my love for them is all my own.

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review, laundry, vacuum, Shark rotator, clean house, domestic abilities

Ever walk into a play date or a friend’s house and think to yourself, ” Damn, how does she keep this place so clean with kids?” Me, neither. Just kidding. It happens all the time. I immediately ask her for the name of her cleaning lady. If she denies having a cleaning lady one of two things happens 1) I am amazed by her domestic goddess abilities and ask her to teach me her ways or 2) I decide we can no longer be friends because she either neglects her children or is a liar, liar, clean, pressed pants on fire.

I thought that I had it all figured out, this home business. No, I don’t mean working from home or my blog, I mean keeping my house from looking like a cyclone hit it while working from home and parenting smallish children. It’s hard, people. I don’t know how they do it but my kids can really mess up a house. I feel like I’m constantly cleaning and I am going to be completely honest with you, I don’t like it. In fact, I pretty much despise domestic labor.

My girls are not toddlers. It’s not about Cheerio crumbs and Cheez-it dust anymore. I can’t blame it on tiny hands and squished up puffs. This is all the damage of two semi-sophisticated young ladies who simply cannot get the concept of food actually making it into their mouths and can’t (or won’t) be bothered by picking up toys and clothes which leaves my floor looking like the toy box and their closet exploded, add to the mix crumbs and dirty plates on tables and I am ready to burn the house down. I feel like I need to go through the house with a leaf blower just to clear a path sometimes. Did I mention I don’t like mess.at.all?

My husband says its because they live in excess and simply have no room to put it all away. He blames me. I say they are just the cutest little pigs around. I blame them. They blame the dog.

I do my best, in between deadlines, appointments, errands, cooking dinner and keeping little people alive, I clean the house but it never seems to be clean enough because as I clean one room, I swear, they are making it their single mission to destroy the rest of the house. It truly is maddening.

I want to hire a maid to come once a week but then I realized that I don’t have a schedule that permits me to scrub my house down once a week and how could I ever let a stranger see my house in such a state? It’s bad enough that my husband sees it. Who has time to do all that cleaning before the maid comes? And if I didn’t, she would surely double her prices and tell all of her other domestic engineer friends about how dirty my house was and the next thing you know, I’d be blackballed by all help…everywhere.

What’s worse than what I see…the mess, is the stuff that I can’t see. The things that I can’t even begin to consider like dust mites and such. The thought of it makes my skin crawl. I try to pretend that they don’t exist but I know that they do so I basically stay at a defcon 1 stress level about my house at all times. In fact, I am wondering just how many dust mites can live on a single dust bunny (like the one under my sofa) at this very moment. Oops, I may have just vomited in my mouth a little bit.

Then, I received an unexpected gift in the mail. Not something that I would normally get excited about but hey, I like it when the FedEx guy brings me goodies so I tore into it and I have to say, it is quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces in my house.

Behold the Shark® Rotator® Powered Lift-Away® . Yes, it’s a vacuum cleaner. I used to be the girl who swore I’d break my husbands kneecaps if he ever gave me a vacuum, iron or weight loss machine as a gift. In fact, I swore it. These are not gifts in my mind, these are necessities and commentary on the state of how I handle things. So thanks, no thanks.

But Shark sent me this and so there was no husband to be offended by. I have to be honest, I have a Dyson and after emptying container on the Shark, I can tell you that my Dyson has been doing a piss poor job. Maybe it wasn’t all the kids’ fault. Maybe the Dyson was failing to do its job and the kids weren’t habitual offenders…at least not where the floor was concerned. They are fully accountable for the toys and clothes on the floor but maybe not the crumbs and enough hair to create an entirely new dog or child.

Here are some of the features:
• Rotator® power nozzle with motorized brush that deep cleans and reaches further under furniture than any other vacuum (as evidenced by said hair and dust).
• Powerful LED headlights on the nozzle and handle to improve visibility under furniture or in dark, hard-to-see spaces (this is amazing but be warned vacuuming in the dark is scary).
• Fingertip Controls for easy transitions between hard floors, carpet and area rugs (I love not having to bend over to switch the height).
• Designed with a HEPA filter and Shark’s Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology™ to capture and hold 99.99 percent of dust and allergens (this is a must in our house because 4 out of 4 people who live here, suffer from allergies and fear of dust bunnies.)

laundry, vacuum, Shark rotator, clean house, domestic abilities, review

• Additional features include:
o Hard Floor Genie™ bare floor attachment picks up large debris and fine dust in one easy step (easy enough for a 7 and 9-year-old to use).
o Extra-long 30 foot power cord provides maximum range for cleaning large spaces.
o Specialized tools to offer versatility in cleaning include a premium pet power brush, upholstery tool, flexible crevice tool and canister caddy.

My Shark is awesome and that is saying something because up until now, I was a die hard Dyson fan but the dust don’t lie and now, maybe, I can get that maid I’ve always wanted and deserved without the shame of her judging my domestic abilities.

Disclosure: I was provided a Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away for review purposes but all opinions and clean rooms are mine, all mine.

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visa checkout, gymboree, holidays

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from Visa/Gymboree to buy my products and

use its Visa Checkout online payment service, but all thoughts reflected here are my own.

 

We had our first snow this week, Tchaikovsky’s been playing on a continuous loop and the first

fire of the season has been stoked in our fireplace. Tis the season of twinkling lights, cozy

pajamas and cuddling with those you love the most. It’s also a reminder that the holidays are

right around the corner.

This year it seems like everyone has decided to skip Thanksgiving and go directly to Christmas.

At first, I wasn’t really onboard with early Christmasing but suddenly I am all about Christmas.

I’m ready to put up the tree and deck the halls and falalalalala all over the place. Bring on the

shopping.

I’m planning ahead for breakfast with Santa and family Christmas card photos. Usually at this

point my head is consumed with thoughts of sugarplums dancing in my head and all things

Nutcracker. That’s what happens when you’re the mom of ballerinas. Your entire holiday season

is broken down into two categories; Nutcracker season and the hurried rush of the two weeks

until Christmas.

When most people are carefully planning their holidays, I am busy hurrying from one

performance to the next. I’m sure all the ballet moms reading this are shaking their heads in

agreement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it and I love every minute of being a part of

this part of my daughters’ lives but it doesn’t leave a lot of leisurely time for things like baking

cookies, ice-skating and taking fun, family photos in matching Christmas PJs. I decided this year

things are changing, we’re doing the Christmas cards like everyone else (and not the week of

Christmas like I’ve been doing for the past 5 years.)

In fact, I got on the Internet a couple weeks ago and visited Gymboree and found the cutest

holiday pajamas for the entire family, yes, even my 6’5” husband. Not just coordinating pajamas

but real, honest to goodness, matching pajamas in all of our sizes; from newborn to Men’s 2XL. I

thought it was too easy. I love everything that makes my life easier. Streamlining is my happy

place.

When I went to checkout, I was pretty excited to see the Visa Checkout button. What’s Visa

Checkout? It’s a simple, easy ways to pay with any major credit or debit card online at the sites

you love. Simply create an account once and speed through all of your future purchases without

having to search for the wallet, get it out and re-enter payment and shipping information every

single time. I don’t know about you, but this is a super time saver during the busiest shopping

season of the year.

After the initial account is set up with your major credit or debit card, all that is required is your

username and password. It’s secure with Visa’s advanced security tools that leave customers

with zero liability in case of fraud and it allows shoppers to earn great rewards. Offering a

consistent, simple experience across desktop, mobile web and apps. Voila, who said the holidays

had to be hard?

Visa Checkout is already an option at many big retailers, and thanks to Visa’s vast network it’s

growing all the time and I know, for a fact, that it’s available at Gymboree.com. What are you

waiting for? Go make your life easier and spend that time actually enjoying your holidays.

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wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

A house is four walls and a roof but a home is your soft place to land. When the Big Guy and I bought the house we currently live in, we knew we wanted some place to make our own; that felt lived in, welcoming and not sterile and brand new. Don’t get me wrong, new builds are amazing, out first two homes were new builds but for all that new shiny house smell, they felt sterile, there were no mature trees and it took a lot to fill them to give them character; to make them ours.

The house we live in now is definitely a work in progress. It is almost as old as I am, built in ’77 but from the moment we walked in to the place, we could see past the paneling and fixture updates to the potential; hosting Thanksgiving dinners, birthday parties for years to come, Halloweens spent trick or treating with neighborhood friends and waking up Christmas morning. I could see my girls walking down those stairs all dreamy eyed and imagine them lighting up when they saw what Santa had brought. I could see all of it. It was the house, I wished I’d grown up in. Still, it wasn’t “our” house.

We’ve updated fixtures and appliances; we’ve painted walls and torn out closets. We’ve laid down wood flooring, removed paneling and replaced cabinetry. We’ve changed the very landscape of the home, to modernize it without losing that cozy feeling. There is nothing quite like a brand new lush shag carpet for kids to lay on in the movie room floor. Still, something was missing.

home decor,wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

I’ve always wanted my house to be a place that family and friends feel at home in. I want it clean and stylish but I don’t want it to feel like a museum. Life is meant for living and I think waiting for special occasions is overrated. I want my girls to know that life is meant to be experienced every single day.

I’ve never been the mom who says “you can’t play/wear/ use with that” because, in my mind, if I buy a toy, piece of jewelry, clothing, furniture, whatever it may be…I bought it with people enjoying it in mind, not for it to set in a cabinet or closet collecting dust because then what’s the point? Then I’ve wasted money and chances at happiness. Nobody should ever waste chances at happiness. When you die, nobody’s going to remember the perfect condition your furniture was in or how fancy your dishes were, they are going to remember how you made them feel when they were with you, in your home.

So, how do I make the house we live in feel homey? For me, it’s all about comfort. I like nice things and I especially like them if they are comfortable and comforting. I’ve found the easiest way to make a house feel inviting is to make people feel at home when they are there and that can be done very easily with comfort items like pillows, poufs and throws. Oh, my!

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws, home decor

As a family, we spend most of our family time in the movie room because when given the choice, you always watch movies on a big screen while cuddling on a cozy sectional. So, I’ve made it my mission to make it the coziest room on the planet so I’ve been looking at all things comfy and now I’d like your help choosing which pieces I should add.

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

 

Moe’s Home Collection Lamb Fur Wool Pillow 

 

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

Surya Ruffle and Frill Pillow

 

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

WovenWorkz Charlotte Ruffled Acrylic Throw

 

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws Cashmere Collection Cashmere and Merino Wool Throw

 

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throwsIkram Design Moroccan Leather Pouf Ottoman

 

wayfair, pillows, poufs, throws

Mi-Zone Madison Park Kelsey Round Pouf Ottoman

But wait, just for you, Wayfair is offering a promo code that will run from November 20 through November 24th for 15% off ANY Pillow, Pouf or Throw. The code is: WFPTP15

Which pieces do you think would add the coziest feel to the room? How do you make your home cozy for the holidays?

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

Alexandra Ferguson “Be Nice or Leave” Decorative Pillow

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