Archives for February 2013

One Step, Two Steps, Three Steps…MORE! #VZWA

I love my husband dearly, but lately there is less of him to love!  Through diet, exercise and My Fitness Pal, my husband has lost nearly fifty pounds and close to one hundred points off his cholesterol.  I could not be more proud of him and his weight loss journey to a healthier body.  In fact, he has inspired me to become more active.

For over 30 years, I was a dancer.  I either participated in or taught dance classes almost every night of the week.  Needless to say, I was in shape and not worried at all about my activity level.  After having two daughters, I decided that I needed a break from dance and my activity level has steadily decreased. However, working full time and being a Mom of two leaves me little energy to workout at the end of the day.

I need motivation.  Plain and Simple.

As a Verizon Wireless Ambassador, I received the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker to try out.  I am no stranger to Fitbit as I received the Ultra as a gift.  But the great thing about Fitbit is that you can “friend” people and start a friendly competition.  I decided to give the Zip to my husband in hopes of using his activity level to inspire me to get moving.

The Fitbit Zip tracks his steps, calories burned and distance traveled and syncs directly to his phone with Wi-Fi.  In fact, his Fitbit activity syncs with the My Fitness Pal app, too!  When the stats are synced, I can check up on his daily progress and use it as motivation to keep up….and it’s working.

While at work, I have found myself taking the stairs more often, walking an extra lap around the office and offering to make trips to the mail room to gain more steps on my day.  I have yet to beat my husband on steps walking because he is obsessed with his activity level (and he is a teacher so he walks al ot during the day) but I am closing the gap.  Thanks, Fitbit!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

 

 

Buying a New Home May Make You a Target for Identity Theft #LifeLock

So you bought a house, huh?  Signed about a million papers and now you may be hyperventilating?  Been there.  Done that.  The good news is that many people know exactly what you are going through.  The bad news is that many people know exactly what you are going through…..and some may be identity thieves.  In all the hustle and bustle of buying your new home, have you done everything you can to protect yourself?

With identity theft up 3% in 2012, it is more important than ever to take the necessary steps to ensure your personal information stays private.  The first step (and this is super hard for someone addicted to social media like me) is to refrain from posting your old or new address and the date of your move.  Even pictures that have identifying information make it easy for identity thieves to make you an unwilling target.

Before moving, there are a few things you can do to make sure your move goes smoothly and your identity stays in tact!  It is a good idea to know your bill schedule.  If a bill normally arrives on the 15th of every month, and one month it doesn’t, call the company immediately to make sure your mail has not been intercepted.

There is no doubt that you will be doing quite a bit of shopping for your new home.  Decorating is fun, but open credit cards are a prime target for identity thieves, so when your bills arrive make sure you check your account statements to verify your transactions.  If you detect fraudulent activity call the credit card company as quickly as possible.

It’s not a bad idea to have a line of defense…someone always there to have your back…someone to watch those credit card accounts and alert you at the first sign of fraud.  Meet LifeLock.  As a member, LifeLock monitors your accounts and if they receive any indication that your personal information has been compromised, the Identity Alert Team will contact you via email or phone.

Check out how LifeLock works and while you’re at it, play the LifeLock for Life game on Facebook for a chance to win a $1,000 VISA gift card.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While I was compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Cirque du Soliel’s Quidam Comes to New Orleans

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved the circus.  On my honeymoon to Walt Disney World, my new husband and I decided to check out what we thought was “just a circus” at Downtown Disney called La Nouba.  What we witnessed was far from any circus I had ever seen and we were both mesmerized.

This Cirque du Soleil production was full of energy and magic without the dancing poodles and lion tamers.  In fact, Cirque du Soleil didn’t have any animals at all. About the organization:

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents.

I am so excited that Cirque du Soleil is coming to New Orleans with their production of Quidam which had its world premiere in Montreal under the Big Top in April 1996.  Since that time, the production has toured on five continents and been experienced by millions of people. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, musicians, singers and characters.

If you would like to experience Quidam, it will be performed at the New Orleans Arena from March 13-17, 2013 (seven nights only!).  Tickets for the general public are available on www.cirquedusoleil.com/quidam, by phone at 1 800 -745-3000 or in person at the New Orleans Arena Box Office.

Follow the action on Twitter using hashtag #quidam or on Facebook!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While tickets were received to facilitate this post, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash Saves Space and Time

Many people have tried to combine two good things into one great thing.  But how many have been successful?  Spoon+Fork=Spork…um, no.  Jeans+Pajamas=Jammie Jeans…no way.  But the people at Ivory have perfected this whole 2-IN-1 business with the new Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash.

With 3 girls in this house, our bathroom is crowded with several types of shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, gel, body wash, soap, mousse, and shave gel.  To say that the ledge of our shower is crammed would be an understatement.  I was intrigued by the idea of getting rid of clutter (and saving money) by using Ivory’s 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash.  But it’s really only a good idea if the product is good, right?

Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash Attributes & Benefits Include:

  • Dual-action formula that cleans head to toe in one simple step, and leaves hair conditioned
  • Free of dyes and heavy perfumes
  • Fewer bottles which mean less waste and more space in your bath/shower
  • Fewer products which result in money savings and simplify the shower experience

I recently tried Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash with my two daughters.  Because one of my daughters is prone to eczema, I was pleased that the product was free of dyes and perfumes.  The product lathers well (and even conditioned) their hair well.  For me, I liked how my hair felt after washing but used an extra conditioner because my hair is thicker than my daughters.

Overall, I love the new Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash and would continue to purchase this product in the future.  And I have good news!  One of my readers will win an Ivory gift basket containing

  • Two bottles of Ivory 2-IN-1 Hair and Body Wash
  • An Ivory-embroidered towel turban and shower loofah
  • All delivered in a cute shower basket with suction cups

Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received o facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions with Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread {Giveaway}

To say my life is hectic would be an understatement. Every day it seems like we have a thousand things to do. It would be so easy to give up my New Year’s Resolution (to eat healthier) and pull into my local fast food restaurant for a quick meal. One of my biggest challenges when dieting is finding the time to prepare meals.

With Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread, I don’t have any excuses.  Simply pop it in the microwave and in less than two minutes you have a warm and delicious meal perfect to take to work for lunch.  My husband loves them because the warming pouch allows him to sit at his desk and eat without making a mess saving valuable time (and napkins).

So far his favorite is the Roasted Turkey with Bacon & Reduced Fat Cheese the best. The Pretzel Bread gives the sandwich a good taste and is different from anything else you can purchase at any fast food restaurant in our area.  In addition to his favorite, Lean Pockets Pretzel Bread flavors include Grilled Chicken Jalapeño Cheddar, Grilled Chicken with Honey Mustard, Spinach and Three Cheese variety and Mesquite BBQ Recipe Chicken.  Each Lean Pocket contains less than 300 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving and unlike other frozen meals we’ve tried, leaves you full and satisfied.    I had a little trouble finding them at first, but if you visit the Lean Pockets website you can enter your zip code and it will give you a list of stores where you can purchase them.


Did you know that only 7% of females feel that they can stick to their New Year’s Resolutions for good?  Lean Pockets is helping you keep your New Years Resolution by offering a coupon! If you like their Facebook page, you can download the coupon and watch an interactive mini soap, “As the Pockets Turns”, in which you get to chose your own ending.  Healthy eating has never been this easy!

To help you even more, I have $25 in Lean Pocket coupons to giveaway to one lucky reader!  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is the opinion of Beth of Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Get Ready for Spring with Sears #GrillingisHappiness #SOBEFF

It may only be February, but here in New Orleans, the weather is warming up and we are already getting outside.  My husband loves to grill and our family loves to gather outdoors on our deck, so it is time to start thinking about sprucing up our space.

Fortunately, Sears is unveiling its latest collection of chic and affordable patio designs at the prestigious culinary celebration, Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February 21st – 24th in Miami. This indulgent festival not only features thousands of culinary influencers & consumers, but the exclusive lighted patio line & Kenmore grill from Sears! Now that would be a welcome addition on my own patio!

A few highlights include a Kenmore Elite Grill with 692 sq. inches of cooking space and lighted patio furniture to extend your outdoor fun from day to night! I love that the furniture is lighted with long lasting LED lights with a dimming switch so you can set the ambiance for any gathering.

Sears is proud to have Ty Pennington and George Hirsch serve as hosts of the Grilling is Happiness Lounge featuring these unique lines in a wide range of styles and price points. Visit Sears.com and let our design team help you extend your living space to the outdoors.

This is a sponsored post. I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.

My Favorite Feature of the HTC Windows 8X Phone #VZWA

My family and I eat out more often then we probably should.  But with our busy schedules, it is just part of our reality.  Because we have taken the kids out to eat since they have been infants, they know what type of behavior we expect in a restaurant setting.  That being said, sometimes we can hit long wait times for either our table or our meal, and let’s face it…a four year old has a limited amount of patience.

I am generally not an advocate of using electronics at the table, but sometimes you just need to bend the rules to get through a long dinner with your sanity.  Thankfully, the invention of smartphones has made for easily available entertainment with apps, games and videos but I will admit that I cringe when I hand over my phone to my kids.  Will the accidentally call my boss?  Will they delete that important email?  No matter how safe you think your information is, kids will find a way to access it.  Until now….

As a Verizon Wireless Ambassador, I have been testing out the HTC Windows 8X phone over the past several weeks.  One of the features I love most is the Kids Corner which is a safe haven set up on my phone just for my kids.  With my phone on my lock screen (which is password protected), my kids can simply swipe to the left to access their own special “Kids Corner.”

Parents can customize the Kids Corner by clicking on Settings on their home screen.  Scroll down to “Kids Corner” and turn it on by toggling the switch.  Once the feature is activated, you can now add apps, games and videos that are Mom-approved.  These approved items will be the ONLY things your kids will be access on your phone.

Thanks to Kids Corner, you no longer have to unlock your phone and expose all of your valuable information in order for the kids to play games.  While in the lock screen, the kids can simply swipe to the left to open Kids Corner and start playing the games you made available in settings.  My girls loved that they can even customize their own home screen!

Now I can breathe a little easier when I hand over the phone to my youngest daughter in order to provide a little wait time entertainment.  The Kids Corner feature is a definite plus on my new HTC Windows 8X phone.  Thanks, Verizon Wireless!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Protect Your Identity When Buying a New Home With #LifeLock

After getting married, my husband and I rented an apartment for two years.  After learning to balance a budget and just live together in harmony, we decided it was time to brand out and buy a home.  It was a scary leap and one with many hiccups, but eventually we settled into our new home.  Looking back, we could have done a bit better as far as organizing and planning our big move especially now that I have LifeLock on my side.

For those of you thinking of buying a new home sometime in the near future, here is a list of things I wish I knew when I was the one in the process of a move ten years ago:

  • Clean out your files before moving and shred any paperwork containing personal information before discarding
  • While at work, do not access personal documents through your work desktop, laptop or tablet.  It can result in keyloggers and other malware breaching the firewall and infecting your work device.
  • Moving during tax season? Change your address before you move to prevent your W-2 or other financial documents get taken from your abandoned mailbox.
  • When moving, don’t carry your Driver’s License and Social Security Card in the same place.  That’s all a thief needs to steal your identity.
  • Put credit card receipts in a safe place when moving.  They may contain full card numbers!

If you are looking for more tips to protect your identity while buying a new home and moving, play LifeLock for Life Sweepstakes and even be entered to win great prizes including a $1,000 Visa Gift Card.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  As a LifeLock Ambassador, I am compensated for my time and effort but all opinions remain 100% mine.

Support Local Schools with the Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz

Both of my girls have loved milk from the first time I offered it (they take after their Mama!).  Because we are milk fanatics, every grocery run begins in the dairy section.  Now, thanks to the Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz, the benefits of buying milk for your family go beyond your kitchen table.

From now through February 17th, simply register on the Got Milk? Breakfast Blitz Sweepstakes site, enter the UPC code from your milk carton and help support breakfast programs in local schools.  When registering, you can vote for a participating local school (based on our zip code) to win a Fuel Up to Play 60 Breakfast Grant plus enter to win great prizes for yourself such as a $200 NFLShop.com gift card, free milk for a year and even tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII.

To recap:  you drink milk full of nutrients, help local schools and enter to win awesome prizes for yourself, too.  It’s a win win, right?!?  To sweeten the deal even more, one of my readers will win a “Tackle Your Day” breakfast basket from Milk Mustache which includes:

  • Spilt milk bowl
  • Spoon straw
  • Tackle Your Day Challenge Chart
  • Milk Mustache Magnet
  • Cow slippers
  • Mustache glasses
  • Breakfast Project Recipe Cards

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy. While I was compensated by The Motherhood for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.  There’s no purchase necessary. See rules for official details, enter here: http://milk.am/mbbfastblitz

Auntie Anne’s Celebrates 25 Years {Giveaway}

Tuesday may have just been another ordinary day to you, but it was Mardi Gras here in New Orleans.  My family and I ride on a float throwing beads to the crowd throughout the seven mile parade route.  Our day starts early loading up the float and lining up to roll.  From start to finish, we party just about all day long.

The ride is an absolute blast if you do it right!  Plenty of throws, food and drink are necessities to make the day a success.  This year, I decided to celebrate Auntie Anne’s 25th Birthday at the biggest party in the World…Mardi Gras!  Auntie Anne’s was nice enough to supply us with 25 pretzels to fuel up the float riders.

During the parade, we passed out an assortment of pretzels to our fellow Krewe members including Auntie Anne’s Original, Cinnamon Sugar and the brand new Honey Whole Grain.  Because it’s more fun to eat pretzels with dipping sauces, we supplied our riders with their choice of glaze, chocolate or marinara.

The pretzels were the perfect finger food!  Easy to handle and nibble on while the float was in motion, the pretzels went fast.  While Mardi Gras is also known as “Fat Tuesday”, some of our riders opted for the Honey Whole Grain pretzel which comes in at under 300 calories which feels responsible but tastes reckless!

To celebrate their 25th Birthday, Auntie Anne’s is giving away $25,000!  Try your hand at rolling the perfect pretzel for your chance at the prize or instantly win an Apple iPad Mini, Coca-Cola Beverages for a year or a $25 Gift Card.  Plus, Auntie Anne’s is giving my readers a chance to win 25 FREE Pretzels right here on Experimental Mommy.  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.