Archives for September 2013

Join me for a #Care4Today Twitter Party on October 3rd

In New Orleans, we are eagerly awaiting our first cold front of the Season to chase away the humid Southern weather.  We are longing to break out the sweaters, sip a hot pumpkin spice latte, and get outside to enjoy the cool breeze.  But with the change in Seasons comes an increase in seasonal allergens.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want my pumpkin patch-hayride-cornmaze filled day to be ruined with itchy eyes, a runny nose and constant sneezing!  My defense?  Allergy medicine.  But I have to be consistent.  Miss a day and I am doomed.  Fortunately, I was recently introduced to Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager, a free mobile app and website with new features that are designed to support and motivate people to stay on schedule with their medications.

Want to learn more about the app?  Join me for a Twitter Party to chat about this wonderful tool and managing fall allergies!  Here’s the deets:

When: Thursday, October 3, at 1:00pm CST

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Care4Today hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/care4today

Hashtag: #Care4Today

Prizes: Five prizes will be awarded throughout the party to participants who respond correctly to trivia questions. Each winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card and a Vera Bradley pill case.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

My fellow co-hosts:

@ParentPalace – Amber, Parent Palace, http://parentpalace.com
@EcoBabyMamaDram – Bri, Eco Baby Mama Drama, http://ecobabymamadrama.com
@BridgetteLA – Bridgette, Experimental Mommy, http://www.thenotsoblog.com
@debthompson – Deb, Just Short of Crazy, http://www.justshortofcrazy.com
@DonnaChaffins – Donna, Blog by Donna, http://blogbydonna.com
@waystosave – Kas, Southern Bella’s Ways To Save, http://www.southernbellaswaystosave.com
@amomsimpression – Kathy, A Mom’s Impression, http://amomsimpression.com
@blueviolet – Liz, A Nut in a Nutshell, http://www.anutinanutshell.com
@lomargie – Lori, A Day in Motherhood, http://www.adayinmotherhod.com
@suelee1998 – Susan, Susan’s Disney Family, http://www.susansdisneyfamily.com
@cookiesANDclogs – TerriAnn, Cookies & Clogs, http://www.cookiesandclogs.com

Hope to see you there!!

Celebrate National Coffee Day with Gevalia #FoamatHome

This post is brought to you by Gevalia Coffee from Kraft Foods and The Motherhood. I received a sample of Gevalia Coffee and I’ve been compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

While I am a tea lover, my husband is the coffee addict drinker in my home.  Because he is the only one who likes coffee in my home, making a full or even half pot seemed wasteful.  So, when we received a Keurig single cup brewer a year ago, I knew hubby would be instantly love….and I was right.

Over the past year, he has tried many different brands and flavors of the K-Cup portion packs and finally settled into a handful that are his “go-to” brews.  But, he still ventures out to our local coffeehouse to get that gourmet cup of coffee he craves on occasion.

When Gevalia Coffee’s new two-step single-serve café-style coffee beverages showed up on my door step, I knew I would not have to twist his arm to try them.  This revolutionary system, made from real milk, will allow hubby to enjoy a Cappuccino, Caramel Macchiato or Mocha Latte right from our very own Keurig K-Cup brewer. There is no better day than National Coffee Day (September 29th) to give these new blends a whirl, right?!

How to become your own barista:

  • Choose your flavor and accompanying froth packet.
  • Pour entire froth packet (made from real milk) into coffee mug.
  • Place a Gevalia Espresso Roast single-serve cup in a Keurig K-Cup brewer and press start.
  • Stir and Enjoy!

Check out our experience with #FoamatHome:

The café-style coffee beverages come in three tasty flavors:

  • Mocha Latte — A creamy, perfectly balanced blend of cocoa and coffee topped with a velvety layer of foam
  • Caramel Macchiato — Creamy and smooth, with the indulgent flavor of caramel, topped with a velvety layer of foam
  • Cappuccino — Smooth, mildly sweet with subtle roasted coffee notes, topped with a velvety layer of foam
 After trying all three, my hubby decided to stay true to tradition by selecting the Cappuccino as the clear winner.  If you want to try the new Gevalia K-Cups and froth packets, you can pick them up at your local grocery in six packs ($8.49 SRP) and nine packs ($11.99 SRP) or at Gevalia.com.  Can’t wait to head to your local store?  Visit FoamAtHome.Gevalia.com for more information and a free sample of Gevalia Mocha Latte starting today on National Coffee Day, September 29.  Plus, you can win one box of each Gevalia variety right here at Experimental Mommy!  Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2013’s Must-Have DVDs for the Whole Family

This post is brought to you by guest author, Rose Miller.

Is it time to refresh the DVD collection? Choosing a selection of 2013’s best DVD and blu-ray releases was among one of my more enjoyable chores – and they’re sure to keep both kids happy and grown-ups entertained!

First, Pixar’s latest Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is full of nostalgia-tinged recreations of classic games, which parents will love. Ralph loses none of his charm for a younger audience, though – he is the enemy in the arcade game Fix-It Felix, who, in the movie’s world, wants to escape the drudgery of being a ‘baddie’ – but the whole arcade faces a bigger threat to its survival. Anything with Pac-Man ghosts and Sonic the Hedgehog can’t earn anything but a high score from me!

Looking off the beaten Hollywood track, the newest offering from Studio Ghibli (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away) is From Up On Poppy Hill. One of the lesser-known must-watch DVD releases, also available on bluray, this beautifully-drawn animation tells the story of Uni and Shun becoming closer as they try to save their run-down school clubhouse from being demolished. If your kids have never seen a foreign film before, this could be the ideal place for them to start.

Of course, the big cinema releases still have a lot to offer on home release, not least the 3D, special effect-filled Epic. In this, a teen finds herself transported to a world of comic warriors, to save both of our worlds from the forces of evil. With recognizable voices including Chris O’Dowd, Colin Farrell and Beyoncé Knowles, this could be an Epic win for the family!

If you’re shopping for a slightly younger audience, don’t miss the captivating Rise of the Guardians. Based on the novels by William Joyce, when the Guardians are joined by Jack Frost, they’re sure trouble isn’t far away – and, sure enough, dreams begin to turn into nightmares. Kids won’t need to know the books to love the film – and the series could be a fun follow-up after watching.

Finally, to satisfy kids with even the largest Halloween wardrobe, consider the latest installment of Monster High: 13 Wishes. Howleen Wolf thinks her dreams of popularity will come true with a genie’s 13 wishes – but will it be that simple? Find out with this, or take your pick from the rest of the best recent titles on bluray or DVD!

I’m Shrinking with Weight Watchers 360°

I have received a free 3-month pass to experience Weight Watchers online. I am not being paid to use or endorse Weight Watchers and thoughts are my own.

Throughout my life, my weight has never been an issue.  I was an active dancer and I think the combination of exercise and a fast metabolism kept me trim most of my life.  That is, until I had kids.  After age 30, my metabolism did a 180 and I was so busy with the kids that I was unable to take as many dance classes as I would have liked.  My body showed it.

I didn’t feel like myself so I joined Weight Watchers in an attempt to get my old body back.  And I did!  I attended a local Weight Watchers meeting and managed to lose the remainder of the baby weight.  It was an awesome achievement.  However, now that age 40 is staring me in the face, the weight has slowly found me again.  This time, life is even busier and I have not found time to re-join my local Weight Watchers group.

As fate would have it, I recently learned about Weight Watchers 360°, a breakthrough approach that challenges members to not only track their food intake (PointsPlus), but also to manage those daily routines and spaces that sabotage weight loss.  The best part?  You can do it online!

For the next three months, I will be sharing my experience (successes and challenges) right here on the blog.  After four weeks on program, I am happy to report that I have lost a total of 6.2 pounds (people following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week)!  There is so much to tell you about why Weight Watchers 360°is working for me, but this month I will start with  a basic overview.

The new program encompasses three pillars:

  • Tracking.  Track food with PointsPlus, record weight and physical activity.  Being a former member, I was totally comfortable with this.
  • Spaces.  Create and commit to an action plan and bookmark provided tips under these six environments: home, shopping, workplace, eating out, travel and occasions.  I have such a problem with staying on plan at work.  I found some really helpful tips here!

  • Routines. You choose three routines (16 available) to follow every day (e.g., eat fruit with every meal). Record success daily.  For me, I decided to focus on eating a sensible breakfast, plan my lunch everyday and asking myself if a food item is worth the PointsPlus before consuming it.

I love that Weight Watchers 360° encompasses every aspect of your life and goes beyond the dinner table.  I wasn’t sure that I would love the online aspect, but as a science geek, I love charts, tables and graphs so this system was second nature!  Who doesn’t love seeing a graph of their decreasing weight?!?

I can’t wait to share what the next 4 weeks holds for me!  In the meantime, share your weight loss tips, tricks and secrets!

 

 

Stay on a Budget with Winn-Dixie’s Dependable Deals

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy.  While compensation was received for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% my own.

With two growing girls having two growing appetites in my house, it is no surprise that my grocery bill is growing, too.  I have tried my best to save here and there by clipping coupons and taking advantage of in store specials.  Fortunately, my local grocery store likes to help, too.  Winn-Dixie provides many ways for it’s shoppers to save including Make-A-Meal, What-A-Deal, fuelperks!, e-coupons and it’s latest promotion, Dependable Deals.

Purchasing all of the items you need to stock your pantry can be tricky when you are on a tight budget.  There is no room for surprises such as finding your favorite cleaning product jumped in price or the kids’ favorite snack is suddenly out of your price range.  With Dependable Deals, Winn-Dixie has frozen the price on nearly 500 items ranging from after school snacks and everyday essentials to refreshing beverages and pet products now through October 22nd.

In looking at the Dependable Deals offered, I was happy to find some of my favorite products.  I buy Clorox Clean Up to disinfect the surfaces of my home, my new dog just loves Beggin’ Strips, and we by carrots like crazy!  It’s great to know that I can save on all these purchases with a guaranteed low price.

Have you found Dependable Deals at your local Winn-Dixie?  What are some other ways you lower your grocery bill?  Don’t miss out on any future Winn-Dixie promotions by following them on Facebook and Twitter!

Change in Seasons, Change in You {$500 SpaFinder Gift Card Giveaway}

This post is written by Experimental Mommy.  While part of a compensated campaign, all opinions remain 100% mine.

This weekend, a cool breeze blew into New Orleans (and I don’t mean Drew Brees)!  While we know it is the official beginning of Fall, we also know that the temperature will rise well into the 90’s before the true Southern Fall begins.  But for one day, I opened the windows, plugged in my Pumpkin Spice Scentsy Warmer and started what truly relaxed me…a little retail therapy.

Because New Orleanians can wear tank tops and flip flops for 10 months out of the year, I get really excited over a cozy sweater and a cute pair of boots.  There is just something about changing out my closet for Fall that soothes the soul.  Cooler weather ahead means the holidays are approaching and I will get to spend lots of quality time with family and friends.

After putting the perfect Southern Fall outfit together on Polyvore (it was my first attempt at Polyvore, don’t laugh), it’s definitely time to complete the look.  I mean, dark brown hair with cinnamon highlights, a sugar scrub pedicure and perfectly polished pumpkin colored nails, of course.  And why not top off the look with a rejuvenating facial and full body massage?

When you are ready to transition your look for Fall, you can find just the place for you at SpaFinder.com.  Haven’t heard of it?

As the world’s largest spa and wellness media and marketing company, SpaFinder® Wellness connects millions seeking a healthier, happier lifestyle with wellness providers around the globe. The company is also the largest seller of spa, wellness and beauty gift cards and vouchers, bringing clients to a global network of thousands of spas, fitness studios and wellness practitioners.

You can also find some great deals on SpaFinder gift cards at Coupon.com to get your Fall Makeover for less!  Desperate for a new look?  You can win a $500 SpaFinder.com gift card right here!  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Time I Slept in Cinderella’s Castle

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to attend the very first Disney Social Media Mom’s Conference in Orlando, FL.  What started out to be a wonderful trip turned into an experience I will never forget.

Throughout the conference seminars, door prizes were given away including some purses, gift baskets and even Build A Bears!  But when my friend (and co-founder of iConnect Influencer Management) won the Grand Prize, we were all stunned.  We were actually going to spend the night in CINDERELLA’S CASTLE!  And to think I was excited to stay at the Polynesian!  We were told to pack an overnight bag and be ready to be whisked away at 4pm sharp.

Cinderella's Castle Guest Car

Ready and eager to go, we packed our bags in 10 minutes flat and ran to the hotel lobby to await our escort.  A white car pulled up and Jennae, our personal concierge, stepped out to greet us.  We were taken through the back lots of Disney and parked in a special space just for us.  We were greeted by more cast members who held umbrellas for us as we waited to see what would happen next.  Jennae asked if we wanted to ride any of the attractions to which we responded, “Haunted Mansion!”  Jennae took us through the “celebrity entrance” and got us on the ride immediately.  No lines for these princesses!  We were able to ride several of Disney’s main attractions without waiting for one second!  Finally, our room was ready and we were escorted to the Castle.

Location of Cinderella's Castle Suite
All I can say is…..WOW!  Cinderella’s Suite is the epitome of pampering for these four Moms!  Fresh flowers, fresh fruit, robes, slippers, bubble bath, whirlpool tub, fireplace, real 14K gold in the floor and mirrors than turn into televisions left us speechless.

Bedroom in Cinderella's Castle Suite

Windows in Cinderella's Castle Suite

Glass slipper in Cinderella's Castle Suite

We were told that you CANNOT rent this Suite as it is reserved for invited guests only.  Someone once offered $1.5 million dollars for ONE night stay in the Castle and Disney rejected the offer!  Oh My!

Fireplace in Cinderella's Castle Suite
We were treated like royalty and the Jennae and Suzanne (the second shift concierge) were there to grant our every wish.  Of course, we had a great time coming up with things to ask (that’s a whole other post for a different day) but we never really asked for them.  Jennae was a good sport and humored our phone calls to her office.

 

We were treated to dinner at The Liberty Tree Tavern and escorted to a special viewing area for both the fireworks and the Electrical Light Parade.  When the park was closing, we stood on the steps of the Castle and waved at the guests leaving.  It was eerie to see the park so empty, but not more than five minutes after the last guests had exited, an army of orange clad workers swarmed the streets to begin a cleanup routine like nothing I have ever witnessed!  No wonder Disney is pristine!

Bathroom in Cinderella's Castle Suite
After taking baths or showers, we donned the provided plush robes and went outside for a picture in front of the Castle.  I have honestly never laughed so hard.  There is just something about Disney that rejuvenates the soul.  While I was sad that my daughters were not with me, I can’t think of three better women to share this once in a lifetime event.  Cissy, Jennifer and Renee:  we are sisters in Princesshood forever!  Can you fetch me some cornbread?

Thank you so much to all those that put on the fabulous conference!  We truly had an incredible experience both in AND out of the Castle!  Till next year…..

Earn Extra Income as a SHOP YOUR WAY #PersonalShopper

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

Now that my girls are getting older, they are getting more expensive!  Money for school tuition, school lunches, field trips, dance lessons, tumbling, Girl Scouts, and new clothes has put a major strain on my budget.  As a Mom of two who holds a full time job and manages a blog and social media consulting company, I have little time to supplement my income.  But I was recently introduced to a way that may actually make sense for me and my family, the SHOP YOUR WAY Personal Shopper program.

The Personal Shopper by SHOP YOUR WAY program is a great way to boost your income and help your friends and family save time and money. Sign up as personal shopper for free and start inviting your family and friends to become your clients. Once they sign up as your client, you can start sharing and recommending Sears’ great products and services. Use SHOP YOUR WAY tools to build personalized catalogs, create polls and make recommendations to your clients that will take the hassle out of shopping for them and put money in your wallet!

As a SHOP YOUR WAY member, I have created my own personalized catalogs such as “Outdoor Projects” or “Birthday Gift Ideas” and filled them with great products from the Sears family of retail companies, such as Sears, Kmart, mygofer, Lands’ End, sears.com, kmart.com, and Sears Outlet.  I didn’t realize that I could be sharing my shopping ideas via my social media networks and earning a second income.

It’s easy to get started!  Simply sign up to be a Personal Shopper, create your profile and start recruiting clients.  You will earn 1% commission from each qualifying purchase made by your list of clients and be paid monthly if your commission reaches $20.  Learn about your clients and create personalized catalogs of items you think they will love.  And the best part?  YOU are the boss!  You can set your own hours and spend as little or as much time as you want building your clientele.  YOU are totally in charge!

That’s my kind of job!

Volupties Offers Panties for the Full Sized Woman

This post is written by Lena of Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

When I told my husband that I was asked to write a review for an underwear subscription service, he laughed.  I can’t really blame him; he knows that I tend to be a control freak (and undies are so personal).  But when the package arrived in the mailbox, I was honestly excited.  I love surprises and this one was just for me!

Here’s a little more about Volupties (pronounces Volup-Tease):

A lot of underwear made for plus sizes are just that: underwear. Boring, functional, underwear, without any panache or pizzazz. Volupties wants to change that. We know that you’re busy and may not have time to devote to finding great undies. No more asking store owners if they carry your size. Let us do the shopping for you. Just tell us your size and we’ll do the rest.

Volupties is meant for plus-sized ladies.  *raises hand*  That’s me…and I’m totally guilty of buying “boring, functional underwear.” When the package arrived, I was excited to see three pairs of undies wrapped in pink tissue paper inside a plastic envelope.

 

#1 – Cacique by Lane Bryant – retail $14.50.  These are EXACTLY my style and I loved them.

#2 – “C’est La Vie Chiffon” by Hips & Curves – retail $9.95.  These were pretty, girly, and just sheer enough to be va-va-voom.

#3 – “Hearts Ruffle Panty” by Spreegirl Curves – retail $16.00.  I haven’t worn thongs since I was in my early 20s, so these weren’t really my style; though they were very pretty.

The good news is that Volupties is experimenting with ways to allow packages to be customized (like “no thongs”) but it’s still in the early stages.  The Volupties subscription is $17/month but the first month is only $12 with promo code “VOLUPTIES”.

The 3 pair of undies I received had a combined retail of over $40.  So, there’s some definite savings with the subscription.  I love that I have 2 new pair of undies in my everyday wardrobe, but I’m still on the fence about having someone else pick them out.   Don’t ask about the third pair! *blush*  Another great feature is that through Volupties, I have discovered other brands and styles that I like.  It’s a pretty cool concept.

Not a plus sized girl?  Then check out Splendies which is the same concept for non-plus sizes.  This subscription is $12/month with the first month being only $8 with promo code “SPLENDIES.”

Happy Shopping!

Be Yourself, Together with #TargetWedding

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.
I love weddings.  The love in the air is truly intoxicating and there is just something so special about family and friends surrounding a couple in prayer and well wishes.  Because New Orleanians love to party, we don’t wait for the actual ceremony.  Before the big day could be any number of celebrations such as the bridal shower, groom’s shower or even a couple’s shower.
With the celebration comes gift giving, of course.  Personally, I love when a couple sets up a wedding registry so it is easy to know what items they need to begin their lives together.  But I think the hardest shower for gift selection is the couple’s shower.  I really never know what to get.  Each item always seems too feminine or too masculine and nothing represents them as a couple.

I love that this year’s Target Wedding theme is “Be Yourself, Together!”  The concept celebrates the unique qualities each individual brings to a relationship that, when combined, result in something beautiful.  I think using this concept for a couple’s shower is perfect.  Instead of buying one gift that represents their new life, buy two gifts that represent each individual but complement each other.

This theme helped inspire the Target Wedding Registry line, which is filled with credible national brands and products, is super convenient, and provides great value and incentives like nuptial discounts! The products within the registry include your traditional wedding items as well a some fun, non-traditional items to help make your gift extra special.
For example, why not pair some Fieldcrest Bedding with a set of luggage (both found at Target)?  The luxurious bedding represents the partner who likes to stay home and sleep in while the luggage represents the other who likes adventure and travel.  But both gifts together represent the beginning of their journey….together.
Before heading out to attend your next wedding or couple’s shower, check out Target Wedding for lots of fun and unique ideas to shower the newlywed’s with love!

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.