Turning Back the Clock with Neutrogena #RapidResults

With New Year’s Day just a few hours away, I am reflecting on all that 2014 has been to my family and I.  My girls are growing up before my eyes, we had the opportunity to travel to some great destinations such as Disneyland, Canada, Honduras and Jamaica and the real eye opener was that I turned 40.  Yes, 40.

So, for my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions, I am focusing on me (something I have been ignoring for the past decade with two small children in my home).  But it is time to put some of my energy into self development: learn more, eat better, get exercise, and take care of my skin.  Fortunately, Neutrogena is helping me develop a skin regimen that will keep my skin nourished and healthy.

I took the Neutrogena Anti-Aging 7 Day Retinol Road Test to see if I could verify the clinically proven claim of noticeable improvements of fine lines and overall skin tone in just one week. The products including Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer (Day and Night), Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream contain a unique combination of three key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glucose complex and Retinol SA.

The latest breakthrough Retinol technology developed by Neutrogena®, Accelerated Retinol SA combines the highest concentration of Retinol with Glucose Complex and Hyaluronic Acid. This nourishing formula boosts the efficacy of pure, stabilized Retinol, making it highly effective yet gentle. Skin is left feeling smoother and younger-looking. In fact, it’s clinically proven to visibly improve the look of wrinkles, fine lines, tone, and texture.

Time for the test drive.  For the first time, I took a really close look at my skin, searched for wrinkles and identified problem spots.  Apparently, I have more wrinkles than I realized! The worst areas for me are wrinkles in the forehead, crow’s feet and dark circles around my eyes.  Could Neutrogena help me in just one week? I was skeptical.

The system is quite simple. I started with the serum, followed by the eye cream and topped with the appropriate moisturizer (day or night). All of these products work great under your foundation.  I immediately noticed that my skin just felt healthy.  I think my skin literally drank in the moisturizer and I have never felt my skin feel so soft and smooth.

After one week, some of the fine lines on my forehead were definitely diminished (I think the deeper wrinkles will take more time).  My eyes looked more “awake” and overall younger and more vibrant.  I was concerned that the number of products used on my skin would feel heavy or greasy but that was totally not the case.

If your New Year’s Resolution includes taking better care of yourself and your skin, check out the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair for immediate results.  To help you get started, one of my readers will win a YEAR’S SUPPLY of the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair line.  Enter below:

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New Year’s Eve Ideas for Kids

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Rayovac.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

With only 48 hours left of 2014, there is no time like the present to make the most of it.  My family and I are busy deciding how we we usher in 2015 and I thought I would share some of our front runners curated from Pinterest.

1. Hide family activities inside marked balloons.  At the specified time, kids pop the balloon and perform the activity such as “Make Your Own Pizza” or “Light Sparklers”.

2. Light the Night with a Glow in the Dark Party!   These mini Rayovac flashlights would be a perfect party favor at just $2.99 each!

3. Don’t forget to toast the New Year!  Kids will love feeling like grown ups with root beer floats in a flute.

4. Capture the memories with a fun photo booth with themed props. Even better? Have the kids take their own pictures with an Instax camera powered by Rayovac alkaline batteries.

5. Spend some quality time together making a time capsule to not only commemorate what you have accomplished in 2014 but to look ahead to all that 2015 will bring.

Happy New Year!  How will you celebrate?

Ring in the New Year with Netflix’s All Hail King Julien

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam.  All opinions remain 100% my own.

My girls must have been good this year because Santa was very nice to them on Christmas Eve.  But of all the gifts my youngest received, the one she was the most excited about was the Netflix gift card Santa left in her stocking. She absolutely loves discovering new shows to watch and I love sharing my own favorite childhood movies with her.

But now, we can enjoy a totally original and hilarious new series, All Hail King Julien.  A favorite character from the Madagascar franchise, King Julien will take on the jungle’s craziest adventures in the new comedy series, along with his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort plus a whole new cast of colorful animals.

Both of my girls love Madagascar and could not stop giggling at the trailer so I knew the series would be an instant hit.  The first five episodes (23 minutes each) are already available so it’s time to catch up! And if you can’t get enough Madagascar, check out these holiday themed shorts:

1. Merry Madagascar
2. Madly Madagascar
3. The Madagascar Penguins: A Christmas Caper

Happy (almost) New Year!

Fashionably Festive with American Girl BeForever

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

It’s no secret that my own American girls love American Girl. The brand has been featured on this blog numerous times over the past 6 years and now my daughters are including the dolls in their very own gift guide for girls.  As a Mom of two daughters and because American Girl celebrates girls, all that they are and all that they will become, this brand is one I truly love.

My husband is a history teacher at an all girls high school so he helps to encourage leadership in young women at work and at home.  So it is no surprise that he loves seeing our daughters excited about learning history through the American Girl BeForever line which connects girls to timeless stories, inspiring characters and endless possibilities.  Building on the historical characters, my husband uses them as a starting point for conversations about the past and what we can learn from them.

The BeForever line will debut with eight characters; all-new, historically accurate outfits and accessories for dolls; new and refreshed fiction books; and an original line of historically inspired clothing for girls.  But I absolutely love that the BeForever line is including contemporary fashions for girls inspired by the historical characters in sizes 6-16.

My daughter could not wait to try on the American Girl BeForever Pretty Plum Dress inspired by Rebecca.  About the outfit:

Inspired by Rebecca, this herringbone dress features a Peter Pan collar and cap sleeves with velvet trim, and decorative side buttons on the bodice. A kicky knife-pleated skirt and velvet sash finish the look. Dress is lined, with in-seam pockets and a back zip.

It was the perfect out for a Girl Scout Mother-Daughter Tea!  The quality was top notch and the style of the outfit turned quite a few heads.  My little one was proud to wear the outfit and told her friends all about Rebecca and the character’s story.

If you are still in need of a holiday gift that will make you the best Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Grandma/Godfather, head to a local American Girl store and check out these adorable outfits!

 

How to Prep and Polish Your Holiday Look

Finding the perfect gift, addressing cards, cleaning house, baking treats and wrapping presents consumes my holiday season leaving very little time to this about my own holiday style.  Of course, the kids have coordinating outfits and accessories but as the big day draws near, I realized I have nothing for myself.  At all.

Thankfully, the celebrity makeup artist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador Amy Oresman is on the case. Commence Operation Holiday Prep and Polish by following the tips below:

•       Rushing from party to party with minimal prep time? Use multitasking products like the NEUTROGENA® Crease Proof Eye Shadow, the three-in-one is infused with a primer, eye shadow and eye treatment to condition the delicate eye area while you celebrate.

•       The secret to applying eyeliner is getting as close to the lash line as possible, making it slightly thicker as you move outwards. With subtle light diffusers, NEURTROGENA® Nourishing Eyeliner makes the whites of the eyes appear even whiter, giving that extra pop that we all want.

•       Just because the holidays can get expensive, doesn’t mean your beauty routine has to pay the price! NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup is not only silky and ultra-lightweight, but it is also comparable to similar products in the prestige category.

•       All too often this time of year we rush to transition from day to night looks. The NEUTROGENA® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a quick and easy way to make the switch (and make a great stocking stuffer, too!).

•       I’m always a fan of products that have dual uses. The NEUTROGENA® MoistureSmooth Color Sticks serves as a moisturizing lip color and can give the perfect touch of color on the cheeks.

Insider Tip: MoistureSmooth Color Sticks are on Rollback at Walmart for just $6.97.

Now that we have flawless skin and a glowing holiday face, let’s tackle hair! Follow the tips below from hairstylist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador, Sam Leonardi:

•       This time of year, the wind and cold weather can wreak havoc on hair. It’s important to protect overall hair health against not only the elements, but also heating tools and products used to primp for holiday gatherings.  Try the  NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Fortifying Shampoo and Conditioner into your routine for 3 times stronger hair after just one use.

•       From buns to braids, be sure to use bobby pins with coated tips for reduced breakage, and keep blow dryers at least seven inches from hair to minimize heat damage.

•       For longer, thicker hair, use a small amount of NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Leave-In Treatment and reapply as needed, especially when using flatirons, curling irons, etc. frequently.

•       Conditioner should be focused on the mid-length to ends, where strands are most damaged and at their weakest. After applying, rinse with cold water to remove residue and static, giving it more shine.

Ready to get the look?  One of my lucky readers will win a selection of Neutrogena holiday staples and a $50 Walmart gift card! Enter below:
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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 50 Years and Still Glowing #Rudolph50

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. All opinions remain 100% honest.

There really is no feeling in the World like the Christmas Spirit.  While it is important to us educate our girls about the true meaning of the holiday and lead by example, the traditions of the Season add to the excitement. Decorating, caroling and sitting my the fire with hot chocolate are a few of my family’s favorites.

But for every year as long as I can remember, we have gone to my Aunt’s home on Christmas Eve to celebrate surrounded by family and friends.  About half way through the party, we always hear a knock at the door and Santa arrives to hand out gifts for everyone young and old alike.  On the ride home, we would have to cross the Mississippi River and pass through downtown New Orleans.  My parents always told us to look in the sky and try to spot Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  As you can imagine, driving through a City provided many opportunities for us to debate whether the flashing red light is a skyscraper or indeed Rudolph.

Now that I have kids of my own, we still attend my Aunt’s Christmas Eve party and I have passed down the tradition of trying to spot Rudolph on the ride home.  Can you believe that 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” making it the longest-running and highest rated holiday TV special of all time?

To celebrate the anniversary, there will be a major tie-in with the U.S. Postal Service, tribute promos from CBS, a collector’s edition DVD with new bonus material, a new stage musical, theme park and in-mall entertainment and of course a social media campaign using #ShineBright which will celebrate uniqueness in association with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

Throughout the holiday season, I substitute our usual bedtime stories with seasonal classics.  In honor of the 50th anniversary, I am excited to have 6 new Rudolph-themed books from Square Fish, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.  The new books encompass several different formats including a novel, a classic storybook, a picture book, a slide-and-find, a “My Reader” and our favorite, the lift-the-flap board books. There is something for every level of reader to enjoy including the following titles:

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Classic Story (Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition for ages 4-8)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Slide and Find (Board Book for ages 2-4)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Life-the-Flap (Board Book for ages 2-4)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Rudolph Saves the Day (Paperback picture book for ages 3-7)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: My Reader (Level 2 Paperback Reader for ages 5-7)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Island of Misfit Toys (Middle-Grade Graphic Novel for ages 7-12)

If you are ready to start a new tradition in your home, enter below for a chance to win all 6 of the Rudolph books mentioned above!

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Get In The Holiday Spirit at the New Orleans City Park #CelebrationInTheOaks

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy as part of the Holiday of Wonder campaign sponsored by Wonder and Company and Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park. All opinions remain 100% mine.

Sometimes living in Southeast Louisiana can make it very difficult to get into the holiday spirit.  Wearing flip flops to Thanksgiving dinner, sweating while searching for the perfect tree and turning on the air conditioning while wrapping presents does not make me want to belt out my favorite Christmas carol.  But this is the reality that all New Orleanians have to face and as a Mom, I struggle to get my family ready for the fa-la-la-la-holidays.

For many years, my own parents took my brother and I to the New Orleans City Park to experience Celebration in the Oaks which was the signal of the arrival of the Season.  And now, I love carrying on the tradition with my own little family. More than 165,000 visitors flock to the magical light displays covering 25 acres of the historic City Park including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens.

While I have visited Celebration in the Oaks many times in the past, every time I return I see something new.  The creative team at City Park works hard to add fresh ideas and breathtaking displays to delight even the seasoned guest.  New for 2014 is the expanded Sea-Labration exhibit and an animated light display set to music called “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” which is truly spectacular.  Looking down at my two daughters, they were dancing and singing along with the holiday tunes…in shorts…..in 75 degree weather.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

But, my entire family stopped in their tracks and gasped when we saw the enormous Dripping Snow Tree.  While we knew it was actual snow, the tree was covered in white lights and appeared to be dripping snowflakes on the ground below.  And can you believe that since the park uses energy efficient LED lights, the entire illuminated tree uses only as much energy as a simple toaster?

The dripping snow tree at #celebrationintheoaks #cito2014 uses the same amount of energy as a toaster!!

A video posted by Bridgette Duplantis (@experimentalmommyblog) on


One of my favorite activities in City Park when I was a kid was riding the train around the 2 mile track.  But when the route is decorated in lights, the ride is something to behold. I highly recommend you visit Celebration in the Oaks Monday -Thursday (as crowds are lighter on weekdays) and head straight for the train when you arrive to avoid long lines.  Even better?  Buy your tickets online at CelebrationInTheOaks.com which will make accessing the fun much quicker!

So, for people across the South who are melting in their fuzzy winter socks and scarves you insist on wearing, brighten up your holiday spirit by taking the trip to Celebration in The Oaks at the New Orleans City Park.  The experience is open from now through January 3, 2014 (closed on 12/1-12/4; 12/24 and 12/31).  Tickets are only $8 per person (children under 3 and Friends of City Park are free).  The train ride is well worth the additional $4 per person and you can also purchase tickets for the amusement park rides for $3/ride or $17/unlimited rides.

Need more info?  Follow New Orleans City Park on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Don’t Miss a Beat with TV Everywhere #CouldBeWatchingTV

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by TV Everywhere. All opinions remain 100% mine.

So, did you survive Black Friday shopping? Did you camp out to snag any great deals on the hot toys of the season?  Hopefully, if you read my recent post about TV Everywhere, you were at least able to stay entertained while waiting in long lines.  Still haven’t heard of TV Everywhere?  Apparently, you are not alone.

A study from HUB Research earlier this year, commissioned by Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), indicates more than half of pay-TV subscribers are unaware of the features and capabilities of TV Everywhere, and nearly 60%  have never taken advantage of the  service, which is provided at no additional cost.  So sit down, and let me educate you for a minute.

First, do you have one of the following cable providers?

Great! It’s totally simple.

  • Go to your cable provider’s website
  • Log in using your account name/password
  • Watch TV

That’s it! Now you never have to be out of the loop because you missed the important episode of The Walking Dead or Cougar Town.  Now, you can watch live or downloaded programming through your smartphone, tablet or laptop on the go or at home at absolutely no additional cost. Let’s Celebrate with a TV Everywhere giveaway!  Enter below:

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How to Select the Perfect Pair of Boots this Winter

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

Inspired by one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Ellen from That Chic Mom, I decided to tackle a fashion post myself (believe it or not, sometimes I shed the lab coat for real girly clothes).  Given that I live in New Orleans, I have tons of summery outfits and my closet is full of an assortment of flip flops.  But, my winter wardrobe consists entirely of a pair of jeans, one sweater and a scarf I have no idea how to tie.  Fortunately, my friends at Shoebuy.com are coming to the rescue with some great tips on how to pick the perfect pair of boots this winter.

As for this season’s top boot styles, booties are leading the way, with harness boots, over-the-knee boots and western-inspired styles falling closely behind. But which ones are best for YOU?

Booties:

A great pair of booties is a MUST this season. Perfect for pairing with a skinny jean or matching with a pencil skirt, this style can be worn day or night. For your first pair, try a neutral color like beige or black. Once you have a chance to break-in your “go-to” pair, go a little bolder with a flashier color like red or dark blue.

Over-the-Knee:

If you’re looking for a more glamorous look, say for a night on the town, you gotta go big or go home! Over-the-knee boots can add the perfect amount of spice to any outfit, specifically when paired with a sleek pair of black jeans, leather leggings, or a fitted dress.

Western influence:

If you’re looking to step out of your traditional style comfort zone, try incorporating some fun, western-inspired looks. This year, cowboy boots are making a name for themselves in the fashion world and we can’t help but love it!

Harness Boots:

To complete your leggings/sweater combo, skip the Ugg boots and turn to a pair of harness boots. This classic equestrian-inspired style can liven up any casual look with comfort and ease!

After checking out the rules, I decided on the perfect pair of black leather booties.  Turns out, they really are quite versatile.  One pair of shoes, three totally different looks.  I found ways to where my booties with leggings, dress pants and jeans and make them work!

When shopping for boots online, it’s important to shop early if you want to snag the most popular fashion trends, as those styles often sell out first. If you find a pair you love, don’t hesitate! Make sure you do your research to guarantee you are getting the best deal – after all, who doesn’t love to save a few extra dollars here and there!

This year, we’re seeing more people searching for wide calf boots. How do you know if that style will work for you, you ask? Fortunately, Shoebuy.com, makes it a priority to feature the Shaft Height and Circumference on our product pages. If you see a style you like, take a fabric measuring tape and measure your calf circumference. If the numbers are only a few inches apart, you should be good to go.

Go Forth and Conquer your winter wardrobe!  Tell me in the comments which is your favorite style of boots?

Neutrogena Face-to-Face Foundation Challenge {Big Reveal}

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I am an Ambassador for Neutrogena, all opinions remain 100% honest.

As a Neutrogena Ambassador, I have had the opportunity to try lots of the brand’s products but never done an actual head to head challenge with any other brands….until now.  To participate in the Face-to-Face Challenge, I was sent two identical bottles of foundation just labelled “A” and “B”.  I was instructed to use each product for at least 2 days and report back on the results.

Up first, Foundation “A.”  The texture of this product was fairly thick and I was surprised at how light it actually felt on my skin. This product provided great coverage without over drying my skin.

The following week, I tested Foundation “B.”  This product was was noticeably thinner in texture (almost watery).  While this foundation provided good coverage initially, I feel like it did not stay put throughout the day.

At the end of the testing period, I chose Foundation “A” due to its’ staying power.  At the end of the day, I felt like my makeup still looked fresh which is essential for this busy working Mom.  After providing my results to the people at Neutrogena, it was revealed that Foundation A (the one I chose as superior) was NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20 which sells for $12.50 and Foundation B was actually NARS Sheer Glow which sells for $45.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin® liquid makeup takes over where your skin care leaves off. Silky-light coverage glides on for a perfectly natural look, while the exclusive blend plus Broad Spectrum SPF 20 work together to visibly improve skin’s luminosity, tone, and texture.

Lesson learned: a higher price does not always equal a better product.  What’s your favorite foundation?