Take a Vacation Everyday with Pfister

This post was written by Jennifer of Experimental Mommy in partnership with Pfister. All opinions remain 100% honest.

Every day, I take a vacation. It only lasts about 15 minutes, but I make sure it happens every single day. It’s my “me” time. Time when I don’t have to think about my job, which child needs attention, whose homework isn’t done yet, the next night’s dinner, or what the dog has gotten into and destroyed.  The location isn’t tropical, adventuresome, or scenic. But, it is luxurious, and I don’t have to go far to get there.

It’s my shower.

I love my shower. I love everything about it. It’s my place to literally wash off the day’s events and get myself completely relaxed and refreshed. I spend a long time just standing under the water and not thinking about one thing except for how relaxing it is. So, when I was offered the chance to make my shower even better, I was thrilled.

After receiving Pfister’s Bronson Shower in Brushed Nickel, I could not wait to get it out of the box and installed. I had to wait a bit for my husband to get back in town from an extended work leave but once he got home, I became the loving (nagging) wife because I couldn’t wait to use it. After installation, we both agreed it was a major upgrade from our previous standard shower head that got the job done but was much less aesthetically pleasing than what Pfister had to offer. We both loved how the shower head has both square angles and rounded curves that go together beautifully.

shower head

That night, I made a beeline for the bathroom and was tempted to just watch the water come out of the shower for a long time. I know it sounds strange, but the Pfister shower just looks like it would be amazing. And it is. The Raincan showerhead gives you more coverage and provides you with an endless, relaxing flow of water that is not too soft or too hard, it is just right. I wanted to turn my little 15 minute shower vacation into a permanent residence, but the to-do list and the threat of pruney skin prevented me.

My little “vacation” is made even more relaxing knowing that Pfister products carry the Pfister Forever Warranty that covers function and finish for life. In addition to that, the Pforever Seal means the durable all metal construction has an advanced ceramic disc valve with a never leak guarantee! My husband and I are looking forward to eventually changing out the shower in our children’s bathroom to something even better from Pfister. In short, Pfister faucets are Pfantastic!

12 Days of Beauty for Your Holiday Hair

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Neutrogena. All opinions remain 100% mine.

On top of the dry, cold, windy weather of winter, the holiday season is full of fun and festive ways to torture my hair. Office party? Sleek hair with a professional twist. Secret Santa party with friends? Curly updo! Caroling with Church group? Lots of hairspray to combat fly-aways. While the hair products are necessary to make sure my hair stays party ready, I am glad Neutrogena offers rescue for hair that been put to the test.

After a particularly busy week consisting of several hair style changes, I was thankful to have the opportunity to try the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. With all of the product I used, I was happy to read that the Anti-Residue Shampoo instantly removes up to 90% of dulling residue caused by styling products. Simply use this treatment once a week and then return to your normal shampoo. After using, my hair felt squeaky clean and was no longer weighted down by a week’s worth of styling products.

neutrogena
With my hair being residue free, it was the perfect time to repair the damage caused by constant blow drying, straightening and curling. Fortunately, I had the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask in my arsenal! Perfect for extra dry or over-processed hair, the mask saturates thirsty locks with intense moisturization. After shampooing, apply product (concentrating on ends) and leave for 3-5 minutes before rinsing. Repeat about once a week or as needed to leave your hair silky and smooth.

Both of these products left my hair soft, shiny and ready for the next round of holiday parties! The products worked so well together that I will be bundling them and giving them to friends for Christmas. If you would like to try these products for yourself, enter my giveaway below:

Want to see more of the best Neutrogena holiday picks? Check out Elle Sees blog and social channels (Instagram: @ellesees;  Twitter: @elleseesyou; Facebook: Elle Sees Blog).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Improving my Cooking Skills with Morton Salt’s #NextDoorChef

This post was written by Experimental Mommy in partnership with Morton Salt. All opinions are 100% my own.

Being a New Orleans native, I am truly spoiled with the number of quality restaurants in my backyard. I have heard of acclaimed local chef Nina Compton‘s new restaurant, Compere Lapin, but regrettably, I have not yet made it there to sample the fare.  Imagine my surprise when this past Monday, I got the chance to meet Chef Compton in a literal backyard restaurant!

Next Door Chef: New Orleans

Have you heard of Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef? I was fortunate enough to join a number of guests at the filming of the next episode which was set right here in New Orleans. In this episode, a New Orleans resident is paired with Chef Compton to learn how to prepare a remarkable meal using different types of salt. The local’s home (and backyard) was transformed into a fully decorated pop-up restaurant and we were served an amazing meal along with tips on how to transform our own home cooked meals to gourmet dishes by using the correct type of salt.

Different Types of Morton Salt

At the event, I learned more about the benefits of using Morton Kosher and Sea Salt, versus the standard table salt when cooking. Did you know that you should use Morton Kosher Salt when rimming drink glasses like the Americano cocktail we sampled at the event? Or use Morton Coarse Sea Salt to add an artistic “pop” you and your dinner guests can see and taste? The larger than table salt crystals provide contrasting texture.  Turns out a lot of us are using table salt for almost all cooking purposes, which is a huge miss in the kitchen. But don’t forget to use the conversion chart if you decide to try out other types of Morton Salt in your recipes!

Next Door Chef cocktail

I can’t wait to share more about the cuisine we sampled and the tips we learned, but because I know you are all prepping for holiday cooking, make sure you check out Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef: Chicago (aired on November 10th) which was focused on improving your cooking techniques for the holidays. The second installment set in Nashville will debut in the Spring but I am super excited that the summer episode will showcase my hometown, New Orleans, which is known for amazing Cajun/Creole inspired cuisine.

salted charbroiled oysters

In the meantime, if you decide to host your own “Next Door Chef” party or have a recipe idea using Kosher or sea salt, post your photos on social media using #NextDoorChef.

Tell Your Long Story Short with CROSS Pens

This post was written by guest author, Maureen Wright of RH90 Pens in partnership with CROSS Pens.
Many years ago I was offered an opportunity that was also a challenge – teaching in an adjunct capacity at a local university. Accepting the role meant still doing my full-time job,  and being a wife and mom, while also creating a course and making time to meet with students. Something told me to take the leap. The payoff was enormous, and it wasn’t just about the pay. I had the chance to share what had been shared with me. In the span of a semester I got to watch students mature in both learning and communicating their ideas. I bonded particularly well with the class I taught early one morning, Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Our world changed as we discussed the inner workings of microbial cells. It was as though time froze for us, until class ended and we learned what happened.

 

I also had a somewhat frightening encounter, which in retrospect is quite funny. I had a student who sat in the far corner of the back row of the room. And she stared at me, just stared. I don’t recall ever seeing her write a note. Well, over the course of the class I got to know her. That student is now one of my closest friends, and she also now teaches at a university. Our encounter is proof positive that you should never judge a book by its cover.

In taking on the extra responsibility of an adjunct teaching position I had to take a leap, a big leap, and dared myself to do it. I haven’t regretted it for a minute, and have used my experience to talk others through taking their own leaps.

My long story short, ” Be not afraid, just jump.”
Consider encouraging your loved ones with a CROSS Pen this holiday season! It makes the #WriteGift!

Showing Gratitude by Helping to Fight Childhood Cancer with #Duckprints

This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.

This Thanksgiving, I found myself reflecting on all of the reasons my heart is full of gratitude. Professionally, I am finally at a place in my career where I can exhale. Socially, my blog turned business has afforded me opportunities I never dreamed possible. Personally, I can’t say enough about my circle of friends, my supportive family and my loving husband. But the thing that tops my gratitude list?  My girls.

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-10-56-53-pm

I might sound like a bragging Mom, but my daughters are simply beautiful inside and out. They have accomplished so much and are growing up to be thoughtful and kind human beings. Fortunately, both of my daughters are healthy and have had relatively few and insignificant medical concerns. The recent death of a teen to brain cancer in our Church community has certainly brought to light how fragile life can be and the importance of supporting pediatric cancer research.

I was happy to learn that Aflac has supported the fight against childhood cancer for more than 20 years and is giving individuals across America a way to get involved. This holiday season, count your blessings and make a difference by getting involved with Aflac’s #Duckprints campaign in several different ways:

    1. Download the new Aflac online game, “Build Your Own Balloonicle,” where consumers can create their own Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloonicle, featuring the beloved Aflac Duck. Every game experience shared on social media with #Duckprints will generate a $2 donation toward children’s cancer (up to $1.5 million). screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-9-56-58-pm
    2. You can get involved in the fight against childhood cancer any time of year by simply taking to social media and using the hashtag #Duckprints. For any Duckprints-related social media activity, Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (up to $1.5 million dollars). Follow the Aflac Duck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@AflacDuck) or visit aflacduckprints.com.
      1. Tip: When you see the Aflac Balloonicle in the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC on Thursday, November 24th, show some #Duckprints love on Twitter!
    3. This year, Aflac introduced Duckchat, an Aflac app where consumers can get custom Aflac Duck emojis and GIFs. The app can be downloaded on either the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store. Aflac will also donate $2 (up to $1.5 million) with each download.
    4. Aflac and Macy’s have teamed up to offer a holiday plush of the Aflac Duck. The net proceeds from each plush Holiday Duck sold are donated to the participating children’s cancer facility nearest to where it is purchased. To date, Aflac has raised over $3 million through the Holiday Duck program.

There are many reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Aflac has made it incredibly easy to show gratitude and give back. Share these opportunities with families and friends and let’s help eradicate childhood cancer.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Z161288H

Celebrating Friendsgiving with Cascade!

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Cascade. All opinions remain 100% mine.

I am a lucky girl. In my 42 years, the fact that I have more blessings than I can count on my fingers and toes makes me wonder what I did to deserve it. Somewhere along the way, I learned that it is critical to my happiness to surround myself with people that lift me up, stand by my side, and love me unconditionally. Fortunately, I have a circle of friends that are like no other.

These women are fierce.

Mothers. Wives. Business owners. Scholars. Entrepreneurs. Teachers. Executives. Volunteers. Care-givers. Doctors. Nurses.

cascade1

I am beyond humbled that these women choose to be my friend! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to celebrate our friendship and host a “Friends-giving” dessert party.  In the middle of the Thanksgiving hustle and bustle, I wanted to gift them each one hour to sit, relax and recharge before heading back to prepare for the day ahead.

cascade3

Because we are all chocolate lovers, I decided to make a “Molten Chocolate Pudding Cake” and serve with Vanilla Ice Cream. We had a whole hour to indulge our sweet tooth and just catch up with each other and laugh about old times. One word….heaven. There is something about giggling with your besties that recharges your soul, right?

cascade8

Thankfully, I didn’t have to spend time on the dishes because I was armed with Cascade Platinum! Did you know that your dishwasher actually works harder for you when you skip the pre-wash? In order to get the most optimum clean and shine, remember to skip the sink and use Cascade Platinum to save time and energy on your dirty dishes.

The dessert I made definitely left a sticky mess on the baking pan and mixing bowls. But, Cascade Platinum ActionPacs provide 3X more film-fighting power to clean through stuck-on food in one wash, making it the best clean you can get. Sounds too good to be true, right? My guests were definitely skeptical.

cascade6
cascade2

After teaching them the correct way to load a dishwasher (we even taught the kids!), we simply inserted one Cascade Platinum ActionPac and let the magic happen. To all of our amazement, the dishes came out SPOTLESS with absolutely NO pre-rinsing. Thanks Cascade Platinum for giving me back valuable time to spend with my amazing circle of friends!

cascade7

cascadecollage

Want to try it for yourself? Print this $0.50 off Cascade Platinum coupon to save on the best clean you can imagine! Plus, enter below for a chance to win a year supply to Cascade Dishwasher Cleaner and cascade Platinum samples (five winners will be randomly chosen)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fight Fear of Registry Regret with these Baby Essentials

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with the Pampers Baby Board. All opinions remain 100% mine.

Before I was pregnant, I would drive by Babies R Us and stare longingly into the windows dreaming of the day that it would be my turn to create the perfect baby registry to welcome our new bundle of joy. When that day finally came, I grabbed the scanner and was ready to start selecting items I knew were absolutely essential to my parenting success. You know, just the bare necessities, like adorable pink headbands and paisley patterned pacifiers, of course.

Just a few days after baby was born, I began to realize that I was grossly unprepared.  I needed a breast pump, diaper rash cream, milk storage bottles and DIAPERS!  All of the unglamorous items were mysteriously missing from my beautifully decorated nursery. According to a survey conducted by Pampers, I was not alone. In fact, over half of Moms have regrets about their baby registry and 90% of Moms wish they included more diapers on the list.

Baby Registry Pro Tips

Pampers also found that 56% of Moms felt that the baby registry experience was more overwhelming than they expected, and I could not agree more. Due to my own experience, I wanted to help out a first time expecting Mom as she begins thinking about her registry to offer advice and a special surprise gift! Check out the items we found during a recent trip to Babies R Us that, as an experienced Mom, I would recommend as registry essentials.

To help you with your own baby registry experience, I am offering one lucky winner a Pampers Registry Kit including a Pampers Registry Checklist, a baby planner, a stress ball, a book to read to baby, diapers, wipes, and coupons! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reliving Soft Summer Memories with Scotties

SUMMER. The word itself brings a smile to your face. No school, no homework, a lighter schedule, sleeping in, and spending much needed time with your family. When I was asked by Scotties Tissues to share some of my great summer memories, I knew I’d have no shortage of things to share with you!

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 7.52.26 PMIn South Louisiana, Summer is all about staying cool. With the heat index often 100 or above and high humidity, it’s a necessity! Every summer, all anyone can talk about is the heat! We hit the beach this summer and it was a great trip that helped provide some much needed rest and relaxation. The kids enjoyed swimming, burying each other in the sand, and riding the waves. We also spent the day at the water park and spent an afternoon tunneling down slides and riding along the lazy river. Back at home, we stay cool by visiting my in-laws and enjoying their backyard pool.

This summer, we had the added bonus of our new puppy Mollie along for a visit and she couldn’t wait to get in with the kids! I think we had more fun watching her than we did swimming. If I’m being brutally honest, my favorite thing about summer isn’t swimming, sleeping in, or taking a break from the rat race. It’s SNOWBALLS. I don’t mean snow like you ski on. I mean the most delicious concoction you’ve ever put in your mouth, and no one does them better than New Orleans. Don’t dare call it a snow cone. It’s not the same, and not even close. The ice is shaved and fluffy, the syrup is smooth and sweet, and the condensed milk sends you into calorie overload. Best. Summer. Treat. Ever.

With all of these fun things on the summer schedule also comes summer mess. Sticky hands, sweaty faces, you name it. My summer mantra is be prepared to clean up at any time. For those times, I rely on Scotties Tissues (available on Amazon) to help us while we’re on the run. When summer is over, my Scotties Tissues may also help me dry my tears when it’s time to head back to school!

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 7.51.59 PM

Scotties Tissues wants to help sweeten your summer memories by sending one of our lucky readers a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Scotties Tissue Care Pack! Enter below for a chance to win:

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 8.01.13 PM

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heating Up Dinner Without Heating Up the House #SeetheLite

This review and giveaway was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management and Litehouse Foods. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

With the heat here in New Orleans hitting 97 degrees, we have been getting quite creative with ways to stay cool. A dip in the pool, a mister fan in the backyard, a delicious sno-ball for dessert and absolutely NO turning on the oven mid-day.

While the heat has not stopped our summertime picnics, finding recipes to feed the masses without heating the house has been a challenge. Not to mention, I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is outside enjoying the pool. Thankfully, my household has finally seen the light this July thanks to Litehouse Foods.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.19.31 PM

I had the opportunity to try the Litehouse Foods Homestyle Ranch dressing over the 4th of July holiday, and this creamy ingredient helped me infuse big flavor with minimal time in the kitchen. All of our guests loved the Southwestern Pasta Salad but more importantly, my girls are eating better with a dressing that stays fresh from the refrigerator section.

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup Litehouse Foods Homestyle Ranch Dressing
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 1 cup fresh salsa
  • 1 package of pasta
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed

How to Make It:

  • Prepare pasta per package instructions.
  • Cool pasta and add pepper, corn, salsa, cheese and ranch dressing.
  • Combine together and cool for one hour.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.19.04 PM

Want to try it? Enter my giveaway for two FREE Litehouse Foods coupons below and if you make it, let me know how much you loved it! Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girls Night Out at SoBou New Orleans

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with SoBou in New Orleans. All opinions remain 100% my own.

Earlier this week, I was smack in the middle of the chaos of hosting my own blog conference. For those of you that have ever planned a live event, wedding, conference or birthday party, you know how overwhelming and downright stressful they can be. Fortunately, I run this conference with some of my very best friends so when the event is over, I look forward to regrouping with the team and enjoying just being together.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.11.20 PM

This year, we had the opportunity to do just that at a much needed team dinner at SoBou in New Orleans. As you can imagine, New Orleans has no shortage of restaurants but SoBou has been on my bucket list for a while now.  As any good New Orleanian knows, any establishment created by the Commander’s Family of Restaurants has to be top notch.

As we developed the SoBou concept, cocktails and the warmth of a saloon or tavern environment were very much on our mind, but our saloon had to have serious food – dishes you find yourself craving. For us, the food is always center stage, but stage right are the cocktails and stage left is the wine.

SoBou definitely grabs major points for ambiance. We were seated in The Apothecary and I was instantly entranced by the wall of glass bottles. The decor, while feeling upscale, is welcoming and not intimidating in the least.

Our waitress could not have been more attentive and personable (and patient). She led us through the menu, suggested her favorite dishes and offered her expertise on the wide array of cocktails. What I loved about the SoBou menu is that it offers a “Small Bites” section which goes way beyond the typical saloon appetizer. While the bites may be small, the flavor is certainly big. Can you say Sweet Potato Beignets? These menu items are perfect if you want to have a few cocktails and try a wide variety of flavors.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.11.33 PM

Moving from the small bites, our table chose a few different dishes from the “Big Bites” section but I will admit that Ellen’s Chili Brined Pork Tenderloin looked absolutely amazing. But if your party is super hungry, SoBou also offers Family Style meals to pass around the table, too!

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.36.57 PM

Between the drinks, appetizers, entrees and dessert (we had the Bananas Foster on the Half Shell), we dined in SoBou for almost three hours. But it was honestly the shortest three hours of my life because they were filled with laughter, delicious food and impeccable service.  If you are looking for not only a meal, but an experience, head to SoBou in New Orleans!