Its All About the Choreplay

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Mr. Clean. All opinions are 100% mine.

Given the fact that my New Orleans Saints were not in the Superbowl, the best part of the experience was definitely the commercials. A few made me chuckle but the one that made all of us laugh out loud was the commercial in the third quarter by Mr. Clean. In case you missed the hilarity, take a minute to view it below. I’ll wait.

Can we agree that few things are sexier than a man who cleans? In fact, men who do more than a third of the housework are significantly more likely to get some action from their significant other. Guys, it’s all about the choreplay. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I think this is sound advice!

Choreplay Kit

Want to gently encourage your man to take on more of the workload? Post a picture of the “cleaner of your dreams” on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #MrClean and the brand could surprise your man with a Choreplay Kit to up his game! Want more chances to win? Enter below to win a Mr. Clean Choreplay Kit!

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Making Spirits Bright with Aflac Holiday Helpers

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

As the song goes, the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year!” For my family and I, this usually holds true. But what happens when it’s not? Unfortunately, a good friend of mine lost her mother to cancer (at the young age of 57) just a few months before Christmas and her pain was truly palpable. Watching my friend, her husband and their four beautiful daughters suffer such a great loss made me wish that there was something I could do to help them enjoy the holidays. Struggling to provide a “normal” Christmas for their daughters while dealing with grief and medical expenses was proving to be challenging for this sweet family so I was truly blessed when chosen to be one of Aflac’s Holiday Helpers!

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-11-29-49-amThe ripple effect of the financial burden caused by an unplanned health event can be especially compounded around the holidays and is the inspiration behind the #AflacHolidayHelpers program. By reaching out to families who may have needed help getting into the holiday spirit, decorating their homes, preparing holiday meals or shopping for loved ones, Aflac wants to help with the things most families take for granted but can be significantly impacted by out-of- pocket costs associated with an unexpected health event.

Understanding that this financial burden can cause stress during the holidays, Aflac provided me with a grant to bring some holiday cheer to Kristi and her family. Her mother truly loved the holidays and always made sure the magic of Christmas was alive in all of her grandchildren by decorating gingerbread houses, fulfilling Christmas wishes and instilling the true meaning of Christmas by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day. So, I thought it fitting to use my grant to help create special family memories for Kristi and her four young daughters.

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I planned a special day I hoped they would enjoy but kept the details a secret. The anticipation on their faces when I picked them up from their home was totally and completely worth it! The following 20 minute ride was full of guessing games, laughter and excitement. Pulling up to the first surprise elicited squeals of joy when it was revealed that they would all enjoy Hot Chocolate Pedicures from a local luxurious spa. We spent the next two hours drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music and being pampered with cocoa scrubs, cocoa oil, hot stone massage and beautiful painted piggies.

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Before heading to our next secret location, Santa’s helpers arrived with special gifts. A little bird told Santa that the girls really wanted a certain gaming console for Christmas and he delivered in a big way! Santa did not forget Kristi and her husband and surprised them with gift cards for massages and home improvements. With that, we packed the sleigh and started on our way to the next surprise.

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Pulling up at a historic hotel in New Orleans dressed in it’s holiday best, the girls knew exactly what that meant….we were going to a Teddy Bear Tea! The lobby of the hotel is spectacular and immediately puts you in the holiday spirit. Kristi shared with me that her Mom always wanted to take her granddaughters to this Teddy Bear Tea so the experience was absolutely perfect. We dined on delicious tea party finger foods, drank tea (and more hot chocolate), took pictures with Santa and left with a collectable stuffed teddy bear.

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With our bellies full, we packed into the car and started our journey home. It was great to hear the girls talk about the fun they had and hear everyone laughing and just simply enjoying being together. I was truly honored to be able to provide some Christmas magic during this difficult time for Kristi and her girls. And while nothing can replace her Mom, I hope I was able to provide new family memories that will last a lifetime.

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Thank you, Aflac, for allowing me this incredible experience. One of the perks of this blog is connecting with companies who truly have a heart. Aflac knows that the holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for people without supplemental insurance who may be dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident or health event. That’s why Aflac pays cash when policyholders are sick or hurt so they can focus on recovery. Make sure to check out Aflac’s new ad, “Ski Patrol,” which takes a light-hearted approach to highlighting how life often throws you the unexpected that can ultimately impact you and your family’s lifestyle. To learn more about Aflac, visit www.aflac.com/lifestyle

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Z161385B Exp 1/18.

 

Cuties are Coming!

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

I would love to tell you that each and every evening when my family arrives home from school or work, we sit down together for a well planned, technology-free, delicious dinner together. But, that would be a total lie. The reality is that we are a family of four on the go running from school to work and from dance class to the gymnastics mat. Because my husband and I work full time and have two daughters highly involved in extra-curricular activities, dinner can be a challenge. Luckily, there is a McDonald’s exactly halfway between their school and the dance studio.

McDonald's Happy Meal with Cuties

While convenience is of the utmost importance, I still want to be sure that I am feeding my girls a balanced meal to help get them through their busy schedules. I loved when McDonald’s introduced apple slices as a Happy Meal option in 2004 and now I am thrilled to learn that Cuties® will be available for a limited time this Spring both in Happy Meals and a la carte! Because we are often eating in the car on the way from one activity to another, I love that my daughters can slip the Cutie in their backpack and have fruit as a snack between classes.

Cuties California Clementines

Did you know that Cuties are an excellent source of vitamin C and deliver 1⁄4 cup of fruit? Plus, the Cuties offered at McDonald’s are supplied by Sun Pacific, a family-owned fruit grower in California and they generally take less than two weeks to arrive at the store once harvested in the field.

While our busy lives call for much planning and organization, I am thankful to have options such as McDonald’s Happy Meal with Cuties that won’t break the bank. In fact, participating McDonald’s in the New Orleans area are offering Happy Meals for just $2.99! See you at the drive-thru!

Cuties® is a registered trademark of Sun Pacific.

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.

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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.

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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).
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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)!

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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:

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