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

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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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!

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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:

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Stocking Up for Summer to #AvoidtheOops

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with SheSpeaks/Walmart. All opinions remain 100% honest.

The fact that I could fry an egg on my front porch lets me know that it’s summertime here in New Orleans! Well, that and the fact that I have a constant revolving door of kids through my home for play dates, sleepovers and swim parties. While I love the unscheduled feel of summer, it definitely throws my grocery shopping routine out of whack and makes it difficult to plan for necessary supplies.

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Stocking up on healthy snack options is a must but it’s easy to forget how quickly you run through other home supplies during the hectic summer.  Swim time means extra towels which creates more laundry and an increased need for detergent. And nobody wants to run out of toilet tissue during a sleepover! Fortunately, Walmart.com is helping me “Avoid the Oops” by making it easy to stock up on P&G essentials without breaking the bank.

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By simply visiting www.avoidtheoops.com, I was able to shop online for Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Tissue (18 rolls!), Tide HE (96 loads!), Always Ultra Thin Pads, and Gillette Disposable Razors with my bill totaling under $52! And the best part? FREE shipping so I didn’t even have to go to the store!

I love that I am all stocked up for summer and thanks to Walmart.com, I am definitely able to #AvoidtheOops. Bring on the parties!

 

Going for the Gold with #PampersDreams

This post was written by Jennifer of the Experimental Mommy in partnership with iConnect Influencer Management and Pampers. All opinions remain 100% mine.
My family is so excited to watch the Olympic Games in Rio in just a few short weeks!  I often wonder how the moms of the Olympic Athletes must feel watching their children compete. Is it a feeling of pride? Accomplishment? Disbelief? My husband and I often talk about what our kids will be when they grow up, and I wonder if the Olympians’ mothers knew that one day, their children would be going for the gold?
One Olympian we will be watching is new mom and Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer, competing in her first Olympic Games since giving birth to her son, Arlen, last March. Dana wanted Arlen to grow up recognizing the importance of hard work and be able to set goals and big dreams for himself at a young age, so she committed herself to swimming again after his birth. Dana recognizes that kids who see their parents work hard to achieve goals will likely have passion to achieve their own goals.
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My own two children have big dreams for themselves as well, and we often talk about what’s going to be necessary to make them happen. Our son talks about being an engineer, and knows that careful attention to his studies will facilitate that. Our daughter had us laughing one day when she informed us she wanted to be a teacher because she liked telling everyone what to do. As a teacher myself,  I assured her there was much more to teaching than being bossy, but she’s already changed her mind and talks about being a veterinarian.  No matter what route they take, I know one thing is certain.  The road to success certainly starts at home.
In fact, love and encouragement from her family are what reignited Dana’s drive to swim again. Her goal of winning gold at this year’s Olympic Games is not just hers alone. Her Olympic experience will be one she shares with her family.
In order to recognize the incredible drive of a new mom, Pampers is excited to partner with Dana in her first Olympic Games since giving birth to her son! Pampers knows the big dreams of babies start with a good night’s sleep and that’s why Pampers provides up to twelve hours of dryness to help little future Olympians sleep soundly and wake up ready to achieve their dreams.  Of course, a good night’s rest for baby means everyone in the house can wake up refreshed and ready to go for the gold!
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What’s your big dream for your child? Share it on Instagram and you could win a $400 AMEX gift card! Here’s what you need to do to enter:
  • Post a picture of your little one sleeping (or working to achieve a goal) and caption it with a big dream that either they have or that you have for them using hashtag #PampersDreams in the caption
  • Follow Pampers on Instagram
That’s it! Super easy!
Don’t forget to watch for new mom Dana Vollmer as she competes in Rio this summer! Pampers will continue their celebration of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on their social channels throughout the Rio 2016 competitions. In the meantime, go for the gold and enter to win a $50 Babies R Us Gift Card below:

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To Probiotic or Not To Probiotic? #NuCulture

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with iConnect and AlternaScript.

As loyal readers would know, I am a self proclaimed science geek and long time lab technician who loves to analyze everything to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes it’s a good  trait to have, but I will admit that it makes me a skeptic about a lot of things including probiotics. After taking more than my fair share of anatomy courses and microbiology labs, I have always believed that the human body and immune system were both designed a certain way for a reason and should not need supplements to function properly. However, the older I get, I realize that my dietary choices may not be doing me any favors and maybe….just maybe….a supplement or probiotic could help (almost like tuning up a well oiled machine).

I have been considering probiotics for a while. In fact, I even have an unopened bottle in my cabinet. But after sitting in on a recent conference call with AlternaScript CEO, Lucas Siegel, I will admit that he has sparked my interest in a new product that will launch on June 6th called NuCulture.

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NuCulture contains 5 probiotic strains, each patented, extensively clinically studied in double blind placebo controlled studies on healthy human populations, and formulated to a clinically effective CFU to actually work.

Mr. Siegel compares our bodies to a garden as he explains how NuCulture works. The good bacteria (over 100 trillion!) that colonize your gut are the pretty flowers and the bad bacteria are the weeds. NuCulture’s prebiotic will remove the weeds quickly and deposit more of the pretty good flowers to keep your garden happy and healthy. And the best part? No reported side effects.

However, not all probiotics are created equal. AlternaScript is challenging the health space by exposing the truth about probiotics on the market. Most probiotics available use strains that are not clinically studied, not patented, not stable, not formulated in doses that are clinically proven to be effective, and not even delivered to the consumer alive. On the flip side, all ingredients in NuCulture are noncompeting
premium patented strains placed in a delayed release capsule guaranteeing that NuCulture will survive passage through the acidic environment of your stomach, reach your GI tract, and optimize its effectiveness on your body.

In fact, AlternaScript is so sure that you will love NuCulture, they are offering a 14 day completely free trial including free shipping! NuCulture will be available June 6, 2016 as a subscription. Each bottle contains 30 capsules and is $47.89 per month.

Once the product is launched, yours truly will be taking the NuCulture challenge and I can’t wait to tell you all about my results. Stay tuned!

SuperDad Deserves a #SuperPen

This post was written by guest blogger, Maureen of Rh90Pens. While a sample was received from CROSS to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

When our daughter was in high school some of her friends nicknamed my husband SuperDad. He was the kind of father who attended every event, and looked out for the girls’ best interest as though they were each his own daughter. He also loves pens. In fact, he has been a pen lover since his own high school days. I am willing to bet that, like him, your SuperDad also has fond childhood memories of comic books and superheroes. How perfect then, that I was invited by Experimental Mommy to review a pen from the CROSS MARVEL Collection just in time for Father’s Day gift giving!

The pen I received is the CROSS Century II MARVEL Iron Man Rollerball.

The outer box is emblazoned with the MARVEL and CROSS logos, and stickers specific to the pen design. The inner packaging is a substantial clamshell box with the CROSS logo. The pen is held in place by an elastic band under a ribbon, and nestled in a cutout foam frame. The pen and packaging arrived in perfect condition for gift giving.

fig1A card inside the clamshell box has graphics specific to the pen design on one side, and text describing the background of the superhero on the reverse. A multi-language warranty booklet is tucked behind the card, in a CROSS folder that invites you to Make Your Mark.

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The pen has an included 0.7mm CROSS Rolling Ball refill with black ink. The rollerball writes very smoothly and leaves a sharp, dense line. The ink dries in under 20 seconds on very smooth, less-absorbent paper. It will dry even faster on standard copier paper stock.

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What if your SuperDad is not fond of rollerballs, or if you are unsure of his preference? No worries! The body of the pen can be converted to ballpoint or felt tip simply by changing the separately sold CROSS refills. How easy is that?! Consider gifting the pen to dad with one of each refill so he can swap them out to suit his mood! There is a ribbon tab in the clamshell box that allows you to lift the pen tray and access the space below. Your SuperDad can store extra refills there.

The tip of the included rollerball refill is protected from drying prior to use by a plastic ball that is easily pulled off before first use. A nice touch to ensure that the refill is ready to work when dad is ready to start writing!

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The cap of the pen is held on securely. It snaps on and off, but very smoothly and quietly. No need to be concerned about the cap falling off in a pocket or briefcase with this pen. The cap also posts securely, without leaving a mark on the body of the pen. With a weight of 30 grams, the pen has a nice heft. The body of the pen is long enough to comfortably write with unposted., and posting does not make the pen top heavy.

The colors of the high lacquer finish on the Iron Man pen are a rich red, with gold graphics. There is a 23kt gold finish on the finial, clip, and cap and body bands. The section is formed of black plastic with vertical ridges that prevent slipping of the pen while writing. The ridges in the section are smooth and not noticeable when gripping the pen. The step from the body of the pen to the grip is comfortably short and smooth. The end of the section, closest to the tip of the refill, has the same 23kt gold finish as the other appointments.

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The pen I received for this review has a list price of $150 USD, and is available in two other superhero designs, Captain America and Spiderman.

What dad would like to receive a CROSS Century II MARVEL Rollerball pen for Father’s Day? One who: has fond memories of superheroes from his youth, enjoys sharing the resurgence of superheroes with his kids, wants to add a pop of color to his day, needs his great looking pen to have great function as well, appreciates the flexibility of a pen that can work with multiple refill types.

You can remind your dad that he is your very own superhero by giving him a CROSS Century II MARVEL Rollerball pen for Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all fellow SuperDads from RH90Pen’s very own Dad/Artist Gregory!

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Honoring New Moms with Pampers #ThanksBaby

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. As a member of the Pampers Baby Board, I am compensated for my time and effort. All opinions remain 100% mine.

This Mother’s Day, I took a moment to reflect on how my life has changed since becoming a Mom. Eleven years ago, when Lily was placed in my arms, my journey of Motherhood began. I remember being scared as I had no experience with babies (I didn’t even babysit as a teenager). But when Lily was born, I was born. My new role as a Mom was realized and it was time to step up.

As a Mom, I knew that I would have to teach my daughter many things. But to be honest, I think she has taught me even more. Self confidence, compromise, generosity, sacrifice, and most definitely patience and just a few things that I need to thank Lily for. She made me whole.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.49.28 PMPampers understands that when a baby is born, a mom is born, too. This Mother’s Day, Pampers gave me the opportunity to honor new Moms as they began their own journeys into Motherhood.  Using a Pampers grant and partnering with Renee from What Mommies Need, we surprised many New Orleans Moms! For starters, I surprised one local Mom who delivered her daughter just 48 hours before Mother’s Day and brought her new bundle of joy home on that special day with a stroller, Pampers wipes, Dreft products, and of course, lots of Pampers diapers.

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We also wanted to surprise Moms who delivered ON Mother’s Day with a special gift. We loaded a wallet with gift cards to make Mom’s life a little easier upon returning home with her new baby. We stocked Mom with gift cards to Starbucks, Zoe’s Kitchen, Ulta, Cane’s and Babies R Us and tied the wallet to a package of Pampers diapers and wipes to give baby the best possible start.  We delivered six of these packages to a local hospital and the nurses distributed them to the first six Moms who delivered on Mother’s Day.

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On Mother’s Day and every day, Pampers celebrates that incredible moment when a baby is born and mom’s world magically changes. I am incredibly honored to be a part of the Pampers Baby Board and to say #ThanksBaby for making the world a happier place for mom and teaching her how to grow, learn, and love more than she’s ever imagined.

Visit www.pampers.com to learn more about Pampers products, join the Pampers Rewards program, and find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep and play.

How to Avoid Spring Allergens #DreftSpring

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Dreft. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

This week could not be more gorgeous here in New Orleans. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the temperature is begging us to come outside and enjoy. How could you say no to that? We couldn’t. We spent the weekend in our garden doing some much needed weed control and getting the pool ready for swimming. Unfortunately, it came with a price. Allergies.

While we love the Spring, my daughter’s eczema does not and she is in the midst of a flare up. While we treat with medication, we also are very careful to remove any potential allergens that could come in contact with her sensitive skin including our detergent. For this reason, even though I no longer have babies in my home, you will find Dreft laundry detergent in my cabinets.

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Dreft is the No. 1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians to be gentle and hypoallergenic on baby’s skin. Trusted for over 80 years, Dreft comes with a baby scent beloved by moms, and it remains safe and hypoallergenic for baby.

My tween daughter loves for her bed sheets to smell good when she climbs into bed at night but I have had to ban all of the scent boosters due to her skin issues….until now! Did you know Dreft created Blissfuls in wash scent boosters that are hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive skin? You will find at least 2 bottles of this stuff in my laundry room at all times. Dreft Blissfuls is safe for all colors, fabrics and loads and brings back that baby fresh scent long after your babies are grown up.

Fortunately, I have a few tips on how to further avoid allergens this Spring from Dreft partner, Dr. Dyan Hes who is the Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City and was recently named a 2013 top doctor by NEW YORK magazine.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 1.08.36 PMDr. Hes suggests to:

Make bath-time beneficial: Over exposure to water can actually rob skin of natural moisture. Scaling back on tub time will help avoid resulting itch — about 10 minutes is plenty of time for water play and a quick scrub. Use warm water (vs. hot) and leave the suds to the very end. Use a mild cleanser to keep skin soft and itch-free. Gently pat skin dry and end with an after-bath moisturizer to seal in moisture and protect baby’s soft skin.

Protect Problem Skin: Heat is a common trigger for eczema and as the weather warms up, there are a few things you can do to help prevent flare ups of such skin irritations. The sun is strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. so try to shield baby from direct sun exposure during those times.

If you are looking for even more tips on how to avoid Spring allergens, join me, Dreft, Dr. Hes and  iConnect Influencer Management for a #DreftSpring Twitter Party on May 9th from 9-10pmEST. We’re giving away some great prizes, too so make sure to RSVP here.

Even if you can’t make the party (but I totally think you should), I have a great prize right here for you to win! One of my readers will win a Dreft Hypoallergenic Package including Dreft Stage 1 Newborn, Dreft Stage 2 Active Baby and Dreft Blissfuls plus a bamboo blanket (ARV $60). Enter below:

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Never Run Low on Spring Essentials with #StockUpSave Event

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks and Walmart. All opinions remain 100% mine.

Ever have that experience when you are THIS CLOSE to finishing all of the laundry only to find that you are a few drops short of detergent? It’s like running a marathon and then tripping just before the finish line! With a growing family, our laundry list (pun intended) of daily chores is expanding, our need for household supplies increasing, our time is limited and our grocery budget is all but busted.

I will admit that I have never been a coupon clipper, but I am starting to become a firm believer that creating a small stockpile of frequently used items is not such a bad idea (who has time to run to the store again for that one needed item?). While I always seem to be running low on detergent, my oldest daughter is close to entering her teen years and I can certainly see a growing need for razors, shampoo, and even more laundry detergent in our future. Fortunately, I recently learned about the April Stock Up & Save event! Simply head to your local Walmart or shop online to get everyday essentials for less during the month of April such as:

I took advantage of the opportunity and decided to shop online. For less than $60, I was able to purchase 2 bottles of Tide, 2 bottles of Febreze, 2 packs of Gillette Venus Spa Razors (6 razors total!), and a bottle of Crest Pro-Health mouthwash all delivered right to my door.

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From my experience, I can tell you that there is definitely added value, convenience, and savings in stocking up! Want even more ways to save? Download the Ibotta app and check out rewards from P&G beginning April 11! Don’t miss out and get additional info on Facebook before time runs out!

Happy Savings!