Archives for July 2012

There’s Still Time to More-imize your Vacation at Embassy Suites!

This Summer has definitely been a unique one for my family and I.  With the loss of my job, we found all four of us home all summer long…together.  While definitely had my reservations about how this would play out, I can honestly say that it’s been the best summer ever.

We were fortune enough to take several trips and spend some real quality time together.  My girls got to visit Walt Disney World for the very first time and it was indeed a magical experience.  Seeing Cinderella’s Castle through the eyes of a child is a totally different experience and a memory that I will cherish forever.

We also had the chance to visit Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia as my business partner and I did our first site visit for the new location of our blog conference.  What an incredible place!  Beyond the gorgeous scenery, Callaway offers a ton of adventure and outdoor activity such as golfing, hiking, bike riding, zip lines, beach fun and more!  It was a chance to really kick back away from technology.

Finally, we enjoyed a relaxing staycation at Embassy Suites right here in New Orleans.  With all of the traveling we have been doing, it was a treat to stay home and play tourist.  When I heard that Embassy Suites had won Parents Magazine “10 Top Hotel Chains for Families” in 2012, I couldn’t wait to see what our local site had to offer.  From the moment we walked in the hotel, we were impressed.  The lobby is stunning with a New Orleans themed mural and plenty of natural light.  Our room was massive including two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private terrace.  My daughters were in heaven!

Embassy Suites definitely allowed us to “more-imize” our vacation by offering complimentary cooked to order breakfast and a nightly Manager’s Reception.  Both amenities saved us from long waits at local restaurants paying tourist prices.  Of course, the kids favorite feature of the hotel was the pool!  We spent a few hours relaxing and swimming which again saved us from expensive local attractions.

How do you “more-imize” your vacation?  Dr. Susan Biali, a health and happiness expert, suggests finding the perfect balance of activities and relaxation on your vacation.  Don’t schedule every minute of your day and let things happen naturally!  While our Disney vacation was a blast, it was far from relaxing.  I definitely over scheduled my family and will try to heed the advice of Dr. Biali next time!

With a few weeks left of Summer vacation, get out there and make the most of these precious days!  Follow Embassy Suites on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about the latest news and upcoming deals.

I wrote this review while participating in an Ambassador Program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Embassy Suites Hotels and received a one-night complimentary stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel to facilitate my reviews and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

I’m a Verizon Wireless Ambassador!

When my husband and I got married, we signed up for a joint cell phone plan with a particular network.  As soon as our contract ended, we jumped ship.  The service was horrible and the rates were insane, so we started courting other networks.  We finally fell in love with Verizon Wireless about 10 years ago and haven’t looked back.

Because I am a loyal Verizon customer, I was thrilled when I was selected to be a Verizon Wireless Ambassador!  As part of the program, I will be able to test the latest technology and report back to you, my readers.  On Friday, my very first device arrived and I could wait to rip open the package to see what was inside.  For the next three months, I get to test this:


Oh yeah, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S III!  My husband currently has an iPhone and always boasts of it’s capabilities.  I can’t wait to give him a run for his money with my shiny new phone.  Once I unpacked the device, my initial impression was that it was incredibly light.  Because of the size of the phone, I was expecting more weight.  I also noticed the size of the screen which is so much bigger than my current phone making typing a breeze.

I am settling down at my desk now to take the online training course for new Samsung Galaxy S III.  I want to learn every function of this phone and how I can get it to work for me and my lifestyle.  There are several more posts to come, so I will stop here ad keep you in suspense.  In the meantime, follow the action on Twitter with hashtag #VZWA.


I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided
with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the

Quality Toys Delivered to Your Home with Little Pnuts {Giveaway}

Why waste your time walking around your local toy store trying to figure out what to buy for your child that would not only be fun and educational, but still age appropriate. Little Pnuts, which is based right here in New Orleans, has a great program which will keep you out of those dreaded toy stores for good.  Little Pnuts delivers three to five new toys in every package to your doorstep four times a year.  The toys are organic, ecologically friendly and made from natural materials.  There are no bells and whistles; these unique toys allow your children to use their imagination.  The toys help with developing things such as motor skills, hand-eye coordination and help with focus and concentration.

Since Little Pnuts hand picks all of the toys you will only receive high quality and unique toys for your child’s specific age group from birth all the way to age five. When you subscribe, Little Pnuts collects information about your child and fits them into the correct category: infant 0-12m, toddler 1-3 years or preschool 3-5 years of age.  In addition to receiving toys four times a year you can always add on holiday and birthday themed delivery and just because deliveries to make your little one feel special.

My children were so excited to see some new toys when our package came the other day, and I was happy for some new entertainment. We received four toys in our shipment from the toddler category.   Because I have a one and a three year old, this was a perfect fit!

The first toy was a three dimensional puzzle with all of your favorite zoo animals.  The pieces were sturdy and were the perfect size for my 18 month old’s little hands.   The next product is actually three toys in one, the book “A Pet for Laura” is a book, puzzle and board game all in one.

We also received Twist and Turnables which were my favorite.  This toy consisted of all wood painted shapes that screw into one another, my daughter quickly got the hang of putting them together and trying to screw them just like her brother.  This product will definitely enhance her fine motor skills.  The last toy was the Alphabet Cards which my son was super excited about since he loves to spell and is learning to read.  Each card has the letter and word on the front and a picture of the object on the back.  This will help with his word recognition and reading skills.

I have to say that my favorite thing about all of these toys is that there are no gimmicks with them and they encourage my children to use their imagination unlike many other toys on the market today.  I think this would make a great Christmas or Birthday present for that special child or grandchild in your life, instead of receiving one big gift once a year, the gift of Little Pnuts keeps giving all year long!  There are two payment options which include an annual subscription ($240 one time payment) or a monthly plan ($25 monthly) which both include the four special delivers per year. You can subscribe at  and end your trips to the toy store today!

We are happy to provide one of our readers one shipment of Little Pnuts toys in their selected age category!  Enter below!

This post is the opinion of Beth of Experimental Mommy. While a product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

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Fisher Trail Mix Makes Summer Snacking Fun {Giveaway}

My car has become an extension of my home.  I am sure many of you moms out there can relate.  We are on the go constantly between activities and events.  My sweet, dear husband made an effort recently to clean out my car….which he affectionately refers to as “The Science Experiment on Wheels” and when he was done, the evidence of straw wrappers, petrified french fries, and soft-drink lids he found told me two things.  One, my children are pigs (love ’em anyway) and two, we are spending WAY too much money and time grabbing drive-thru food on the go.  Enter my new best friend:  Fisher Trail Mix!

Here’s my son….getting too big too fast….enjoying some Fisher Trail mix on a recent all-day errand running adventure! Fisher made it bearable for the kids!

Fisher Nuts have been known for quality, and now their new line of trail mixes comes conveniently packed into smaller-sized, re-sealable bags for tossing in your purse, gym bag, or backpack.  With 5 tempting flavors, there is something to suit everyone’s taste.  On a recent car trip, my kids enjoyed sampling the Tropical variety with it’s mix of mango, almonds, cashews, pineapple and banana chips.  My son especially loved the cheddar with it’s sweet-and-salty combo of sugar glazed peanuts, corn sticks, pretzels, and peanuts.   Other flavors include Summit (my favorite…..chocolate!), Sweet Nut, and Energy.

I feel better knowing that I can offer the kids something that is protein-rich and full of flavor rather than greasy fries or other fast foods that are bad for them.  Fisher makes snacking fast AND good for them.  In addition, these will be great to keep on hand for offering guests something to snack on, or to use some of the flavor combinations in my favorite salads.  I have long relied on Fisher nuts when making some of my favorite recipes, so it’s good to know that now I have even more reasons to use Fisher nuts!

We are excited that one of our lucky readers will get to enjoy one bag of each variety! Enter below!

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Panera Bread Partners with Second Harvest in NOLA

I have heard about the wonders of Panera Bread from friends, but have never tasted it myself…until now!  When I saw the sign go up for the new Panera Bread in Metairie, I think I may have squealed followed by continuous stalking for an opening date.  I am happy to announce that the restaurant opened on July 17th!

The day before the opening, Panera Bread partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.  One in eight people in Louisiana struggle with hunger and this non-profit helps through food distribution, education, advocacy and disaster response.  Panera Bread hosted a charity tasting event at its newest location selling tickets for $15 a person.  Patrons got a sneak peak of the new restaurant and the opportunity to taste from the menu.

I decided to try the “Pick 2” where you can select a any combination of soup, salad or sandwich.  I went with the Caesar salad and the Frontega Chicken sandwich which were both delicious.  Plus, if you get a combo you get to select a pastry, too (can you say carrot cake?)!   I absolutely cannot wait to go back to try different items off the menu.

Because I lead a hectic lifestyle, it is inevitable that some meals will have to be on-the-go.  I am glad to have another option that serves healthy and kid friendly items.  The food was delicious and the service was very friendly and quick for the large crowd that came to support Second Harvest.  If you would like to learn more about Second Harvest or donate food, fan them on Facebook!

This post is the opinion of Experimental Mommy.  While media tickets were provided to the event, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love the 2013 Kia Sorento

To be honest, I have never considered owning a Kia in the past.  I have never driven one and haven’t had the opportunity to really check it out and digest all that it has to offer.  When Kia Motors decided to sponsor my blog conference, Reviewer’s Retreat earlier this summer, I finally got to see several Kia models up close and personal and the Sorento caught my eye.

For three weeks this month, I have had the opportunity to really put the 2013 Kia Sorento to the test with my family as we have had a busy month of traveling.  From interstate driving home from Disney World to back roads driving at Callaway Gardens, I have been truly impressed.  Below, you will find my top 5 reasons for being a Kia convert.

1.  Dual Control Air Conditioning:  My husband is always hot.  I am always cold.  The dual control air possibly saved our marriage…just kidding, but it did make long road trips much more bearable for both of us.

2.  Sirius XM Radio with touch screen navigation:  The music on the radio can be quite inappropriate for young ones these days, so having Sirius XM Radio with Radio Disney was a godsend on our travels.  The color touch screen navigation helped us get home from Disney and avoid many traffic jams (especially in Mobile, AL).

3.  Steering Wheel Controls: I loved being able to control the volume of the radio and even make phone calls simply by pushing a button on the steering wheel.  Because the car is equipped with Bluetooth technology, syncing my phone was a breeze.

4.  Spacious Backseat: With two kids and two long car rides, most parents would agree that personal space for kids is a must!  Both of my daughters had ample leg room and did not feel crammed even with blankets, toys and snacks sharing the space.  They also loved that the backseat had it’s own air conditioning vents which allowed them to cool off much quicker in the brutal Summer heat.

5.  The Third Row:  As my girls grow, so does their friendship circles and activities.  Having a third row would allow us to participate in car pools and make my job much easier!  The third row can be folded down to create a spacious trunk which provided more than enough room for our Disney luggage.

6.  The Gas Mileage: Ok, I know I said top 5 reasons, but this one is too good to ignore.  The Kia boasts that it receives 32 highway MPG and 22 city MPG.  We can attest that we were quite impressed with the gas mileage on our trip to Callaway Gardens, GA.  We were able to drive approximately 420 miles in one full tank of gas.

7.  Heated seats, power windows, cruise control, push button start with SMART key (won’t let you lock your keys in the car!), back up warning system, rear camera, power folding outside mirrors….I really could go on and on.

We had an absolute blast driving the 2013 Kia Sorento the past three weeks!  It certainly surpassed our family’s expectations and we were more than sad to see it go.  To keep up with Kia news and promotions, make sure you follow them on Twitter!

This review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  A loaner car was provided free of charge and was returned after the review period was over.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

How We Cooled Off This Summer with Tide Coldwater

Because I have been a long time fan of Tide (how can you not love a brand who helped your hometown after Hurricane Katrina), I was so excited to share information about Tide Coldwater with my family and friends.  With the temperatures topping 100 degrees here in New Orleans, we were all ready to “Cool Off with Tide Coldwater” this summer!

Living in the deep south has it’s challenges and escaping the extreme heat is definitely one of them.  So, I decided to treat my guests to an indoor party to soak up the air conditioning.  We headed to Sip and Paint, a local art studio who regularly hosts birthday parties, for a fun filled night of painting on canvas.  To be cool, you have to think cool, right?  I decided that painting a picture of a traditional NOLA sno-ball would keep my guests thinking frosty!  The sno-ball is similar to a sno-cone but the ice is shaved not crushed providing for a powdery texture.  There are hundreds of flavors and topping to make the sno-ball a one of a kind experience.

We had about 25 painters from ages one and up!  Each sno-ball painting was unique and reflected my guests’ personalities.  The night was full of surprises as I had hired a sno-ball vendor to come to the art studio and make genuine sno-balls for my guests as we painted the night away.  My favorite?  Chocolate with condensed milk on top.  You haven’t lived till you have tried it.  Seriously.

As we waited for our paint to dry and our sno-ball cups to be refilled, I had the perfect opportunity to tell my guests about how they could stay cool with Tide Coldwater this summer.  I asked how many of them washed in cold water, and to my surprise not too many of them had tried it.  I explained that Tide Coldwater is specially formulated to get out the toughest stains when washing in cold water and they could save energy, too!  By not washing with hot water, you can save up to 50% of the energy each and every wash cycle.  Each guest left with their very own bottle of Tide Coldwater to try out the claims for themselves.

My guests had a great time escaping the heat and cooling off from the inside out.  We all had a great time being creative, enjoying each other’s company and learning about Tide Coldwater!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While a stipend was received to plan the party, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Come Join Me On The Motherhood Tomorrow for a Live Chat!

This is the first summer that my entire family has been home every day together!  While it has been a ton of fun, I will admit that I could use some me time.  Generally, me time involves some retail therapy, a spa day or lunch with friends.  With our budget strings tightening, I am having to find more creative Do-It-Yourself ideas to pamper myself, but I could sure use some help!

Come join me tomorrow at The Motherhood for a live, all-text Talk on The Motherhood, called Treat Yourself to a Home Spa Day.  We’ll be trading ideas and answering questions about pampering yourself – no high-priced spa services required. Bring your ideas for the best nail polish, most effective homemade facials and more – and join us for ideas on various recipes and household items you can use to create your own scrubs and beauty products at home for some relaxing “me” time.

When: Tuesday, July 24, at 1 p.m. ET.  We will chat for 30 minutes!

Where: On The Motherhood, right here –

Who: The all-text chat will be hosted by Angie Knutson of My Four Monkeys.  Co-hosting are these awesome people:

Felicia, Go Graham Go,
Jennifer, Mommy B Knows Best,
Liz, A Nut in a Nutshell,
Renee, What Mommies Need,
Xenia, Thanks, Mail Carrier,

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Create a Backyard Oasis with Sears {Giveaway}

This past month has been an unusual one for my family and I. With all four of us home together the entire summer, we have enjoyed traveling and spending quality time together. With the kids and hubby returning to school is just a few weeks, we have spent the latter part of summer relaxing at home.

In New Orleans, you are less likely to find us taking in the beautiful scenery of our own secluded backyard oasis and more likely to find us on the front porch (or “stoop”) with family, friends and neighbors. For this reason, we have spent little time creating a serene environment in our own backyard. For the time being, we have decorated our space to help the kids have fun, get some exercise and beat the brutal NOLA heat.

If you ask my two girls, our most treasured backyard item is the inflate water slide. They have spent many hours slip slidin’ away! But my husband and I wish we had a more adult space outdoors for entertaining. One of the selling points of our home was the beautiful wooden deck off our French Doors. I think our deck has great potential, but is in need of a little decorating.

Sears has launched an online catalog to help you make the most of outdoor living. Their Design Team (including Ty Pennington) can help you narrow down your outdoor style before perusing the online catalog. I know I want a style that reflects our New Orleans culture, so I was started looking through the catalog for a wrought iron table and chairs with a bit of French flare. And with the heat, a patio umbrella is a MUST. I fell in love with this set!

To complete our “adult” friendly backyard makeover, I would love to get some accessories. Perhaps some deck lights and hurricane lamps would do? Finally, I definitely need some backyard storage to hide the toys before guests arrive. Fortunately, Sears has everything I need to accomplish my vision and a whole lot more!

Now that I have shared what turns my backyard into my perfect summer oasis, I want to know what you’ve done to transform your backyard into your oasis. One of my lucky readers will win a $25 Sears gift card!

Need help finding your own pieces for your backyard? Sears is bringing the ease of searching for those perfect pieces with their recently launched iPad digital catalog. On your computer? Don’t fear, Sears has an amazing digital catalog built just for you.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sears. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.

Beat the Summer Heat with Certain Dri {Giveaway}

Well, it is officially summer down here in the deep south and boy is it HOT!  My husband wears a full suit everyday and walks several blocks to work in this 100 degree weather.  By the time he arrives at his workplace is dripping in sweat.  Nothing is more embarrassing than running a meeting and everyone seeing the wet spots on your shirt under your arms.  It seems like no matter what antiperspirant I purchase for him, none of them do a great job.

Certain Dri Anti-Perspirants is the strongest formula available without a prescription for controlling extreme underarm perspiration.   Certain Dri should be applied at night before bed 2- 3 times a week and in the morning you can use Certain Dri A.M. Underarm Refresher or your usual deodorant.  There are three types of Certain Dri: Roll-on, A.M. Underarm Refresher and the new solid.

My husband has been very happy with this product, he no longer has to worry about those wet spots on his dress shirts.  It has built up his confidence during meetings and he continues to use it religiously.  Certain Dri does leave a few small white spots on his shirt, but that is typical with most solid anti-perspirants. Certain Dri retails for around $5.50-$5.99 which is much cheaper than your leading prescription anti-perspirants and it does just as good of a job, if not better!



Certain Dri is currently hosting a 72-Hour Summer Stay Dry Marathon on Facebook for eight weeks!  Fans will have a chance to win a Travelocity travel gift card to create their own three-day weekend getaway, Certain Dri product and $72 retailer gift cards. Check out the Certain Dri Facebook page for giveaway details and entry form.

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This post is the opinion of Beth of Experimental Mommy.  While a product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% honest.