Archives for August 2012

The Aftermath of Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans

Here in New Orleans, we are by nature a hospitable bunch, but Hurricane Isaac has worn out his welcome.  What was just a category 1 hurricane wreaked more havoc on our City than was originally expected.  Today, after 3 days stuck inside, I was able to get out and take some pictures of my area.  Although we are still without power, my neighborhood was fortunate and I am blessed that we did not receive more damage than we did.  Here are some pictures from my neck of the woods:

Hurricane Isaac is Packing a Punch in NOLA

To say that last night was scary would be an extreme understatement.  As Hurricane Isaac rolled in to New Orleans, the wind gusts were tremendous and constant.  He stalled right over us even backing up and making a second landfall causing us to get repeatedly punched in the gut.  This morning, the winds have died down a little and I was able to get some video footage off my front porch.

We lost power at about 8pm CST last night and we have water pushing in the back doors from the powerful rain.  Keep the prayers coming…it’s going to be a long day and night!

Approach of Hurricane Issac in New Orleans (Part 3)

Ok, so it’s about 6:30pm CST here in New Orleans and Hurricane Isaac is picking up speed.  Lots of debris on the ground, virtually no cars on the road and rain just starting.  Again, thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts.  Keep them coming!


Hurricane Isaac Gets Closer to New Orleans

Just wanted to give you guys another update on Hurricane Isaac while I still can!  This video was taken at 2:35pm CST in my backyard.  Thanks for all the emails, texts and DMs!  We are doing fine!

Fighting Age Spots with Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair

As a Neutrogena Ambassador, I have been lucky enough to try out several of their latest products and best selling collections.  As 40 gets closer for me, I need to focus more on taking care of my skin.  As a teen, I was lucky enough to have relatively flawless skin (a trait that I have inherited from my Mom) but after having two kids, I have noticed an uneven tone and brown spots on my face.  Neutrogena is a name I have always trusted, so I couldn’t have been more excited to try the Rapid Tone Repair Day and Night Moisturizer.

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair

After washing my face with the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser, I have been applying the Night Moisturizer for about two weeks now.  In the morning, I follow up with the Day Moisturizer (which has SPF 30) before applying makeup.  The Accelerated Retinol SA plus the exclusive booster accelerates skin’s surface activity to help smooth wrinkles and diminish the look of age spots. Plus, the added Vitamin C gently helps diffuse the look of brown spots and even out skin tone.  Both formulas are lightweight and do not make my skin feel greasy at all.  The bottle warns that skin may flake or become red when first starting the process, but I did not experience those effects.

After just one week, I did see a noticeable reduction in the dark spots on my face.  To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen that quickly.  Now after almost two weeks, the spot is not completely gone, but it barely noticeable even without makeup.  I have tried other night moisturizers in the past, but my skin could not handle the thickness and began to break out.  Again, I have not experienced this with the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Day and Night Moisturizers and I will definitely be purchasing more in the future.  If you want to try them out, the items can be purchased for $20.99 each or win them below!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  I am a Neutrogena Ambassador and received complimentary samples to facilitate this review.  All opinions remain 100% honest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Isaac Approaches New Orleans

Since we will be stuck inside as Tropical Storm (soon to be Hurricane) approaches New Orleans, I decided to amuse myself by playing weather reporter.  This video was shot at 9:30am CST and hopefully, this will give you a glimpse into what is going on in my hometown.  Thank you all so much for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Classic Raggedy Ann and Andy are Back at Aurora Gifts {Giveaway}

Sometimes I wish that there were more toys out there like the toys I had when I was a kid.  Now that my daughter is getting a little bit older, the world of dolls has entered my life.  Walking down the doll aisle a few days ago, I couldn’t believe some of the things that these modern dolls can do.  Cry, wet, eat, talk…you name it and you can find a ‘real life’ doll that does it.

Whatever happened to using your imagination? I was thrilled when I found out that  Aurora was coming out with a brand new line of the classic favorites, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy.  Now an entire new generation can have pretend play with Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy just like when I was a kid.

The dolls are such a high quality because they are all handmade by Aurora.  Even though my daughter is a little young for pretend play, she still loves Raggedy Ann.  She decided to put her Ann in the ‘stroller’ and take her for a ride around grandma’s house.  Unlike most ‘stuffed dolls,’ I don’t have to worry about Raggedy Ann falling apart if she gets dropped, stepped on or dragged around where ever we go.

Classic Ann and Andy come in 4 sizes 8”, 12”, 16” and 25” and range from $10-$35.  The Fancy Pals style are 7” in a purse and are $17.  There will be four more 16” styles just in time for the holidays including  Chilly Chic, Santa’s Helper in both Raggedy Andy and Ann, they will retail around $27 each. FREE Shipping on orders over $50 is going on now through August 31st, 2012.  Simply use promo code: YooHoo12

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shake Up Dinner with KRAFT Fresh Take {Giveaway}

On June 1st, I became a Stay at Home Mom (at least for the time being).  Since I am home a bit more now, I am trying to get a little crafty in the kitchen, but I am the first to admit that my cooking skills are quite limited.  Because of my small repertoire, my family is growing bored of the predictable menu.  Fortunately, KRAFT Fresh Take is helping me Shake Up Dinner!

Have you tried Fresh Takes yet?  You can find them in the dairy aisle of your grocery store and they come in six flavor varieties including Southwest Three Cheese, Savory Four Cheese, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic, Italian Parmesan, Chili Lime and Panko, and Cheddar Jack and Bacon.  Because any Mexican dish is generally a hit in my home, I decided to go with the Southwest Three Cheese.  After opening the packet and mixing together the cheese and breadcrumbs, I simply coated chicken cut into strips and baked for 15 minutes at 375 degrees on a greased baking sheet.

After the chicken was done, I quickly made corn and a spinach salad to accompany the main dish.  What I love about Fresh Take is that the prep time is incredibly fast and clean up is a breeze.  Because the cheese and breadcrumbs are mixed right in the provided packet, the chicken is dropped in and coated right there…no need for dirtying additional bowls.

The dinner smelled delicious in the oven and the finished product was a hit (my oldest daughter even asked for seconds!).  I am so happy to have another option in my menu for the family.  How do you Shake Up Dinner? To provide a little inspiration, KRAFT Fresh Take wants to help you explore the unexpected with a fabulous giveaway (ARV $50)!  Enter below.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friends Count at Build-A-Bear Workshop {$20 Gift Card Giveaway}

My daughters have certainly enjoyed their summer, but they definitely missed their school friends, too.  Both of my girls were more than excited to get back to school and reunite with the classmates they hadn’t seen in quite some time.  While we tried to have playdates as much as possible, we just didn’t seem to connect with every.single.friend.  If you were ever in doubt that friends count to your little ones, the smiles on my girls’ faces the first day of school were enough to convince anyone.

Build-A-Bear Workshop knows just how much Friends Count in the lives of our children and have rolled out three new bears in the collection.  Recently, my youngest daughter and I headed to the store to check them out!  Just to show you how much friends count, normally my child would want to make the bear for herself.  But this day, she decided to make a bear for a friend with an upcoming birthday.  Quite a sacrifice for a four year old!

She had a hard time deciding between the Neon Star Bear (black with neon stars), the Friends Count Star Bear (purple) or the Friends Count Heart Bear (pink).  After much debate, she decided on the pink bear and began the stuffing process after making a birthday wish on a gingham star.  After making her bear, she picked out a cute “Happy Birthday” t-shirt for the bear and we were all set to go! My daughter had a great time making a birthday gift for her friend.

For less than $25, the Friends Count Heart Bear made a perfect birthday present for a friend and was hand carried to the party in it’s own little box.  To stay on top of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s new collections and promotions, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  I am one of the Friendly 15 program at Build-A-Bear Workshop and received a sample product to facilitate this review.  All opinions remain 100% honest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Newest American Girl: Caroline Abbott

My daughters have loved American Girl dolls, books and accessories but on a recent trip to the American Girl Cafe in New York City they officially became obsessed.  At first, my oldest daughter loved the “My American Girl” doll that we purchased to look exactly like her.  But as she gets older and has become more proficient in her reading skills, she has taken a liking to the historical collection and the stories of each doll.

We were recently treated to a sample of the newest doll to enter the American Girl historical collection, number 13 to be exact.  Caroline Abbott, a 9 year old girl growing up near Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, wants to follow in her father’s footsteps as a shipbuilder.  When their sloop is invaded by British soldiers and her Papa is taken prisoner, Caroline stays strong and helps Mama run the family shipyard.

Caroline’s story is told though a series of six books written by Kathleen Ernst including Meet Caroline, Caroline’s Secret Message, A Surprise for Caroline, Caroline Takes a Chance, Caroline’s Battle, and Changes for Caroline.  My husband is a history teacher and he and my seven year old have begun to read the first book together.

To say that my girls were excited about Caroline’s arrival would be an understatement.  I think it took every ounce of self control for them to be patient and let me take a few pictures to share with you before they gave Caroline the Grand Tour of our home.  Caroline is an 18 inch doll with curly blonde hair and aquamarine eyes.  She comes dressed in a beautiful pink dress with floral embroidery detail and white pantaloons with pink shoes.  Of course, there will be an array of clothes and accessories available appropriate for her time period. Her hair is probably the most beautiful of any American Girl doll I have seen thus far.  It is very silky and wavy!

What I love about the American Girl historical collection is that although the stories take place long ago (Caroline’s story is exactly 200 years ago), the message and lessons are timeless.  Each story inspires young girls to be kind, honest, confident, strong and brave.  To celebrate the bravery of girls today, American Girl is launching “Caroline’s Share the Hero in You” video contest coinciding with Caroline’s debut on September 4, 2012.  Through October 31, girls are encouraged to create a video explaining the time they felt like a hero and share them online.  Six videos will be selected by American Girl based on creativity, originality, visual appeal, and best use of the heroism theme.

Starting November 5, American Girl fans can vote online for their favorite video finalist!  The grand-prize winner will receive a trip for four to Washington D.C. to visit the American Girl store; a VIP tour at the Smithsonian to learn more about Caroline’s era; and a Caroline doll, accessories, and six-book set.

We are so happy to welcome Caroline Abbott to our American Girl collection at home.  She will be available in stores and online on September 4, 2012 for $105 which includes the doll and “Meet Caroline” book.  Make sure you “like” American Girl on Facebook to stay on top of the latest news and promotions.

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