Archives for March 2014

Learning About Skincare at the RoC Academy

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with The Motherhood and RoC.  While I am being compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.

For the last two weeks since my first post about the RoC Academy, I have immersed myself in learning about how my skin ages and how I can effectively fight back….and you can fight back.  I didn’t want to keep all this great info to myself, so I invited  few friends to take the RoC Academy courses as well.

While your skin starts aging at birth, normal signs of aging start to appear in your 20s.  What I love about the RoC Academy, is that you can personalize the experience by choosing your age and topics you are most interested in learning more about.  Here are a few fun facts we learned:

  • Retinoids are a type of Vitamin A that occurs in many foods such as milk, eggs and colorful vegetables.
  • All retinoids are not equal.  Retinoic Acid is most effective but requires a prescription.
  • Retinol is the number one dermatologist-recommended cosmetic anti-aging ingredient. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles to improve the look of collagen-depleted skin while complementing the skin’s natural processes….and it’s over-the-counter.
  • The RoC® Brand launched the first pure, stabilized form of retinol in 1995.

The RoC Academy answered some of our most pressing questions, but my readers also submitted a few questions, too.

Sadie asks, “There are so many issues from dullness, to dark spots, but my top concern is how to get rid of the deep lines in my forehead.”

The RoC Deep Wrinkle Filler is specifically formulated to show results immediately and after four weeks.  This breakthrough dual-action formula, with an exclusive fusion of hyaluronic acid and pure RoC®RETINOL, is clinically proven to fill creases and diminish the look of deep wrinkles. It’s noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores) and dermatologist tested.

Karen asks, “What can I do about the dark circles under my eyes?

The skin around your eyes is very delicate and deserves special treatment After just four weeks of use, the RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream will even out the look of dark eye circles and reduce puffiness.  In 12 weeks, you will see wrinkles vanish, too!

Want to learn more?  Make plans to attend the #RoCAcademy Twitter Party this Thursday, April 3rd at 1pm EST.  A dermatologist will be on hand to answer your pressing skin care questions so make sure to RSVP here.

Barbie Hug N’ Heal Pet Doctor Review

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

My youngest daughter is a very compassionate soul. She always wants to engage in pretend play as a doctor, dentist, waitress, cook, teacher or vet…really any profession that serves people in order to make life better for them.  I love encouraging that side of her personality so when I was asked to review the Barbie Hug N’ Heal Pet Doctor, I knew it would be an instant hit.

Role play as a veterinarian in training with all the supplies to help take care of this soft plush pup with a glowing nose that tells her when he’s not feeling well. Perfect for ages 3 and up, the electronic puppy comes with a travel bag that features all kinds of accessories to interact with. Just press his paw to see how he’s feeling, then use all the included supplies to nurse him back to health! The kit includes a travel bag, thermometer, stethoscope, prescription pad and more.

First of all, the plush puppy is simply adorable.  It’s hard not to love the floppy ears!  My daughter instantly fell in love and couldn’t wait to make the puppy feel better.  Within seconds, the puppy began to sneeze and her nose glowed red.  My daughter quickly figure out that the puppy needs a tissue and put the provided accessory up to it’s nose.  She was shocked when the puppy actually blew her nose!  And she found it fun to give the puppy a shot and cheer them up with a bone.

The Barbie Hug N’ Heal Pet Doctor is now her “go-to” toy and my daughter takes it to school for show and tell every week.  You can find it for just $29.99 on and it would make a great Easter basket gift!

Geek Out with Netflix {March Edition}

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  I am a member of the Netflix Steam Team and receive a complimentary subscription but all opinions remain 100% honest.

I am so excited to announce that I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam.  What that means for you is that I will be sharing what’s hot on Netflix and what we are watching, too.  With March being Science Fair Month, I thought it would be fun to share some Science themed shows you can stream on Netflix for inspiration.

My daughter participated in her very first Science Fair this year with her project titled, “To Eat or Not To Eat.”  I am sure the fact that I worked in a lab for 17 years really motivated my daughter to do a project as she has had many questions about my work.  But shows like, “How Stuff Works” and “Magic School Bus” really peaked her interest and introduced her to the Scientific Method.

If your child is entering a Science Fair soon, check out some project ideas and then consider streaming some of the following shows to get your creative juices flowing.

For the older kids:

1. How Stuff Works
2. How Do They Do It
3. Is It Possible?
4. Build It Bigger
5. How the Universe Works
6. Extreme Engineering
7. Mythbusters

 And for the younger kids:

1. Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius
2. Peep and the Big Wide World
3. Magic School Bus: All Dried Up
4. Animal Mechanicals
5. Wild Kratts

Tell me, what are you streaming this month?

Outfit Your Nursery for Less {Crib Giveaway}

One of the most exciting parts about having a baby was designing the perfect nursery.  One of the most difficult parts was figuring out how to pay for it.  Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for price because Target has a great deal for you!
 The Delta Children Bentley crib will be on sale for $185 from $249.99.  Plus, Target is also going to offer a $20 off coupon with any purchase of $100 or more on anything in the department.  About the crib:
Made of solid hardwood, this beautiful crib has a sleigh design with clean lines and simple details. With its 3 mattress height positions, you can choose the right level for your child. Plus, this 4-in-1 convertible crib can grow with your child all the way into their teenage years. The Bentley sleigh crib transforms from a crib into a toddler bed, daybed and full-sized bed.
Another great way to save on nursery decor is to win it right here on Experimental Mommy!  One lucky reader will receive the Delta Children Bentley Crib!  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Showing Our #DisneySide, Princess Tiana Style!

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy.  While I received a package filled with Disney themed party supplies to facilitate this post, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Recently, I was selected to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration.  My daughters and I were so excited when the hostess package arrived and we started brainstorming for ideas.  Here in New Orleans, we are just finishing up Carnival season.  The fun begins on King’s Day and rolls through Mardi Gras which happened to land on my daughter’s 6th birthday this year.  Being the ultimate princess, she wanted to show her Disney Side on Mardi Gras Day!  I thought it was a perfect venue to show thousands of people our Disney Side.

Living in New Orleans, it is very easy to identify with Tiana from Princess and the Frog.  How lucky are we to have our very own Disney Princess?!  When the movie came out, it was really fun to see our hometown on the big screen so we have been a little Tiana obsessed since.

Mardi Gras Day is a very busy one for my family and I because we ride on a float in a parade filled with our closest friends and family.  To show our Disney Side, we began the day with our float-mates just like Tiana would…with beignets!  It was unseasonably cold, so cafe au lait hit the spot.  Does it get any better?

Once we boarded our float, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday with Tiana themed cupcakes!  She got a big kick out of people on the parade route singing her Happy Birthday.  As a reward, anyone who sang her happy birthday as we rolled down the street got a “Princess and the Frog” themed bead and a bracelet that came in our DisneySide package.  (We were so cold, so we are wrapped up and taking pictures was very hard!)

After our ride, we arrived home with our family and friends to continue our DisneySide Celebration with a traditional Mardi Gras treat, gumbo and King Cake!  My daughter (the birthday girl) got the baby (which symbolizes Baby Jesus) in the cake so she was super excited.

We had a great time enjoying Tiana’s city and showing off our DisneySide to the revelers on the streets of New Orleans.  Between the beignets, King Cake, cafe au lait, gumbo and beads, my birthday girl certainly felt like a Mardi Gras princess!  Show your own Disney side by visiting or following @DisneyParks on Twitter.

Step in Spring with Shoebuy {Giveaway}

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

It’s been quite a rough winter for some so it is no coincidence that I heard a collective sigh of relief on this First Day of Spring.  If you are like me, you are ready to switch out the sweaters and boots for tank tops and sandals.  But after taking a look at my Spring wardrobe and accessories, I realized I am in need of a major overhaul.

As a longtime customer, I headed to their blog to check out the latest trends for Spring.  I absolutely love pastel flats to add a fresh feel to your outfit or  a pair of cutout sandals perfect for the many outdoor festivals here in New Orleans.  After a bit of window shopping, I headed to the running shoes because I will be doing my first ever RunDisney event in April at Disneyland!

So the race is only two miles, but it is a big deal for this non-runner.  Thankfully, has tons of running shoes from some of my favorite brands such as Sketchers, ASICS, and New Balance.  After careful consideration, I selected a pair of ASICS Gel-Storm 2 in black and turquoise.

Ordering was very easy and my shoes arrived at lightening speed.  Ready for training, I put on my new shoes.  The fit is true to size and they are very comfortable. I can definitely tell the difference when running on the track between the ASICS and my old, worn out sneaker.

Coupon Code

Is your wardrobe in need of a Spring overhaul?  Use code SPRINGSHOPPING at to receive 20% off your total purchase (offer valid 3/20/14-4/20/14)!  To help get you started, one lucky Experimental Mommy reader will win a $50 gift card!  Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fight Wrinkles with RoC Skincare Products #RoCAcademy

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with The Motherhood and RoC.  While I am being compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Come closer. I have a secret. But you have to promise not to tell anyone…..and I mean ANYONE. I will be turning 40 in just 4 months. What? I only look 21 you say? You are too kind. In fact, I love you. But alas, the truth is that 40 will be reality this July.

My Mom has really great skin, so I am hoping to follow in her footsteps.  But, rather than relying on genetics alone, I am taking this anti-aging thing seriously.  Fortunately, I have been asked to participate in the RoC Academy with some of my favorite bloggers which is an exclusive online resource that provides a behind-the-scenes look into skincare.  Over the next several weeks, I will be checking out the NEW RoC Retinol Correxion Line which focuses on anti-aging products.  Watch the video below for a quick introduction to what is available (and what you can win!):

Learn more about the products at a #RoCAcademy Twitter Party this Thursday, April 3rd at 1pm EST.  A dermatologist will be on hand to answer your pressing skin care questions so make sure to RSVP here.

Need help with pesky wrinkles?  The RoC Skincare line is available at Walgreens but one lucky reader will win all of the products discussed in my video by simply asking one skin care question in the widget below.  In my next RoC post, some of your questions may be answered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top 5 Disney Tips from a Travel Agent

With Summer right around the corner, no doubt you are starting to plan your family vacations. If you are thinking about heading to Disney World, check out these tips from a Mom who also happens to be a Travel Agent:

1.  Slow Down.  If you have small children,  getting to the park at opening is not really that important if you are visiting on a lightly attended day.  Let the kids wake up at a reasonable time, stay at the park through lunchtime and return to the hotel for some down time or even a nap.  Head back to the park around 4pm when its not so hot and lines start to shorten.  If you plan to stay for the fireworks, don’t immediately try to exit the park with the masses but stay a few minutes until the crowd thins.

2.  Plan Ahead. Subscribe to a touring website such as for up to date closures and park crowd expectancy.  Use this website to track crowd levels and visit the least busy park for that day.  This tool will also tell you about any special events happening at parks which usually boost crowds up.  We also love the Disney World Wait Times App to determine which rides have the shortest lines.

3.  Consider the Dining Plan.  The Disney dining plan is well worth the extra money if you plan on doing character dining.  Most character dining will only cost you one table service meal on your dining plan and saves a lot of money.  In one trip we did Chef Mickey’s, Ohana and the Princess Storybook breakfast at Epcot on our dining plan.

4.  Location, Location, Location. If you plan on spending most of your time at the Magic Kingdom, consider staying at the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge or Contemporary hotels.  You can save considerable time getting to the park by using the boat or monorail.  Also, if you have smaller children and hate leaving the parks after the fireworks you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks displays from the beach at your hotel.

5.  Take to the Water.  If visiting Disney during warm months, the Water Park & More option is well worth the few extra dollars to add it to your Magic Your Way ticket.  Both of the water parks offer excellent kids areas and in my opinion are pretty great as far as water parks go.


Now, for some Pixie Dust!  Right now Disney World is offering up to 30% off rooms at select Disney World Resort Hotels for stays 3/14-4/12 and 4/20-6/15/2014.  Save even more by upgrading to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-Day Magic your Way ticket package and get one more ticket day FREE!

Ready to wear your Mouse Ears?  Call Mom & Travel Consultant for Travel Central Vacations, Rachelle Noullet at 504-487-7574 or email at rachelletravels at gmail dot com.

See ya real soon!

Brew a Better Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  While our hotel stay was complimentary, all opinions remain 100% mine.

I am a proud Mom to a beautiful, talented and inspiring dancer.  Yes, I am a dance Mom.  No, it is nothing like the television show.  We are blessed to be a part of a studio that not only gives my daughter a fantastic dance education, but surrounds her with love and encouragement, too.

Because she is part of the studio’s competitive team, we take to the road and travel to many competitions to watch our beautiful dancer and cheer her on.  On a recent trip, we chose to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pensacola, FL and I am so glad we did!

The hotel is very easy to access from the Interstate and we just loved the section of town in which it is located.  From the moment we pulled up, we felt “at home.”  The property was well maintained, clean and welcoming.  The lobby was nicely decorated to look like a living room in a cozy home and a full service restaurant was just to the right.

Before heading to the theater for a long day of dancing, we checked into our room (which was ready when we arrived).  The two queen room was clean and comfy but my eyes were drawn immediately to the shiny Keurig beckoning me to make some coffee.

Hilton Garden Inn and Green Mountain Coffee (the makers of Keurig) recently partnered to “brew a better stay.”  Now, more than 73,000 Hilton Garden Inn guest rooms in North America now sport Keurig K130 brewing systems plus each room is supplied with four complimentary K-Cup packs.  Our room had two Diedrichs Regular Coffee, one Diedrichs Decaffeinated Coffee, and one Bigelow Black Tea K-Cup packs but if you are craving other varieties head to the 24-hour Pavillion Pantry in the lobby where additional K-Cup packs are available for purchase.

It was so nice to be able to enjoy a cup of hot tea after arriving back at the hotel following the dance competition.  And it was a great way to save time the next morning rather than find a local coffee house and stand in long lines before hitting the road.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Hilton Garden Inn!  My husband and I often joke about taking our Keurig brewing system on road trips and now we don’t have to.  What a great amenity!


How to Make Monkey Bread with Splenda

This post is part of the SPLENDA® 365 SWEET SWAPS ™ blogger program by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. and The Motherhood, who sent me products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

In my first Splenda Sweet Swaps post, I put it out into the Universe that I was going to give up sweet tea (my guilty pleasure) for Lent.  I am happy to report, that with the help of Splenda, I have now gone more than a week without my sweet tea.  I feel like I should give an acceptance speech because surely there is an award for this kind of self-sacrifice.

Because I am going strong, I thought it would be a great idea to continue my #SweetSwaps journey and figure out a way to cut more sugar from my diet.  One of our favorite breakfast recipes is Monkey Bread which admittedly has more sugar than I would like.  I decided to swap 1 cup of brown sugar for 1/2 cup of  Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (there is an easy to use conversion chart on the package).

What you Need:

  • 2 cans of canned biscuits
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 stick of butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

How to Make It:

1.  Combine sugar and cinnamon in a gallon size ziploc bag.

2.  Cut biscuit dough into 4 pieces and roll into little balls.  Place dough in bag and shake to completely cover.

3.  Stack dough into a bundt pan.

4.  Mix brown sugar into melted butter and pour on top of dough.

5.  Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm!

So, how did our #SweetSwaps go?  I decided not to tell the kids about my little experiment to see if they could tell the difference.  After breakfast, both of their plates were clean with absolutely no leftovers….that’s a good sign!  The Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is a delicious and easy way to reduce the added sugar in our normal recipe without sacrificing texture or taste.

Looking for more ways to reduce added sugar in your favorite recipes?  Splenda has 365 ways to swap sugar for Splenda Sweetener Products as well as conversion charts and baking tips!  How will you reduce your sugar intake?