Archives for July 2015

Celebrating 41 with #DennysDiners

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Denny’s Restaurants. All opinions remain 100% my own.

After surviving topping the metaphorical “hill” when I turned 40, this birthday seemed like a breeze. Turning the Big 4-0 was such a big deal, that I was looking forward to a more relaxed way to greet 41. I requested a low key, family focused, offline, relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of day and I am so happy that my message was heard loud and clear.

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After sleeping in a bit, I headed to my favorite day spa for a full body massage which can only be described as heavenly. Stopping for my favorite sweet tea, I met up with the family for some window shopping (ok, maybe I splurged on a thing or two) and a delicious lunch. When we returned home, my littles surprised me with a homemade chocolate cake and plenty of very thoughtful gifts when we returned home.


When time for dinner, I remembered that at Denny’s, not only would the kids be thrilled, but this birthday girl could get a free Grand Slam! Score! I simply could not have asked for a more perfect day. While the hoopla of 40 was certainly fun and memorable, the quality time with my family wins every single time.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

How a Dermatologist Chooses Sunscreen #ChooseSkinHealth

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Neutrogena. All opinions remain 100% my own.
It’s the middle of summer and for my family it’s time to be outside in the pool, a water park, a theme park or just a simple family picnic. We try to soak up every ounce of quality family time during the summer before the craziness of back to school begins. But to ensure a successful outing (and as an obsessive list maker), planning is key. Everything from a change of clothes to a first aid kit and snacks to sunglasses, I triple check the bag before leaving home.
With all of these outdoor activities, the first thing on my list is always sunscreen. But lately their has been a lot of confusion circulating about sunscreen leaving me staring at the plethora of options wondering which is best for me and my kids.  As with most of my skin health questions, I seek the advice of a dermatologist so I was thrilled to see that Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City, recently created a video to explain how he chooses sunscreen for his own family.

The video is easy to understand and has some really helpful tips for navigating the sunscreen section of your local store. Dr. Zeichner explains:

It can be really challenging to understand sunscreen labels. What I do, is go to the drugstore and look for a trusted brand. Make sure that it is labeled as broad spectrum and turn the bottle over and look for ingredients such as avobenzone or oxybenzone. For those with sensitive skin, look for a mineral sunscreen that only contains ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

As a Mom, I always want to do what is best for my kids which can cause some stress when trying to choose the correct product for their skin. Dr. Zeichner put my mind at ease by explaining that while choosing a quality product is important, you should focus on applying the product correctly. If using a spray sunscreen, you want to hold the spray 1-2 inches from the skin, spray the sunscreen for 1-2 seconds until the skin glistens, and then rub in the sunscreen. If using a lotion, make sure you are using a golf ball size amount for all sun-exposed areas. He explains:

When it comes to Labor Day, if you still have the same bottle of sunscreen that you have been using since Memorial Day, then you are not using enough.

As a scientist myself, I know the every day long-term, harmful affects of sun exposure on the skin. And with skin cancer in my family, I am extra cautious about protecting our skin. For this reason, I have been a huge advocate of the Neutrogena #ChooseSkinHealth program which is a partnership between NEUTROGENA® and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery to fight skin cancer and save lives through education, early detection, and the empowerment to follow sun safe behaviors. To-date, this campaign has completed more than 13,000 free screenings and helped diagnose 1,300 cases of skin cancer.

This summer, NEUTROGENA® partners and brand ambassadors such as Bella Thorne have displayed how they #ChooseSkinHealth on social media throughout the summer in effort to bring attention to the skin cancer epidemic and inspire others to practice safe sun habits.

What are you doing to protect your family’s skin this summer? Share your tips in the comments and then enter to win 5 bottles of Neutrogena sunscreen below!

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Sippy Cup Solutions: Testing Avent’s New Range of Toddler Cups

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales on behalf of Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

With my older child we struggled in the transition from bottle to sippy cup. I could not find a sippy cup that she liked nor could I find one that was really truly spill proof. She ended up going from bottle to cups with a straw. She was fine with it and that worked for her. But straws are not spill proof either so that didn’t really solve that problem for me.
Testing Avent's new sippy cups
Now, with number two I am going to do better research on the sippy cups available on the market. In the nearly four years since my first one was at the sippy cup stage, I am sure there have been many new products introduced to the market and new technology.

I was asked to test the new Avent sippy cups that hit the market in January of this year. They come in the four stages of cup transition and they range in price from $6.99 for an individual cup to $12.99 for a two-pack and are available at Babies R Us, Amazon, Target, Walmart and

Here is the breakdown of the new products:
Stage 1 is for babies around four months old as they learn to take and hold the bottle independently. We are using the Avent Naturals bottle line so the new Philips Avent My Trainer Cup with the same soft spout Natural nipple is excellent for my little one. She is already familiar with that nipple so when I gave her the cup for the first time, she was already comfortable. She enjoyed the easy to use handles.

Stage 2 is for babies who are to transition away from the bottle nipple to a traditional sippy cup top. However, in my experience I have found that the transition to the hard top in the new design can be sometimes too drastic. So the Philips Avent My Penguin Sippy Cup and the Philips Avent My Easy Sippy Spout Cups come with both the hard and the soft spouts to help ease that transition. The easy to use handles follow the same penguin cup shape design that the stage 1 cup had which allows baby to feel more comfortable with the new product.

Stage 3 is for the growing toddler. This is for the baby who has mastered the sippy cup and is ready to take the leap into a straw cup. This new shape expands drinking skills with the Philips Avent My Twist ‘n Sip Straw Cup. The silicone straw that stays clean with the twist lid keeps it clean on the go. Since I didn’t have this option with my first little one who preferred straws, I am excited about this new product.

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Stage 4 is the big news. This is the first product of its kind. The Philips Avent My Natural Drinking Cup is going to change the way that children about a year and up learn how to use a real cup. Once your kiddo has mastered the sippy cup and the straw you don’t want to hand them an open cup to roam around with. You would probably be cleaning up after them all the time. But with this new cup they can still master the drinking from a cup skill without the mess. Here is how it works. The lip-activated rim allows toddlers to drink like a grown-up, from 360 degrees around the cup, while an internal leak-proof valve prevents spilling. Genius!

To help you learn which might be the best fit for your toddler, Avent teamed up with Scholastic to create “Sip, Sip, Hooray,” a story of several toddler friends and a mischievous Mama “Sippopotomus” who’s hunting for the perfect sippy cup for Baby “Sippo” (you can even download a digital copy here).

While my little on is still mastering stage one, I am excited about the cups that will grow with her as she transitions from bottle to cup. I am sure I will blink and she will be hold enough for stage four soon enough!

Is your little one ready for the transition? One Experimental Mommy reader will win the full Avent toddler cup range and a copy of “Sip, Sip, Hooray!” Enter below:

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Top 5 Things to Know Before Heading to Dollywood’s Splash Country

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

On a recent trip to Pigeon Forge, TN, my family and I decided to cool off at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Below are a few tips based on our experience.


1. Pack it: While I am sure you won’t forget your sunscreen, you should know that the park does not provide towels. Since we did not pack any in our luggage, we chose to purchase beach towels at the park. We were able to get 2 towels for $25 which not only served their purpose but doubled as excellent souvenirs as well. Bonus tip: the sidewalk gets hot, consider wearing water shoes to protect little sensitive feet!

2. Climb it: To this below sea level, flat terrain Louisiana girl, the hills of Tennessee are no joke! Do yourself a favor and do some cardio training before you visit especially if you have kids that want to ride the slides again and again and again……

Dollywood Splash Country River Retreat
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3. Rent it: By far, the best money we spent on this entire vacation was on the River Retreat at Splash Country. Nestled against the lazy river, our private retreat featured patio table and 6 chairs, 4 lounge chairs, flat screen TV (with the Disney Channel), two ceiling fans, a locker and wait for it……ROOM SERVICE. That’s right, no standing in long lines for lunch and fighting for a covered table. We ordered food from our retreat phone, designated a time for delivery, and went on our way to enjoy the park. When we returned, our food had been delivered for no extra charge and no extra hassle. As a Mom, this little hideaway in the middle of a bustling theme park made a World of difference in the mood of the kids and stress level of the parents. Worth EVERY penny!!

Bonus Tip: TimeSaver passes are available for $20 per person. This wristband allows you to schedule times to experience popular slides without waiting in line. For us, the lines were not unbearably long when we arrived and a team member told us bands could be purchased at any point in the day. So we decided to wait it out and see if we needed to take the leap. Crowds did not pick up so we opted against the bands which saved us $80!

4. Buy it: We opted to buy the refillable drink mugs the day before when we went to the Dollywood theme park. In the heat, it is important to stay hydrated and the mugs cost us $35 for 4 mugs. With the mug, refills are only $0.99 and we were excited to learn that we could use the Dollywood mugs in Splash Country, too.

5. Conquer it: With all the things you need to pack, I can recommend one thing to leave at home…fear. Let it go and experience new things! What an incredible feeling it was to see my girls conquer their fears of the unknown and truly enjoy life. Splash Country provides quality time (read: no electronic devices) together with my whole family.  The staff was incredibly friendly, the facilities were clean, the food was yummy and a fun time was had by all!

Have you been to Splash Country?

Encouraging Summer Adventures with Netflix’s Dragons: Race to the Edge

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam however all opinions are my own.

When the last school bell rings and Summer officially begins, our family can’t wait to start our adventure. With no tight schedules, homework or dance lessons, we are free to go wherever our heart takes us….with one caveat…my seven year old is not a fan of the unknown.

From new foods to new clothes, it can take some convincing to get her to try new things. So, I knew our Summer Adventure to Nashville, Tennessee would be a little outside her comfort zone. Thankfully, our plane had wifi and we were able to comfort her with an old friend, Netflix.

Because she loved the movie, How to Train Your Dragon, I directed her to the new Netflix original series, Dragons: Race to the Edge featuring Hiccup and Toothless. Soaring beyond their home on the island of Berk in search of new dragons, the series introduces some of the most exciting dragons yet, each with its own amazing abilities — shock waves, cannon balls and fire blasts, just to name a few.

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With the magical Dragon Eye, an artifact Hiccup finds aboard an abandoned ship, Hiccup learns there is more outside the confines of Berk, and that a little curiosity and determination can make every day an exciting journey. In Hiccup’s own words, “this changes everything.”

What a great message for my little one as we flew to a new State in search of fun family experiences! To her credit, she was a trooper! Trying new things like an Alpine Slide, water rides, roller coasters and even some new foods was way outside of her comfort zone but she enjoyed the adventure!

#YouShareWeShare and Give Back to #NewOrleans

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Subway blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Over the last 7 years here at Experimental Mommy, I have had the great fortune of working with a local charity that I truly admire which is making a major impact in my community.  The Second Harvest Food Bank is leading the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, education, advocacy and disaster response. In fact, they supply over 23 million meals to 210,000 people annually, a truly magnificent achievement.
The lazy days of Summer are carefree and allow kids to just be kids.  For some.  However, there are children in my community that rely on the steady meals provided by their schools. When the school year ends, these children no longer have access to hot meals and nutritious snacks. Fortunately, Second Harvest Food Bank supplies Summer Feeding programs at local schools, community centers and camps to ensure no child is left without food.

For all of these reasons, I am thrilled to learn that SUBWAY® Restaurants in the USA and Canada are joining forces with several charities this summer to give back to local communities through the “You Share. We Share.” program.  I could not be happier to see that Second Harvest Food Bank will be the recipient of this generosity in the New Orleans area. The “You Share. We Share” campaign encourages the community to get out and share their weekends with SUBWAY® Restaurants, and SUBWAY® will share right back by donating a percentage of weekend sales, up to $100,000, directly to a local charity in need.

While you are out and about on the weekend (through August 31st), soak up some quality family time at SUBWAY and feel good about helping your community, too! Even better? Find your local SUBWAY® and entice your family and friends by sharing photos of your meal on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #YouShareWeShare.

Learn more about Second Harvest Food Bank by following them on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy!

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Subway blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Reduce the Red Nose with Scotties Tissue

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

I am so tired of using tissues that make your nose red, irritated, raw, or hurt. During the summer in Louisiana I feel like I use tissues every single day because of allergies. The pollen count is so high that just stepping outside makes your nose start running.  Have you tried these allergy fighting tips from Everyday Health?

  • Find out what you are allergic to and avoid the triggers
  • Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes
  • Use Dust mite covers on beds and pillows
  • Keep your house as dust free as possible

Try as you might, sometimes avoiding allergy symptoms is futile. Working in an allergy clinic, I see this firsthand and I can tell you that we go through tissues like crazy. I, like our patients, am so tired of buying and trying all of the different types in the stores in order to find one that will not hurt or make my nose raw. That is, until I found Scotties Facial Tissues. They are amazingly soft, gentle, and hypoallergenic. When the company says “Soft as a Kitten” they are not lying!

Scotties Tissues

Scotties tissues, produced by the Irving Consumer Products, are made from new wood fibers from the J.D. Irving forests from both hard and softwood trees. One important thing about Scotties is that they are ink and dye free making them hypoallergenic. One of my favorite things about the product is that Irving Consumer Products is a family owned company committed to managing its operations in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner, which makes it a company I am proud to give business to.

But don’t take my word for it! Test it for yourself and see that the Scotties brand delivers kitten like softness, strength, and value in every box. The product is environmentally considerate and the company is dedicated to responsible forestry so everyone can feel good about supporting the company. The Tissues are sold in numerous stores and can be purchased online as well.

Be a Superhero with Denny’s Fantastic Four

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Denny’s. All opinions remain 100% mine.
It’s summer in New Orleans. It’s hot. Did I mention the humidity? Outdoor activities that don’t include swimming are all but impossible. So, we have taken to air conditioned activities to fill our summer fun.  Our favorites? Taking in a movie and tasting new dishes at local restaurants.

Lucky for us, on August 7th we can enjoy both! One of our favorite restaurants to visit with our kids, Denny’s, is partnering with 20th Century Fox to bring the adventure of the summer movie event ‘Fantastic Four’ to diners across the nation. After being immersed in the movie, you can fly over to Denny’s (don’t forget to wear your superhero cape) and dine on the limited time ‘Slamtastic 4’ menu. Even though the movie is not out just yet, you can taste the new menu offerings now which include themed items such as the Human Torch Skillet, The Thing Burger and the Invisible Woman Slam.

To celebrate the new yumminess and the highly anticipated movie, Denny’s is offering one lucky Fantastic Four fan a trip for two to the movie premiere on Aug. 4!  Simply visit the sweepstakes page before July 19th to enter for a chance to live like a superhero!

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What are you doing to beat the heat this Summer? Do you plan on seeing the Fantastic 4?

Telling My Story with Soufeel Charm Bracelet

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

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for some easy, non-expensive, non-bulky jewelry to wear daily to work and while running errands. Don’t get me wrong, I love to wear my pearls and diamonds but sometimes it’s a little much to wear for daily chores. I have been looking for an easy alternative and luckily I came across the Soufeel online.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 2.53.42 PM The website is very user friendly and makes it easy to find just what you are looking for. The company offers a large variety of jewelry which is offered to their customers at an ultra-competitive price. The best part of Soufeel is they are backed by the class leading guarantee and customer service including free shipping on orders $50.00 and over and also a 365 return policy.

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Don’t think they only offer bracelets and charms! They have a large variety of jewelry including rings, earrings, necklaces, and more. I ordered a charm bracelet along with 4 charms that were meaningful to me. They arrived well protected and I have to say that I am impressed with the quality and durability of the product. I wore the bracelets and charms to work and have had no discoloration even after they have gotten wet. I also love the weight of the bracelets. They are so easy to wear all day while giving a casual outfit a bit of sparkle and flair. You can customize the bracelet to your own needs and create any look for any occasion (although the charms do move around the bracelet).

Soufeel’s mission is to celebrate life’s unique stories and precious moments by creating memorable jewelry that will be cherished forever. I personally think they have exceeded their mission. What story will you create with your jewelry?

Making the World #BetterforBaby with Pampers

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales. While a sample was received, all opinions remain 100% mine.

At iRetreat in New Orleans, I had the chance to see the unveiling of the Pampers Better for Baby campaign. It is a program that recognizes how babies have the ability to bring out the best in all of us and that is why we should do our part to make life better for them.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.23.11 PMAs part of the campaign, Pampers is unveiling a video that celebrates all the profound ways babies change the world around them for the better – and in turn asks families to pledge how they will make life #BetterForBaby. Disclaimer: grab a tissue, it’s a definite tear jerker.

In order to do their part to make the World better for baby, Pampers has supported the happy, healthy development of babies for the last 50 years. Pampers is committed to doing their small part through  commitments including:

  • protecting premature babies
  • helping families in need through product donations
  • preventing maternal and neonatal tetanus
  • reducing their environmental impact.

In fact, at the launch of this #BetterforBaby campaign, Pampers is making a significant donation to each of their charity partners (Graham’s Foundation, UNICEF and Feeding America).

The generous actions of this brand who really gets behind and supports the consumer really got me thinking. What was I going to pledge? How can I make life better for baby?  While I can’t do anything on such a large scale like Pampers does, I can do things in my own home. Babies may be little, but they have this extraordinary power to bring out the best in us and in turn, change the world for the better. So I pledged to do the following three things:

  1. Take care of my health because a healthy mom means a happier mom.
  2. To maximize my family time because I can’t get these moments back.
  3. To be a positive support for other moms and not contribute to mom shaming.

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I really enjoyed the experience to reflect and determine what I could pledge to do my share. If you are ready to make your pledge, I encourage you to visit Pampers YouTube and Facebook pages and watch the Hush Little Baby video. Celebrate how babies bring out the best in all of us as you think about what your own pledge will be.

If you want to join others making their pledges, check out the Pampers #BetterforBaby Twitter Party: hosted by @iConnectIM (formerly Double Duty Divas).

Wednesday, July 8
Over $550 in prizes!
RSVP here

Also, iConnect in partnership with Pampers is holding a giveaway right now for an Apple Watch worth $400!  Simply tweet your #BetterForBaby pledge with the hashtags #Better4Baby and #B4BDivas along with a link to the Pampers video (  One random winner will be chosen from the #B4BDivas hashtag and the content ends at 11:59pmEST on July 15, 2015).

Want more chances to win? Experimental Mommy has one Pampers prize pack to give away to a lucky reader! One winner will receive:

Enter below!

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