Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dare to Try: Fake Eye Lashes

Thanks to L'Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out for beauty advice from the experts.

I like my eyelashes. I think they are nice. You know, they are decent. A good length, moderate thickness.

But there is a woman who works at a restaurant near my house her eyelashes go BOOM! BANG! POW! I know they can't possibly be her own naturally born eyelashes, but I can't take my eyes off of them just the same. It's exactly what I think I need to spice up my look a little bit. Not necessarily for car pool drop off, but for a holiday night out with the girls or with my man.

So how do you go about getting such fabulous lashes? Turns out, first you have to get up the nerve to ask someone with really amazing lashes and hope you judged the situation correctly. Which I did! Yay me! I asked the waitress how she got her eyelashes to look so long and beautiful. She waved her hand at me and said "It's SO EASY."

I didn't know. I've been intimidated by the thought. I don't have the best hand-eye coordination and I know you need glue and what if the glue never comes off or sticks to your hands or even worse drips onto your favorite going-out shirt? 

Turns out I had no reason to fear the false eyelashes! I got my own personal tutorial that I'm sharing here with you. Any woman can pull this off, trust me: If I can do it so can you!
  • Check the length of the eyelashes you purchase. They should follow the natural line of your own lashes. Trim them with sharp scissors if need be.
  • Start with fresh eyes, free of makeup or debris.
  • Hold the lashes in your hand and put a very thin line of glue or adhesive along the base; let it sit for 1 minute. 
  • Apply the false lashes above your eyelashes, as close to your lash line as possible, following its natural curve.You can tweak the lashes with your fingers or tweezers. 
Viola! Take a good look in the mirror and smile at what you see. Also, if your first attempt doesn't go as planned, practice makes perfect! False eyelashes are inexpensive and can be found at drugstores, department stores - even my grocery store has them so if you need to take them off and start all over again, go for it! 

(What do you think? Am I wearing them? I'll never tell..) 

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crocs Back to School

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. 
Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. 
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective
All opinions expressed here are my own.

Well tomorrow is the big day! It's back to school day for my first-grader. Yippee!

We know that back to school means back to school shopping. I do a pretty good job of stocking up on pants and tees all throughout the year (especially when there is a hot sale, natch) but when fall rolls in I need to go in search of backpacks, lunchboxes and shoes. You know, those things you buy your kids that they grow out of almost overnight? Yes, those.

I've written before about Crocs and how much I TRIPLE LOVE THEM. I'm not alone, my boys do too. Just because summer is almost over doesn't mean I have to leave my Crocs behind. Oh no. Did you know that Crocs has a back to school line? They do! They are school approved on the outside because they are close-toed and close-heeled, but they have the same comfort in the inside. Check it out: Crocs has a special microsite which shows all the styles and colors of the new school approved shoes and there are 13 new styles for boys and girls which go from K-8. Like these:

So I know, back to school shopping in stores can be a drag: Long lines, crowded parking lots. Here. Let me help you with that: Crocs created an interactive music video - you can click on the shoes in the video to go directly to the shoes' corresponding pages on the Crocs site.

But that's not all! Gather your kids and have them watch it with you. Try to find the hidden Easter Egg within the video and watch what happens.

Here's a hint: Look for this

See? FUN! 

So you have my personal recommendation that Crocs feel good, are reasonably priced and super cute. They have a fun interactive video and make shopping easy. If that's just not enough for you, consider this: If you visit the site you can enter a giveaway for a family vacation to San Diego on the microsite with no purchase necessary.

So hop to it! Shop till you drop!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

E Me

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

Do you and your BFF have a language all your own? My BFF and I do. We've known each other for so long and through so many different incarnations that we often communicate in an abbreviated fashion. For instance, when ever my BFF and I part ways she'll give me a hug and say "E-me".

My name is Amy and if I had my choice it would be something much more exotic like Shiloh or Alexandria or Magnolia - actually the list goes on and on. So whenever we go anywhere that requires a reservation, historically, we have given my name, only we say it with a great deal of sarcasm and very much in a nasal tone, which makes it sound like Eeeee-meeeee.

But then a funny thing happened. Eeeeeee-meeee, the affectionate play on my name turned into E-me, as in "Email me later". Because the next thing to being there, is being able to chat via email during the day.

My friend and I both have two young children and we both work full time. Neither one of us have time to spend hours, or really, even minutes catching up with each others lives on the phone. There is simply no time. Plus, you know that when you talk to someone on the phone, it can go on much longer than you expected or you might find yourself in that uncomfortable position of not being able to get off the phone mid-conversation without feeling guilty for cutting someone off, let's say  -- in the event that there is a toddler standing right in front of you peeing on the floor.

But my Yahoo! email account (which actually includes the name "amy") gives me the chance to touch base with good friends who are like me, way too busy to meet for lunch, spend an hour on the phone or simply able to hang out and talk to each other without constant requests for shoe-tying, snacks or attention from little people.

Through out the day we are able to complain about how many cookies we have to bring to school that week, compare the benefits of bikini bottoms from Old Navy vs. The Gap and best of all, sneak in inside jokes to make each other laugh. Everybody should have that during a busy or stressful day. It's important to reach out and share with each other. Even when you think you don't have time.

So by all means, Email your BFF today and remind her of that time she did that thing that made you laugh so hard you almost cried. It just might make you smile too.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gnomeo & Juliet! Now on DVD and Blu-ray!

GNOMEO & JULIET is a silly twist on a little old story called Romeo & Juliet but this time, as you’ve never seen it before and MUCH more suitable for the whole family.

You can enter the secret world of garden gnomes where you'll meet two adorable gnomes from completely different worlds who fight the odds to be together. But not in an overly mushy, romantic, boys won't like it kind of way.

Here's what the studio has to say:
From a director of Shrek 2 comes your chance to step into the secret world of garden gnomes — Gnomeo & Juliet. Perfect for the whole family, this fresh and funny makeover of one of the world’s most timeless stories features music from Sir Elton John, and the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Sir Michael Caine. Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingos and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness?
I thought this was cute and I loved that they weaved Elton John's music through the story. I was ready for a good love story so I was sort of surprised at the level of action in this one - via a super turbo lawnmower -but again, I think maybe that's in there to keep the boys interested and distracted from the k-i-s-s-i-n-g. You know how boys (and some girls) can be.

Overall, Gnomeo and Juliet is popcorn and movie night worthy for sure. It's available now in a DVD & Blu-ray combo pack. Thanks to Disney for sending a copy my way!

There's something for everyone here. Mom particularly liked the sound of star James McAvoy's voice.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Great Outdoors DVD & Mickey Mote

Just in time for summer! Mickey Mouse and his famous pals (Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy and Daisy) are here to encourage kids and families to enjoy the outdoors by camping, fishing and exploring nature in Walt Disney latest DVD release, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Great Outdoors.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Great Outdoors features four episodes from the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” TV show plus one all-new, never-before-seen “Mickey’s Fish Story” episode and comes packaged as a special DVD Play Set (DVD + Digital Copy + Mickey Mote.)

This set really is a great value for parents and a fun, portable play set for kids, Disney has packaged Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Great Outdoors to include a DVD, a Digital Copy and a Mickey Mote –(a child-friendly handheld remote control) which provides hours of interactive fun. The digital copy allows parents to dowload the episodes onto a secondary device for easy, portable on-the-go access. Smart!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes never fail to disappoint and these are no different - plus my kids like to play with the Mickey Mote even after the DVD is done. Score!
Thanks to Disney for sending me a copy to review. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Great Outdoors is in stores now. See you real soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Email Love

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

We all have email, right? Spend hours of our days/weeks/months reading it, sorting it--even anticipating it! I know I do. I love to hit the refresh button and see what pops up. Even the emails that I don't need. I still love to see it and scroll through it. It keeps my day interesting and makes me feel connected to people and places that are far outside the reach of the office chair where I spend a lot of my day.

I set up my Yahoo! email account in at least 2003. The reason? Love.

I didn't own a computer in 2003. I had one at work that I could use, but no email access. My husband, (an IT guy,) did. It's hard to believe that there was a time way back before cell phones and texting kept us connected but there was and during that time, I was MADLY in love with my boyfriend who became my husband. It was so hard to go ALL DAY without talking or communicating with each other. Infatuation. Sigh.

Someone in my office had a computer with email access (remember this was almost a decade ago) and I found a way to back her up when she was out of the office so I could exchange emails with my lover boy. Sometimes it was just a quick email with no message but a subject that said "GMB" which stood for Good Morning Baby. Just seeing that would send shock waves through my fingertips all the way up to my infatuated brain. Sometimes it would say *swoon* I love you.

Having these little email exchanges would keep my spirits up and my relationship exciting. I really believe that during our courtship, through our constant stream of email we learned how to talk to each other. In those early days we created a foundation through my Yahoo! email account for a partnership that is still going strong.

I'm also incredibly grateful that our history is just a few clicks away. I can open my email account, sort my email to the oldest date and look back at a loving email message I received from someone on an ordinary Thursday that made my whole week.

So what are you waiting for? I know you've got three minutes today. That's all it takes to send that special person in your life a quick email that says I adore you. It's kind of like this:



Thursday, March 10, 2011

I DO Love Baby Star

Waaaay back when, in 2009, Baby Star sent me one of their completely awesome tote bags for review. I wrote about how much I loved it here at The Full Mommy.

Well it's two years later and I don't have a baby anymore but I am still carrying my Baby Star Tote bag. It's the perfect size, the perfect material for someone like me who tends to be hard on gear and it has more than withstood everything I've dished out to it. I'm talking whole Starbucks green tea latte beverages spilled inside of it. 

I've looked around thinking one day I should downsize a little and stop carrying around so much stuff, but I can't find anything I love as much as my "big silver bag". I love the length of the straps and I love how comfortable it is to lug around. So color me super excited that there is a massive sale going on over at Baby Star for totes. Here is the skinny from Baby Star:

Super sale on totes at over 60% off! our signature and stylish rock the tote comes with a wipe case and is the perfect accessory for spring. plus great prices on bedding, fitted sheets, knit blankets, ruffle skirts for girls and johnny pants for boys. 
notes = quantities limited to inventory on hand and please allow for 1 week to ship. no returns or exchanges on sale items. 

Check out all the available styles here and snatch one up before they all gone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trying Something New: Hip Shaking ZUMBA

I'm a runner. I like the way that sounds. I'm going to say that again: I'm a runner.

But here's the thing about running: If you do it a lot, it's hard on your body. I run at least 20 miles a week and I'm 40 years old and I've had 2 kids. I have my usual aches and pains, sure, but what is happening to me now is that running is putting stress on my hips. Not my hip bones, per say, but all of those muscles that surround them. Pretty much every day they are sore, stiff and in need of major stretching.

I talked with my doc about this because there is no way I'm going to stop running and he advised that while running is great for your legs and glutes, it doesn't do much to strengthen your core or your hip flexors so he suggested I try to vary my routine. I asked him, have you met me? I don't like change.

Still, faced with the option of burning out my hips or really causing an injury to myself I decided to check out my choices: Swimming? Too cold. Weights? No. Wait a minute, what was that thing my boss told about that she loved so much? It was kind of like dancing? There was salsa music? Oh yeah. Zumba. Let's look into that.

Doesn't that look like fun? IT IS!

I took a Zumba class. Yes it took a few weeks to learn the moves and yes I felt kind of silly when I went in the wrong direction and yes it takes a little while to get used to shaking your groove thing in a room full of strangers but..

Yes this was the most fun form of exercise I've ever tried and yes I feel great when it's done and yes dancing makes your spirit feel lighter.I worked up a sweat, worked my hips and my abs and felt more like I was having a good time than working out. It also made it easier to rock the treadmill when I've had a break for a couple of days. When is the last time you tried something new? What was it? Weren't you happy?

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My New Croc Boots

So it's March and it's kind of slushy, sort of rainy and just plan messy out. It's not cold enough to wear your winter boots -- or maybe you're just sick of wearing your heavy winter clunkers.

Lucky for you, Crocs aren't just for clogs and summertime fun. Crocs sent me a pair of these Crocband Hi Lined Boots which are totally perfect for spring. They keep you warm and dry, yes, which is important, but never have your little piggies been so comfortable in the process.

I'm a devoted Crocs fan, so I wasn't surprised that this spring time model features all the comfort and cushioning of the traditional Croc sandal, with the benefit of being waterproof. They look cute with jeans and totally work with my yoga pants. I wear them with socks and without. I've even worn them with tights and a denim skirt. I absolutely love them.

I ordered them one size up, thinking I would need room for cold weather socks but I didn't really need them. They don't really make my feet look any smaller but I don't care at all. My feet are too happy to care.

Thank you to Crocs for sending me a pair of Crocband Boots to review. As always, my opinions are my own.

The Crocs totally rock(s).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Releases: Minnie's Masquerade DVD & Mickey Mote

You know what I love about the Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos? Here's one for the girly-girl pre-schoolers that they will absolutely adore, but will be able to sit down share with their brothers too.  This new release, Minnie's Masquerade is a DVD that celebrates friendship, teamwork, sharing, problem solving and ... dressing up!

The nice thing about this pack is that it's the DVD and the Mickey Mote. The Mickey Mote can be used with any Disney Preschool DVD that includes the Discovery Mode feature. To date there are more than 11 titles that can be used with the remote control, just take a look at the back of your package to see if your DVD will work.

Here's what Disney says about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s Masquerade:
"Minnie’s Masquerade starring Disney’s Fab Five -- Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Daisy – takes viewers on an all new adventure as they dress-up in their favorite costumes for Minnie’s Masquerade Ball. In this episode, Minnie needs some help getting everything ready for her party including making royal crowns for their costumes, searching for Sir Goofalot’s lost shoe, stringing up paper lanterns and much, much more. At the ball, Professor Von Drake hosts the great Clubhouse Costume Show and gives out prize ribbons to all the friends who have dressed up in some funny and fancy costumes. All it takes is a heaping helping of imagination…and the right Mouseketools."
Thanks to Disney for providing me a copy of the Minnie's Masquerade DVD for review. As always my opinions are my own. M-I-C.. See you real soon!

New Release: Bambi DVD & Blu Ray Combo

I have such fond memories of sitting in a beautiful old fashioned theater with my parents, chomping on popcorn and falling in love with Faline, just like Bambi did. Remember this?

If you are like me and have a soft spot for Bambi, you can now enjoy this classic over and over by bringing home Walt Disney's Bambi which is available in a DVD & Blu Ray Combo pack.

Here's the synopsis: (Like I need to remind you)

"For the first time ever, the wonder, music and majesty of one of Walt Disney's greatest triumphs comes alive in glorious detail through the magic of Blu-ray high definition! Now Bambi, Walt Disney's beloved coming-of-age story, will thrill a new generation of fans with its breathtakingly beautiful animation, soaring music and characters who will touch your heart-Bambi, the wide-eyed fawn, his playful pal Thumper, the loveable skunk Flower and wise Friend Owl. Plus, all-new immersive game and special features that reveal the extraordinary creative process behind the making of this timeless classic take you deeper into Bambi's world than ever before."

 Plus there's more: The special features include:

• Disney's Second Screen - Content comes alive on your laptop, or iPad as you watch the movie.

• Disney View - 16x9 Full frame viewing experience

• Intro by Diane Disney Miller

• Inside Walt's Story Meetings - Enhanced interactive edition

• Two never-before-seen deleted scenes

• Deleted song

• Blu-ray interactive galleries

• Game: Disney Big Book of Knowledge

• Classic DVD bonus features

Bambi is available now. Don't miss this one!

Thanks to Disney for sending me a copy to review and share with my kids. As always my opionions are my own. I love love love those "doe eyes." 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dacron Pillow Review

Have you noticed all the January and February White Sales? I have. The Christmas season ends and moms everywhere go in search of new bedding products.

(I do anyway, but recently found myself replacing a number of key bedding items due to an unfortunate stomach virus that hit my two year old, but that's all I'm going to say about that!)

I don't mess around when it comes to sheets and pillows. When you think about how much time you spend in your bed, it's not worth it to scrimp on inexpensive or poorly made stuff. I want my sheets soft and my pillows firm. It was perfect timing that just as I was on the hunt for the perfect pillow, DACRON® offered to send me one mini-pillow to review.

INVISTA recently launched the new DACRON® Fiber Quality Seal to help busy (and distracted with two-year-olds) consumers like me. The new quality seal will be featured on packaging of bedding and branded fiberfill from INVISTA. Plus the taglines read: "Trust What's Inside" and "It Just Feels Good".  

So does it feel good? Yes. Definitely. My kids fight over it on a daily basis. I would tell you that's it's given me the best night of sleep ever, but that wouldn't be really true because I don't sleep. But when I do, it's really great and a full sized Dacron pillow is a worthy investment.

Dacron provided me with a mini-pillow, but my opinions, unlike multiple hours of restful sleep, are mine.

New Releases: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Out now on Blu-Ray DVD is the fun and family friendly comedy, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," starring the voices of many of your favorite stars including George Lopez as "Papi".

I recommend this one for movie night with kids. Bust out the popcorn, settle in and prepare to spend some quality time with this Disney flick. Chloe & Papi are back in an all new adventure and their family just got bigger. Look at that photo! Don't you want to bring those puppies home?

Here's a synopsis:

From the creators of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, everybody’s favorite talking Chihuahuas are back in a comedy that’s a pack of outrageous fun for the whole family. Puppy mayhem turns the lives of newlywed Chihuahua parents, Papi and Chloe, upside down when their playful puppies present one challenge after another. But, when their human owners find themselves in trouble, the tiny pups will stop at nothing to save them—because in good times and hard times, the family always sticks together. Papi, Chloe and the puppies embark on a heroic adventure, proving once again that big heroes come in small packages.
Both the Blu-Ray and DVD include Bonus features including a Music Video (This is My Paradise By Bridgit Mendler) and Blooper Faux Paws. Here's a sneak peek:

You too can meet this rambunctious, mischievous and hilarious litter on February 1, 2011 when Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 comes out on a Blu-ray™ combo pack (include Blu-ray and DVD of the movie), 1-disc DVD.

Thank you to Disney for providing me with a copy of this new release. 

I love puppies in all forms and would happily devote another Saturday night to watching them perform hilarious antics. You would too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day Care Debt & Family Finance Plans

Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances.Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

Once upon a time, I decided to do something. My day care gave me the option of paying by check or using a credit card to charge the oh-so-incredibly-painfully-large monthly fee on a monthly basis.

The credit card I had was a rewards card. It earned miles and points based on the monthly charges. At the rate I was going to be using it, I thought I'd be banking enough miles to get plan tickets for the whole family to go on a fun vacation -- that I couldn't afford because I spent all my money on day care.

So I signed up. It was brilliant, right? It was money I was spending anyway and now I'd be getting something for me. Pat on the back for little ol' me. Since it was on a credit card if I had to, I could always carry a little over from month to month if I had to. No big deal. I could deal with the interest. Such a good idea.

At the end of every month that big day care charge hit. Sometimes I paid it all. Sometimes I didn't. I didn't worry. I'd catch up.

Then another baby arrived. My expenses went up. My cash flow went down. Interest went up. Late fees went up.

Do you see where this is going? I'm sure you do. I didn't.

In hindsight, it's all crystal clear. I was digging myself in a hole I was going to have to struggle for years to get myself out of. I'm still there. But at the time, I just couldn't see it, or maybe didn't want to see it.

Needless to say, I don't charge my day care bill any longer. If something comes up where I can't pay the bill in full, I make a point to make it up the following one. I actually don't charge anything anymore. It's too easy to charge $50.00 in groceries here and $25.00 for a school fundraiser there. I know I'm not alone in this. Credit has been too easy to get, too easy to use and too hard to recover from for a lot of people. So I'm proclaiming 2011 the year of cash. Who's with me?

Photo via bfishadow/Flickr

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heart of Haiti Project

I have never been to Haiti. Having never been there, I picture it in my mind as a beautiful place inspired by the ocean and sunshine and lush green spaces.

Well, that is what Haiti is like, but unfortunately, that's not the whole picture. The people and the neighborhoods are still struggling, even one year after the earthquake that devastated the country. But, the good news is, there are people who want to help.

The Heart of Haiti Project is an initiative founded by Willa Shalit (daughter of Gene Shalit) and her company, Fairwinds Trading, a for-profit company that uses business as a strategy for economic empowerment of people, especially women, in the Majority World. The Majority World is where two billion of the world’s three billion people live, in poverty.

Their focus on women as a preferred partner is based in part on their history, in part on their leadership as a woman-owned firm, and in part on evidence that raising the standard of living for women has the greatest positive multiplier effect within families, communities and cultures. Their mission is to connect cultures through business, art and understanding.

Through a partnership with Macy’s, Heart of Haiti offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale. All income derived from sales of the products on the Heart of Haiti site enhances an artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare and dignity.

More information on the Heart of Haiti Project and the products for purchase can be found here.
I did a little browsing and I think I might have to pick up some of these fruit sculptures. The bright colors would make my kitchen a little happier on a grey snowy day like today.

If you want to find out more information on the the Heart of Haiti founder and Fairwinds Trading CEO Willa Shalit, you can find out more here

I love the phrase "Meaningful Shopping". You can't get better than that.

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.