Friday, November 21, 2014

Comfortable Shoes from Hotter :: The Pixie Boot {QUICK Giveaway - Ends 11/23}

Are your feet ready for the cold weather ahead? A pair of comfortable shoes is definitely in order! Today I'm excited to bring you a review from a shoe company you probably haven't heard of yet.  

Hotter is Britain’s largest shoe manufacturer, making a pair of shoes every 20 seconds in their UK factory. With an emphasis on comfort combined with fashionable styles, Hotter is successfully gaining popularity beyond the UK. Every single pair of shoes is millimeter perfect and are hand polished before being meticulously wrapped in tissue and then placed in its box - left shoe first, side down, followed by right shoe, side up so when you open the shoe box the first thing you see is the color and detail of your shoe! They add their 100% Happy Guarantee which makes exchanges and returns hassle free.

This is the Pixie Boot! They feature a slouchy soft upper suede with lacing, scallop and tassel details. I love how lightweight they are and, oh my goodness, they are super comfy thanks to millions of tiny air bubbles in the soles. The sole is thick and very sturdy, but it's not going to weigh you down. They come in 5 colors: Black Suede, Aubergine Suede, Pecan Suede, Sangria Suede and Deep Teal Suede.

Upon receiving my Pixie Boots I immediately fell in love with the details, deep teal color, and the fact that it's a flat boot so I'm more likely to wear them often. There is no closure at all on these boots, and yet they surprisingly stay on perfectly well and don't slip one bit - even when wearing thin socks and I have a bunch of room on all sides! There is lovely faux fur on the inside, just around your ankle that keeps the cold air out.

I LOVE that they are actually made in England, and not mass produced in China like so many shoes are these days. I left a piece of my heart in London in college and my grandmother is English, so naturally I'm thrilled to experience a British brand of shoes here in the USA.


Paired with your favorite skinny jeans or leggings, you are right on trend with these fun slouchy boots from Hotter. These boots are seriously very comfortable, thanks to the secret Comfort Concept® features that every pair of Hotter shoes has:

- Blissful underfoot cushioning
- Flexible, lightweight soles
- Super soft leathers and nubucks
- Lightweight
- Fittings to suit you
- Women’s sizes 5,6,6.5,7,7.5,8,8.5,9,9.5,10,11

Connect with Hotter
Facebook – Hotter Comfort Concept Shoes
Twitter - @hottershoes
Google + - Hotter Comfort Concept Shoes
Instagram – hottershoes
Pinterest – officialhotter

Win It!
One winner will receive a pair of Pixie Boots, a $135 RV!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stretch Your Family's Holiday Budget with Coinstar

How's your holiday budget looking so far? This year, don't bust your budget like most Americans. Instead, find simple ways to stretch your gift-giving budget by turning your extra change into cash.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Coinstar. All opinions are 100% my own.

Coinstar may be a great solution for stretching your holiday budget this year. When you turn in your spare change at a Coinstar kiosk this holiday season, you're not only clearing out your change jar (or whatever you found in the couch, your junk drawer, or at the bottom of your purse), but you've found a simple way to make your holiday budget go further. And it's simple!

Very telling results of Coinstar's holiday survey from this year revealed some interesting statistics. Not only do most Americans go over budget on holiday gifts, but we're also majorly underestimating the value of their spare change. In fact, it appears that Americans estimate they have less than $21 in coins, but Coinstar kiosk data showed that the average pour for the no fee eCertificate option was $58. What would you do with extra cash in your holiday budget?


Transform Your Change

Coinstar offers several options when cashing in your spare change.

Coin-To-Cash Voucher - After pouring in you coins and selecting "Get Cash" on the screen, just take your receipt to checkout stand to trade it in for cash. We're talking change transformed into bills right before your eyes!

No-Fee eCertificates - Keep your entire coin stash value when you choose this no-fee option. Turn your change into a printed eCertificate to a popular retailer of your choosing such as Amazon, Gap, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Lowes, Toys"R"Us and more.

Coins that Count - Coinstar has partnered with more than 14 nonprofit organizations that you may choose to donate your loose change to. What a convenient way to give back and make a difference! 

Prepaid Cards - For Green Dot Visa or Mastercard users, you can easily load funds onto your prepaid card with this option.

Although these are all great options (something for everyone!), the coin-to-cash option and no-fee eCertificates will be the best way for the average consumer to stretch their holiday budget in the easiest, most tangible way. But first, go raid the bottom of your purse, your car's cup holders, and your couch for loose change!


Our recent visit to a local Coinstar kiosk resulted in two eCertificates - one to Toys"R"Us and one to Amazon. Buddy poured in his spare change he's been collecting this year and enjoyed his much-deserved $15 shopping spree at Toys"R"Us. I've been doing a lot of early Christmas shopping and have a bunch of items on Amazon I need to still order, so I happily chose to redeem our extra $20 in spare change on an Amazon eCertificate. I just went home and entered the code on the receipt and the amount was added to my Amazon balance. Easy peasy.

I definitely thought we had more change laying around, but it appears that I'm more organized this year than I though I was. Actually, I think it's my hubby confiscating all our quarters to feed the meter on the days he drives in to work.
Budgeting for holiday gifts doesn't have to be a challenge and you don't necessarily need to cut back. By shopping early and shopping smart, you can do pretty good and stick to your budget. Incidentals will inevitably come up though, so your local Coinstar kiosk will be waiting when you decide you need to stretch your family's holiday budget just a bit more.

Learn more at Coinstar.com/holiday and connect on Facebook and Twitter.
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The LG OLED TV at Best Buy :: A Great Family Gift! #HintingSeason #OLEDatBestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Are you looking for the perfect family gift this Christmas? Look no further than the new LG OLED TV at Best Buy.  

The stunning design of LG OLED TV is only 0.21" thick at its thinnest point. The picture quality is equally spectacular, with Infinite Contrast that ranges from the most blazing whites to the deepest blacks. And, LG's exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors.


Discover LG OLED TV – The Ultimate Display

The LG OLED TV also features the intuitive webOS™Smart TV interface that lets you find content faster. With the natural, lifelike viewing, there's no better technology out than this. It's home theater technology is the ultimate must-have for major home entertaining and family movie nights alike!


Your first kiss. A baby's first steps. The majesty of a desert sunset. Some things in life defy all explanation and must be experienced to be believed. Such is the case with LG's latest display technology. With deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, it is unlike any technology you've ever seen, and it delivers a picture that exceeds your wildest imagination.

Right now you can get the LG OLED TV at Best Buy's everyday price of $3499.99 (save $500). Learn more at LGOLEDatBestbuy.com
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Have a Healthy Pregnancy + Delivery with Baby Blocks :: A New Mobile Incentive Program for Moms-To-Be #uhcbabyblocks

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by UnitedHealthcare and Baby Blocks.

With National Prematurity Awareness Month upon us, it's a great time to raise awareness of and increase safe and healthy pregnancies and deliveries.

Did you know that full-term is considered 39 weeks by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)?


Last year more than 11 percent of the babies born nationwide were considered premature. Full-term deliveries are important for the health of babies and mothers, especially considering that births before 37 weeks of pregnancy account for 35 percent of all infant deaths, according to the CDC.
The risks and potential complications associated with elective deliveries before 39 weeks, such as respiratory problems and developmental delays, are all too real. Although my mom naturally went into labor at 37.5 weeks with me, I ended up with a 2-week NICU stay for underdeveloped lungs. It happens!
Babies come when they are ready. I realize that there are circumstances that require preterm induction and delivery, but I also know many moms personally that chose and begged their doctor to induce them or schedule an unnecessary c-section up to several weeks before their due date. Honestly, many of these were first-time moms, perhaps not fully educated and aware of the implications of their choice. Considering that 42 weeks is considered full term, it's important to consider that you could potentially be depriving your baby from weeks of development that they need.
In light of the seriousness of prematurity, I'd like to share about Baby Blocks. This new mobile interactive incentive program from UnitedHealthcare is now available to help encourage moms to complete prenatal, postpartum, and healthy-baby appointments. This program is now available to Medicaid beneficiaries in 14 states and people enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans. By keeping these appointments, moms-to-be have more opportunities to be encouraged by health professionals to have a healthy and full-term pregnancy for the future health of their child.
Within a few short months I'm sure I'll be complaining about all the woes of late pregnancy, but the reality is that babies need to come when they are ready - not when mom is "done". I was soooo done those last few weeks, unable to walk without incredible pain from my son's transverse position. But I knew Buddy needed to cook a bit longer, finally arriving just a day shy of 40 weeks. To all the expectant parents out there, please take the opportunity to learn just how important the last few remaining weeks are for their baby’s development and health.
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

WOW Baking Company :: Delectable Gluten-Free Cookies + Cake Mixes

 I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Let me start out my review by letting you know I've had these cookies for a while now, staring at me in the face. You see, I received this wonderful package of goodies from WOW Baking Company right when I found out I was pregnant - uhhhh, which is exactly when I started getting super sick with morning sickness. Until recently, just looking at these packages caused great food aversions for me, sadly....even though I already knew they would all be delicious since I sampled a flavor prior to being pregnant. Ah hormones, aren't they great?

So, on to finally sampling! First off, let me say that I'm a soft cookie person in general, so these are right up my alley. These two-bite morsels from WOW Baking Co are just what I've been looking for in a pre-packaged gluten-free cookie. Typically all I find in the gluten-free arena are hard cookies with less than desirable flavor and texture.

WOW Baking cookies are made with natural ingredients, are Certified Gluten-Free, and also GMO-Free. I gotta say that their short ingredients list - ones that you can actually pronounce and have in your own kitchen - is why I gravitated to this brand in the first place. No junk.

As I mentioned, WOW Baking cookies are soft, but also moist, a little chewy and definitely delicious. They have a desirable homestyle taste that is completely satisfactory for this preggo's sweet tooth. I'm sooooo glad I can actually enjoy cookies again! Snickerdoodles are a classic favorite from my childhood, and few have ever come close to my mom's recipe. I'm quite impressed with these, and glad I won't be needing to experiment with her recipe to make my own gluten-free version. I'll just buy these.

WOW Baking Co didn't just stop at a couple cookie varieties. Just look at all these delectable gluten-free flavors that I can actually eat. Holy moly! Their bagged cookies retail for just $4.99.

Throughout my gluten-free journey I've had a difficult time finding a cake mix that is even acceptable. Most have a funky texture, strange flavor or a few ingredients I regret even sacrificing my money for. That's why I was pleasantly surprised by WOW Baking Co's cake mixes. I only wish the chocolate cake mix had a little more of a rich flavor, but that's my only feedback! I'll be buying up a couple more of these to make Buddy's birthday cupcakes next month. They're worth trying, that's for sure.

WOW cake mixes are available in chocolate, yellow, or spice and of course boast natural, normal ingredients just like their cookies. Retailing at just $3.99, each mix will make one 9-inch round or twelve cupcakes - definitely a decent deal for gluten-free, and I like not having a couple dozen cupcakes to sit around and tempt me like other mixes!

Looking for WOW Baking cookies and mixes near you? Check out their store locator!
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

VTech InnoTab MAX :: The Latest Tablet for Kids {“Round Em Up” Giveaway Hop Event - Ends 11/22}


Round Em Up 300x360

Welcome to the “Round Em Up” Giveaway Hop Event!

{Hosted by LeahSay's Views and Planet Weidknecht}


~~This event will run November 12th - 22nd. Please take the time to visit each of the blogs listed in the linky below my giveaway. Each blogger will be hosting a review/giveaway valued at a minimum of $25. Good luck and have fun!~~

Since the season of gift-giving is just weeks away, I'm thrilled to be featuring (and giving away!) a very hot, new electronic device from VTech for this event!
The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

The VTech InnoTab MAX is VTech’s 4th generation kids’ learning tablet. Featuring it's fastest processor yet with up to six times the processing power of previous generations, the InnoTab MAX also has a 7” high-resolution multi-touch screen display, a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery, and kid-safe Wi-Fi so kids can explore a small selection of appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been preselected by VTech. Of course with parental controls though, parents can manage their child’s apps, web access and tablet time, as well as view a progress log if desired.


The InnoTab MAX comes already loaded with 15 on-board apps including Premium VTech® Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max camera, E-Reader with Story Dictionary and more. Right off the bat the tablet requires you to register with VTech and connect to your wifi to start really using. From there you can select a one Toca Boca bonus game app. And then you'll be directed to VTech’s Learning Lodge® app store to download two additional free apps. In all there are over 650 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps.

Premium VTech Kid Connect™ is pretty cool and allows children and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers in real time between the InnoTab MAX tablet and your own smartphone (you must download the app on your smartphone to do this). We haven't completely explored this feature, but I'm sure Buddy will love it once I take the time to download the app on my phone.

The VTech InnoTab MAX is capable of a lot without additional apps. But, to get full use out of it you will probably want to plan on spending some money in the Learning Lodge. There is only one sample e-book, no music or videos, and no actual cartridges included with the purchase of the InnoTab MAX. Older children will likely be bored of the included apps pretty quickly.

Most of this tablet's features are pretty neat and top of the line. However, there are a few pieces of feedback I have to keep in mind. For instance, your kiddos will have lots of fun using the Wonder Cam Max camera, but personally I think the camera quality is not that great and it's a bit dark. Also, I love that the stylus is connected, but it doesn't always scroll well so using your fingers is the best way to go. As far as educational value, there are many apps that provide stimulating content for your child's age. However, it's still screen time in my home (as I mentioned in my VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch review), so we are careful with Buddy's usage. Overall it's a great device though, and any kid would be thrilled to receive it for Christmas this year. 

Buy It: VTech® InnoTab MAX (Ages 3-9 years, MSRP: $109.99). Connect with VTech on Facebook and Twitter.

Win It!
One winner will receive a VTech InnoTab MAX! (US only)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pregnancy Update + Gender Reveal

Okay, okay. I know I haven't posted anything regarding my pregnancy since I announced it at 16 weeks, annnnnnnd that was 5 weeks ago. I'm 21 weeks already! Where does the time go? Without making too many excuses, let's just say I have good days and horrible days as far as how I feel and it's really been overwhelming getting back into blogging. Life. Is. Crazy. More on this pregnancy after the big gender reveal....through photos!




Yep, folks!! We're having a girl!! We're absolutely elated about it too. So, on to some pregnancy updates!

How Far Along: 21 Weeks
 
Due Date: March 23, 2015

Weight gain: Do I HAVE to say!? Fine. 9 pounds.
 
Boy or girl: GIRL!!!! :)

Symptoms: I often get faint, dizzy, or generally weak, but I think I'm finally starting to dig out of all that. NOW I'm starting to get sciatica and horrible pelvic pain at night that's rearing it's ugly head during the day now too. Time to see a chiropractor for the first time ever in my life! Crap, now I sound like a miserable, complaining pregnant woman who isn't at all grateful for such a miracle. NOT TRUE! Despite how difficult pregnancy is at times for me, I LOVE IT. I feel alive. I feel useful. I feel whole and no longer broken by infertility and loss. I feel a miracle unfolding. I FEEL a baby moving inside of me!! WHOA NELLY! It's seriously the most amazing, perfect feeling in the entire world that I'm grateful I get to experience again. It's all worth it times a billion.

Cravings: SWEETS. oh my heavens, it's bad. Also cottage cheese, milk, annnnd sweets.

Aversions: Several favorite foods and snacks I stocked up on right when I started getting sick....including Barnana dried bananas and Vigilant Eats cereal cups. Still makes me so sad!

What made me cry this week: My horrible pelvic pain. Gotta figure this one out.

Medical stuff/appointments: Next OB check-up is in 3 weeks.

Something I am excited about: Buying the crib and setting up the nursery! We emptied the office/schoolroom last weekend so now I practically have a blank slate to start with - although the walls are grey and aqua - off to a great start!

Baby purchases: Baby clothes, a few cloth diapers, and even a few bows. :)

Favorite part of this week: Big brother Buddy telling me about when his sister is three or four, he's going to say good morning to her when they both wake up. LOVE IT. He also won't stop kissing my belly, or telling me all these random things about what he's going to do when his "mini sister" is here. The most precious thing EVER! 


Alright, that's it on the pregnancy front for now. I'll update with a bump pic in a few weeks, okay?