Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Best Black Friday Shopping Deals

It's one of my favorite times of year, I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays in the air! Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season with time spent with family and friends, and the ability t reflect on all that we are thankful for in our lives. Another one of the fun things about Thanksgiving weekend is all of the great shopping deals that are usually out for Black Friday through Cyber Monday! 2017 is no exception, there are already some AWESOME deals on some of my favorite sites! Here are some that I'm planning on ordering from - or have placed an order already!

Best Black Friday Accessory Deals

Ok, let's level. I've already purchased from some of these deals - they're so good! At through the weekend, you can get 30% off of $250 or more with the code 'THANKS'. There are some exclusions, but it's such a great deal!! I purchased two pairs of the Minnie flats that I had been planning on getting for work anyways, and got 30% off - win, win!

Another site I had been looking at to purchase things at soon, is having an awesome deal as well! Pandora Jewelry is having a "Buy Two, Get One Free" sale, which includes most items. (Except for the Disney items sadly! I definitely could have used it on those!) I've been looking at a few rose gold pieces that I thought would be lovely to wear for the holidays and now I can save a bundle on them!

Best Black Friday Clothing Deals

This is another great one for work, because I had recently picked up a few pairs of dress pants from the GAP - and really loved them! I had intended on purchasing a few more pairs, and this morning a 50% off deal started on their website! No exclusions, and use code 'BLKFRIDAY'

Best Black Friday Deals for Moms

One of my favorite sites, particularly for Cyber Monday, is Amazon! They have Lightening Deals that I keep an eye on throughout the weekend. I love the feature that tells you how much time before you can buy as an Amazon Prime member and that I can find everything from socks to suitcases on one site. I also love that this year they have a new feature that as an influencer I can share a list of all of my favorite items to purchase from Amazon. Check out my Amazon Shopping list HERE (affiliate link) and see what we are loving right now!

Disney of course is always on my shopping list, and the new site is great because it seems to have a wider variety of items than the Disney Store site had in previous years. I love the Disney Parks merchandise and that I can order my favorite Disney Parks shampoo and conditioner right from the site. This year, they have items on sale - but I will be watching the site throughout the weekend in case any short term codes pop up!

American Girl is offering free shipping off of $100 with code 'NOVSHIP' and they usually have a Cyber Monday sale that you should log in around 6am Central time to see what deals are available!

Sephora usually always has some awesome deals in store, and I always check their site early on Cyber Monday, to see what deals may be online.

I'll be sure to update the list if I come across other awesome deals that I decide to take part in! Happy shopping!

** This is not a sponsored post. Some links may be affiliate links as marked. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sequencing back to work... Stay at Home Mom to Working Mom

The beginning of a great new journey? I took a new job in October 2017 and plan to work full-time, continue with my YouTube channel and blog, travel commitments, as well as attempt to fulfill my "mom duties".

Sequencing back to full-time work

Sequencing Back into Full-Time Work

Sequencing... that's what they call this apparently. After 7 years of being a stay at home mom and being home with my two girls (currently ages 5 and 7, both off to "big school"), I decided to jump back into the full-time work force and "sequence" my way back into working. It makes sense, I suppose, where the name sequencing comes from... we have been on a different schedule and different wavelength for quite a bit of time, and now we need to realign our "sequence" with something more "mainstream".

It's a mixed bag of emotions. Nervousness about whether or not I quite remember what it's like working full-time. Anxiousness about a whole new set of issues to contend with, kiddo pickups, drop-offs, school times that they need to be there by, after school activities they need extra snacks to bring. A bit of sadness because those snuggly baby days are over... there's happiness too though. A happiness of doing something again that is my own, something of my own making.

It is a bit odd, after being in the stay at home mom community for seven years, some of my best friends are career stay at home moms or housewives - which I completely respect by the way, it's a bit job - you kind of get in this mind set that it is just "what you do" and you kind of completely forget that there are women out there working full-time that have been all along. At least I did anyways. And then it hits you, that they have a seven year head start on you jumping back into working - and that makes you break a sweat just a little.

Biggest Challenges of Sequencing 

Happily, I can say that the adjustment on my side has gone fairly well. Not without it's hiccups, but the type of job I took is fun (social media marketing, i.e. I pretty much do at work, what I am sitting here doing right now while writing this article - just for a different company!) and it keeps me busy. The days go fast and I think that really helps, when you're doing something you enjoy and you have full days that are dynamic.

It hasn't been without challenges though, the girls are ages 5 and 7 right now - Natalie is soon to turn 6. Bella has been off at "big school" for 3 years now and has adjusted fairly well to having two working parents. They both go to an after school care and either my husband or myself picks them up when we get off of work. Bella will bound up to us and is excited to see us. It's cute to see her maturity in the situation and she has been doing well.

Playing dress up
Adjusting with style!

Natalie, has had a lot of big adjustments this year. We moved across the country into a different culture. She started "big school" going 5 days a week, all day long for the first time for kindergarten this year. And she has been put in a lot of situations where she is meeting new people and making new friends, which luckily is her forte. It's not without it's challenges though, she's young. It's a long day, waking up to go to school at 7:00am and then being at after school care until 5:30pm or beyond. Some days she's cranky, other days she's excited to tell us about her day. As time goes on, I think it will get easier and easier though.

Changes Ahead

All in all, it has gone about as smoothly as I think it could and the transition going from being a stay at home mom to a working mom has been "fine". Only a few weeks into our transition, the few pieces of advice that I would give to anyone considering making the change would be to:

  - Research childcare options and costs that will work with your potential new schedule so that you can factor those into your future salary.

  - The week before you start working, run through the time schedule you will have to be on and "practice" dropping the kids off at school, driving to work, and making sure the timing you anticipate actually works with the commutes.

  - The first week, just focus on getting into the time routine and don't stress about household duties.

I also plan to do some things for myself, like hiring an in-home cleaning service at least once a month to keep the house going, and also allow ourselves to have takeout a bit more than we usually have. I think cutting yourself some slack during the transition helps to not feel stressed out. Since I'm a member of the 2017-2018 Chick-fil-A Moms Panel and it's one of our favorite places to eat, with a kid's play place too as an added bonus for the kids - it will definitely be a favorite that we stop by at least a few times a month!

Chick-fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup with Hot Sauce! Yum!

All in all, it's gone well and I'm interested to see what the future holds! I'm glad I took the leap and it's also working out okay so far for me to keep up with my YouTube Channel and also working during the day. I'll do some videos coming up in the future as to how I am juggling it all!

Check out my announcement on YouTube here:

** This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide to Unique Gifts for Family

I partnered with The Hopping Bloggers for this sponsored Holiday Gift Guide. 

It's time to plan for the holidays! And today's gift guide is all about the family! For everyone from newlyweds to empty nesters, there something here for everyone! Our family is made up  of myself, my husband of 12 years, and two girls, Isabella, age 7, and Natalie, age (almost) 6. The girls have recently really gotten into playing family boardgames and love when everyone gets together to play a game - so games will be a big hit on our Christmas list this year!

Gifts for everyone

Shop Disney Tee

Our family loves Star Wars (see: Halloween costumes) - so I thought this "The Force is Strong in my Famiy" tee from was great and something we would definitely consider getting for a trip shirt for our upcoming trips! I love the simplicity and there is also a Star Wars logo on the back shoulder. Get it on:

Christmas Jammies

Matching family pajamas are a fun and festive tradition that your whole family can get into! I thought the Santa print on this set was perfect for Christmas morning! Get it on:

American Tourister Suitcases

American Tourister is our family's favorite suitcase brand and we have a variety of styles that we use for our trips. Our favorite style that we use is the Ilite Max style, we have a few of the 25 size and I'm panning on getting the 21 size as a part of Christmas gifting this year! I think that suitcases make a great practical family gift, especially if you know you have some fun trips coming up! They are also a great way to do a trip reveal - or to fill up with goodies for the trip too! Get it on:

Family Game Night

RoosterFin Games - Wizard Roll

We received the Wizard Roll game from RoosterFin games to test out and it was perfect timing, because the girls - especially Bella - have been super into magical games and wizards lately. After playing Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom interactive game at Magic Kingdom, I started looking for some interesting game alternatives we could play at home.  Wizard Roll was at a great level for it to be understandable and fun for the girls to play! Get it on: 

Disney Monopoly

It's no secret that we love Disney at our house! And now that the girls are getting a little bit older, I believe Monopoly will be in our future. (I always loved buying properties up as a child!) This Disney version is great for Disney dans, and I love that it has characters they will recognize on the board! Get it on:

Personalogy Family Game

We enjoyed testing out the Personalogy game earlier this year! It was a blast asking each other questions and learning more about each other. It also worked great for a travel game to pass the time while traveling!

Personalogy is a discovery card game that gets the whole family talking, laughing and having fun! Kids love to play, it creates hilarious and memorable moments for family dinners, parties or road trips! Personalogy brings families together through more meaningful and amusing conversation. Personalogy promotes families to share stories. The interactive component of describing “why” is what generates surprises and laugh out-loud moments. Get it on:

Gifts for Newlyweds

Family Decor Sign

This was a great decor find on Amazon. Amazon actually has some unique and really cute decor pieces that won't break the bank. I loved this "Family" sign as a great gift for an established family - or a newlywed couple that was just starting out and getting settled into their new home! Get it on:

Forever Yours Gift Box

Shopping for a newlywed or need the ideal winter wedding gift? This holiday special includes a FREE GIFT with purchase. YourCreative Memories Photo Album Gift Box makes the perfect personal gift to save memories beautifully, with a bit of fun! Each gift box includes a 12x12 scrapbook album with predesigned pages, so it’s quick and easy to add engagement and wedding photos, invites and more. It also includes a pen, adhesive, page protectors and 50 die-cut embellishments (a free bonus!) for added dazzle! All of it comes in an impressive gift box, guaranteed to make an impression and become a cherished keepsake. Get it on:

EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale

This item is a great idea of newlyweds and families alike! The EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen scale is light weight and accurate, so that you can weigh items in your kitchen without taking up a lot of space. 

The EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale is a versatile multi-function home appliance. Designed to be highly accurate and aesthetically pleasing, the Precision Digital is manufactured to the highest quality specifications. Weigh items up to 11 lbs quickly and accurately, with results displayed in four different measurement modes: grams / ounces / pounds / kilograms. The recessed platform allows you to effortlessly weigh items on the scale itself and the plastic design is easy to clean. This is a great gift idea for anyone who spends time in the kitchen - great chef or not. A must have for any family! Get it on:

There's truly something for everyone in this Family Gift Guide, full of unique gift ideas for those in your family! We are loving family game night this year! I hope your holidays are merry and bright!

** This is a sponsored gift guide in collaboration with The Hopping Bloggers. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Holiday Gift Giving Guide for Kids

I partnered with The Hopping Bloggers for this sponsored Holiday Gift Guide.

It's holiday season once again and time to start thinking of fun gift giving items for family and friends! I love coming up with gifts for kids that are fun, unique, and some that even have a learning twist on them! This year, there are tons of great options to chose from and I've divided the gift giving ideas into three categories - learning items, kid's tech items, and just for fun items!

This Christmas, Isabella will be 7 years old and Natalie will be 6 years old, and I anticipate that it will be one of the closest years in interests that we've had yet! When they were younger, it was easier to divide gifts based on age category - Natalie got more baby type items, while Isabella received more toddler appropriate gifts, and so on. Now, with them both being squarely in the "young kid" category, they have a number of interests that overlap between the two of them. Both girls are into Disney Princesses, dolls, collecting small items, and show an enthusiasm for science!

Give the Gift of Learning

Teach My Kindergartener

We received the Teach My Kindergartener pack to try out at home and I really loved the different variety of activities to work with Natalie on. They were neatly packaged in reusable cases and the outer case it arrived in is also very portable. All of the concepts included we right on Natalie's level and worked great for learning practice at home.

What better way to end the year, than some learning fun that will bring lots of cheer? Teach My are makers of award winning learning tools that help your child get a head start! Their products teach babies, toddlers and preschoolers the basic skills, things like; the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, reading and even math! Their aim is to encourage early learning, parent child interaction, self-esteem and help children to develop fine motor skills and excellent hand eye coordination. Bond. Teach. Play... 20 minutes a day! Start shopping now:

Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only Kit

This jumped out at me on Amazon, since Bella has been very into wizard games and magic, as well as being into science. She loves doing different STEM activities at home and this kit seemed to have a neat twist on a traditional kit. It includes everything you need for your experiments, test tubes, tube wand, measuring scoops, star stickers, and activity book. Get it on:

4M Crystal Growing Experiment

Another fun item that is going on Bella's Christmas wishlist, the 4M Crystal Growing Experience kit looks super cool and right up her STEM loving alley! She also loves rocks and geology, so I think this one will be doubly cool for her! You can grow your own crystal growth experiments and they come in a variety of colors! Get it on:

Give Kid's Tech Gifts

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2

So this one is ON Bella's Christmas wishlist this year! We have seen this at Costco and also on After she met a girl at Walt Disney World in October that had one of these watches and they hit it off. (Bonded over the watch, if you will!) She put this on her Christmas wishlist. It has two cameras to take pictures and selfies, a number of watch interfaces to help with telling time, and built in games. This seems like a great option for younger kids that are wanting portable tech, but aren't old enough for having their own phone. Get it on:


Only the coolest robot ever invented. Say Hello to cozmo, a gifted little guy who's got a mind of his own and a few tricks up his sleeve. He's the sweet spot where supercomputer meets loyal sidekick. He's curiously smart, a little mischievous, and unlike anything ever created. You see, cozmo is a real-life robot like you've only seen in movies, with a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more you hang out. He'll nudge you to play and keep you constantly surprised. More than a companion, cozmo's a collaborator. He's your accomplice in a crazy amount of fun. Some robots just have it all. Get it on:

Amazon Fire Kid's Edition

This was a purchase that we made this year for both girls, Isabella picked a blue Fire and Natalie picked a pink Fire. We got them mid-year to use for traveling and on the road trip down to our new house. They worked great for the trip and the girls enjoy using them. We like the parental controls and being able to set certain time limits for certain types of activities, while allowing others! The kid's version comes in a few different colors and has a durable bumper case to keep up with active little ones! Get it on:

Power Wheels Cars 3 Lightening McQueen

Ka-chow! With this Power Wheels race car featuring Lightning McQueen, kids can bring the high-octane fun and excitement of the Disney/Pixar hit film Cars 3 to life! This sweet ride can drive over pavement or grass and features cool race car sounds and real phrases from the film! Your little driver will love creating all new adventures behind the wheel of this rad ride-on. Get it on:

Give a gift - just for fun!

Blankie Tail

Isabella got one of these mermaid blankie tails at the beginning of the school year and she has gotten SO much use out of it! It is adorable and keeps her warm, she loves pretending she's a mermaid with her tail on! These make great gifts for girls who love mermaids or have mermaid themed rooms! Mermaids have more fun! Get it on:

Tsum Tsum Disney Advent Calendar

Enjoy counting down the 24 days until Christmas with the Disney Tsum Tsum Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar. Open a new window each day to reveal a surprise Tsum Tsum figure or accessory and create a fun winter ski slopes themed scene. Collect, stack and display your favorite holiday themed Disney Tsum Tsum characters! Get it on:  

Hatchimals Surprise

Hatchimals Surprise are finally here and they have an unEGG-spected treat in store for you! For the first time ever, you can hatch TWO adorable Hatchimals! These loveable twins are hidden inside a magical speckled egg. Use your love and care to help them hatch! Hold and play with your egg and the Hatchimals inside will make delightful sounds that tell you how they feel! When its time to hatch, you’ll see rainbow eyes! Once your first Hatchimal has pushed its way out of the egg, lift your second Hatchimal out and let the fun begin! Each twin has a unique personality! One twin loves to move, while the other twin can repeat whatever you say! Raise them from baby to toddler to kid and they’ll learn new things at each stage! Your twins will talk, dance, sing, tell jokes, play games and more! These Hatchimals love to interact with each other! They’ll say “I love you” and, like any siblings, they’ll even bicker! Inside each Hatchimals Surprise you’ll find magical, adorable creatures! Who will you hatch? Get it on:

I hope you've enjoyed checking out my ideas for some unique holiday gift giving ideas for kids! Whether it's a learning oriented gift, tech gift, or just for fun - these items are all things that I know my girls would love!

** This was a sponsored gift guide. All opinions are my own.