Score Free stuff to review with Tryit!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 8.27.08 AM.pngBazaarvoice TryIt Sampling gives you the opportunity to try FREE products in exchange for your honest opinions!

As a member of TryIt you will provide authentic feedback for the products you receive. You’ll be invited to try products based on your preferences and program participation, so be sure to complete your full profile if selected to join!

Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 10.45.40 AM.pngSo far, I’ve received Cat food for Kitty Fiona, and I’ll be reviewing a blender soon (it is set to arrive via UPS today!). You receive emails once items are available, and you have to jump into action quickly and apply as soon as you receive the email and supplies are limited for each review campaign.

I only apply to review items that we need, and man, do we need a new blender!

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Detective Pikachu Review

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Henry enjoying the movie stand-up in the lobby

My Big Guy LOVES Pokémon. The cartoons, the card game, and when he found out there was going to be a live-action movie he begged me (and his dad) to take him. Thanks to my awesome PR friend Risa, we were able to check out a sneak preview on Monday.

 

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Pika Pika!!

So my review comes from the angle of a mom with an autistic kid who doesn’t do well with lots of fast movement, loud sounds (like explosions) in movies.

IT WAS PERFECT! Visually, the insertion of the Pokémon was seamless, it wasn’t ever too loud, too fast, and the special effects were just enough. Kiddo watched in fascination for the entire movie! The movie run time is 1 hour, 44 minutes. A great length for a kids movie (although it is rated PG- Pikachu says “hell” at one point).

For those not in the know… The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Detective Pikachu, they join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds voices Pikachu. So there is that too. There is really something for everyone.

Did you know that the creator of Pokémon, Satoshi Taiji is autistic? It’s true! The Art of Autism has a really great article about him and Pokémon.

We didn’t take the Itty Bitty kiddo, but she’s not really into going to the movies (except for the snacks). If your littler kiddos like going to the movies, I’d recommend it for them too.

Detective Pikachu opens on Friday, May 10th.

 

Talk Back: Do your kids love Pokémon? Who is their favorite? 

 

 

#DetectivePikachu

Kiddolab Toys and Win a Trip to DisneyWorld!

Recently the cool people over at Kiddo Labs asked me to review a product from their website. Uh, yeah! I love reviewing toys!

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KiddoLab is a new brand which supports the initiative to provide babies with a solid foundation for the development of early skills during play. I love that all of the toys are made in vibrant colors with interesting textures and lights and/or sounds.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 5.44.31 PM.pngI chose the 2-in-1 Activity Center, which features:

  • AN OCEAN OF FUN CHARACTERS: This interactive activity center is decorated with adorable sea creatures including a fish, turtle, clam, crab, and starfish.
  • A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES: More than just a toy piano, all of the fun ocean creatures double as activities of their own; a click-clack fish, a rattle spinner, a sliding star, a push-down squeaker and a baby-safe mirror.
  • LIGHT-UP PIANO KEYS: Three big, brightly colored light-up piano keys are easy to press for little fingers. Intended for ages nine months plus.
  • TWO MUSICAL MODES: Loaded with cheerful music to entertain babies and toddlers, you can choose between free play and tunes to play along with.
  • ATTACHES TO YOUR CRIB: This activity table boasts detachable legs and can then be easily attached to your infant’s crib.

I set it up, added batteries and let Margaret go to town. She played with it for about 20 minutes. She had a great time.  What I like it that it’s easy to set up and change to attach to a crib. The sounds aren’t high-pitched or tinny, so listening to the sounds wasn’t like most baby/kid toys (parents- you know what I’m talking about!). I love that it’s a toy that can grow with your child. The crib straps and the legs are both easy to install and remove.

Right now, Kiddo Labs is offering my readers a a 25% discount with coupon code: TTPM25  To get started, visit Kiddolab here.

Oh, and it gets better. Not only does Kiddo Labs have great, fun toys for your littles, right now they are giving away a vacation to Disney World. Visit their website to learn more.

 

Thanks so much to Kiddo Labs for the fun toy! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review. Please see my Disclosure Page for more information about reviews.

Review: Truth Bars

When I was at the Moms Meet Wow Summit last month I was introduced to Truth Bars. I also posted about Truth Bars on Instagram the other day.

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 3.40.26 PM.pngThe Truth Bar is a great on-the-go snack for hectic mornings, to include in your child’s lunchbox, or for whenever you need a midday pick-me-up.
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Afternoon iced coffee and Truth Bar.

I’ve been enjoying them with my coffee in the morning before we head off to the school and gym. The kids love to share a Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bar with their morning milk.

Truth Bar is a nutrition bar that gives you your daily dose of prebiotics and probiotics to balance your micro-biome, boost your immune power, give you sustained energy, and promote gut health. Truth Bar focuses on building strong gut health because there are so many great outcomes as a result, such as: shedding toxins that clog your metabolism, treating inflammatory disorders, and improving your digestive system. The Truth bar is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth while remaining nutrient-dense and completely free of “junk” that does not serve the body well.

There are five available flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter CrunchMint Chocolate ChipChocolate Almond CrunchChocolate Raspberry Coconut, and Dark Chocolate Coconut. Truth Bar has vegan options and all of their bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and under 200 calories — so there are choices to fit virtually every lifestyle.

It can be hard to achieve balanced nutrition in the midst of a busy life, which is why Truth Bar aims to be the quickest, most convenient way to get you what your body needs.

I love that the vegan bars are as satisfying and rich as the others.

By using purposeful ingredients such as chia seeds, coconut oil, and chicory root, you can rest assured you’re making a nutritious choice that the whole family will enjoy. With five varieties, there is bound to be a flavor everyone in your family will enjoy.

If you are looking for a way to save money on Truth Bars, order them via Amazon Subscribe and Save. You can save 5% or 15%, depending on how many you order. If you want to buy them in stores, CVS, Gelson’s, and Lazy Acres, all sell them. Check out the Truth Bar website to find the store nearest you.

Review: Daffadoot Car Seat Protector

Recently I was selected to review the Daffadoot Car Seat Protector. If you’ve got kids, you know that they drop stuff in the car all time and that can lead to.. ewww under and around their carseats.

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Fiona had to help with the photo shoot.

Got grime? Daffadoot has the solution: They know the importance of having children in carseats and boosters, but without some kind of protection under their seat or booster, all those dropped cookies and Cheerios can make a serious mess. Plus, car seats and boosters have a nasty habit of digging and denting your fine upholstery and leaving a permanent mark on your backseat. What you need is some high end protection.

DaffaDoot’s latest release, the Deluxe Auto Seat Protector is exactly what you need. Other mats or pads can’t compete with our 14mm padding and heavy duty durability. It’s neoprene non-slip backing grips like no other, and our Universal Fit with an extended “lock-down” bulb ensures that no matter what you drive, it’s perfect for you and your kids.

It’s Full-Size, Premium Construction, with No Compromises. They’ve’ve used only the strongest material and threads, and reinforced in ALL the right places. Many protectors provide only a sliver of extra fabric and claim to protect your seat, but we refuse to compromise on quality. It’s evident from the first moment you take our protector out of its box. You will enjoy the premium feel, the superior stitching, and the quality fabric.

And it gets better: it’s anti-slip and color-fast? They even baked it in an oven to make sure it could take the heat. And it has spacious elastic storage pockets where you can keep things like diapers, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, toys, wipes…and yes, a bag of extra Cheerios. Bottom line, it’s perfect for you and perfect for your little one.

This Car Seat Protector makes a great gift for the parent in your life. It fits great in Miss Sally, and so far, so good! It’s keeping the back seat nice and clean, and really, I can’t ask for much more.

I received this item in order to facilitate a review, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated financially.

 

Just be… YOU!

d5b635c2a38c538b18cddbbf797e93c0.jpgThere is a lot of talk lately in the media about being your “Authentic Self”. And while some of you might think that is new fangled hippie nonsense talk, in truth, it’s all about being you. Being who you REALLY are.

For so long as a kid and teen, we are taught to fit in, or be ostracized and teased (oh hi there, that was me), and at some point in our lives, we realize that fitting in SUCKS. Doing what you want, finding a group of people who think like you, are interested in what you like- That’s a true way to find happiness.

In that vein, I was recently approached to get my hair done by Mai at  Plaza Hair Salon. I’m a pretty hardcore frugal DIY’er and that goes for beauty as well. But the chance to get my hair done by someone else, and try something that was beyond my skill level was so tempting.

For YEARS (more like decades), I’ve had shoulder length red hair in one shade or another. Which I like, but deep down, I’ve wanted to have purple hair. I had purple hair in high school for about eight weeks, until the choir director flipped his lid (whatever- The school colors were purple and yellow- I was just showing my school spirit), and then I stripped it and dyed it red again.  Sadly, few photos of my purple hair exist. I was very camera shy in High School. Ya know, since I wasn’t a “cool kid”. I was a goth choir dork.

I figure I’m at a point in my life, where if I want purple hair, I’m going to do it, dammit.  I don’t have a “real job” (aka an office or 9-5 job), and if purple hair is who I feel I am, then let’s do it.

Mai at Plaza Hair Salon selected three sweet colors- a dark purple (to cover my natural hair color aka my grey roots), a vibrant purple, and magenta. She and her awesome assistant started their magic, and about 5 hours later… I was done! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my photos during the process.

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The before- sitting pensively thinking Deep Thoughts.

If you’ve never had your hair colored brightly before, it’s a process. Thankfully, I had fortified myself with caffeine, and I brought my phone charger with me! The time passes quickly too.

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 2.37.43 PM.pngAny dye is stripped from your hair (that takes about an hour), then your hair is washed and dyed. After the red hair color was stripped from my hair, I looked a little Like Jem. My hair was shades of light yellow and pink.

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Unflattering Selfies FTW!

After my hair was dried, Mai and her assistant set to making me my Authentic and purple self. They applied the purple and magenta dyes and I chilled while the dye processed.  After it was rinsed out and my hair was washed and conditioned, Mai and her assistant blow dried and styled my hair. I have never been happier with my hair.

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So soft, so purple-y!
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Holy Crap- It’s amazing!

Now that it’s a color I’ve wanted for so long, I find myself doing all kinds of fun stuff with it. Like this, and this.

Taking care of purple hair isn’t much different than taking care of any other color treated hair. I wash my hair only 3 times a week- Really, you don’t need to wash your hair much more than that. I use a sulfate free shampoo for chemically treated hair, and a moisturizing mask 2 times a week to keep my hair soft and tangle free.  I also use this Pureology spray as a de-tangler/leave in conditioner daily. I’ve got really fine hair that tangles really easily.

I get a lot of compliments on my hair, mostly from older women who tell me that they wish they had the guts to do it. I’ve been telling everyone who says that to me that it’s never too late to give yourself crazy hair, even if it’s clip in highlights like these (I also have some too. We usually use them for halloween). Kids love my hair too. I had a gaggle of third graders at my sons school tell me I looked like Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony!

I do plan on keeping up with the maintenance on the color. It’s permanent dye and the vibrancy hasn’t faded too much. I may not be purple haired for as long as I was a red head…But then again, you never know!

Whether you decide to color your hair, get a tattoo, buy a new outfit that isn’t what you usually wear (I’m totally buying this dress next week), it’s ok to do what makes you happy, and what makes you feel like your authentic/real self.  Life is what you make of it, there is no sense in spending it unhappy.

I received a free hair color/cut in exchange for this review, but all opinions and ideas expressed are my own. There may be some affiliate links sprinkled in the post- if you click on them and purchase items, I may receive a commission. You can learn more from our Disclosure page here.

Review- The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.13.47 PM.pngWe are big into outdoor cooking: Grilling, Dutch oven cooking, heck, even sometimes cooking over fire (ok, so that’s usually just s’mores, but that’s cooking, right?). When Laura Bashar, the author of The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go offered me copy of her book for review, I jumped at the chance!

If you’ve never cooked in a Dutch Oven or over coals, Laura gives you the primer! She goes over all the deets: How many coals you need to achieve specific cooking temps, various cooking techniques (over flame, over coals), and how to translate the recipes to be cooked indoors (just in case you want to try these awesome recipes and aren’t planning on camping any time soon).

The recipes are easy to follow and follow you through the day: Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, desserts, and even side dishes. And it’s not just the typical camping food, there are recipes for the kinds of food you eat at at home! Just because you aren’t at home, doesn’t mean you have to live off of hot dogs, Dinty Moore canned stew, and cold cereal.

My family poured over this cookbook during our last camping trip and we have planed an outdoor cooking afternoon to try out a lot of these recipes in the coming weeks. Check my Insta Feed in the coming weeks for pics of some of the dishes we create.