Jul 012015
 

I want to start out by saying that this is a very personal post.  I have never shared this entire story publicly, but somehow it just seemed like the right time to get it all out there so to speak.  So here goes…

I always said that I never wanted kids.  Luckily for me, my then-husband agreed with me.  At the time we were happily married and life was good.  We had all the freedom in the world!

Then one day it hit me – I was 29 years old and I certainly wasn’t getting any younger.  Baby fever had finally stuck me and it struck hard.  I wanted to get pregnant as soon as possible.  So one day during my lunch hour at work, I sat down and made a list of pros and cons that I would present to my husband in an effort to convince him that I had a change of heart and was ready to have a baby.

The conversation went surprisingly well.  He was very supportive and we both agreed that we would start trying immediately.  Three weeks later I was pregnant. I had an amazing pregnancy – It was the best I had ever felt and on August 3, 2004, the baby boy that I had anxiously waited 9 months to meet was finally here.  Looking at his perfect face, I couldn’t even imagine that time in my life when I didn’t want kids. Continue reading »

Jul 012015
 

For anyone that knows me, it’s no secret that I am obsessed with shoes.  I have more pairs of shoes than I can count and my collection just keeps growing & growing. I lover that when I shop at Famous Footwear, I don’t have to drop a ton of money on new shoes.  They have a huge variety of all the latest styles for the entire family and more importantly, they are affordable.

**Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Famous Footwear, but my love of shoes is all my own.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Have you noticed how jeweled sandals have been trending this summer? I mean, everywhere you look, girls are wearing them and who am I to be left out – so of course I had to get over to Famous Footwear to get a pair for myself.

FF1

They had so many cute pairs to choose from and I was in the store a good while deciding what to buy – because, of course, I wanted them all. Continue reading »

Jun 282015
 

Small Disclosure

Summer sure did get here quickly! A summer BBQ is the perfect way to spend those glorious sunny days outdoors. Here are some awesome tips for throwing that perfect summer BBQ.

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Don’t Forget the Shade

Everyone loves some sun, right? Just make sure you provide your guests with a way out of the sun. Set up a nice tent or beach umbrella for people to get a break from the scorching sun.

Lots of Cold Drinks

Is there anything better on a hot sunny day than cold drinks? I think not. One of my favorite things to do for our guests is fill a cooler with ours and their favorite drinks. It keeps everyone cool, calm, and satisfied when they can grab something cold to drink while standing around chatting.

Add Water Fun

When it comes to BBQs around our house, we add some sort of water fun. There may be water balloons, a slip and slide, or even a little kiddy pool. You need to have the best entertainment for the kids, so they’ll let the adults have some fun too. Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

fridge

**While this is a sponsored post, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

Do you ever feel guilty when you open the fridge door and you realize that food has gone off before you’ve even had a chance to eat it? If you’re a busy mom or dad, it’s quite easy to overlook certain food items when you’re prepping family meals – before you know it, the product goes in the food waste bin. But there is a way to make food last longer and it’s all about the organisation of your fridge and freezers. Because storing food in the right way really, REALLY makes a difference to how long certain types of food stay edible. Here are some top tips:

The top part of the fridge is for ready to eat items

Did you know that the top part of the fridge is the warmest part?  Place everything that is ready or nearly ready to eat here: milk, cheese, yogurts and leftovers. If things are going out of date quicker than you expect it may be that you need a new fridge or freezer – check out this Tesco buying guide for ideas.

Utilize the bottom of your fridge for fresh food

The bottom part of the fridge is the coldest – always store items like fresh and cold meats here. Wrap different types of meat separately and ensure that there is no air in plastic bags before you seal items. Continue reading »

Jun 242015
 

**This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Amwell. All opinions are my own**

amwell logo

Doesn’t it always figure that you get sick when your doctor’s office is closed?  And seriously, who wants to sit in the waiting room at the ER for hours on end when you’re not feeling well?  Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s anything but fun.

Imagine if there was a service that would allow you to connect with a healthcare provider in your area for those non emergency health concerns – right from you home?

There is!

American Well is the modern day version of the old fashioned doctor’s house call. By using the new app, you can connect with physicians in your area and have a live video visit right from your mobile phone or computer.

My husband Chris had a chance to check out the app over the weekend and was pretty happy with it.  It was super easy to use and the best part was, he never had to leave the couch.

1. Set up an account.

Creating an account is easy, and literally only takes a minute. Once your account is created, your information is stored safely and securely for all future online visits. Continue reading »

Jun 052015
 

**This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Let your kids get muddy! At BattleFrog they have races for any age – It is a fun and challenging course for everyone in the family.

BF_Impossible

TadPole Dash: The TadPole dash is for 4-8 year olds. The course has 8+ obstacles, through 400 meters, and is guaranteed to deliver a new experience of self-discovery. Children will learn they can take on these new and exciting challenges, while becoming “Fit for the Future”, getting totally muddy and having the time of their lives. Continue reading »

May 262015
 

**This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

the briefcase

There is a new reality show from The Biggest Loser creator/executive producer Dave Broome premiering on CBS tomorrow night called THE BRIEFCASE. The show features hard-working American families experiencing financial setbacks who are presented with a briefcase containing a large sum of money – but there is a twist.  Each of the families will be facing a potentially life-altering decision: they can keep all of the money for themselves, or give all or part of it to another family in need.

Each week, two families have 72 hours to learn details about each other’s challenging circumstances and make the weighty decision of what to do with $101,000.  However, what they don’t know is that the family with whom they are considering sharing this financial windfall received an identical briefcase with the same instructions. Throughout their journeys, relationships within both families will be tested and beliefs questioned as they find out what really matters most in their lives, and how much importance they place on values such as love, generosity, compassion and faith. Continue reading »

May 132015
 

I received compensation from Recovery Unplugged for this sponsored post, any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

Drug addiction and Alcoholism.  Chances are that you have personally known someone that has been affected by one or the other.  I have a close family member who has struggled on and off with heroin addiction for years. That someone is my brother and I am happy to say that he have been clean for four years now, but there were a lot of ups and downs along the way.

The thing is, when someone close to you is an addict, it affects everyone around them – and one thing I learned, the hard way, is that if an addict doesn’t want help then rehab will not work. Sure, it might work for a while, but if they are not ready to tackle their addiction, there is a chance that they will slip back into their old habits.   I am speaking from experience here.  My brother was in and out of rehab facilities several times before he decided that he finally wanted to get clean and stay clean.  And that’s when rehab finally worked for him.

recovery-unplugged-logo

But when they are ready, the first step to recovery is going to a drug treatment center. Did you know that using music can be a catalyst to break down defenses to help facilitate, motivate and inspire the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety?  Recovery Unplugged can be an amazing experience for addicts who are afraid to go into rehab!  And for the families affected, how awesome would it be to see our loved ones replace the drugs or alcohol with music? Continue reading »

May 072015
 

**This post is sponsored by Safety 1st, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

safety1stpopupstoreeventbritefinal-1

Today I am very excited to tell you all about the ever first Safety 1st pop-up shop, right here in Boston! The event is coming next week, May 14-17 and will be held at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, next to the Make Way for Ducklings store!  You will be able to touch, feel and try out all of the latest and greatest baby products including the Step and Go Travel System, the easiest stroller you will ever open! Continue reading »

May 062015
 

This post is sponsored by Unilever, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Unilever

My shower is filled with bottles.  Body washes, shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and various lotions. As I write this, there are probably at least 15 bottles in each of my two bathrooms.  I am not over exaggerating, either.  My husband and I each use different body washes and different shampoos.  He doesn’t use conditioner, but I do and I have two bottles of it in one of my bathrooms. Oh, and then there are the kids shampoos and body washes.

You get the picture, we have a lot of bottles in the shower and don’t even get me started about all the stuff that’s in my bathroom cabinet.  I have more beauty supplies than the drug store probably even carries.

So, what’s the take away here?  That being clean and looking good are important to us in our family.

But did you ever stop and think about all the bottles of “stuff” you go through in a week? Me, neither.  And I am a little embarrassed to even admit this, we kind of stink at recycling in our house.  We do recycle, but I know there are things that slip through the cracks so to speak. Continue reading »

May 042015
 

**Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Famous Footwear, but my love of shoes is all my own.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Did you know that Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. That’s right, it’s this Sunday.  If the moms in your life are obsessed with new shoes (and aren’t we all), you might want to consider making a stop at Famous Footwear to pick up mom something for her special day.

They have such a broad selection of styles, it would be hard to narrow it down to just one pair, but let me see if I can help.

They have the cutest flats.  You can get pretty much any color your heart desires, but aren’t these Zigi Soho one’s adorable  And right now they are only $29.99.

famous footwear flats

If wedges are more her style, Famous Footwear has tons to choose from.  I happen to love these ones by Fergalicious: Continue reading »

Mar 302015
 

**Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Famous Footwear, but my love of shoes is all my own.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If there is one thing in this world that I can not resist, it’s a new pair of shoes.  I have well over a hundred pairs and have been known to drop a pretty penny on a single pair (gosh, I hope my husband isn’t reading this).  Lucky for me, when I shop at Famous Footwear, I don’t have to drop a ton of money on new shoes.  They have a huge variety of all the latest styles for the entire family and more importantly, they are affordable.

I was so excited when I heard that Famous Footwear opened two new stores in my area.  I am always out & about, so having more shopping options is always a good thing.  Where are they you ask?

1. The 6,000-square-foot Westwood store is located in the Westwood Station at 245 University Ave.

2. The 5,049-square-foot Hyannis store is located in the Capetown Plaza at 790 Iyanoough Rd.

I had a chance to stop by the new store in Westwood yesterday and was really impressed with the new store.  In case you’ve never been inside a Famous Footwear, they carry name brands at discounted prices.

Famous Footwear Store Westwood

Famous Footwear has a huge selection of brand name shoes including Sketchers, Adidas, Nike, Reebok, Dr. Scholl’s, Converse, Aerosoles, Naturalizer and Steve Madden Girl. They carry the latest styles for the entire family including women, men, girls and boys! Even though it has still been pretty chilly here in Boston, I have a major case of spring fever, so I wanted to get a new pair of sandals because I figured that would make me feel better about the fact I am still cold all of the time. Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 

**Disclosure: As a Verizon #VZWBuzz  #VZBoston Lifestyle Blogger, I’m a member of a pretty cool team of influencers who share information about mobile living.   I was provided a device at no charge and compensation for my participation.  There has been no editing by a third party, nor any promise of positive feedback.   All opinions are my own.

It’s that time of  year again, folks.  Two words: spring cleaning.  None of us love it, but it’s a necessary evil.  And, honestly, don’t you feel good when you’re little piece of the world is all spic & span?  I know I do, even though it usually only lasts for a couple of days (if that).

Off topic a little bit for a second, but a few weeks back I got a Droid.  I’ve always been an Apple girl, so I have been spending the last few weeks getting acquainted with my new phone.  A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch playing around with my new phone, a dust bunny rolled by.  Eventually I got up to pick the big old dust bunny up and throw it away, but before I did,  I thought to myself, “I need to make this phone work for me.”  And I did.

I decided to go into Google Play and search for apps that were going to make my life easier and help me get my house in tip top shape. I narrowed it down to seven of them, actually.  Here they are (in no particular order).

1. Spring Cleaning Checklist

This is a free app that has spring cleaning checklists for every room in your house.

Spring Cleaning Checklist App

This app literally covers everything in your house. I mean right down to cleaning your blinds and wiping down windowsills. Continue reading »

Mar 112015
 

**This is a sponsored post on behalf of  Pica Books.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

I feel like I have one of the pickiest eaters in the entire world sometimes. My seven year old would literally live on sting cheese, lollipops and goldfish crackers if I would let him. Seriously.  I honestly have no idea how he sustains himself sometimes because his eating is so erratic and unhealthy.  Not long ago I posted some of my best tips for dealing with picky eaters, but recently a new tool has come to my attention and I wanted to share it with you today.

It’s called the Pica Food App!

pica food logo

Pica Food is just one of Pica Book’s interactive animated educational books and games for your kid and a 10-minute expert advice video for you parents! Read, listen and play with your kid!

Learn together how you can encourage your child to transform an unhealthy menu into a healthy one, and receive a personalized diploma for your kid saying he is all grown up, and knows how to eat right to stay healthy and strong. You can share the diploma with your family and friends! Continue reading »

Feb 112015
 

***Disclosure: This conversation was sponsored by the OneDay app, but my love of it is all my own.  My thoughts and opinions were not influenced in any way***

Do you want to know something that drives me absolutely bananas?  When I whip out my iPhone to take a photo of my boys, who I lovingly refer to as the “gruesome twosome” and I get that pesky error message that says I can’t take my picture because the storage on my phone is full.

Grrrr!

As soon as I delete and/or archive my photos, I am back at it and before I know it, that error message is popping back up on my phone again.  And it seriously happens at the worst possible times, right?  You know what I’m talking about – preschool graduations, school plays, while both of your boys are in the Jedi Training Academy show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…..yes, that really happened.

jedi training academy

So in case you haven’t figured it out yet, my name is Robin and I am addicted to taking iPhone photos. I mean heck, we are one of “those” families that travel to Disney World every year and I still can’t return from a trip there with less than 1000 photos.   They’re the same pictures year after year, but I just can’t seem to stop myself.

You’ve also probably noticed that I only mention taking photos, not videos.  I have always refrained from taking videos with my phone because of my photo storage paranoia.  I know that videos take up more storage and I do not want to go through the panic that I went through while my kids were in the Jedi Training Academy ever again.  I was in such a rush to delete photos that day (because the show my boys were in was already in progress) that I just deleted a bunch of things without really taking the time to look and see if I actually did want to delete them. I would have kicked myself for missing out on photos of them in their Jedi robes, so did what I had to do.  Believe me, the struggle was real. Continue reading »

Dec 182014
 

**Disclosure: Thanks to Old Spice for sponsoring this program.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Do you remember when I told you recently that I was partnering with Old Spice and Second Chance Toys to help collect gently used, clean plastic toys for their  HoliSPRAY Toy Donation Exchange?   I was chosen to help collect toys that would be distributed locally through the nonprofit organization Second Chance Toys. This was a first-of-its-kind, phil-MAN-thropic holiday exchange by Old Spice and I was so excited to be a part of it.

Second Chance Toys is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to keeping plastic toys out of landfills by donating them to children in need throughout local communities since 2006.  I was thrilled when I heard that the donated toys were going to be given to kids right in our own community.

The toy exchange was held at my son’s dojo.  They have lots of families in and out of there every day, so I figured that the toy drive would get more exposure if I held it there.

The drive was held at:
America’s Best Defense (ABD)
1470 New State Highway
Suite 22
Raynham, MA 02767

ABD Raynham

The folks at ABD let me leave the bin for the toy donations in their lobby, so it was easy to spot as soon as you walked in the door.  For every family that donated, someone who was working at the counter helped to hand out a bottle of Old Spice’s new Re-fresh Body Spray (one per family) to them in exchange for their donation. Continue reading »

Dec 082014
 

Old Spice Logo

**Disclosure: Thanks to Old Spice for sponsoring this program.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Do you have some toys laying around the house that you kids might have outgrown, but other kids could still enjoy?  Have you considered donating those toys to children in need?  Well, now is your chance! I  am partnering with Old Spice and Second Chance Toys to help collect gently used, clean plastic toys for their  HoliSPRAY Toy Donation Exchange. All toys collected will be distributed locally through nonprofit organization Second Chance Toys.  This is a first-of-its-kind, phil-MAN-thropic holiday exchange by Old Spice and I am excited to be a part of it.

But wait, I said “exchange”!  What that means is that for every toy donated, Old Spice will be gifting a bottle of their new Re-fresh Body Spray (one per family).

old spice

Old Spice Re-fresh Body Spray is the gift that keeps on giving, one spray at a time.  “It contains a P&G proprietary Re-fresh Technology that features a patented cyclic molecule with an empty core that absorbs some fragrance as the Body Spray dries on the skin. As a guy sweats, fragrance is pushed out of the core releasing bursts of scent when a guy needs it the most.” 

“One spray lasts all day”!

The toy donation exchange was inspired by the hilarious moment from the new Old Spice “Dadsong”  TV ad .  You know, there one where the dad runs over his son’s childhood toys with a riding lawnmower, signifying his boy’s entry into manhood?  Wicked funny, right?  The Old Spice HoliSPRAY Exchange is designed to rescue all of those gently used toys and bring some joy to the lives of disadvantaged children during the holiday season!

As soon as I was asked to help, I knew exactly where I wanted to hold the exchange.   My son’s dojo. Continue reading »

Nov 242014
 

**This is a partnered post on behalf of Unilever’s Project Sunlight, to help spread awareness for the Share A Meal initiative. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way**

When was the last time you were able to help someone in need? In no way shape or form should we only help those in need during the holidays, but it is a great time to do so.

Can you believe in the world we live in “1 out of every 5 children do not know where their next meal is coming from?” That means 16 million children in the United States are suffering from hunger at any given time.  Unilever wants to help turn the tables on child hunger here in America and they want us all to join the fight.  I’m teaming up with Project Sunlight because I also believe that no child should face hunger.

I have never gone hungry and it makes me sad to think that there could be children right in my own neighborhood who don’t have enough to eat. In order to give back, we’re Sharing a Meal too! The way we’re sharing a meal is by giving to a local food bank in my hometown. Of course, I had to get the boys involved in something so important, which is why we documented the process and want to share it with you!

The boys and I each wrote a reason on a sticky note about why we wanted to share a meal.

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As you can see, this is what we’re donating to the food bank. The boys enjoyed helping pick out food to donate. Continue reading »

Nov 132014
 

This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Walmart-Online-Community

I consider myself to be digitally savvy.  I do pretty much everything online including the majority of my shopping.  There are a million apps out there dedicated to helping people save and although I know about a few of them, I am sure there are a ton more that I am missing out on.

Do you identify yourself as a digitally savvy shopper, too? Do you take advantage of online shopping, whether browsing for deals on your mobile phone/tablet, or downloading apps that help you save?  If you answered yes to any of these, check this out:

Walmart wants to hear about your shopping habits in their exclusive online community! Those who participate will get the chance to learn from others who also use digital options to shop smart and will serve as advisers by providing feedback directly to Walmart decision-makers.

In addition to the opportunity to impact the brand, members will receive a $5 Amazon gift code for joining and an additional $10 Amazon gift code each month for participating.

Sounds pretty good, right?  I think so, too.  You can learn more and see if you qualify here: http://mayweask.com/walmart11

So, what do you think? Do you plan on joining Walmart’s new exclusive online community?

Jul 262014
 

**This post is brought to you by Beauty Encounter**

A brightened skin and freshly-scented garment can be done overnight so you don’t have to prepare much for the day. All you need to do is sleep soundly like Sleeping Beauty and you’ll get full beauty potential while your body works its magic at night time. Prepare your perfume spray, hair cream, nail balm and the rest of your beauty essentials before you take your beauty sleep.

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1. When you’re preparing your outfit the night before, spray some scent on a padded hanger. Hang your blouse and place it inside your closet. The scent from your cologne spray will seep through the fabric of your top. Another way you can do this is to put some drops of your perfume to your laundry when you’re about to put them in the dryer. The scent will last longer as compared to your usual spraying.

2. Frequent hand washing can dry up your nails. Before you go to bed, apply nail or cuticle balm on your nails and the surrounding skin area. Put on some gloves and when you wake up in the morning, you’ll notice your nails giving off that shine. Continue reading »