Sunday, September 21, 2014

GIVEAWAY! VTech’s Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Forest Adventure Playset™

*Complimentary review samples & 
giveaway provided by VTech

I love it when toys combine education with fun and VTech has always been really good at doing that. Their bright colorful designs and high interest themes always catch the little guy's eye whenever we're walking down the toy aisles.  His favorite toys always seem to be the ones that light up, make noise, and have movable parts.  My three year old was so excited when VTech sent us their new Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Forest Adventure Playset™.

Here is a little bit about the  and it's features:
  • Children can explore the forest with the included SmartPoint™ bear as he plays with animal friends and responds to SmartPoint locations with different phrases, music or fun sound effects.
  • The forest includes two SmartPoint locations and four manipulative features including a turning disc, gate, sliding squirrel and twisting butterfly.
  • The colorful playset can be connected to other Go! Go! Smart Animals or Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets (each sold separately) to encourage children’s creativity.
Ages 1-5 years, MSRP: $14.99.

In my opinion, the two biggest pluses for the Forest Adventure Playset is how affordable it is and how it can grow over time with the purchase of additional playsets and track so your cute animals have more places to visit and further to go.  I think this makes it a really attractive gift option as you can continue to expand it over subsequent holidays and make the toy "new" with each addition.

The bear cave is one of the two SmartPoint™ locations on this playset that can be recognized by every SmartPoint vehicle and animal in the lines. As a vehicle or animal is rolled over a playset’s various SmartPoints, marked by stickers, it will flash and play greetings, fun sounds, short tunes and sing-along songs.  The other SmartPoint is by the red turning gate that's just before you go onto the purple track.  This spot is also where you can connect other playsets.

When playing, my son likes to press the top of the bears head, where a light up button is, to hear it talk and give educational facts, sing songs, or make animal sounds.  Other fun things you can do with this playset include using the sliding squirrel and opening the gate and taking the bear down the ramp and onto the floor, or other playsets if you have them.  One of his favorite things to do is to put the bear in front of the purple handle and then use the turning gear in red, shown on right above with purple flower on it, to make the bear spin around and around.

The Forest Adventure Playset™ is pretty fun but it's the animals that really make it this playset special.  I was so glad to see that there are other ones available, since we also received a Hippo and Tiger to review.   Here is more about these and all of the Go! Go! Smart Animals™:
  • Adorable new Go! Go! Smart Animals send children on a wild learning adventure.
  • Perfectly sized for little hands, these electronic animals feature a light-up button that plays fun animal sounds, three sing-along songs and teaches letters and animal names.
  • New animals include monkey, tiger, lion, hippo, giraffe, elephant, zebra and alligator.
  • Each animal works with SmartPoint locations on Go! Go! Smart Animals and Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets (each sold separately).
Ages 1-5 years, MSRP: $7.99 each

I think these are a great way to continue the fun!  They are wheeled, but are not self powered, and will continue to make sounds, sing songs, etc. even without going over the SmartPoint locations. Their compact size means they are big enough for little hands to comfortably grasp but small enough to tuck into your bag to keep on hand as a spare toy for when out and about.

Learn more about & follow 
Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Forest Adventure Playset™ and Go! Go! Smart Animals™:


One reader will win Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Forest Adventure Playset™ and two Go! Go! Smart Animals™!  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  Subscribers, please click over to enter!

You have until September 29th at Midnight EST to enter.  Giveaway open to US residents only.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag: September 2014, Street Style

*Referral Link Included

I feel kind of bad for Birchbox this month, because even though I got a very good box, I was most excited for my September Ipsy to arrive.  That's for one reason and one reason only.  Do you spy it among the five items I got?

Yep, you guessed it!  I peeked in my Glam Room the second it was live to see if I got a Pacifica eye liner or nail polish.  All subscribers got one or the other.  You probably already know which I wanted.  I think I squealed when I saw this stunning Red Red Wine shade was coming.

My excitement was a bit amped up because Pacifica is a personal favorite because of my love for their Blood Orange scent and lip products.  I have been wanting to try their nail polish since I got their email announcing they had begun to offer nail polish.

All the sampling powers all aligned for me since I got something I wanted to buy anyway.  It retails for $9 so it's only one dollar less than the price of my Ipsy bag.  I feel like basically, everything else I got this month was free.  While over all, I'm sad to admit, I do prefer the Ruffian polish I added to my Birchbox this month, I had to pay an additional $26 on top of my monthly $10 subscription price to get them.

Pacifica's nail polish is 7 Free and it's formula is without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animal byproducts.  Since it's a vegan product, and it can be hard for vegan polish to perform as well as polishes full of all the seven things it's without, I did take that into consideration.

There is one thing there is no denying.  This is one stunning color and just perfect for fall.  It's swoon worthy for sure.  It goes on deep dark red but it took three coats for it to reach the opacity I wanted.  It had a bit of a jelly quality about it too when there are fewer coats on.  I thought it was a bit streaky at first too.  I felt it was outperformed by the Ruffian trio I mentioned yesterday, many OPI polishes, and the 100% Pure polish I got in my CEW Prestige LE Birchbox.

However, if being 7 free is important to you then this is a very well performing vegan polish.  There is a fair amount of color selection.  If this becomes locally available and doesn't require me to special order it, unlike some other vegan polishes, then I would be willing to pick up a few more shades.  I'm really glad I got to try it as I've been very curious about this particular product.

Now onto the rest of my Ipsy samples. This Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser sounds great.  It's supposed to clean without drying or irritating.  The cucumber hydrates and soothes, the watercress has antioxidants.  It's fragrance free but not scent free and I cannot get past the smell, which is quite off putting, which is too bad since it's a good sized sample.

The Maybelline Face Studio™ Master Glaze™ Glisten Blush Stick in Make a Mauve is such a beautiful looking color, that I wish it was a lip product.  It's a little dark for my cheeks and little too shimmery too.  However, with a very light hand it is quite pretty and it blends nicely.  If I wanted to, I could probably make this last for years!

Next is this Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask.  I've been wanting to try a hair mask but haven't had time to research which one to try.  Their site says it, "Delivers an optimal blend of transformative hair nutrients, such as b-vitamin complex, rosehip & avocado oils, collagen, and silk to restore and replenish damaged hair to a shiny, healthy & lustrous state."  I do have dry and chemically treated hair so this will be great to try.

The last sample this month comes from Be a Bombshell and it's their Smooth Criminal Powder.  I don't really get products like this so I'm not too excited about it.  I wear minimal makeup so I usually can't be bothered to use a finishing powder but I may give this a try.  I know from seeing paparazzi photos to use light hand with it or I may end up looking very weird if someone happens to take my photo!

That's my Ipsy for September, besides the Pacifica nail polish and the cute and edgy bag it wasn't too exciting but it was nice to get two full sized products.  I like the polish and will use the blush stick so it's well worth the $10, even if I don't like the hair mask - although I hope I do!  If you decide to sign up for your own Glam Bag, please consider using my referral link!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birchbox: September 2014 + Ruffian Nail Polish & Remover Towelette Upgrade

*Referral Link Included

It's Birchbox time and this month not only did a I get my usual subscription box, I also added the Birchbox Plus upgrade for the very first time.  As you may already know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service.  Each month subscribers can also choose to upgrade their box by adding on bonus items for an additional charge but usually at a discount.

Let's start with my basic box, themed Fresh Paint.  This time I got five samples plus an extra I'll show you below.  As it's been the past couple of months, we were able to select one of our samples.  Unfortunately for me, I had to settle for my second choice, which is the Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray, full sizes range from $14.50-$29.50.  This product is a spray you can use on either wet or dry hair and it helps prevent frizz, boosts shine, and blocks UV rays.  I am satisfied with it but I prefer the Pureology Color Fanatic I already use.

I also received a Temptu S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer, it's the little bottle to the far left, and a full size is $27.50.  I don't usually use cream products like this and a little goes a long way so even though the sample container isn't very big this will left me quite awhile.  It will be fun to use for special occasions and I like how it can used many different ways from on your cheeks, eyes, on your lips and chin for fuller looking lips, and even mixed with lotion for an all over glow.

So as I mentioned I got five samples, of which I've already mentioned two, and a Birchbox Find in the form of this ChapStick duel-ended Hydration Lock Moisturize & Renew.  This doesn't count as one of my samples, it's a mass market extra.  With fall and winter upon us, this is a great time to receive a ChapStick and I've given this one to my son who watches me put on my lip products and always wants to try some too.  Now I have the perfect thing for him!

I don't like perfume, especially florals, and I've set my profile to receive as few as possible.  As far as fragrances go, this is pretty acceptable.  It's still too flowery for my taste but it has enough citrus scent, which is the only one I'll wear, to make it okay.  Now, I realize that isn't a glowing review or anything but others seem to really like it.  Read the reviews on Birchbox for Harvey Prince Hello to get a better idea of what subscribers think.  At least it comes in a handy spritzer so I can pass it along to my daughter, who will love it.  A full size is $55.

These are the last two samples I got for September.  On the left is Avène Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser, full size $20 and  and a Tocca Crema da Mano Luxe Hand Cream, full size $20.  I really like both of these even though I don't have oily or blemish-prone skin that the cleanser is great for.

I love the Tocca Hand Cream, the green tea and lemon scent is perfect!  It's light and not too strongly scented.  Since I like to paint my nails a lot and subject them to polish remover a lot too, my hands and fingertips always benefit from extra moisture.  This is already in my purse.

This was a pretty successful Birchbox for me, I will use and enjoy every item in it and my kiddos will love two of them so every sample will get used.  But I have to admit, I was anxiously checking my tracking information because I couldn't wait for this Ruffian Essential Blush Collection!  This set of three nail lacquers and the set of Ruffian Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes are the Birchbox Plus Upgrade that I added for an additional $26.

I have really liked the Ruffian nail polishes I've gotten in previous Birchboxes so I had to get these.  From left to right the colors are: Lady of the Night, Love to Love (my fave of the three), and No More Tears.  All are gorgeous and appear a little overly bright in my photo so go see how truly beautiful each one is by clicking on their names above!  These are great polishes, one coaters!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Project Life: May 2014

May takes up a ton of space in my album, there is so much going on with end of the school year activities and this time we also had my own daughter's First Communion and also my good friend's daughter's.  We'll start with the how I included that.

{Our Friend's First Communion}

We weren't able to attend the actual ceremony, because it coincided with my Grandpa's funeral.  After that, we raced over town to at least be at the luncheon.  I only took a couple pictures because Margaret had taken her daughter for formal studio portraits and those turned out so beautifully I decided to use the professional ones.

{Week of May 4-9}

This year I've rarely broken out any page protectors besides Design A so it was very fun to use WRMK design with a 6X8 pocket.  On the left side I featured pictures of our the first flowers to bloom in our garden and one of my daughter.  I really enjoyed making a mini layout using some lovely Simple Stories supplies.

The right side has more of a mash up of the week with pictures from playgroup, a lunch with my friend, the sand table being opened for the season, and the only blurry image I got from my daughter's First Communion rehearsal.  The last photo on the bottom left is one of my all time favorite selfies.  The filtered light from sitting almost beneath our desk was very flattering and kind of washed out many little imperfections.

{My Daughter's First Communion - Church}

This year was a two sacrament year, with her First Reconciliation taking place last fall, but the big one is the First Communion. It's been a whole year of preparation with retreat days, rehearsals, dress shopping, and planning a big party. On the first spread I put pictures taken at the church, including one with both her religious education teacher and our parish's priest.

I have inserts for the certificate the church gave her, the program, and a booklet with poems all the kids wrote.  These have been removed before photographing the spread and are not shown.

The second spread I dedicated to pictures from the party at home. I primarily used the Blush core kit for both this and the previous spread.  It worked well with the pink and yellow colors E selected for her party as well as the gray I added to work with the silver from the stickers I selected to embellish with.  The alphas are mini market by October Afternoon.

{Week of May 11-17}

Even though it was Mother's Day, this year it was kind of overshadowed by my daughter's First Communion, the day before. I was tired from hosting and cleaning up from the party so this Mother's Day was a low key day.  Normally, this would probably have taken up a whole page, but this time I just included two pictures of me with my sweet kiddos.  The rest is a smattering of pictures, mostly from my cell phone.

The right side has pictures, many from this week, but some from from shortly before and after, that I combined to show the things that the little guy and I typically do during the day this spring.

{Brownie Activity - May 20th}

I had to blur out a lot of this spread to keep the faces of the other Brownies in our troop private, but I think this spread turned out too cute not to share!  I used a cute apart sheet call Rainbow Bliss from Pebbles Inc.'s line Party with Amy Locurto.  I don't thing it's easy to find anymore, but you can get a glimpse of paper on this pin.  Love the bright colors and cheerful motifs!  The title card and speech bubble journaling card are from various Core Kits.

{School Field Trip - May 22}

My daughter's been waiting for this field trip since she first heard about it from a neighbor in kindergarten.  Unfortunately, she broke out in a red rash the day before so for a little bit I thought she might not be able to go.  So glad the doctor's office approved it since I was chaperoning, as long as she wore long sleeves and pants to cover up her skin.

She had a great time at the farm that teaches the kids about life on a pioneer farm.  It was a highlight of second grade to be choose to help demonstrate how carry the water buckets as the docent talked about the chores the kids would be doing.

After seeing the log cabin, the kids then went over to talk with the "farmer" and for more hands on fun.  The kids got to grind up corn cobs and use a two sided saw to cut wood.  It's a lot harder than it looks!  The cards on this spread are by WRMK's Albums Made Easy, except for the mustard yellow with the butterfly die cut on it.  That one and the letter stickers on the title card are by Simple Stories.

After lunch we visited a one room school, which my daughter was really looking forward too but unfortunately it was a lot of listening and not as much hands on as during the morning.  She still had a good time, but I think the afternoon kind of dragged for the adults!  Right at the bottom I added a picture of my MIL because she came out to watch the two year old so I could go with E so I thought the MVP card was appropriate.  The cards are all from Simple Stories.

{In the Garden - Memorial Day}

Since May had so many events that took up whole spreads my spacing for weekly spreads was off.  I like to try and stay as chronological as possible but sometimes I have spaces where I need to fill in.  That's what happened here on this In the Garden page.  I had pictures taken of the various plantings and pots we did and since they were all taken in the same time frame, I popped them all in here. The journaling cards are all the reverse sides of the ones used for the Meeting the Baby page.  The soft colors also went really well with these photos and I used some older Jolee's Boutique stickers to embellish.

The Memorial Day side of the spread uses cards from the Nautical themed cards and a super old Tiny Tales quote card from MME, the copyright is 2003!  It's been in sitting in my stash for way too long!

I actually have 2 and half more spreads in May!  I wasn't kidding that May took up a lot of space!  However, the remaining spreads are school related with a lot of my daughter's second grade classmates so I decided to keep them private.  As always, click on the photos to enlarge & let me know if you have any questions.  I'm joining in the monthly Project Life Share at Jessica's The Mom Creative.

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