Sunday, November 23, 2014

NCircle Entertainment Holiday DVD Giveaway: Featuring Octonauts, The Snowman, Caillou, & Yo Gabba Gabba!‏

*2014 Holiday Gift Guide

* PR Samples Provided
*Giveaway Sponsored by NCircle Entertainment 

I am so excited to have a giveaway from NCircle Entertainment to share with you! They are providing four brand new holiday-themed DVDs for one lucky winner!  I know these will help bring the spirit of the season into your home.  Featuring favorite preschool characters, they'd be a great surprise for your family the day after Thanksgiving, as a fun way to kick off the Christmas season!  Plus they're perfect stocking stuffers, my son loves the Octonauts and is especially excited for that one.

Here is a little bit more about each of the DVD included in the prize pack and you can enter using the Rafflecopter widget is at the bottom of this post.  Because we want the winner to enjoy these titles before Christmas this has a quick turn around so don't wait to enter!

On this very merry DVD, join the Octonauts as they celebrate the holidays! The Vegimals’ plans for a Christmas feast aboard the Octopod are interrupted when the Octonauts become entangled in a gigantic blob of sea snot! The holiday excitement continues when the Octonauts travel to Professor Inkling’s childhood home, an undersea mountain, but soon discover that a rockslide has endangered the local creatures, including Inkling’s nephew, Squirt! Can the Octonauts rescue the creatures and save Christmas in time?

One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Based on Raymond Briggs’ book, The Snowman is a family classic for generations to enjoy.

When winter comes to Caillou's house, this curious 4-year-old tackles all kinds of big boy activities like helping Daddy shovel snow, making holiday presents for his family and even discovering how other little boys and girls around the world celebrate the season! Filled with magical moments seen through a small child's eyes, this delightful story will enchant your entire family.

Join DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee as they dance, sing and decorate the tree to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus! Filmed live at New York City's The Beacon Theatre, celebrate the season with the colorful cast of characters singing their hits, including "It's Wintertime," "Every Snowflake's Different, Just Like You" and a holiday version of everyone's favorite "Party in my Tummy!” The DVD includes special appearances by superstar Leslie Hall and the one and only Santa Claus!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giveaway! VTech® Switch & Go Dinos® Turbo Bronco the RC Triceratops™

*2014 Holiday Gift Guide

*PR Samples Provided
Giveaway Provided by VTech

We love VTech Switch & Go Dinos!  They are really terrific toys because of their 2 in 1 design, both of which are very popular themes - dinosaurs & vehicles.  It's basically a win win in this household.  My little guy, and to be completely honest - my big guy aka husband Brad, were both pretty excited to get their hands on the VTech® Switch & Go Dinos® Turbo Bronco the RC Triceratops™.

I'll cut to the chase, it's AWESOME!  Was that a subtle enough review for you?  LOL!  The really cool Bronco the RC Triceratops (Ages 3-8 years, MSRP: $44.99) is the first dynamic remote control dino from Switch & Go Dinos Turbo. He transforms from a fierce Triceratops to a sleek race car with the push of a button on his remote control!

Some of Bronco's special features include:
  • Use the remote control to move forward, backward, left and right in both vehicle and dino modes. Then charge the turbo boost lever to give him a burst of speed!
  • Press the buttons on the remote to turn on his headlights, hear realistic sound effects and learn cool dino facts.
  • Bronco’s LCD screen displays cool customizable dinosaur eyes and driver animations, and kids can choose from four different styles.

My son is three years old and can be a little rough on his toys but this is very sturdy and holds up to being run into anything and everything.  While he's not completely proficient at independently using Bronco, the controls are intuitive and easy enough that he has been very successful making him go, speak, and transform right from the start.  I love how it's been something with all the bells and whistles, so to speak, that he's been able to use and have fun with right out of the box.  No frustration here!  He really likes turning on the headlights.

Here is a short clip of our  Bronco the RC Triceratops in action.  It's a bit blurry, but this was the video I could get after several tries.  Guess I'm not meant to be vlogger!  I was having a lot of trouble with the auto focus, but it still gives an idea of how Bronco works and how cool he is.  This is one you'll definitely want to plan to wrap up for underneath the tree and you can skip the lines and order it directly from VTech, it's currently on sale :)

Connect and Learn More About Vtech

VTech has generously provided an addition Bronco as a giveaway for one of my readers!  Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  US residents only, no PO boxes.  Winner will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond before a new one is chosen.  Must be 18 years or older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The VTech product, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.   The experiences and opinions related are my own personal ones with this product and yours may differ. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag: November 2014, Girl Meets Glitter

*Referral Link Included

This month Ipsy's theme is Girl Meets Glitter and the glam bag certainly fits that description.  I think it's really fun for the holiday, it's super sparkly and the glitter is part of the printed designed so it won't flake off and make a mess.  My eight year old has already claimed this one as her own.

Wonder Lip Paint by J. Cat Beauty in Red Potion, Full Size $4.99

I was most excited about this product, we got a full size :) so that's great!  The color is very pigmented.  I's best to apply with a lip brush or if you're lazy like me and don't care to wash it afterward a bit on a Q-tip works well too!

You only need a little and it works like a stain so as the color fades it's still quite pretty.  I just take along a little gloss or balm to layer on as the day goes on & don't feel the need to take it for reapplication.

So far despite what I've seen others say, I haven't had any issues with bleeding at the edges.  I really like it, deep berry shades are my go to for fall and winter so I'll get a lot of use out of this and it's great how it's so affordable.

This is described as an intense creamy bronze with gold shimmer.  I don't know if I'd call it intense as I think you need to layer it up to get a good bronze shade but otherwise that's exactly what it is.  Use with a primer or it might crease on you, but it's a nice to use for the stated purpose and is a nice eye base.  Would I purchase it, probably not but I do like that it retails for more than the price of the bag and we got a full size!

I hardly ever use hairspray but there have been times when it would be nice to have some on hand so I was pretty pleased to see this travel size.  Argan oil continues to be very popular in hair products but I think it was the oil that might have left my hair feeling a bit greasier than it usually is.

That's actually fine with me, because in the winter is when I run into static cling.  My hair tends to be naturally dry, but it could be a concern if yours tends to be oily.  I think, overall this is perfectly fine hair spray,  Doesn't seem to stand out as special to me, except for the slightly sweet smell, but like I said I'm glad to have it.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid, Full Size $17

Oh look, another eyeliner! Quelle surprise!  Ha, at least this one is not the standard black, the purple is fun and very pretty.  I'm very happy with the color, but the Ultra Olive would've been equally as nice to receive.  I'm just glad I like the color a lot better than the first Starlooks product I sampled last April.

What makes these Gem Pencils, is of course, the sparkle in it.  If glitter by the eye is a concern for you, you'll want to stay away.  This is much finer glitter than was used in the Lord & Berry I got in my Birchbox last month and hated. Actually, the Starlooks Gem Pencil was very creamy and soft going on.  I have to admit, that after being a bit crabby to see yet another eyeliner, I ended up really liking it.  I think this is probably a full size pencil, so bonus points for that!

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Pearl, Full Size $27.50

This is a pretty expensive product, good thing I have no idea what to with it!  Yeah, highlighter seems like an extra step this minimalist is unlikely to use.  I tried to see if any friends were interested in it, but no one was so I guess I will give it a go after all.  Ipsy suggests using it in the following ways:

STEP ONE: Place a couple drops on your fingertips.
STEP TWO: Lightly dab onto the apples of the cheeks to highlight the cheekbone area.
STEP THREE: Blend upward, toward the temples, for a glowing look.

STEP ONE: Place a drop in-between your eyebrows.
STEP TWO: Sweep up toward the hairline blending outward from the central point.
STEP THREE: Apply down the bridge of the nose a light-reflecting contour to define and sculpt.

STEP ONE: Add three drops to a pump of body lotion.
STEP TWO: Rub between your hands to blend together.
STEP THREE: Apply where you normally would, paying special attention to your best assets.

This should be interesting, I think the body illumination sounds the easiest.  Do you use a highlighter?  Should I give this a chance?

If you want to join me as a ipsy subbie, please use my referral link when you sign up!  It's just $10 a month which is a great value versus the products I got.   My favorite this month is the Wonder Lip Paint by J.Cat.  What was yours?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Mani Monday: In a Holidaze

Hey friends, sorry to disappear for a week but I got the flu and so I was down and out!  But now that I'm up and around, it's time to bring on the holiday reds!  Okay, I may be jumping the gun just a little since it's only November but the holiday collections are hitting the stores and even though I went to Ulta with the intention of getting another color all together...I just couldn't resist In a Holidaze from Gwen Stefani's 2014 OPI holiday collection.  It's got a jellyish feel to it, but is easily buildable.  I don't actually own a lot of reds so this is the perfect holiday addition to my collection.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Julep Maven:November 2014, Friendsgiving

*Referral Link Included

I love starting out a new month with a box of goodies from Julep!  November's was in my box on Halloween, so I got treats that night too.  In addition to the usual two polishes, the third item is a mascara this month.  Also included is a nice Holiday Gift Guide, a couple of caramel creams, and the usual printed materials.  This month the little quote reads, "It's the friends you can call up at 4 A.M. that matter," ~ Marlene Dietrich.  That goes perfectly with their Friendgiving theme and is so true, isn't it?

I went with the Bombshell colors.  Fazia, shown on the bottom above is described as a liquid garnet shimmer.  It is gorgeous, perfect for the holidays next month.

I mainly switched from my Classic with a Twist default colors to Bombshell, specifically for Jessie, a deep Kalamata creme.  I was expecting a dark but still purple color, which is how it looks in the bottle.  On the nail however, it appears almost black.  I guess that shouldn't be too surprising, I was just hoping for a little bit more of a tinge of purple to be noticeable.  It's not what I really wanted so the search continues for the perfect deep plumy color!

This is quite a bit outside of comfort zone in terms of color, the only time I'd normally reach for anything this dark in in October.  So I'm a little undecided about Jessie.  On the one hand, it applied nicely and is different from anything else I own.  And it does look a little more purplish in my opinion it's very vampy and I don't know if I'm quite adventurous enough for that!  But as I'm wearing it, I'm liking it a bit more.  Time will tell whether or not I keep it or pass along.

I've had a couple days to wear it and I'm finding that Julep's new Length Matters Wow-Impact Mascara does deliver what it's promises.  It lengthens with no clumps or smudges.  Plus while it has lasted all day for me, I also had no issues removing it so that was great.  I'm enjoying this mascara quite a bit, but still prefer Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes as my all time high end fave.  I think that one just applies so beautifully and effortlessly so even though the Julep mascara comes with more in the bottle for a similar price, I would still purchase the Tarte one over it.

Overall, I'm happy with my November Julep Maven box, because even if I'm unsure about Jessie I was super curious to try and dark vampy color.  I also enjoyed trying out Julep's mascara formula and will get good use out of my tube.  If you'd like to sign up, please consider using my referral link!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Project Life: Using Pocket Scrapbooking to Document our Chicago Vacation

I decided to to an in depth review of our two night trip to Chicago over the summer.  As usual, I took way too many photos and there isn't an easier and quicker way for me to use as many of them as possible than Project Life.  To cut down on design choices and to give different portions of our trip continuity I decided to mainly use one collection for each activity.  I also tried to incorporate reoccurring elements to tie things together.

I began with a "title" page because I wanted to separate this part of my album from the normal weekly documentation I usually do in Project Life.  This gives an overview of what we did.  I had a lot of fun creating the title card with a Becky Higgins Road Trip theme kit.  I like how I can create a mini collage of embellishments, and feel creative, while still enjoying the ease of slipping my other photos into pockets.

On the right side of this section opener I decided to also discuss our hotel.  The 6X12 opening in this WRMK page protector allowed me to use a large insert and leaves me with plenty of room to include the written details.  I also added some dimension and interest with stickers, wood veneer, enamel dots, and a paper clip with twine.  I noticed that the Wanderlust Amy Tangerine sticker actually has Chicago on it, so I made sure I included that.

To tie the two halves of this spread together I used Simple Stories supplies from their last two travel themed lines, arrow wood veneers and enamel dots on both sides.  I repeat the use of  things like wood veneer shapes like arrows & hearts, heart motifs, cameras, twine, mini bingo cards, throughout the first portion of our trip, the ones covering our visit to the Field Museum.

Our photos from the Field Museum worked best with a generic travel themed line like Urban Traveler, I have almost the entire collection, and their more recent Travel Sn@p Set: 4X6, 2X3, Stickers, and Insta-Squares & Pieces.  The reason I selected these supplies for the Field Museum is because going there is like being able to travel across the world and through time due to the scope of their exhibits.

The Sn@p set is listed as retired on their site, but they've only recently begun to show up at my Hobby Lobby and Micheal's so you might look there if you are interested in these specific supplies.  These next few pages were the perfect way for me to use up bits and pieces from these lines, leftover from a bigger project that I've yet to share.

The back of the WRMK with the 6X12 pocket was the perfect place for me to add the map from the museum.  It's attached with just a camera paperclip so it can still be removed and look at in the future.  I never got a good front view of the museum because of where we parked so a postcard was a good solution to this missing picture.  It's also much better than any image I would've been able to capture.

This first spread is photo heavy but the map pocket gives the eye a break and I left the top right side open and use this space for patterned paper topped with a overlay and sticker collage.  The two photos matted on the left side also provided added visual interest and highlight photos of my family with two of the iconic sights from the Field Museum.

The second spread about the Field Museum holds one of my favorite memories from the day.  The reason why we'd selected this stop was because of our son's interest in dinosaurs.  After wandering a bit through the Ancient Americas exhibit it occurred to us that we really ought to high tail it up there to make sure we had time for it.  You can never predict when a preschooler will have a melt down and we didn't want to miss the Dinosaur Hall since it was the whole point of the stop!

On the left are photos from the Evolving Planet exhibit, of which the Dinosaur Hall is part of.  On the right I've recorded what an awesome experience it was to have the entire hall to ourselves!  It was incredible being alone with these giants from long, long ago & a definite highlight from the whole trip.

To give this a cohesive look I repeated wood veneer, cameras, enamel dots, mini bingo cards and the basic color scheme.  I also a cluster of elements that is very similar to the one I used on the previous spread.  Around the cluster I let elements from that filler card spill over to the cards on either end.

The last spread covering our day once again uses Simple Stories supplies and I've included an Amy Tangerine kraft tag from the same roll of stickers as the one used on the previous spread.  There is also a cluster similar to the ones on the previous two spreads.

Overall, I think these pages in my album work well together and help emphasize that they are all part of the same story being told.

For our second day in Chicago, when we went shopping in Downtown, I went a more feminine route with my supply choice, but still stuck with Simple Stories.  This time I used their retired Fabulous collection.

The first spread is about going to the American Girl Store and the Lego Store right next door.  That was very clever planning on those stores, something for everyone right there and both the girls and boys are kept happy!

My daughter had been saving up her First Communion money and we also let her choose a birthday present from there too.  I let her pick the photos to include on this spread and since she wanted to use so many of the ones for the individual historical doll displays there wasn't room for any journaling. I do think that title card was absolutely perfect!  To give this half a little more interest I used two preprinted overlays and then just lightly embellished a third photo.

The right side is about the Lego Store and using this page protector by WRMK left me plenty of space to write about these stops and the one to the Disney Store.  We hit that one up while walking to lunch.

Turn the page and that big space is still perfect for writing all about my daughter's early birthday lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.  She had already asked us to take her there toward the end of July for her birthday, but the location in MI is a bit of a hike from our house.  This was much more convenient and it was fun to see how another location is set up.  We let the host know that our son is a little leery of the big animals and we were glad to get a seat right by the fish tank.  He like that a lot and we managed to eat without anyone crying!  Sine my husband and son are also born in July we let this be our special July birthday meal.

I needed an insert for a few pictures from our dinner that night, this time at my pick, Sweet Tomatoes.  I also wanted to mention our afternoon spent relaxing at the hotel, even though I placed the pictures out of order and a next to the summary page at the start of our trip pages.  I wrote the details on the top card on the front of the Design H insert.

I don't know why I am so obsessed with Sweet Tomatoes, but I am & have since first eating there in CA and then in NM.  I'm so sad to be far away from any in MI.  I purposely looked up the location for this place and made Brad drive us into the "burbs" to eat there.  It was worth it.  No waiting, everyone one got exactly what they wanted, the price is reasonable, and did I mention the dessert bar?  Is it fancy food, no but it's such a good place for families!

The back of the Design H insert is where I placed the journaling about dinner.  I also made a little vellum faux envelope.  Basically, it's just folded up to create the pocket.  The sides of the page protector will hold everything in place.  I wanted to include a couple things I cut from one of the handouts they gave us, but they were too bright and clashed with the muted colors of the papers.  Placing them behind the vellum toned down the colors.

The last portion of our trip was our day at the Shed Aquarium, but I've yet to finish those pages so this is where I'll leave off with this month's Project Life share.  Linking up to The Mom Creative.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Happenings: Recap 2014

We had a memorable Halloween!  It was bitterly cold with freezing winds and light dusting of SNOW!  The kids were all bundled up but even the bad weather didn't deter them from heading out, at least for a bit, to fill up their treat buckets with candy!

Winter coats and layers were a must.  My eight year old daughter has two pairs of pants and three layers on underneath her dress.  My three year old only went around the block but he actually has pajamas on too - footed blanket sleeper with another layer on under that!  It's a good thing that this year's costumes both had plenty of room.

Since the weather on Halloween night wasn't that pleasant, I'm glad we took them to a few extra events throughout the month.  It was also cold the night we went to Greenfield Village for Haunted Nights but not nearly as bad.  The kids are still layers underneath their fireman and renaissance princess outfits.

They got good use out of the costumes, as they also wore them for a Girl Scout Dance, Party at the Fire Station, and at each of their schools.

October is always busy but so much fun.  The little guy and I went to a new pumpkin patch last year on a field trip and it was fun to take the my husband and daughter there on one of the nice October weekends.

Carving pumpkins just gets more fun each year, as the kids get older and more into it.  My daughter drew on the girly face, complete with lipstick and winged eyeliner!  My husband got fancier than usual and cut a Lego head in the other.  We also used this nice kit of Mr. Potatohead like pieces that you just push into the pumpkin to create animal faces.  My son had a blast with those.

Halloween day was very hectic, so I'm glad my son's preschool party was the day before.  He only goes on Tues/Thurs.  I went and helped him paint a mini pumpkin, he was especially keen on using the glitter all by himself.  We also had treats and he got the world's biggest ghost sugar cookie on a stick so he was pretty excited.

On Halloween I helped in my daughter's third grade classroom in the morning.  I was assigned to the pumpkin decorating table.  They also assembled paper skeletons, made toilet paper roll creatures, and did games.  Then I rushed over to meet my family for lunch.  Then we hurried back over to school for the parade.  The little guy was much better behaved than I expected.  He was enthralled by all the kids in their costumes walking by.

Then it was home to finish making dinner, greeting our friends who usually join us, and trying to eat a quick meal before our town's 5:30 - 7:30 trick or treating hours.  I think we had the fewest kiddos show up for candy than ever before, no doubt due to the cold weather.  I think most were done by 6:30 or soon after.  Even though they didn't get to as many houses as they might have liked, all the kids ended up with full buckets of candy so I'd say it was still a successful night!

Hope your Halloween was full of memories too!  I'm linking up to the Mom Creative's Annual Halloween Link-Up :)

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