Friday, December 20

Holiday Glam in a Hurry

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
Duane Reade Look Boutique Makeup and Salon #DRHoliday #Shop #Cbias
I took a trip downtown recently to check out the Duane Reade Look Boutique at 40 Wall Street.  I was specifically on the hunt for a new nail polish color and a long-lasting pink blush.  As I walked into the Look Boutique I was amazed at the selection of brands to choose from, as well as the on-site services available.  I got started browsing the shelves to find the perfect pink blush, as I am currently loving the luminous pink glowing cheeks I  have been seeing in holiday makeup trends.  There were so many choices from high end brands like Cargo, The Balm and Butter London, to mid-range and budget brands like Essie and NYC Color, I was super impressed.

I ended up choosing a gorgeous The Balm blush called "Instain" in the color Arglye and a stunning champagne color by Essie called "hors d'oeuvres."  I couldn't wait to play when I got home, and create a perfect and quick mommy makeover.  BUT, I couldn't leave without taking advantage of the manicure services they have at the boutique.  I was able to get a fabulous Duane Reade Holiday manicure for $10!!!  And they sent me home with a punch card so that after 5 manicures, my 6th is free!!  I noticed they also do hair - shampoos, blowouts and styles - as well as scalp massages!  Yes, please!
Duane Reade Look Boutique 40 Wall Street Makeup #DRHoliday #Shop #Cbias
 For this super speedy mommy makeover, because as a mommy - we never have that much time to devote to ourselves, especially during the busy holiday - I chose just a few items that really come together perfectly!  Start with a clean and well moisturized face.  Apply a luminous BB Cream or matte if you prefer, with your fingers for the most blendable coverage.  Next use a matte nude eyeshadow only slightly darker than your skin tone and apply all over your eyes.
Duane Reade Holiday Glam Makeover #DRHoliday #Shop #Cbias
 Add a winged liner for the ultra glamorous and sophisticated look - I use a liquid liner by NYC New York Color.  Then add a couple of thick coats of mascara - my favorite is The Balm Body Builder - I don't even need to curl my lashes because it is just that awesome.  Now add your pinkest blush using your fingers and starting from the apples of your cheeks - blending out to your temples.  Finish the look by adding a creamy nude lipstick.
The Balm Instain Argyle Blush Cheeks #DRHoliday #Shop #Cbias
 For your hair, do a simple swept up bun or topknot, maybe even opt for a classy french twist.  Then put on some super shiny earrings to add the holiday sparkle.  Finish your mommy makeover with a coat or two of Essie Hors d'oeuvres - which gives the perfect sparkle to your nails plus hides any imperfections - topcoat optional!  I was able to create this entire look in under 15 minutes!  I think this makes it perfect for your busy Christmas day events in that quick moment you have between preparing for your events and attending them.
Essie Hors d'oeuvres #DRHoliday #Shop #Cbias
      

Wednesday, December 18

The Perfect "Me-Time" Treat:
Dark Chocolate

Disclosure: I received compensation and information about dark chocolate from The Hershey Company. All opinions expressed within are my own.
HERSHEY'S BLISS Dark Chocolate and Coffee #DReadeHSY #cbias #shop
 I'm an introvert by nature and I think that one of the hardest transitions for me into motherhood has been the dramatic reduction in "me-time."  Over the last year, I have made it a priority to carve out a little bit of time for me each day, because honestly, I am a much better mom, wife and person when I can get that time to recharge my batteries.  Today I am sharing two easy "me-time" ideas.  One for after lunch, and one for after dinner, both refreshing and both perfect for a busy lifestyle.

One of the ways I like to create the perfect "me-time" is a coffee break and my favorite go-to treat, dark chocolate, after my daughter goes down for her nap!  HERSHEY'S BLISS Dark Chocolate is rich, creamy and the perfect compliment to my dark roast coffee.  I love that I can grab one or two individual squares for a portion-friendly treat to accompany my mid-day coffee break.  Sometimes I drop them directly into my coffee and let them melt, creating a bittersweet mocha that is delicious!
HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Dark Chocolate with Almonds #DReadeHSY #cbias #shop  HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Dark Chocolate with Almonds #DReadeHSY #cbias #shop
Another way I like to create "me-time" is after dinner, with a good magazine or book.  I wait until Zion is tucked in for the night and the husband is taking some time for himself.  I make my way to my favorite comfy spot on the couch.  Reading a magazine from cover to cover feels like such a luxury to me, and pairing that with a few squares of HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Dark Chocolate with Almonds for dessert makes me feel like a queen!  I have this weird thing about cold dark chocolate so I keep my HERSHEY'S dark chocolate in the fridge until I'm ready to break off a few perfectly-proportioned squares.
HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand SPECIAL DARK Chocolate #DReadeHSY #cbias #shop
Duane Reade is my favorite go-to place to buy HERSHEY'S dark chocolate, because of their convenient locations, short lines and selection.  I often stop by my favorite Duane Reade store right after I do my grocery to stock up on my HERSHEY'S dark chocolate and browse the latest beauty products.  I love that I can get in and out in a hurry, which is super important for my busy lifestyle.

How do you carve out the perfect "me-time"?  What is your favorite way to enjoy dark chocolate?
      

Tuesday, December 17

Kidoodle.Tv Free in December!

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV.
I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.
Kidoodle.TV is a new online streaming service designed just for young kids, ages 12 and under.  With an easy-to-use interface, bright-colored customizable profiles and quality ad-free content, Kidoodle.TV is a great way to ensure an age-appropriate viewing experience for your children.
I loved how easy it was to set up a profile for my 3.5 year old using the age category filtering and title selection/de-selection tools.  My 3.5 year old was able to easily navigate both on the computer (in full-screen mode) and on my iPhone using the Kidoodle.TV app.  She even quickly found one of her favorite shows.

Kidoodle.TV is completely FREE in December!  And to celebrate, Kidoodle.TV is giving away 10 Tablets & 10 One Year Subscriptions to Kidoodle.TV - to enter try out the service for free before December 31, 2013.  Follow the onscreen instructions to enter the giveaway.

Connect with Kidoodle.TV: Web // Twitter // Facebook
      

Wednesday, December 11

Fast Paleo Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream with the Ice Cream Magic

We received a complimentary Ice Cream Magic in exchange for this honest review.  All opinions are my own.
I'm sure that most of you (at least those with kids) have seen the Ice Cream Magic - either in a store, or on a commercial.  The very first time Zion saw one in the store, she begged me to buy it for her.  I mean, what kid wouldn't want a giant ice cream cone shaped thing that claims to magically create single servings of ice cream in minutes!?

I knew eventually I would have to get my hands on one to try out, but I have to admit, a few reviews I read said that it didn't really create "real" ice cream and it was difficult to use.  I was hesitant to put my money on it, but then I had the opportunity to obtain one complimentary for review purposes.  And I skeptically accepted the offer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to tell you that, using paleo ingredients, I was able to make delicious, all natural, dairy-free ice cream in under 5 minutes!  To make ice cream using the Ice Cream Magic, you load the cone chamber with crushed ice, water and salt.  Insert the metal bowl into the cone, add your mixed ingredients to the bowl, seal the lid, then add the "ice cream" top by twisting into a locked position.  Next you shake the unit vigorously and continuously for 3-4 minutes.

The Ice Cream Magic was simple to use - and actually kind of fun!  Zion loved mixing together the ingredients and even doing some of the shaking.
After three minutes of shaking the ice cream on top was slightly softer than we wanted, so we shook for an additional minute (as recommended on the instructions).  I let Zion begin eating it thinking it was going to be all soft-serve consistency, but only a small amount on top was soft, the rest was delicious "hard" scoopable ice cream.  And it was delicious.  I had to steal bites of it from Zion.

I am completely impressed that this cute little novelty, the Ice Cream Magic, can make this perfect, paleo-friendly kid-approved ice cream in just minutes.  At $9.99 per unit, this will make a great gift for children, or just a really fun thing to pull out on a hot day!  And did I mention that the bowl is designed to make the perfect portion-friendly scoop?

A step-by-step instruction book included as well as suggested recipes are included with the Ice Cream Magic.  Of course, I wouldn't leave you without my successful recipe, so here goes:

Paleo Dairy-Free 4 Ingredient Chocolate Ice Cream for the Ice Cream Magic
1/4 Cup Slightly Chilled Coconut Cream (manna)
1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Cocoa powder

Whisk the 4 ingredients together until well blended.  Then use a silicone spatula or spoon to transfer into the bowl of the prepped Ice Cream Magic.  Shake the Ice Cream Magic as directed 3-4 minutes.

Remove the cap and enjoy!
      

Friday, December 6

The Promise, An Animated Musical

I received a complimentary copy of The Promise in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.
 Our family has gone to great lengths to make sure that our focus this Christmas is on the reason we celebrate the holiday in the first place, Jesus.  For us, Jesus is not just a second thought in our Christmas celebration, He is the central focus.  His birth, the prophecy fulfilled, the reflection on the hope that we can rest in - that our savior was born, in a little town of Bethlehem, in a stable, the most humbling of circumstances.  This gift of a savior is the greatest gift we could receive on Christmas day or any other day of the year.

I was invited to view the new animated musical "The Promise" by Glorious Films, and I was really excited to check it out.  For starters, we love animated films in our home.  And this film has beautiful and artistic animation that is sure to be well received by most kids who enjoy animated features.
 For this movie viewing, Zion and I got cozy on the couch with our Christmas decor glowing and watched as the nativity story was told in musical form over 45 minutes.  The movie was a very age-appropriate telling of the scriptural account of Mary and Joseph, the events surrounding Mary's supernatural pregnancy and their travel to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
I have mostly positive feelings about the film as a whole, but I did feel that some parts were slightly rushed leaving me longing for more.  As for Zion, she really enjoyed the entire film and was able to sit through the 45 minutes without being too anxious.  (Always a feat for a 3.5 year old!)  The songs throughout the movie were wonderful and experiencing the nativity story as an animated musical definitely brought it to life in a new and refreshing way.

We will definitely keep this film as a part of our special Christmas collection.  Check out this beautiful preview (below) and make sure you enter to win a copy of The Promise as well!  Winner will be drawn early next Friday so it can be delivered before Christmas!  You can also purchase The Promise on Amazon now!
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