Monday, October 28, 2013

National Shoe Lover Day - DSW

This past Saturday, DSW proclaimed it National Shoe Lover Day! And of course I had to show my support by going shoe shopping. I took my mini me and hit the road. As we walked inside we were greeted by almost everyone in the store. Maddie even got a “mini shoe lover” sticker, which she loved. 

I was on a mission. I need to find some nice western style boots. It’s true; I too couldn’t believe I didn’t already own a pair. Luck was on my side. I found a pair of Madden Girl boots I had been eyeing for a couple of months but never got around to buying. I never could figure out where to wear them. But this time around I needed to get these shoes for a future event, my BFF’s bachelorette party. Can’t wait to rock these boots…These boots are made for walkin…

To top it off, DSW was giving away t-shirts or nail polish to the first 100 shoppers. The early riser that I am (or mini me is) got me a bottle of their special Shoe Lover polish, plus the chance at winning shoes for a year (not a winner). As always it was a great shopping experience at DSW. Shoelover day should be everyday! 

Check out their Facebook page for great promos and giveaways. They sure love to make Tuesdays feel special! Make sure to play Shoesday. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

P&G Best Defense Day of Action with Special Host Corey Wootton

This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and P&G 
However, all opinions expressed are my own.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Latina Mom Bloggers, P&G, Chicago Bears, and NBCF for such an amazing event. I was able to learn so much in such a short time.

This past Tuesday, October 22, I attended the P&G Best Defense Day of Action with special host Chicago Bears Defensive End Corey Wootton. Wootton has a long history with breast cancer as his mother-in-law is a survivor and he lost two aunts and his great-grandmother to the disease.

I arrived to the newly redesigned Halas Hall, excited to learn about the importance of early detection from NBCF experts, and find out about what tools were available to help create our very own early detection plans. This is the campaign’s sixth year. For 2013 P&G Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign has partnered with The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to not only educate women, but also the men in their lives, about the importance of early detection.

I must say I was a little overwhelmed that I along with three other bloggers would sit alongside Corey, Janelle Hail, NBCF Founder & CEO, and her son Kevin Hail COO. As we listened to the panel we were able to hear their stories of how breast cancer has affected them. We were also able to ask a couple of questions.

Corey Wootton, Janelle Hail, Kevin Hail
I asked Janelle how she, a 33 year survivor, had first discovered she had breast cancer. She said that she had remembered that back in the 6th grade they had shown all the girls how to do self breast examinations. And she had done one and found a lump. She knew something was not right and followed up with her doctor. At the age of 34 she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. During this time the options were not what they are today. For her, a mastectomy was the best option. She credits early detection with saving her life. This is why this campaign is so important to her. And with so many resources at our fingertips we need to take advantage of them. At the time of her diagnosis Janelle didn't have the internet how we do now. She jokes, “Google, where were you when I needed you?”

Some key messages I learned and wanted to share:

•One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. One in eight! That is equivalent to an inner circle of girlfriends or the women in an extended family.

•Early detection saves lives. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the higher the survival rate. In fact, when detected during the early (localized) stage – the five year survival rate is 98 percent.*

•While breast cancer rates are lower among non-Caucasian women, death rates are higher among African American and Latina women. In fact, every hour and a half a Latina woman dies of breast cancer in the United States.* (As a Latina this statistic scares me! This is why I've made my plan).

*National Cancer Institute

This October, I’m helping by spreading the message that early detection is the best defense in the fight against breast cancer. I’m urging friends and family to take action by creating your own early detection plan. You can download the NBCF’s Early Detection Plan App at which can be found there throughout the month of October. A way to start is monthly self examinations, yearly mammograms, etc. The App will even send you reminders! No excuses to forget.

P&G also supports the NBCF in its commitment to save lives by providing mammograms for those in need. You can see if they have a partner hospital in your area at: If there is not a hospital in your area, check with your local hospital. They may have a program in place that can get you the mammogram you need.

While the panel discussion may have been a serious talk, we did manage to have some fun during the afternoon activities at the Walter Payton Center. We were invited to join in some football drills. Those were so much fun, embarrassing, but fun! I’m just glad I didn't fall down trying to catch a ball. And I must say trying to kick a ball through the goal posts is a lot harder than it looks. Plus there were some great giveaways for those who attended.

Me - trying desperately to catch a ball while running!

Walter Payton Center, Janelle Hail and I
and Corey Wootton signing our picture

A short video highlighting the day's events

Since 2008, P&G has donated more than $2.1MM to the NBCF to help save lives through early detection awareness and education. More than 80 percent of all donations to the NBCF go to programs that benefit women.

Some great P&G Products

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - Makes Finding Healthy Restaurant Options Easy

Healthy Dining is a partner of the Kids LiveWell program, of which I am a huge fan of, encouraging healthy eating while dining out. So now the who family has healthy dining choices. I have to admit, I am not much of a home cook. But I’d still be able to go out to dinner and not give into the fatty, unhealthy food options. That is why I’m glad that there are restaurants out there with healthy food choices. And now it’s even easier to find restaurants no matter where you are! Visit and you’ll be able to enter the zip code or city, state you are in to get a list of available restaurants. Not only will it give you the distance and a price range. It will also break down the menu – Healthy Dining, Sodium Savvy, and Kids Livewell.

It very easy to find the information you are looking for, such as calories, fat, and sugar, and some menu options even include a picture for your viewing pleasure. You can also quickly gain access to the restaurants website.

The section Ask the Dietitians has registered dietitians answer your questions about restaurant nutrition. There is a variety of questions and I’m sure there’s one you have that’s already been answered. But if you don’t see it you can submit your own question as well.

One of my favorite things about the website is its restaurants recipes section. As I mentioned before I am not much of a cook, but sometimes I do want to try and recreate something I had while dining out. Well now I can by easily accessing the recipes online. I am actually excited to try out the Capellini Alla Positano from Bellini Grill in Philadelphia. That place is not nearby, but now I can try their food at home! Wish me luck!

For more than 20 years, Healthy Dining has been serving up the best choices at restaurants, from fast food to fine dining.

Visit Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more giveaways, our favorite menu items, recipes, food fun and more!

Click below or click the widget at the bottom of my home page for easy access.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bengtson's Pumpkin Farm - Fall Fun

This past Saturday we took Maddie to Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm to pick out a pumpkin. We knew that being a weekend it would be crowded, and boy was it. Looking at social media I think almost everyone I know with kids was there! We were able to park in the main parking lot, score, so not a long walk to the entrance. It was our first time there and we were excited to see what was in store for us. First off this place is a lot bigger than I had anticipated. We brought an umbrella stroller, but probably should have just left it in the car. Maddie didn't want to be in it, and we ended up just lugging it around. Plus, really there was not a lot of room to maneuver with it.

The admission was $11.99 for adults and Maddie, being under 2, was free. This year they have included unlimited kiddie rides. Maddie wasn't interested, good thing as the lines were pretty long. She was most interested at looking at her surroundings. She enjoyed Purvis Pigworth’s Pumpkin Picker the most. It’s just a standalone truck that makes noises and moves. She was amazed! She also liked Bengtsonville Children’s Village. Not much to it, just a couple of small size buildings for her to go in and out of. By the end of our 3 hour day she was exhausted, but we couldn't leave without first seeing the Pig Races.  Pigs both big and small were quite entertaining and cute, even if was just one short lap around the course. The petting zoo is small, but a good variety of animals. I don't think I've ever seen a kangaroo so close before. I know I enjoyed feeding the animals carrot slices and I'm sure Maddie did too.

On the way out we picked out a mini pumpkin as a souvenir. No need for the big pumpkins at this time. She wasn't going to be able to pick up a big one anyway. She sure tried though. Again, there is a lot to do here, so we’ll probably be back next year so Maddie can enjoy more of it. I’m excited for her to be big enough to go on the camel or pony rides (additional charge). And the place smelled great; new for 2013 Uncle Bub’s BBQ from Westmont is now there. Mmm…turkey legs. But we weren't hungry so we skipped it this time. If you decide to pack a lunch you are able to go in and out of the area as long as you get your hand stamped for same day return. We had a great time!

Maddie's Mini Pumpkin

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chicago Mom Launches the First Ever National "Family Travel" Show

I had the pleasure of meeting Colleen Kelly while at Blogher13 in Chicago. It is always great to see moms succeed, especially Chicago Moms! She is a mother of two children. She is launching a new national public television travel show and it recently premiered.  "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" is the very first family travel show to ever go national!

I know as a  mom I’m always interested on where I can bring Maddie along and still enjoy the vacation as a family. Of course Colleen will show us Chicago, but I’m also excited to see other cities. Included in the series is San Antonio, TX, and as I have an open invitation from my uncle to come down and visit, I’m taking the opportunity to watch the show and get some great travel tips on where to visit while we're there.

The 13 episode series of "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" premieres in Chicago on the following dates and times on WTTW: 10/5-12/28, every Saturday on WTTW at 10:00am-10:30am. (That’s channel 11 for you local readers). Check the PBS Schedule for other markets here.

Plus head on over to Facebook or her website as they will also be giving away 6 FREE Family Vacations (currently you’ll see San Antonio, TX and Monterrey, CA).

Here's a quick peek!

Friday, October 4, 2013

L'OREAL Magic Nude Liquid Powder Review - The "Un-Makeup Look"

I received a complimentary product from SheSpeaks/ L'Oréal Paris. All opinions are my own.

I've been hearing a lot about L'Oréal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder. I’m happy to say I finally got to give it a try. First off, this comes in 12 different shades, which for me can be a little overwhelming trying to choose the right one. But taking a look at the different shades I was able to find one that I think matched my skin pretty good, Nude Beige.

It is advertised as the “un-makeup look”. It gives off the natural look but with a soft powdery finish. I liked the make up itself. The bottle however, I wish would have had a little pump so I didn't have to make a mess, yes I made a mess trying to get enough makeup on my finger, which is the best way to apply this makeup. Maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it goes on pretty smoothly and feels very lightweight. That being said, it is lightweight, so the coverage isn't your typical full foundation coverage. I could still see some of my imperfections, but I didn't feel like I was wearing any makeup, so that was a nice feeling. I think this would be a great product to wear in the hot summer. As always I adore makeup that has SPF, and this one SPF 18. The bottle retails for $12.95 and if you visit their website you can get a $2.00 off coupon

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Brookfield Zoo Run Run 5K - Using my Inspire Pro for Women yurbuds!

I can’t believe I never ran a Brookfield Zoo 5K before. It was so much fun! I admit it was a little distracting to see all the animals as I wanted to take a peek at all of them, along with everyone else! This was a more scenic run than others I've done before. It was a nice cool temperature outside, which helped a lot since once I get running I get HOT. I stuck to my intended pace of a 12 minute mile, but think its time to go a little faster on my next run. I felt really good once I finished, I had a feeling of accomplishment as I am running for no other reason than for feeling good about me. It’s actually relaxing in a way as I have no other thoughts on my mind other than running to the finish line.

A little music along the way helped as well. I was excited to try out my new Inspire Pro for Women yurbuds that I got from Best Buy while at BlogHer 13. I was excited to wear these, compared to my old ear buds, because of the promises it made. My favorite guarantee is that they won’t fall out while running. My old ones never stayed in place. Yurbuds have a twistlock technology that helps them stay in place, no matter how much movement. And after a full 5K they were still in the same spot as when I started. They are ergonomically designed and are made with flexible silicone. Yurbuds are very comfortable and I’m sure I could wear them for a long time.  They also take into consideration that not all women have the same ear size, so it comes with 2 sizes for the enhancers. I also like that I can control the volume from the 3 button dry mic. These particular yurbuds are compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod. They retail for $59.99 #INSPIREFORWOMEN

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Welcome Fall - Apple Picking Fun

On Saturday we decided it was time to welcome the fall season and headed to the County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana to pick some apples. We've come here in the past with my nieces so I knew Maddie would also enjoy. There is so much for the children to do. We went with my cousin and her family and they so generously provided lunch, picnic style. We sat at the table and enjoyed some live music. Afterwards we decided to take the kids to the barn area, which featured animals, a mini corn maze, and a play area (age appropriate). Children under 2 are free, and there is a $5 fee for everyone else for this particular package: Lil' Farmer Pass. There are upgrades available to do more. If you just want to do some apple picking there is a $1 fee and you pay for the apple you pick (sold by the pound). I got enough apples to make a pie; we’ll see how that goes. We also loaded up on apple cider and donuts. They have the yummiest pumpkin donuts! And would you believe we also bought salsa?!

It was a great trip, a very tiring trip. From Chicago it is about an hour drive. Be prepared to walk a lot, and definitely take advantage of the tractor rides. Also, if there a specific type of apple you are looking for, be sure to check the website so you know if they are available for picking. Don't know which apples can be used to make what, then check out their usage chart it'll give you suggestions and when it ripens. Some apples are for ripe for September and others are ripe for October. Timing is everything.

Chuck E. Cheese's - Fun For All Ages

This past Friday we, along with some friends, went to Chuck E Cheese. I had received a free guest pass while at BlogHer 13, so thought we’d put it to good use. It included one pizza, 4 drinks and 30 tokens. 

I thought Maddie would be too young to enjoy this, but once I let her lose she all over the place enjoying herself. Mostly she looked for the machines where she could hit buttons. She loved the little car rides as well. At this age I found it quite affordable to head out there, as she isn't begging me for more tokens. Plus one pizza was enough for 3 adults and 3 small children (all under 3). Each child also got 10 tokens, which for us was enough since they weren't interested in winning tickets. I think in the end the parents end up having more fun than the kids. I saw many adults having a go at the games and getting all excited when they won a ton of tickets. My favorite machines are the picture drawer and photo id maker. It snaps your picture then it “draws” it like a sketch and the other prints out a cute card with the child's photo. the look cute and make great souvenirs. And I would totally invest in the straw cup upgrade ($1.50). Maddie loves her cup! I’m sure we’ll be back soon. "Fun for all. Fun for less." As their slogan goes.

If you go online you can play the electronic version of Ticket Blaster and win some tickets. Just print out the rewards certificate and redeem at your local Chuck E Cheese. Up to 50 tickets with food purchase. One certificate per child per day.