413c820bb21cd09a23535c140057f83729ced692af2597b84f .post-body img { max-width:1000px; height:auto; } Friday We're In Love Google

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Lantern Fest

Date Info:
Lantern Release at The Lantern Fest
Price: $30-$50- depending when you buy, if you use a promo, and how many lanterns you purchase
Location: Ours was in Casa Grande, AZ, but they are done in various cities throughout the U.S. 

Every now and then we do something for a date that is nothing short of breathtaking and completely magical. My sister actually tipped me off to the concept of The Lantern Fest; essentially a festival that mimics the scene from Tangled where thousands of biodegradable lanterns are sent off to the sky. She told me she had a good discount and asked if we wanted in months in advance, and of course I couldn't pass it up! 
The Lantern Festival

In fact, if you'd like to attend I'd highly recommend looking months in advance, these things sell out super fast and are really popular! I felt lucky we got in on the secret early.

We started with bonfires and s'mores. The s'mores kits were darling and it definitely helped pass the time while we waited for the big event.

I loved doubling for this one, not only is my sister super amazing, but her fiance is just a great guy too, and having someone with you to take some pictures never hurts anything! We enjoyed the bonfire and then scoping out the perfect spot for the big send off. We also had each other to help through the process.

You start by lighting a set square on the bottom, then you place your lanterns down on the ground to let hot air fill so it will rise. And then you make your wish, and let it go into the sky joining thousands of others to create something completely magical.

And I wish pictures could do it justice, but they just can't. So I spliced together our video clips from the night and made a movie to try to capture the moving experience.

Of course that isn't going to stop me from sharing the pictures we took attempting to capture the magic.
The Lantern Fest Phoenix

I'll never forget sitting in awe and just snuggling my husband and looking over to see my sister snuggling her future husband. It was something worth every penny, and one of those bucket list dates I'm so grateful we got to do, and even though we don't repeat dates often, this is one I'm already planning to repeat next year!
The Lantern Fest

Romantic Date Idea: The Lantern Fest

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Surviving Baby's First Flu

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I'm just coming up for air after a rough week with a sick family. Today is the first day I can hold my head up and leave it up for the majority of the day. It's never fun to be sick, it's never fun to be sick with cold and flu symptoms simultaneously present, but it's particularly awful to watch a baby go through such a rough bug.

I'm not sure if I can call it a flu, it may have been and certainly behaved like one, but it may just be a virus that behaves a lot like a flu. I found out the hard way on Facebook that there are strong controversial feelings about saying you may have the flu or referencing getting or not getting a flu shot, so we'll just leave it at something awful happened and everyone in our family lost several pounds in a matter of hours.

I watched my little toddler handle it like a champion for the most part. He vomited for the first time and I could tell he was bewildered and ashamed by what his body did. There was lots of loves, lots of reassurance it's okay and mom and dad have it happen too, and of course, a lot of clean up. In between these hard moments there was the sweetest little boy full of snuggles, chipper humming, and doing his best to still explore and take apart every inch of the house. I was in the corner writing my will one handed in fetal position, and he was shaking off every rough patch like it was nothing.

Without any graphic information needed, let me mention that the flu comes often comes out of both ends, and even with that chipper little boy, there was a lot of diaper rash and burn from all the sickness. I've shared my love of WaterWipes before, but this illness and experience made me fall in love even deeper. WaterWipes provides a safer, natural option, and to have to change diapers more frequently with such a tender hurting baby, I felt so relieved to use wipes that are chemical free with only two ingredients- 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. There's a lot of wipes to choose from, but quality and safety are key for me! Particularly at a time when we're plowing through wipes durability and effectiveness matter, and I love that they are just that without containing any of the potentially harmful chemicals that may be found in other baby wipes.

I loved their quality and safety so much during diaper changes, I decided it was time to start stashing them in the living room and kitchen to use to wipe his runny nose with instead of tissues. And guess what, it was just as gentle and he didn't cry at all when wiping those tender areas. We could watch movies together while resting and know we had a great solution ready for any clean up.

WaterWipes are super easy to find at several of my favorite stores, but I'm loving that you can order them online at Walmart these days. I love to order online and ship to my local store to include with my grocery pick-up (double time saving mom win), but they are great to order all by themselves or with all your holiday shopping too.

And they have a fun giveaway going on right now too! You could win one of five (5) $100 Walmart gift cards between November 14 – December 9, 2016.

I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).
WaterWipes Walmart Giveaway

Best of luck, I hope this product helps other mamas better prepare for cold and flu season with their little ones!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Gifts Under $10

10 Gift Ideas for Her Under $10
I shared my guide to 50 stocking stuffers for him, but thought I'd better add some gift ideas for her to the mix too. Here's 10 things I'd love to receive myself, and best of all, all these gift ideas are $10 or less!

Incoco Nail Polish Strips 
I'm in love with these! They go on like a sticker, are easy to apply, and fool-proof, and they last about 2 weeks! Any nail polish lover of any age will love these $5-$9 items.

Maybelline 24 Hour Lip Color 
We're talking a game changer here- feels like chapstick, dries quickly, keeps lips moist, and it won't smudge or kiss off for 24 hours. At $6.74 a pop with color and gloss you can't beat it in any color! I wrote a whole post about kiss-proof lipstick and my favorite affordable options this year, and this was definitely my favorite!

The Girl on the Train
Any book is great gift in my opinion, but this one is one my female coworkers couldn't stop talking about. For months all books were compared to this standard. If she hasn't seen the movie, well hey, maybe even if she has, this is a thriller that she's bound to bind irresistible!

Vintage Style Earrings
These never go out of style, but the rose gold is perfectly on trend right now too. Allergy friendly, classy, and affordable.

Dry Shampoo
Giving the gift of one less wash and dry let alone several fewer washes and drys is something you can't understand the depth of until you've experienced it. Dry Shampoo is a girl's best friend, and this holiday set is one anyone with hair would love!

Travel Nail Kit
Snagged or chipped nails can be a pain on the go, and I think it's one thing most women wish they had easily on hand but just don't typically have. Save the problem with a cute, functional, cheap, tiny nail kit on the go.

Monogrammed Mug
There's something personal and thoughtful about a monogrammed mug with her initial. This particularly cute mug is perfect for any coffee, hot chocolate, or tea lover in your life.

A Cute Notebook
Coming from one of the most anti-paper digital girls out there, I'm telling you we all need at least one paper notebook in our lives for certain notes or doodles. Make it a cute and thoughtful one that fits her personality and you'll win big.

Purse Holder 
It hold all our valuables, and if you're our significant other lots of yours, and it's not so fun to put your purse on the floor at a restaurant or theater. These handy little clips can be a life saver keeping them out of the way and off the floor.

Latte Bowls 
It doesn't matter if she's a chef or a cereal connoisseur, most women are huge fans of these Anthropologie staple, and they are perfect for the kitchen, the office, or to hold trinkets at home. (You can buy them in sets online or in singles in store)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Small Acts of Service this Holiday Season

This weekend our entire family found ourselves with the worst stomach bug we've ever experienced. It was three days of what felt like food poisoning and had us all losing several pounds of water weight. Mack got it first, poor baby, who was in shock to experience throwing up for the first time. It hit me 24 hours later, and Jacob 24 hours after that. We had a day that overlapped where we all felt really lousy and had to do our best to take care of a baby and ourselves with while we could barely pick our heads up.

I do have a mother who lives a few miles away, but I always hate to bug her and ask for anything, she serves until it hurts and she never gets enough sleep, and I really didn't want to expose her to us, so I opted to only call if we had to run to the ER. Her mother's intuition is strong, and she had a feeling she couldn't shake that she just needed to call in the midst of our hardest day just to check in on us. I love that my mom is this perfect example of service, she just finds small ways to help that make big differences whenever she can. She may call just to say hi, send a nice text, stop by for a quick visit to a lonely friend, or purchase one more item at a store to give to someone in need. She's a special ed teacher in a low income school because she loves and cares so deeply for those in need. We're talking I see clearance gym clothes in her shopping cart sometimes which she casually replies a student can't afford them and won't pass P.E. if they can't dress down so it's worth a few bucks. As I think of Christmas and the spirit of it, there's no one who demonstrates that spirit or loving service more than my mother.

In this particular incident, she was already making some soup. She loves to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey in creative ways, and homemade turkey-noodle soup with her fluffy homemade noodles is something amazing! She stopped to think about who could use some, and decided it was time to call me and just see how I was. Within an hour, there was a pot on my porch with my mom down the driveway telling me to get better while doing her best to avoid catching this highly contagious terrible bug herself. As she left I welled up in tears, what was a 20 minute round-trip drive to my house and a minute of pouring some soup in a transportable pot, was something I just wasn't physically able to do for myself. The soup was delicious when I could keep it down the next day, and it was just what I needed to start to regain some energy.

I've been thinking a lot about service this year and how much these small acts add up. I often think of it as something your office does and dressed in street clothes for an entire day instead of going into the office, but it's often those little things and small moments that make all the difference.

Now making someone dinner may be a big deal, I often make it into a production (anyone shocked? I still live by "If it's worth doing it's worth overdoing"). But my mom reminded me sometimes it's making just a little extra food to share. My husband reminds me sometimes it's buying one more slice of pizza when you're out to lunch in the big city and see a hungry homeless person, and just quickly slipping it in their hands. Sometimes he just orders a pizza from afar for someone in need when we don't have much time, or he'll hand a huge coupon and a couple dollars to someone in need. Sometimes it's sharing snacks I pack for my toddler with other moms at events who forgot or who just need a new distraction on a hard day. And sometimes I just run to my freezer, which if you've been a reader a while, you know is always stocked with slow cooker freezer meals for the days I'm in a pinch.

When I was a kid I watched two siblings with chronic problems in and out of the hospital. It was a hard time for a family of five soon-to-be six with hectic schedules, lots of hospital stays, lots of worry one sibling may not live, and two very tired parents. And as I've grown I've realized the people who helped eight-year-old me the most were those moms of my friends who let me hang out after school at their home when my mom was at the hospital, who fed me snacks, who asked about my homework, and who cared enough to give just a little extra to help me feel safe and loved when my parents couldn't be in two places at once.

I think everyone can agree the holiday season is a time when we can stop and think about service, and what a beautiful gift that is. From my personal life, I happen to think it's those very small moments that really add up and make the difference. I wanted to share a campaign Mormon.org is sharing this holiday season that's called #LighttheWorld which focuses on an advent calendar encouraging one small act of service each day, with a few simple ideas to go with that day's theme. No matter what your religion is, I think it's something so many people can love and appreciate, and such a good way to focus on less materialism, and more love this Christmas and holiday season.

I for one am so glad for a reminder to make this season about love, about light, and about focusing on the needs of others. I truly believe it's those small acts of kindness that make the world a better place, and I'm committing myself and my family to help spread some light!

I partnered with Mormon.org for this post, but my feelings of service and amazing soup-making mother are all my own.


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