Bags, babies, beauty, and whatever else crosses my mind...

Friday, November 15, 2013

We moved!

So, erhm - long time, no write? Long story short - we've been moving over the past few months and most everything else has gotten sidelined while we focused on packing, moving, and unpacking. We are currently still in the midst of getting settled in to our new house (same general location, just new house) - and I felt like it was time to revive my blog with an update.

Okay, I lied - I needed to pin a picture to my Pinterest page of a custom outfit that Natalie will probably wear for her upcoming 2nd birthday - and as it turns out, you can't pin from Facebook. I *have* been thinking I needed to do a blog check-in though!

So in my absence, I was able to continue sporadically posting on YouTube... here are the highlights of what you missed while I was "away":

I shopped at Sephora.

I'm putting together a purse display room.

I still had to get groceries.

So really... not too much. LOL! And I'm hoping to be back to a more regular posting schedule - both blog AND YouTube - in the coming weeks. Full details of Natalie's birthday party in blog & video form of course, and a blog check-in on our move is probably due as well!

With that mini update... I leave you with - the photo of the outfit Natalie will more than likely wear to her 2nd birthday party next weekend. ;)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

National Handbag Day!

National Handbag Day is tomorrow, October 10th! It is the first ever 'National Handbag Day' and was recently enacted by the Purse Blog as an official holiday! (They applied for it to be a holiday just for purse enthusiasts!)

I thought this was neat and wanted to spread the word, check out my video below to see what handbag I will be using for the inaugural Handbag Day and go to Purse Blog for more information on the new holiday!

* I am in no way affiliated with Purse Blog, I just thought this was a neat holiday and wanted to share! This is not a paid review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Preschool Alphabet Letter Crafts: A through Z!

For the first 26 weeks of Preschool at Home, we completed an alphabet letter craft for each letter of the alphabet! I came across the idea of these adorable things on Pinterest one night before starting our preschool at home endeavor, and decided we would do the coordinating craft letter to match the 'letter of the week' each week!

I thought it worked perfectly and it was a great way to reinforce the letter of the week, as well as an additional way to talk about things that started that letter. Some of Cupcake's favorites were the 'I is for Ice Cream' craft, 'L is for Lion', 'T is for Tree', and 'X is for Xylophone'! I helped with the cutting and some marker work for details, Cupcake was in charge of glueing the letters down to the page, picking out background paper colors, and arranging everything together. By the end of the first 26 weeks, she had become a pro at putting the letters together!

26 Letters in detail:

A is for Alligator
B is for Bear
C is for Cat
D is for Dog
E is for Elephant

F is for Fox
G is for Giraffe
H is for Horse
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Jaguar

K is for Kangaroo
L is for Lion
M is for Mouse
N is for Nest
O is Owl

P is for Parrot
Q is for Quail
R is for Rabbit
S is for Snail
T is for Tree

U is for Umbrella 
V is for Vase
W is for Watermelon
X is for Xylophone
Y is for Yak

Z is for Zebra!

Check out our Preschool at Home project on YouTube, where we work on preschool projects at home to increase readiness for going to school!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ponds Luminous Finish BB+ Cream!

Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ Cream is in stores now and new for the US market in July 2013!

I have been trying it out the past few weeks and have absolutely been loving it! I was sent the Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ Cream by Influenster to do a product test of it before it released in the United States and also post a product review of it, if I felt the product was worthy.

I've enjoyed using the BB+ Cream, and I have to say the timing was absolutely perfect - as I had been leaning towards wearing BB creams for the majority of the summer. I was happy to try another option, and the Luminous Finish BB+ Cream didn't disappoint!

It claims to improve your skin texture over a period of two weeks and also decrease dark spots on your skin as well, I do believe I've seen an improvement in my skin and I know my skin feels better... so that is an important part as well.

Also, it gives great coverage and I can "build" it in areas where I would like a little bit more coverage - but it doesn't cake up or look like I'm wearing a ton of makeup. BB creams are great to let your natural skin shine through, and this BB+ cream is no exception, in that it gives my skin a nice healthy glow when I'm wearing it.

The BB+ cream also works great as a moisturizer, so i'm looking forward to wearing this during the winter months when my skin tends to get a bit dry - and if I can put faith in any company to know its moisturizers, it would be Pond's. A company known for its moisturizer world wide for decades.

This item is currently available on mass retailer store shelves now, and retail price is approximately $9.99.

See the full review and explanation of the Pond's contest below:

See my 2 minute entry in the Pond's Facebook competition for who best displayed and represented the product in under 2 minutes!

Vote NOW on the Pond's Facebook page for the best representatives of the BB+ Cream! Voting goes through August 12, 2013.

** Items in this review were sent complimentary for purposes of completing a review. This is not a paid review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 15, 2013

OkieDog Saha Tote Diaper Bag Review!

I was given the opportunity to review the Saha Tote by OkieDog, a company new to the US diaper bag market. I chose the Mondrian color scheme, which is a rich purple tone with a bright pink accent.

The tote is a great size for everyday use and the perfect size to carry around items for my two toddlers - one potty trained and the other still in diapers. It measures 18" by 12" by 5.5" inches, and accommodated all of my essentials nicely.

There are a number of organizational elements to keep items in place, I especially like how the front pocket has a built in key holder and cell phone pocket, perfect for use for "mommy items". On the interior, there is a changing pad included and a slip pocket with a snap closure to keep it in place. Also included for babies using bottles is an insulated drink holder.

An accessory pouch with the adorable bird print was included with the bag, and I found that it worked great as a "quick change emergency" bag for my older toddler that is potty training. To keep a change of clothes and wet bag in, and attach it to a snap closure strap on the interior that I could access quickly.

There are numerous pockets to keep diapers, wipes, sippy cups, toys, and other essentials organized:

Included were some clips to use with the "Clipix" system, to attach to your stroller or other items, and use the o-rings on the exterior of the bag to hang and easily be detachable. Okiedog also included a cup holder accessory to try out the Clipix system, which worked out great on my Britax B-Ready to have an additional cup holder to utilize! (Either on the top for the parent, or even on the bottom level for a toddler!!)

Final Verdict:
My favorite part was the print and colors! Such an adorable design and I loved the subtle pink accents on the bag. The Saha tote style was comfortable to carry and use.

I thought this was a well thought out diaper bag that was fun to use, wonderful to look at, and kept me well organized! The size worked out perfectly for my two toddlers' items and the bag seemed durable enough to keep up with our play date filled lives. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a tote style diaper bag to keep them organized!

Watch the full video review here!

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Dress Up Storage & Organization!

Tah dah! Everyone at our house is now a princess... due to our wonderful new dress up organization for the girls' dresses and accessories! It works as great storage when the items are not in use and gives them easy access to use things during play time!

We had originally seen a dress up station on, but my husband thought it was something he could tackle and do himself. We came across blogger Jess, that had that same thought on "Craftiness is not Optional", which even contained a link to another site by Ana White that had some plans for similar designs! He went to work on ours and came up with a design that would work great in our play room.

My husband put it together over a few weekends, with some additional work time being added on it by using a router on all of the edges to give them a rounded finish - so there were no sharp corners in the girls' play area. We picked out paint at Lowe's (Valspar "Plum Burst" 4002- 10B, in case you're looking for it!) - and made our own stencils on some card stock using a font in the word processing program on our computer. I think it turned out beautifully!

The top shelf has storage space for tiaras, cowboy hats, and the pirate hat... if it was ever not in use!

Lots of room to hold the ever important dresses & tutus!

The bottom has a bin that is a great little cubby for purses, shoes, and jewelry:

It has been a great addition to the play room! I will do an updated playroom organization video soon!

Here's the reveal of the dress up station to the girls for the first time - and a mini tour of their dress up items (so far, ha!) in their collection:

The girls loved it, as you can see here!

Cupcake looking all grown up in her Rapunzel costume!

Peanut enjoying the dress up selections!

Great job to Daddy and Grandad - and a very special thanks to Craftiness is Not Optional who was a great help in giving us inspiration for ours, and the plans by Ana White that she linked on her page that gave Daddy a great place to start for ours!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Kodiak Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix!

I was contacted by Kodiak Cakes to review one of their products, and while I don't normally accept food reviews and initially was set to decline, I changed my mind after some consideration . The concept of a healthier box mix without preservatives intrigued me and I also appreciated that it is a family owned business, being a former entrepreneur myself.

So I accepted the review and received two boxes of their FlapJack Mix to review (along with a super cute apron!) - I set off to try my hand at making some pancakes!

They really are straight forward, dare I say... easy? To make... Instructions were quick to follow and it just took 1 cup of the mix to 1 cup of water, a bit of whisking, and we were off!

They cooked up quickly, 1 minute on the first side and 30 seconds for the second, and turned out great! The true test was the taste... and they passed with flying colors! I would definitely say they tasted better than "other" box mixes I had tried in the past, and I thought the consistency was great. Light and fluffy, not too thick or thin, the 1 cup to 1 cup ratio worked out great for me!

I will be looking for other Kodiak Cake products at my local Target stores, as most Target stores recently started stocking their products. Will let you know what I find in an upcoming Target haul!

See the full video review here:

** Items shown in this review were sent to the reviewer complimentary for consideration of the review. This was not a paid review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gymboree Semi-Annual Red Balloon Sales is Online & In-stores!!

Gymboree's semi-annual Red Balloon Sale (or 'RBS') starts TODAY, online and in stores! Known for its great finds from last season's lines and stock up quality, the price points are $.99, $3.99, $6.99, and $7.99!

I'm hoping to find some winter gear for the girls' closets!

Check out last's years' RBS haul:

Hopefully, if I can find some good deals in store - there will be a Gymboree RBS Haul for Summer 2013 forthcoming!! Happy shopping!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Preschool at Home: Week 16 & 17!

Week 16 - Navigating Numbers!

Week 16 of Preschool at Home was all about "Navigating Numbers"!

'N' was our letter of the week, and as I'm sure you can guess from the title, our focus was numbers! We counted to 40, and worked on simple addition and subtraction. I also found some great number match worksheets in a kindergarten readiness workbook that Cupcake really enjoyed completing, so I will look to include skill activities like those in the future.

Our craft for the week was a 'N is for Nest' letter activity:

Our learning board:

And I especially loved using this Fisher Price Market toy, to play a checkout game with Cupcake to do some simple addition and subtraction - it worked great!

Week 17 - Happy Home Week!

For Week 17, our theme was "Happy Home" week, Earth Day was on Monday of this week... so we did a few Earth Day activities, talking about recycling and doing a recycling sorting worksheet. The letter of the week was 'H" and since we were a bit under the weather in various ways (colds, allergies, you name it...) we did our basic activities and had a handful of special events that were in our schedule as well, so it was a light week for our preschool activities.

Our craft for the week was a 'H is for Horse' activity:

Next up! Dress-up week... which I'm sure will be a hit with the girls!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Preschool at Home: Week 15 - Growing Grammar!

For Week 15 we talked about "Growing Grammar" and the letter 'G'!

We had a special play date planned that worked perfectly with our theme, where we painted some garden pots to plant flowers and vegetables in to watch them grow this summer.

Also, we completed some worksheets on the letter 'G', nouns (the part of grammar we were focusing on for the week), and did a 'G is for Giraffe' craft! Since giraffes are a particular weak spot of mine, I had a slight obsession with them while I was pregnant with Cupcake - and decorated the nursery with a jungle animal theme centering around giraffes - we did a "Mommy & baby" giraffe theme craft. I colored the spots on the mommy giraffe and had Cupcake help me glue it together, she colored the spots on the baby giraffe.

I thought they turned out great!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Preschool at Home: Week 14 - Fantastic Feelings!

Week 14 of Preschool at Home was 'Fantastic Feelings!' week, where we talked about different feelings and emotions, since Cupcake has started to show interest in talking more about feelings. I had recently found a number of books to add to our collection on feelings, so we focused on those over the week and also did some feelings worksheets as well.

The letter of the week was 'F' and we did an 'F is for Fox' craft project!

I also incorporated feelings in an upcoming busy bag exchange that we are taking part in, and I will share that project in a future post - but the exchange happened to be the following week so it didn't line up exactly timing-wise with feelings week. We will continue to talk about feelings off and on in the future though, since Cupcake more interested in understanding what different feelings mean.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pre-School at Home: Week 13 - Egg-cellent Easter Week!

Week 13 of preschool at home was Egg-cellent Easter Week!

We did some fun "letter E" craft activities:

And had some fun Easter events like an egg hunt, as well!

These were the girls' Easter egg baskets - and you can check out what was inside in the video below!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Influenster Sugar 'N Spice VoxBox!

What is Influenster?

I received my first Influenster VoxBox in the mail this month, and I was excited to try it out! I first heard about Influenster while blog surfing one night, and ending up on a blog that I had never read before. After looking around for a bit, I found that the writer was an Influenster member and the concept was intriguing.

After signing up at the website, I shortly received an invite to join and was able to look through the full scope of the website. It is fantastic! A wide range of subject matter to chose from (and focus on the things that are most interesting to you) and within those specific subjects, tons and tons of companies and products - with feedback from other Influenster members and the option to leave your own as well.

I personally signed up to focus on the fashion, beauty, home decor, and mommy areas. These are areas that I find most applicable and most interesting in my life.

After looking around in the fashion section for a bit, I was excited to find a section for Louis Vuitton reviews! (Score!) Of course this was right up my alley, and was able to contribute quite a bit of my material I already had on my Bags4Bubbles YouTube channel, as well as submitting my own written review.

There was a secondary opportunity that was optional if it was something that interested you, called a "VoxBox". This is not paid monthly box service, and instead... if you express your interest that you would be interested in trying out a "VoxBox" Influenster judges whether you would be a good match to receive and review the boxes - and if they do indeed believe that you would be a good match to receive the box you are selected to receive one complimentary.

The only obligation on the Influenster's part is that you agree to fill out an end of program survey on the products in the box, letting Influenster and the companies know what you thought about each of the products that you tried. Talking about the products elsewhere is optional, but of course - trying out new things and talking about them is fun... so where we go!

First Impressions & Final Verdicts

First Impressions (YouTube video form):

Final Verdicts:

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer - $7.99 for 6.5 oz. can
     ** Well known company with a great new product! I was thinking of trying a spray sunscreen this summer, so this was a great product to test out to see what I thought of the "spray" concept. While you still need to use your hands to rub in the moisturizer, I love that it doesn't leave your hands greasy and still leaves you with nice soft skin! I would purchase this for sure in the future.

NECTRESSE - $3.99 for box of 40 packets
     ** LOVE these! These were great and timely! I had just been in the process of eliminating non-natural artificial sweeteners from my diet and was using the other type of popular natural non-calorie sweetener on the market, so these were great to try! I have to say, they work great and I would definitely repurchase them in the future. They taste very similar to other all natural sweeteners and have just the right effect in my tea. I prefer them in iced tea over hot tea.

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes - 
$5.99 for 20 ct. box
     ** While the smell on these isn't necessarily "bad"... these do use the same main ingredient as the products they give you after you have a baby. And while I won't go into the fine detail, apparently my nose has a memory sense. I was unable to continue to use these on my face based on the scent, they were nice and cooling, as witch hazel is known to be very soothing. This is not an item I would purchase for myself, but would recommend to anyone that would like a soothing towelette for their face and doesn't have any particular associations with the potent witch hazel smell.

Colgate Optic White regimen:
 - Toothpaste, $2.99 for 4oz tube
 - Mouthwash $2.99 for 8oz bottle
 - Toothbrush $2.99 per brush
     ** These products worked just "okay" for me, the toothbrush was probably the best out of the three and something I would consider for traveling. (I normally use an electric toothbrush.) I already use a regular Colgate toothpaste, so trying this product wasn't too far of a stretch for me... however I did feel that the Optic White toothpaste made my teeth too sensitive, so I will be sticking to my "regular" Colgate toothpaste that has whitening effects in it, but isn't a full "whitening" toothpaste.

The mouthwash was a bit too harsh for me as well, the taste was something close to hydrogen peroxide with no additional flavoring and I just couldn't get past that. (Disclaimer: I normally use a mint flavored mouthwash, so I might just need that flavor to it to be able to use it.)

Overall, I would purchase the toothbrush in the future. I will be sticking to my regular Colgate toothpaste and other brand mint flavored mouthwash that I was already using.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits - $3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits
     ** Love these breakfast biscuits! They were delicious and would be great for breakfasts on the go! The taste was very nice with a hint of cinnamon - not too sweet and didn't taste like cardboard either! I will be looking for these the next time I'm at the grocery store and would definitely purchase them in the future!

FTC Disclaimer: Items in this blog post were sent complimentary from Influenster for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.