The Busy Giffs: May 2013

May 30, 2013

I cheated on my bracelet with a blazer.

You know what I love?

Free stuff.

Know what I love more?

When I win it.

At the Blog Better Boston Style Summit, Lulu's set up shop as one of the sponsors!

And here's where I sound silly... I had never heard of Lulu's before!
But when I saw a rack full of gorgeous clothes, I was instantly entranced. 
I scanned the rack and was a bit sad that it was mostly SMALLS and MEDIUMS, but they also had a table full of beautiful baubles so I participated in the #stylescavengerhunt anyways, hoping to win some pretty new arm candy!

Cute Bow Bracelet from LuLu's
And of course, I completed the challenge and settled on the bracelet, not even glancing at the clothes. 

Fast forward 6 hours later and I see a beyond gorgeous floral blazer hanging on the rack. 
Like jaw dropping, matched my outfit perfectly, gorgeous.
Size Large. Shut up.
And I try it on.
And fall in love. 
But I already picked my winner item so I hang it back up and go and sit and wait for the next speaker.
But I keep looking back.
And looking back.
And then I see the rep start packing up. And it's still hanging there.
And I think to myself: I need that blazer.

So I did what any self respecting person would do:
I got up, walked over and asked if I could swap.
She said yes, obviously and I fell in love with Lulu's clothes and customer service.

Disclaimer: I received the blazer as a prize. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

May 28, 2013

Thomas the Tank Engine at Edaville! #ad

I'm always looking for new, inexpensive things to do with my daughter.

Thankfully we live super close to great attractions like Buttonwood Park Zoo, Plimouth Plantation, and Edaville Railroad so there's always something going on!

A Larger than Life Train for the Ride of Their Life.  The GO GO Thomas Tour 2013 is visiting the Edaville USA Railroad in Carver MA on June 15-16, 2013 and June 21-22.

This fun-filled event offers little engineers and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, star of the popular Thomas & Friends series. Children will take a ride along with their favorite engine friend on his latest adventure and participate in Thomas-themed activities including:

* A 25-minute (approximate) ride with
Thomas the Tank Engine  
* Meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway
* A Thomas & Friends Imagination Station; featuring stamps, temporary tattoos, hands-on arts & crafts, train tables, and coloring sheets
* Storytelling
* Video viewing and much more

The GO GO Thomas Tour 2013 is visiting the Edaville USA Railroad in Carver MA on June 15-16, 2013 andJune 21-22.  

I'm excited to bring Emmalee to another fun event!

Disclaimer: My family was offered free tickets in exchange for this post, however I stand behind the product and am excited to attend.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

May 24, 2013

And we're off!

We're on the road!
We are taking our first "official" family vacation.

We'll be back Monday night but for now...

May 23, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Muffin Bites!

Every Saturday morning I make breakfast for my little family. 
It's the only morning of the week I'm home, otherwise I'm teaching or waitressing Sunday am breakfast.
I usually make a big deal of it but since I was home all week making breakfast over vacation, I wanted something a little more special that potatoes and eggs or chocolate chip pancakes.

A quick recipe search gave me:

Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

from Taste of Home.



1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk until well combined.

  • Fill greased muffin cups half full. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Add butter to a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip muffin tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm. 

And my final product:

I think they were wonderful and the whole plate of almost 30 was gone in 10 minutes.
The recipe says it makes a dozen but I made mine more "bite size" and got a lot more!


May 21, 2013

20 Dream Companies

I had the pleasure of attending the Blog Better Boston Style Summit a week back and it was absolutely amazing.
One day. 50 bloggers. Tons of new knowledge.

One of the sessions was hosted by The Boston Fashionista about working with brands.
She left me with two powerful impressions:

1. "You are worth it. Own it. Embrace it."

2. "Think of your 20 dream collaborations. Write them down. That's where you want to go. Now go there."

Making this list really highlights where you want your blog to go so without further ado, in no particular order:

Loft - Kitchenaide - Payless - Target
 Disney - Erin Condren - Fisher Price - Kohls
Sperry - Children's Place - Alex + Ani
Old Navy - Michael Kors - Little Tykes 
Lilly Pulitzer - Vineyard Vines - IKEA
Fisher Price - Food Network - Savers

How about you?
What would your dream collaborations be?

May 20, 2013

Keurig Vue 500 from House Party!

Want to know the most ridiculous secret?

I don't drink coffee.
I don't even like the smell of it. 
No coffee ice cream, no coffee milk (which is like strawberry or chocolate but with coffee flavored syrup-- it's a New England thing), nada.
I drink tea and cocoa, but not coffee.
however, my husband drinks enough for the both of us.

People are always surprised when I say I have a Keurig because  well, I don't drink coffee, but the Keurig is so much more versatile!

I use it to heat up water for my cocoa, my tea, even my oatmeal!

So I was over the moon when I was invited to host a House Party for the new Keurig Vue 500!

While we already had a K-cup machine, the Vue puts it to shame.
The Vue allows you to brew your favorite cup, whether it's hot or over ice, with it's wonderful touchscreen!
You can control the strength of your coffee, the temperature, even the size of your coffee!

It's perfect size for the counter and the Vue cups come in the cutest flip top boxes!
And the Vue cups are the best! Green Mountain, Starbucks, Celestial, Newman's Own...

Now here's the super cool part:

because I was able to host a party, I have a 25% off coupon to share with you!!
The machine is usually 169.99 but with the 25% off coupon from my House Party it's only $127.50! Yowza!!
Use coupon HP-V500-4 before 5/31 to get your savings!

So the question is... which Vue cup would you brew first?

May 17, 2013

Alex + Ani: More than just cute bracelets

It's always easy for me to review a product from a company, but rarely do I ever just talk about how amazing a company is.

About a month ago, I was grading papers and when I looked down, my Alex + Ani apple charm bangle had snapped off.  Like the apple disconnected from the stem snapped off. 

I only got it in September.
It was a "Happy First Day of Teaching" gift.
I take it off before every shower and every bed time.
So for it to break after only 8 months... cmon.

I tweeted about being upset over it and got a tweet back from Alex + Ani with their repair and return policy.  
I was outside the time frames, it no longer had a tag on it, etc so it seemed like a lost cause.

Then I get a text from Alex + Ani asking me to call. So I do.
They tell me to bring it to the Paper Store, which is where I bought it.

No tags, no box, no sticker, no receipt.
They took my old bracelet and handed me a brand new one.

I loved Alex + Ani before but after getting that type of customer service, after seeing how much pride they have in their product, I will be buying these bracelets for everyone!
What a wonderful company!

May 14, 2013


In September, I was hired as a paraprofessional.
Technically a part time teacher, working full time hours, getting paid a part-time salary.

I've done it for a year, loved it but literally can not afford to do it any longer.
So I was extremely excited when my school posted for a Special Education job and an English job.
However, being the lowest on he totem pole at school, I was hopeful but not naive.

I interviewed last week and was called into the front office on Wednesday morning.

You are reading the writings of the newest official English teacher at my school!!
I am so so excited!!

Top that off with a 4.0 this semester and I'm feeling pretty freakin' awesome!! 

May 13, 2013

Buttonwood Park Zoo

One of my favorite local places to go with Emmalee is the Buttonwood Park Zoo!

It's only about 10 minutes from our house and is just big enough for her, without it being too overwhelming.
We usually spend about 2 hours and then another hour next door at the playground, having a picnic.

I love spending my day with her!

May 10, 2013

Gifts for the Hubs

Want to know a fun (not so) secret?
MY husband turns 30 next week!!

He's been dropping some hints about things he'd like...

Timberland Pro Steel Toe "Pit Boss" boots.

Defiance for Xbox

A kayak

..although I have NO CLUE at all so I'm absolutely not getting him one...

It's a super manly wish list and I'm not quite sure what to get him yet!
Which would you pick?

May 9, 2013

The Great Gatsby

I can not wait for this movie!!

I am a HUGE fan of the book (and have been pushing for it to be added to our curriculum...) and I really hope that the movie doesn't disappoint!

all images via IMP Awards

What do you think?
Will it live up to the hype in my head??

May 7, 2013

Ivory 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash #Ivory2in1power

Influenster is back at it again!
I've already been lucky enough to review some awesome surprise boxes, and I was really thrilled when a new box arrived on my doorstep!

This surprise box contained a HUGE bottle of Ivory's new 2-in-1 hair & body wash!

I'm talking full-size here.

I will admit I was a bit skeptical.
A product that promises to do the work of both my shampoo and body wash? I'm obviously intrigued. 

So I checked out the Tipping Point video posted on Ivory's Facebook Page:
I loved it and figured I'd try it out!

This is what my shower looked like before trying Ivory's new 2-in-1:

Yes, there's 6 types of shampoo in there.
I have a problem. 
5 of them are mine.

But I struggle with shampoo. If I use one for more than 3 days in a row, my hair gets greasy, so then I switch to a different kind, and then when my hair gets dry, I switch again. I just have weird hair I guess.

So I tried the new 2-in-1 by Ivory and I'm in love.
3 days later and my hair doesn't feel greasy or dry, it feels light and bouncy.
here's what my shower looks like now:

I adore this new 2-in-1 product and so does my wallet and my shower walls!
Less clutter, less expense!
My one and only issue... and you will laugh when you read this... 
I can't use it on Emmalee.

I did. Once. And she was fine with it.
No tears when I washed her hair, no skin reactions, nothing.
But when I snuggled her at night before bed, she didn't smell like her Johnson & Johnson Lavender Baby wash, and I just can't give up that "baby smell" yet...

Yes, go ahead and laugh now...
And when you're done laughing, go pick some up for yourself!

Disclaimer: I was sent a bottle of Ivory's 2-in-1 wash in exchange for my thoughts and opinions on it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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