Sammy Makes Six

Sep 20, 2016

Echo Park Lake #1

We visit L.A. pretty often but had never stopped at Echo Park until recently. Turns out we've been missing one of the most wonderful places in Los Angeles all this time. Well not anymore. Since this visit we've already gone back once and plan on visiting at least once a month. It's just a great place to hang out, to walk, to eat a bunch of snacks and let the kids play in the playground. Echo Park Lake has this amazing sense of community and it's such a welcoming place. 

I've taken a ton of photos (w/ my iPhone) and will be sharing them in a series of posts. I'm just so in love with this place. If you ever visit the L.A. area I definitely suggest visiting Echo Park Lake. Parking is a bit of a pain since you have to park in the street and it's super crowded, but just be patient, it's worth it. 

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake

Fighting Aging Skin One Day At A Time

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of NEUTROGENA® and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. The opinions and text are all mine.

I talk a lot about beauty and the latest makeup trends and products, but I think something that is much more important than cosmetics is taking care of our skin. I turned 43 just two months ago, an age that I used to think was ancient and way over the hill. But now that I am actually here, 43 ain't all that bad. However, at this age there is a lot more "upkeep" when it comes to caring for my skin. When we are young our skin is supple, firm, wrinkle-free and in great shape, but as we get older all of these things begin to change. One of the most important aspects of fighting the good fight against aging skin is making sure that I am using the right products for my skin type and needs. Today I want to share two of the products that I am currently using to keep my dry, aging skin looking great.  

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer is not new to me at all because I have been using the Night version for years. That has been a part of my nightly skincare routine for about six years and it's stuck around so long because it's a product that really works for me. Recently I have added Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer with sunscreen to my daytime skin care routine for the same reasons I use the night version, I need help fighting skin aging. 

While I don't have really noticeable crows feet yet, I do have deep expression lines in between my eyes, in my smile lines and on my forehead. My skin also isn't as bright as it used to be. Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 renews the look of skin throughout the day and visibly fades the look on those unwanted crow’s feet, stubborn deep wrinkles, and forehead and cheek, expression lines. This super charged formula is combined with UVA/UVB SPF 30 for daily sun protection. The added sun protection in this product is a big plus for me since I am in and out of the car picking up kids all day, I can use as much sun protection as possible.

A newer product in my daytime skincare regimen is the Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry Skin. When your skin as dry as mine the aging process is even faster. I envy women with oily skin because even though they have to deal with extra oil, their skin is so much healthier looking and they age slower. My dry skin is so parched, and so devoid of any moisture that there are days it looks older than 43. Using Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel-Cream everyday, even under makeup has given my skin a boost of hydration in a really cool gel cream that feels wonderful going on the skin.

Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Extra-Dry Skin, with hyaluronic acid, delivers vital hydration and instantly quenches the skin. While oil-free and smooth to touch, the unique gel-cream formula absorbs quickly, like a gel, but has the long-lasting, intense moisturizing power of a cream with olive extract that helps lock in hydration.

I didn't start taking care of my skin until I was in my mid-30's which is something I totally regret. I can only wonder how much better shape it would be in had I taken care of it from the beginning. My girls are in their early 20's and they all have daily skin regimens, which makes me so happy. But all I can do now is stick to my morning and evening skincare routines using products that help me hydrate my skin and hold the aging process off as long as possible. Something that I really enjoy about Neutrogena's products is that they don't break the bank, so we can all afford to care for our skin daily.

For my dry, aging skin I trust Neutrogena. I'm okay being 43 years old, but I don't necessarily want to look it. Why age faster than we have to?

Her Favorite White Bunny Top

This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their White Revive™ Laundry Stain Remover, all opinions are my own. 

My Sammy is getting to be so big, when I look at her I can't believe that she's my baby. This is that same shy little girl with the Dora bangs that was so quiet I wondered if she would ever make friends or even talk at school. She's also the same little girl that I used to dress up to my liking, always choosing pink, frilly clothes and over-fussy outfits. She's my last kid and I guess I really wanted to get my fill of getting to dress my last little girl like a princess. 

But now Sammy is a whole nine years old and I no longer get to dress her in pink ribbons or really tacky outfits. Sammy has her own style and she now gets to pick out what to wear, and she has her favorites. 

Like her white bunny shirt that we got a few years back but she refuses to stop wearing. The thing is starting to get really snug in the tummy area and the arms are getting shorter but it's still the one that gets pulled out a few times a week. Especially now that it matches her brand new school shoes.

With her bunny shirt she's happy and comfortable, I get that. But what's going to happen when it completely stops fitting her? I've actually started looking at the H & M site for anything that might be similar in a larger size, because the end of the bunny shirt is near. Seriously, if it gets any shorter she's going to be showing major tummy.

One thing I've never had to worry about with Sammy's bunny shirt or the many other white tops she owns are constant stains. Because when you have kids you know that stains are absolutely inevitable, especially if they are wearing white. So when the cranberry juice she was supposed to be carefully drinking ends up on her favorite bunny shirt, we don't have to worry that the end of her beloved top is here, because we have OxiClean™ White Revive, which is a miracle worker. 

OxiClean™ White Revive from the OxiClean™ family is one of those products that you need to invest in and that will pay for itself immediately. OxiClean™ White Revive helps me keep Sammy's cute white clothes from looking dingy, it revives them and always makes them look fresh.

All I have to do is add a tiny scoop of OxiClean™ White Revive into warm water, allow to soak for a few minutes, and that's it. The stain actually came right off but might as well let it soak for a while to really brighten it up.  

Isn't it incredible? I don't know about you but I don't keep bleach in the house, it terrifies me and I have ruined plenty of clothes (and other household items) with it. OxiClean™ White Revive has no chlorine and is safe on colors so you never have to worry about those awful bleach accidents.  

The beloved white bunny shirt has survived another cranberry juice accident and can continue to be on constant rotation in Sammy's wardrobe. After washing it again with OxiClean™ White Revive it looks even whiter so she's probably going to wear it again tomorrow. 

OxiClean™ White Revive is a superhero in my house. I use it with a lot of our household loads (linens, kitchen towels and bed clothes) to keep everything crisp and fresh and it works so well that it's a must have in our home. Plus it takes the stains out of her white clothes like MAGIC! 

Got kids? Buy OxiClean™ White Revive and forget dealing with stains on whites. 

Sep 2, 2016

How To Get Positively Ready for Back-to-School

I have received information and materials from JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSUMER, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division, LLC. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. #PositivelyPrepared #BacktoSchool #CollectiveBias

My Sammy is now in 4th grade which seems insane. Didn't she just start Kindergarten last year? Time sure does fly quickly. Luckily time has been good to us and three weeks ago my baby girl, the last of my children, started the fourth grade. We spent the entire month before her start date getting ready for back-to-school. Being prepared for her heading back to class also means being prepared for all of the cold and illnesses that come with the season. 

How To Get Positively Ready for Back-to-School

1: Purchase pain relief otc medications before-hand so you can be ready to face illnesses or pain quickly and efficiently. 

I'm really big into prevention, but no matter how hard you fight to prevent germs coming into your home, they still manage to make it in. Then there's all the germs that are being passed around in class. Before you know it, and usually just in the first few weeks of school, Sammy will come home with a fever. 

Usually it'll be one of those quick fevers that hits them right after school that you can treat with Children’s TYLENOL®. Children’s TYLENOL® is the #1 Pediatrician Recommended Brand for Pain & Fever and Used by Moms for Over 60 years. Usually we can do a dose of Children’s TYLENOL® that evening with plenty of liquids and rest, and she can be back in class in the morning. 

The back-to-school season also brings with it all of the after school activities. We spend most evenings at the park watching the kids play, which means carrying Children’s TYLENOL®, along with other products that we will need.

2: Pick up medicine for the correct age group for the kids and don't forget to pick up some for yourself too. You must take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else. 

With everything that I have on my plate you can bet that there's usually one part of my body that is in pain. But when you're a mom AND grandmother there's no downtime. Life, and the kids aren't going to wait for the headache to go away or for the aches and pains to subside.  MOTRIN® PM works fast to stop pain where it starts and temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to: the common cold, headache, backache, minor pain of arthritis, toothache, muscular aches, premenstrual and menstrual cramps. 

For the body soreness that accompanies everyday life: from the gym, sitting in a chair all day, lugging kids in and out of the car, I turn to Ultra Strength BENGAY® Cream. BENGAY® temporarily relieves the minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with: simple backache, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains. There are days that I will sit on the grass to watch the kids and honestly my body feels like it's not going to want to get back up. But a little bit of Ultra Strength BENGAY®  massaged into my back at night definitely soothes the pain away. 

The back-to-school season is hectic, it's stressful and it's chaotic but it's also one of my favorite seasons. It means the kids are back in school so we can get more done in a day, while they learn. It means that fall is in the air and soon we shall be enjoying the fall events at school and right after that the holidays.

By stocking up at Target for everything we need for the season, we're positively ready to face whatever comes our way.  Get positively prepared with the right pain relief for you and your family at Target. Start the school year happy and healthy and with as little pain as possible!

Aug 31, 2016

Keeping Back-to-School Lunch Fun & Easy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PackSnacksTheyLove #CollectiveBias

I I enjoy the back-to-school season even though it is such a hectic one because after a really long summer it gives me a chance to start catching up with work and my household.  And even though I do miss my kid for the six hours that she is in class, it's nice to have her back in school where she can learn and grow. For us the back-to-school season really is incredibly hectic and it's also a really expensive time. The cost of buying her new school uniforms each year, tons of school supplies, and the weekly shopping trip for her snack and lunch can get very expensive.

 That's why right now I am making the Sunday grocery run to Food 4 Less, a Kroger banner store. Food 4 Less seriously gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Sometimes I only pack a lunch for Sammy, on other days I have my two grandkids to pack a lunch for. Their mom just went back to school, so three days a week I pack a lunch for three different children. With that many kids needing a lunch and snack, you bet that I need my dollar to stretch as far as possible.

At Food 4 Less I can find all of their favorites at the best price. Which is great because that means that I really can get all of the stuff they like, so I can keep the lunches fun and enjoyable for them. 

The school week is long and I try to make lunch time good for them, which means having  a large variety of snacks to pick from.  Having all of these items at-the-ready in my pantry means I can also get in and out of the kitchen quickly in the mornings. 

We don't have a lot of time each day to get ready and out the door, that's why my pantry is always filled and ready to go. On Thursday Sammy only has snack because it's her minimum day and on those days I pack her one of the larger snacks and a fruit or other side. 

On those days I send her off with a larger bag of Chips Ahoy which I buy in the multipack box. These pre-packed baggiess are more convenient than buying the regular cookie pack and having to pack them in baggies and keep the rest fresh. Another favorite of hers is are the RITZ Bits Cracker Sandwiches. I always have a few boxes of these at home for sticking in my purse anytime we are going out. They are perfect for giving the kids a quick snack while you are out. 

The rest of the week and when I have the other kids to pack for, I change things up so that they won't get bored as easily with their lunches. 

A few tips I have for keeping back-to-school lunch fun and easy are:

  • Buy a lunch container that fits all of their foods in one place so they can grab it easily from their lunchbox at school.
  • Keep a varied selection of fruits and veggies pre-washed in the fridge so you can easily fill up their container each morning.
  • Buy prepackaged snacks: they are more convenient and make packing lunches easier and faster.
  • Buy a selection of lunch meats, peanut butter and jelly so that their sandwiches are also different each day. 
  • Keep it simple. Kids like their food to be simple and easy to eat. Try not to add foods that need heating or utensils as kids will waste more time waiting for their food to be heated and might not have enough time to eat. 

Below are a few examples of three different lunches that I will pack in  a day.

Having these bite-sized snacks already prepackaged just makes packing each lunch easy and convenient. With all of their favorites: Ritz, Teddy Grahams, OREO, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, Barnum's Animal Crackers, and Honey Maid crackers, they always eat up and bring back an empty container. Packing them kid-friendly snacks they love is easy and more affordable with so many great options from Mondelez.