Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spread the Love this Valentine's Day with #Hallmark Gifts and Greetings (Review & Giveaway)

Part of Our 2013 Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Valentine's Day will soon be here, and while my husband and I don't usually go crazy over flowers, nice dinners out and/or gifts to show our love for one another, we have another special love in our lives, who absolutely gives us endless reasons to celebrate love.

This Valentine's Day, Hallmark has some wonderful greetings and gifts in store, to help us honor some of those we love most: our children. I can't begin to explain the joy my son brings to me and my husband. Yes, he's rambunctious and willful, but he's loving, caring, sweet, and full of surprises! We could shower him with presents- toys, and even candies, but with a little help from Hallmark, we're able to give him little tokens of love to enjoy and hold onto, even when we can't be together.

Product View
Until We Hug Again Bear, $29.95

Hallmark was kind enough to send us some wonderful goodies, and I couldn't wait for Balian to see them. We received an adorable Until We Hug Again Bear. This super soft, loveable, huggable pal is so cute and friendly, and it's one of Hallmark's recordable gifts. This little guy came to us in a nice box, with clear, easy to read and follow instructions for recording a personalized message for the bear to play.

Here's our bear, still in its box: the details and instructions are clearly laid out on the back of the box.

I removed the Until We Hug Again Bear from his box, and followed the instructions so I could record a message for Balian. I held the 'record' button down, until I heard it beep, and then proceeded to sing the 'I Love You, You Love Me Song,' which we sing before bedtime, every night. I released the button when I finished singing the song, and then gave the bear a squeeze to see if it worked. 

Balian was eager to play with his new friend, and asked me to fetch the 'adult scissors' to set him free.

When I handed the Until We Hug Again Bear over to Balian, he stroked its fur, and said, 'Pleased to meet you!' I encouraged him to give his new pal a hug, and when B gave the bear a gentle squeeze, he was surprised to hear his mommy singing his favorite bedtime song. He began to sing along with my voice, and continued hugging his bear.

B, hugging his bear and singing along with mommy...

Hallmark's Until We Hug Again Bear (and Bunny!) are just a couple examples of wonderful, recordable gifts from Hallmark. I love that B can take the bear with him when he spends the night away from home, give the bear a hug, and still be able to sing his bedtime song with mommy. These are also great gifts for grandparents or relatives who don't get to see the ones they love very often, to give to a child, grandchild, etc. Wouldn't this even be a sweet gift to give to a college student?

And what would Valentine's Day be without adorable cards? Hallmark also sent us some super cute cards for kids- little reminders of how awesome, wonderful, and super special they are!

I love these designs, and can't wait to share them with some of the special kids in our lives!

We even received some Special Delivery Card Presenters for kids! With cute characters like Snoopy and Mini Mouse, these presenters hold a special Valentine's Day message for your little sweetie. The character pocket can be kept and played with, or kept as a keepsake for collecting special tokens, messages, etc. Balian was thrilled when he saw Snoopy in our dining room!

Our Special Delivery Card Presenters. Recognize these guys? How cute are these?

Young or old, Hallmark is definitely the go-to store for Valentine's Day gifts and greetings. I love walking into my local Hallmark store and browsing their wonderful selection of cards and gifts. I sort of lose track of time when I'm reading all of the cards! Check your local Hallmark store for these gifts, greetings, and more for Valentine's Day, and for all of the special occasions you'll be celebrating, like birthdays, weddings, graduations, and more!

Product View

Want It? Buy It!

You can find these featured items and more in your local Hallmark store, or in the Hallmark store online! Be sure to check out Hallmark on Facebook and Twitter, so you never miss out on new gifts, ideas, and special greetings.

Want It? Win It!

One lucky MBP reader will win their very own Until We Hug Again and Greetings Gift Pack, similar to the one I received for review. Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter to win! First two fields on the Rafflecopter are mandatory and the rest are optional- just remember, the more you do, the greater your chances of winning are!

Special thanks to Hallmark for allowing us to share the love with these gifts and greetings and for offering a special giveaway for our readers, as well.

Good luck!

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Disclosure: Other than the above mentioned products, which I received directly from this sponsor for review purposes, I was not compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ. Mommy's Block Party and its team members are not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment- this is the understood responsibility of the giveaway sponsor.

Great Style for Every Season at #ConversationPieces (#Review)

I don't know what to think of the weather anymore. I live in the Piedmont of North Carolina, and this time of year, there's no telling what we'll be dealing with. One day, we may have snow and ice, and days later, we're in the 70's, with tornado watches looming over our heads. I've sort of been feeling like I need to have some double-duty clothing in my closet, ready to carry me through the rest of winter, through spring.

Conversation Pieces

My favorite 'best kept secret,' and clothing boutique, Conversation Pieces just got some great new styles in for spring, and they still have plenty of wintery styles available, too. Of course, this makes me jump for joy, since I need chic, affordable styles that will suit my momma-lifestyle. I've had the pleasure of working with Audrey and the fantastic team at Conversation Pieces for a little over a year, now, and have been loving every minute of it! Not only are the designs super fresh, they're boutique quality, from up and coming designers, and the prices are always reasonable!

Here are my goodies, all wrapped up...

I just received a little goodie box from Conversation Pieces, with a few of my top picks from my wishlist! I love that sweet, shabby chic, California livin' vibe that comes with every Conversation Pieces packages and shines through their website and blog! Each package sent out from Conversation Pieces comes wrapped in tissue, and bound with a pink lace ribbon, the Conversation Pieces signature style. Plus, each ribbon holds a lollipop- something sweet, each and every time!

The top five items on my Conversation Pieces wishlist...

Of course, with so many great new pieces, I didn't know which to try on first. Since the day after the arrival of these lovely pieces we supposed to be near 70 degrees, I thought the Breaking Traditions Top would be a  great piece to start with.

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Breaking Traditions Top

I chose this casual, chic top for its versatility. I love the 3/4 length sleeve, and the banded black around the collar, sleeve bottoms and shirt bottom. The contrast between the black and almost purple hues of blue make this a great choice for cooler months. The high/low style is cute, cozy and comfortable, and is a great look for a lazy day at home, running errands, or going out.

I enjoyed wearing the Breaking Traditions Top at home, while spending the day working, and caring for my two-year-old. The lightweight knit top allowed for everything from indoor chores to playing outside in the yard. I decided to keep the top on later that evening, and wore it out to dinner, to celebrate my mom's birthday.

I paired my Breaking Traditions Top with a black cami underneath, dark blue skinny jeans, and black flats.

I knew this was a great choice! I love this top!

About the Breaking Traditions Top...

In a break from traditional color combos, the new knit is black incorporated with blues in a clean, understated way. This fine mesh knit shirt features contrasting neck and sleeve bands with a high-low hem. Wear alone or over a cami-tank.

71% polyester 24% rayon 5% spandex.
Soft, thin, mesh knit.
Measures 20"-27" from shoulder to hem.
Made in USA.

I love being able to be mom, and look good while doing it!

This isn't the only fabulous top that's a must-have from Conversation Pieces, and I've got more great styles for you to see from my wishlist, but you'll just have to wait and see what those are! In the meantime, you might like some of these...

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Coastal Road Trip Sweater, Teal

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Saturday Favorite Shorts, Khaki

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A Little Hint of Mint Scarf

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Preppy Smart Babydoll Blouse

Want It? Buy It!

With so many styles added every week to the Conversation Pieces website, you might want to bookmark it. I visit the site every few days, just to see what's new! You can shop your heart out over at Conversation Pieces and get free shipping when you use the code MBPSPRING. Be sure to connect with Conversation Pieces on Facebook, too- they're always posting style picks, tips, recipes and more!

Look for another great Conversation Pieces review soon!

Special thanks to Audrey and the gang at Conversation Pieces for allowing me to be one of their bloggers, and share these great pieces with the MBP Community!

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Disclosure: Other than the above mentioned products, which I received directly from this sponsor for review purposes, I was not compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tell Your Story with South Hill Designs (#Review & #Giveaway)

Part of our 2013 Valentine's Day Gift Guide

There are a lot of gals who love to give and receive beautiful jewelry for special occasions. I love jewelry, and enjoy accessorizing, but have definitely grown tired of 'the same old thing.' I'm not very adventurous when it comes to my accessories, so sometimes, it helps to have a little guidance from someone who knows jewelry like the back of their hand.

Presented by Independent Consultant, Cessna Foster

I recently caught up with Cessna Foster, a gal who I connected with through a direct sales company a few years ago, while I still lived in Maryland. Cessna and I were part of the same team for a while, and eventually both moved to different areas. Cessna is a very sweet person, and very knowledgable about the businesses she supports. Cessna recently became involved as a consultant for a fairly new direct sales company, South Hill Designs, and she was eager to send me some of their products to try out and share with all of you!

South Hill Designs was dreamed up and founded by Tamara Ochoa, a mom and homemaker. Tamara dreamed of creating personalized jewelry, and had a background in direct sales. She shared her vision with friends and family, and essentially built an amazing team that would help her launch this successful business.

My pretty little box of goodies from Cessna and South Hill Designs...

The contents of my package were bound together by a rubber band, and wrapped in tissue paper.

South Hill Designs is all about presenting customers the opportunity to create a custom piece of jewelry that tells a unique story- the story of the person wearing it, that is. Cessna wanted to help me create a my own story-telling locket, so she sent me to her South Hill Designs website to take a look at all of the different charms and accessories and make a little wish list of the ones that best represented me, and my life.

Here's what was in my box- a locket, coin, charm, droplet and safe-keeping drawstring bag,

There were an awful lot of beautifully crafted accessories to choose from, but you can't very well build a lovely story-telling piece of jewelry, without first selecting a locket. I went with the large silver locket. I'm not a gold-wearer, and the larger size (while it is pretty large), didn't seem like it would be too large, and was a great size for holding lots of story-telling pieces.

Here's the large silver locket, up close. I love the silver rim, and chain, and the large clear front and back!

This is to give you an idea of the size of the locket, compared to the chain.

And here, we have the locket opened up. It simply flips open, and has a magnetic closure.

After I found the perfect locket, I needed the perfect accessory pieces to add to it. I had a great time looking through all of the pretty charms, and was impressed by all of the different categories there were to choose from! I needed to select pieces that represented who I am, and as I contemplated that, a few ideas popped into my mind, which lead me right to the perfect pieces for my locket. I sent my selections to Cessna, and she placed an order, and had the story-telling kit sent right to my home, so I could experience building the locket, myself.

 All of the accessories for my South Hill Designs Locket came individually packaged, like this.

I selected one coin, two charms, and one droplet to add to my beautiful locket.

I chose the 'faith' coin for my locket, because my faith in God is what keeps me going! I thought it would make a perfect backdrop for my locket, and I was right!

I also chose the eternity charm, to represent my comittment to my husband, and the birthstone for the month of October, because that is my son's birth month.

I couldn't wait to place all of these little pretties into my locket, close them up and take a good look at my new lovely token of love for God, my family, and all of the things that I hold dear to my heart. Putting the charms into the locket was super easy, and lots of fun! I can only imagine how fun it must be to build a locket at a party, with lots of close friends with you, all pouring over the charms and add-ons!

Here's the big reveal, as I can tell you'reitching to see the finished product...

My beautiful locket by South Hill Designs (but designed by me!), containing my coin, and two charms.

South Hill Designs also has stunning droplets that you can add to your chain, to give your locket a little extra flair. I chose the white pearl droplet, because to me, the pearl is about as classy and classic a symbol that you'll ever find. I simply added the droplet to my chain, and it really gave my locket a whole new look!

Here's a closer look at my South Hill Designs locket, with the droplet added to the chain.

Check out some of the other beautiful options available from South Hill Designs...

More lockets- choose from silver, gold and rose gold...

Coins in different colors and sizes...

Many subtle, or colorful charms...

Droplets to suit every style...

Are you ready to build a beautiful locket for yourself or someone you love? This Valentine's Day, think outside the box and give a gift that truly represents the person you'll be giving it to. With so many options, like locket and chain sizes and lengths, and so many combinations of coins, charms and droplets, you give a unique, personalized gift that will never be forgotten!

I'm a super happy girl, and love my special new South Hill Designs locket! I can't wait to order some more charms and add-ons, so I can change it up, when I feel like it.

Want It? Buy It!

You can find all of these beautiful designs by South Hill Designs, and many more by visiting Cessna's South Hill Designs website. Cessna is ready to help you build the perfect locket for a Valentine's Day gift, or for any occasion! *Please note that Valentine orders muct be placed by February 8, 2013. Interested in learning more about this South Hill Designs business opportunity or hosting your own party? Just let Cessna know, or leave her a comment on this post! You can also connect with Cessna on Facebook to stay up to date on news and special promotions and even neat ideas for your locket!

Want It? Win It!

One lucky MBP reader will win their very own Medium Locket of choice from Cessna. Please note that the giveaway is for the locket, only and will not include coins, charms, or droplets. These can be ordered through Cessna for an additional fee. Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter to win! First two fields on the Rafflecopter are mandatory and the rest are optional- just remember, the more you do, the greater your chances of winning are!

Special thanks to Cessna Foster with South Hill Designs for allowing me to tell my story, through this beautiful locket, and for offering a fab giveaway for our readers, as well.

Good luck!

My MBP Signature

Disclosure: Other than the above mentioned products, which I received directly from this sponsor for review purposes, I was not compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ. Mommy's Block Party and its team members are not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment- this is the understood responsibility of the giveaway sponsor.

The Animals have Arrived! #GrandAnimalWalk #GreatestShowOnEarth

The Grand Animal Walk took place Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte, NC, as the animals were unloaded from the train cars and lead to Time Warner Cable Arena. 

Check out some of these great photos...

We can't wait to meet these majestic animals up close tomorrow night at The Greatest Show on Earth! The show officially opens today, January 30th, at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC. For tour and ticket information, please visit

Dragons logo.jpg

I can't wait to share our experience with you all on Friday! Are you taking your kiddos or a school group to the circus while they're on tour? Don't forget to check and see if they'll be in a city near you!

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