Monday, September 30, 2013

Weightloss Struggles and Triumphs- Yeah, I've Got Some!

I'm thirty years old, and have struggled with my body image for about half of my life. I've never been what one who deem as 'fat' or even 'chubby,' but I have always been unhealthily aware of and almost obsessed with my weight. After my dad encountered serious heart problems several years ago, and was restricted to a low sodium diet, our entire family wanted to be supportive, so we all went on a low sodium diet together. Over time, we all managed to lose a lot of weight, and were more active as a family.

Me, the year before I got married...

When I got married, I felt myself sort of stuck in bad place with my eating habits. My husband is a bread, pasta, meat and cheese lover. He likes few vegetables and hardly any fruits. I quickly found myself packing on the pounds after we tied the knot. I gained about 50 pounds when I was pregnant with my son, and though I loved being pregnant, I hated the way I looked toward the end of my pregnancy, and really hated the way I looked for a couple of months, after I gave birth.

Me, one month after the birth of my sweet son- wearing a size 8 dress.

Thankfully, I nursed my son, and the weight dropped off (and then some) pretty quickly! However, I find myself having to work hard (really hard) to maintain a weight that I am happy with, and to keep my body in the shape I'm used to it being in. A number of things contribute to my rollercoaster weight- I've had a baby, I don't get enough sleep or drink enough water, I'm less active during the day when I'm sitting down and working, I'm stressed out a lot, and my metabolism is slowing down.

Finding a weightloss program that really works, is the key. Between being connected to healthy recipes and real support, and finding the right types of fitness routines that work for your body, everyone can be happy and healthy. I want to always be ready to get up and go, and be active with my little man. I want to promote an active lifestyle for my family. I want to be healthy, so I'm around for many, many more years! Herbal Magic can help moms (and non-moms) get back on track and stay on thr right path, for good!

Me, with my mom just before my 30th birthday...

What are your weightloss or fitness struggles and triumphs?

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Herbal Magic, written by me. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jess' Journey: The Journey To A Healthier Me

Jess’ Journey: The Road To A Healthier Me   

Weekly Weigh In Begins 

Well friends, it’s been about three weeks since I started my journey to a new and improved healthier me. I’ve had some speed bumps along the way but so far I’ve lost about 10lbs and I feel pretty good. Knowing that I’ve been losing weight has really kept me going. I’ve been tracking my weight loss with my awesome new scale from Maria Geronimo and Eat Smart.

My scale is here!
Yay new scale in the box!
My Eat Smart bathroom scale is awesome! Its sleek, easy to read, and accurate. I really like how simple it is to use; you just step on and boom there is your weight. A lot of digital scales are tough to use because you have to tap it then wait and then get on only to get an error message. I’ve never been able to use one right. Thankfully my Eat Smart bathroom scale doesn’t have these problems. Its so easy and quick and I'm so glad I have it.  

Ready to weigh in. 

Someone thinks the scale is a new bed.

 Maria and Eat Smart also sent me a body tape measuring tool to help me keep track of the inches I’ve lost. I haven’t been exercising much because I'm taking baby steps with this journey so I know my inches haven’t changed much. Once I start exercising regularly I know this tape measuring tool will really come in handy. My favorite part about it is the stopping function. Its just like a regular tape measurer so I can wrap it around and it stops where I need to, then when I'm done I just hold the retract button and it sucks the tape right back inside. There is even a little notch where you can put the one end of the tape so you can get the most accurate measurement.

Measurement Tool
Retraction Button

Little nook to hold the tape
If you already have a bathroom scale Eat Smart has a variety of other scales for you. Check out their luggage scales, kitchen scales, and other bathroom scales.  

 Want it? Buy it!
Go to Eat Smarts website and find the scale that is right for you! The Eat Smart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale is only $28.95 with free shipping. Or find your Eat Smart scale on amazon.

Want it? Win it!
You can win your own Eat Smart scale by filling out the easy entry form below.

Make Any Occasion Extra Special with a T-Shirt from Heads Up Designs! #Review & #Giveaway

Part of Balian's 3rd Birthday Bash

We are so excited that Balian's birthday is inching closer every passing day! October 11th with be here before we know it, and we're having such a wondrful time reviewing all sorts of fun, handmade items featuring Balian's favorite characters from his favorite movie- Disney's CARS. From Mater to Lightning McQueen, he loves all of those fast talking, speed racing, goofy characters, and he specifically asked for a CARS party. We've teamed up with some of the very best crafters and designers around to share some very exciting CARS themed items with you!

I was thrilled to connect with Kim Bevan, owner of Heads Up Designs. Kim shares her fabulous designs through the Heads Up Designs Etsy Shop. Heads Up Designs features all sorts of well known and recognizeable character t-shirts, rashguards, hero sets, seasonal/holiday apparel and so much more! I was happy to find a selection of Disney CARS themed tees, and when I spotted a unique Tow Mater character design, I knew Balian would absolutely love it! Kim was so sweet, and more than happy to send us a Mater t-shirt to include in our 3rd birthday bash celebration!

Our Mater t-shirt from Heads Up Designs

Kim was really on the ball when it came to working with us, which showed me that she really loves her business, and takes customer service pretty seriously. Within just a couple of days of setting this feature up, our Mater shirt was on its way to our house! It arrived in a mailing envelope, neatly folded.

Mater t-shirt, laid out on our table... we love it!

This CARS inspired design of the character Tow Mater is handmade, using a high quality heat transferred image. The interpretation of Mater is spot on- from the missing headlight to the goofy grin and funny teeth. Balian was so very excited to see this shirt, and couldn't wait to try it on and show it off!

The t-shirt itself, is a brown cotton shirt. We went with a size 4T, because the shop noted that the t-shirts used for these designs tend to run a bit smaller than a lof of retail shop sizes. There is a sizing chart/guide located in the Heads Up Designs Shop, which I would recommend taking a look at before you make your purchase. 

Balian loves his Mater shirt!

As it turns out, the sizing couldn't have been better! Balian is broad and tall, so the 4T shirt fit perfectly, leaving a little room to grow into it. We live in NC, and will still be in short sleeves through October, unless we get a true cold snap, which is unlikely. Even when the temperatures drop, this tee will still look great layered with long sleeves underneath!

What a wonderful fit! 'I love my Mater shirt, mommy!'

Balian happened to wear his Mater inspired t-shirt for the first time on the day we started back to Weekday Church School. Balian felt like the coolest kid on the playground when we got there! The other kids were telling him how much they liked his Mater shirt, and the other moms were all asking me where we got it! I was thrilled to be able to share about Kim's shop, and told them to check out my blog, or to look for Heads Up Designs on Facebook and on Etsy!

Who could pass up smiling when they're greeted by the kind-hearted Tow Mater?

If you think this Mater inspired design is top notch, you'll love the other designs from Heads Up Designs, as well! Check out some of the other shirts, etc, that we'd love to have hanging in Balian's closet!

Sulley tshirt - Monsters Inc t shirt Toddler - Toddler Sulley t-shirt - Monster Shirt Boy - Kids Monster Inc Shirt - Tee Shirt - Costume -
Sulley Inspired T-Shirt

Toddler Minion Shirt - One Eye Minion tshirt Boy - Girl Despicable Me t shirt - Kid Minion t-shirt - Costume -
Minion Inspired T-Shirt

Dora the Explorer Baby Girl Shirt - Dora the Explorer tshirt Baby - t shirt for Baby Dora the Explorer - Dora t-shirt - Costume -
Dora the Explorer Inspired T-Shirt

Girl Disney Birthday Shirt - B Day t-shirt Princess Mickey - Toddler Girl Mickey tshirt - Personalized Disney t shirt Girl - Mickey Onesie -
Girls Disney Birthday Shirt

Alphabet Shirt Baby - Baby Name Shirt - Customized Baby t shirt - t-shirt for Baby Name - tshirt of Baby Name - Personalized Baby Onesie -
Personalized Alphabet Shirt

Superman Rash-Guard Toddler Boy - Boy Personalized Swim Shirt Superman - Superman Rashguard - Rash Guard Superman Boy -
Boys Personalized Rash Guard

One of the fun things about these designs, is that they can be worn everyday, or they can be used for dress up play, or even to create a custome for a themed party, Halloween, etc! If you have a little one in your life who who look smashing in a personalized tee for their birthday, a holiday you'd love to see them all dressed up for, or just for fun, be sure to check out Heads Up Designs!

Want It? Buy It!

To browse all of the adorable designs by Kim, head on over to Heads Up Designs on Etsy! Look through all of the categories so so don't miss out on anything! Heads Up Designs is also on Facebook, so be sure to swing by the Heads Up Designs page for exclusive deals and more! Plus, if you're a fan of their page, you can receive a 10% off promo code, just for liking the page!

Samurai Power Ranger Boy Shirt - Toddler Boy Samurai  tshirt - Super Hero t shirt - Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, Black - Costume -

Want It? Win It!

Heads Up Designs is generously offering MBP readers the chance to win a T-Shirt of choice from the Heads Up Designs Etsy Shop! Just use the handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older!

Special thanks to Kim at Heads Up Desigs for sending us such a loveable t-shirt to review and share about for our special birthday bash feature, and for offering this special giveaway for our readers!

Good luck!

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Mia Mariu Hydrating Stick Gloss Giveaway

This giveaway is brought to you by Bargain Hound.

Do you love to add a little sparkle and shine to your pretty pucker? You'll love the gorgeous shades available from Mia Mariu! From light to darker shades, these lovely glosses will leave your lips simply gorgeous! If you would like to see the full review of Mia Mariu products, written by Valerie at Bargain Hound, please go here.

We're proud to partner with Bargain Hound and several of our blogger friends to bring our readers the chance to win some beautiful stick gloss shades from Mia Mariu!

Want It? Win It!

Would you like a chance to win a your own Hydrating Stick Gloss? One reader will have their choice of three (3) colors of Mia Mariu's Hydrating Stick Gloss. A Retail Value of $109! This is open to US and Canadian residents only. This giveaway will run from 9/27 through 10/14. 

 Good luck to everyone! 

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 Mia Mariu: Website, Facebook and Twitter!

 Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Mia Mariu and they are responsible for prize fulfillment.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Disney's Into the Woods First Look!

Meryl Streep ventures “Into the Woods” as the Witch who wishes to reverse a curse so that her beauty may be restored. The humorous and heartfelt musical, a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, explores the consequences of the quests of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, and the witch who cast a spell on them. In theaters Dec. 25, 2014. 

Like INTO THE WOODS on Facebook:

INTO THE WOODS opens in theaters December 25th 2014!

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Fisher-Price I Can Play Giveaway!

I am so excited that we're just a couple of weeks away from my son's third birthday! I am planning, planning, planning and buying party supplies up right and left! As I have spent a ton of time planning his party, I realized that I have yet to purchase his birthday present! Yikes!

 I have been searching and looking at tons of stuff that a three year old boy would want, and after talking with my husband, we decided that we didn't want to get him any toys. We wanted to give him something that would encourage him to be active. 

Giveaway By:

So, in honor of Balian's third birthday, we are proud to offer you the chance to win a Fisher Price: I Can Play Basketball Set! Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win!

Good luck!

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Disclosure: MBP is not responsible for hosting this giveway, nor are we responsible for sponsor prize fulfillment or shipment. This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

#SmartBones Dog Snacks #Giveaway

SmartBones Rawhide Free Dog Chews

If you have dogs, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to win some yummy treats for your favorite friends!
We're happy to be teaming up with  Bargain Hound, who has shared an awesome review of SmartBones Dog treats. Be sure to check that out, here!

Want It? Win It!

 Do you have dogs? And would you like them to try a bag of SmartChips or SmartFillets? Because the wonderful people from SmartBones are offering one bag to two of my readers! One person will win a bag of SmartChips, and another person will win a bag of SmartFillets. 

 This giveaway will run from 9/27 through 10/14. Open to US readers only. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, to enter to win. 

 Good luck to everyone!

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Disclosure: MBP is partnering with Bargain Hound for promotion of this giveaway. MBP and its team members are not responsible for selecting or notifying the winners, nor are we responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Need a Little Extra Help? Find the Perfect Tutor!

I may be well versed when it comes to writing, and am even pretty good at a variety of other things, but I am no stranger to needing some extra help in a few areas. I love literature and history, but sort of stink at understanding math and science. I have a feeling this is why my baked goods hardly ever turn out right. I can't seem to calculate the correct mesaurements and what I thought would be a delicious quick bread turns goopy and gross!

When I was in Jr. High (yes, it was still Jr. High when I was in school), I was really struggling with math. Alegbra, geometry, you name it, I couldn't seem to understand it or get the problems solved correctly. So, my teacher suggested to my parents that having some extra help might make a difference. They signed me up with a math tutor, so I could have one on one guidance and work at my own pace. Within a matter of weeks, I was no longer struggling to solve problems in class, was marking my homework correctly, and my test scores were improving significantly.


Being matched with the right tutor is what really made the process work for me. Ashley Tutors does that very thing, and matches the studnent with a wonderful tutor, based on their compatability through personality, and academic needs. With a team of tutors who love teaching, students anywhere from K-5 to Jr. High, High School and Adult students can receive extra attention and improve their comprehension, test scores, etc.

I speak from experience that the extra help I received made a big impact on how I was able to get through my high school and college math classes with reasonable passing grades. I will be forever grateful to my tutor!

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Everyone's a Superhero in a UBaHero Superhero Set! #Review & #Giveaway

Part of Balian's 3rd Birthday Bash

With my little guy's third birthday just a couple of weeks away, I am kicking it into gear to make sure he has the best birthday ever, which includes hosting a super fun birthday party. B actually wanted to have some say about what kind of party he wanted this year, and I wasn't surprised when he told me that he wanted a Disney Cars themed party and wanted all of his best pals to come and play. 

Immediately, my mind was working, and my fingers were searching for the neatest, coolest Cars themed kids products around! I wanted to connect with folks who really have a heart for creating special items, just for kids, because each and every child is special!

When I found a Disney Cars inspired Lightning McQueen Superhero cape set, I was over the moon excited. I'd actually never pictured Lightning McQueen as a hero, but I knew that he was definitely a hero in my son's eyes. I was pleased to connect with Judy, owner of UBaHERO. Judy creates and hand makes character inspired and custom superhero sets for little ones! We conversed a little bit, and Judy offered to make and send us a Lightning McQueen cape set for Balian's big birthday bash! I was thrilled, to say the least, and kew that Balian was going to go crazy over his very own superhero set!

Our Superhero set from UBaHero arrived beautifully packaged! Doesn't the preview look awesome?

Judy includes a note with every order, which is such a nice touch!

Even I was eager to open up the Superhero set package to see what all was in there. I had to keep Balian out of the room while I snapped some photos, which was not easy!

Looks like there are all sorts of cool things in here!

Here's a photo of the back of the cape, still in its packaging. I love this personalized McQueen applique!

When I finally opened up the package and began to remove each piece of the cape set, I found an absolutely adorable UBaHero official Certificate of Membership! The certificate proudly displayed Balian's name, and certifies that he is an official member of the UBaHero club! How cute is that?

Yay! Balian is in the UBaHero Club!

Along with the certificate, were washing and handling instructions! The cape can be handwashed, and hung up to dry, or dried flat. It can also be pressed with a cool iron, if needed. I thought this was wonderful to include, because superheroes tend to get dirty when they're out cleaning up the world's messes. There were also helpful instructions for adjusting the mask to fit your child's head.

Care instruction card...

After I read through everything, I laid it all out on the table to get a good look at it all. Our cape set included a personalized Lightning McQueen cape, a mask, and two Cars cuffs, along with the membership certificate. I couldn't get over how completely adorable this cape set is. I couldn't wait to see Balian model it!

What a wonderful set! I love the bold Cars cuffs and Lightning McQueen, too!

The Lightning McQueen applique has a bit of sparkle to him...

When our UBaHero cape set arrived, Balian had actually just finished watching a super puppies movie, and we all about being a superhero. So, when I called him in and presented him with his very own cape, cuffs, and mask, he jumped up and down, quite excitedly. When I pointed out the Cars cuffs and the large Ligtning McQueen on the back of his cape, he was even more excited! He shouted, 'Mommy, I can be a Lightning fast Cars hero!' We got him all situated in just a minute or two. The cape has an easy to use snap closure, which is great, because Balian can take it off, all by himself. The mask features elastic, which holds it in place on the child's head. It can be adjusted, if the mask is too loose. Just follow the instructions on the card that comes with the set. The cuffs just slid right onto B's wrists, and we were good to go!

'Look, mommy! I'm Super Balian!'

I hate to gloat here, but isn't this the most adorable Superhero you've ever seen?

The cape fits perfectly, hitting below the knee. The perfect length for blowing behind this lightning fast hero!

The length of the cape is 23" and is suitable for ages 2-7. It's made from a stretch satin fabric, which is durable and lightweight, as well as easy on the skin. 

Even mommy gets to play Superhero!

We have been having so much fun with the cape set from UBaHero! Just is truly talented, and has a wonderful thing going here! Since we received this set a few short weeks ago, we have played Superheroes at least once a day, and Balian absoultely loves to share his superhero set with daddy, Grammy, grandma, and his favorite stuffed puppy dog. I feel pretty honored when I get asked to don the mask and a big girl cape made from a blanket, while Balian races around in his Cars Superhero Set! We make quite the unstopable team!

'Just remember- you don't have to have super powers to be a superhero!'

We can't wait for our family and friends to see Balian in his Cars Superhero set at his 3rd birthday party in two weeks. We promise to do a big party recap to show you photos of everyone enjoying the cuteness of this set!

UBaHero has so many wonderful superhero sets waiting for your little hero! 
Check out some of our favorites...

Batman Inspired Super Hero Set  Deluxe
Batman Deluxe Set

Super Hero Cape, Mask & Super Power Cuffs - Personalized UBaHero
Girl power set (pink)

Super Hero Cape - Personalized UBaHero
Personalized cape only

Superhero Cape, Mask and Super Power Cuffs - Spiderman Inspired  - Personalized
Spiderman Inspired Set

We love our Cars Superhero set, and we can't thank Judy enough! Her handiwork is brillient and beautiful! Having a set like this is wonderful, because it encourages your child to really use their imagination, and they feel special, because they get to be the superhero, all dressed up in a special cape! These capes and Superhero sets are awesome, and they would make a wonderful gift for a birthday, Christmas, or just because. And hey- if you're stuck without a Halloween costume for your little one, think about a custom superhero set! Your little one will have the coolest costume on the block! These sets are customizable and made to order, so be sure to share any special requests you may have with Judy. She can also accomodate party orders! Would this be the most awesome party favor, or what?

Want It? Buy It!

To browse all of the wonderful designs from UBaHero, head on over to the official UBaHero shop on Etsy and connect with Judy. Jusy is sharing a special offer for MBP readers! Get 10% off your UBaHero orders through January 1, 2014 by using the code MOMMYBLOG10. UBaHero is also on Facebook, so be sure to swing by their UBaHero Facebook page and check them out!

Ubahero Superhero Capes and Accessories
$35.00 Gift Certificate

Want It? Win It!

One lucky MBP reader will win a $35.00 Gift Certificate to UBaHero on Etsy! You can use it to order a cape, or put it toward a custom superhero set! Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older.

Special thanks to Judy at UBaHero for creating and sending us this fantastic superhero set to help make Balian's 3rd birthday so very special, and for offering this super giveaway for our readers!

Good luck!

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