10.31.2014

Post: Busch Gardens Williamsburg


Busch Gardens Williamsburg is an adventure; expect a day of thrills, laughs, and so much fun. The park is divided up into different countries; England, Germany, New France, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. The park even features a Wild Animal Reserve where you can see wolves, eagles, and other various animals. The park is gorgeous--I wouldn't mind just going to walk around to admire the scenery.

Each of the different sections of the park look like their respective country. Germany featured a water fountain and lots of fun German goodies to purchase. While Oktoberfest featured pretzels and beer for sale. 

This was my family's very first trip to Busch Gardens and we weren't quite sure what to expect. We entered in England (and if you know me...I love ANYTHING british!). I ran into the first phone booth and snapped a photo! The music blasting over the loud speakers in England was a stream of Beatles hits...and shops left and right showed off goods featuring 'Keep Calm and Carry On' and British Flag merchandise. 

While in England we were able to have our children measured and officially color coded for the rides they could experience while they were at Busch Gardens. It made the experience less confusing as we had a list of appropriate rides of each child and also a color representing the appropriate rides.

After looking at the map we decided to start off at the Sesame Street Forest of Fun where there were several rides to keep our three year old and seven year old busy. My children's favorite ride here had to be Grover's Alpine Express. It's a fun little roller coaster that is perfect for kid's that are not quite old enough to experience the bigger rides. 

While walking along we noticed really fun Halloween decorations and found out that the park was currently setting up for Hallo-Scream. My husband and I both agreed that we would try to make it back to experience some Halloween fun at Busch Gardens!


{France...Oh La La!}

After we were finished with the rides at Sesame Street Forest of Fun we decided to walk through Jack Hanna's Wild Animal Reserve and ended up catching the end of a bird feeding show. My kids loved watching the birds being fed and flown back and forth between the bird handlers. We were able to also see the Grey Wolves that were busy walking around their enclosure. 



From there we walked into France and my friend, Ryan and I experienced the Griffon roller coaster. Now I have been on many roller coasters in my life but this one was by far one of the best and fastest. I kept on thinking it was over only to find out it was taking us upside down again. My husband went on the Griffon too and loved it. I sadly could only ride it once because my stomach was full from a yummy churro! We also all decided before we left France to experience Le Catapult (a classic amusement park ride that sends you catapulting in different directions at varying speeds). 

After that we headed over to New France to ride the Le Scoot a fun water flume ride that was open to the whole family. Our three year old joined my husband and I on this ride and absolutely LOVED it. We were shocked especially because Le Scoot has a rather steep drop at the end! After that we found out that our three year old is quite the little adventurer he kept on pointing to the huge roller coasters we would pass and would tell us he wanted to go on those! 

{Germany}

Next we headed to Germany to experience the Alpengeist. I sat out on this ride and stayed with the kids but my husband and our friend Ryan really enjoyed this coaster though it wasn't as smooth of a ride as the Griffon was. The coaster climbs to 195 feet and riders are then hurtled through six staggering inversions at speeds up to 67 miles per hour. Our kid's were ready to go on a few more rides so we headed over to the  Land of the Dragons. The kids LOVED the tree house and net climb and spent a good hour climbing and exploring. Next on our list was the Chug-a-Tug, Bug-a-Dug and Eggery Deggery. My three year old loved these fun rides that were perfectly sized for him. 

The Kinder Karrusel was next and we all rode it three times.While there we got a funnel cake topped with Apple pie filling and it was delicious. I had such a fun time walking around Germany and looking at all the gifts they had to offer...beer steins, german hats, german chocolate, etc. We headed over to Oktoberfest where my husband went on the Mach Tower (the highest ride at Busch Gardens where you are dropped from 240 feet up in the air) while I went on the Wirbelwind (a fun swing ride that took me back to my childhood). Sadly, by the time we got into Italy we were all pretty tired. I decided to sit with the kids while my husband and Ryan rode Apollo's Chariot and Escape from Pompeii. 




We ended the day with smiles, full stomaches and plans to return next month!

10.30.2014

Post: "The Noir Series" at Heretick Theatre Lab


Hello Everyone! Kiley here. I would like to introduce you to Cherry Blossoms {the blog}'s newest contributor, Demaree. Demaree and I go way back as we used to attend high school in New Jersey together. Not only is she super sweet and gorgeous but she is also extremely talented (some people just have it all--Demaree is one of those people!). Demaree and I bonded over our love for theater--she basically grew up doing what I DREAMED of doing one day...starring on Broadway. She got her start performing as Young Cosette/Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway. Demaree then went on to star in the National Tours of The Secret Garden, Big and Wicked. Oh, and in her spare time she was also a professional makeup artist (told you she was talented!).  Demaree now lives in California but misses NYC something fierce. She is married to Dave (who could be a Colin Firth look-a-like) and four months ago they welcomed their darling daughter, Felicity into the world. As a family they love traveling and eating yummy cuisine. Demaree believes strongly in preventative and holistic healthcare. Oh, and I can't forget to mention Demaree and Dave's two Siamese cats; Meep and Wiley (who have shattered the existing stereotype of bad Siamese cats made by Disney's Lady and the Tramp!). 
Please give a warm welcome to Demaree (you are sure to love her just as much as I do!). 



      As a theater performer and enthusiast I was really excited and intrigued to hear that Los Angeles’ Heretick Theatre Lab is debuting “The Noir Series,” a live streamed “Theatrical Experience.” First, who doesn't love the Noir genre? Secondly, I am particularly excited because I don't have to hire a babysitter! I get to enjoy this unique event from the comfort of my home while hopefully, (crossing fingers) my baby enjoys sweet slumber in the next room.

 Who says new mom's can't have fun?!


     I am really excited to see if this may be a new direction for theater and wondering if it will make it more fun and accessible to younger audiences as well. Below is what, where, when, who and how much!

Show live & streamed theater performers your support! :) 

What: Heretick Theater Lab’s live production of “The Noir Series”, a series of four thematically linked, interactive plays written by Stephen McFeely, Ed Brubaker, Nancy Keystone, John Hindman, and The Burglars of Hamm, will see four performances in Los Angeles which will be live streamed to the world via the internet. Studio audience tickets can be purchased for $20 at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/.  Online purchases and viewing can be accessed for $7.99 through http://www.dacast.com/. For a full schedule of performance dates and times please visit:http://www.hereticklab.com/

When:
8pm - November 7 & 8
4pm LA Matinee/East Coast live feed – November 8 & 9
November 7: there will be a Q.&A. with the cast and creators of the Noir Series immediately following the performance in the theatre lobby.

Review: Huggies Snug & Dry at Target


“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”



        My three year old (who is about to turn four in January) is still in diapers. He is my last baby so I have stopped trying to push him to potty train. I know that when my son is ready to be out of diapers he and I will both know. That being said, I have been having a lot of trouble with his diapers leaking lately. My son loves to drink water (which is very healthy) but even if I change him every 2 hours or so it seems I have to change his outfit too because his diaper has leaked. I have also noticed that many brands of wipes that I have tried have left him with an unsightly rash because of how rough they are on his skin. I have tried many brands of diapers and wipesover the past few months to see if we could find the perfect fit for my son...but I have had no luck....until now. I guess I saved the best for last...


I was able to go into Target and purchase Huggies Snug & Dry diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes to try out with my three year old. I was excited to try out Huggies Snug & Dry because they have a SureFit design for up to TWELVE hours of leakage protection! No more leaks...for real? The diapers also have a flexible waistband so that no matter which
way your little one twists, turns or bends they are covered. I decided to give Huggies Snug & Dry diapers a try. I decided to give the diapers the ultimate leak test. I gave my son a large cup of water before bed with a clean Huggies Snug & Dry diaper. When he woke up the next morning I pretty much expected having to put him in the bath after his diaper leaked. To my astonishment his diaper while VERY wet didn't leak at all. Thrilled would be an understatement for how I felt. I also noticed that after using Huggies Natural Care Wipes for a week my son's rash had cleared up. The Natural Care Wipes Triple Clean layers were thick enough to handle my son's messy diapers but the texture was still incredibly soft so it didn't irritate his delicate skin. I love that the wipes come in a variety of designer tubs (to match any room), refill packs, convenient soft packs, stylish on-the-go containers or pop up tubs. I really appreciate that Huggies Natural Care Wipes contain Aloe and Vitamin E to soothe the skin. I LOVE that the wipes are hypoallergenic, fragrance free and alcohol free meaning I can use them on my toddler's sensitive skin without worrying about an allergic reaction or breakout.
 

I was pleased to find out that Target is launching a new subscription program for automatic shipments of diapers, wipes, formula and other household essentials. This way, when you're running out of your baby essentials, there is another order already on its way. No need to take the baby out in the cold weather--you can have everything shipped right to your door. Gosh, I wish I had a subscription service when my first child was born, it would have made things so much easier. I really disliked having to drag a newborn into big stores to purchase diapers, wipes and other essential items and risk her health at such a young age.

If you have a little (or big one) in diapers I recommend you try out Huggies Snug & Dry and Huggies Natural Care Wipes...don't be like me and save the best for last!

Use these Target Huggies Coupons to save on Huggies at Target!

Follow Huggies via Facebook and Twitter for news, giveaways and more!
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10.29.2014

Review: In The Forbidden City

Rarely a book comes into our home that grabs the attention of every member of our family as this one has. In the Forbidden City is part history book, part art book, part scavenger hunt. Each page is intricately illustrated with detail so fine we have all made grateful use of the magnifying card provided.



The book takes us through the changes and development of the Forbidden City from its construction under Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty through the abdication of the throne by Emperor Puyi of the Qing Dynasty. Some of the more notable rulers have more detailed biographies, while others are introduced with only a line or two.

The book takes us step by step through every building of the Forbidden City, the structure, design, and use, and the changes over time. There are so many details that we had to treat it like a coffee table book, picking it up and perusing here and there casually, as to read straight through was too much for us who do not know enough of Chinese dynastic history. While I'm certain someone with more background in the subject matter would enjoy the book I am happy to report that those of us who know little enjoyed the book as well and learned a few things along the way.

It is such a lovely book and one that I'm sure will educate and entertain my family for a long time. For Chinese history fans or newbies alike, this would make a great gift.


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Disclosure:
I received a copy of this book free of charge for the purpose of this review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

10.28.2014

Post: My Little Pony Equestria Girls; Rainbow Rocks




Earlier this month my kids and I attended a screening of Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios My Little Pony Equestria Girls; Rainbow Rocks and loved it! (You can read my full review here). After seeing the movie my kids have constantly asked me when the movie was coming out on DVD. Well I am happy to report that My Little Pony Equestria Girls; Rainow Rocks debuts TODAY, October 28th on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo in the United States and Canada!


Select retailers are offering exclusive versions of the DVD version. All come with the coupon; Save $4 when you buy any one Hasbro Equestria Girls toy and this DVD! 
Target


Target has an exclusive version of the My Little Pony Equstria Girls Rainbow Rocks DVD, which has a Rainbow Rocks bracelet inside, and a coupon to save $4 when you buy any one Equestria Girls toy and the DVD.
Walmart

Only at Walmart, the My Little Pony Equstria Girls Rainbow Rocks DVD includes My Little Pony music on CD for the first time, a digital copy of the movie, and a coupon to save $4 when you buy any one Equestria Girls toy and the DVD.
(songs included are listed on the CD)
Kmart

Kmart is offering an exclusive version of the My Little Pony Equstria Girls Rainbow Rocks DVD that contains an exclusive Limited-Edition Rainbow Rocks Backstage Pass, and a coupon to save $4 when you buy any one Equestria Girls toy and the DVD.
     My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks would make a great stocking stuffer this Holiday season...so make sure you pick one up soon!
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Disclosure:
I received this product free of charge.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

10.27.2014

Review & Giveaway: See Kai Run


About See Kai Run

See Kai Run® is a family-owned and operated business located outside of Seattle, Washington. The idea was born when founder Cause Haun was on a quest for the perfect first pair of shoes for her son, Kai. Unable to find shoes in fun, cutting edge styles that still promoted the healthy development of growing feet, she created her own line of shoes that satisfied all of these needs.

In 2008, See Kai Run introduced its answer to the soft-soled baby bootie with the birth of Smaller®, giving parents another option for outfitting their little ones. Smaller combines the same quality materials and urban flair as its bigger counterpart, but with the unstructured softness of a bootie.

All of See Kai Run's shoes meet the American Podiatric Medical Association’s rigorous standards for foot health and functionality and have been awarded the APMA’s prestigious Seal of Acceptance.

My Review   

    I was sent a pair of 'Zarah' shoes in Pewter from the 'Kai' line from See Kai Run. 
These metallic shoes feature feminine overlapping ruffles and an elegant leather upper and strap (this style is also available in black and smaller sizes).  An adjustable hook and loop closure make the shoes easy for little fingers to get on and off. The shoes also feature a comfortable padded collar and cushioned insole (to ensure comfort and support), and breathable leather insoles/lining. The beautiful design and unbeatable craftsmanship of the shoes are what make all See Kai Run shoes the best of the best. My daughter calls these shoes her "Dorothy Gale shoes" since the ruby slippers in the original Wizard of Oz novels are actually silver. My daughter loves how these shoes feel and look on her feet and I love that the shoes are so versatile. They can be worn to school and also worn with a party dress. They stand up incredibly well to all of the activities my daughter is involved in.
    I also appreciate that See Kai Run shoe's have met the American Podiatric Medical Associations Seal of Acceptance. This is one of many pairs that we own from See Kai Run and every pair has lasted my daughter a few years. I highly recommend all of the shoes that See Kai Run offers!
The Giveaway
Open to US residents Only!

 Enter to win a $70.00 Gift coupon code to SeeKaiRun.com

Enter after the jump!


10.26.2014

Review: Live Love Pop




Popcorn is one of my family's favorite snacks. Sadly, with all the additives and preservatives in many products today I am very wary when it comes to buying snacks for my family. When I found out about Live Love Pop, a company that prides themselves on having low-calorie, gluten-free, free of preservatives, vegan, whole grain and DELICIOUS popcorn I knew I had to have some! 

Live Love Pop was started by Lauren Brundage (a 5'3" powerhouse who was brought up in the kitchen with her Mom) who was tired of tasteless snacking. Lauren turned on her stove and got to popping. She had one motto and one mission: "Pop delicious, Pop healthy, Pop the best"... and with that simple declaration, greatness was born.


So why does Live Love Pop popcorn taste so good? Well that is an easy question to answer. Live Love Pop is stove popped by hand, made in small batches and with the freshest ingredients, and hand-tossed with seasoning. 

The popcorn's healthy snack benefits include: low calorie, heart smart, gluten free, and it's chock full of healthy nutrients. Simple, clean, and ridiculously good.

My Review
   I was sent three bags of Live Love Pop to review in the following flavors; truffle salt, sea salt and lime fresco. My favorite out of the three flavors was the lime fresco--it had a fresh and clean taste that was so refreshing. I would have preferred the truffle salt flavor to be a bit stronger but it was still super yummy and I loved the sea salt flavor as well. I really appreciate that the popcorn is not only healthy but free of additives and preservatives. My whole family loved the popcorn and it will definitely become a snack we have in our house often. 
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Disclosure
I received these items free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

10.25.2014

Giveaway: Get Frozen at Kohl's

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Kohl's. I received Kohl's gift cards to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating" 


    Hey Frozen fans! Back in September I announced that Kohl's would be having a national call for their "Sing Your Heart Out" contest. Frozen fans submitted videos of themselves, their children and/or their entire family singing "Let it Go" for the chance to appear in a Kohl's holiday commercial that will air during the 2014 American Music Awards (AMAs) broadcast.


Thousands of video entries were submitted to the collaborative Kohl's and Disney Sing Your Heart Out contest and now YOU can view the favorites! Visit Disney.com/frozenfriday to view many talented kids, groups and solo artists sing Let It Go. My favorite video out of all of the videos I watched was two year old Thomas's video. What a cutie pie--he really knows how to rock out to his favorite Disney song! Sure, he might not know all of the lyrics, but this little cutie makes sure to throw in his guitar and percussion skills to throw off the competition!
Make sure you check out all the videos-they are very fun and entertaining. My kids loved watching other children and families sing their hearts out. 





So remember when I told you to keep your eyes peeled because Kohl's in collaboration with Disney will be releasing a line of Frozen inspired clothing and merchandise? Well guess what? Frozen merchandise (including exclusive products) is now available at Kohl's and
Kohls.com. From Elsa and Anna dolls, an Elsa evening dress with matching tote to a Anna and Elsa snow globe...you can be sure to get your favorite holiday gifts for the Frozen fan in your life at Kohl's.  

My kid's are huge fans of Frozen and my daughter's favorite character is Olaf. I am loving the Olaf pull-a-part plush toy (currently on SALE!) and think that might just be a Christmas gift this year. I am also adoring the Disney Jumping Beans Frozen Collection. I especially love the Disney Frozen Elsa Snowflake Sparkle Dress by Jumping Beans. The dress features hidden Elsa snowflake graphics, sparkly sequins and a cascading chiffon skirt. 

I am so excited to go shopping at Kohl's for some Frozen merchandise! What are your favorite Frozen items from Kohl's?


The Giveaway
Open to US Residents Only!

Enter to win a $100 Kohl's Gift Card!

Enter after the jump!

Review: Smokks



   Tiny Buttons and Small Zippers can be quite difficult for large hands to handle. That's why
 Hallie founded Smokks. You see, when Hallie was away from home she received a video from her husband George. George had sent their daughter Pompie to her ballet graduation wearing pajamas. Hallie was of course horrified and George stated that he "just needed clothes he could handle." 

Soon afterwards Hallie and George set sail on their journey to launch a creative dressing system for families who like them need "clothes they can handle" all year round.

For some reason certain Father's just don't seem to be able to handle "the dressing process", so Hallie and George created smocks that girls (4-9) can grow into that don't require a whole lot of work. No buttons, no zips, no hooks…NO reason dressing can't be easy and playful yet most of all stylish. Consider SMOKKS the new uniform.

They are also made from the most delightful LIBERTY PRINT patterns.

Smokks has changed Hallie, George and Pompie's daily routine....now let it change yours!

My Review
   I received the Millie Dress in Liberty print "Katie and Millie". This little dress is perfect for a winter getaway to somewhere warm. It has delicate straps and flat pleating across the bodice making it adorably feminine. The side pockets are perfect for toys or treasures your little one wants to fill them with. The back of the dress features straps that can be easily adjusted as your little one grows. A wide two inch hem provides the dress with lots of room to grow. The dress can be worn as a dress and when outgrown it can be worn as a tunic top. Fathers can breathe easily as their are no small buttons that their large hands have to fumble with. Add a long shirt under the dress or a sweater over it for fall/winter wear. I absolutely love the beautiful fabric that features little blue flowers growing along wild vines. I appreciate the fact that the dress can be worn in any season and can be dressed up or down. My daughter adores the dress and loves that it's long enough that she can have playdates in it. She also enjoys placing her toys or treats in the pockets for easy transporting. We love Smokks and can't wait to try more of their clothing soon!

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Disclosure
I received this item free of charge for the purpose of my review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
This review is my opinion and has been written in my own words.

10.24.2014

Post: Listerine Heroic Habits-The Results


“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”


So it has been a few weeks since my last post when my family and I began our new oral care routines with the help of LISTERINE products. 


      My husband and I followed the plan to wake our daughter up 10 minutes earlier for school to give her enough time to properly brush, floss and use mouthwash. The difference that 10 extra minutes has made has been wonderful. It has been lovely to see our daughter learn just how important oral care is. I will be honest, Flossing is not her favorite thing but with a little help from us we get the job done. It also helps that we are using LISTERINE Ultraclean Dental Floss to get the job done. The floss is stretchy (which I LOVE) and super strong and shred resistant. Since some of our daughter's teeth are still growing in the MICRO-GROVES technology really helps. It helps remove food and removes 2X more plaque than other brands of dental floss. My daughter's favorite product is the Barbie LISTERINE SmartRinse.

She really enjoys the bubble gum flavor and loves squeezing the bottle and watching the little cup at the top fill up. I really like that the SmartRinse tints any left over food particles letting your child know that they need to brush a second time. Barbie LISTERINE SmartRinse may just look like a bottle of pink rinse but looks can be deceiving. Listerine SmartRinse provides 12 hour cavity protection, strengthens teeth 99% better than brushing alone and provides 2.4 times more fluoride than ACT Kids mouthwash. Using fluoride suppresses bacterial growth and stabilizes the minerals that keep teeth strong.

    As you might also remember from my previous LISTERINE post my husband and I made a pact that we both aren't allowed to go to bed unless our teeth are flossed with LISTERINE Ultraclean Dental Floss. My husband and I have always been really great about brushing our teeth--but flossing was sometimes forgotten in our daily oral care routine. Since making our pact we have noticed that our teeth feel cleaner, look cleaner and our gums are healthier since we started flossing and also using LISTERINE HEALTHY WHITE GENTLE RINSE which is peroxide free. It whitens teeth without harming enamel. It makes my mouth feel clean and fresh without burning or stinging.

Another product we added into our daily oral care routine was LISTERINE POCKETPACKS Breath Strips. My husband and I both tried these out our days and we LOVE them. They are so easy to carry along in a pocket or bag. They not only freshen breath but also kill 99% of bath breath germs. SCORE!

I am so happy that we are all on our way to better oral care routines thanks to LISTERINE.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the LISTERINE products I mentioned they can be purchased by clicking here.Learn more about the many products that Listerine has to offer by visiting the Listerine YouTube page.

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