Event Recap | Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival


My husband works out of town for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. Add three kids at home to that equation, and you can see why I don't often get to have a night out. Heck, most of the time I don't even get to use the bathroom by myself! This past weekend, however, thanks to The Network Niche and Discover Dekalb (and my awesome sister!), I had a chance to get away for the Cherry Blossom Festival.


Because my sister is so amazing, she kept all three kids and insisted the hubby and I make it a special day for just the two of us. We arrived a little early, concerned about finding parking. There were lots of places to park along Ashford Dunwoody Rd, though, and a shuttle picked us up and drove us to the park entrance. A short walk and we could already smell all the yummy festival foods!


There were, of course, some amazing food trucks like The Muenster Truck, The Pickle, and Fry Guy, but being a festival veteran, I knew it was the food stands I was after... There's nothing better than a festival funnel cake and fresh squeezed lemonade!


You can only faintly see it in the background, but there was a stage set up with live music that we enjoyed while devouring our yummy treats. My favorite of the musical performances was the School of Rock - Atlanta group. Remember the Jack Black movie, School of Rock, where he taught rock music to kids? Their group is just like that! The School of Rock - Atlanta is a performance-based music school for kids aged 8-18, located in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. They were awesome!

Next, we moseyed over to the Classic Car Show. There were some great classic cars over there! There's just something about the deep throaty purr of a '57 Bel Air... Actually, that's the car that won, but there were a few other cars there that made my inner gearhead happy, too, like the '38 Plymouth P-6.


Beyond the Classic Car Show was the Children's Village. We spotted Spiderman dancing with Snow White and a ton of huge bounce houses. There were other activities too, like a bungee jump ride and face painting... All of it made me miss the kiddos! Why is that? We moms finally get a break that we've been begging for, and when it finally happens all we can think about is how much the 3-year-old would love the dinosaur bounce house, and how you wish the six-year-old could see Spiderman?

Anyway, I wish I would have packed them along for the trip because they would have had a blast. Next year, it's happening!


Matt and I had a great time at Brookhaven's Cherry Blossom Festival this year, and we'll definitely be visiting for years to come!

If you'd like to learn more about this, check out Brookhaven's Cherry Blossom website.


Does your town do a local festival? Let me know in the comments!

Blogger Opp: BabySmile Nasal Aspirator Giveaway

 Blogger Opp BabySmile Nasal Aspirator Giveaway

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RV $115

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The more bloggers promoting ~ the bigger the results ~ the more giveaways we get to do together.

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Great Tips for Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring

Spring is finally upon us. Buds are flowering, trees are growing greener, grass is brighter, nights are lighter, and the weather is finally starting to warm up. As we head into warmer months, you’ll want to spend more time in your garden, entertaining or relaxing on your own after a long day. Being outside has many health benefits. So, it’s time to make sure your garden is in great condition, ready to provide you with the relaxing sanctuary you need, but if you need any help with either maintenance or landscaping, look for local tradesmen. That way you know everything is done to a safe and high standard. 



Clean

The first thing you need to do is give it a good clean. This includes the outside of your home. Hose everything down. Deck the scrub if you need to. Then, uncover any furniture and your barbecue. Even if they have been protected during the winter months, they’ll want a good clean down now, so they are ready for use. 

Paint

Your fences may have taken a battering over the windy, wet winter. Replace any sections that are damaged and consider giving the rest a fresh coat of paint. You could also paint your furniture to give in a new lease of life. Painting is a fast and easy way to make a space look fresh and bright. 

Clean Your Tools

Looking after your garden tools and equipment means they’ll be more effective and last longer. So, clean any tools you have, sharpen any that need it, and maintain your lawn mower and any other electricals.

Look After Your Lawn

Start treating your lawn as soon as you can. Mow it. Trim any edges back and feed it. Once a month is usually enough, but if it’s in bad condition, you may need either a more intense treatment or a more regular feeding routine.

Plant

Take stock of your plants. Some might just need a little TLC whereas others might need totally replacing. Plants and flowers are a fantastic way to add color and personality to your garden, as well as helping it to smell great. If you don’t have much room for planting, add some hanging baskets and window boxes to brighten up your space.

Add Some Color

Flowers are a great way to add color, but they’re not the only way. Why not paint your fences a different color, or buy more colorful garden furniture? Another option to brighten things up and add some atmosphere is to add some lighting. Solar lighting is available in a huge range nowadays, from large post lights to small lanterns or fairy lights.

Protection

Once your furniture and fencing are clean and painted, make sure they are also protected. Varnish everything and make sure items are protected from inclement weather. There’s bound to still be wet days after all. 

Add a Cover

If you want to really make the most of your garden and enjoy it as often as you can, consider adding a covered area. 

Gardening can be incredibly good exercise, and great for stress relief, so get out there as much as you can.

5 Tips for Teen Acne

Being a teenager and having acne is common but not something that will help improve confidence. So, if you have a teen, how do you help them create clearer skin – take a look here. 



1. Reduce Toxins 

The skin is the body's largest organ. One of its main functions is eliminating part of the toxic waste products of the body through sweating. If there are more toxins contained in the body than can be effectively discharged by the liver and kidney, then the skin takes over the process. Since toxins are discharged through the skin, the health integrity of the skin gets disrupted. This can result in skin disorders such as acne. One way to effective decrease that amount of toxins that are ingested and that seep through your skin is to stop consuming process foods that have high amounts of sugar and sodium, saturated fats and artificial dyes in them. Going on a whole foods diet can also encourage your teenage to increase her or his water consumption to help flush toxins out of his or her body. Foods with high amounts of fiber in them, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, help to keep the digestive system healthy so that toxins are eliminated via the colon. 

2. Avoid Chemicals and Topical Oils 

If your teenager uses cosmetics, you should encourage her to only use water-based, natural products. Oils, dyes and harsh chemicals will clog pores and allow acne to flourish. 

3. Keep Skin Clean 

Skin actually breathes. Pollutants, oils, grime and dust can clog the pores of your skin and also exacerbate any existing acne. Teenagers should thoroughly but gently wash their faces two times per day. Excessive scrubbing or over-washing can make acne even worse through over stimulating the skin's sebaceous glands, which causes excessive amounts of sebum to be produced. To keep skin clean, an all-natural soap containing sulfur that has been designed to be used for acne can be purchased at a health food store. There are also a number of great cleansers out there that will be beneficial – you can find out more about these and how they can help. 

4. Avoid Squeezing or Touching 

Your teen will most likely be tempted to touch, pop or squeeze her or his pimples to try to make them disappear. Encourage your children to keep their hands off of their faces since any oil or dirt on their hands can make their acne even worse. Popping or breaking a pimple also allows harmful bacteria to get into the blemish which puts it at risk for possible scarring and infections. 

5. Nutritional Supplements 

There are certain minerals and vitamins, like zinc, Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as Omega 3 (an essential fatty acid) that help to improve the skin's appearance and minimize the development of acne. Speaker with your natural health care practitioner in order to determine what the right dosage is for your teen when taking a supplement since when the recommended daily units are exceeded on some vitamins it can harm the body. 

Omega 3, zinc and Vitamins A, C and E also are found naturally in many of the foods that we consume. Vitamin A is contained in yellow and green vegetables and fruits, fish liver oils and animal livers. Vitamin C is contained in green vegetables, citrus fruits, and berries. Vitamin E is contained in whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, cold pressed vegetable oils and avocados. Zinc can be found in whole grains, soy, mushrooms, liver meats, legumes, kelp, fish and egg yolks. Omega 3-fatty acids, with their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, are contained in fresh cold water fish like mackerel and salmon, as well as in walnuts and fish oil.

10 Quick Outfit Ideas for Busy Moms

Having kids means you never have enough time for yourself. One big issue that many moms face is not having enough time to get ready in the morning. Mornings can be hectic if your routine includes waking your kids, making breakfast, and helping them get ready. After ever taking care of everyone else, your morning routine suffers. What you can do instead is focus on finding outfit styles that are simple to put together. This way, you can get ready fast and still look fabulous. Here are 10 quick style choices that are effortless.


1. Skinny Jeans and a Striped Top

If you’re planning to go casual for the day, start off with a pair of form-fitting skinny jeans. Look for a pair that covers all of your curves and has that characteristic stretchy material for the most comfort. You can complete the look with a chic striped top for an easy combination.

2. Leggings and a Tunic

Another easy matching ensemble that works for most seasons of the year is the combination of a pair of comfortable leggings and an oversized tunic. Depending on the season, you can adjust the thickness or fabric style of your tunic. Then, you can slip on a pair of riding boots to make yourself look fresh out of the fashion pages of a magazine.

3. Maxi Skirt and a Camisole

For a more feminine style that’s super fast and easy to put together, you should have a few flowy maxi skirts ready to go. Choose your favorite and most flattering one and pair it with a lacy camisole. This outfit idea is great for those warmer spring or summer days.

4. Khakis and a Gingham Button Down

When you need something for a casual office day, you may not always be able to get away with jeans. That’s where a well-worn pair of khakis comes in. Choose the cut that flatters you most when you purchase your khakis, such as straight, skinny, boot cut, or relaxed. A gingham button down keeps the style light and airy.

5. Pencil Skirt and an Oxford

Sometimes, you may need to go a little more formal for an important meeting or day out. Even though it may be chaos in the morning, you can still arrive at the office appearing like you have it together with a sophisticated outfit. A sexy pencil skirt and an oxford shirt can help you achieve this illusion.

6. Ankle Pants and a Ruffled T-Shirt

Being stylish and formal at the office doesn’t always require a skirt or dress. Sometimes you can be just as classy with a pair of tailored ankle pants. A pretty ruffled shirt can help balance out your silhouette for this smart look.

7. Shift Dress and Cardigan

For a super easy day out in the height of the summer, try using a breezy shift dress as your base for an outfit. Look for some cute dresses at Tobi.com, an online fashion retailer. Then, make your dress idea perfect for work with a light cardigan.

8. Shirt Dress and a Belt

When you want to wear a dress that is a little more casual, a shirt dress could help. You can adjust the silhouette of your body with a shirt dress in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways to do this during a busy morning is with a simple leather belt around the waist.

9. Strapless Dress and a Button Down

If your closet has a few casual summer strapless dresses hanging around and getting dusty from misuse, it’s time to get them out and into the rotation again. For a day out at work, you can pair your strapless dress with a simple button down shirt for a fast and fun outfit. This way, you can get more use out of your old summer favorites.

10. Tank Top and Capris

Weekends at home may be super casual, but they are often just as hectic with different play dates and other plans on your calendar. Achieve a perfect and relaxed look with a simple tank top and relaxed capris when the weekend weather starts warming up. Then, you can join in on the fun and be less stressed out about what you look like.

For busy moms who have sacrificed their style due to a busy schedule, it’s time to get your chic look back. You can put together a great outfit in minutes if you plan ahead with some of these stylish combinations.

An American Girl Story - Ivy & Julie 1976 is a Must-See for All Tween Daughters

This post has been sponsored by KidzVuz on behalf of Amazon Studios.

This Friday, March 24, Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance, is set to launch on Prime Video in the US, UK, Germany and Austria.


About Ivy & Julie

Set in 1976 San Francisco, Ivy Ling (Nina Lu, BUNK’D) is a 10-year-old Chinese-American girl who struggles with finding a balance between her two cultural identities: Chinese and American. With her family’s Chinese traditions and obligations, she wants to be like her all-American best friend, Julie Albright (Hannah Nordberg, General Hospital). When her gymnastics tournament and family’s big Chinese New Year dinner land on the same day, Ivy relies on Julie to guide her with a difficult choice. The special also stars Gwendoline Yeo (American Crime) and Lance Lim (School of Rock).


My Thoughts

For any mom (or stepmom!) with a tween-age daughter, this is a must-see. This American Girl Story teaches tolerance and empathy by telling a story from a Chinese-American girl's perspective of feeling different than her classmates and having trouble balancing her family's heritage with her American life.

Not only does it tackle the social issues of 1976, it also tells the timeless tale of the importance of family and has a mother-daughter dynamic that pushes the #GirlPower agenda. There are so many things that this special touches on, each one an important lesson for little girls everywhere.

In the special, Ivy's mother is going to law school full-time, despite the fact that she has to sacrifice time with her family. She tells a story to Ivy about her first day, walking into a classroom full of men who assumed she was lost. She reminded Ivy the importance of following your dreams, and that sometimes it means making sacrifices and making the harder choices.

Watch the Trailer


An American Girl Story Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at www.amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. Customers who are not already a Prime member can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.

About Amazon Video Kids:
Amazon Video Kids offers a variety of fun and entertaining shows, including original series, “The Stinky & Dirty Show,” “Wishenpoof,” “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” “Just Add Magic,” and “The Kicks.”


Don't miss An American Girl Story - Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance on Amazon Prime Video March 24th!

How To Design A Dedicated Space Where You Can Meditate


Studies have proven that meditation is beneficial for both the body and the mind. However, getting into the habit of practicing meditation daily can be difficult. One way to improve your chances of success is by creating a designated space for meditation. If you have a room in your home that currently isn't being used, transforming it into a meditation room is a great option. 

In actuality, however, you really don't need that much space. Any small, out-of-the-way corner of your home that currently isn't being used can provide the perfect setting for meditation. Here are some tips for how to set up your meditating area:

1. Choose a location. 

You don't need a lot of space to meditate. Any quiet area of your home that currently isn't being used to its full potential could be a good option. The space that you choose should have clean air and good lighting. It should also be a comfortable temperature so that you don't wind up feeling too hot or too cold while trying to meditate. 

2. Remove distractions. 

Meditating is impossible if you are constantly being interrupted. Make sure there are no electronic devices in the space that could distract you. Additionally, remove or hide any signs of housework or other chores that need doing. For instance, if you are planning on meditating in your laundry room, tuck any unwashed laundry away out of sight while you meditate so that you don't have a nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you that you have chores to do. Keeping the space free of distractions will make it easier to focus your mind. 

3. Make cleanliness a priority. 

A cluttered room can lead to a cluttered mind. Make sure that you regularly clean the area where you plan to meditate, keeping it free from dirt and clutter. 

4. Make your meditation space visually appealing. 

Create an area where you want to spend time. Enhance your meditation space with houseplants, candles, water features for indoor or other accessories that make your heart happy. To ensure that you are comfortable, choose a pretty rug or mat that is soft enough to sit on. 

5. Add pillows, chairs, or other comfortable seating options. 

If you want to deeply relax, it is important to be comfortable. Bringing pillows or a padded chair into your space can help create a more relaxing area. You should also make sure that you are warm enough during your meditation time. If necessary, keep a warm blanket in the immediate area so that you can bundle up in it while meditating. 

Save the Date: Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival is March 25th! #CherryFest17

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Network Niche, in partner with Discover Dekalb.

I'm always on the lookout for fun family events that won't break the bank, so I can't even tell you how excited I was when Network Niche asked me to help share the news about the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. 

The festival will take place on Saturday, March 25 & Sunday, March 26 from 10 am to 6 pm each day at Blackburn Park, 3501 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30319. Admission is FREE.

3rd Annual Brookhaven Cherry Festival #CherryFest17

With an expectancy of over 15,000 attendees, the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival is offering fun activities for the whole family (even the fur-baby!) with a Children’s Village, Classic Car Show, Arts & Crafts Marketplace, Musical Performances and Pet World!
  • Children’s Village – Face painting, balloon twisting, bouncy houses, rock wall climbing, games and more. to keep you and your children entertained, with plenty of seating and shade.
  • Classic Car Show – Love hot rods? Get ready to check out antique cars, trucks, and customs. Prizes are awarded to “Best in Show”, “Best Interior”, etc.
  • Pet World – No need to exclude your favorite furry friends from all of the family fun! Bring them along for the dog shows, parade, costume contest, adoption-area, games, and prizes. There will even be animal care professionals on deck to answer all of your pet-care questions.
  • Musical Performances – Take a break and listen to the cool sounds from the Breeze Kings, Gurufish, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project, Wesley Cook, Blair Crimmins and the Hookers, Willie Ziavino and the C.O.T. Band, DYN-O-MITE, House Broken and more local student talent.

    For more information, visit the Brookhaven Cherry Festival website.

5K Run/1K Walk

Are you looking for an easy way to try a 5K / 1K? How about a family-friendly activity that provides a positive outlet for the kid’s energy? The Cherry Blossom Festival has you covered! The two-day event kicks off with a 5K Run / 1K Walk on March 25th benefiting the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization. Bring the kids and the pets! Everyone is welcome to participate. 

Visit the 5K registration website to register!

5 Great Tips On How To Meet New People

The Internet is the place to meet people at the moment, however, it does not have to be. If you wish to meet new people and get yourself out there – these tips are going to help you do just that and offline too. 

Discussed below are the best ways to meet people offline 

Mingle With Married Friends 

As funny as it may sound, it is much easier for a married person to connect you to a 'single friend' as compared to mingling with bachelors and bachelorettes. Your married friends may have heard of your horror dating stories, and know what you can or cannot stand in a person. If any of your married colleagues has someone he/she thinks may be compatible with your, they will be more than happy to help. 

Anyone mingling with married friends has a higher likelihood of wanting to settle down as compared to those who spend much of their time with unmarried people. This applies to both men and women. 

Go To Bars And Events Solo 

Although going to events in the company of other single men or women may be fun; going in as a group reduces your chance of meeting someone new. Most men find it rather intimidating to approach women in a group, hence would rather pick on a girl who is alone. If you have to, step away from your friends when approached. 

You can also use other tactics to attract guys by putting on clothes with brighter and warmer colors when heading out. Men are more attracted to warmer colors hence an excellent way to stand out in an event or a bar. 

Other Ideas for Meeting New People Offline 


Consider Your Type And Where You Can Meet Him 

Knowing what exactly you want in a man can also help you find him much faster. Athletics, bookish, and super social individuals are some of the characters you need to consider when going out. For instance, it will be easier to find a bookish gentleman in the library rather than a local bar. 

If you are an outgoing persona and do love having fun, you should consider going to the local bar or other places with fun exercises you will find plenty of 'potentials' there. 

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone 

You too need to have fun regardless of whether you meet a guy or not. This is the reason why you should pick a location where you will still be happy. It is easier for a man to approach a happy and jovial person as compared to one who seems stressed or gloomy. 

Instead of focusing too much on meeting someone new, take the opportunity to have as much fun as you can. It is while you have a good time that someone will notice and make the first move. Many of us are attracted to content and secure individuals regardless of their status. 

Although you can still meet a few good people online, there's a lot more fun when you do it in person in the real world. Opening the doors and getting out is the only way real people will notice you, and most probably ask you out. Get out of that cocoon to meet new people! 

Spoonie Essentials

This post is sponsored: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I'm going to get painfully honest with you for a moment. Having a chronic illness sucks. I have fibromyalgia and panic disorder, and everything that I do is controlled by these conditions. 

There are days where I resent having kids because I can't do all the things they want me to do. When my three-year-old leaps off the couch, fully trusting that I'll catch her, I admit that I've had to fight the urge to step aside and let her faceplant rather than suffer the shooting pains in my neck and back from catching her. I can't rough-house or play with my son like he wants me to because every joint and muscle hurts. Telling the two of them that we can't go to the park because Mama's having a bad pain day or that we can't go to a birthday party because my anxiety level is too high sucks

How about trying to explain to my fiance that I don't want to go out because there will be crowds of people or turning down intimacy because my hips and back are killing me? 

Having fibromyalgia makes life a living hell, and no one knows what you are going through unless they, too, are going through it. 

One thing that makes it a little more bearable is knowing that there are other people out there dealing with the effects of having an invisible illness. We chronic illness sufferers are known as Spoonies, and finding spoonie communities has really helped me keep a grasp on reality.

Needless to say, when I had a chance to review a Spoonie Essentials Box, I was super excited.

If you have someone in your life that suffers from a chronic illness, get this for them. I mean it. If I had received this from a loved one as a gift, I probably would've started crying. It's packed with some seriously thoughtful items that you'd have to be a Spoonie to understand.

Like socks. I have perpetually cold feet, and there's nothing better than a good pair of socks. The February Spoonie Essentials Box is loaded with awesome pamper-yourself products sure to remind any spoonie that they need to be sure to take care of themselves. 




There are also a couple of treats to help bring out your creative side. A cross-stitch "Happy Pills" bag and a paint set, to remind us Spoonies that we have to nourish our minds and spirits as well as our bodies.


Because so many chronic illnesses can't be seen, it's really up to us Spoonies to share information and spread awareness for our conditions. Like mental health. The stigmas are still there, because there are so many people who are uninformed about chemical imbalances and frontal cortex development and other causes for psychological illnesses. 

I love that the Spoonie Essentials Box came with some conversation starters.




Is a "Chronically Fabulous" tumbler, a "Chronic Illness Warrior" keychain, or a necklace with spare spoons really going to change the world? No, but they have the power to open dialogue so we can talk about our chronic illnesses and raise awareness.


Along with these awesome items, there are treats and snacks and candies for a little "pick me up" when you just need to #TreatYourSelf. 

If you know someone with a chronic illness, the Spoonie Essentials Box will definitely be something they'd love. Trust me.

Check out the Spoonie Essentials Box here.

Do you know any Spoonies that would love this box? Share my review with them!