November 20, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Amber Vale Home Holiday Sampler

I was recently sent the Amber Vale Home holiday sampler to try out, and I have to say they smell amazing!

One has that evergreen wintery scent that you imagine when you think of winter in the woods. One is a mint chocolate and it smells EXACTLY like mint cocoa (which I'm obsessed with by the way), and the third smells lightly sweet like whipped cream, but not overpoweringly so.

They have wooden wicks and are made from a soy-coconut blend. They are great for holiday decorating or gift ideas. Most people I know would love getting delicious smelling candles as a gift!

WIN IT: Win a sampler


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October 31, 2019

Black Friday is COMING!!!!

Growing up my family did not place much emphasis on Black Friday. We did not scope out the deals. We did not plan out our day. We did not set the alarm for an ungodly hour of the morning (or night depending on when the madness started). We didn't make our shopping lists and check them twice. Don't get me wrong, we always had a list. What to buy, where and for whom, but it didn't revolve around black Friday sales. We didn't map out our routes for optimal efficiency and gas saving, however when I married my husband I realized just what I was missing out on.

My husband and his family would do the full black shopping experience almost every year, sometimes starting the night before. They would pour over the black Friday ads during thanksgiving with the family and debate back and forth about which stores were worth a visit and which were not. They would decide who had the best black friday deals, what time they opened, where to go first etc. They had it down to a science it seemed. I met my husband before the internet was as big as it is today, so they used the paper ads and flyers almost exclusively, but now the ads and deals are all online too, so it makes it even easier to plan out your shopping! In addition to the ads being online, there are often coupons available online and in apps too, which allows for even more savings!!!

While I am not a hard core black Friday shopper today I still look over all the ads to see if any of the places I normally shop for the holidays have great deals. I always look at Walmart, Target and Kohl's because those are three of the places I shop the most during the holiday season. Toys, clothing, electronics, books and more! I almost always buy a pair of slippers and pajamas at Kohl's, sometimes a Lego set or toy too. There is also usually an item or two tossed in the cart for myself; I am not going to lie. :) One of the resources I use is Slickdeals which posts the black Friday ads for most big retail stores, so all the sale information is in one place. It's very convenient! It's amazing what the internet can do for us. It saves us time, money and gas.

So this year before heading out on black friday, head on over to slick deals to see if any of the items on your "list" will be on sale that day, or that weekend. Sometimes black friday sales start before black friday. I've even seen some sights announcing "black friday" sales before halloween. Pay attention to the dates listed on the ads, both the start and end dates. Some will run beyond black friday, maybe even until Christmas. Every store and deal is different so make sure to pay attention to the details so you don't miss out! Happy shopping!!!!!

October 23, 2019

Unscripted by Davis Bunn

Young line producer Danny Byrd is well-known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner--and former best friend--makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to her impossible bosses only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it--even though she's not entirely clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect as I'd only read one other novel by this author, which I remember having quite a bit of suspense, so I was happy when I got into this novel and realized it was a bit more relaxed in pace. I feel like Bunn did a nice job setting up Danny's back story without going too in depth. Some authors introduce 10 characters and their backstories all at once and I find it a bit confusing, so I'm glad he did not. I really enjoyed Danny's character and his integrity, and I would imagine that would be hard to find in his industry, so it must have really stood much so that people still wanted to work with him despite the charges against him. I really well written book, and I would DEFINITELY read more by this author!

Come From Away in Philadelphia


Tickets to Tony Award winner, Come From Away, a Broadway musical about the true story of a small town that welcomed the world, are on sale now!
The show debuts in Philadelphia October 22 – November 3 as part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Philadelphia 2019-20 season.

A portion of Come From Away ticket proceeds will be donated to local area animal shelders through "Pilots To The Rescue", an organization that employs volunteers including airplane pilots, shelters, ground teams, and veterinarians to sae potential pets facing euthanasia and give them a second chance through an advanced flight rescue system.

I had the opportunity to see this show, and it was amazing!!! I was not previously familiar with this story or show, but I have been going to Broadway shows since I was a little girl with my grandparents. They've always had a special place in my heart. This one has quickly become a favorite! The set was very simple, but with costume changes and accent switches the small cast was able to take on multiple rolls seamlessly. I was swept into the story right from the beginning. I'll admit, I was a high school senior when 9/11 happened, so I wasn't thinking of all the in's and out's of what that meant for the people on the diverted planes until now. There were babies on the planes, children with special needs, people who spoke all different languages, and even animals. So many needs had to be cared for and planned for with little to no notice. The story and show are just unbelievable. If you were on the fence about seeing this show, I highly recommend it!

October 16, 2019

Crayola Gift Ideas

Crayola was kind enough to send us their Scribble Scrubbie Safari and their 2019 advent calendar, and you would think it was Christmas already with how excited my kids were. They love getting things in the mail, so this made their year! If you watch the video until the end, you'll see just how grateful they are for these gifts ;-).

Below is an advent unboxing, where you will see what is inside the 2019 Advent Calendar. (Spoilers, so don't watch if you want to be surprised):

The other item was the Scribble Scrubbie safari. It includes little furry animals and markers to color them with. It also provides a raining tree to clean the animals off, however, when my kids used the little brush to scrub them clean the ink from the markers sprayed all over the place, so not the neatest, but the kids had a blast!

September 19, 2019

Plan Ahead & Get Set for 2019 Black Friday Deals!

So many families live paycheck to paycheck, which may be a necessity. They may only be able to afford the bare necessities, but other families live that way because they don't know how to budget or save. In this post I'm going to go over the importance of having a saving, but also in looking for the best deal when you really want to make a purchase or splurge.

When I was single I always had a savings for this and a savings for that, but I didn't really think long term because my expenses were limited. I didn't have a car payment b/c my car was old. I'm talking cassette player old. I never minded because while my friends were complaining about car payments, I was enjoying my old clunker and not worrying about payment deadlines. I had a cell phone bill, car insurance, minimal rent to my mom [yes, I lived at home], and clothing/food expenses.  It wasn't until I was married, a home owner and a parent that financial planning became more important, and looking for deals became a hobby of mine, and one I enjoyed quite a lot.

Now that we own a home there are repairs that need to be done, fairly frequently. On top of that there's the mortgage and home owner's insurance. My husband and I found that the only way we could have peace of mind was to save up an emergency fund and look for savings and deals when we could, and one of those bid deal days is Black Friday!

 We took a particular course on financial peace, and the FIRST step in this program was an emergency fund. Most financial planners will suggest you have AT LEAST 3 months worth of expenses saved up, but they encourage you to have more. Having an emergency fund gives you a sense of security and peace. Instead of thinking the world is coming to an end when you need a roof that costs X dollars, you can respond with "thankfully I have enough to cover it in my emergency fund, so I can still put food on the table this month." It gives you a completely different attitude when "emergencies" happen, and they will happen.

In my opinion emergency funds should be for just that: emergencies, but it's also good to have money saved up for foreseeable expenses like holiday shopping or birthdays or back to school shopping. The holidays are always a whirl for me, so it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and lose sight of the goals we've set. So when planning ahead for holiday shopping be sure to scope out the black friday deals. If there's a big ticket item you have your eye on; don't break the bank, but wait for a great deal. Oftentimes these great deals come on Black Friday or just prior to the holidays. So plan ahead, visit this site for black friday previews, and plan out your black friday shopping! 

September 17, 2019

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn't always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, "Where's the snow?" Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista's Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you'll never forget--and never want to leave.

My thoughts: I've been a big fan of Melody Carlson for awhile, and always looking forward to her Christmas novels. It seems that she writes one at least every year, and they always get me in the Christmas spirit. Yes, they can be a tad predictable, but I enjoy them none the less. This one in particular reminded me that not everyone had pleasant Christmas memories. As foster parents we know that most of the kids who come through our home come from trauma. I even know of some foster families who don't celebrate holidays because it's just too hard for the children. These are holidays in which these kids are NOT with their first families and that can be rough. This book reminded me that even Christmas can be a tough time for people, especially kids coming from foster care. 

September 08, 2019

Fun Holiday Socks

I don't know about you, but I think it's really fun to accessorize for each holiday. I personally own quite a few holiday themed earrings, a few cute holiday tops, and of course there are the holiday socks. I used to be really big into coordinating my nail art with the holiday too, but with three kids I haven't had the time to devote to this hobby lately, but I can still accessorize in other ways, like with socks! 

With Halloween being the next big holiday in our house I thought I would look up some halloween socks and these are what I found. They look just like candy corn, which is so yummy! Even if you don't enjoy candy corn to consume, they make great candles. Fill a clear votive with candy corn, add a tea light candle and you have an easy themed candle for any party or event. What's your favorite way to accessorize for the holiday?

This is a sponsored blog post.

August 20, 2019

A new way to Travel

This post is sponsored by FlixBus

Before we had kids my husband and I wouldn't thick twice of booking a weekend getaway a few states away, or take a day trip to NYC, Baltimore or DC. We would often book last minute and take a bus service to the city so we could walk the towns without the hassle of finding parking, dealing with traffic etc. This was before GPS was huge, so relied heavily on paper instructions and maps, and traffic configurations and traffic was so frustrating. We just wanted to avoid it all, so this is why we took a bus service. Well recently a NEW bus service called FlixBus reached out to me and I wanted to share.

Flixbus is relatively new to North America, but it has become the largest bus provider in the world in terms of network reach, connecting people across 29 countries with over 350,000 daily connections in Europe and the United States. In the US alone, FlixBus connects more than 80 destinations.

When my husband and I were in Europe we relied solely on trains and bus services to get from place to place. I am so glad that more services are popping up to make travel easier and more convenient.  Back when we traveled we had to reserve online and get physical tickets, but now many offer e-tickets, like FlixBus. FlixBus has been pioneering e-tickets in Europe while competitors, legacy brands in the space, are still holding on to paper ticket transactions. 

We traveled before Alexa and Google Assistant were widely known services, but since then so many businesses are working in conjunction with these services, just like FlixBus. Riders can now research routes, check bus information and get answers to their travel questions with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.  As of 2018, riders can even purchase tickets with Google Assistant via voice control. FlixBus is the only long-distance bus provider that allows purchases through Google Assistant.
And if you are located outside of the USA, don't worry, you can still use this service in our countries, because they take other currencies beside the US dollar. FlixBus’ Google Assistant feature supports ticket purchases in four currencies: U.S. Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Polish Zloty (PLN) and British Pound Sterling (GBP).  FlixBus’ Google Assistant is also fluent in four languages: English, German, Polish and French).

So if you're looking for a bus service, check FlixBus to see if they have a route that works for you!

Find out more here:

Want to see Hamilton in Philadelphia? $10!!!

Producer Jeffrey Seller, the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, and the Shubert Organization have announced the digital lottery for HAMILTON tickets will begin in conjunction with the show’s first performance (Tuesday, August 27, 2019) in Philadelphia at the Forrest Theatre. Forty (40) tickets will be sold for every performance for $10 each. The digital lottery will open at 11:00 AM ET on Sunday, August 25 for tickets to the Tuesday, August 27 performance. Subsequent digital lotteries will begin two days prior to each performance.

  • Use the official app for HAMILTON, now available for all iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (
  • You can also visit to register.
  • The lottery will open at 11:00 AM ET two days prior to the performance date and will close for entry at 9:00 AM ET the day prior to the performance.
  • Winner and non-winner notifications will be sent at approximately 11:00 AM ET the day prior to the performance via email and SMS (if mobile number is provided).
  • No purchase or payment necessary to enter or participate.
  • Each winning entrant may purchase up to two (2) tickets.
  • Only one entry per person. Repeat entries and disposable email addresses will be discarded.
  • Tickets must be purchased online with a credit card by 4:00 PM ET the day prior to the performance using the purchase link and code in a customized notification email. Tickets not claimed by 4:00 PM ET the day prior to the performance are forfeited.
  • Lottery tickets may be picked up at the Forrest Theatre box office beginning 1 ½ hours prior to the performance with a valid photo ID. Lottery tickets void if resold.

Patrons must be 18 years or older and have a valid, non-expired photo ID that matches the name used to enter. Tickets are non-transferable. Ticket limits and prices displayed are at the sole discretion of the show and are subject to change without notice.
Lottery prices are not valid on prior purchases. Lottery ticket offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. All sales final - no refunds or exchanges. Lottery may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not improve the chances of winning.

Tickets for HAMILTON are currently on sale.  Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels and for late release seats which may become available at short notice.
HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.  

For information on HAMILTON, visit:

August 05, 2019

NEW from Stila Cosmetics

Check out the NEW Shades from Stila. The liquid glitters and liquid shadows have been loves of mine for a long time, so I'm curious to see what I think of these new shades. What color is your favorite?

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