Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink




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5 Favorites: Hand Soaps

I am by no means a germaphobe, but I do wash my hands plenty of times throughout the day. Because I wash them so frequently, I am very particular about the hand soap that I use. I used to use inexpensive hand soaps, but they smelled very generic and were harsh on my hands. Now I switch between a handful of favorite hand soaps.

Bargain Hunting Tips For Money Saving Moms

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Being a parent is a wonderful and rewarding experience, but you have to admit, kids are expensive! From food to clothes, as well as the latest in toys and games, it's little wonder many of us feel the pinch in our pockets once we have children. Here are a few bargain hunting tips that will save you a lot of stress, time and money.

3 Ways To Prepare Your Child For A New School Year

Thank you JCPenney Optical for sponsoring this post. Visit your local JCPenney Optical to find your perfect frames!

The new school year brings with it both excitement and trepidation. It can be an overwhelming time for both kids and parents. Minimizing the stressors and maximizing preparation are the key to starting the year off on the right foot as this time of year can present many challenges.

Getting organized now for a successful year ahead. Use these tips and ideas to get the family prepared for the best school year ever.

1. Do a thorough BTS cleaning
Over the next few weeks, you will have an influx of papers and forms infiltrating your home. All these papers can easily get lost in the shuffle if you don't have some sort of organization system to handle them.
  • Assign each child a paper tray for papers and forms that need to be completed and returned to school.
  • Get rid of any extraneous papers from the summer and the previous school year.
  • Clean out your child's closet and dressers. Donate clothes that no longer fit and make room for new clothes for the school year.
  • Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Organize the contents of both so that it's easy for your children to put together their own lunches and snacks for school.

2. Have your child's eyes examined
If there is one thing that can contribute to poor performance in the classroom, it's poor vision. Start the year off right with a proper eye exam. JCPenney Optical offers both exams and a wide variety of eyeglasses. Shop JCPenney Optical for $39.99 Back to School Glasses for Kids. The sale includes a large selection of frames, impact-resistant lenses, and eyewear protection plan.

JCPenney not only has great brands for kids, but for mom and dad also. Choose from Ray Ban, DKNY, Armani Exchange, OP (kids-specific) and Converse (kids-specific).

Want to win eye-catching prizes? Enter the JCPenney Optical Back to School Photo Contest for a chance to win just in time for a new school year. Click HERE for official rules and to enter.

Share a favorite back to school photo of yourself and family members for a chance to win from JCPenney Optical and JCPenney Portraits.  Photos with glasses will receive EXTRA CREDIT!

From funny and awkward to absolutely adorable, JCPenney Optical wants to see a wide variety of photo submissions. Photos can be from any time period, but entrants must be 18 to enter (or have a parent/legal guardian enter on your behalf if younger).  Photos must only show one person and entries are limited to one submission per email address. Click HERE for official rules and to enter.

3. Do a first day test run
Doing a practice run through of the events that will take place on the first day is a great way to alleviate anxieties. Have your child pack lunch the night before. Wake early the following day and go through a typical day from waking to breakfast to getting to school (whether it's by bus, car, bike, or on foot). If your child will take the bus, practice your route to the bus stop, making sure to get there on time. Doing these activities in advance will make the first day seem less like a first day and more like a routine day weeks into the school year.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Incredible Gifts To Amaze Every Recipient

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'Tis better to give than to receive. The giving of a good gift is one of life's most fulfilling activities. A gift that sums up the recipient, a gift that will give them joy - or at the very least, a good laugh is the best give ever. I pride myself on choosing unique gifts for my friends and family. Many gifts can be expensive, but if you buy a gift that is relevant and unique, you'll never go wrong. Now, your budget might not mean you can gift rare gems, the Taj Mahal or helicopter rides away, but you might be able to give the gift of the moon and the stars. We’ll come talk about that later. But for now, here are some unique gifts that are sure to please the recipient.

7 Luxury Touches To Give Your Home Some Glamour

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Designing your dream home can be bittersweet. At first, you can feel all excited at the prospect of putting together a home that suits your style and tastes. But, as you start to put things into practice, it's never that easy. You’re often met with too many choices. Even when you have a very defined and specific sense of style, it’s not always easy to know exactly what you want. When you look for inspiration, you can often like it all - but lots of different trends thrown together isn’t quite the look you were going for. So, what are you to do?

When you first move house or you’re in the planning process, you can start making your interior design choices. When you’re really torn between a few different styles, there’s only one winning thing that you can do to make it work. Adding in a slice of luxury is always the best way to fall in love with your decor. Regardless of the trends you choose and the themes you opt for, a few luxury touches will always make your home feel complete and add a hint of glamour too. And here are seven of the best.

How To Vacation Without Losing Your Style

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There are few times in life most of us look forward to more than vacationing. Having the chance to kick back and relax, ideally in a beautiful location, can often be exactly what you need to recharge and unwind. As I prepare for a week away in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my sisters and our families, I'm obsessing over what I'll wear and how to pack for the trip.

On top of all the many other considerations you need to think about when you go on vacation, you also want to make sure that you are looking your best. But this can be challenging for anyone. It’s not the kind of thing that often comes easy. I tend to overdress while on vacation. It's just how I am. I've never been one to do super casual very well and certainly not while on vacation. 

Here are some unmissable tips I follow to help me retain my sense of style while on vacation.

Weekend Dispatch

There are still a few good weekends left of "unofficial" summer, and I plan to take full advantage of them. Next weekend, we leave for a week in Rehoboth Beach, but that still gives us a few more summer weekends here at the Jersey Shore. Luckily for us, things don't shut down here in the off-season. With plenty of year-round residents, there's always something to do.

Here's what's shakin' this weekend.

Every Sunday Dark City Brewing Company in Asbury Park hosts a yoga and beer combo. Kick start your Sunday with an hour long yoga session with instructor Stevie Leah followed by a 4 flight of beers and a brewery tour. Price is $13 (or $5 if you opt out of the beer). Event takes place from 10:30 am - 12 pm. Namaste!

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While everyone else is glued to Ozark (how can you go wrong with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney?), I'm over here binge watching Gypsy. I started watching it because of the intriguing description as well as for Naomi Watts (love her!). Although it took me a little while to get through the first episode, I was hooked by the time I started the second one. It's dark, spell-binding, romantic, and scary all in one bundle. One review called it "well made bad TV", and it is, but I like it. It's supposed to be a psychological thriller, but it's not very thrilling. It is mesmerizing and will suck you in when you're not looking. Oh, and did I mention it also stars Billy Crudup?!!

Several weeks ago, the Hubs and I had dinner at Half Moon Point. I'd been wanting to order the shrimp and grits since the restaurant opened in the spring, and I finally did. It was nothing short of spectacular, and I've been thinking about it ever since. This weekend I'll be making an attempt to make it at home using this recipe.

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There are so many good podcasts out there that it's often difficult to decide what to listen to. In this week's Best Online Reads I included a link to an article that listed a handful of recommended podcasts. One of my favorites from this list has been Crash On My Couch. I've found that many podcasts spew a lot of information at you. While most of the information is worthwhile, it's plentiful and comes at you quickly. Crash On My Couch is different. You get useful information, but you feel like you're having a conversation with two best friends. Although aimed at 20-somethings, I love this podcast for it's honest approach to the currently crazy world we live in. They chat about pop culture, relationships, pet peeves, and more.

I have a never ending quest for learning. When I discovered Skillshare, I couldn't believe the wealth of possibilities. Think of it as an organized and very specific version of YouTube. From tech to cooking to selling on Etsy, you can learn how to do it on Skillshare. There are so many options for both creative and professional types. Some classes are free and others require a fee. But in any case, check it out!

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Ten tips for starting your week off on the right foot via Sequins and Stripes.

2. Podcasts to transform your life via The Everygirl.

3. The best foods to eat when recovering from an intensive workout via MindBodyGreen.

How To Make The Most of a Family Trip To the Pool

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During the summer months, there's no better exercise or enjoyment for kids than swimming. What better way to engage your kids in an active lifestyle than a family trip to the local swimming pool. Not only is learning to swim a major life skill which should be encouraged from an early age, but it also offers an excellent cardiovascular workout that can help to keep them energetic, physically strong and at a healthy weight. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most out of a swimming experience for the entire family:

5 Favorites: Clutches

Now that my daughters are older and don't require babysitters, the Hubs and I are able to get out more often and more impulsively. We no longer need to plan date nights and are free to jump out for a quick bite or a cocktail when the mood strikes.

When we go out, I don't need to lug my normal (somewhat large and clunky) purse with me since I need only to bring a few essentials. I've been relying on chic and cute clutches for these evenings out since they aren't large but are large enough to hold everything I need (phone, lipstick, money, ID, credit card, etc.)

Here are 5 clutches I am currently loving: