Friday, August 1, 2014

Objects of My Obession

It's hard to believe that it's August 1st. The summer is flying by, and before I know it, I'll be sending the girls back to school. But until I do, I'll be taking full advantage of the next 5 weeks of summer break, starting with this weekend!

Whatever you plan to do this weekend, make it a fun one. xx

Here are the things that made me happy this week.

{Views of New York City from New Jersey}


{Celebrating National Cheesecake Day with a slice of white chocolate raspberry truffle}


{A new flag that solidifies my status as a crazy cat lady}


{Continuing along the lines of crazy cat lady, how cute is this cat tipi? My cats need this}


{A super cute sunglass pouch}

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meridian Health Introduces Meridian SoundingBoard

It’s not a novel concept for a company to ask for customer feedback. We are accustomed to seeing customer satisfaction surveys come in the mail or pop up in our Inboxes. But when was the last time you were asked to join the conversation and give your opinions about how an organization can improve the health care experience in your community?

Meridian Health is putting out the welcome mat and launching an innovative initiative in the form of an online community, Meridian SoundingBoard. Meridian is reaching out to people in Monmouth and Ocean counties to sign up and join the conversation about the health care experience in the community. Meridian cares about your healthcare experience and wants to hear what you have to say.


Meridian wants to understand what the health care experience should be like, and what direction new programs and services could take at Meridian in the future. They understand that when it comes to health care, the community knows what is needed best, and they know a great health care experience is built on many building blocks.

When you invest a little of your time and much of your opinion by helping Meridian to improve the health care experience in your community, and you see some of your feedback implemented, you will know you’ve contributed something important to the well-being of your community.

What's in it for you? Well, in addition to providing opinions and valuable feedback from a patient perspective, joining this community has other rewards too! Just for joining the community you earn entry into a drawing for $150 cash prize. When you complete surveys, you’ll have chances to win great prizes, including $100 cash prizes, and more!

Click below to join Meridian SoundingBoard and to take the first step in making your health care experience an even better one!


Best Online Reads


All the links I am loving this week:

1. A glimpse at Jackie Kennedy's private family album via Redbook Magazine.

2. Finally! A trick for keeping avocados fresh via Women's Health.

3. 11 things no one will buy at a yard sale via Huffington Post.

4. The 10 products Americans have stopped buying via Time.com.

5. 15 things moms say...and what we really mean via Scary Mommy.

6. 11 things you didn't know you could do with your iPad via Business Insider.

7. 15 incredible recipes to make that will impress anyone via Delish.

8. How to fake 8 hours of sleep in 8 minutes via Refinery29.

9. The long lasting benefits of 5 minutes of vigorous exercise each day via The New York Times.

10. A recipe for Nutella bites via Lady and the Blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Fun and Learning at Liberty Science Center {Giveaway} #ScienceSummerFun

After spending almost 10 months of the year in school, the last thing my kids want to do is spend their summer learning. Summer can be a challenging time to keep the kids educationally engaged. With plenty of opportunities for outdoor and physical fun and the constant distractions of electronics, summer, at least in the eyes of my kids, isn't always conducive to learning.

I've discovered that finding the right venues and opportunities to combine fun and learning is the key. To subtly incorporate the learning with the fun is my ultimate goal, and there's one place that's the ideal environment for achieving this goal: Liberty Science Center.

Although we visit LSC several times per year, our favorite time of the year to visit is during the summer when the little brains are in need of a good challenge and workout.

On Sunday, we were invited to visit LSC to enjoy the exhibits and experience the wonder of the newest exhibit Beyond Rubik's Cube. The iconic toy is celebrating it's 40th anniversary, and Liberty Science Center offers its visitors interactive and digital challenges in solving this mesmerizing puzzle.

Before entering the exhibit, visitors are greeted by a 26-foot tall Groovik's Cube that hangs in the atrium of LSC. Visible for 3 floors of the museum, this web-enabled exhibit is playable from anywhere in the world.

We entered Beyond The Rubik's Cube, and I was immediately transported back to the early 80s when I would spend hours trying to complete the puzzle. I immediately headed to the Solve Bar where guests can get hands-on and try their hand at solving the elusive puzzle. There are also interactive exhibits where you can attempt to solve it via the help of Google technology. A "tutor" guides you in your interactive experience and suggests moves while you solve the puzzle on a tablet.


Give up? Well, you are in luck. There's hope for solving your cube at Robot Race. A speed-cubing robot solves any scrambled cube that is handed to it. My girls had to pull me away from this to move on to other areas.


After spending our fair share of time in Beyond The Rubik's Cube, it was time to move on. One of our favorite exhibits at LSC is Infection Connection, a look at how various types of infections are spread and treated.

The Contagion Station is like a giant sneeze which covers you in pseudo airborne germs.


This interactive station allows you to treat bacteria with antibiotics. Sometimes the strains of bacteria are greater and stronger than others, and thus, more antibiotics are needed. This was a great tool for showing my daughters how effective antibiotics are at treating some of the common infections they get.


Our next stop was the Communication exhibit. This exhibit focuses on means of communication, primarily written forms. In addition to learning the origins of communication, you can learn how to read the Braille alphabet, see the early writing instruments before a pencil and pen were invented, and try your hand at a little street graffiti. 


If you plan a trip to LSC, be sure to inquire about the shows in the J.D. Williams Science Theater. On a previous visit, the show featured a mathematician who could solve any problem within seconds. He could even tell you that day of the week you were born on based on your birthday. Yeah, crazy. On Sunday's visit, the show was all about the origins of electricity. During the Tesla Lightning Show, we saw how electricity is conducted. This was a really cool show and a real delight for the senses. Here's a bolt of lightning being conducted in front of our eyes.


One of my favorite parts of LSC is the IMAX theater. We always set aside some time to see an IMAX movie during our visits to Liberty Science Center! On this visit, we saw "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar". Get your tickets early at the box office. We wanted to see the "Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland", but it was sold out.

And lastly, our visit was made complete with a photo with Clifford The Big Red Dog.

If you've got little ones, you don't want to miss the Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog exhibit. It's an incredibly colorful and highly interactive experience (almost like a playground) where you can play with Clifford and his favorite friends.

Doesn't all this talk about science, technology, and fun make you want to plan a trip to Liberty Science Center?

WIN TICKETS!

One lucky Pieces of a Mom winner will win a 4-pack of tickets to the Liberty Science Center. The tickets include complimentary admission to LSC for up to 4 adults or children during normal operating hours. Tickets do not include parking, or any special programming or IMAX movies. Tickets expire on January 31, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received complimentary admission to LSC for me and my family and a 4-pack of tickets to use on a return visit. I was not required to or compensated to write this post. All opinion are my own.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Best Lipsticks for a Natural Lip

I used to love the deep vampy lip colors of the 90s. But as I've gotten older and the trends have changed, I've embraced a more natural look for my lips. While I still love a bold lip for a night out on the town, my day-to-day lips now take on a natural look.

In honor of National Lipstick Day, I'm sharing a few of my favorite shades to create the look of a natural lip. But first, here are a few fun facts about lipstick provided by Amazon.com:

  • People in Atlanta, Miami, and Portland buy more lipstick than those in any other city.
  • "Lipstick" is searched twice as frequently as "Lip Gloss" on Amazon.com
  • Amazon has seen a 50% increase in "nude lipstick" searches during the month of July 2014.









Makeup Forever Lipstick in Pink Beige

I'm linking up with #BeautyBuzz, hosted this week by Janise at Mama In Heels.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday :: 7.28.2014

I have to be honest...executing my meal plans has been a bit of a challenge lately. Lack of motivation is the primary culprit. Is a personal chef too much to ask for???



This week I am keeping it easy in hopes of not resorting to take out.

Monday - Caesar salad

Tuesday - BLTs and Alexia sweet potato fries

Wednesday - Dinner out

Thursday - Light and easy pasta salad

Friday - Slow cooker shredded chicken nachos

Saturday - Caprese lasagna roll ups

Sunday - Spicy mustard mayo chicken kebabs with either rice or roasted potatoes.

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For Dinner Pinterest board for even more ideas.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Chat

I'm up bright and early this Sunday morning. I'm sitting at my desk listening to the rain lightly fall outside. It certainly doesn't look like a beach day today. That's a good thing because we are headed to the Liberty Science Center for a blogging event today.


We will be touring a few exhibits at the facility including the new Rubik's Cube exhibit. I can't wait for that. I was a huge Rubik's Cube fan as a kid. I never could figure out how to solve the puzzle, but I sure spent hours trying. After our tour, we will be on our own to enjoy the Liberty Science Center. We've been there many times before, but the exhibits are constantly changing and evolving to make each visit seem like your very first one.

Follow along on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #ScienceSummerFun.

Moving on... Yesterday I woke up with a urinary tract infection. If you've ever had one, you know that they are the equivalent of having sewing needles stuck in your eyes. I wasted no time in calling my primary care physician for an appointment. By 12:15 I was out of his office and on my way to recovering. I spent the afternoon having a pity party for myself in the form of a movie marathon. I watched 3 of my favorites: You've Got Mail, Clockwatchers, and Return To Me. It was just want I needed.

Later in the afternoon, I had a surprise visit from my sister Brenda and her best friend who had been in Philly all week for the USPS convention. I hadn't seen her since Mother's Day and won't see her again until the end of August, so it was a nice surprise for her drop by before she returns to Florida today.

Summer seems to be flying by. Emma is in drama camp, and Harper is taking tennis lessons this summer. We've spent lazy afternoons at the pool, and of course, our visits to Jenkinson's Boardwalk have certainly been a highlight of our summer. We've started preliminary planning for our annual vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with my sisters and their families at the end of August. We started the tradition in August 2007, and it has really become a sort of family reunion. We rent the same house year after year, and we've had that squared away since October. We are starting the countdown and getting super excited.

While I was visiting my sister last weekend in central Pennsylvania, I woke early and walked around her neighborhood. She has a great neighborhood for getting exercise, lots of hills to get your heart rate pumping. But here's what I realized: I am terribly out of shape. I really fell of the exercise bandwagon back in February when Harper became sick, and I've had a tough time getting motivated since then. But those morning walks sure proved to me that I need to do something. So, this week I'm going to buy a Fitbit and really get serious about incorporating exercise in my life on a CONSISTENT basis. I am such a yo-yo exerciser. At 46, I need some sort of regular exercise routine. If you have any tips for how you've kept up your motivation, I'm all ears.

Also while out in PA, we visited Knoebels Amusement Park. It was great fun, and I'll be sharing a few of my must-dos this week. I'm lucky in that my girls are pure thrill seekers. They go on all the big rides and roller coasters. We really had a blast.

Time to sign off. Stay tuned. This week I'll be sharing the details of today's visit to the Liberty Science Center with you and giving away 4 tickets to the LSC for one lucky winner. Hope it's you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Objects of My Obsession

Last weekend was one of those weekends. You know....the kind that leaves you completely fulfilled and ready to take on a new week. I spent the weekend in central Pennsylvania where I was born and raised until I moved away to go to college. It was a weekend filled with family, and it was just what I needed to feed my soul.

This week's OOMO is dedicated to the small things that made me happy during our long weekend in the country. I hope you can find a few things that make you happy this weekend. xx

{A plethora of fresh vegetables from a local farm}


{A sweet Amish girl handing out caramel corn samples}


{Swimming with cousins}


{Neighboring farms}


{No trip home is complete without a stop at my favorite ice cream shop for a "Chocolate Jigger"}


{A country sunset to end the day}

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 2014 Birchbox Deconstructed #birchbox

I finally had a chance to sit down and open my July Birchbox last night. Since I seem to be receiving the same types of items each month, I've been considering updating my Birchbox profile in hopes of receiving more of a variety of products. Although I still haven't updated my profile, I am happy to report that this month's selection was a bit different than that of past months.



Here's what I received in my July 2014 Birchbox (in no particular order):

1. Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect (Received a sample. Full size: $32)
This sulfate-free leave-in conditioner safeguards color and strengthens and nourishes hair.
My thoughts: I love leave-in conditioners, and this is one of the best I've tried. I liked that it was a spray-on, too.

2. Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+ (Received a sample. Full size: $32)
This CC cream triple protects against UVA, UVB and infrared-A rays.
My thoughts: My container was empty when my box arrived. I have contacted both Birchbox and Supergoop! to resolve this.

3. SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins for Adults (Received a sample. 30-day supply: $29.95.)
Delicious gummies provide essential nutrients without artificial flavors.
My thoughts: They are very tasty, but one serving is 6 pieces. I'd prefer to eat one or two per day rather than eat 6 to get me recommended daily allowance of vitamins.

4. Harvey Prince Hello Body Creme (Received a sample. Full size: $22)
Infused with a best-selling citrus scent, this hydrator leaves skin silky-smooth.
My thoughts: I LOVE this!! The smell, the texture were both perfect. I will definitely be ordering more of this body creme.

5. Cynthia Rowley Beauty Silver Eyeliner (Received 1 full size, $16)
This metallic liner goes on smoothly and is long-lasting.
My thoughts: I love this eye pencil for creating a smoky eye. I wouldn't use it by itself, but when used with dark shadow and smudged to create a smoky eye, it's a very pretty look.

All items available for purchase at www.birchbox.com.

To see all of my Birchbox posts, click here.

To see more of my favorite beauty products, check out my Beauty board on Pinterest

Best Online Reads


The links I am loving this week:

1. Sixteen ways to tell if you are succeeding in life via The Mind Unleashed.

2. How to choose the perfect paint color for your bedroom via Domaine.

3. How to cook on hot summer days via Four Hats and Frugal.

4. A digital detox plan to help you unplug from the electronics via Refinery29.

5. 10 reasons why you should blog via Meredith C. Bullock.

6. A spicy red pepper martini via COOKIE + kate.

7. A solution for keeping your lipstick from rolling all over the place via Anthropologie.

8. A crostini bar is a great option for casual entertaining via Eat Drink Pretty.

9. Thirty things everyone should know via Medium.com.

10. How to photograph your children via A Grande Life.