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Adorable CHARM IT! Friendship Bracelets (and Necklaces) Allow Girls To Express Individuality!

star-border-coverFriendship is a complex thing, even for young girls. I’ve learned a lot about it over the years and what I’ve come to realize is that friends aren’t always exactly alike. In fact, friends can be quite the opposite, as far as their tastes and favorites, but what they share in common is spending time together having fun.

friendsSometimes it seems like kids place too much importance on trying to be like others, and not enough of themselves. It’s OK to have individual tastes and be different from your friends. I’ve worked hard to teach this to my daughter.

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This is why I love CHARM IT! necklaces, bracelets, and charms! Have you seen them before? It’s a premier brand that’s available worldwide and sold exclusively at independent specialty retailers and premium department stores. When CHARM IT! recently sent me some gift packs of bracelets, I was excited for my daughter to give them to her little circle of friends!

CHARM-IT-gift-setCHARM IT has 100’s of different charms to choose from that you can purchase to attach to a chain necklace or bracelet. Here are just some of the categories girls can choose charms from:

charm-it-charmsWith so many different charms to choose from, friends can build a necklace or bracelet that best fits their individual personalities, while still being able to attach some charms that are the same as their friends’ charms. Each of the charms has adorable details (some are even blingy), they’re sturdy and easily clasp on. bracelet

My daughter and her circle of friends each have a pink chain bracelet with 3 charms attached: a cupcake, a blinged out high top tennis shoe and a “friends” charm. There is still plenty of room for each of them to add additional charms that have to do with their own personalities.

charmsI think these are some of the cutest things I’ve seen for girls and am excited for the girls to continue to build up their collection of charms on their own bracelets. What do YOU do to encourage your own daughter’s individuality?

star-borderTo locate a store that sells CHARM IT!, click here. Connect with CHARM IT! on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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This is not a sponsored post. I received products in order to faciliate this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Some images and logos property of CHARM IT! 

 

California Water is a Precious Resource. Make Every Drop Count with Scotts® EveryDrop™!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® EveryDrop™.  All opinions are 100% my own. 

With the lack of rainfall to replenish our water supply , California is in a serious drought state of emergency. This is a sponsored post written by me for Scotts® EveryDrop™ to discuss how we can each help with the situation. All opinions are my own. 

make-every-drop-countThe reality of  the drought in California is now scarier than ever and it’s not getting any better.  Everywhere I look there are lawns and landscapes that have major portions browning. There are posted signs in the different communities, stating specifics for community water-conservation goals, as well as the strictly enforced watering days. After more than a few consecutive years of a drought here in California, we need so badly to take some major steps to conserve water and make what we’re using last longer.

After our own Governor Brown mandated a 25% cut in water usage in California, many residents have opted for plants that require very little water and some have even replaced lawns with artificial turfs. However, for those who have decided to keep their yards, they are having to maintain them with A LOT less water.  This is where an amazing product called Scotts® EveryDrop™ can help.  The California Department of Food and Agriculture actually approved the registration for Scotts® EveryDrop™ this past summer, as an innovative consumer product that helps residents conserve water.

Scotts-EveryDropScotts® EveryDrop™, developed by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, is a water maximizer for lawns and landscapes, designed to move more water into the soil, consistently and evenly, even in dry, hard-to-wet soils. EveryDrop™ is a unique formula of wetting agents, which help more water penetrate soil and get to the roots, where it is needed most. More water in the soil means less is wasted through surface runoff and pooling. One application lasts for four weeks, so no matter how you water; relying on rain, sprinklers, or hoses, EveryDrop™ helps maximize the water in your outdoor space long after the initial application and it’s so easy to use.

EveryDrop-helps-maximizeOften times in dry conditions, soils compact and cause available rain or irrigation water to bead on the surface and be wasted. EveryDrop® is a watering agent that uses an innovative surfactant technology to help available water penetrate the soil more easily and evenly so it can better reach the roots zone and hydrate the plants. EveryDrop™ helps homeowners use up to 25 percent less water on their lawns and landscapes.

EveryDrop-applicationAs a first grade teacher and a mom, I’ve always made it a point to teach both my students and my own daughter about the importance of water conservation. I’ve taught them that “Everyday is Earth Day” and I’ve tried to help them see that they, too, can make an impact on our Earth. There are so many little things we can all do at home on a daily basis, such as turn off the water when brushing our teeth, take shorter showers and avoid baths unless totally necessary, and minimize the water usage during the washing of your daily dishes. Sadly, these things I’ve taught the kids to do are just part of what is going to make an impact at this point.

California residents, up and down the state, have to really consider their use of water on their lawns and landscapes too now, IN A BIG WAY. Well-fed lawns and plants are more efficient at using available water. For optimal results, feed your lawn and plants with Scotts® and Miracle-Gro®. California water is a precious resource and we have to make every drop count!

 

For additional information about EveryDrop® and to find more water conservation tips, click here.

 

Unplug Your Family and Get Outside With Guardian Bikes! #GuardianBikes

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with Gigasavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

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I remember being outside all day on the weekend, when I was a kid, and riding my bike around until the streetlights came on! That’s how we knew it was time to go home! I don’t think people thought too much about safety back then. There definitely weren’t conscious efforts to wear bike helmets and be safe. As a mom, I’m the complete opposite! Safety comes first!

guardian-bikes-safety-firstWe were invited to spend a day out in the park with Guardian Bikes. I love getting the family uplugged and outside in the fresh air! If you haven’t heard of them before, it may be because Guardian Bikes is a brand new company based in Orange County. Their mission is to help children, from 4 to 12 years old , explore the world in motion with confidence and safety.

explore-the-worldThe company was founded with the intention of preventing the millions of biking accidents that happen to children each year. Their bicycles are the only children’s bikes to incorporate an innovative brake system technology, called SureStop, in addition to other features, to help keep kids safe.

As I mentioned, Guardian Bikes are the are only children’s bikes to incorporate SureStop’s version of a traditional V brake system. It works by applying brake force to the rims of each wheel when the one brake lever is squeezed.

guardian.july2015_prototypes.50The amount of brake pressure that is applied depends on the amount of rear traction. As the rear brake is applied, it communicates via cable with the brakes in front, effectively inducing all-wheel braking for improved stopping power. I just wish they had this when I was learning to ride a bike safely.

love-your-guardian-bikeGuardian Bikes believes that a kid’s bike not only be a design & style they love but also something they feel confident riding. I totally agree! Their bikes are designed in bold colors and patterns for both boys and girls.

guardian-bikes-girlIn addition to the SureStop braking system which prevents the front wheels from locking up, Guardian Bikes feature several other safety features including:

Easy Ride Geometry

  • Wheel base is extended and bottom bracket is lowered for overall lower center of gravity, making the bike harder to tip over and easier to ride 

Sturdier Steering

  • Steering components make it easier for kids to steer as they ride.

High Quality Components

  • Shimano shifting
  • Kendra Tires 
  • Double wall rims for durability 

But my most favorite feature about these bikes is the fact that they only weigh around 20 pounds! Yes, it’s true! Since they are mostly made of aluminum, Guardian Bikes are easier for a child to control and manipulate!

guardian-bikes-pedalGuardian Bikes will be available online and in specialty retail stores in the fall, at the end of September, and will be priced at $399. My daughter has already requested one from Santa! Honestly, why wouldn’t I want her on the safest bike out there, created for kids? Christmas can’t come soon enough!

Connect with Guardian Bikes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Your Love For Disney…..When Did It Start For YOU? #DisneySMMC #WDIS4U

 

when-did-it-start-for-youAs a mom who loves Disney and shares A LOT about Disney online, it was such an honor for me to receive an invitation to the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities we (the attendees) received at the celebration, including access to hear amazing speakers like Jeffrey Epstein from D23.  Jeffrey’s presentation at the conference had me teary-eyed (in a good, Disney way, of course) and beyond emotional. He shared one of D23’s latest campaigns with us called “When Did It Start For You?“.

when-did-it-start-for-youThe campaign asks Disney fans to share when they first remember falling in love with Disney and becoming a lifelong fan. It was fun to watch different clips of celebrities, a Disney Legend, some current Imagineers, and even some D23 fans. I couldn’t help but tear up as I watched each video. Listening to these people who all shared a common Disney bond share about their own personal reasons for loving Disney and feeling inspired by Disney was something I could relate to.

when-did-it-start-for-youWhat inspired me the most though was when I looked up at the screen and realized there was a “When Did It Start For You” clip of someone that I knew up there! She’s mostly an acquaintance I know online, which is how this whole social media thing works, but regardless, to look up and hear Ashley speaking about her own experience was literally speaking straight to my own heart! The picture of her as a young girl was adorable!

Ashley-telling-her-own-storyIt really hit home when she proceeded to talk about being bullied and how her love for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was her own escape from the ugliness of bullying. The “Ashley” I know online is a fun-loving, adorable Disney girl who posts tons of beautiful Disney photos. I had NO IDEA  about all she’d been through and that she’d overcome so much.  I admire her immensely for sharing her story on the big screen!

Watch her story here (you’ll probably need a tissue):

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I’m trying to remember when it started for me? I can’t remember exactly though. I think I was a baby! I grew up living pretty close to Disneyland. When our family did visit Disneyland (it was a single park back then), it was in the summer and we always had to make the most of one day, from park opening to park closing. It wasn’t like present day where so many people are fortunate enough to have an Annual Pass and can just visit for a couple hours at a time.

thats-meI only have faint memories of my early Disneyland days. I can recall things like The Matterhorn, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and It’s a Small World. I remember eating lunch at Carnation Gardens and I remember watching the Main Street Electrical Parade at night.

main-street-electrical-paradeOur day at Disneyland was like the one day a year I didn’t fight with my younger brother since we were too busy being in awe of all the magic! What I do remember is that it was all about being with our little family and creating memories together.

memories-1As I got older, my love for Disney continued to grow and I’d visit Disneyland with my friends (and no parents. One of my high school dreams was to dance in one of the Disneyland parades. I never had the technical training to make it to the final cuts of Disney auditions, but I will say that it was fun to spend hours and hours on the old backlot of Disneyland where they used to hold the auditions.

twiceLuckily for me, they created a parade for Disney’s 45th anniversary that guests could actually dance in. It was called “The Parade of the Stars” and guests were picked up along Main Street, U.S.A. in the Omnibus and taken backstage to learn their parts.

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We got to dance the entire parade route from It’s a Small World to the top of Main Street, U.S.A.! I danced in it on two different occasions, so it was a dream come true…twice! They even gave each of us a commemorative pin for participating.

pinOnce I became a mom, my love for Disney was something that I quickly passed on to my own daughter. Her first visit to the parks was at Christmas time when she was just 7 months old. I don’t know how much she remembers about that particular visit, but when she was about a year and a half, she and I started visiting the parks together approximately 2-3 days a week together.

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emily-and-mommyMy daughter and I watched “The Parade of Dreams” so many times during its run at Disneyland! Now, just hearing the music from that parade brings back all of the fun memories we created together when she was really little.

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disney-sideI would say that my love for Disney has come full circle because now I’m here blogging about it too. I could go on typing thousands of words about this topic too, but I think everyone gets the message loud and clear. “When Did It Start For You?” is something we can ALL relate to. It’s fun to hear others’ personal stories.

Do YOU have a particular memory or reason for when it all started for YOU? Share with me in the comments!

“A Grandpa Is a Friend With Quarters” (I Can’t Believe That’s MY Dad Now!)

When I was a little girl, I used to go and stay with my grandparents (my dad’s parents) for the weekend, quite often. They were an amazing couple, who were madly in love from the time they married in the late 1940’s to the time they passed away. I LOVED staying at my grandparents’ house for the weekend with my little brother because we always go to go to Bob’s Big Boy for dinner on Friday night and on Saturday night we’d get to stay up late to watch The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and then eat ice cream while watching The Rockford Files! (That was on super late!) There were virtually no rules when we were at my grandparents’ house, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

thats-meOne Father’s Day, my brother and I gave my Grandpa an adorable button from Hallmark that read, “A Grandpa is a Friend With Quarters“. It was the perfect gift for him because my Grandpa really DID give us quarters back then. (That was when you could play a video game for just .25!)

my-sweet-grandparentsIt’s been quite a few years since my Grandpa and Grandma passed away. They were the greatest grandpa and grandma we could’ve had! My Grandma survived longer than my Grandpa and after she passed away a few years ago, I helped organize their belongings and I came across “the button”! When I grasped it in my hand, it made me smile and I could remember way back when, getting all of those quarters from him. I stuck it into my purse for later. I had plans for it.

thats-my-dad-nowThis year, I broke out “the button”. It couldn’t be a more perfect year actually. You see, my own dad enjoys taking my daughter (and her cousins) to this restaurant near our home that has an arcade. While the adults sit and talk over our meals, the kids keep busy making trips between the arcade and our table, to get more quarters from Grandpa. Yep, my dad is the “Go-To Guy” now for quarters. I swear the kids think his supply of quarters is unlimited!

a-grandpa-is-a-friend-with-quartersFor Father’s Day this year, I took the button to my favorite t-shirt making place, The Shirt Cannery! The girls who work there are always really helpful whenever I go in to have something custom made. First, they had me email a photo of the button to them. Then, they pulled it up on their screen to edit and size it to fit on a t-shirt. Finally, they printed it out on special transfer paper and used their fancy press machine to put it on the t-shirt!

the-shirt-canneryI am so happy about how the t-shirt turned out and I hope my Dad loves it as much as I do. (I know he will) I love the card my daughter made to go with it, too.

FullSizeRender (4)Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for being an amazing Grandpa!  

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. 

Youth Service America is Seeking Young Change Makers to Award 125 “Summer of Creativity” Grants Through Support of Disney/ABC Television!

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School’s out for the summer and Youth Service America is challenging kids to make this a Summer of Creativity. YSA, through support from Disney | ABC Television Group will award “Summer of Creativity Grants” to young change-makers who have ideas and projects that positively impact their community. Young people who are creating lasting, positive change through volunteer and community service projects should definitely apply, especially those who are already involved in volunteering.
Youth ages 5-18 in the U.S. are eligible to apply for Summer of Creativity Grants by submitting service project ideas that will make a difference in their local communities.

 Some of the details:

  • One hundred and twenty five winners will be awarded individual $500 grants to implement their projects.
  • Select grantees will have a chance to be recognized on Good Morning America or their local ABC affiliate.

2014 grant-awarded projects included:

  • Warm Winters, a program run by a 14-year-old to collect coats, hats, and gloves left at ski resorts to help
    keep the homeless warm.
  • Shred Kids Cancer, a campaign organized by a 14-year-old to fundraise for research to help find cures for
    pediatric cancer.
  • Braeden’s Brown Bags, a foundation founded by a 10-year-old to provide healthy meals to kids in need.

YSAApplications for Summer of Creativity Grants will be accepted through August 10, 2015. For more information and to apply online visit ABC.com/BeInspired or YSA.org/BeInspired.

Connect with Youth Service America on Facebook and Twitter!

SummerofCreativity_Logo_BarDisclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Images/logos courtesy of YSA. 

Free Family Summer Concerts in the Park at Baker Ranch Beginning June 19!

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Are you looking for something fun to do with the family this summer? Well head over to Baker Ranch for their Summer Concerts in the Park beginning on June 19! It’s going to be something that the whole family can enjoy, which is something you absolutely won’t want to miss. These family-friendly concerts are totally free and open to the public and the perfect place to spend warm summer nights surrounded by friends, neighbors, and the beautiful Baker Ranch community.

Here’s the schedule of Summer Concerts in the Park for this summer:

Friday, June 19th – Keepin’ The Summer Alive – Beach Boys Tribute Band, 5:30 – 8:00pm

Friday, July 17th – Neil Morrow & Memphis’ 54 – Rockabilly/Country (with line dancing instructor), 5:30 – 8:00pm

Friday, August 21st – A Peaceful Easy Evening – Eagles Tribute Band, 5:30 – 8:00pm

baker-ranch-sunsetGuests at the concerts are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner but no need to worry about drinks and desserts as those will be provided! If you’re looking for a truly relaxing concert experience, this is it. Feel free to bring blankets and chairs to lay out on the lawn and feel free to invite your friends and neighbors and make a full evening out of it.

baker-ranch-communityIf you haven’t visited Baker Ranch yet, is a the stunning master planned community in Lake Forest that showcases some of the area’s most gorgeous new homes, crafted by respected builders like Shea Homes and Toll Brothers. There’s nothing quite like the resort-style living found at Baker Ranch in all of Orange County!

af4fe38a-56f4-463c-a610-ddecffde15c9For more information about the Baker Ranch Summer Concerts in the Park, go to their Facebook page HERE. You can also connect with Baker Ranch on Twitter and Instagram!

 

 

i♥oc Giving Day is Here! Show Your Love for Orange County and Join in by Giving Back! #iheartOC

i-heart-oc-day-pinkIt’s here…the 1st Annual country-wide fundraiser to raise money that directly gives back to OC nonprofits. Join the Orange County Community Foundation as they attempt to raise their goal of $2 million for OC nonprofits. This virtual, online event will last just 30 hours, starting at 6 a.m. on April 21 and going until noon on April 22. During this time period, you’ll have the opportunity to show OC non-profits how much you care! Participating Orange County nonprofits will be eligible to receive funding through bonus awards and prizes provided by OCCF and their Giving Day partners. (Just look at the long list of amazing partners!)

I am so proud to call Orange County “home” and have lived here for a great majority of my life. It warms my own heart to see so many exemplary OC non-profits giving back to those in need within our community. I also know how much work goes on behind the scenes of these non-profits and how desperately they are always in need of donations in order to keep up the work they’re doing. It’s so important to give when you can, especially when it’s beneficial to local organizations.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should give on #iheartoc Giving Day:

  • Your donation stays local
  • Your gift benefits the cause you choose
  • Pool your donation with others from OC who share the passion to help
  • A little goes a long way. (Donations start at just $25)

OCCF_homepage_banners_R5_Page_1I encourage everyone to participate in Orange County Community Foundation’s #iheartoc Giving Day and make a donation in honor of your love for The OC. It takes the entire community to come together and encourage Orange County’s spirit of giving so you can also join in and spread the word.  Give to an OC nonprofit that speaks to your heart by visiting iheartoc.org.

i-heart-oc-dayFollow the Orange County Community Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information surrounding this wonderful event!

Disclosure: I was provided with information about this event to share with my readers and compensated for my time. All opinions are 100% my own.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2-American’s Safety Legend Shows Kids How to Stay Safe – Outside and Online! #BlartRidesAgain

If you loved Kevin James in Mall Cop, then you’re going to love him in the sequel, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 which opens in theaters on April 17!

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Here’s a synopsis of the film: In this sequel, in which Kevin James reprises the role of Paul Blart, the security guard is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) before she departs for college. While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist – and it’s up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.

I’m excited to share the “Paul Blart’s Safety Smarts” Educational Program with you! The program features fun and educational quizzes and materials you can use with kids (ages 7-11) to teach them about safety tips.

Watch Paul Blart (Kevin James) in this safety video!

https://youtu.be/5QeQ8Q7_EA8

 Don’t miss PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 in theaters nationwide on April 17th
paul-blartFollow along on Facebook and Twitter!