Our Very Important Preschooler

Our Very Important Preschooler

When we had J.B. we had no idea the impact it would have on our lives.  His birth was so traumatic and we were told it could affect him down the line.  At first he was developing on track but somewhere around 18 months he started to regress.  Last year he was diagnosed with Autism and he’s also non-verbal so we started him with early intervention to help him build communication and social skills.  Meet our very important preschooler, J.B.  He’s changed our lives in so many ways and I know he’ll continue to change it each day.

JB eating

JB starts his second year of school this year and he’s doing so well.  Although he still can’t speak he is finding various ways to communicate with us and let us know what he’s learning.  To help him celebrate and enjoy this school year we got him a very special personalized book that talks about all the things kids learn in Pre-School.  I See Me sent us a copy of The Very Important Preschooler for review, any opinions expressed are my own.

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This year J.B. will be learning a lot of things and his new book is a way of helping him understand some of what he will be learning.  I love unique gifts like these because they make kids feel special.  For J.B. it was a great way to show him some of what school would be like this year.

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The Very Important Preschooler offers a variety of options for personalization, including a dedication from the gifter to the recipient.

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The book does a great job going through the things a pre-schooler would do during school.  My favorite part was just how many times we found his name in the story.

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J.B. loved when we read the book to him at night and when we were on a page with his name he would point to the letters to get us to read them.  Eventually we started asking him to find the letters in his name.  So it ended up being a learning tool for him as well.  Since he’s non-verbal that’s the only way we know what letters he knows.

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If you have a child heading off to preschool soon or if they have already started be sure to check out The Very Important Preschooler from I See Me!  At just $29.99 it’s a great gift idea for children.  With the holidays approaching you may be shopping for other gift ideas, I See Me has a wide variety of options including; Puzzles /Coloring BooksPlacemats / Stickers  and Growth Charts!

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I hope that my son has a great year in school this year and that he learns a lot.  I plan to continue to remind him that he is a V.I.P and read him his book every night.

Get Social with I See Me!

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ISeeMeBooks   Twitter:      @ISeeMe_Maia  Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/iseemebooks/ 

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Mill Creek Entertainment September Releases

Mill Creek Entertainment September Releases

Mill Creek Entertainment is one of my favorite places for finding shows I enjoyed from the past.  It’s where I re-discovered classics like He-Man, full seasons of Cosby Show and much more.  Here’s a listing of their upcoming releases for the month of September.  Be sure to check it out and get started on your holiday shopping early.

millscreek september

millscreek september

September New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases

9/1/15 DVD Releases:

Documentaries

Celebrate History

  • Monument Men – The Road to Rushmore
  • US Cavalry – 5 Part Documentary Series

Both Documentaries were produced exclusively for Mill Creek Entertainment

 Family/Kids

Cute and Funny! Dove approved for all ages.

  • Bandit and The Saints of Dogwood

9/15/15 DVD and Blu-ray Releases:

Blu-ray

First Time on Blu-ray!

  • Spaced Invaders – Blu-ray
  • The Big Picture – Blu-ray

Anniversary Series

Something to Celebrate!

  • Anniversary Series – 80th – Crime and Punishment
  • Anniversary Series – 60th – Creature with the Atom Brain
  • Anniversary Series – 25th – Spaced Invaders
  • Anniversary Series – 25th – Postcards from the Edge

Movie Collections

Unique Movie Compilations

  • Attack of the Killer ‘Bs’ – 10 B-Movies
  • The Directors Collection – 10 Movies
  • First Features Collection – 10 Movies
  • Man With a Plan Collection – 10 Movies

Movie Icons

  • Boris Karloff Collection – 6 Movie Collection
    • First time all 6 films have been packaged together
  • The Randolph Scott Roundup – 6 Classic Westerns
    • First time all 6 films have been packaged together

TV on DVD Releases 

Johnny Test – Seasons 1-5 (Release Date: 9/1/15)

Partridge Family – The Complete Series (Release Date: 9/22/15

Good Times – The Complete Series (Release Date: 9/22/15)

 

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Upcoming Zulily Sales

Upcoming Zulily Sales

Wednesday, August 26- Saturday, August 29

Get Up to 55% Off JoJo Maman Bébé at zulily! Shop zulily Now and Save!

Get Up to 60% Off Dansko at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Get Up to 40% Off Sistema at zulily! Shop and Save Now!

Thursday, August 27- Sunday, August 30

Get Major Savings of Up to 50% Off Lorna Jane at zulily! Shop Now for Great Savings!

Get Great Savings on Leveret at zulily! Shop zulily.com Now and Save!

Friday, August 28- Monday, September 1

Get Great Deals on Best-Selling Scents at zulily! Shop Now for Great Savings!

Get Savings on Coco and Main at zulily! Shop zulily Now!

Get Great Savings on the Disney Princess Collection at zulily! Shop the Collection Now!

Get Major Savings on Teva at zulily! Shop Now at zulily!

Saturday, August 29- Tuesday, September 2

Save Up to 70% on Joe’s Jeans at zulily! Shop zulily Today!

Get Great Savings on American Apparel at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Get Great Savings on E-Land Kids at zulily! Shop Now at zulily.com!

Sunday, August 23- Wednesday, August 26

Get Great Savings on Petunia Pickle Bottom at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Get Savings on Lazy One at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Get Savings on Pinkblush Maternity at zulily! Shop zulily Now and Save!

Get Savings on LeapFrog at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Monday, August 24- Thursday, August 27

Get Great Savings on Spanx by Sara Blakely at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

Get Savings on Trick-or-Treat – Boys & Girls’ Apparel & Accessories at zulily! Shop Now and Save!

 

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Baltimore Event Listing – Raven’s Kickoff Pep Rally

Baltimore Event Listing – Raven’s Kickoff Pep Rally

It’s already pre-season in the world of NFL Football and local Baltimore residents are gearing up for the season.  Our house is a house divided when it comes to football.  My husband is a Tampa Bay fan and I live and breathe for my Ravens.  If you live in the Baltimore area check out this local event in the Owings Mills area.  You can take the kids to rally the Ravens and help raise funds for charity as well.

my challenged gym

Event: Raven’s Season Kickoff Pep Rally
Date and Time: Friday, September 11 from 5:30PM to 8:30PM
Gym’s full address: My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, 11221 Dolfield Blvd., Suite 111, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Who: Gym members and non-gym members.
Cost: Suggested donation is $5. All proceeds will be donated to My Gym Challenged America, an organization that is committed to providing assistance and support to children with physical/cognitive challenges.

Gym’s phone number(s): 410-654-7575
Gym’s Facebook URL:
www.facebook.com/mygymowingsmills

Gym’s Website URL: www.mygym.com/owingsmills

Event Description:

Raven’s Season Kickoff Pep Rally will be held two days before then Raven’s first game of the season! There will be games, relays, songs, dance, face paintings free snacks and refreshments and more!  All proceeds will be donated to My Gym Challenged America, an organization that is committed to providing assistance and support to children with physical/cognitive challenges.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Date Night, Hersheypark and the Mitsubishi Outlander SE #DriveMitsubishi

Date Night, Hersheypark and the Mitsubishi Outlander SE

Summer flew by faster than I expected this year, before I knew it we were facing back to school and our family hadn’t had a chance to get away for the summer.  Drive Shop and Mitsubishi offered us a loaner 2015 Outlander SE for a week and our family of six decided to plan some fun before the kids got ready to head back to school for the new year.  My family owns a Minivan for our regular transportation.  My husband has been wanting a truck for him to drive to work and when he’s not with the family so I figured he would really enjoy the Outlander SE 2015 since it’s a crossover.  When the car was dropped off I was surprised that it had a third row because looking from the outside you couldn’t tell.

Mistubshi Outlander (14)

Mistubshi Outlander (15)

When you have six people in your family being in the car can be a pain at times, that’s why we love our car because everyone has their space.  The Mitsubishi Outlander SE comfortably held our family for the week we had it.  None of the kids complained about space at all.  My husband loved having a different car to ride to work that week.  Our first adventure was a long overdue date night.

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My husband and I was hosted by Hunt Valley Inn at Cinnamon Tree Restaurant.   We posed for a quick selfie with the Outlander before heading for in for dinner that night.  If you are ever in the Hunt Valley area be sure to check out them out.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Since we hadn’t taken a family vacation this summer we decided on a quick trip up to Hershey, PA to visit Hersheypark.  We stayed in Harrisburg, PA for the night and woke up early and drove the rest of the way to Hersheypark.

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When you’re packing for six you can expect to end up with a few bags, we had to get creative with the space we had in the Outlander.  We were able to fit most of our bags in the trunk and store extra pieces inside the car since we had an extra seat.

JB was excited about getting into the car.
JB was excited about getting into the car or he’s ready to run the steps.

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The kids were super excited about having a different car for the week.  They had been counting down the days to Hersheypark and the arrival of the car for weeks so when it arrived they couldn’t wait to go out and explore.

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We were able to fit two car seats in the Mitsubishi Outlander SE, our infant seat in the second row and the toddler seat in the third row.  This allowed the older kids to take turns sitting next to their younger brothers.

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Mase wanted to sit in the regular seats like he was a big boy.  We had a fun two days in the Harrisburg/Hershey area.  At the park the kids spent half of the day at the water park section, where they had the chance to play in the wave pool and the mini water slide.  It was super hot out so after a few hours we decided to change-up and head to the rides and other attractions in the park.

Zoo America

A trip to Hersheypark isn’t complete without a stop at Zoo America and since admission is included in the price of your ticket into the park it worth it to stop by and see the animals that live there.  Zoo America showcases animals found in North America only.  Be sure to check out the giant snapping turtle and the bears while strolling through the zoo.  Plus I suggest when you’re ready to eat or just grabbing a drink to visit the counter near the zoo exit.  When we visited they had the shortest wait times in the entire park.

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When we travel safety is always a major concern for us.  The Outlander has seven airbags throughout the car.  The rear doors are equipped with child safety locks and this model also has RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) Construction that deflects and transfers crash energy away from passengers.

We enjoyed test driving the Mitsubishi Outlander SE for the week.  There were so many great things we loved about this car.  Here’s some things you need to know about the Outlander.

Outlander Pros:

  • Three trim levels: ES, SE, and GT starting at $22,995
  • Great Gas Mileage – 26 MPG
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Fast Key Passive Entry and Push to Start
  • Power Windows, Mirrors and Locks standard on all models
  • Anti-Lock Braking System
  • Break Assist – break sensors will add extra pressure for emergency stops
  • Automatic Power Lift-gate
  • Touch Panel Display Audio System
  • USB Port
  • Rear-view Camera System
  • Third row cup holder and storage space

Mistubshi Outlander (4)

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Mistubshi Outlander (7)

The only challenge for us with this car was the small trunk space when using the third row option.  We need that row when traveling with the kids but when we were not traveling with all the kids or none of them we could easily fold down the seats for additional trunk space.

To learn more about the Mitsubishi Outlander visit the website – http://www.mitsubishicars.com/outlander.  Be so to get social and follow the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi to see what others are saying.

 

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Baby Tees Inspired by 90s Hip Hop

Baby Tees Inspired by 90s Hip Hop

I am a certified 80s baby.  there was a time when wearing this badge of honor was a big deal.  It seems though that the younger generation really don’t care much about these things.  Despite my claim of an 80s baby I honestly believe I would be considered more of a 90s child.  Honestly most of my childhood memories revolve around things of the 90s – the music, movies, culture, just about everything in that decade could be the soundtrack of my life.  My brother was welcoming a new baby recently and I wanted to get a gift that would stand out among the usual baby sleeper sets, diapers, and onsies that they would receive as gifts.  Saturday Morning Pancakes was the perfect shopping destination for me.  They sent me one of their 90s Hip Hop baby tees for review.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday Morning Pancakes offers lots of tees and tanks but not just for baby, mom and dad can get in on the action as well.  I found some cute tanks that I would add to my wardrobe at the drop of a dime.  They sent me a cute Regulators Mount Up tee.  Saturday Morning Pancakes baby and kids tees range in sizes from 3 months up to 10 years.

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I loved the packaging of the tee when it arrived.  You could tell it was packaged with care and the cute string bow added a special touch.  My brother and his girlfriend loved the new tee for their son. He’s already worn it out for his first ride around town.  These tees are very soft and comfortable, they are easy to care for and your child is sure to stand out wearing one of these.

90s Baby Tee

Saturday Morning Pancakes’ Hip Hop kids tees were created by a mom on the look out for something cool and fun for her kids to wear.  Something different from the Frozen Tees or Daddy’s Little All Star onesies. She needed something with some with mixed with a little bit of street style.  Their shirts combine the staples of childhood with 90s rap to give the soul of hip hop a whole new meaning. Parents love our tees because it takes them back to a time before kids, when they were hardcore teens bumpin gangster rap! Kids love our products because we use ultrasoft fabric to make play time comfy and happy.

If you’re looking for a unique baby shower gift be sure to check out Saturday Morning Pancakes and grab one of these for baby and one for mom as well.  Another plus about this company is that a portion of their proceeds go to help support America’s Homeless youth (standupforkids.com).  So shop with a purpose.  The 90s Hip Hop Tees are available online at www.saturdaymorningpancakes.com at a cost of $18.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Top New York, NY Hotels With Great Amenities

Top New York, NY Hotels With Great Amenities

New York, NY

Image by Gonzalo Herrera via Trover.com

New York City is a bustling mecca with tons of options for travelers. No trip to New York City is complete without a stop on the Lower East Side, specifically the TriBeCa area. Finding a hotel in New York, NY may seem tricky, but with some research it’s very easy. Here are three New York City hotels worth checking into.

Catch Amazing Views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Shopping on Fifth Avenue and staying just steps away from the St. Patrick’s Cathedral are just a few of the perks of staying at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel.  Guests can enjoy complimentary wiFi, a business center, concierge services and a long work desk in rooms for those traveling on business. The hotel’s fitness center offers top-of-the-line workout equipment and complimentary water, fruit and towels.

The Omni Berkshire Place Hotel is a top choice among travelers with kids. At check-in, children receive a backpack with games and on the first night, the hotel delivers milk and cookies to the room.

Explore the Historic TriBeCa and Soho Neighborhoods

Bansky Piece #15 in TriBeCa, New York NY - Top New York, NY Hotels With Great Amenities

Image by Bob Cooley via Trover.com

The stylish and luxurious rooms at the Cosmopolitan Hotel – TriBeCa along with its stellar location makes it a top choice for travelers. Explore the historic TriBeCa neighborhood by visiting a number of attractions within walking distance of the hotel, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

The 24-hour fitness center allows guests to work out whenever they choose. Room service is available up to 10 P.M., but there are also plenty of dining options nearby.

Times Square - Top New York, NY Hotels With Great Amenities

Image by Fascias via Trover.com

Four Stars in Times Square With Soundproof Rooms

Sleep is precious, so you can rest assured when you book at The Pearl New York your sleep with go undisturbed with their quiet, soundproof rooms. The Pearl also has a fitness center that’s open from 6AM to 11PM and offers guests complementary wiFi and wine tastings. Continental breakfast is served daily and it’s free for guests, and getting to and from the airport is a breeze with the hotel’s huttle service.

While you’re in Times Square, check out a show on Broadway, a concert, or a game. Check ScoreBig for the best prices on tickets.

Romantic Retreat in Midtown East

Central Park - Top New York, NY Hotels With Great Amenities

Image by Michael Boro via Trover.com

Recently remodeled, the Lexington New York City Hotel features a colorful decor inspired by romantic jazz music. Suites at the hotel use names of famous residents of New York City. Rooms have blackout window treatments so guests can enjoy privacy. On site are two full service restaurants and a bar. Enjoy a relaxing couples message or one of the other services offered by the hotel’s spa.

Stay close to the hotel by checking places like Grand Central Terminal or Rockefeller Center, or take a short walk to nearby Herald Square for shopping and Times Square for more entertainment options.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Hidden Gem in Hunt Valley – Cinnamon Tree Restaurant Review

Hidden Gem in Hunt Valley – Cinnamon Tree Restaurant Review

Last week my husband and I were treated to a very special dining experience at the Hunt Valley Inn’s in-house restaurant Cinnamon Tree.  The restaurant located on the first floor of the hotel used to be THE place to wine, dine and be seen in Hunt Valley.  Fresh off its multi-million dollar reinvention with new leadership, menus and stylish look, the signature restaurant at Hunt Valley Inn is ready to once again shake up the regional dining scene.  Both my husband and I were surprised that we had missed this hidden gem in Hunt Valley.

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We arrived for our dinner reservation at about 7:45 that night, it was a quiet Wednesday night.  Parking was a breeze, we found a spot right at the front of the hotel.

#ad date night got here safe thanks to @driveshop #DriveSTI and #DriveMitsubishi @MitsuCars

A photo posted by Nickida Stephens (@nostephens) on

We walked in and saw the sign and host area for Cinnamon Tree.  Waiting for us at the front area was Abraham Rubio, Director of Food and Beverage.  He seated us, thanked us for dining with them tonight and asked us if we were interested in some beverages.  He offered us a choice between sparkling and flat water while we were getting comfortable at our table.

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Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (2)

Both my husband and I opted for flat water while we browsed the menu thinking about what we wanted to try that night at dinner.  Rubio encouraged us to get comfortable, take out time going over the menu and let him know if we needed any assistance.  He gave us a brief history of Cinnamon Tree and the Hunt Valley Inn, expanding on the decor of the restaurant and the hotel as a whole.

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Both my husband and I were interested in learning about the decor choices.  Rubio shared with us about the history around Hunt Valley being “horse country” in that area.  It was one of the main reasons for choosing some of the rustic designs to go along with the elegance of the restaurant.  When we were offered the option for a beverage from the bar I choose a Moscato, my husband left the choice up to Rubio.

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Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (4)

Rubio ended up choosing the Mint Julep for my husband.  He also explained some of the drink menu options from the Polo Bar which sits adjacent to Cinnamon Tree.

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Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (6)

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The Polo Lounge & Bar is the signature cocktail club house with an oversized communal table, comfortable circle banquettes and expansive bar seating. The restaurant’s exposed brick design is splashed with sunlight that filters through a wall of floor to ceiling windows, with HDTVs streaming the latest news and sporting events. The restaurant’s distinct cocktail program is seasonally fueled with hand crafted Juleps celebrating Baltimore’s traditional racing season and refreshing Moscow Mules appearing in the summer, in addition to an established array of fine spirits. A menu of tapas-style bites is served nightly with favorite flavors such as Old Bay Fries.

After taking some time to review the current menu we decided on the Crispy calamari with sweet + sour, asado aioli for our appetizer.  It was perfectly battered and fried.  The calamari had the right amount of bite and wasn’t overly spicy at all.  The asado aioli just made the dish even better.  It had a slight smokey flavor that added another flavor profile to this dish.  I was surprised that my husband ate as much as he did because he usually doesn’t eat calamari.  

I had already set my sights on the salmon for dinner, my husband was going to let Rubio choose for him.  He was in the middle of encouraging me to try something new, when Rubio approached the table and offered to have the chef choose our dinner for the night or we could order what we wanted from the menu.  I quickly decided to be adventurous and have the chef choose for us, hoping I would end up with a meal I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.  It was the right decision because we ended up enjoying a delicious four course meal with wine pairings, that made our night even more spectacular.

First Course – Salads

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My husband ate the wedge salad – crisp iceberg, vine ripened tomato, bacon, blue cheese.  Usually my husband isn’t a fan of blue cheese but he gave it a try because we wanted to try new things.  He loved it!  He ate it all, his favorite part surprisingly was the house made blue cheese dressing.  He said it was rich and creamy with fresh chunks of blue cheese, much better than store brought versions of the dressing.

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I ate the Cinnamon Tree Signature Salad – mixed greens, smoked gouda, candied walnuts, apple cider cinnamon vinaigrette.  Mines was very light and refreshing.  Smoked gouda is one of my favorite cheeses so I enjoyed having it with my salad.  I almost ate the whole plate and it was so light I didn’t feel stuffed or like I was eating too much at all.  It was the perfect starter to my meal.

Second Course – Soups

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Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (31)

My husband ate the traditional onion soup – swiss cheese, sliced toasted baguette.  When deciding on our dishes Rubio made sure to ask about food allergies and any special requests.  I am allergic to onions so this soup of course would not be a good choice for me.  It was perfect for my husband and he enjoyed it.

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (29)

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (30)

I ate the She Crab Soup – dry sherry, chives, crostini.  I raved about this soup our entire meal.  It is the best crab soup I’ve ever eaten PERIOD!  If you’re a fan of Creamy Crab Soup be sure to get to Cinnamon Tree and try their version.  You won’t be disappointed.  It was rich and creamy with big lumps of crab in the soup.  The slice of bread included with the soup was just as delicious.

Third Course – Main Dishes

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (40)

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (41)

My husband is a big fan of seafood so it was not hard to choose the Maryland Crab Cake with a béarnaise sauce, au gratin potatoes and vegetables of the day.  I tried the crab cakes and they were one of the best I’ve had.  Living Maryland crab cakes are all over but this one hardly had any filler and was mostly lump Maryland blue crab meat.  They are broiled perfectly and didn’t fall apart on the plate once you started eating them.  This was another dish my husband really enjoyed.  He cleaned his plate.

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Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (33)

I ate the Veal Osso Bucco  – traditionally braised, vegetable mirepoix and mashed potatoes.  I’ve always wanted to make osso bucco for dinner since seeing Julie and Julia.  That movie really made me want to try cook lot of different foods.  I’d never tried an osso bucco before so this was a very special treat for me.  This course was paired with a red wine, another first for me because I usually only drink white wines.  The veal was fork tender, full of bold flavors and comforting.  This is a dish I would enjoy in the winter on cold days.  The red wine was the perfect accompaniment for the veal.  

Fourth Course – Deserts

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (43)

Cinnamon Tree at Hunt Valley Inn (44)

Originally I received the Key Lime Pie for desert but my husband wanted it, so he made a convincing case on why we should switch.  I did try a small bite before he devoured the entire plate.  It was great.  The crust was made in-house and had flakes of grated coconut inside.  I like it a lot because it wasn’t very tart at all and the whipped cream on the top made it even better.

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I ended up with the Almond Cheesecake for dessert.  The cheesecake also had a homemade crust that was flaky and buttery.  By the time we got to desert I was getting full but this creamy cheese cake was the perfect end to dinner.  Cheesecake fans would enjoy this indulgent treat.  It was just fine without having the whipped cream but I am sure if you choose to eat it with your cheesecake you would enjoy it even more.  I took half a slice to my mom and she said was delicious, two days later.  At the end of the night Rubio brought executive chef Patrick D’Costa to our table so we could pay our compliments to him.  It was the perfect end of a great night.

If you looking for something special for a date night be sure to check out Cinnamon Tree.  This is truly a hidden gem in Hunt Valley.

About Cinnamon Tree

The Cinnamon Tree is a comfortably sophisticated destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The main dining room celebrates the union of rustic and contemporary with touches that include dramatic glass link chandeliers, tables of dark wood, tufted banquettes and dining chairs covered in velvety smooth fabrics, in addition to walls featuring custom millwork that hint at Baltimore’s equestrian history.

Cinnamon Tree restaurant is open daily for breakfast (6:30 – 11:00 AM) and all day dining (11:00 AM – 10:00 PM).  Cinnamon Tree is located in the lobby of Hunt Valley Inn – 245 Shawan Road • Hunt Valley, MD 21031.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Maintaining My Daughter’s Natural Hair with Just For Me Products

Maintaining My Daughter’s Natural Hair

with Just For Me Products

When I was a little girl growing up natural hair wasn’t as popular and desired as it is today.  Although I had already decided that I wouldn’t relax my daughter’s hair until she was older or she wanted to make that decision knowing how to maintain it herself.  Thankfully natural hair is very popular and companies are making more and more products to help with natural hair care.  Just For Me is well-known for their relaxer products aimed towards kids.  Although I have not used them on my daughter’s hair before I am very familiar with their products.  Just For Me recently expanded and relaunched their Hair Milk products that’s perfect for maintaining my daughter’s natural hair.

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The Just For Me Hair Milk line, enriched with a blend of natural ingredients, including shea butter, soymilk and honey, seals in moisture to help soften hair and prevent breakage that can occur while combing to detangle hair.

Disclosure: “I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Just For Me. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

My daughter has very sensitive skin and an even more sensitive scalp.  I am always cautious about what products I use in hair.  Washing and combing her hair is usually a battle royale.  She cries a lot because her hair gets easily tangled.  It’s not that he hair is super nappy, she actually have a very nice curl pattern and as long as her hair is wet it’s nice and coily.  However the tangles pulls at her scalp making it a tough battle.  Usually our routine involves combing her hair as soon as she’s out the bath and making sure it’s nice and wet during the whole process.  With the Just For Me Hair Milk collection hair combing has becomes so much more pleasant.  Since the products arrived I’ve used it a few times with my daughter and every time I achieve the same result.

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5 times easier detangling. Rich, creamy formula softens and smoothes hair to ease pre-wash detangling and minimize breakage from combing.

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The Just For Me Pre-Wash Softening Detangler has made the start of the process so much easier.  This step helps break up tangles before washing ever starts.  I use it on my daughter’s hair when I am about to wash it.  Put a  plastic shower cap on her head for about 15 minutes and she’s ready for hair washing.

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The first sulfate-free cleanser from Just For Me! Gently cleanses without stripping hair of natural oils.

Next is the Moisture Soft Sulfate Free Cleanser and the Silkening Conditioner.  The first step makes it possible to easily comb through my daughter’s hair when using the cleanser and conditioner.  The cleanser gets all the dirt, oils and gunk from my daughter’s hair.  After cleansing she’s ready for the silkening conditioner to help add back some of the moisture that was removed from the cleanser.  By this step her hair is soft and coily.  I also can use the Hydrate & Protect Leave-In Conditioner and the Leave-In Detangler on her hair while styling to keep it soft and manageable the entire time.

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Does your current hair care products allow you to run your fingers through your child’s hair after washing?  The Just For Me Hair Milk collection allows me to do just that. Check out the #FiveFingerChallenge hashtag and the video below to see how these products are helping me take the challenge and see how it stands up to this test.

 

Just For Me provides worry-free, multi-textured hair care solutions that moms can trust for their kids. The NEW Hair Milk Collection takes detangling and hair washing to the next level by delivering tug-free manageability before, during and after the wash phase.  Just For Me Hair Milk products are available for purchase at Walmart stores nationwide.  Prices start at $5.49 a bottle.  Connect with Just For me on social media – @JustForMeHair and Instagram – @JustForMeHair

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Liv and Maddie Interview and Episode Preview #LivandMaddieEvent

Liv and Maddie Interview and Episode Preview

I can’t believe this is my last post from the Ant-Man Event.  I finally get to share with you the Liv and Maddie cast interview we had back in June.  I’m kind of a Liv and Maddie fan.  My daughter is a huge fan of the show so by default I end up watching quite a few episodes with her.  When I say I am a fan I really mean it.  Like I was upset when Maddie and Diggie broke up and I still can’t believe Liv and Holden won’t be a couple (I’m still holding out hope on this one).  So walking the halls of Ridgewood High was kinda awesome for me.  We weren’t allowed to take photographs on the set that day due to filming.  The cast did chat with us for a few minutes about their characters, season three and so much more.  We even had the opportunity to take a few photos in the Rooney living room.

Liv and Maddie Set Visit

The interview started when the cast came out and introduced themselves to us.  We had been watching rehearsal for the episode they would be filming that night.  The cast took a break to chat with us.  Of course one of the first questions was to Dove Cameron about her character/s Liv and Maddie.

Is Dove more like Liv or Maddie in Real Life?

Dove: Actually, funny enough like super, super short version of the long story. I originally only played one character. And then when they brought us back after 9 months of testing, they sort of informed all of us that it was now a Twin Show. So I didn’t audition for either character, so when the opportunity presented itself, our Director Andy Fickman was just sort of like, who do you want these girls to be? And so I just sort of split my own personality down the middle and then turned it up extreme Disney style. So I’m kind of a lot like both of them.

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Comparing Working on a Film vs a Television Show

Kali: It’s sort of like a School year, like when you start a school year, you’re like, ‘I’m gonna get all A’s and I love extracurricular activities,’ and then you get to the end of it and you’re like, ‘I need Summer.’  So, you know, everything in moderation.  I feel like when you get to the end of the Season, you feel like – I want to do a movie.  And then you do the movie and you’re like, ‘I can’t wait to be back on a Monday through Friday schedule!’ So they’re both fun for different reasons.  I think everybody goes through that for different reasons.

Joey: Completely different, like we know everybody, we knew the crew here because we’ve done 3 Seasons for the most part with the same people in this giant big Black Box thing all day so you get to know these people. But coming here is kind of like…

KALI: A Family.

JOEY: Yeah, like a safety zone. Like when you go to a movie, it’s a new crew, new cast, it’s a new everything. And then you come back here and this feels like home base, so a sense of security.

KALI: I’m gonna cut you off here.

JOEY: Please do.
KALI: I would also say, and Ben and I could speak to this, we have kids. We are a Mom and a Dad. And a TV schedule is just so lovely for that whereas a Film or an Episodic, you know, which is basically like shooting a Film, you’re gone. You know, you’re gone around the Clock. So this has been a really nice experience for us to be able to incorporate our kids into this world and they watch the Show.

 

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Is Playing Two Characters Confusing for Dove?

KALI: She doesn’t, we do.

BENJAMIN: Yeah, I’ve never seen her get confused. We’ll walk in and not know what’s going on.

DOVE: Well I was so petrified because the Twin thing was just sort of something that just like happened. So they were like, by the way, you’re going to be playing Twins. We’ll see you on Monday and I was like Ha Ha. I’m gonna get fired. I’m gonna lose my job. They’re gonna choose somebody else. So I was just so scared to get it wrong that I like severely over compensated and like went crazy far in the direction of like they have to be completely separate entities. So during the first Season, I think none of that happened. But I mean, I’ve never gotten confused but as the Seasons go on, I’ll walk into a scene, and I’ll be like Wait, who am I?

BENJAMIN: But I can’t go through a scene with Liv or Maddie without calling them the wrong one. So it’s confusing for everybody else.

Kali and Benjamin recalled what it was like when Dove first played both characters and how chilling it was to watch her transform from one to the other.  Kali praised Dove for her ability to portray both characters so well.

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What’s Dove’s Favorite Moment on Set?

DOVE: Yeah, honestly and I think that everybody like in the world is so tired of hearing actors say this because everybody’s like “every day is a favorite.” I can’t even think of a favorite moment because there’s so many. And while that’s actually true because we really like each other and we function like a real family. Like, I’ll come to Kali and Ben for parenting advice and we fight all the time.

BENJAMIN: Oh yeah.

DOVE: I always win and stuff. But you know, but we really do have fun every single day. I think the first moment that came to my mind was when we got picked up to be a full series and they gathered us all.

It was, because we only initially got ordered for 6 episodes in Season One. And they gathered us all in the twins room and they were like, “Hey, we have an announcement,” and our Director played it off like we were gonna have a really exciting Guest Star. He kept being like, “Yeah, the Rock, the Rock.” And we were like, “The Rock is gonna Guest Star!” And then we got picked up for a full Series.

JOEY: It was like, “Oh not the Rock?”

DOVE: No… I just think that’s really fulfilling as an actor. We were all sobbing, we were all sobbing.

KALI: Well it has been a long journey, it has.

JOEY: That’s what’s so crazy is that it’s been… This is the 3rd Season, like we are right now where most Disney Shows reach their peak and are finished and are wrapping it up and they’re getting ready to start another Disney Show or to move on past Disney.

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Was Disney the Main Goal For These Actors?

DOVE: I think secretly Disney Channel is kind of the goal for every young Actor, like I think that, I think it’s just so… You grow up watching it, it’s in your home. It’s like when you walk into Disneyland and you see Mickey, and you go, is that really Mickey? But maybe it is, you know? I would still go to Disneyland, I would be with my boyfriend and I’ll say – let’s take pictures with the Characters. He’s like, “you’re almost 20.” And I say, “OK Hon, I know but what if it’s really them?”

TENZING: With Disney Channel, there are the Shows and all the Casts are kids our age, for the most part. But with other Shows, when you find an NBC Pilot who have all Adults and if you’re lucky, one of them will have a Son that comes in every once in a while so the part’s aren’t as plenty as they are at Disney Channel. So when you’re a young Actor, odds are for the most part, you’re mostly auditioning for Disney/Nickelodeon, and the other parts very, very rarely come up.

So Disney/Nickelodeon is kind of something that everybody goes out for and some people are right for it and some people go on and do other things. And some people come here and settle down. Some people come here and move on, like it’s such a Court for young Actors to do whatever they want after it because they publicize you so much and you really learn your Craft and learn your voice. I think it’s a great jumping off point. I think it’s a great thing for us to have gotten into, especially at this age.

KALI: Oh yeah, I’m still Star struck to be here.

BENJAMIN: Yeah, and for me, Disney Channel was always on in my house like it was on so much that when I was little, I didn’t think that there was any other– {LAUGHTER] And so being here is just like, just amazing to me. I still can’t believe. like it’s already 3 Seasons and I still feel like I’ve just started.

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We had a fantastic time chatting with the cast of the show.  They really enjoyed chatting with us as well because they didn’t want the interview to end.  I even had the opportunity to snap a photo with Joey.  He’s one hilarious young man.  I can’t wait to see what the Rooney’s are up to next.  Be sure to catch an all new episode of Liv and Maddie this Sunday – August 16th at 9 PM on Disney Channel.

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Credit: LIV AND MADDIE – “SPARF-A-Rooney” – Maddie and Diggie try to “out-fun” each other at a local music festival as Liv tries to help Andie get over her breakup. This episode of “Liv and Maddie” airs Sunday, August 16 (9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel/Adam Taylor)

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Credit: LIV AND MADDIE – “SPARF-A-Rooney” – Maddie and Diggie try to “out-fun” each other at a local music festival as Liv tries to help Andie get over her breakup. This episode of “Liv and Maddie” airs Sunday, August 16 (9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel/Adam Taylor)
Credit: LIV AND MADDIE – “SPARF-A-Rooney” – Maddie and Diggie try to “out-fun” each other at a local music festival as Liv tries to help Andie get over her breakup. This episode of “Liv and Maddie” airs Sunday, August 16 (9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Disney Channel/Adam Taylor)

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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SanDisk Memory Cards Availabe at @BestBuy @SanDisk #SanDisk

SanDisk Memory Cards available at BestBuy

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and we are already in back to school mode here.  The kids have just one more week of vacation left and then they are off to school for another year.  While they may still have one week left I know students that are already back in school for the year.  If you’re still preparing for school and have older students then this post should be very helpful for you.  I remember being in high school and using a floppy disk to save my papers and work in Technology class.  That technology has advanced beyond anything I could imagine and now storage options are much more advanced compared to what it was back in the day.  BestBuy has a wide variety of storage options from SanDisk and I wanted to share some I believe would be perfect for students heading back to school.

Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Add a SanDisk microSD™ card to your smart phone or tablet, and you can carry more of the media and apps you love. Thin and light computing devices, tablets, and smartphones demand the compact form factors of SanDisk microSD cards.  Make sure their performance can keep up. SanDisk microSD™ cards give your smart phone or tablet a more responsive camera function and smoother media playback. Whether you want more storage for your phone or a card that makes it easy to shoot high-resolution video on the go, you can choose the way you want to add fast, reliable data storage with capacity options from 4GB to 200GB.  I personally prefer to have a storage card for my phone because when I upgrade or need to switch phones for whatever reason I know all my personal data, photos, music, and any other important information is always at my finger tips.  Nothing ever gets lost.

SanDisk for Digital Imaging: SanDisk products, from professional-grade camera memory to point-and-shoot SD cards to microSD cards, deliver industry-leading performance and reliability. SanDisk SD cards are also designed to meet the security, capacity, performance, and environmental requirements of next generation devices—because your stories span generations and your memory solutions should too.

You will be able to capture more fast action , record more 4K Ultra HD and Full HD video, and transfer speeds up to 60MB/s for smartphones, tablets and action cameras.  This SD card is over 10X faster than ordinary cards and transfer speeds up to 80MB/s for DSLR cameras and camcorders.  I recently upgrade my camera I use to shoot photographs for my blog.  It included an 8GB storage card but I’ve had to erase it several times since I got my camera in April.  My next step will be upgrading storage for sure.

SanDisk-Mobile

USB for iPhone and iPad allows for easy transfer between iPhone, iPad, and computers and frees up iPhone and iPad memory with both lightning and USB connectors.  I need to get one of these for my phone.  I hate having to find my photos in iCloud on the computer and it links all the photos together even from my older phones.  This device would make that so much easier.

Dual USB for ANDROID devices allows for easy transfer between Android™ device and computers and frees up space for photos, videos, music and more.  Now Android users have the same convince as iOS users.

Best Buy being the place you can get a memory card to support safe storage for all of your devices.  Visit the site to learn what card is right for you.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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10 Reasons Why the ZTE Maven is a Great Phone for Students

10 Reasons Why the ZTE Maven is a Great Phone for Students

My oldest child is eight and I really thought that I still had a few years before I had to deal with getting them cell phones but as she prepares to enter third grade this fall, I am starting to reconsider this thought.  More and more kids are getting their first cell phones at an earlier age.  I am hoping we can wait till they are heading to middle school before exploring cell phones for the kids, however if you’re in the market for a phone for your student, here are 10 reasons why the ZTE Maven is a great phone for students.

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Very Affordably Priced

The ZTE Maven is available on the AT&T Network for the very affordable price of $59.99.  The device can be activated on both AT&T postpaid and GoPhone prepaid service.  At that price you can get phones for all the students in your family.  The price is very attractive for me because you get a durable, high quality phone for a low price.  You don’t have to worry about payment plans one the phone or high insurance deductibles if you phone needs to be replaced.

ZTE Maven

Perfect Size for Students

The Maven has a 4.5 inch touch screen.  It’s the perfect size for students.  They can easily text, make calls, and play their favorite apps on the phone.  It small enough to fit in their backpack pockets and easy for them to keep track the phone.

ZTE Maven

Available on the AT&T Network

Compact in size, with voice-directed navigation and a pre-installed navigation app, the ZTE Maven is the perfect phone for anyone, especially students on-the-go this summer and during the school year. With 4G LTE***, a powerful 1.2 GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, you get fast speeds streaming, downloading, and surfing.

Latest Edition Android Operating System

The latest Android 5.1 Lollipop Operating System comes pre-installed on the phone, all you need to get started is an email address from GMAIL.  If you already have an account it syncs with the new phone or you can create an account to get the phone working.  You will need an active account to use to Android app market for downloading apps.  Older students can use the phone to receive and reply to emails from their GMAIL account right from the phone.

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Works In Case of an emergency

You never know when tragedy may strike, whether it’s big or small, you can rest assured that you child could use the ZTE Maven to call emergency services without using their minutes.  Most cell phones allow calls to 911 even if the phone is out of minutes.  This gives me added a piece of mind in case my kids ever need to use it.

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Increase Productivity in Students

The ZTE Maven comes loaded with apps to help improve productivity.  Some are perfect for students, especially older students.  The calender app can help students on track all year-long.  No more missing project due dates or important events.  The Maven streams video, allows internet browsing and plays music.  Everything your student needs to help them be the best student is right at their fingertips.  When you add in the hundreds of thousands of app in the Google Play Store, that makes it even better.

Long Battery Life and Expandable Storage

The Maven boasts 10 hours of talk time in battery life and up to 15 hours of stand by time.  Perfect for students who are on the go for long period of times.  Keep in mind though when you are running apps and streaming music or video the battery life will be shorter.  I usually have to charge ours about every other day.  Charging is faster when plugged into a wall outlet.  It takes longer on the computer.  This phone is an 8 GB phone, 3.1 GB usable internal storage once you open it from the box.  However you can expand the storage up to 32GB by purchasing a microSD card for the phone.

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Rear and Front Facing Cameras

My photo above is a little blurry due to the flash from the phone however the Maven has a 5MP rear camera and a VGA front-facing camera.  So students can talk all the photos they want with this phone.  Older kids may prefer a phone with a better camera but honestly with filters and editing this phone can be ideal for a quick photo update.

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Help Student Drivers Stay Focused

The AT&T DriveMode app is a lifesaver and if you have students that are driving this will definitely give you added piece of mind. This feature encourages drivers to stay focused on the road and not on their phone.  When enabled it automatically activates once you accelerate past 15 MPH.  It blocks incoming calls and texts, keeping drivers focused on the task of driving instead of talking on the phone or texting while driving.

Control over Costs

The ZTE Maven can be activated on the AT&T GoPhone Prepaid network, that gives parents complete control over their student’s phone bills and usage.  No more worrying about them using up your family data plans or incurring excessive charges.  Parents choose the refill cards for the phone or you can have it automatically refilled monthly.  You have total control over the phone.

Right now AT&T is offering a special GoPhone offer, see below for offer details:

GoPhone Offer: Offer ends September 24, 2015. While supplies last. Buy a $25 or higher GoPhone refill card and get $20 instantly off an eligible AT&T GoPhone 4G LTE Smartphone device. Available in stores, online (att.com/gophone) & direct fulfillment.

If you’re looking for other affordable cell phone options for your student the ZTE Sonata 2 is available with Cricket Wireless online at www.cricketwireless.com and in select Cricket Wireless retail stores nationwide for $29.99 with new line activation or with an eligible upgrade.  T-Mobile also offers the ZTE Obsidian on their network for $99.99 or $4.13 per month.  It’s available online http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phones/zte-obsidian.html or in T-Mobile retail stores.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Good Humor Washington DC Tour

Good Humor Washington DC Tour

Summer is winding down but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  Good Humor Ice Cream is in the nation’s capital and they are inviting residents to come out and enjoy some free treats during the Welcome to Joyhood Tour.

“I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Good Humor. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Good Humor® is embarking on a mission to bring joy to the mundane moments of everyday life, and transform East Coast cities into capitals of joy, one neighborhood at a time. After making stops of the “Welcome to Joyhood” summer campaign in New York City and Philadelphia, the iconic brand is continuing its tour and traveling to Washington, D.C.  I grew up in Trinidad but I remember when we moved to the US and spending summer waiting for the ice cream truck to pass by with the Good Humor treats.  My favorite has always been the Chocolate Eclair and Strawberry Shortcake Popsicle.

Good Humor® will be engaging with fans on Twitter, and send the Good Humor® Joy Squad through their neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. from August 4 to August 22, surprising and delighting them with frozen treats and other unexpected delights. The Joy Squad will show up in neighborhoods and at events, local retailers and local businesses – as well as some unexpected places – to bring joy to everyday life.  I’ve included the schedule that @GoodHumor posted on Twitter.  Be sure to follow them so you know where the truck will be next.

Good Humor® has also teamed up with the Washington Nationals mascots to surprise and delight Washington D.C. residents on August 11, stopping by Metro Center from 12 – 12:30 p.m. and Dupont Circle from 12:45 – 1:15 p.m. to offer frozen treats, photo opps and other fun surprises.

Connect with Good Humor on social media – Facebook & Twitter – and follow the hashtag #JoyhoodDC to see what people are sharing.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Use Your Tablet Like a Laptop with a Bluetooth Keyboard

Use Your Tablet Like a Laptop with a Bluetooth Keyboard

Sometimes you need to expand the capabilities of your tablet.  Recently I had to send my laptop off for repair and using my main computer seemed like such a hassle.  I was so used to using the laptop that I felt trapped behind the desk of my computer.  I was using my son’s tablet for a few things and realized how useful it could be to have a bluetooth keyboard to use along with the tablet.  I was provided a 1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for review, any opinions expressed are my own.

1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
Credit: 1byone Amazon Store

When my keyboard arrived I was excited to give it a try.  I first tried to pair it with my desktop computer but I had problems turning on the bluetooth setting on the computer.  However if you do have a USB Toggle you can still use this keyboard without the use of bluetooth.  I already had one on my computer so I tried it on the kids tablets.  I was able to pair the keyboard with three different Android tablets.  I even was able to pair it with my iPhone 6 Plus.  If you’re using a tablet you could easily pair the keyboard to help you with surfing the web, writing emails, and so much more.

 

1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard pairing steps
Credit: 1byone Amazon Store

The 1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard only requires two AAA batteries to work.  I’ve had mines for a few weeks and I haven’t had any problems with them running out yet.  The batteries are not included in the box.  Pairing is super easy, just finding the bluetooth setting on your device, turn it on and wait for the keyboard to show up.  Follow the prompts and just like that your keyboard is connected.  When you are ready to use the keyboard with another device unpair it and repeat the pairing steps with the new device.

1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard with iPad
Credit: 1byone Amazon Store

I’ve been using my keyboard mainly with my Chromebook.  I’ve been having problems with my keyboard and the company wouldn’t fix it when I sent it to be repaired.  So instead of a costly repair this keyboard has been working great along with the laptop.  The 1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard is very light and portable, so taking it with you when you travel is very easy.  Just pack it along with your tablet or laptop.  It’s about the size of an average wireless keyboard so it’s not super small but not really big either.  You can also use the touch pad on the keyboard like a mouse.

Overall I would say this is a good keyboard.  For the price it’s a great option especially since it can be used on a variety of operating systems.  You can use it with a tablet, phone or even your computer.  It has a sleek, slim design making it lightweight and very portable.  The keyboard has all your basic keys and features including the touchpad on the side.  My only con about this keyboard is because it has such a slim design it can be bent.  My four-year old was able to bend mines.  Despite the bent shape though it works perfectly fine.  While I don’t think most users will run into this problem, it could happen, especially if you have little ones using the keyboard.

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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Just the Facts Blog Tour and Review

Just the Facts Blog Tour and Review

My latest read was Just the Facts by Ellen Sherman. I’ve been taking a break from book reviews but I couldn’t pass this one up because it involved Maryland.  So of course that peaked my interest.  I took the book with me on my latest trip out to L.A. and I had finished reading it before I landed.  It’s quite a page turner and I think even more so for me because it was based in a state that I live in.  The book follows Nora Plowright—a fresh college graduate, and rookie reporter—as she uncovers a high-profile government scandal. But meeting one shady character after another only fuels Nora’s appetite for danger, and makes it more difficult to keep the facts straight.

just the facts

Just the Facts will be released in bookstores on September 8th, 2015 by She Writes Press.  I received an advanced reader copy for review purposes.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Book CoverWhen English major Nora Plowright finds herself staring at college graduation as if at the edge of a cliff, she decides to become a newspaper reporter–and right away, she manages to get a job at a local paper (which you could still do in 1978). Although fearful by nature, Nora pursues a tip from a stranger and soon is investigating corruption at the Maryland State Highway Authority regarding the controversial placement of a new freeway. The developing scandal, with its shady “players,” tests both her budding reportorial skills and her appetite for danger. Also, her passion for storytelling makes it increasingly difficult for her to stick to the facts.

Humorous and poignant, Just the Facts is a coming-of-age novel about finding one’s way in the real world that will resonate with anyone who has struggled with figuring out what to do when she or he grows up.

My Thoughts:

This book starts off with a bang, literally.  Almost immediately Nora is thrown into the big pond and you can tell she’s a little green around the edges.  I loved reading along and seeing how she developed and grew over the course of the novel.  It was definitely a page turner for me and that’s not just because I was flying.  I really got into the scandal and intrigue in this book.  It made me wonder a lot about the politics in my home state.  I wondered how much of it was true and how much of it was made up for the book.  Sherman did an excellent job at adding in elements from the state of Maryland, including popular places, familiar cities and spent a lot of time focusing on the state capital Annapolis.

If you’ve ever wondered how things worked at a newspaper, the novel does give you a unique perspective into how it works.  Overall it was great.  My one thing I did notice it seemed that the main character Nora was never fully vested in her job working at this small newspaper and as the novel progressed I hoped that would change as she became more familiar with the work but it only became more clear that she just didn’t want to be there.  It really reminded me of my sister, or made me be able to relate to her in some ways.  It also made me not like her at times because it seems she felt she was too good to be working at the paper.

I felt invested in these characters.  I was cheering for Nora in her first big relationships and when it didn’t work out I felt sad for her.  When it seemed like she was moving on I felt happy for her and when she broke her big story I wanted to celebrate with her.  Just the Facts is a great read to enjoy on your own or with your book club.  Be sure to check it out when it releases in September.

Meet the Author:

Ellen Sherman, studio, Montclair, NJ.  10/14/2014  Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com
Ellen Sherman, studio, Montclair, NJ. 10/14/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com

Ellen Sherman received her MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, and has worked as a journalist, editor, and teacher. She also has worked as a proofreader, tutor, Girl Scout cookie counter, and training coordinator for literacy volunteers—all afternoon positions so that she could write in the mornings. Her first published novel was Monkeys on the Bed. Besides writing, her passions are choral singing, playing tennis, traveling, sampling new candy, and most of all, hanging out with family and friends.

To learn more about the book at the author visit her website – http://ellensherman.com/ – and get social. 

 

Nickida

Nickida - is a wife and stay at home mother of four. She was born in Trinidad but moved to the US at age 14. She started blogging on an off for about three years and recently started writing more consistently. She enjoys sharing about her children, marriage, books, recipes, movies, reviews, giveaways and much more. She is working on improving her baking skills and building on her cake decorating business.

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