Introducing Luciana Vega: American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!



Introducing Luciana Vega – American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year!  This adorable 11-year-old character is of Chilean descent, and she is set to inspire and encourage – with dreams of being an astronaut and the first person to set foot on Mars.


Luciana is a champion of STEM, a role-model, and a leader – working passionately towards her dreams, while defying stereotypes and embracing risks  – to teach girls about failure, resilience, and success while charting their own life course.  She also comes with really cool, creative accessories (sold separately) including a Flight Suit, Space Suit, Mars Habitat, Maker Station, Telescope Projector Set and more.


American Girl collaborated with an advisory board including a NASA chief scientist and astronaut to create Luciana’s story along with details that went into the doll’s creation. Her story, chronicled by Erin Teagan highlights the ways in which Luciana’s hard work and award-winning essay submission on planetary geology earn her a scholarship to attend Space Camp.


Luciana is also a fun and spunky 11-year-old!  She loves adding her own personal flair to everything – from the sparkly stickers on her flight suit to the rainbow LED lights on her robot.  My ten-year-old is pretty obsessed with the purple streak in Luciana’s hair and her funky little doll boots and fanny-pack that opens to hold little items. She also devoured her book in one day and told me all about Luciana’s best friend and the baby girl that her family adopts. She can’t wait to move on to Luciana’s second book: Braving the Deep.

Win it! We’re so excited that our friends at American Girl are celebrating Luciana’s arrival by giving away a doll to one lucky reader!

Update: Giveaway closed.


Holiday Gift Guide 2017 + Giveaway!

We’re excited to bring you our annual holiday gift guide – thoughtfully curated for the kid or girl + guy in your life.  From science and STEM toys to electronic toys and gifts for adults too – we’ve tested a bunch of items to help make gift giving a breeze.  Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to enter to win a $100 American Express gift card to shop for someone special on your list. Happy gifting!

Kids-Holiday-gift-guide-2017-giveawayWorkman Publishing Calendars will help kids stay on top of their days.  We adore the positive images and messages in the Strong Is the New Pretty Wall Calendar for 2018 – reminding her that she’s awesome every single day.

National Geographic Crystals, Rocks and Minerals Science Kit will fascinate kids ages ten and up while teaching them how to test and identify minerals with their very own collection of real specimens.  So much more than just a crystal growing kit, kids will learn about the chemistry of growing crystals and the geologic science behind rock formation and more.

Chippies by WowWee are super fun interactive, playful robotic puppies that will interact with your child and even show off tricks! Available in four different colors, these are perfect gifts for kids ages 5 and up hoping for a puppy this holiday season. Chippies will bark, sniff, blow puppy kisses and even sneeze.

Smooshy Mushy soft, squishy collectible toys continue to be all the rage with kids who love the cute designs and pleasingly tactile, ultra-soft material designed to be squished and mushed over and over again.  You can’t go wrong with any of the adorable collectibles from this line.

Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Hair Care will come in handy as a stocking stuffer – especially as those lice infestation notices continue to go home in kids’ backpacks! Let kids take ownership of their prevention efforts with their very own hair care line free of harmful chemicals. You’ll thank me later for this one.

National Geographic Break Open 10 Geodes will entertain the entire family and give everyone the chance to learn about the natural wonder of crystals and how hollow rocks are formed by volcanic eruptions.  Grab this gift for kids ages eight and up.

Playbrites are a fun way to add magic to a little kid’s room with a super cool light show packed inside an adorable animal design. These as-seen-on-TV gifts are also great for kiddos who are afraid of the dark.

Stikbots are cool, imaginative gifts that will get kiddos into creating their own stop-motion videos and more. With Stikbot pets, studios and figures – the creative possibilities are endless.

2017-Holiday-Gift-Guide-Marino-BambinosA LINHART subscription box will bring the gift of a healthy smile with custom oral care products scientifically formulated by two top NYC dentists.  Have the girl or guy in your life unwrap the dentist developed line of products that the beauty editors are raving about, with the ease of recurring shipments straight to your loved one’s door.

Nerium International’s exclusive line of age-defying skincare and wellness products with patented ingredients will help the special person in your life look and feel their best in 2018 and beyond. With anti-aging fighters that actually work – you’ll see and feel the difference in your skin and body.

Helen Ficalora charms will delight the special lady in your life with lovely options to commemorate the birth of a child, a special pet, a favorite season and so much more.  Their pave diamond disks with my kids’ initials never leave my neck, and I’d be delighted to someday add more to my collection (wink, wink, husband).

Wolverine may be best known for their durable, comfortable, and stylish work boots, but this season they’ve brought their excellent craftsmanship to a limited edition Lodge Moc Slipper.  He’ll love the coziness of this shearling lined, hand sewn double whipstitched, mocassin detailed slipper with fully cushioned insoles handcrafted in Maine.

HİÇ Turkish Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a thoughtful holiday gift for the chef in your life.  Hiç presses olives exclusively from one source, the Hiç Farmland Estate, where only the most healthy, hearty and purest olives are grown to create nature’s miracle – the highest quality olive oil.  Hiç olives are 100% natural and free of additives and preservatives.

UPDATE: $100 AMEX Giveaway closed and fulfilled.

Thank you to our brand partners and TTPM.


On Fall Fitness + Target Gift Card Giveaway


This is a sponsored post. Thanks for reading! 

Fall comes with the sort of consistency that I crave after the fluidity of the summer months wrap up.  The kids are settled into school and activities while I try and work around everything as best as I can. There is no perfect formula to balancing it over here – and on many days I fall short in some capacity – but I can always count on my workouts to bring moments of clarity, direction, and peace.


Whether I’m outside or in my favorite spin class, working out is like a steadfast best friend.  I feel so much better after getting re-energized and giving back to myself.  And I have to admit that new workout apparel is among my favorite clothing to shop for. That’s why I was thrilled to discover the latest C9 Champion® brand at my local Target (the perks of having a store in walking distance and across the street from my gym!).  The C9 Champion® Embrace Run Tights elevate my solid workout pants collection with flattering iridescent designs, a lower back zip pocket, and an adjustable waistband that stays put while on the go.


And I pretty much fell in love with the entire C9 Champion® Tech Fleece Full Zip Jacket collection – because the supper cozy fleece interior and details like thumb-holes and functional pockets quickly brought these pieces to new favorite status.  The entire collection is so well priced, perfect for layering and so well made.  I bet you’ll love these affordable staples just as much as I do!

C9-Champion-workout-sport-bra-leggings-jacket-TargetWin It! We’re thrilled that one lucky reader will get to elevate her workout with a $50 Target Gift Card + a pair of the new C9 Champion® Embrace Run Tights (sizes XS-2XL, $34.99 MSRP).  Use the gift card to pick up the new C9 Champion® sports bra and more!  To enter to win, just visit the widget below and check back to see if your name pops up as the winner. Best of luck – and thanks, as always, for visiting.

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On Pushing Limits + KEEN Kids Giveaway


 Sponsorship provided by KEEN Kids. All content and opinions, are my own. 

Do you ever feel like those “on this day” reminders from your social media networks and online photo storage have a way of sucker-punching you in the most bitter-sweet ways?  I’m certain that it was just the other day that we tackled milestones like learning to walk, swim and ride a two wheeler.  And here we are – with kiddos ages seven and nine – plowing down skateboard ramps, surfing, and adventuring – and begging for skateboard “trick school” lessons that will lead us to another borough every weekend this fall.  Although I sometimes have to brace myself, I’m incredibly proud of the sort of solid confidence that can only come from pushing limits.  These kids play hard and work hard – and have collected a few battle wounds to prove it.


So what’s a cautious mom to do, while reminding the kids’ Abuela that it’s not helpful to yell “BE CAREFUL!” DON’T FALL!!” “THAT’S DANGEROUS!”? I just make sure that my kids know that they have to wear helmets, skateboard-pads for the big tricks, the right sort of footwear – and a reminder to “make good decisions.”  They may have their share of falls – but they get right back up again.  And I’m learning lessons in squashing my concerns while admiring their determination.


As brand new walkers, I first turned to KEEN Kids for their summer sandals, because they gave me comfort in those reinforced toes. We’ve been picking up pairs every summer since. And in this new season of back-to-school and adventuring – KEEN Kids will take my active kiddos from the school yard to the skate park in functional kicks that feel good and look cool too.


Check out all of these great KEEN styles for kids! The new Hikeport from the Solo collection (featured in this post) – and the Fall Moxie are among my favorites.Back-to-school-Keen-Kids-shoes

Win It! Our friends at KEEN have partnered with us and other parenting websites to giveaway 10 pairs (yes ten!) of KEEN Kids shoes (new arrivals) to ten lucky winners – who will each get one pair.  Check out all the other writers favorite kicks below:

The Chirping Moms // Wanderlust Crew // Simple, Like Love // Suburban Wife, City Life // Girl in the Red Shoes// The Love Designed Life // Momfessionals // Munchkins and Moms // Being Brickner // Thrifty Nifty Mommy

To Enter – leave a comment on this post and visit the Rafflecopter below (U.S. only). Best of luck and check back to see if your name pops up as a winner!

Update: Giveaway closed. 


Aloha, Nanea Mitchell: American Girl’s new Hawaiian Doll + Giveaway


Introducing, Nanea Mitchell, American Girl’s new BeForever character! This darling doll is a 9-year-old Hawaiian girl who adores her close-knit family, dancing the traditional hula, fishing alongside her father and playing wither her dog, Mele.  She lives on the Island of Oahu – and her story explores the life of islanders in 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S’s entry into World War Two.


Her story helps American Girl fans contextualize a significant period in history where one girl can make a meaningful difference.  It also highlights the ways in which courage, patriotism and the aloha spirit synonymous with the Hawaiian people inspired a war-torn nation.

As a former resident of Hawaii – Nanea is a new favorite for me! And as a parent, I appreciate the lessons woven in the Hawaiin teaching of “kokua” – doing good and selflessly giving – which Nanea personifies.


American Girl fans will get to experience an all-new face mold in this adorable 18-inch doll – and a bunch of authentic-to-the-era accessories including a Hula Outift, Hula Implements and Nanea’s Family Market with 90 pieces that include a wood stove and more.


In support of Nanea’s inspiring mission, American Girl will be collecting donations for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and will match every dollar donation made in store and at in the U.S. (up to a maximum of $75,000).  In addition, the brand is giving away $575,000 worth of its signature 18-inch dolls to the American Red Cross to children living in times of crisis. We adore this mission, Nanea’s story, and American Girl’s steadfast commitment to giving back.

Win it!

American Girl is spreading the aloha with a Nanea Mitchell doll and book giveaway for one lucky winner! Enter to win via the below widget (U.S. only) and check back to see if your name pops up as the winner. Best of luck and thanks for visiting!

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Friendship Bracelets are Back + Giveaway!


Do your kiddos love crafting like mine do?  It’s exciting to see a project through from start to finish – and as a DIY-er myself, it’s cool to see my kids appreciation for the handmade. When WowWee sent us their Digloom ahead of their August 4th release, my creative tween was instantly hooked – so much so that we had to share here.  Friendship bracelets are back my friends and making them is more fun than ever!


This app-controlled interactive digital loom allows the user to design their own cool patterns or select pre-made designs to weave into bracelets, headbands, anklets, bookmarks and more.


The Digiloom is in no way one of those press a button and the machine does everything for you toys. My nine-year old is engaged in every step of the process – as she’s the one doing the manual weaving through the app’s pre-set thread pattern.


The Digiloom comes with enough supplies to make eight items, and we’re already ready to grab more kits. Hopefully, my girl will make one for her mama too!

Find it exclusively at Michaels stores, tomorrow, August 4th.

Win It! Our friends at WowWee are sending a Digiloom to one lucky MB reader! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post.  For another entry, visit our Facebook fan page and leave a comment on the corresponding post.  Our randomly selected winner will be announced on Facebook on Sunday evening, August 6th.