Back-to-School Stylin' & Profiling Thanks to A Children's Place

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I don't know about you but, I have had an unusual amount of shopping days this year. Sadly, not for myself. The frog princess appears to have ingested some sort of ultra growth serum. She is 3'6" tall which was about as tall as I was when I was 7. I would blame the breast milk except I too was nursed.

the-childrens-placeEnter The Children's Place. They have all kinds of cuteness and now, they have all kinds of deals! And did you know they carried uniforms? Yes ma'am! You can take advantage of great sales going on for back to school such as:

  • Get 25% off every uniform piece or 30% if you buy 4 or more
  • Basic denims are only $10
  • Short sleeves graphic tees are $5 each

And can we not forget you can take advantage of Tax Free Holiday for an additional discount (do you have that in your state?)?

Related Post: Back to School Cuteness

In case you need additional incentive? Feel free to enter the giveaway below. Who couldn't use a $30 gift card for their back-to-school shopping? You're welcome, folks!

Now, who wants to go shopping on my behalf?

Check out the Children's Place nearest to you and send your kids back to school with style. Check out their website at ChildrensPlace.com for more information about discounts.  You can follow then on Facebook and Twitter for more details.

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Tech Mami: The Samsung Galaxy S3

Many of you know I am the proud owner of Sammy, my S3. I got him at RadioShack last November and haven't looked back to Evangeline (the EVO). Sure, I miss her but I'm very happy with the performance and the look of the Samsung. This time last year as I was heading to Hispanicize and telling you about my conference picks. Well this year Sammy is definitely on board. Why you ask?

The first thing I noticed when I got the phone was the clarity of the pictures.

Above, you'll see one of the first pictures I took. Of course, it's the frog princess (check out the cool pilgrim hat. It was her Thanksgiving celebration at school). This was taken as she was swinging. To be honest, if I'd been taking this with Evangeline, I would've been a big blur.

So the camera was first. With options like burst shots and panoramic, you really can use this camera for all of your picture-taking and recording needs.

The screen itself is also great. Why? Because it's a 4.8" HD Super AMOLED Display screen, that's why!

Let's pause for a geek moment: if you're wondering what AMOLED stands for, here it is: active-matrix organic light-emitting diode. Use that in a Jeopardy tournament and blow someone's socks off!

Okay so for the non-geeks in the crowd, this is what you need to know: the image is superior than the one experienced on devices using different screen technology, and it can offer a better performance in direct sunlight.

Something else worth mentioning is that AMOLED display offer faster response time, higher refresh rates, are more and more power-efficient.  I don't know about you but this is important when I'm using my mobile. Less power consumption means that Sammy can offer a better image without affecting battery life. This will be extra important as we head to 4G LTE technology because that's a power suck if there ever was one.

One last thing about the screen: it's curved. Which minimizes scratches even if, let's say, your kid sets it on the ground face down.

For the extra techies in the group, The Galaxy S3 runs on Google's Operating System (OS) Ice Cream Sandwich. Even if you didn't like the phone, who can resist Ice Cream Sandwich, I ask you!

You can get cool apps from the Google Play Store, use some Google+ video chats as needed (not while driving) and have yourself a generally sexy time with this phone. Because above all else, I do find the phone sexy.

But in case you need it to be any sexier, then I am going to highly recommend you pay Sarah Masci's Etsy Store a visit. She creates custom cases for both Samsung & iPhones. This is one of my favorite things!

Are you ready to get your very own Samsung Galaxy SIII? Because I have 3 pieces of good news:

First, if you head on over to RadioShack you save $150 on a new 2-year activation on Sprint's Samsung Galaxy SIII (oh and if you're an iPhone lover, you can save $50 on both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S on Sprint).

Second, if you absolutely have to have a personalized cover (and I say you do) then head on over to A Drop Of Golden Sun, order your cover and enter MAMIHOOD15 to get a 15% discount on your order!

Last and certainly not least, let's say you don't want to purchase a new phone right at this moment to go with that lovely cover you have your eye on. Then, go ahead and enter the giveaway below and let's see if you can win your very own Samsung SIII courtesy of RadioShack and Sprint!

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Disclosure: RadioShack is rocking my socks by giving me a phone to give away to you guys. All opinions are my own. While no payment was given to me, I'm secretly hoping that when the S4 comes out, they will love me enough to want me to review it for them. Also, I paid for my own discounted cover but think that Sarah is fantastic and as a fellow mamipreneur, I think it's my duty to tell you guys all about her!

New Year, Same Office

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I’m sitting here staring at my mirror. No, I’m not vain. I use my mirrored closet doors as my white board. It’s kinda nice except that I can’t take pictures of it lest you see the crap on top of my dresser and the big basket of clean laundry that I have yet to fold. But, I digress. SameOffice

It is a new year and as I expected, I am already buried in schoolwork. Add to that trying to figure out how to build a business, redesigning my blog, heading up the technology committee for my sorority’s graduate chapter (and redesigning that website!), catching up on that one subject that I took an incomplete on last term AND attempting to run a household. Can I tell y’all I’m tired? Already. And possibly, the house might not be all that on the up and up in the cleaning department. Just sayin'.

But I will say that I’m also excited. Because I have all of the tools I need to make it happen. It might be a new year but, I have the same office. And by office I mean Microsoft Office.

If it wasn’t for OneNote and all of the ways I can organize my notes, updates, tweaks, etc., I don’t know what I’d do.

Microsoft Excel is always a lifesaver when it comes to work but, having it and being able to keep lists together that I will be able to seamlessly upload into the new CMS that I’m telling someone to helping to create means one less headache for me.

For some ungodly reason, Southern New Hampshire University sees it fit to torture me. They do this in the form of courses that being with the letter M. And so, I find myself in a Math and Statistics class this term. Because, you know…I need algebra. Yes, I’m still a little bitter about this. But, thank Gawd that I found out I can create equations in Word (did you know that?). Well, if you go to the “Insert” ribbon you can check out “Equation” all the way at the end. Now if only I knew what kind of equation I had to create, life would be simpler (my math tutor is sooo not going to like me by the end of the term).

I could go on and on and on. About how I can create flyers and brochures for the business using Publisher or how I am ready to go at a moment’s notice with proposals and presentations that I create with PowerPoint.

But I won’t. Instead, I’ll give you a chance to have a New Year and the Same Office by entering my Office 2010 giveaway. You’re welcome! Now go forth into the new year and organize! But if you need help, check out the dream coach, will you?

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Mami's Favorite Things: Music

I grew up in a house full of music.  There were impromptu get togethers, holiday parties, birthdays, etc. There were also, “Friday night is cleaning night” parties. The common thread was always music. I sometimes look around and find the house incredibly still. Knowing what an impact music has on me, I’m always shocked that there isn’t music playing 24/7 at home.  There are times when I feel a void in my life that can only be filled with sweet rhythms that my body reacts to like an involuntary reflex.

With everything that’s been going on, I have promised myself more music.  The Sirius XM Portable Dock and radio are set up at my desk and I can feel an immediate effect of the music feeding my creative spirit.

There are times when I am in a mood and the only thing that helps me is throwing on some Maxwell or perhaps a little Jay-Z. One never knows what the subconscious might respond to. Will it be Carlos Vives or will it be Journey? Ah, the possibilities are endless.

Whatever your pleasure or however you come about this, I can say with certainty that music has the ability to influence how we feel.  And right now, I feel good.

It helps that my holiday shopping is done and the gifts are wrapped. If you are not on the same boat as I am, I suggest you head on over to Radio Shack and get this problem resolved ASAP. Not only do they have great deals on your favorite products but you get $10 back for every $50 you spend. Hello? Great excuse to spend more (or, at least that’s my reasoning).

In any case, I wanted to share another favorite thing and because there’s a slight chance that you are not going to be thrilled with whatever is under the tree tomorrow, I’m giving you a chance to win your very own Portable Dock and radio.

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If you head over to Have Wine, Will Drink, I'm sharing my very special Christmas cocktail. I call it the Santa Baby.

Sending you tons of love and light during this most special time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: I was provided with this product for a giveaway months ago and kept it hidden away in my closet for the right time. I think it’s the right time. All opinions, thoughts and two-steps are entirely my own.

6 Tips for Holiday Skin Swagger

  With the frog princess recently sick, Thanksgiving a few days away, me behind on my schoolwork and the sleeping situation still in flux, I am here to tell you that I started looking a little like death warmed over.

My skin is looking less than fabulous and you know you’re in bad shape when your child holds up a green crayon to your eyes and points to the fact that the skin under them matches the crayon. Obviously, I haven’t taught her about tact.

Does this happen to you? Too busy running around to take care of yourself? Thanksgiving is just the beginning and I want to make sure you look hawt for those holiday parties. With that in mind, here are some cool tips on how to keep that radiant skin. Read on while I go put some of these into action.

  1. Holiday_SkinAfter a long day of work and before going to bed, make sure to always remove your make-up. This allows the skin to breathe and regenerate as you sleep. I’m horrible about this one. Especially when all I have is eye makeup on. But NEUTROGENA® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are perfect and quick.
  2. Hydration should always be part of your beauty regimen. I have oily skin but even then, I need to keep my skin hydrated (otherwise, I get greasy and flaky, yuck!). Try using NEUTROGENA® Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Night Cream, a soothing moisturizer formulated with multi-vitamins that replenish moisture and essential skin nutrients.
  3. In the morning, take an uplifting shower (ha!) with a refreshing product that will prepare your skin for the rest of the day. I pink puffy heart the NEUTROGENA® Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. Why? Because it cleans my skin so well and makes me not feel grimmy. Really.
  4. I never remember to apply sunscreen BUT you totally should. Now I don’t really have to remember because I just throw on NEUTROGENA® Visibly Even™ Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 with Helioplex®. I get the best of both worlds in one sitting. What could be better?
  5. For a rested and natural look, send your kids to stay over at someone’s house. Ha, I don’t kid. If that’s not a possibility, try using NEUTROGENA® HEALTHY SKIN® Brightening Eye Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 25. It will diminish the appearance of puffiness and dark circles with an easy-to-use formula that quickly covers imperfections. It’s been clinically shown to de-puff and treat the appearance of dark under eye circles. Thank you Geezus!
  6. Don’t forget to take care of your lips! In my purse you will find NEUTROGENA® MoistureShine® Gloss. It gives me just a hint of color with a good amount of moisturizing. This way I don’t have to throw on a lipstick and lip moisture. Again, a good 2-for-1. This also softens and protects to improve the healthy look and smoothness of lips over time. You know, in case you get stuck under the mistletoe ;-).

I know so many of you are going through similar lack-o-sleep, “who has time to take care of themselves” thing. SO, how about you enter this giveaway for your very own holiday beauty pack? Come on, you know you wanna?

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What Does Motherhood Mean to You?

Two years ago I saw a movie that changed my life. I hadn't heard of it before and haven't heard anyone speak of it since though I have no idea how I haven't. It's called Motherhood and it stars Uma Thurman and Anthony Edwards.

In the movie, Uma was a blogger out of necessity but she always fancied herself a writer. And so, we see the ups and downs of what a mami has to go through in one day with all that she had going on daily plus planning for her daughter's birthday AND on deadline to enter a blogging contest that was sure to give her some much needed recognition and cash. All she had to do was answer one simple question: what does motherhood mean to you?

And so, after sleep training the frog princess I was home alone on a Saturday night, tired. Exhausted from long hours working as a project manager, stressed out about my mami's illness, concerned about my relationship and lonely from the burden of what I thought only I was going through, I sat down in front of the television and saw this movie. And I realized 2 things: 1. I was not alone and 2. I had to pick up the pen, so to speak, and start blogging.

This site was up the following week and this welcome was the first thing I wrote for you two years ago today.

Since then I have been through many situations: the loss of my mami, the loss of my partner, the loss of my job. But I have also shared some of my best moments and times, the frog princess growing and flourishing, my faith, funny moments, happy times and general malay. I have gotten to know some pretty awesome folks on Twitter and in real life at the various conferences I've attending. My CFL Latinas, My Dancing to Success Divas, My Boojahjah/Planking babes and so many more!

You've gotten a chance to see me birth my company and return back to school (why didn't you stop me?!). I've had the pleasure of reading your comments, Tweets and Facebook messages which keep me doing this thing. There have been days when your contact is the only other meaningful positive adult interaction I've had.

I now want to answer the question that Uma had to answer on her blog: what does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood is this. Every word I have written, every thought I have had, every feeling I have shared and experienced. It is waking up at 2 am in a pee-soaked bed, laughing til I cried as my frog princess nibbles on my belly, watching with wonder at my child going potty all-me by meself, seeing the joy of accomplishment as she figures out how to take off her socks, nighttime kisses and earnest words of love exchanged with a creature that was knitted in my womb and who grows more and more each day.

Motherhood is laughter and tears. It is experiencing loss and yet knowing that I have to get up and go the next morning. It is watching daily dances while moving my own feet and learning that my voice may not be worthy of being on the radio but dammit it makes a little someone smile. Motherhood is about dreaming BIG. Understanding that we each have a purpose in life. That we are MORE than just mamis even though being a mami is pretty fulfilling. It is recognizing that we might mother differently but that the love is the same.

And for me, motherhood is realizing that in my world, I will always have My Mamihood. Thank you for coming along for this ride. I am so grateful for each and every one of you that takes the time to read my words.

I want to do something for you. Tell me what does motherhood mean to you? If you are a blogger, feel free to link up and answer that question. If you don't have a blog, leave me a comment below. I will be selecting a winner next Saturday that will receive a copy of the movie Motherhood for your own viewing pleasure and a special little something else (read: whatever I might have in the manner of swag in my closet).

I am grateful for many things in my life. This blog and the real life connections that have entered my life are just two of those things. Now, if I could only get that trophy wife job that I'm looking for!

Disney On Ice and Hallmark

I've talked to you about how much I love cards and handwriting notes to people but, I also love all of the other products and gifts that you can find at Hallmark. Whether at a store or online. One of my new favorites are the recordable storybooks. I have way too many of my friends currently pregnant and, though I don't want to give away the surprise, you're getting at least one of these.

I mean, I get to read these and record my voice, inflection and excitement for some of my favorite stories. It doesn't get any better! I will say that sometimes, when I hear others read a book I think: that's not how you read it? Have you done this before?  Don't act like it's just me.

They have some of my favorites in this format including On the Night You Were Born (which I have for the frog princess and still find myself tearing up as I read), Guess How Much I Love You, Goodnight Moon and All the Ways I Love You. Just when I thought I'd be culling down the picture book collection, it seems that there's no way my library could be complete without them.

As if those weren't enough, Hallmark has now added more awesome to their Recordable Storybook line with Disney! First on my list is What Makes a Princess? Though I will be honest with you, I'm totally getting You Are a Hero, All the Ways You Save the Day because I believe girls can be princesses and heroes all at the same time.

   

To bring the magic of Disney Recordable Storybooks to life, Hallmark is sponsoring the Disney on Ice tour. And wouldn't you know it, they will be in Orlando next week. Eeek! I have never been to a Disney on Ice show and I'm pretty sure I'm more excited than the frog princess about this.

Of course, I don't want to be the only one excited about going to this show so, you have a chance to join me on September 8th at the Amway Center at 3:30 p.m. And while I could just make this a big girl's day, I thought we should include the kiddies so, I'll be giving away a family 4-pack as well as your very own  Disney Recordable Storybook. Are you excited yet? I am!

Good luck and maybe I'll see you on Saturday. I may or may not don my fairy wings that day (I find that the people that sit behind me at shows get annoyed because of my wing span).

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I will select a winner at noon on Wednesday that way there will be enough time for me to collect your mailing address and have the tickets and book shipped to you so that you have them by showtime.

Disclosure: I am being given tickets to the Disney on Ice show as well as a copy of a Disney Recordable Storybook in exchange for this post. Oh and, I got the 4-pack for you as well. Because that's how generous I am. All opinions, excitement and wings are my own.

Handwriting with Hallmark

I had too much to say for just one post. Not that I think 2 posts are going to capture everything that's in my head but, it's a start. BlogHer made me realize what I don't like about bloggers. And it's probably not what you think. I don't like that we don't put a mailing address on our cards! Because I thoroughly enjoy sending out physical follow up cards. I think it gives me an edge (of course, now that I've written this, the edge is gone. I hope you appreciate me sharing).

I still smile when I get a note in the mail from someone and so I try my best to follow up with a note here and there when I can (and when I remember).  I've made it a point to write it in to my momAgenda as part of my monthly to do's and definitely after a conference.

I like to stock up on cards. One year, CVS had a special to get a box for your cards with the purchase of X number of cards. And, yeah, I got it. I love that you can file the cards by occasion.  It totally feeds my OCD.  How cool is that? Tell me, if you'd seen these cards while shopping, wouldn't they just scream PICK ME UP! I got these eons ago and haven't sent them out yet but I know where they're going to go now. It's all about timing!

Anywho, I love sending out cards but I rarely get a blogger card with a mailing address. And if I ask for a mailing address I'll seem creepy, don't you think? Also, if I ask for an address then I've ruined the surprise.

I dislike that I don't have Martha's mailing address handy. I loved her interview and what she had to say and I saw about 5 things that I've been looking for for my home office in one of the brochures I received.  Plus, it's Martha so you know SHE sends out handwritten cards.

And who wouldn't want to send a card to Katie Couric? I'd send one to talk to her about the fact that she is so buff and how I'm now trying to figure out where I'm going to find the time to pump iron so I can be HAWT like her when I'm slightly older than what I am now.

Then there's Soledad O'Brien who looked poised and beautiful. To her, I'd write a note to let her know that I think all of the work she is doing (both on and off camera) is above board and how proud she makes me.

And don't get me started on bloggers! I'd love to send Queerie Bradshaw a snarky and funny card (actually, I'd love to send that entire Erotica panel cards thanking them for the awesome job they did and how funny and poignant they were).  Oh and then there's Brian from Central FL Top 5 who I only just met in NYC even though we are in the same city! I loved him and I'd write a note to tell him I appreciate his openness and his willingness to help connect me with others.  Yeah, I could go on and on and on but, surprise! I won't.

Instead, I will give you a chance to do this handwriting thing for yourself! Enter below to win a 10-pack of Hallmark Any Day greeting cards! And, if you should get a card from me, I apologize in advance for the bad handwriting. I was supposed to be a doctor and that, well, just didn't work out.

Tech Mami: The Skype's The Limit

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I almost lost my eyesight recently. I'm really not even sure how I didn't.  Probably because I prayed a lot. Last weekend papi called me using Skype.  But he couldn't get his video camera working. And try as I might, I could not get him to click on the damn icon for the camera.  How do you tell someone that doesn't know what an icon is to click on it? You don't. You merely sit there and try hard not to poke your eyes out with the sharp pencils you are trying hard not to break in the palm of your hand. The good news: I realized I needed to do a post about Skype so, while I almost poked my own right eye with my bookworm pencil, you win by getting this post.

Let's start with the basics.

What is Skype?

My first instinct is to tell you to just not even bother with it but, I'm growing into a more tolerant person these days (it's the praying, I tell ya). So here is the non-sarcastic response (directly from wikipedia): Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system.

You also get to use Skype as an instant messenger and can incorporate several people into one chat. Why does this matter? Say you have siblings and you are not all in the same city/country/planet. You can set up a group chat where you can all type in questions/comments/concerns/jokes/grievances and everyone else can be informed. Ditto for your girlfriends, tribes and old schoolmates.  It's private and if you need to, you can always do a conference/video call.  There are charges for doing that, though but I won't bore you with the details of prices but here's the link to find out more.

How do I use Skype?

Simply put? You can set yourself up with a user name and password, download the program and voila! You're in!  You can do searches to find people (first and last name OR if you know their Skype user name, you can use that). You then send them a request to connect with you.  This will add them to your contacts list within Skype and you'll be able to see when they're online so that you can chat with them.  With the new version (5.0) you can even link your FB account with it (but if you don't know what you're doing, let's just keep that separate).

When you are on a call, you have the option of having the video off. If you simply hover in the Skype window where the call is taking place, you'll see your options: video, full screen, mute, etc. This is what I couldn't get my dad to see.  As you may or may not know, in order to make the video experience better, those controls go away so that all you see is the person on the other side.  This is a hinderance when I try to get something working on dad's computer.  Which reminds me, when I see his laptop again, I'm totally going to enable remote access.

Why should I use Skype?

If you are interested in IM that can turn into a phone call that can turn into a video chat, then this is what I recommend. I can (painstakingly) chat with my dad and he can see the frog princess and interact with her via video.  I can also do screen shares with Lynne over at Visual Serendipity when we are working on a project (which is nice and means we don't have to keep emailing images to one another thereby minimizing email clutter).  And I can chat with my tribes or ask a question or answer a question and always feel connected with them.

You can use Skype on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad! I'm sure this sucks up some of the battery from your portable devices.  So, how about you get a brand new Zagg Portable Charger?! You will have to thank our friends over at Radio Shack.  Again, they think about you (a lot).

This time around you can get more entries! Check out the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

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Must be a US Resident 18 and over to participate. No purchase necessary to win. Giveaway closes 5/18/12.