Friday, February 12, 2016

10 under $10 for Valentine's Day!

Although a dozen roses purchased a the 1000% inflation rate that this so-called Hallmark Holiday brings sounds lovely, I am all for the little things. For example, I think stocking stuffers can be the best part of Christmas- those little useful items that can immediately fall into your daily rotation of use.

Here are my top ten under $10 for Valentine's Day, and yes, any of these would make me happy!

10 under $10 for Valentine's Day | all dressed up with nothing to drink...

1) Trader Joe's Toasted Coconut Pancake Mix $3.69 This is the BEST pancake mix I have ever consumed! I highly recommend thinning it out and making crepes, your diners will swoon and swear you are a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef. Best part? Just add water.

2) Alberto V05 Hot Oil Therapy $6.24 This stuff is like a spa treatment for hair. Since I color my hair (surprise!) it needs some extra moisture so it doesn't turn into straw. This product helps with breakage and is even fabulous for fine hair like mine. It turns your hair silky smooth and helps combat heat styling damage.

3) Hanes Premium Women's Boyfriend Hipsters $9.99- I own every conceivable combination of "panty" (yes, that word makes me cringe too). Thongs are a necessary item in every woman's drawer to avoid the dreaded VPL, but do I want to wear them all day while chasing my kids? Nope. These are THE most comfy underwear that I own and I think the retro/men's styling is adorable. Put that on with a white tank top and you have a pretty sexy outfit in my opinion!

4) First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream $12 (save 20% with code FF16)- During the winter, my hands could double as those of an octogenarian who has worked outdoors on the farm all of his life. Not a pretty picture. They are cracked, dry, and even painful. THIS is the only cream I have found that works- I slathered it on last night and this morning woke with incredibly smooth and hydrated skin, no trace of the old man hands.

5) Dr. Teal's Lavender Epsom Salt Soaking Solution $4.89 I have tried hundreds of bath products throughout the years...bubbles, bombs, even bath confetti. This stuff is affordable and truly works- relaxing and draws out toxins from the body.

6) Bath & Body Works Foaming Hand Soap $6.50 or 6 for $24- I count this soap as one of my little luxuries in life. The foaming factor helps the little ones in my house not use too much, and you can't beat the seasonal scents that are offered. I currently have the Pink Grapefruit in my powder room, but love the Island Margarita, Peach Bellini, Copacabana Coconut, and Salted Pineapple Punch.

7 & 8) Old Navy Essentials Fitted Tank ($6) or Relaxed V-Neck ($8) The hunt for the perfect tank top and v-neck is over! I love the Old Navy versions of these classics- the tank has enough stretch to stay fitted and yes, you need new ones every year. The relaxed v-neck is my spring/summer wardrobe staple- it is baggy enough to hide your winter weight gain but fitted enough to not look sloppy.

9) Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Nail Lacquer $8 I have found the holy grail of nail polish- you can paint your dominant hand without it looking like a finger paint job. The color lasts quite well (my fave is Frenemy, the perfect shade of grey) and the price point is fabulous. The secret is in the handle of the brush- the butterfly shape makes it SO EASY to get an exact coat on your nail. In love.

10) Dark Chocolate Raisinets $3.29 Everyone has their favorite candy, and when the love of your life nails it, it just makes you smile. I can't always find this particular treat in the stores or at the movie theater, so when I do I stock up. Plus, they have fruit in them so....they are healthy, right?

Disclosure: Thank you to V05 and Nonie Creme for providing samples, all opinions are honest and my own as usual.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SoCozy Non-Toxic Hair Care for Kids- Now Available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Harmon and BuyBuy Baby!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of SoCozy. All opinions are honest, my own and not edited by the sponsor.

I spent the requisite hours styling my hair with White Rain Hairspray when I was younger (it was even cheaper than Aqua Net). I remember choking in the aftermath of the helmet head application, trying desperately to get my hair to conform to the latest trend. I have done it all- the crimp, the butterfly clip/twist combo, even some Sun-In for faux highlights. As you can see below, I really loved to showcase my own unique style!

Kids often have a huge connection to their hair, and it can be a big part of their identity. My parents usually let me do what I wanted, and I loved all the forms of self-expression this allowed. I hope to give my children the same freedom, but want to make sure they aren't harming themselves in the process. When I look back at the products I used, we didn't really know about all of the harmful chemicals that lurked behind every aerosol can or electric-colored tube. I haven't wanted to use any products in my children's hair yet because of this knowledge.

With my son (age 4) I have occasionally used my husband's gel but truly dislike the sticky, crunchy feel. My son has this gorgeous, downy, soft baby blonde hair that everyone loves to touch. I don't want to nuzzle his little head and end up being poked in the eye with gel or gag on an alcohol smell!

When SoCozy approached me with their line of non-toxic hair styling products for kids that are made for kids age 2-12, I jumped at the chance to review.  No more horrible alcohol smell, no formaldehyde (yes, the stuff that is used to preserve dead bodies is used in a lot of other hair products), no sulfates, synthetic color, phthalates, or other "nasties." I also love that it is now available at Bed Bath & Beyond (as well as Harmon and BuyBuy Baby); check out the Locations Page to find your nearest retailer.

My little guy loved the scent and texture of the Styling Gel, and was excited to do his hair by himself for the first time!

SoCozy Kids Hair Products | all dressed up with nothing to drink...
Kids Hair Styles with SoCozy | all dressed up with nothing to drink...
SoCozy Kids Hair Products | all dressed up with nothing to drink...

He was so thrilled with his hairstyle he wanted to do a photo shoot "just like you, mom!" So, here is the finished product. He is giving his Blue Steel, his Lookin' Good and his Home Alone...and a whole lot more!

SoCozy Kids Hair Products and Hair Styles | all dressed up with nothing to drink...
SoCozy Kids Hair Products Hair Styles | all dressed up with nothing to drink...
To celebrate the launch of SoCozy products in Bed Bath & Beyond, Harmons and BuyBuy Baby, they are offering 20% off 2/1-2/29 in store! 

SoCozy Kids Hair Products Now Available in Stores | all dressed up with nothing to drink...
Let your kids personalities shine, and their creativity run wild without sacrificing quality and integrity in a hair care product. Thanks SoCozy!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why Experiences Make the Best Gifts, and iFLY Rosemont Review!

In my family, we prefer to give experiences rather than material goods (although yes, feel free to bestow something shiny upon me at any time, I won't complain). My parents and I have talked about how we are at the age and stage in life where if we want something, we buy it for ourselves. Also, we all have so much STUFF!

I have found that some of my greatest memories stem from unique experiences. One year, my mom arranged for my family to visit our childhood home. Best gift ever. I also remember our family vacations with such fondness- those experiences are priceless. Every year for the holidays, I search for the perfect experience to give my parents. This year, I bought them a burgundy wine dinner at Chateau Chantal. It started with a tour of the castle-like winery, and ended with a 5-course gourmet dinner paired with carefully curated selection of excellent wines.

Although this was a relaxing evening for them, I think I might kick it up a notch next year! I recently tried iFLY in Rosemont, which is an Indoor Skydiving Experience. At iFLY, they simulate true freefall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel. No jumping out of a plane, you simply step into the glass-enclosed chamber and fly! They take flyers from age 3 to 103 as long as you are reasonably healthy.

Upon arrival, you enter your info into the check-in computers and sign up for a flight time. About 30 minutes prior to your flight, you suit up in coveralls, a helmet, glasses, ear plugs and sneakers and check out a short informational video. The instructor goes over the four hand signals that will be used in the wind tunnel because it is impossible to hear when you are flying. You then line up on the bench with about 12 other people and each take turns with a one minute flight accompanied by your flight instructor (no, they don't just toss you in and say good luck!).

Yes, it does take a bit of skill- you need to keep your chin up, your arms level and extended (total Super Hero form), legs slightly bent and back a little arched. I went in two times- the first was just getting the positioning right, and the second was where it got TRULY exhilarating. The instructor takes you up high into the wind tunnel and spins you around on the second run- it is such a rush, and like nothing you have felt before.

Take a look at my video and see for yourself!


  • Keep your mouth closed! You will drool if you are grinning a toothy grin :)
  • Ladies- tie your hair up into a bun on top of your head and pop your helmet on top. I had a few wisps of hair escape and it created instant dreadlocks.
  • Loosen up! Breathe! Remember, this is FUN. It isn't a competition.

No, this isn't the fair where rides cost five tickets. This is a serious event, and it has turned into a sport! Flights start out at $69.95 for two flights per one person, but if you pair up with a friend or group you can get a better deal. Check out pricing here.


Currently, iFLY operates in 16 cities across the US and is expanding fast. In the Chicago area, you can fly in Rosemont, Naperville and (coming soon) Lincoln Park! I loved the Rosemont experience because you can have an amazing dinner, walk over to iFLY, then finish the night with cocktails at one of the MANY restaurants/bars within walking distance. Stay tuned for more on the Rosemont experience, detailed restaurant crawl post to follow.

So, what are you waiting for? Go FLY! This would make a perfect gift if you are the type to celebrate Valentine's Day. My friend Kit and her husband were with me, and they looked adorable together in their flight suits. Go for the experience, it is something you will remember and talk about for years to come!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary flight at iFLY, but as always my opinions are honest and my own.