Momma Told Me

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of Mermaids And Maidens- A Day At The Lake

LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
Momma Told Me: Magic is everywhere.

We try to stay active in the Summer; holidays and vacations can be a crazy time for our family. This year Sabrina (11) decided to spend 6 weeks up in Oregon visiting her grandmother and (11 year old) Uncle. As it turns out we swapped her 14 year old (uncle) and step siblings for an even more full house than usual. And, with her mom due to pop any day, we've been trying to soak up as much Summer sun, with as little Summer activity as possible. When it was suggested that we pack up the family and head down to the lake for an afternoon of fishing some of us were more excited than others.
While Kiara, 9, is just as good a tomboy as the best of them, she prefers more imaginative play than the strategic thrills of casting a worm into a body of water and playing tag with a fish. And we weren't about to spoil the younger ones' good times and tell them their tiny poles could barely reach past the shallow shores. There was a bit of a fuss in the beginning, but we made the tough it out for a few hours before we allowed them to wander and roam the wonders the sand and water had to offer.
LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
While Noah, 4, was attached to daddy's hip asking 'Whatcha doin?' every few minutes, Kiara's eyes began to get a little glossy as she asked questions like 'Do you think a mermaid lives here?' and 'Can I catch an octopus?' Naturally, being the awesome Auntie I am, I was prepared to reward the morning of good behavior fishing with a special reward that answered just those questions. For the nautically curious, or simply bath-time obsessed, the LaLaLoopsy Pearly Seafoam Bubbly Mermaid doll was the perfect solution. Hailing from the adorable realm of button eyed dolls this oh-so-girly toy came equipped with specially formulated bubble soap and a companion octopus squirter.
LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
As it turns out this was the perfect toy to have on the shore, ready for full submersion, and sudsy adventures. Pouring the spouted bubble solution into the pockets of hair, and squeezing the abdomen (okay this freaked me out a little) resulted in a playful foam crown of bubbles. The giggles and smiles were infectious as Kiara shaped her hair and blew away the bubbled time after time. The octopus proved a little more temperamental; and a good lesson in patience and experimentation as we figured out the best way to fill it with water.
LaLaLoopsy Bubbly Mermaid Pearly Seafoam Doll
The drive home from the lake was a bit of a journey as we navigated dunes, then the highway; but our backseat was filled with excitement for the coming bath time and new friend Pearly Seafoam.  The LaLaLoopsy range of characters hail from their own cartoon and feature a collection of playsets and dolls that all include companion pets. Catch the show on NickJr, and the adorable toys in stores online at and nationwide at a Walmart or Toys R' Us near you!

What Daughter Says: Encourage imaginative play with good behavior and make magic happen anywhere.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm Enough- And So Are You! Make Your Mirror Magical Today

@TheMrsBand inspires women to see the beauty in their reflection- no magic mirror required!
Momma Told Me: Magic mirrors aren't real.

Kids can be cruel. But have you ever considered that the child inside you can be a bully as well?

When we're young we're most impressionable, and the filters that take decades to develop throughout our lives are often not yet in place. We blurt things out without a second thought, and make observations that can be painfully blunt. We close our eyes and we dream of talking unicorns and becoming perfect dancing ballerinas. And each and every young girl grows into a beautiful woman that retains that childlike spirit inside them. But how much of our fantastic dreams of yesterday, and unrealistic perceptions of reality impact the adult eyes we view ourselves with? Does the child inside you question the reflection of the woman on the other side?
@Th@TheMrsBand inspires women to see the beauty in their reflection- no magic mirror required!eMrsBand inspires women to see the beauty in their reflection- no magic mirror required!
Don't get me wrong, having ambition is great. However, as strong modern women, we can often get lost in those goals and dreams and turn them into negatives, talking down to ourselves without even knowing it. And with all the negativity built into the world around us, it's hard not to get caught up in the perceptions of success and beauty. I recently realized I have been doing a great disservice to the inner me. There were times when we couldn't even make eye contact.

You see, I experience great anxiety in large groups; especially those of my peers. See, that's a big mistake of mentality in that sentence, alone- we are ALL peers. Have you ever heard of  'I am woman, hear me roar?' Grouping ourselves into brackets of lifestyles or success only helps feed the critic inside us all. Realizing that our peers are made up of over 3.4 billion really help cut down on the expectations we hold to ourselves. In fact, I challenge you to eliminate ALL expectations. You are uniquely you, there has never been, and never will be another. Understanding and accepting this then logically states that you are the best you that will ever be.
@TheMrsBand inspires women to see the beauty in their reflection- no magic mirror required!
But back to the story- I recently attended a very large conference with over 4k women (and a few curious men,) and found myself so full of anxiety on the first day I almost didn't leave my hotel room. I changed my clothes at least 5 times, and walked with my eyes downward through the convention center. Every step I took I judged myself even more. My hair wasn't done as nice as that woman, my shoes weren't right for my skirt, my blog wasn't big enough to compete with the celebrities before me. Isn't it funny that every layer we put over our lives, leads us to judge ourselves even more? But who we are is not the car we drive, the clothes we parade ourselves in, or the proucts we choose to buy.

When we strip ourselves down to that naked vulnerability we all fear so much, it's ironically empowering. When we stare into that mirror and make eye contact with ourselves we can at last have that long overdue conversation with ourselves. Suddenly, it becomes easier to see the beauty inside, the us that is truly there. And, when you stop taking the time to anticipate the unsaid words of judgement around you, your inner child is more open to the praise and celebration that is right in front of it.
@TheMrsBand inspires women to see the beauty in their reflection- no magic mirror required!
No, we don't have enchanted mirrors, a-la-fairytales, to reassure us of our beauty- but I've got a secret- any mirror can be magical when your reflection is staring back at you. So today, take the time to close the door, and spend some time with just you and yourself. Tell that inner child about all the amazing things you have accomplished, let all the amazing confirmation from your family and friends be that echo of support and affirmation. Look into those eyes staring back at you, they are strong, they are one of a kind. You are the only you, and therefor the best damn you that there will ever be! You are amazing, and strong, and beautiful- you are enough.

What Daughter Says: The magic isn't in the mirror, it's in you- change the voice you hear today!

Nee a little more inspiration? Check out the real life message of The Mrs band, and their mirror experiment!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Retro Eyeworks Fits My Fashion Sense And My Budget, 3 Pairs For $99!

Affordable online prescription eyewear fashion with #RetroEyeWorks and 3 pairs for $99!
Momma Told Me: Pick wisely, because you'll be stuck with them.

If anything has change dramatically in fashion, for the better, over the past 20 years, it has been eye-wear. Around age 6 I was saddled with my first pair of prescription frames, and so began a love/hate affair I would carry through the rest of my childhood and adult life. "Make sure you pick the ones you want to wear every day," Momma urged, as I peered back at myself from that round vanity mirror next to the cash register. Not only did the process of picking a pair of glasses feel very, well, clinical, my options in the early nineties were quite underwhelming. Most glasses were designed for function, and that meant extra large lenses and ugly wire frames that could withstand a child sitting on them.
Affordable online prescription eyewear fashion with #RetroEyeWorks and 3 pairs for $99!
Ironically, by the time I was old enough to wear prescription contact lenses I no longer desired to have my face free and unobstructed, but framed in a more expressive manner. Wearing glasses had become as much a part of my definition as the language I spoke or the way I style my hair. Presciption eye-wear had become a little more affordable and fashion savvy, but online ordering wasn't quite convenient, or trustworthy. The first few frames I bought online were a short savings from in store buys and came with the caveat of no, or costly, returns. Through the years sites such as Retro Eye Works have worked to bring value and style to the world of prescription optics, and made it possible for me to build a wardrobe of glasses, even between prescriptions.
Affordable online prescription eyewear fashion with #RetroEyeWorks and 3 pairs for $99!
Despite the name, #RetroEyeworks was inspired by the need for functionality, not fashion. Started by an optometrist who would invest in costly designer frames only to find them broken or mangled a few weeks later, the need arose for practically functional, but affordable glasses. Made with high tech eco-friendly plastics that can hold up to  beating Retro Eyeworks frames are modernly fashionable with a hint of retro-styling, and impressively frugal. In fact, you can buy 3 pairs, with lenses, for just $99!
Affordable online prescription eyewear fashion with #RetroEyeWorks and 3 pairs for $99!
I've been buying glasses online for years now, and never cease to be amazed at the continued ease and value the process offers me. Not only can I preview the actual frames prior to buying them, with Retro Eyeworks Try 3 Free program, but I can get the opinions of family and friends in real life. Some of my favorite online glasses retailers will photoshop frames onto my picture for visualization, but this format allows me to get a proper feel of sizing on my actual face, and even imagine the glasses as part of my everyday wardrobe, risk free!
Affordable online prescription eyewear fashion with #RetroEyeWorks and 3 pairs for $99!
Buying glasses online with an in home preview even lets me go outside my usual style comfort zone and pick frames I might otherwise be too worried about their bold designs to select. I have always wanted a retro-styled tortoise frame, like the Superflex Tortoise seen above, but the print can be done in a myriad of tones and come off harsh with different frame shapes and sizes. I was especially pleased to fall in love with the over-sized Superflex lenses, and experience their impressive flexibility and durability. I only hope to see the current selection of women's frames at Retro Eyeworks continue to grow so I can keep adding to my addiction!

Which frame do you like best on me?

What Daughter Says: Don't feel trapped in your eyewear, express yourself with affordable styles that let you play with fashion.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How Soon Is Too Soon (In A Relationship) To Talk Bums? #CottonelleCleanCrew

#CottonelleCleanCrew #LetsTalkBums
Momma Told Me: It's time to talk hineys.

When I was sixteen I graduated high school and drove across country to rent a studio in my sweetheart's hometown. He was still in high school his senior year, and I was working my bum off through multiple jobs and college, but we were young and hopelessly in love. Every now and then his mother would let me stay that night (on the couch) and I'd pack a bag of teenage girl necessities. As sweet as the 'mother' was, she was one of 'those' types who bought value toilet paper. You know the kind. I was mortified at the thought of wiping my rear in his house with this sub-par paper, so I was always sure to carry a role of my own Cottonelle in my overnight bag.
#CottonelleCleanCrew #LetsTalkBums

At the end of that relationship I returned to California where I moved into my own apartment. For a while I was glad to not have to worry about sharing bathroom quarrels over putting down the seat and who took that last two squares of T.P. And then it happened, a man, a glorious man, walked into my life with such high standards of bathroom courtesy and cleanliness I could have kissed his mother's feet. In fact, he schooled me a little on bum care when he began staying over and brought his own bathroom essential in his overnight bag, baby wipes.

This man used baby wipes for everything; freshening up after the gym, cleaning dirty feet before getting into bed, and most importantly maintaining that fresh clean feel after using the bathroom. For me, it was love at first wipe. And while that relationship only lasted 4 years, the lessons in freshness and bum care have stood with my ever since. It's the kind of thing a gal doesn't forget, ya know.
Cottonelle Freshcare Flushable Cleansing Cloths #CottonelleCleanCrew #LetsTalkBums
When Jay and I moved in together I'd been through the process before. I didn't exactly bring a role of toilet paper and FreshCare Cleansing Cloths to our first date, but our first night sharing a bathroom the rules were laid out. Did you know some of the most common tiffs in modern relationships begin in the bathroom?  While I'm not the sort to huff and puff over whether the T.P is over or under (I'm an over gal, myself) I did put Jay through the ringer the first time it was his turn to restock our T.P. Standing in that toiletries aisle with a lost look on his face I showed him where the 'good stuff' was.
I love and use Cottonelle brand because it doesn't rely on sheet counts and plys to highlight it's quality. In fact, the Cottonelle toilet paper range is broken into CleanCare (with ripples), Ultra ComfortCare, and GentleCare (with Aloe). That's right all of the Cottonelle toilet paper is the same high quality in getting you clean (and that's really most important when it comes to toilet paper, right?)
Top 5 Bathroom Arguements with #CottonelleCleanCrew #LetsTalkBums
When it came to the FreshCare Cleansing Cloths, I was a little more patient with letting him discover the difference on his own. After a few months the curiosity of the little white wipes dispenser on top of the toilet broke him down. And that's when we had the talk. The Cottonelle wipes were there to help him get clean and stay clean, but, ultimately, what he did with the wipes behind that bathroom door was his business. I think a lot of people, men in particular feel shame in using a wet wipe to get clean after using the toilet; but just ask any convert- and they can't imagine living without it.

So, anyone who tries to tell you not a lot has changed with toilet paper in the past 100 years; perhaps it's time you sit them down and have 'the talk.'

 What Daughter Says: It's never too soon to talk good CleanCare with the ones you love.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#BloggerConfessions Week 2: Blogger Envy

#BloggerConfessions the only Blog Hop where bloggers can dish the down and dirty of blogging, and readers can get an inside look at how it's all done!
Do you have a favorite blog? Of course you have several; and are perhaps even a blogger yourself. Have you ever wondered from time to time how they do it? Or does everything on your end of the screen seem so flawless your perspective on your own life gets a little fuzzy? Well I am here to tell you that blogging is not the perfection perceived- it is most often crazy hours, emails in the wee hours, and balancing on chairs in hallways to get the perfect light. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes before that URL can hit the internet, and myself and a group of bloggers are here to give you the down and dirty secrets of #BloggerConfessions in a new weekly blog hop that invites you to confess on a new topic each week.

Whether you're looking for a fun hop you can fill an organic content need with(yes, us bloggers worry about that), or are simply a reader looking for the juicy, and often hilarious, truth on blogging- you're invited. Bloggers, feel free to post your response to each week's topic any day of the week (Thursday is the feature day) and link up to the LINKY at the bottom of this post. Be sure to grab the button while you're here! Readers, sit back, relax, and prepare as we demystify blogging one dish at a time!
Week 2: Blogger Envy

Prompt: Share an aspect of your blogging that makes you feel overwhelmed or a little intimidated when looking at other blogs. As a blogger, what do you see others doing that you wish you could do more of or better at? How do you try to work on achieving these goals?

This series actually began with this very topic on my personal Facebook page a few weeks back when I posted a status that read: "Today I was relieved to find out I am not the only blogger who sees all 'those' photos with some old rustic wood background and wonders, 'Where is everyone getting this old wood to take photos on?'" Let's be real, the term 'food porn' has been coined by the emergence of food bloggers over the past decade. People who call themselves food bloggers are not just individuals who happen to post a recipe around the holidays, these are people we (as readers) envision do nothing but cook intricate dishes tantamount to a Betty Crocker cookbook day in and out, and could even make boxed macaroni and cheese look like a $30 appetizer at a fine dining restaurant. 

To me the entire process they must undergo is mystifying. In my head I envision them hunched over a lighting rig using a mini blow torch to melt cheese and daubing a fine dining dish with 'accidental' drops of sauce to make each and every viewers mouth water in anticipation. I want to be that blogger- but I don't want to blog only about food. So, instead, I fixate on the seemingly ornate backgrounds these types of bloggers tend to use; and they most often involve a 'weathered' wood finish.
I quickly learned, in my widely popular personal Facebook page status, that this effect is most often faked. Bloggers buy old palettes from farms, photograph on top of old doghouses, and even use scrapbook paper (yes, scrapbook paper) to get this effect. However, as much as I was envious of this discovery, and the ability to pull the trickery of 'faux' wood and vintage dining of with minimal effort, I had to reflect on my trip to SoFabCon this Spring. St the conference bloggers kept walking up to me (hello I was easy to recognize with purple hair!) and telling me how much they loved my 'magic black background effect.' One after another, I responded to questions of what program I used to do this....As you can see above, it's no effect- it's my dining room table, which just happens to be a dark enough wood finish that I can turn up the vibrancy and contrast and get away with the styling!

Yes, us bloggers are sneaky, sneaky!

Link up your Photo Behind The Photo #BloggerConfessions anytime between now and next Thursday!

Prompt for Week 3: (7/31) Feeling A Little Shy? Conferences And More!- Have you ever been to a blogger conference? With BlogHer 2014 going on right now, what better time to dish about the behind the scenes craziness that goes on at your favorite blogging conferences. Whether you have a story about your 'first time' to share or just a fond memory, let's hear it!
Momma Told Me

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sayonara! I'm off to #BlogHer2014! My Blogging Resolve

Off to #BlogHer14! BlogHer2014 Bound! 
Momma Told Me: Happiness is being yourself.

I have been blogging for over 4 years now with near 2000 posts. Wow. Just typing that makes me relive the journey!

I didn't start Momma Told Me to make money or get products- I started it to have fun and get my voice heard. People outside the digital screen know, I like hearing the sound of my own voice and what better place to express myself and be heard than online on my very own website? Many of you may know that I now work with a wonderful company called #CollectiveBias where I have a contractor's job helping put together blog campaigns and coaching other bloggers. The lovely Shelley Zurek of Still Blonde After All These Years referred me and I reluctantly applied to the community after her 4th or 5th nudge. Outside of being a blogger I have long read and admired, Shelley is sort of a blogging mentor to me, and I have to send her major props.

But back to me and my story. I have to say, I never wanted to make money blogging or even get attention from it. *insert shocked gasps* Yes, yes, I know, blogging is very competitive and monetized these days. But, for me, blogging, photographing, writing, and story building is something I love with a passion. And doing something you love, for money, or for another person by proxy of their own needs (especially in advertising) generally sucks the fun out of it. That's why I've remained, and still am, committed to putting the same amount of rainbows, humor, and love into every post that goes up on Momma Told Me.

If you're a loyal reader you know that I will spend the same amount of time talking about toilet paper as I will a $400 vacuum cleaner, or the embarrassing public restroom incident last week. Every post is full of me, genuine 100%, and has the same amount of effort and heart as the next; paid, sponsored, or just mindless rambling. Why? Because I love to blog- I love meeting all of you online and off, and I love having my own space to just be me. It may be unconventional, I may turn down a gazillion sponsorships or ads because they just don't excite me in a way that I feel can be genuine- but you KNOW if it's on Momma Told Me, it's real.

And, having said that, this slightly nerdy blog introvert is about to head to the largest U.S. blogging conference for networking and business relationships. Why? Because I've been doing this for 4 years and it's about time. Whether I go and learn only a handful of things, make just one single partnership, connect with only a few new bloggers, it will have been worth it. Every moment, every connection, every door opened will be one I chose, and one that is right for me. And that, is why I am excited about #BlogHer2014!

What Daughter Says: While bills have to get paid, ultimately, doing what makes you happy is far more rewarding than any paycheck.

***Please note Momma Told Me will be on hiatus until Monday July 28th, when I return from BlogHer. #BloggerConfessions is scheduled to post regularly on Thursday July 24th.