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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Red White And Brew Party With The Best K-Cup Flavors

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Be the hostess with the mostess and bring your Keurig to your next party showdown. #BrewItUp and #BrewOverIce with the best K-Cups like Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea and Green Mountain Lemonade from Walmart! #shop
Momma Told Me: The best kind of drink is one with friends.

No, I didn't bump my head and forget the date, I'm aware the 4th of July holiday has come and gone. However, in our family, we firmly believe that every day of the year is just as good as the last to celebrate our freedom and the Red, White, and Blue. Okay, okay, so my cousin might have been trying to be just a *little* bit frugal when she planned her hubby's 'Getting Out' of the military bash the week following the 4th. Regardless, we hold a strong sense of how lucky we are to live in this great country; my grandfather gave 20+ years to the Navy, and we consider it a family commitment when one of us serves. And that's precisely why we pulled out the best K-cup flavors to brew over ice, poolside, with family and friends.
Be the hostess with the mostess and bring your Keurig to your next party showdown. #BrewItUp and #BrewOverIce with the best K-Cups like Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea and Green Mountain Lemonade from Walmart! #shop
We live in a town attached to the Port Hueneme, CA Naval Station; so the best part about planning this party was knowing all of Cory (the guest of honor's) friends would be able to attend. Unfortunately that also means that many friends and families often have to move around as they are re-stationed and even released from service. This gathering ended up serving multiple purposes as pregnancies were announced, impending due dates were celebrated, and moving dates were discussed. It was also a time to reflect on Cory's 14 years of service which included 2 army accommodation medals, 3 navy achievement medals, a combat action ribbon, and multiple deployments.
#BrewOverIce K-Cups sold at Walmart nationwide, just look for the blue label! #BrewItUp #shopBe the hostess with the mostess and bring your Keurig to your next party showdown. #BrewItUp and #BrewOverIce with the best K-Cups like Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea and Green Mountain Lemonade from Walmart! #shop
My cousin, Savannah, who is Cory's wife (and Sabrina's mother) also happens to be 8 months pregnant, and I was not about to let her tackle this party business on her own. The men were promptly put in charge of grilling, while I stepped in with an ingenious idea to keep our guests hydrated on a budget, with plenty of variety. As a woman who takes her cold beverages very seriously, my kitchen is outfitted with 2 Keurig single cup brewers- which do so much more than brew coffee, my friends! Armed with an extension cord, the best #BrewOverIce K-Cup flavors from Walmart, an ice chest, and my Keurig we set up a drink station to satisfy even the pickiest guest.
I'm telling you, I don't think I will ever throw a party without my Keurig again! Because we were going to have so many youngsters running about (they outnumbered the adults) I picked up plastic mason tumblers at Walmart to #BrewItUp with. Their screw on lids and different colored straws and caps made them easy to keep track of poolside. Of course the kids were most intrigued by the "magical drink machine" (not my words) and I was happy to let them brew over ice with adult supervision. After all, it's as easy as filling a cup with ice, choosing  delicious K-Cup flavor (like Green Mountain Organic Lemonade or Snapple Peach Iced Tea), closing the Keurig lid and pressing your brew size. Check out the simple how to make iced coffee video!
#BrewItUp With Green Mountain Organic Lemonade #BrewOverIce K-Cups! #Shop
Someone like Mom's Vitamin Burst #BrewOverIce K-Cups! #BrewItUp #shop
For the kids we chose to brew with the largest brew option, which dispenses more liquid from a single cup. This cut down on any sugar content and made the drinks last longer in tiny hands. For our Donut Shop Sweet and Creamy Iced Coffee, we brewed on the smallest setting for maximum flavor. Our drink station was filled with bowls of scrumptious add-ins for all beverages including gummy worms and strawberry popping boba for the kiddos, and plenty of fresh fruit for lemonade and iced tea. As it turns out the Brew Over Ice Vitamin Burst Strawberry Pomegranate flavor was most popular with the kids, who stole sips from mine poolside in between gulps of their lemonade.
#BrewOverIce Snapple Peach Iced Tea K-Cups with fresh cherries and blueberries. #BrewItUp #shop
As we headed towards lunch, and pulled the pruned kids in from the hot sun and pool, I caught a glimpse of my cousin putting her feet up. It was nice to know letting our guests be their own Brew-Over-Ice-Ista was taking a lot of work out of her job as a hostess. And, bonus, it turns out her belly doubled as a drink rest.....that is until stubborn Nathan began kicking. (My best guess, he wanted a tumbler of his own!)
Be the hostess with the mostess and bring your Keurig to your next party showdown. #BrewItUp and #BrewOverIce with the best K-Cups like Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea and Green Mountain Lemonade from Walmart! #shop
My favorite part of the afternoon was just sitting back and people watching with my new camera. I was happy to chronicle some of the more candid moments of the numerous families in attendance. We had children from baby to age 13 in attendance, and it was magical to see how well they all got along. In fact us adults even had time to reminisce about some of the crazier days (pre-children) and discuss plans for the future. Now that Cory is acclimating to being a civilian again his growing family has many options before them; some of them scary, but most of them exciting. It was great that we were all there to support him and reaffirm the bond we all share!
Of course the party wouldn't be complete without cake; and the kids weren't about to let us forget that there was a giant box full of red, white, and blue cupcakes sitting on the table. Sugar was demanded before they returned to the pool, but only after all plates were presented clean (we must be horrible parents insisting our kids eat their hamburgers and hot dogs first!) I caught the above moment on film as toddler, Jake, attempted to get more cupcake inside his mouth than outside.
Be the hostess with the mostess and bring your Keurig to your next party showdown. #BrewItUp and #BrewOverIce with the best K-Cups like Diet Peach Snapple Iced Tea and Green Mountain Lemonade from Walmart! #shop
As the party wrapped a few guests attempted to walk off with my Keurigs, people rushed to fill their tumbler with their favorite iced tea before hitting the car, and several rounds of hugs were exchanged. Jay and I stayed latest to help clean up as the guest of honor took a load off from all his hard work at the grill (and tossing kids into the pool.) And that's when I snapped these final shots of Savannah unscrewing her lid to get the last few drops of lemonade and iced tea from her tumbler. Pleasing a hormonal pregnant woman? That's a success in my book!

What Daughter Says: Memories can be made over lemonade and iced tea, just add the right people!






Sunday, July 20, 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.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

What I'm Streaming: Nathan For You

What I'm Streaming: Nathan For You on Comedy Central or Hulu
As you know I tirelessly scour the major streaming services and networks to find unique content that you most likely haven't heard of, or are on the fence about, and provide my unbiased opinion. Today I have the perfect example of a show that has slowly gained an underground following, but may not have the best PR to get it out there. This is fairly ironic, given the premise of the program. However, if you like intelligent comedy that plays out with the unexpected elements of real life, read on.
What I'm Streaming: Nathan For You on Comedy Central or Hulu
Nathan For You, a Comedy Central original television show, is currently in it's second season and relies on a Canadian native comedian (if you think about it, this network uses a lot of Canadian influence) to put forward an easy to watch program of comedic intelligence. In a sort of 'Kitchen Nightmares/Hotel Hell' style format, comedian and self professed businessman Nathan Fielder visits California businesses struggling to bring in customers. After a little recon he'll sit down with the owners to offer his, sometimes even unwanted, but always valid and plausible solution to turn their business around.
What I'm Streaming: Nathan For You on Comedy Central or Hulu
If that sounds like something that should be on A&E or TLC, not Comedy Central the humor lies in the almost obvious solutions that are certain to work in theory but cause more complications than the end result is worth. For example; Would your mechanic seem more trustworthy on quotes if he subjected himself to a lie detector? Would you prefer to buy your house from a realtor that guaranteed all of her properties ghost free? Could a restaurant actually get more business by offering free public restrooms in LA, while showing their customers commercials for their menu in stalls? Nathan's ideas are always obvious in nature, but never easy to achieve, especially when put into action in real life. Just Google the Pig Rescues A Goat video he engineered (that went globally viral) to bring business to a small country petting zoo in 2012.
What I'm Streaming: Nathan For You on Comedy Central or Hulu
What I love most about this show is that it is 30 mins per episode and has 2-3 scenarios going on at once, so it is an easy watch. And, surprisingly for the network in which it hails, the majority of the comedy is very clean, with some subject matter here and there relying primarily on dialog. Some of the premises seem silly, but the episodes as a whole are always entertaining. If you're even the slightest bit curious I suggest you check it out on Comedy Central or Hulu, where you can stream all of Season 1, and the current season's episodes. And if you do, let me know what you think!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Fruit Juice, Fishing, and Family With Kool-Aid S'mores Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmarts nationwide! #Shop
Momma Told Me: Everyone loves fruit punch.

When I was a young girl my grandfather had a yacht he dubbed 'The Eeyore' (you can't make this stuff up folks,) after his nickname and my grandmother's favorite nostalgic honey addicted bear. Living just an hour outside of Long Beach, CA we were relatively spoiled to have marinas where everyday citizens could own and dock lavish boats like his. And yet I clearly remember Momma's anguish over our bi-monthly trips out to the docks to visit her parents. She was never much of an ocean person, and I'd always take an hour or so to get my sea stomach legs. A fussy child wasn't much fun out in the middle of the sea. Luckily she had the power of fruit juice on her side.
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmarts nationwide! #Shop
Every time grandpa took us out fishing, Momma would let me pick out a packet of Kool-Aid for our day on the boat. Once inside grandma had a magical pitcher I recall resembled the Big Red Man himself, and my cousins and I would peer over counter's edge as the red liquid gently sloshed to the rhythm of the waves. It was amazing how that fruit drink would calm us down! All the rivalry would instantly cease, and even Momma would relax as she eased into her fishing chair and cast that line out into the deep blue. So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered the mess and hassle of making Kool-Aid for outdoor events has been solved with new 96oz Ready-To-Drink bottles!
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmart's nationwide! #Shop
As we prepared for our recent family fishing trip to Lake Casitas I packed a bottle of classic Fruit Punch, limited edition Blackberry and Peach Mango, and new favorite Watermelon to satisfy all of our taste-buds and #KoolOff out in the hot California sun. Armed with a case of water and our 96oz Kool-Aid bottles from Walmart I hesitantly took my purple PT Cruiser off-road into the damp sands to find the perfect fishing spot. Our first camp was very marshy and covered in broken shells and suspicious looking miniature logs. But the fish were jumping enthusiastically, so the boys hunted down their 'fishing sticks,' stuck them in the sand and went off to pour a tall tumbler of Kool-Aid.
Temporarily color your pets for holidays an events with 1 packet (sugar free) Kool-Aid mix and pet-safe conditioner! #KoolOff #shop
After an hour my pregnant cousin decided to wander off a good half mile down the shore to explore a potentially dryer (picnic friendly) area. The highlight of the afternoon was her slowly sinking into the wet sand as her husband, an ex-Seabee, heroically dashed down the shore to save her. As it turned out her plight wasn't in vain; she had discovered a dryer, rocky, fishing point complete with a rustic table off in the dunes. And, as she settled into her reclining fishing chair demanding her Blackberry Kool-Aid I couldn't help but be grateful for the thick and tall brush directly behind us I knew would be used for multiple potty trips!
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmarts nationwide! #Shop
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmarts nationwide! #Shop
In general everyone had a great time, though the fish seemed to be biting less at our new spot. That was fine with some of us, who found time to sneak a few kisses in between checking bait. Of course Nora, the morkie, wasn't about to be left outta the excitement as she watched from her station in the back of my car. Fun fact: Did you know you can safely dye your pet for holidays and events when mixing Kool-Aid powder (no sugar!) with a pet-safe conditioner? We spent a few of our lazy hours on the shore brainstorming all the fun ways you can use the juice drink drops, packets, and ready-to-drink bottles in crafts, recipes, and more. Check out the Pinterest board at the bottom of this post with over 100 ideas on how to use Kool-Aid!
As the Summer winds down #KoolOff with new 96oz Kool-Aid Ready-To-Drink bottles, just $1.98 at Walmarts nationwide! #Shop
This fishing trip was also a time of reflection for us. With the Summer wrapping and a baby due mid-August, living is about to get a little hectic, so it was nice to be able to cast out a line and sip away the cares along the lake's shore. Some of us were more enthusiastic about fishing than others. As a young girl who grew up fishing on her grandpa's boat I was a bit  jealous to learn that Pro-Fisherman Jim Dillard was completing a tour across the country with Walmart and Kool-Aid, and his final stops are set to take place in South Carolina- check them out:

Friday August 8th 5-7pm:
    360 Harbison Blvd Columbia, SC WM Supercenter
Saturday August 9th  3-5pm:
    1326 Bush River Rd Columbia, SC WM Supercenter
Saturday August 9th 6-8pm:
    2401 Augusta Rd West Columbia, SC WM Supercenter
Click over to discover simple homemade Kool-Aid marshmallows recipe! USe green chocolate meltables molded into disks for 'watermelon s'mores'! #KoolOff #Shop
***Click here for printable Watermelon Kool-Aid Marshmallows recipe.
For our family the trip, and Summer, wouldn't be complete without roasting mallows and making S'mores. Since the lake area is a fire free zone I had safe heat chafing fuel can for out portable S'mores burner, and the extra special treat of Watermalon Kool-Aid homemade marshmallows on hand. Take it from my, storing fresh marshmallows in 80 degree heat by a lake is NOT easy- make these at home and use green meltable chocolate disks for a fun 'watermelon S'mores effect.' The children may have been covered in green chocolate by the time we were done, but memories were made, and plenty of smiles were had!

****For those wondering, with my reduced sugar diet I enjoy ready-to-drink Kool-Aid by cutting a serving in half with seltzer water. The flavor is still there and my bottle's value get's even better at the already low Walmart price of $1.98!

What Daughter Says: I prefer Grape or Watermelon, but any family event is always better with Kool-Aid by our side!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#BloggerConfessions Week 1: The Photo Behind The Photo

#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 1: The Photo Behind The Photo

Prompt: Share a time when you found yourself going a little over the top to get an image, film a video, or make a GIF. Did you enlist a total stranger? Do you have a medieval photo shooting setup in your living room? Is there an unusual place you like to use for lighting/backdrops/glamor shots? If you have a photo to share that gives us a sneak peek, great- if you don't feel free to share the photo that you got using the technique/situation/place!
Well folks, I have to say, it was a surreal experience when I found myself on hands and knees at the shore of Lake Casitas, CA this past week. It was supposed to be a simple family fishing trip. Of course I just happened to have some new Kool-Aid ready drink bottles on hand and a brand new camera. Naturally, a brilliant blogger moment struck me and I decided I wanted to make a GIF of the fruit punch beverage disappearing from a plastic tumbler in time lapse. In my head it sounded unbelievably easy, right? All I had to do was find a rock, scratch that, two rocks, get down in the dirt and find the perfect angles and spacing, set my new expensive camera on the first rock, and take a few sips of fruit punch between photos. Brilliant, right?
No sooner had I focused my shots and boosted my bum in the air to take the first sip than my entire family and park guests begin to take note and crowd around me. Here was this full grown woman crawling in muddy seashells and duck poo to take photos of herself sipping Kool-Aid. By the time my cousin decided to whip out the smartphone to take rapid photos of the entire event I was laying in the dirt laughing so hard at myself I could hardly breathe. Getting that photo, or animation, isn't always glamorous!
Link up your Photo Behind The Photo #BloggerConfessions anytime between now and next Thursday!

Prompt for Week 2: (7/24) Blogger Envy- 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?
Momma Told Me