Momma Told Me: January 2014

Blog Archive

Karina Dresses #Dresstacular Preview- I Model The Gala In Magenta Safari!

Gala Dress by Karina in Magenta Safari #Dresstacular
Momma Told Me: Clothes should be like your second skin.

Can you fall in love with the same dress over and over? As someone who was out of a training bra by 8, I've argued against dresses my entire life. With a shapely figure that features an ample bust, shopping for feminine clothes that is comfortable, tasteful, and complimenting has long seemed impossible. A few years back I bought a $120 black wrap dress for $12 on clearance at a Kohl's, and I have since made it my mission to wear that one and only dress. It was comfortable, the wrap fit accentuated the right curves, and if I needed to wear a little extra color for an occasion I'd simply add a belt or a shrug.
Gala Dress by Karina in Magenta Safari #DresstacularGala Dress by Karina in Magenta Safari #Dresstacular
Then some of my fiends began buzzing about Karina dresses. They'd post pictures on Instagram or Facebook at family and social engagements looking like models. I was jealous, I bought a few new broaches and a scarf to go with my LBD. In time my jealousy turned to curiosity, how could one label outfit so many shapes, sizes, and styles of women? The same dress was showcased on a grandmother here, and on a busty millennial there. In fact, Karina prides themselves on making stylish dresses for 'every-body,' that's a flattering print, fabric, and fit for any size or modesty. They have a core set of 12 designs they constantly innovate with slight modifications and new prints. All of their dresses are made with easy to care for materials that can be cold washed and hung dry for wear day after day, adding to the simplicity of the brand and concept.
Gala Dress by Karina in Magenta Safari #Dresstacular
While Karina has many beautiful dresses from the criss-cut V-band Penelope, to the lined halter Rosa, the Gala immediately caught my eye and set my heart aflutter in it's 3/4 Sleeve 2013 Fall rendition. I was first drawn to the Silver hue, with it's sweetheart neckline, the Gala had a touch of vintage romance I'd imagine a Marilyn inspired starlet would wear. When I had a chance to choose an actual print for my own Gala, the task was a hefty one- I loved the bold Pink Cheetah and Gold Marble patterns just as much as the 'safer' Silver, but in the end wound up settling on the Magenta Safari. This dress had everything I loves, bright vivid colors, and animal print- but could I pull it off?
Gala Dress by Karina in Magenta Safari #Dresstacular
There's no doubt I turn heads in my Gale dress, by Karina. This dress is styled in a one-size manner that suits women 2-12, and I am a 14 with a DD bust, so you can certainly see how accommodating Karina dresses are. I especially loved the 3/4 sleeve on this rendition of the gala, which adds a little more modesty to offset the revealing sweetheart cut on my ample bust. Wrap dresses are very forgiving for various figures and also allow the wearer to sort of tailor their fit at the waist and bust-line. With a paid of leggings, this knee length Gala is ready for cooler weather, and will transition beautifully into Spring thanks to the light fabric that breathes easy and is comfortable to wear. I couldn't love my Gala Karina dress any more! Be sure to sign up for the Karina newsletter to stay up to date on the latest style additions and prints in your favorite dress, and be the first to hear about 50% off flash sales.

I've teamed up with 11 other fashionable bloggers to help showcase how Karina dresses truly are dresses for 'every-body'. Join us here on February 3, 2014 for your chance to win a 6 Karina dress wardrobe in the Karina Dresstacular™!

What Daughter Says: With Karina I can feel comfortable in a dress again!

Which Karina dress is your favorite?
@KarinaDresses for Every-Body #Dresstacular
If you are a blogger and you would like to do a review of a Karina Dress, they choose their reviewers from their affiliates! You can sign up to be an affiliate here:

I #LuvSoFab14 So Please, #CollectiveBias Fly This Blogger To #SoFabCon14!

Social Fabic Pinata Cookies #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias #SoFabCon14
Momma Told Me: You can only be your best you.

I was a fickle little girl. In many ways I am, today, a fickle woman. I believe in doing things because they are right, though not necessarily easy, and only putting my name on that which is the absolute best representation of myself. As a young girl I changed my career aspirations almost daily, though for the most part I sincerely wanted to be a dolphin trainer and vet. I was shy, and a bookworm, and being 'social' didn't come easy to me; so I spend the majority of my time crafting alongside Momma or making my own 'Jenmark' greeting cards and publishing the latest issue of our house newspaper, the Amaral Times. When I 'grew up,' however, the task of settling on a career came no easier.

I graduated high school at 16 and promptly accepted an invitation to the Art Insitutes of Los Angeles. I could have done many things, I suppose, and perhaps some were disappointed, but I set out to design video games. After a few semesters of graphic design I quickly learned, while I loved to create, I did not love being told what to create. And that is why the Social Fabric Community is a priceless home to me- because I am at last able to let my true colors shine, to be myself.
A Blogger's Dream #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias #SoFabCon14
Some of my readers may not be aware that I blog as part of an online social marketing community known as Social Fabric. While you're likely aware of advertising within blog-space, I assure you this partnership is not like anything you've heard of before. #CollectiveBias/ Social Fabric works with some of the biggest and best companies; companies I already value in everyday life. They carefully craft campaigns that will not only offer engaging prompts for bloggers to sink their teeth into, but they also provide an inspiring platform for you, the reader, to learn about new ways to use beloved and new products. If you stopped to take a look around, I bet you some of your favorite posts from the last year were a part of my partnership with Social Fabric (there were 44!)
Awesomsauce Content With Social Fabric #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias #SoFabCon14
Every year, okay this is the second year- but I hope it's certainly not the last, Social Fabric hosts a blogger conference for it's network of influencers and literally rocks the pants off the blogging world. Last year this event, SoFabCon, was hosted by Nestle and, though I couldn't attend, rocked my world all the way from Arkansas to California. I remember following the feeds of fellow bloggers anxiously hoping to sneak a peek at hot new products (Conair Curl Secret) and furiously cutting/pasting their diligent notes from the various workshops. Oh to see my butt in one of those folding chairs on the conference floor- it would be a dream!

I've been blogging for almost 5 years now, and maintain my blog as a forum for my passion- connecting with people around the world with engaging original content. Like all bloggers, I can look back to the beginning and see tremendous growth; growth I attribute to guidance from companies and fellow bloggers along the way. It is true that 'us bloggers' are a community, we support one-another through pregnancies, divorces, illness, the Blogger-Wordpress conversion, and so much more. Nothing illustrates this better than Social Fabric, a community of bloggers who I'd finally have the chance to meet should I get the chance to attend this year's conference.
Team SoFab Makeup #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias #SoFabCon14
In my years blogging I've yet to attend a blogging conference. The biggest hurdle for me, personally, has always been travel and accommodations. If I had the opportunity to attend this year's SoFabCon in Bentonville, AR, I would arrive decked in my green and blue, tablet, pencil, and pad in hand ready to grow among my peers and ask every burning question with an outstretched hand. I'd take the experience as an opportunity to make new friends, but also to grow in areas such as social amplification procedures, vlolgging (my videos need help!), and storytelling execution. As I #LuvSoFab14 I have had the chance to attend mentor/CL workshops, and attend the virtual SoFabU, which have proved invaluable through each experience; I can hardly fathom the wealth of knowledge at my eyes and eardrums should I attend.
Road to #SoFabCon14 #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias
Remember my tale about the fickle young girl, turned quirky adult? While I was in management for several years before leaving my '9 to 5,' the concept of coaching someone over being a part of an equal crowd is quite different. Believe it or not, outside of this screen I can be quite an anxious wreck in front of 'strangers.' Just taking the photo about was very far from my comfort zone, as cars honked and passengers hung out their windows to wave. Outside of this screen I feel naked, and #SoFabCon14 has already worked wonders to help me break those boundaries with this post alone. The opportunity to come out of my shell and engage one-on-one with brand ambassadors, keynote speakers, and my fellow bloggers would be a priceless experience I would carry with me in execution my whole life.

I don't just want to blog for this company, folks, I want to east, sleep, and dream for this company. Ever since being accepted into this community a year ago I've fancied myself one-day a campaign leader; and even dared to dream of a social media marketing career helping to craft their campaigns and engage with clients. After all, concepts and brainstorming are the most exciting part of this 'career' to me; though every day's a great day to check into the office when you love what you do. Could I be luckier that SoFab allows me to work alongside them, and cultivates talent from within?
Social Fabric Pinata Cookies #LuvSoFab14 #CollectiveBias #SoFabCon14
It's great to hear praise from people that matter, and after all, the only opinions that should matter are those which you respect, right? But I am the sort of person who feels I will never reach my potential, that is, I can never stop growing. Humans are always evolving, always learning, hopefully always striving to be better. To me, Social Fabric is about nurturing every aspect, from the strong fibers of invaluable interpersonal connections, to the power of several voices sharing the same platform. Not only would a trip to this year's SoFabCon provide me with the tools to continue growing my skills as a blogger, but as an individual as well. Perhaps I'd even have the chance to share some of my insight with bloggers just starting out.

I could list you a hundred reasons why I want to attend this year's #SoFabCon14, I am quite wordy, you know, but at it's core, this community (and that's what it is), is my inspiration. Yes I made a graphic of my favorite shops, I hand crafted a cookie in the company logo that dispenses M&M's (because I love MARS), I drew a drawing to represent my child-like sense of SoFabCon wonder, I carefully crafted a beauty look to wear to the event, and I stood on the corner of our busiest freeway on-ramp with a handmade sign begging for a shot (which was way out of my comfort zone). All of these things are not please to attend, but reasons why I want to go- I would have done none of these things a year ago. I owe my personal and blogging growth to SoFab, and would value the opportunity to continue growing through this experience the most.

Want to find out who get's to go on a VIP trip to #SoFabCon14? The Collective Bias® SoFabCon Leadership Team will choose 6 winners based off of originality, spirit, and quality, and announce the six winners during the SoFabCon Twitter party on February 3rd at 11:00 am EST. Be sure to attend to hear the winners and have a great time!

What Daughter Says: An experience is nothing without the open heart and mind to take it all in. I hope to be my best me while attending #SoFabCon14.

Turtle Brownie Cookies Now Served In A Grocery Bakery Near You!

Kroger Private Selection Turtle Brownie Cookies #GotItFree
Momma Told Me: Have some cookie with your ice cream.

Fresh baked goods hit the spot all year-round, but few things satisfy like a warm cookie and a cold glass of milk; or Cookies 'N Cream, or Cookies and Ice Cream. In our house all three are a big late night indulgent for the other half. Somewhere between an hour to two after the last fork had been set on a plate, just as dinner has settled, a craving kicks in for something indulgent and sweet. And, since we only enjoy 'dessert' on Mondays and Fridays, per our 2013 instated health goals, the more sinfully indulgent, the better. So, when Kroger asked me, as a BzzAgent, if I wanted to try yet another Private Selection product, I was ecstatic to learn said product was a range of gourmet cookies.
Kroger Private Selection Turtle Brownie Cookies #GotItFree
Unfortunately, there was some initial disappointment when I hit the bakery department and saw only two of the four varieties were available, neither of them allergen friendly; White Chocolate Coconut Almond and Turtle Brownie. At just around $5 a box for 6 cookies, these were certainly priced at gourmet, and the most expensive snack per weight or pieces in the boxed fresh baked department. It appears these gourmet Private Selection cookies are also likely baked in house and packaged regularly, as many of the Turtle Brownie cookies had ribbons of bubbled over caramel that had oozed out, and were not very picturesque in shape. Filled with gooey caramel and pecans, and the stronger of the two options for ice cream sandwiches, we picked up two boxes (yes, I bought a second box) and headed home to enjoy an afternoon treat.
Ice Cream Sandwich
Kroger Private Selection Turtle Brownie Cookies #GotItFree
To be honest, we'd expected more of a n aroma when we lifted that Private Selection box, and certainly for the cookies to be softer; like a Pepperidge Farm treat. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the caramel, these were quite stiff, though not crumbly. I popped a Turtle Brownie Cookie in the microwave for 15 seconds on High and we were soon back in business. Not only was there now a wonderful aroma wafting through my home, but the softened cookie was just as enticing as if it had been pulled right from the baking rack at the store. The texture was chewy, like a brownie, and worked splendidly with the chunks of pecans for extra texture. A few times I even experienced some caramel running down my face.
Kroger Private Selection Turtle Brownie Cookies #GotItFree
Since these particular Private Selection cookies were a bit stiff, they didn't work too well as ice cream sandwiches, like I'd planned. The cookies hardened even more with the chilly ice cream between them, and the caramel acted as a glue to keep the cookie from snapping beneath a bite. The sandwiches were soon deconstructed for cookie sundaes. Sabrina especially liked that these store bought cookies looked 'home made,' though, as a consumer, I rather found this slightly less premium for the price. Private Selection has two other varieties I'm trying to hunt down; White Chocolate Macadamia and Ultimate Chocolate Chunk. In all, the cookies hit the spot, but the price point was a little too high for something being prepared by employees with varying quality control. I'd be happy to indulge in box for around $3.75-$4.

What Daughter Says: Eat the cookie and the ice cream, just be careful of the texture when you put them together! (Especially if there's caramel involved!)

A Woman Of Many Hats: Panda Love

3-D Panda Cookies
Momma Told Me: Life's short, make cookies.

There's something about having a group of looming deadlines over my head that makes me want to rebel and spend the entire day in bed. Naturally, the subconscious part of me would never allow me to do such; my mind is always whispering in the back of my thoughts going over a never-ending checklist of goals and dates. My social life seems to have picked up a little this year, which I am thankful for, but with more social endeavors means a wider pocketbook, and so I have set out in search of a part time job (outside the home) to help get me out of the house and bring in a small amount of guaranteed income each month. It's something I've wrestled with for quite a while, since leaving customer service management when I got married some 4 years back. I miss the day to day interaction with others, working toward a common goal, and helping one another grow. I wear many hats, yes, even Panda hats, but a big portion of what I am passionate about is leading others and helping them be their own very best.
Panda outfit, Panda Glasses, Panda Mustache
As anyone who has sought employment through the past few years knows, the job market isn't exactly clamoring for new employees. Most of the people who are actually hiring only have a single position, and a few have even told me I am over-qualified for a job. How's that for a polite let-down? When I used to hire we'd fight over applicants with a background, in hopes they'd eventually grow with the company and make a return on all of the training hours and money put into hiring them. But I digress, it will happen in it's own time, and in the interim I continue to comb the internet for a similar coaching position online with the various companies I already love and work for. Naturally, I will have to cut down on daily posts if I get a part time job outside the home, but rest assured I will not compromise my commitment to quality content that is engaging and fun to consume!
3-D Panda Cookies
I mentioned earlier in the month I'd participated in a Secret Santa gift swap through a forum I participate in. The box I'd received had a delightful smattering of Panda themed gifts, including Panda glasses, and the 4-D cookie cutters I used to make the little sugar cookies above. I have the hardest time coloring sugar cookie dough to black, even adding the coloring to my liquid ingredients (anyone know a trick), so these are more Seafoam Green than anything, but cute none-the-less, right? Well, tomorrow I am off to the ISSE (International Salon and Spa Expo) in Long Beach with my brand new Karina dress. I hope to rock it like a #Frockstar and bring back some great sneak peeks at the hottest beauty products for 2014. Wish me luck!

What Daughter Says: Make cookies, but be sure to stop and enjoy them too!

Forget The Colored Macaroni; A Handmade Gift From Kids You'll Fight Over, Inside!

Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
Momma Told Me: If you won't do it because you want to, do it because you have to.

My childhood was filled with various rewards systems. Whether it was the $.50 allowance I began earning at 8, for assisting my father with washing his work vehicle, or the gold star stickers Mommas would layer onto the behavior chart in our pantry. As humans, we quickly learn that most positive behavior has a positive reward, whether that's a literal monetary output, as in a job, or the satisfaction and pride of a clean room, or knowing you've just helped another person. Telling a young child to merely 'behave' rarely works without threat of a negative consequence, or promise of a tempting reward. But, what if the sassy interpersonal coupons we exchange with Valentine's and husbands could be translated into kid-friendly incentives that double as gifts? My friends, homemade coupons are not just for romantic holidays and Mother's/Father's Day.
Use real coupons and money as reference for fake money and coupon gifts.
When I was a young girl there was an excess of Weebles (little Pom Pom characters with sticky feet) leftover from a failed fundraising attempt. Our third grade teacher decided to pass out some fun money in class in exchange for exceptional behavior and work as a teacher's aid. Ten fun money dollars equaled one Weeble; to this date, I'm certain I have never dotted my 'i's or crossed my 't's more! Recently Sabrina's teacher began passing out what she calls DuBois (the teacher's name) Dollars, which are good for leaving for recess early, home work passes, and more. Sabrina (11) has become real enthusiastic about doing extra tasks in class to help pick these up. On a whim, one weekend, I suggested we make our own 'Sabrina' Dollars.
Make a coupon template and photocopy it for easy coupon production.
Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
As a young girl who asked Santa for a complete 125+PC art kit this past holiday, Sabrina thrives on creative projects and has a strong sense of pride of showing off her artwork and creative skills. With her stepfather's birthday around the corner this got me thinking. Could we translate her creativity into a project that would be affordable, and meaningful as a gift from an 11 year-old? The answer was yes. When I brought up the idea of making homemade coupons to Sabrina, as a birthday gift for her step dad, her face lit up. Her own money and coupons?! "I've made coupons for my mom before," she reasoned the ideas originality. I was quick to come back with, "But how often do dads get their own coupons?" and that was the end of that conversation, we were off planning coupons.
Use a laminator or packing tape to 'seal' coupons for keepsakes and reuse.
Not only are homemade coupon gifts a great project to keep small hands occupied for a good period, but they are wonderful keepsakes to put in the scrapbook, and even better tools for building good behavior and workmanship. Consider behavioral issues your child struggles with and challenge them to make a coupon to correct the behavior for a specified period of time. For example, one tantrum free grocery trip, one sing free car ride (Sabrina), one school week in bed on time. Ordinarily, they don't sound like the most exciting tasks to your child, but the exchange of the coupon naturally acts as an incentive and point of pride to succeed in achieving the task! You can also have kids offer free hugs, kisses, tv remote time, special chores, slipper retrieval, and more.
Use homemade coupons as cheap gifts to give kids an incentive to behave.
I helped Sabrina develop a template for her 'Sabrina Dollars' and homemade coupons. We chose several visual examples of coupons to inspire our template. I made Sabrina identify the different elements of a common coupon and put her own twist on them, ie; expiration date, bar-code, fine print. We photocopied her final 'money' and a coupon template that allowed for a custom coupon message, hand-drawn image, and write-in expiration date. When they were inked over and colored in we ran them through lamination sheets so they could be reused, or kept as a keepsake. If you don't have a home lamination, you can often seal coupons with masking tape placed seam to seam.

Of course we were sure to make an extra Sabrina dollar for Sabrina to give to her teacher. Mrs. DuBois was so tickled by the gesture of a student handing her their own currency she proudly uses it as a bookmark in class every day now!

What Daughter Says: Give children a free incentive to do good with homemade coupons for great behavior and chores.

Cord Crisis? Get Organized With A LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station Giveaway~ 1/6

LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station
Momma Told Me: Clean up all these cords.

I remember, a few years back, induction charging was all the rage. People were investing absurd amounts of money in specialty cases for their electronics, which cut down the expression of such devices, in exchange for a drag and drop charging system. The concept was revolutionary, at first, until the production of such charging 'cases' couldn't keep up with the demand of newly released devices, and the technology soon fizzled out. It seemed, even in our wireless age, we were destined to be slaves to the unstoppable force of tangled cords and overcrowded outlets. And, as someone who despised untangling her Walkman headphones in high school, I am no friend of cables and cords. There is something about seeing a pile of wires protruding across your workspace and over the edge of one's desk that simply stresses me out.
LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station
Thankfully there are several creative charging solutions in the form of multi-charging workstations. At less than 3lbs, the LEITZ 6520-02 Multi-Device Charging Station for USB powered devices is an affordable solution for electronic devices ranging from cell phones to tablets, and even some gaming systems. Ready to use out of the box, this station includes Mini USB, Micro USB, Standard USB, and a 30 Pin Apple Charger adapter head, and is also compatible with your own existing cables. However, I find it particularly useful that this charging station includes it's own hook-ups, so you don't have to give up your mobile charging cables for on-the-go and travel charging.
LEITZ Multi-Device Charging StationThe LEITZ 6520 has a slender workstation profile that accommodates up to 3 smaller mobile devices (iPods, smartphones, handheld gaming units) lengthwise, though larger Phablet style phones will have to rest horizontally when a tablet is charged into the top mount. On the face of the unit are 6 lime green 'grip' ledges that help keep your electronics in place and prevent sliding, though the color may be a little bold for some home office decor. A lip at the base of the unit acts as a shelf for smaller mobile devices, so you can always see the screen of your devices while charging, to keep an eye on mobile alerts. A groove at the top of the station allows tablets to sit upright, in a small ledge for viewing and interaction while charging. This also makes the Multi-Device Charging Station great for staging in the kitchen where it can also double as a stand for digital recipes and such.
LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station
The top of the station lifts up to reveal the 'cord hideaway' and 4 USB inputs. The charging port on the far right is intended for tablet charging devices, and the cord easily feeds up through a gap in the back of the folding top. The remaining charging outlets are intended to be wound around the provided cord keepers to help cut down on clutter and easily identify which cable goes to what device. I found my own cords a  little short for several rounds, and sometimes stiff. In the end, with 4 devices plugged in, it is a bit cluttered, but happily out of sight when the station's lid is closed.
LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station
LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station
Because this station can charge up to 4 devices simultaneously, using a trickle charge, the charging is somewhat slower than a direct AC Adapter output. However, stations such as these are intended to organize devices for overnight or long term charging. In other words, docking your devices here at the end of each day will offer a stable station to house all of your electronics, and provide a full charge by morning. However, if you need a quick charge before heading out of the house, I suggest reaching for the direct AC adapter for the quickest boost. The LEITZ Multi-Device Charging Station is particularly nice for mothers who have children that like to watch tablets for programming and engaging games, but find the battery supply dwindles quickly. The sturdy docking station makes a great viewing platform, and also doubles as a 'no touch' zone for little hands. In all, this would make a great gift for any techie junkie- or the wife of any techie junkie, who is tired of seeing cords all over the place!

What Daughter Says: Keep cords contained with a multi-charging station solution.

One Momma Told Me reader will win a LEITZ 6520-02 Multi-Device Charging Station from Penny Wise Office Products and LEITZ!

Health-Minded Beauty With The @HBLHairCare Hydrating System #Giveaway #Ad ~ 2/10

HBL Shine & Seal and Hydrating Systems
Momma Told Me: Pay attention to what you put on your body- not just what you put in!

I am a serial colorist. To me, my body is my canvas, and self expression is the healthiest way of coping with the day-to-day ups and downs of life. When the never-ending 'hair' journey began, in my latter years of high school, I dyed my hair not to rebel, but to help find myself. While I wished I could change my hair color with my mood, anyone who's ever color-treated their locks knows it's not that simple. And, whether you're coloring in a salon, or at home, the chemical processing required for even a semi-permanent hue is fairly traumatizing to your hair. Of course, when it began, I considered this form of self expression one of the safer routes, among the choices of my peers. Now, the older I become, the wiser I get about natural and sulfate free haircare options. That's why HBL haircare, Health, Beauty, Life, and the company mission behind the brand, speaks to me so vibrantly.
HBL Shine & Seal and Hydrating Systems
Most of my readers know I took the plunge from pink and purple streaks to fire-engine red late Summer 2013. It was a whole-head transformation that seriously shook-up my haircare routine. Not only was I color-treating my entire head with a semi-permanent hue (a gentle floral based brand called Adore), but I was adjusting my daily care as well. To help preserve the color I switched to wet-cleansing every third day; a long cry from the every morning routine I'd cultivated through the years. I began reaching for dry shampoos and immediately noticed my hair would vacillate from thirsty and dry to excessively oily. I needed a salon-quality regimen that would help balance my hair's natural pH, as well as infuse my hair with enough moisture to make it between wet-washes. When I had the chance to try HBL's Hydrating Conditioner and Shampoo set I was immediately enthusiastic about the promise of a gentle cleanser that doubled as a hydrating facial wash. Hair product that was not only gentle enough for the skin, but encouraged to cleanse it?
HBL Shine & Seal and Hydrating Systems
HBL Shine and Seal and Hydrating Systems
Inspired by a family's multiple battles with cancer, and the desire to pay more attention to the products which we, as consumers, put on our skin, HBL is committed to providing gentle formulations that have not only eliminated the bulk of common and harmful toxins, but also work to balance pH as well. This naturally lead to a base with an subtle fragrance that is virtually allergen free, and safe for even the most sensitive of skin. The companion product, Hydrating Conditioner, helps prevent product build-up, while actively smoothing and moisturizing hair for an even finish that cuts down on frizz and naturally enhances shine. Thanks to this duo's paraben free formulas, I was able to extend my hair color over 8 weeks, maintaining vibrant color and soft, voluminous hair.

During my 2 month trial of the HBL Hydrating System I also incorporated the brand's Shine and Seal professional finishing product, twice a week. This companion product helped work with the hydrating aspects of my shampoo and conditioner to cut down on frizz and lock in shine and color vibrancy, especially when it came to heat based styling. Rich in vitamin E and Argan Oil, this very gentle treatment could be added directly to damp hair for a quick on-the-go treatment, or brushed in immediately prior to styling for an extra boost. I loved how the Shine and Seal felt lightweight on styled hair and never left my strands looking greasy.
HBL Shine and Seal and Hydrating Systems
While using the HBL Hydrating system I found myself armed with extra confidence every wash, and only experienced a minor problem with the Conditioner formula being excessively thick for distribution through the pop-cap. In the end I stored this product upside down and unscrewed the top for product application. Though the product had difficulty dispensing, this did not impact it's effectiveness in covering my hair from scalp to tip. In fact, a little bit of the Hydrating Conditioner truly went a long way to treat my entire head of hair! While I have already moved into my 2014 hair-style and coloring, I am excited to continue exploring the many collections within the HBL brand. As the daughter of a Hodgkins-Lymphoma survivor, I know all too well the importance of what you put on your skin, and what your skin is absorbing in- I appreciate body conscious brands like HBL leading the way for like-minded consumers.

What Daughter Says: Don't compromise care for quality, choose smart developed products for beauty and health.

One Momma Told Me reader will win an HBL Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner set, and Shine and Seal Treatment.

Make A Statement Of Self Appreciation With @DPCTED Apparel

DPCTED Apparel Pet Walking Sucks, Let's Cuddle
Momma Told Me: Love people, not images.

Somewhere around 12 I got into boybands. I had received my first real CD player in the form of a monstrously large boombox, and first CD- the self titled debut Backstreet Boys. At the time I was hopelessly addicted to the 80's, and early 90's 'edited' cassettes of Alanis Morrisette. My loving grandmother, God Bless Her, was a traditional German women who thought all pre-teen girls should be worshiping hip-swiveling boys, swooning stage side, as she had once done for the King, Elvis. While all of the other 'nice' children in my class were clamoring for the first edition of Harry Potter I was deciphering expletives in the lyrics of Jagged Little Pill. While I had initially turned up my nose at the boy band CD, I was soon coaxed into giving them a shot.
DPCTED Apparel Not Chubby, Just Easy To See
I don't recall where the switch was flipped, but just a few short months later I was at the grocer's checkout line hoarding copies of Tiger Beat and Bop!. It turned into an obsession really. I'm not sure if I was simply desperate to fit in with other kids in my class, or enamored with the glamor of it all. This played out for a few years, until I was entering my final year of high school, 16, and facing the passing of many major teenage milestones. I was ahead in studies, but falling awkwardly behind with social skills. So Momma took me aside, still ever so supportive yet reasoning. There was a long conversation about teenage idols, celebrities, and the importance of 'realistic images and expectations'. Looking up to celebrities was alright, she explained, but finding someone 'real' to love, was even better. It should come as no surprise that shortly after meeting my first boyfriend the boy-bands quickly faded into the obscurity of my past. In fact, today, I remain one of the least interested in 'celebrities', within my circles. After all, why worship a thought when you can wrap your arms around  something real?
DPCTED Apparel
DPCTED Apparel Body by Bacon
If you asked me the one thing I couldn't live without, in my life, it's not a Blackberry or shade of nail polish, or even my favorite food. As 'mushy' as it sounds, it's the people in my life I couldn't live without. The way I see it, what's a home full of things without the people who make them special? And, while one might argue, we're human, and we're all not that much different;  an argument could be made for the opposite. Some of my best friends are most appreciated for that which they do not share with me, those little differences that make them so terribly interesting and unique. Let's face it, I know how to do 'me', I know what I like, it's when them and I collide that things truly get interesting! Even if I disagree with their views or preferences, I'm sure to learn a thing or two, and I'm always enlightened for the experience.
DPCTED Apparel Body By Bacon Tank
DPCTED Apparel believes that there are people out there happy with who they are. No, I'm not referring to some Adonis raking in $5k on an underwear ad (though he's just as entitled to happiness as anyone, really). I mean people who embrace what makes them different. DPCTED is not a brand seeking to convert customers. They know they have a strong customer base, and new customers will find them. Why? Because DPCTED is not your ordinary cotton tee company. Sure, some of their shirts might seem a bit 'edgy', and even controversial; but they're not cranking out hundreds of new designs in hopes of labeling the masses. Their apparel illustrates simple concepts, mantras really, in basic bold print. The shirt never wears the person, the person always wears the shirt; sporting a bold declaration of truth, pride, and confidence. Because, let's face it, if someone has a problem with how you look or feel, they're not worth one second of your time. The confident phrases printed on the breast of these tees not only offer a glimpse of the person inside them, but a gateway for connection perhaps previously passed up.
DPCTED Apparel Pet Hoodie
DPCTED Apparel Pet Hoodie And T-Shirt
While the original collection of DPCTED Apparel featured phrases centered around the Chubby theme, including a Chubby Domination sub-line promoted by Bret Miller (St. Louis Rams) and donating to the Little Haven Charity, there's something for almost everyone. Know or love someone bearded, bald, or tattooed? Do you love to cuddle? There's a tongue in cheek, at first glance naughty, but always fluffy, catch-phrase for everyone. My current favorite being the "I luv to shower naked". How can you stop yourself from smiling at the wit behind that one? The DPCTED Apparel line features a main base of t-shirts sold in primary colors, as well as hats, hoodies, and even a new pet clothing line. One truly important, praise-worthy, feature of the brand is their commitment to their core message. The brand will print you a shirt in your color of choice up to a 5X, and for those even 'fluffier' (as Gabriel Iglesias would say). They also offer a unique 'Send Your Own Shirt' option for those in extended sizes, or simply looking for a particular cut/brand/color tee base.
DPCTED Apparel Pet Clothes
I'm so excited I can share DPCTED Apparel with you, because this is a brand I am passionate about. If you are looking for the perfect Valentine's Gift, order NOW. What better gift for your sweetie than to proclaim exactly why you love them, in a slightly quirky, but loveable way? The T-Shirts are of the highest quality 100% Cotton, pre-shrunk, bases, and wear exceptionally well through multiple washings. Their statement dog hoodies fit a little large as a Small on our 6lb Morkie, but are lightweight and comfortable for year round wear. The brand is always increasing their collection of statements, and even hosts blogger and customer suggestion contests where you can vote for the next t-shirt phrase! Jeremy owns several 'Chubby' themed DPCTED shirts and wears them with pride; knowing how much I simply adore it on him. There's nothing sexier than a person comfortable in their own skin! Speaking of comfortable; how about me showing off my love of bacon and curves in my "Body By Bacon" tank?

While you'll find the entire range of current DPCTED apparel online, we're also tickled to shop select inventory at our local Spencer's gift store in the mall. Spencer's nationwide are stocking the tongue-in-cheek DPCTED t-shirts, so be sure to stop in on your next trip to the mall an check them out!

What Daughter Says: Embrace the real you, and the people around you, with expressive clothing from DPCTED Apparel!