Momma Told Me: June 2018

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The Masks We Wear- Featuring Imagine By Rubie's

Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Momma Told Me: Masks are an accessory, only you can define the person behind them.

With all of the Marvel and superhero hype over the past few years the topic of superheroes is constantly brought up in discussions with friends, as well as during the children's free play. Girl or boy, the kids in our group can't get enough of superheroes. But an interesting question was asked by the 8 year old, and promptly answered by the 5 year year old just the other day;

Daisy (8): "If superheroes are so awesome, why do they need a disguise to cover up who they really are?"

Lynnsey (5): "Because nobody would believe they had super powers if they didn't wear their uniforms!"

Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Of course any self respecting nerd knows that superheros commonly devise a uniform, or disguise, as a way to ultimately protect their identity from the villains who seek to harm them. More specifically, to protect the identity of those they love and care for most. But this did bring up an interesting theme for a conversation. Most modern day superheroes follow a universe story-line in which their identities are quite public. Sure, some people need their mask to function as part of a suit (Ant-Man, Iron Man, etc) but do superheroes need a uniform in order to be super?
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
The answer is, of course, no.

When I was a little girl Momma forbid masks in the house. While I suspect this was party due to a -minor- incident involving a Halloween mask, the upstairs hallway, and my father's lack of appropriate timing in something that was otherwise humorous (long story,) she maintained that "While you will wear many hats in your life, you need never wear a mask." It was her argument that I could be whatever I wanted, no matter what I wore. She was right, of course.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
But are masks always used as a crutch, something to hide behind?

For a long time I struggled with this myself. As a blogger I find I am almost constantly wearing some form of mask- whether it's a touched up photo, or simply the best angle of my home on camera. My physical impression is loud, dramatic, and strong- but it's just the surface of what I have to offer, and what lies beneath. At the same time, the socially awkward, anxious, introvert that first put on this mask 5 years ago has found confidence and strengths behind it. Strengths I take with me when the mask is off. The person I am when the camera is away, when I'm 'on my own,' has tremendously benefited from the mask I wear.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Our masks in life are our accessories. They don't define our superpowers, and we are no less fantastic once we take them off. Okay, it would be a little strange watching a man in a button down and jeans fly through the sky to rescue a woman from a burning building- but that's only because we're conditioned to look for something flashy and different in the first place. Clark Kent doesn't become Superman, he is always Superman, uniform or not, his powers, his heart, his determination, don't go away. So, the next time in your life you feel as though you are naked, caught without a mask, remember it was you who conquered and overcame every single time before.
Masks by Imagine by Rubie's
Of course, us modern day superheroes have to make due without all the glitz and glamor of custom outfits, cascading capes, and glittered masks. It's just not practical on a blogger's budget, you know? But you and your little ones can enjoy authentic DC licensed masks and costumes from Imagine by Rubies. No, this is not a sponsored mention, we just happened across 2 of their masks and have thoroughly enjoyed them. You'll find the My Super Best Friends (glitter) kid's mask and DC Batman mask made by Imagine by Rubie's seen above on Amazon and at a variety of toy retailers nationwide. Regardless, let's discuss what it means to be your own superhero and what types of masks we wear in the real world today!

What Daughter Says: Be your own superhero, no matter the uniform.

Add A Little Mystery To Your Glass, Try The Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor + Enter To Win!

This post is sponsored by Sparkling ICE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Sunshine. Blue Skies. Crashing Waves. Beach Curls. Tan Lines. Grand Adventures. Sno Cones. Unicorn Floaties. Instagram Sunsets. Satellite Radio. Road Trips. Fireworks. Lazy Mornings. Late Nights. First Kisses. A Little Mystery. A Whole Lot Of Flavor. Zero Calories. Effervescence.

These are all things that make Summers amazing.

And now you can enjoy many of them together with just one Sparkling Ahhhh! sip of an ICE cold, zero calorie, zero sugar, antioxidant and vitamin, flavor packed limited edition Mystery Flavor Sparkling Ice.
You may remember my fizziest secret from 2017, Sparkling Ice, the zero calorie flavored water beverage every fridge, party, and road trip needs to keep the flavor rocking and fizzing.

I don't just love Sparkling Ice for their 16, yes 16, fruit packed flavors that keep my fridge looking like a liquid rainbow fruit stand- I love it for everything it does and doesn't have. Zero Sugar. Zero Calories. Maximum sparkle in the form of fizzy carbonation. Natural flavors in simple and exotic fruit combinations from Ginger Lime and Pomegranate Blueberry to Peach Nectarine and Classic Lemonade. Flavors packed with vitamins and antioxidants so I can Sparkle day and night without a shimmer of guilt.
Sparkling Ice is anything but bland.

This isn't your grandmother's Tonic Water, this is full in in your face, taste bud dancing, lip fizzing flavor in a variety that never gets boring. It's the perfect Summer beverage for all of those cookouts and parties- just look for the sleek and trendy colorful bottles near the other sparkling drinks at a beverage aisle in a store near you. Because they are zero calorie and 100% flavor Sparkling Ice makes for great cocktail mixers, or simply combine your favorite flavors with one another for a fun Summer inspired mocktail.
Of course for those who truly want to inject some extra MYSTERY into their Summer, Sparkling Ice has released a truly mouth-watering, taste bud perplexing, fruity Mystery Flavor everyone will be reaching for.

What Is It?

Well I can't quite tell you- you'll just have to try it for yourself and guess for your chance at 1 of over 450 amazing prizes, thanks to a special #WhatTheFlavorSweeps running now through July 31st, 2018. Spot the limited edition Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor on a shelf near you, try it, then enter your professional flavor guess once a day on the What The Flavor Sweepstakes landing page. Or, enter daily by sharing your guess directly to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #WhatTheFlavorSweeps. There are a ton of amazing prizes to be won in weekly drawings, as well as an insane Grand Prize, so be sure to enter every single day!
Perhaps one of the best things about Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor is the fun and mystery it instantly injects into any everyday event, or less than everyday gathering. Once I pulled a bottle out of the fridge and out onto the patio during last week's BBQ the family quickly began swarming to inspect the unusual bottle, sniff the contents like an Ice connoisseur, and nabbing stolen sips.

I'll admit, the Mystery flavor smells quite intoxicating on first sniff- it's a fruity scent that isn't all any one thing at a time. In one sniff I was reminded of Fruit Stripes bubblegum, while another had a very tropical island profile. Just when you think you've placed the flavor you take another sip and are entirely stumped again.
My best tip to solve this sippy Summer mystery?

Take a look at the Sparkling Ice website and all of the amazing fruity flavors in the 16 flavor Sparkling Ice water lineup. Many times I was sure I had nailed the flavor only to remember there was already a near identical flavor already in the lineup.

What could it be?

Keep your eyes peeled on the Sparkling Ice social channels for the big reveal August 1st, 2018!
Enjoy your favorite Sparkling Ice straight from the bottle poolside, with frozen fruit 'cubes,' in a fancy glass with a twisty straw, or really any way at all. There is no wrong way to Sparkle when you can have all the fruity flavor with zero calories. But, whatever you do- make sure you hunt down and pick up several bottles of the Mystery Flavor so you can play along and add a little extra mystery to your sip this Summer. What flavor would you love to sip when you try the limited edition Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor?

Banana Split Strawberries Recipe

Banana Split Strawberries
Momma Told Me: Taste the season.

When I was a young girl we'd overnight strawberries to my grandparents in Massachusetts. This might seem like a silly thing to do, but I've heard all too well the plight of over-priced, over-ripe, tiny strawberries on the East Coast. See, I grew up quite literally walking past the strawberry fields to school, and my little Southern California town is known as one of the strawberry capitals of the country. We even hold a massive strawberry festival each Spring. A life without fresh, ripe, dippable, bursting with flavor strawberries never occurred to me as I was painting my shirt, fingers, and face with strawberry juice as a child.
Banana Split Strawberries
I've had many tell me that my local strawberries are some of the best they've ever had. I suppose I take it for granted when I can walk to a stand several blocks from my house and pick up a fresh (picked that morning) flat for just $6. And for those not savvy with the market lingo- a flat is many many baskets- 8, to be exact. Yes, I know, you probably pay $5-6 for a pint even in season, if you live in a cold climate state.
So what does all this have to do with anything? Am I just rubbing my beautiful berry fortune in your face? Well, yes, and no. Strawberries simply are a staple here for most of the year. We don't have groves of fresh peaches, and the corn is often lacking, but every Spring and Summer we feast on the most beautiful, delicious, berries. And, with an entire flat on the kitchen counter, I come up with a lot of creative ways to serve and enjoy them.
In the Summer anything frozen is a hit- But I try not to keep ice cream on hand- or it'll get eaten and,  nobody needs that temptation around. Needless to say, my favorite, banana splits, are reserved for ice cream parlors and special occasions. That's where the genius of these banana split strawberries come in- a healthier version of a classic treat in a single portion, bite sized package. They're especially great frozen and thawed at room temperature for 5 minutes, or served fresh at a Summer party.
So this recipe, needless to say, is insanely simple, requires no baking, and can be made in about 30 minutes with some ingredients most people have on hand already. Since I'm watching my sugar, I even found a delicious sugar free pudding mix to use as the base for my pineapple banana filling- and it chills to the most wonderful texture, thanks to the artificial sweeteners.
Of course anybody can core out strawberries and fill them with deliciousness- who am I to judge if you just straight up nozzle some whipped cream in the center and call it done? The sentiment is still there- banana splits IN strawberries. And these pack an adorable punch at that. But I do have to say, the creamy, fluffy, pudding filling is the perfect companion to the crunch of the chocolate dipped shell and the gooey chocolate fudge.
Most recipes that require coring use a melon baller. Well, I don't own one, and most berries are going to be too small for one. I actually used a sturdy teaspoon measuring spoon to carefully carve out the center of my berries. It worked perfectly!  You'll also want to cut just the tip of the strawberries off to help them stand after being dipped. Be careful though, these will be top heavy when filled- when in doubt, cut a little extra off. The filling is thick and shouldn't leak or run through.
Banana Split StrawberriesWho doesn't love a chocolate dipped strawberry? Well, those who don't like strawberries I suppose- but then, you wouldn't be reading this, would you? Prepare your gorgeous strawberry split vessels by dipping them in a thinned chocolate solution. I like to use a little bit of coconut oil, rather than butter, to give my chocolate a quick melting, even consistency. The trick is to get the chocolate just thin enough to begin running down the sides when you place it on your resting tray.
A banana split isn't complete without all the trimmings, so you'll want to dip those chocolate dipped berries in some chopped nuts if you're a fan of the full split experience. Make sure you send your dipped, filled berries to the freezer for about 5 minutes to properly chill and set them before you move on the my favorite part- the hot fudge drizzle.
Banana Split Strawberries
Banana Split Strawberries
Hot fudge, sprinkles, and a cherry on top complete the split experience and make these quite literally a bite of banana split at your fingertips! Every time I see one of these beauties it makes me smile and reminds me of wonderful childhood memories scarfing down a sundae or split in my pajamas on a Friday night. Even better, I can enjoy 1 or 2 in a sitting without feeling all the guilt of a heavy ice cream treat!
Banana Split Strawberries
So that's what I've been nomming on in my kitchen- Is there a seasonal fruit or veggie you have local that you just can't get enough of in the Summer?

What Daughter Says: Strawberries mean Summer in my little hometown- and it just wouldn't be Summer without them!

Banana Split Strawberries
Banana Split Strawberries 
***Click here for a printable Banana Split Strawberries recipe

How I Keep The Many Sides Of Me Feeling Confident + Fresh Through Summer + Beyond

This post is sponsored by Summer's Eve® but the content and opinions expressed are my own.
As a woman I am many things.

That is to say that there are many sides which make up one amazingly fierce/creative/passionate/strong/intelligent/funny ME.

I wish I could say I identify with one aspect more than the others but, the truth is, in any given day I may harness any number of these sides. That is to say I'm a right ol' mess.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

One thing, however, that remains consistent is the need for even the fiercest sides of me to remain feeling confident and fresh, especially during the Summer when my schedule really picks up.
Since I know that every woman has many sides, just like me, I want to take a little time today to share how I keep some of my favorite sides feeling confident not just through the hectic, warm, crazy months ahead, but year-round as well.

The first ME, the frilly slightly silly, accessory obsessed, beauty queen, fashionista-in-training, HGTV binging ME is in truth one of my more insecure sides.

While this side of myself can be colorful and loud on the outside, thanks to bold cosmetics and head-turning fashions, I find I often second guess myself when choosing what to wear  and how to present myself in public. If I'm just throwing on some kicks and jeggings to go raid the local Target I'm Cool. Calm. Collected- but when it comes time to dress with the intent of being in front of others I tend to love my nerve.
So for every Beauty Queen Fashionista side out there, here are a few of my favorite tips to keep your head up and feeling confident when that Pinterest Smokey Eye Attempt has you feeling like a weeping raccoon:
  •  Find your signature piece and don't be afraid to use it EVERYWHERE- You know that necklace you've had since college graduation, that funky chunky ring you got in the costume jewelry bargain bin, or those sparkly flats that make you feel like Dorothy ascending to Oz in her hot air balloon? Pick a piece to become your staple and rock it on all of your looks. This way you'll always feel confident, even when you're trying something fresh and new for you.
  • Fill up with the right FUEL- What you put in your mouth matters. Don't worry, I'm not here to give you some lecture about the importance of greens over ice cream/s. As they say, balance is everything, and sometimes you really do need that triple frosted pink sprinkle donut to get you through a particularly stressful day. However, as a rule of thumb, I prefer to suggest starting with foods that fuel your brain, and heart before reaching for the quick fix of sweet treats and indulgences.
  • Start FRESH- One of the biggest keys to rocking the outwardly flashy beauty and fashion focused side is to start by feeling fresh and clean from the canvas level. I'm talking, of course, about good hygiene. As a woman who loves heels and A-Line skirts I know that the hottest fashion can quickly demand a toll as heels begin to ache and thighs begin to chafe all in the name of looking damn good. Before I get ready to dress up I always start by elevating my freshness with clinically tested Summer's Eve feminine hygiene products that are pH balanced and help keep my most intimate parts fresh.
Tossing it back to that more CASUAL side of me, the girl who loves rolling in the grass with her pups, wears the same outfit every time her team plays their rivals, and can't drive past a Target on the way home without stopping in for a"quick" look at what's new-

Casual Me is one I embrace. You might say it's the easiest side in that sense.

But casual me wouldn't be nearly as simple, carefree, and confident if it weren't for everyday essential brands such as Summer's Eve®. Let's face it, there isn't exactly a dialogue for how to stay fresh and confident "down there," yet nearly every woman knows precisely what I meant when I began this sentence. Whether it's wearing nylons under a pencil skirt all day, hitting the gym for leg day, crossing legs in a board meeting, or a number of everyday tasks each side of a woman encounters; you may inevitably be left feeling less than fresh and confident in a big way.
Since college I've been a personal brand champion for Summer's Eve® feminine hygiene products. With a wide range of formulations and formats, Summer's Eve® offers a personalized self care routine for one's most intimate areas of attention, the vagina.

The powerful, yet gentle, formulations of Summer's Eve® Cleansing Wash and Summer's Eve® Cleansing Cloths varieties help you start fresh and stay fresh while you tackle an entire day of what every side throws at you. Even more exciting you'll now find an exclusive scent, Summer's Eve® Blissful Escape sold only at a Target store near you. This fruity fragrance features fresh berry notes as well as hints of orange, jasmine, pineapple, peach, coconut and apple. All that fragrance packed in the same clinically tested formulas trusted to be pH leveled so you can feel fresh and confident throughout the day.

It's definitely one of my new favorite Summer's Eve® varieties- and clearly popular among women like me, as I happened to nab the last Summer's Eve® Blissful Escape Cleansing Wash on the shelf at my local Target and was asked to let a fellow shopper have a sniff before I carted it away. Before I knew it there were many of us, women, standing there sniffing and talking about how it reminded us of an island adventure!
Of course starting out your day confident and fresh quickly becomes a mute point when my FIERCE side takes over. You know, the one who trains for 6 months for a mud run that promises to make me scale an 8 foot wall and climb through 5' mountain trenches of mud. Yea, some days I don't know what that side of me was thinking.

So for every "I run for the high," "It's not fun unless you feel the burn," and "I really don't want to, but I'm going to go to the gym because it's good for me" side, here are my favorite tips to stay feeling fresh and confident:
  • Tackle everything with SMALL GOALS- Big goals are great. They're the goaliest of goals, but it's the small milestones, the minuscule markers that really help us stay motivated and feel great about what we're doing. No marker, not number, no achievement is too small to reach for and celebrate.
  • Don't be afraid to INVEST IN YOURSELF- Whatever it is you've set your mind to, no matter how much discomfort is sure to come as you strive to meet your targets and break your own personal records, you deserve to be confident and as comfortable as possible doing it. Whether this means wearing the rattiest old over-sized sweater on your morning sweat runs, or buying that new $80 pair of compression yoga pants that just 'happen' to make your ass look FAB. Invest in what makes you feel comfortable and confident and you'll instantly increase your success potential.
Speaking of feeling fresh and confident to increase your comfort levels- Just because the workout has ended doesn't mean your day is a wrap. Many of us find ourselves fitting this FIERCE and ACTIVE side in where we can. This may be before dropping the kids off at school, on a lunch break at work, or before running our to catch a drink with friends. Be sure to always pack everything you need to feel RE-FRESHED and comfortable after you're let your FIERCE flag flay. Summer's Eve® Blissful Escape Cleansing Cloths are the perfect solution anywhere and anytime. With a discreet, individually packaged, clinically tested cleansing cloth in a refreshing scent to help wipe away the undesired effects of working hard for those goals.
Which brings me to that CREATIVE side- The one that spies a "FREE" sign on a beat up piece of furniture on the side of the road and envisions a retro-chic wet bar with a new coat of paint and Moscow Mule display. The one that mismatched their socks all through High School because nobody else was doing it. Or even the one that absolutely loved every moment of their best friend's "Paint And Sip" Bachelorette Party, even though their dolphin more resembles a whale.

Creatives typically don't lack confidence, making this one of the easiest sides to nurture, in my humble opinion. The true secret to harnessing a fresh outlook and confident approach to one's creative side is to embrace creativity as your own self expression. In short- the best thing you can do to support your creative side is to simply not GAF what anybody else thinks. Stand before your creation and ask "Does this make me feel happy at my very core?" If the answer is yes, that's all the validation you should need.
Everyone has a complicated side, and it's aptly named as it is indeed the most complicated side.

Now you can sit there (or perhaps you're standing and reading this, I don't judge your electronic consumption) and think, "Jenna, I'm the most reasonable, easy-going simplest person to get along with, there ever was." And this very well could be true, but you better believe you still have a complicated side.

It's that side that reaches for Google to find out if that funny skin discoloration is melanoma or rogue Cheetos dust. The side that hasn't made their bed in 10 years yet insists that the shampoos are lined in order of descending height on the shower ledge. The you that lays awake just a few minutes longer at night wondering if you could've said something just a little bit better when last talking to that coworker/friend/family member that day. Or that side that absolutely loves a good slice-em-dice-em bloody thriller but screamed like the world was ending during The Rock's last Armageddon film.

It's okay, we're all a little bit complicated.

Oh. You were expecting some advice?

Just learn to embrace it. Those things that others may find difficult quirks are what make you, you. And you're pretty freaking amazing.
Another of my favorite sides has to be my romantic side. It just may also be one of my most irrational sides because love can make someone act a fool, #AmIRight?

There are, of course, many types of love, and ROMANCE is but a category within a subcategory of love. For me it is the side that makes my heart pitter-patter when I see their face, it inspires me to wear the medieval torture device known as Spanx, plunge my size 12 ladie's feet into 6" pointed heels, and cool dinner for 2 at the end of a 12 hours day when my body feels nothing but exhaustion.

The good thing about romance is that it can be refreshing and renewing in itself. Much like a rush of endorphins, the right amount of romance can instantly turn any day or mood around and truly bring our dullest side back to life.
Of course there is no secret guide to falling in love, or having a happy marriage (should you progress to that point). Romance is but a single side of you and love requires the involvement of each and every single one of your sides! So it's important that I clarify my advice is in no way intended to promise wedded bliss, or a marriage proposal. As we've covered each one of us has many sides, and our partner their own sides to crash and collide with. It's a constant journey of exploration and discovery.

But for those lucky enough to express their romantic side through the form of an emotional or physical pairing, these tips might help you go confident and freshly into the great unknown:
  • When it comes to romance, always lead with your HEART- It can be heard to follow one's heart when one's body can send them so many strong and conflicting signals on this topic but I've found the most rewarding romances were driven by my heart. They didn't always end the way I'd hoped or planned, but they are the ones I reflect upon with no regrets, and sincere appreciation today.
  • Be open to NEW EXPERIENCES- Remember, romance involves more than one person, each with their own idea of what romance is. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new at your partner's advice. After all, where else would you ever find yourself considering that new fusion food, talking about traveling to a new country, or even learning a new dance?
  • Whether intimacy is current part of your romantic side, ensure that you feel intimately confident in all things. It can be hard to approach a situation with an open heart, or curious enthusiasm, when you feel sweaty, worn out, and bogged down in the dredges of the day that came prior. Build your confidence from the inside out with a quick refresh using Summer's Eve® Blissful Escape Cleansing Wash or Cleansing Cloths and take one less thing off the back of your mind.
In all there are many sides to me, and every person.

I suspect I will live every day to my very last continuing to discover these sides, and get to know them better, and I will never truly master any of them.

However, I can always feel confident and fresh in whatever side I choose to embrace at any given time thanks to clinically tested Summer's Eve® products from Target. Experience the exclusive Summer's Eve® Blissful Escape Target variety thanks to a special Target Cartwheel offer available through the month of June. Check out the graphic above for a link and more information.

Now, tell me, which of your sides do you like to embrace the most?