Yay – I’m so excited that it’s finally summer break for the boys. While the twins will be going to Summer school in a few weeks, we still plan to take full advantage of the days we have with each other and summer for us means fun and adventures. Since the boys and I are going to be adventuring around our island like tourists this summer, I figured that I would share with all of you some of the pictures of our journey. While some of them will be fun and exciting, we also plan to revisit some of the places I played in my childhood. So many changes happen as the future evolves and this is my way of sharing all of it with my boys.
A few days ago I found myself pumping gas into my car and an overwhelming feeling of a need to visit sanctuary overcame me. As a child my parents took me to different places on the island to cool off during the summer or hot months or to just relax and as a teenager, I visited these places with friends. I wanted to take a drive to calm my mind. Out of the blue, I found myself driving to little towns that I haven’t been to in over 10 years and what I saw hurt my heart.
My first stop was to Waihee Valley and a location the locals here know as Swinging Bridges. It’s at the top of a narrow road at the base of the mountain range and somewhere I spent many summers, walking across these swinging bridges on a hike to get to the waterfall at the top of the trail. The last time we entered, we were charged a fee (about 10 years ago), even if we were Kama’ainas (local residents). So, I expected that I would need to pay a small fee to enter the grounds again. This time, I was greeted at the top of the road before the entry to Swinging Bridges with a large gate that blocked my entry.
In shock, I sat there for a few minutes to collect my thoughts. How is this even possible? I turned my car around and just as I started my descent back down the road, I passed a local man tending to his garden. His house is located just to the side of where this photo (above) was taken. If you’ve been to Hawaii or live here, then you probably know that even is Aunty or Uncle, so I greeted him by saying… “Good morning Uncle, how are you today?” He responded by approaching my car and we talked story a bit. He explained that the gate was put up about 5 years ago and the property which is owned by the plantation and a private land owner decided to remove access to the public. We talked about how the families that lived in the valley were either moving away or they were offered a lot of money to sell their homes. Long time residents that go back generations that live on the road are also blocked access to something they grew up with. We talked for about 30 minutes and the uncle ended the conversation by saying that I was welcomed to come back any time to wala’au (or talk story).
As a kid, we often went up to those areas to pick fern so that we could make haku leis (floral head wreaths) for hula, weddings and other events. The local people no longer have access to that area any longer without asking for permission. Like I mentioned before, we also swam in the ponds and waterfalls as kids to cool off from the hot Maui heat. About 10 years ago I took my eldest son to these places and he loved it, but now it is no longer accessible.
I absolutely think that those who own the property have the right to block access to the public, however, much of the land in these parts are technically not “owned” by anyone. Hawaii is known for parts of the islands that are blocked from access when they technically are not owned by the person who does so. It’s a common argument throughout the islands. I was so sad to see this gate here because I figured that if it was still easily accessible, this would be one of the places I would bring my sons to go hiking and journeying through the Valley and ending at a gorgeous waterfall. I’m sad to see that the access is blocked, but I know there truly is not much I can do about it to fix the situation. I can only hope that they open it for hiking some days and I can take my sons to visit my childhood stomping grounds.
This was just the beginning of my journey on that day. Over the next week or so I’ll be sharing more of my adventure and over the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing photos and our journey as we enjoy our summer break. Stay tuned for more.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all images are my own. Affiliate links may be posted throughout and all opinions are my own.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. To think that he would 110 years old today, well – that is just amazing. I’m sure he would be absolutely proud to see that his works and rhymes are still so relevant today was it was back then. By the time Dr. Seuss died in 1991, he had produced more than 60 children’s books – many of which I have read as a child and continue to read to my children till this day.
Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book – “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, was published in 1937 and thereafter his popular best sellers like The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham became household names.
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
Today is what we know in the Nation and Worldwide as Dr. Seuss Day – to not only celebrate this great writer but his birthday. I figured it would be a great time to share a quote or two of his that are some of my favorites.
Have a wonderful Thursday!
A DIY on the costume the twins’ are wearing can be found here.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
I’m quite impressed with myself – to be honest, that I was able to release most of my Holiday Gift Guides by the first week of December. Let’s all stand and give me a round of applause, shall we? lol – All kidding aside, I’m pretty happy with myself this year because I laid out a schedule and I kept with it. Today, I’m sharing with you a gift guide that I’m absolutely excited about, because it’s one of my favorites to do each year. When it comes to Stocking Stuffers, I find that they can be the easiest gift to buy for anyone on your holiday gift giving list. Why? Well, because anything that you can fit in a Christmas stocking goes… and for me – that means I get to pick up all the little nifty products that I would love to get or receive as a gift and it can always be something fun, practical or unpractical and definitely interesting. I have a wide list of products that fit into this list so this is going to be a long post – so without further adieu, let’s get started.
Hickies Lacing System is by far one of my favorite gifts to give for the holiday. Each pack is small enough to fit into a stocking (of most sizes) and anyone who wears shoes with traditional laces will love these. I own about 8 pairs myself, using them to change up my shoes from time to time and to fit my personality for the day. Sneaker designs change but one thing that remains the same, are laces. You’ll never have to tie a shoelace again and once you go Hickies, you’ll never go back to traditional laces.
Hickies come in a huge array of colors and sizes for adults and children and are so easy to put on and take off. Hickies is running a Winter Holiday Sale right now – purchase Hickies 1.0 for $13.99 (reg $14.99), Hickies 2.0 for $14.99 (reg $17.99) and Hickies Kids for $9.99 (reg $11.99)
Purchase Hickies at: https://www.hickies.com/
I couldn’t mention a cool pair of laces without mentioning something along the lines of fitness and the MilestonePod is definitely a great stocking stuffer. This little device is perfect for any runner or walker and whether you’re training for your first 5K or just getting into shape or staying active, this is the perfect gear for you. This wearable pod not only tracks your running metrics, but it also tells you when it’s time to replace your shoes and it helps to prevent many common injuries a new running should definitely have in their toolkit.
The Pod is easy to use. Simply clip the Pod onto your shoe once and leave it there. The Pod collects data as soon as it senses movement. The Pod is always ready to go and it knows when you start and stop. There is no need to run with your phone to keep track of the data and you can sync your Pod to the MilestonePod App to view detailed performance data and gait metrics. The Pod works everywhere, even indoors and no charging is needed.
The MilestonePod retails for $24.95 and can be purchased at: http://www.milestonepod.com/the-product/the-milestone-pod/
Handcrafted jewelry pieces make GREAT stocking stuffers. Pura Vida Jewelry offers gorgeous handmade pieces and each bracelet is carefully handcrafted by artisans in Costa Rica. The commitment to their craft is conveyed through the quality of their gorgeous work. Pura Vida Charity Collection was created to give back to different causes all over the world. Pura Vida is partnered with over 190 charities and have donated more than $935,358 to date. Pura Vida also donates 1% of their annual net revenue to environmental organizations worldwide. The goal of Pura Vida is to continue to expand the charity line and support as many causes as possible. These gorgeous bracelets (pictured above) have been favorites of mine to use on a daily basis because they are dressy, yet casual and work well with anything that I’m wearing.
Pura Vida Bracelets retail for $5.00 each or you can select a Style Pack that retails for $65+. You can purchase your bracelet(s) from Pura Vida at: http://www.puravidabracelets.com/
When it comes to gift giving – I do my best to offer functional gifts to friends and family. A gift that you can expect from me or a stocking stuffer for all to see would be a reusable tote. Here in Hawaii, plastic bags are banned and unable to be given out at grocery markets so a great tote makes a perfect gift for anyone. Urban Market Bags to the rescue. With Urban Market bags you get 3 or 6 bags per drawstring pack which means you basically have your needs covered with bags should you need them.
Urban Market Bags come in contemporary colors that look great (I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of that bright blue bag you get at one of those big box stores) and they are made of high quality, durable and machine washable fabric. What I love about them is that they fold up small to fit in a handbag or cupholder of your car as well as a Christmas Stocking and they are just perfect for everyday.Urban Market bags are great to take to the soccer or in my case football field, gym or grocery store and I love that you have three or more bags to take with you and have bags that are stylish.
3 Pack Set retails for $28.00 and 6 Pack Set retails for $40.00 – Urban Market Bags can be purchased at: http://www.urbanmarketbags.com/shop
Get 20% off from Now till December 16, 2016 (Friday) with code: GIVEORKEEP2016.
Probably one of my favorite stocking stuffers to give out this year comes from Topperfino. If you follow me on Instagram (if not, hello -what are you waiting for? lol) you would have seen me post about Topperfino a few weeks back. Coffee is such a huge part of our everyday lifestyles – well, in my case, it’s now cocoa and tea since I can’t drink coffee as much as I would like. Topperfino is a great coffee innovation, a chocolate topper that not only gorgeous but delectable.
Topperfino is the perfect mix for coffee to create an unparalleled coffee art, but it’s a chocolate topper that can be enjoyed with any frothy hot chocolate or foamy drink. These toppers make fabulous presents.
Get the Limited Edition Holidays Mix – 10 count box for $19.99 or select the design that you think would make a great gift for just $13.99 a 10 count box. Purchase your Topperfino for yourself or a gift at: http://topperfino.com/
I have mentioned LATHER in a previous Gift Guide for Skin Care and Body Care and couldn’t possibly resist sharing them again. LATHER has made great stocking stuffers and ornaments packaged appropriately for the holiday season. The Soap & Candle sets ($18.00 each) make great stocking stuffers as well as the Sugar Plum Kisses Set ($15.00 each) and Vanilla Bath Fizz Combos ($18.00 each). Each set would make a great addition to anyone’s gift collection and are packaged and ready to go for holiday gift giving. Simply add a little bow or hang on a tree and you’re ready to go.
Purchase LATHER at: http://www.lather.com/holidaygiftideas.html
FAB Nails by Beauty Junkees is the perfect little size for travel and on the go, but most definitely makes a great gift for anyone’s holiday stocking. It’s small and fits perfectly inside and it makes a wonderful gift. FAB (File and Buff) Nail File is a 2-in-1 Set that includes the best glass nail file and a case. The file is perfect for natural fingernails and a great nail care alternative to nail polish
This nail file is a great solution for men and women and if you can’t wear nail polish – you’ll enjoy this one. You can keep your nails looking FAB with a high gloss finish that lasts up to four weeks. FAB Nails crystal glass file lasts up to a year, depending on how you care for it and your use. It’s gentle on the nails like a chamois and can be used as a buffer in a back and forth direction, sealing the keratin layers together and preventing peeling and chipping. Unlike harsh Emery boardst hat can cause the keratin layers to shed, leaving your nails thin and sometimes peeling – FAB Nails is a great solution for a smooth, ridge free glossy finish.
This awesome nail file retails for $14.97 and can be purchased here.
I’ve been a long time fan of The Body Shop and I’m absolutely loving their new releases for the year. Any makeup lover would absolutely adore these Down to Earth Eye Palettes that have been recently released. These Limited Edition Eyeshadow Quads are a winter must have and are a part of The Body Shop’s Cruelty-free makeup collection. With 100% vegetarian formulation, which contains no carmine, petrolatum, gluten or mineral oil – these gifts will make a great find for anyone that wants to do good, feel good and look good this holiday season and always.
Available in 5 different shade selections (quads) and retailing for $24.00, these shadows are buttery, feel luxe and are winners this holiday for any makeup lover. You can purchase these at your local The Body Shop store or at: http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com
Speaking of beauty lovers, lippies make great holiday stocking stuffers. Having to narrow down my favorites is nearly impossible, so I figured what better product to choose than a lippy that will protect the lips during the colder months. FarmHouse Fresh Hydrating Lip Balms have been a staple for my lips this Fall and Winter and I thought these would make great stocking stuffers. Available in Coconut Beach and Whoopie! Cream, these lip balms are so sleek and ready to rock out any pout.
Made with jojoba oil and shea butters, these lip balms promote healing and hydration with a long-wear formula that lasts and lasts with one application. They have a light fragrance and taste, but overall I love that they leave my lips hydrated all day long. These lip balms are perfect for travel and on the go and will be a great gift for anyone that needs a little lip therapy.
The FarmHouse Fresh Hydrating Lip Balms retail for $15.00 and can be purchased at: http://farmhousefreshgoods.com
The perfect little nail kit for the nail lover’s Christmas Stocking would be great nail wraps or decals. I was recently introduced to Glossique Nail Deco which makes it easy for anyone to have a gorgeous manicure at anytime. Say goodbye to dry-time, chipping and harsh chemicals and have a wonderful manicure for those holiday parties. I picked up a few of these to put in each of my nieces stockings this year because they are so fun and easy to use. Glossique offers a variety of different designs and they literally can be put on in minutes at anytime.
Glossique Nail Deco Decals retail for: $15.00 and can be purchased at: https://www.glossique.com/shop
Personalized gifts make great stocking stuffers too. Whether they are handcrafted using your own creativity or you utilize a service and put your own spin on things, I love a great personalized gift in my stocking. This cute square compact mirror you see here is a great gift. Retailing for $15.95 you can create your own by adding your own text and image. I used a photo of a sunflower that I took in my garden and added fun text that I love. The options are endless and you can personalize it with a family photo or anything you see fit.
Personalize your own gift at: http://www.zazzle.com
I certainly didn’t forget about the kiddos in our lives. Stocking Stuffers are so fun to shop for when it comes to kids because they are so happy to get fun little things that they can play with. My sons are no exception and I love that we can easily put small and fun gifts into their stocking and they will cherish it all. Lego Mixels are one of my favorite things to stash into a stocking each year. Mixels are created by Lego and are similar to basic lego in that you can build different characters utilizing a set of legos to create from. My sons love them and have quite a collection of these little guys so it’s always fun to add to their sets.
Lego Mixels can be purchased at different locations like Walmart, Target and other stores and I love that they range in price from $4.99 and up so there is a Mixels set for anyone.
The National Geographic Bug Dig Kits are something my sons love and that I love giving out as gifts. Each set allows you to dig up 3 real bugs and kids love to uncover these perfectly preserved insect specimens (spiny spider, fortune beetle and scorpion). Of course – there are a bunch of different bug kits online and National Geographic and Dr. Cool’s kits are our favorites. These make great stocking stuffers or gifts and offer an educational adventure for each child that gets one. Children will learn all about their speciments as well as many other fascinating anthropods and it becomes a cool interactive lesson with a hands-on science kit. The bugs can be kept and inspected in all angles as the bugs are preserved in transparent acrylic for easy examination.
These fun sets retail for about $10 – $20 and can be purchased here.
Like most of my gift guides this 2016 – this one is particularly lengthy, but I wanted to ensure to provide all of you, my readers with a variety of different things to help inspire your holiday gift shopping. Christmas is 13 days away and if you’re still out shopping, I definitely suggest checking out some of these finds. A few things I didn’t include in my gift guide but definitely suggest are:
- Pens or Pencils (I love getting new fun gel pens for the holiday – they are great gifts for a planner lover or student)
- Candy Canes (I absolutely love seeing all of the different candy canes now available in stores, grab a box of canes and put a few in a stocking. Because, everyone loves a great sweet treat)
- Body lotion (I didn’t include this one in the list, but I love getting some new body lotion for holidays – anything sweet smelling is right for me)
- homemade goods (I make a pie or chex mix, homemade fudge or something delectable to give to my postman, delivery guys and friends and family. Sometimes making things from the heart are the best goods anyone will receive)
** Holiday Gift Giving Tip: Keep in mind shipping times and delivery schedule when ordering online and find out from the company prior to purchasing if it will be shipped and delivered in time for holiday gift giving.
If you’re looking for more ideas for your holiday shopping, be sure to check out the following links for my guides and inspiration: (this list will be updated periodically as new guides become available)
The Holidays is probably my favorite time of year and when it comes to Christmas gifts, I love shopping for family and friends. Any of these gifts would make a great selection for anyone this holiday season – even you, if you’re planning to treat yourself. What about you, are there any gifts on this list that you hope to find in your stocking this year, comment below and share!
Disclosure: Some of the products featured in this post were sent for editorial consideration, while others were purchased by Honeygirlsworld.com. This post may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details and outline of my product review disclosures and policies, affiliate links, etc. please visit my Disclosures page.
I absolutely love the Holiday Season and to me, the Christmas season means much more than just presents, snow and jingle bells. I love that Christmas allows us to share in giving but also in celebrating our Savior and his love. I don’t often talk about Religion here on Honeygirl’s World, and I’m a wholehearted believer that no matter your religion, believing is seeing!
There are several things you can do to offer service this Christmas Season. Like I said before, regardless of your religion belief, you have the ability to serve others. Each year my family and I work together to help serve those in need – no matter what time of year, but especially during the holiday season. I would like to share 10 ways that you can lift others burdens – ways that you and your family can part-take in.
- Remember that you never know the struggle a person is dealing with when you come in contact with them. A kind smile, compliment or generosity are great ways of rising someone’s spirits while making them feel great about them self.
- Donate food like canned goods to your local food bank. My sons and I always take a list of canned goods and suggestions with us while shopping and pick up a few extras to deliver to the food bank.
- Adopt a family this holiday season. Each year my family and I select a name from the “Angel Tree” and purchase gifts on the family’s holiday wishlist.
- Donate your gently used items like household goods, clothing, blankets and more to your community homeless shelter. Winter is the coldest time of year and sometimes a warm blanket, jacket and socks can make a huge difference in someones life.
- Make a meal for a family member or friend who may be ill, down on their luck or overworked. Or – donate the meal to the soup or homeless kitchen for holiday service.
- Help a neighbor who is elderly by collecting their recyclables, trash, etc. so that they do not have to get into the cold and take care of it.
- Write letters or send holiday cards to service members, sending them holiday cheer as they serve our country and are aware from their families and friends.
- Sing and carol around your local neighborhood to bring holiday cheer.
- Help a friend in need. Assist a friend who may need help, a ride, a meal or anything and make sure you follow through and see it to the end. Sometimes all your friend may need is kind wishes and a prayer, but knowing that someone is rooting for them means everything.
- Head on over to mormon.org for a list of ways that you can make a difference and don’t forget to #LightTheWorld
I can’t stress this enough, no matter what religion we believe in – together, we can all work together and help to light the world with Christ’s love and a commitment to serve. In 25 days and 25 ways we can offer those around us action and service inspired by Christ and Light The World around us.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored and may contain affiliate or referral links.
With all the kiddos heading back to school for the 2016-2017 school year, Target has you covered. The “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target” product collection includes leading natural, organic and sustainable brands for you to choose from. At the heart of Made to Matter is an assortment of great products made with simple, recognizable ingredients that are designed to be higher quality for everyone and accessible to anyone. Are you a Target shopper? If so, read on and check out some of these brands that you can add to your list the next time you’re out shopping.
Target is one of my favorite stores to shop at and I’m excited to share a few fun brands for you to check out as a part of the “Made to Matter Handpicked by Target” collection. These brands and products offer an assortment of great products and today I’m going to share them with all of you.
Pacifica is a brand that I know and love and I’m very thankful to be a Pacifica Beauty Ambassador. The Made to Matter product from Pacifica is the DreamBIG Lash Extending 7 in 1 Mascara ($15.99) which I wrote a review on previously (you can find that here). This mascara provides instant amplification with natural plant fibers that build and build plus fortify your lashes with an innovative peptide serum. It also includes a magic wand that changes up your mascara game with a twist. Fake it till you make it with this awesome mascara.
Shea Moisture Made to Matter Products – Peace Rose Oil Complex Nourish & Silken Shampoo and Conditioner ($10.99 each). I’m a huge fan of the Shea Moisture products but have not tried this particular line from the brand until now. These nourishing recipes are made with natural and certified organic ingredients and are designed to hydrate and soften dry, brittle hair. Key Ingredients include: Peace Rose Oil Complex (Alpine, Damask and Must Rose Oils) to help soften and silken dry hair. Date Pam Extract to provide protective moisture barrier with sensitivity pathway blockers and Camellia Leaf Extract contains antioxidant properties, soothing minor skin and scalp irritation. I have been LOVING these hair products and plan to have a full review up on the blog in the coming weeks.
Method Rebecca Atwood + Method Pumpkin Clove Gel Handwash ($3.49) is a design-driven, planet-friendly home and personal care product that was designed in collaboration with Brooklyn-based designer Rebecca Atwood. The line includeds four custom painterly patterns and fragrances that span a variety of method products in this limited edition collection for fall – bringing sophisticated style to everyday products. The bottle is gorgeous with a chic design that is show stopping and the scent of the soap is awesome. Method met the clean label challenge for the Made to Matter program by sharing all product ingredients with Target’s Sustainability Index team so that they could verify the safety and sustainability.
Suja Pressed Probiotic Waters in Raspberry, Orange, Ginger Pineapple, Pineapple Lemon Cayenne & Ginger Lime ($2.99) are the perfect back to school drink. Suja has created the first enhanced water on teh market with no additives of any kind and no natural or artificial flavors. Suja’s Pressed Probiotic Waters are Organic, Non-GMO and Cold-Pressured. Suja’s waters are the first-ever enhanced water made with nothing but organic fruits, vegetables and vegan probiotics. 10 calories and one gram of sugar or less, the pressed probiotic waters offer a subtle sweetness and no additives of any kind. They also contain 2 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of vegan probiotics, these waters provide a clean dose of immune and digestive benefits.
Annie’s Snacks ($3.45/box) and Justin’s Peanut Butter + Banana Chip Snack Packs ($1.99) are delicious snacks that are perfect for back to school. These treats are conveniently packed to put into the lunchbox and are a nutritious snack for the whole family. They are tasty and fun and I love that they are perfect for on the go.
Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Paper Masks ($2.99) are single use Ultra Hydrating paper masks that naturally hydrate and provide the skin with and extra dose of tropical scented moisture.
Tom’s of Maine just launched their first natural antiperspirant for Men – Naturally Dry North Woods. Selected for the “2016 Made to Matter-Handpicked by Target” Program. 48 Hour odor and wetness protection with no petrochemicals or artificial fragrances. It’s also non-irritating and with every purchase Tom’s of Main donates 10% of profits back to helping people and the planet. Tom’s Main Naturally Dry Deodorant ($4.49) is reasonably priced and smells nice. But I especially like that it will not cause irritation to my husband who has sensitive skin like me.
Tom’s of Maine Luminous White Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste ($4.99) is their newest, most advanced natural whitening toothpaste designed exclusively for Target. Luminous White offers effective whitening with only naturally derived ingredients that work to remove surface stains. Most importantly, it’s safe on enamel and selected for the 2016 “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target program because it contains no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or artificial sweeteners like saccharin. It’s also gluten free with no animal testing and clinically proven, dual silica whitening technology.
The Honest Company has been one my family has really grown to love. The Organic Healing Balm ($12.95) is a favorite mainly because it is very similar to those that I currently use from other brands. It’s an all purpose salve for dry, chafed or sensitive skin and a favorite in our household because I can easily carry it in my purse and take on the go for when I need it most. It’s all natural, soothing and hypoallergenic which make it all great for my sensitive skin and my family. Award winning, this balm is a must have, super versatile salve to help soothe my very dry and sensitive skin and so much more. With organic sunflower, olive and coconut oils along with shea butter to nourish and moisturize, my dry skin gets the relief it needs. It’s also made without petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances, dyes and most ingredients that cause common allergies.
The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray ($2.98) is also a favorite in our house. It smells so refreshing and bright with an orange citrus scent and moisturizes with aloe vera. Kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria, this antiseptic + moisturizer offers antimicrobial protection made with plant-based ingredients. Soothing botanicals help to reduce drying, redness and chapping and there are no harsh chemicals. I love that it is in a convenient (easy to travel and use on the go) packaging and it’s a favorite to always have on hand.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Vinegar Gel Cleaner ($3.99) is something new to our family and I have not used it prior to this. Heritage-inspired specialty cleaners that are bleach-free but still work hard on grease, grime and soap-residue. Mrs. Meye’s Vinegar Gel Cleaner in Lemon Verbena smells nice and is naturally thickened vinegar with the Lemon Verbena fragrance to help clean stainless steel to a bright, brilliant shine without needed to rinse. Use to clean countertops, the refrigerator, handles, knobs and all those little do-it-yourself vinegar jobs but with more of a pleasant scent. I love it… I am someone who keeps a bottle of vinegar on hand just for cleaning the house and this product is awesome.
Happy Family Organics Brand Happy Tot Super Smart Organic Pears, Peas & Mangos ($1.60) I have been seeing kiddos around our neighborhood and at football practice sipping on these pouches over the last couple of weeks and I was excited to be able to try one. Since a toddler’s brain doubles in size from birth to age 2, it’s essential to give them the proper support for a tot’s growth. These Super Smart pouches contain 20mg of DHA and 100mg of choline, both important nutrients to help support brain health in a growing toddler. But, while these are formulated mainly for toddlers, the boys tried them and really enjoy it. I know they have a variety of flavors for older kids too so we’ll be checking those out in the next week or so and stocking up.
Babyganics Moisturizing Lotion ($7.29 for 11oz bottle) is the only baby lotion designed specifically for baby’s developing skin, featuring NeoNourish Natural Seed Oil Blend and the 100% natural scent of chamomile verbena (also available fragrance free). It’s free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, dyes or synthetic fragrances and the boys enjoy it as well as I do. Non-allergenic, pediatrician & dermatologist tested and never tested on animals, this is a really nice brand that includes Shea butter, Aloe, Vitamin E, Olive and Avocado Oil and the Babyganics 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend.
Bitsy’s Brainfood Smart Crackers ($3.99) has been a fun new treat for us. Clean Label, USDA Organic, Non-GMO, nothing artificial and low in sugar, high in nutrition with 1/2 serving of vegetables. Smart Crackers are baked in a zero waste die and no scrap dough and the boys love that there are puzzle games on the 1005 recycled paperboard. The crackers are made with real organic veggies and come in three yummy flavors: Cheddar Chia Veggie, Mapple Carrot Crisp and Sweet Potato Cinna-Graham. They are made with love in the USA in a peanut and tree nut-free bakery. My sons really enjoy them and I think they taste really good… YUM.
Nature’s Path Organic EnviroKidz Granola Bars ($4.99 / 6 bars) are made with gluten-free rolled oats, chocolate chips and chocolate drizzle. The first and only granola bar made totally organic, gluten free and peanut free so they’re the perfect allergy-friendly lunchbox snack. The boys love these and love the way they taste, plus – the cute monkey on the packaging is a total fun way to snack.
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs ($12.99) include Seventh Generations trusted Free & Clear laundry formula that is now available in EPA safer Choice certified all-temperature laundry packs. These bio-based laundry packs use quadruple-enzyme power to remove stains and leave your clothes looking good as new. The product includes 45 toss-and-wash single-dose pods to make laundry day simple and mess-free. Their EPA Safer Choice certification means that every ingredient in their laundry packs have been reviewed by the EPA to ensure it meets their stringent human health & environmental criteria. What I enjoy the most about these laundry packs is that they are perfect for sensitive skin and my family is full with sensitive skin bodies. I think this will become a favorite our ours in the future and you may see a full review on this in the months to come.
As I mentioned before, “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target” is a collection of products of leading natural, organic and sustainable brands. At the heart of Made to Matter is an assortment of great products made with simple, recognizable ingredients that are designed to be higher quality for everyone and accessible to anyone. It is always a great thing to walk into my local Target store to see the “Made to Matter” logo and emblem on product displays because I know what they are about and am proud to support these brands. This year I was introduced to brands I have never tried before and some that I have loved over the years and my family and I have been enjoying them all.
It’s always great when a company offers such great quality but higher standards and I’m excited for my readers and friends to try some of these brands for themselves.
Make sure to shop all of these amazing #MadeToMatter favorites on Target/MadeToMatter website: http://www.target.com/c/made-to-matter or at your local Target Store.
Thank you Target and Pacifica Beauty for sending my family and I this awesome gift of goodies, we surely love them and look forward to trying more.
Disclaimer: The products discussed in this post were sent for review and feature consideration and as gifts. All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased. Affiliate links are posted through out.
As the season starts to change and the weather gets a tad bit chillier, the kiddos make their way back to school for the 2016-2017 year. I remember as a kid, going back to school was my favorite time of year because it meant that I would have the opportunity to impress a new set of teachers and meet new friends. My boys returned back to school at the beginning of August and while it has been a busy month so far, we are so excited and they have been absolutely loving school. Today I share with you a few of their favorite finds for Back to School from affordable selections that we love and a few Celebrity faves. Since back to school can be a fun time for kids or some may feel a bit uneasy, it’s the perfect time to pick up some new goods that will surely put a smile on your littles’ faces.
Going back to school after a fun summer break isn’t always easy for littles. But, finding cool Back to School gear and supplies always make for a great start. This year I wanted the boys to be able to develop their own sense of style (see the twins with their mohawks and sunglasses in the photo above? lol), but I also wanted them to select basics that would make their year fun and functional.
A quality made backpack is always an important part of back to school. My eldest Kevin has a full schedule of classes and a heavy workload and homework sometimes. It’s important that he has a backpack that can take him to and from school while still offering him the option to use for extra curricular activities and sports. His choice of gear for this year was the Mountainsmith Approach 25 backpack (retail: $89.95).
This multi-pocket backpack is perfect for on the go for work and office, school or sports, or for a hike to climb the highest summit. It features a dual-anel loader system which is idea for travel and trail), a front panel stretch-mesh pocket with daisy chain attachment loops, Anvil Airway ridged EVA back panel padding which make it comfortable on the back no matter what you carry in it, tool / trekking pole carry, side compression straps, dual side-panel mesh pockets, an internal hydration sleeve to hold 3 liters and an eleastic sternum strap and bit valve catch with a safety whistle.
This backpack is sturdy and unisex. He has it in burgundy with brick red trim and it looks stunning and manly. It’s comfortable on and Kevin can stuff this backpack with his school supplies and homework without worrying about it falling apart. It’s a great backpack to have for anyone of any age and is not only for school but anything. I plan to pick one up for myself as well since it will be great for my forest treks.
Luke opted for a fun and stylish backpack from Chooze. Chooze is a brand selected and loved by celebrities alike. Matthew McConaughey’s little girl is a huge fan of the versatile and affordable clothing and accessories Chooze offers. Luke wanted the reversible ChoozePack in Quest (retail $43.95).
These ingenious packs feature a reversible design that has two functional sides to give your kiddos the power to choose which print to display. It offers padded convertible straps (which Luke says are BOMB because they are so comfortable) and you can flip each strap from side-to-side to provide a different look.
Of course, no back to school list and gear would be complete without a way to carry your lunch and snack to and from school. Kevin opted for something he could use for school and sports and went with the Mountainsmith Takeout insulated lunch pack (retailing $17.95). It is the perfect sized carry-all for school, office and tailgating and has a look that any teen would enjoy.
To help carry his favorite mom’s delicious soups to school for lunch, he also selected the Hydro Flask Food Flasks. He has them in the 12 oz. (retails for $29.99) and the 18 oz. (retails for $34.99). These flasks are perfect to carry his favorite soups or a hot cocoa on those chilly mornings. They fit perfectly into any lunchbox and are the perfect way to give kids a balanced healthy meal. They offer improved temperature control technology and can keep hot food items made in the morning steamy until lunchtime. He also enjoys holding his milk in these and pours a small box of cereal inside for breakfast on the go.
Luke & Isaiah decided that getting a traditional lunchbox was the way they wanted to go this year. Each of them selected a Personalized Lunchbox from I See Me! (retailing for $29.99 each, currently on sale for $17.99. Isaiah chose the Kick, Score, Run Lunchbox and Luke chose the Outerspace Lunchbox. I See Me! is a brand and leader in personalized storyboks and gifts for kids, offering over 30 customizable book titles. They also offer lunch boxes, stickers, growth charts, puzzles and so much more. This fun company is a favorite of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields.
Did I ever mention how much I enjoy Quinoa? Well, I couldn’t resist putting some of these yummy snacks in the boys lunch boxes. I Heart Keenwah snacks are perfect for any kiddo on the go or to pack with their lunch. These Grab n Go (1.5 oz) snacks are great afterschool or lunch treats that taste great and are fun and nutritious. I Heart Keenwah quinoa Clusters and Puffs are a healthy alternative to chips, crackers or sweets. They are made of organic, Non-GMO ingredients. They are a protein-rich superfood snack and gluten-free with the perfect crunch to fill and fuel your little ones bodies. I love them myself and the boys think they taste great. We find them at our local Safeway and Wholefoods at a reasonable cost.
Setton Farms International Premium Quality Snacks are also a great buy. Our favorite are the Creme Brulee Blend that has cashews and toffee peanuts. The Creme Brulee Blend incorporates all the creamy sweetness and crunch of the traditional Creme Brulee without the spoon. It combines freshly roasted cashews and toffee peanuts with creamy butterscotch and white chips for an irresistible treat. They are available in 5 oz resealable bags and available in major grocery store chains across the country – Price Chopper, Market Basket, King Kullen and more. Setton Farms sent us a variety of treats to try but the Creme Brulee Blend is our favorite. I hope we can find more of these in our local stores, so far I’ve only found them at http://www.puritan.com/ and I’ll need to be purchasing more soon.
When it comes to back to school, the boys are simple shoppers which makes my job easiest. I remember as a child wanting to have all the pretty notebooks and pens for back to school supplies. This year, when I did the boys school supply shopping, I also took advantage of some discounts for myself too. Whether it’s Crayons or Pens, Notebooks and Planners or a tablet, the options are endless and come in a variety of price points. Some of our favorites included:
- Crayola Crayons 24 Pack – these are perfect on the go or to keep in the desk or at home. When shopping during the sales you can get these for about $0.25 each.
- Calendar or Planners – some of my favorites are the Blue Sky Planners from Target. Of course, you can’t go wrong with an Erin Condren Life Planner, Happy Planner or your traditional binder planners like Kikki K, Filofax or Dokibook.
- Pens – anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge pen collector. Some of my current favorites include the Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel 0.7mm Pens, Pilot Frixon Pens and Pilot G2.
- Pencils – Oh, how I love me some pencils. Currently my favorites at the moment are any type of Mechanical Pencil with 0.5mm lead, BIC Pencil 0.7mm (the metallic ones have won me over), Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils (have you seen the beautiful metallic ones?) The Ticonderoga pencils are perfect for sketching as well as writing and erase cleanly.
- Notebooks – Spiral, composition tablet… you name them and they are available in all kinds of paper style and cover design.
- Folder / Filler Paper – ah, hand me a ream of college ruled please! The twins use Wide Ruled, Kevin uses College Ruled. I love that they are available from a variety of brands and price points.
- Amazon Fire Tablet – for less than $50, you can get your hands on a Tablet that acts as a Reader or Internet hub. The Amazon Fire Tablet is affordable but gives your student (or you) the option to get online, use amazing apps or just play games. It’s definitely a great tool to have for the student or the mentor.
Now – you don’t need to pick up these particular items. Honestly, I just wanted to include some of my favorite school supplies (or mommy supplies) because I was feeling a bit left out. lol
Last but certainly not least in our Back to School finds are some great threads. Each child is an individual and I really love seeing them shop and select their own clothing, accessories and shoes – even their own hair cuts. All three of my boys are simple guys but they do enjoy fun pops of color to their outfits and clothing selections. Whether it be plaid shorts with a solid color shirt or fun hats and accessories, the boys take pride in finding something to wear that is not only comfortable and functional – but reveals their style. Isaiah is absolutely enjoying his Rocket in Listen modern sneaker boot style shoes from Chooze ($54.95) and he wanted to show them to our readers today.
This modern sneaker boot style shoe comes with a side elastic gore added for comfort. It has a signature dual design with easy access side zipper entry making the shoe easy to take off and put on. It has padded throat for extra comfort and soft canvas uppers. The flexible support offers comfort while the removable, padded, anti-stink insoles make these the perfect footwear for an active little guy. They wipe clean easily with a damp cloth or can be washed in cold water and air dried. Chooze offers a variety of footwear designs for both girls and boys and they are stylish and fun to allow your child to make a statement all their own.
Luke likes a shoe that can allow him to run and play with a little swagger and Kevin, well – if he’s not in his Nike Basketball shoes most of the time, you can find him in a pair of flip flops (rubbah slippahs as we call them here in Hawaii) and a cool pair of shades to finish off his look. The boys were quite ecstatic to return back to school because the new school year meant that they were all beginning their football season for Pop Warner but most importantly, they got to go back to school and
learn… I mean, hang out with their friends, just kidding lol. The boys love school and love learning new things so shopping for new gear for back to school is always a huge highlight.
No matter what you decide to get for your child (or yourself) this Back to School season, make it fun and colorful and let it represent your own individual style. Have your kiddos gone back to school yet? If so, do they sport a relaxed and casual style or do they really like to dress up and have some fun? Wishing all the students a wonderful 2016-2017 school year filled with lots of fun, friendships and learning. From our house to yours… Aloha!
Disclaimer: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent for review and feature consideration. All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased and I was not paid to feature these products. Some products were also purchased with my own money. Affiliate links are posted through out.
The boys and I have been enjoying our summer months together since my husband is usually working on the weekdays. Come on now, we live on Maui, which has been rated the number 1 Vacation Destination by Conde Nast many years in a row, so we do have a plethora of sites to see and lots of fun to be had. While we live on the mountain, we experience really hot days so I decided to pack the boys up into the car and take a drive up to Kula to cool down – since the air is much cooler there. Our journey led us to the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, a place we have visited many times before – but it’s been years since I bought the twins here, so I decided it would be a perfect place to venture.
The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is located on the slopes of Haleakala and overlooks some of the most beautiful views on the South side of the island. It is a 25-30 minute drive away from the Kahului Airport (the main airport into Maui) and a popular spot for visitors to stop at and have lunch after watching the sunrise at Haleakala or hiking the crater. At one time, it used to be free to enter the Lavender farm, so I was surprised to see a guard house at the entry (it was not there my last visit a few years ago) and entry for adults is $2.00. It’s well worth the cost however. You can bring your own lunch and have a picnic or hike the grounds for a great adventure. The air is so cool up there, it was a perfect place for the boys and I to getaway to beat the heat.
There is a little shop that sells tasty delectables featuring the fresh picked lavender, but the boys and I decided that we would just take in the sites and cool down and head home to eat lunch instead. We walked around the gardens and admired the fragrant lavender as we took in the sites.
It was a short little adventure, but a beautiful day out so I took this opportunity to take some shots of the boys and my eldest son Kevin helped take a few photos of my casual outfit I wore.
The best part about our little drive and excursion today was that I was able to spend it with the boys. They go back to school in about 2 1/2 weeks and this summer break flew by too quickly. The twins are off to 1st Grade and Kevin is off to 7th Grade. With Football season starting for all three boys August 1st – I know that times like these will be few in between, so I’m glad we made great use out of our Summer break.
Kimono Cover up – Forever 21 Plus
Ribbed Tank – Old Navy
Linen Shorts with pockets in black – Torrid.com
Flip flops – Guess Jeweled Slip ons
Watch – Invicta Angel
Sunglasses – Maui Jim Maui (style no longer available)
Nail Polish – Sinful Colors Kylie Jenner Trend Matters Collection in Kozy
My embedded video above also showcases our dinner for that evening… I made my homemade poor man’s rissotto (recipe coming soon) and we watched a beautiful sunset from our porch to end a wonderful day. If you’re not following me on Snapchat – my code is in my side bar, come and follow me on my daily journey. What about you, are you enjoying the summer months? I’m thankful to live in Hawaii and blessed to have a lifestyle where every day is an adventure and a vacation.
Since my DSLR hasn’t been working, it’s been really nice to find reasons to take my phone out to practice shooting with it… all the images that you see in this post were taken with my Samsung Note 4.
Disclaimer: Everything mentioned or featured was purchased with my own money. Affiliate links may be posted through out.
It’s been a few years since I have had the twins, well – almost 7 years to be exact and while they are growing too quick for me to fathom, my pregnancy with all of my children are still dear and near to my heart. Each pregnancy I have had have been challenges and that doesn’t count the numerous miscarriages I have had over the years. So – when I look back at those memories, I’m always thankful for the little keepsakes I have from that time. Recently my family and I were introduced to the My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, a company that offers adorable stuffed animals (bears, monkeys, giraffes, hippos and more) that come with a heart shaped recording device. I thought the idea was such a wonderful thing to have as a mother or for any loved one, that I wanted to share it with you.
So – what is the My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear?
The My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear is a cute and adorable stuffed animal in available in a variety of types – bears, monkeys, giraffes and so much more. The stuffed animal comes with a heart shaped recording device that a mommy can take the device to their ultrasound appointment and use it to record the sound of their baby’s heartbeat in utero. The recorder is t hen inserted in the stuffed animal (through a Velcro and drawstring closure in the back) and you can simply press it at anytime to hear this precious sound.
There are more than 16 cute creatures to choose from – we got the Monkey, because – well, monkeys are adorable. Baby’s Heartbeat Bear was created by Purusha Rivera, an OBGYN Ultrasound Technician who wanted to make the experience more special. The bears are sold online, in hospital gift shops and at ultrasound studios across the country. Each My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear kit comes with your stuffed animal friend and a red “heart” recorder. You can order a second recorder to include a voice message from someone special if you would like. You can easily capture 20 seconds of your baby’s heartbeat or in our case, I recorded my voice telling the twins good night, saying I love you and reminding them to say their prayers. At the touch of your Baby’s Heartbeat Bears belly, your recording will play.
The My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear makes an excellent shower gift and a great addition to the nursery decor. It’s safe for children 3 and older and will also become a source of fascination for growing kids who love to know what they were like as babies. The bear is so easy to use and the little red heart recorder is as simple as pretty the button to record. The stuffed animal is crafted from the softest, highest quality fleece-like material and polyfill. It’s soft and perfect for cuddling.
Since I’m not expecting a new baby any time soon – I thought this would be the perfect addition to the twins collection of stuffed friends. They loved him and absolutely cherish the fact that they can hear my voice any time they want. This is especially ideal on those nights when they are having a hard time sleeping or a bad dream… because just a press of Monk’s tummy and my voice will soothe them right back to sleep.
I wanted to share My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear with all of you, my beautiful readers because this wonderful stuffed friend can mean so much more to many people than just recording a baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound. As I mentioned before, I use it as a way to calm the twins at night so they can hear my voice, but as a mother who has also lost children through miscarriage, I know how much this keepsake could bring happiness and peace to someone who has suffered similar lost.
A mom named Kailee reached out to My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear. Her baby was dying and she hoped to make a recording of her daughter’s heartbeat before she passed away. With a video of the baby’s heartbeat, the My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear team was able to preserve the sound of Kailee’s daughter’s heart so she will have a memory to treasure forever.
My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear and the creator – Purusha Rivera offer a Gifting Program for those that could use this wonderful gift. And, you never know what this could mean for another mom, dad or loved one. You can learn more about the Gifting Program here and watch some videos from those that benefited from this wonderful Gift. (P.S. They are tear jerkers, so grab your kleenex)
My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear is a wonderful gift for anyone expecting a beautiful child to come into this World or anyone else. I highly suggest this gift to anyone that could benefit from it and our new monkey friend named “Monk” has bought many days of joy since he has joined our family. These lovely friends retail anywhere from $29 – $40.00 depending on the style and type you get and as I mentioned before, they are made well and are soft and ready to cuddle.
Do you know someone who could benefit from a new friend? Head on over to http://mybabysheartbeatbear.com/ and take a look at all of the wonderful stuffed animals they have available. If you are looking to pick up a gift for a soon to be mom or a loved one, I highly suggest checking them out. After my sons have had Monk the last month, I realize how much they love and appreciate him and I know that I will be ordering from My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear for years to come for loved ones to cherish.
Disclaimer: This product mentioned / featured was sent for review consideration. Any compensation or product sample was received for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased as with anything on this site. I was not obligated to write a favorable review and if I have done so, it is because I have genuinely enjoyed the product.