Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tips to DIY Photo Shoot

Have you ever had a photo session?  I have been to the places at the mall which are not too expensive.  But now with all of the Pinterest ideas, who wants plain studio pictures when you can do full photography sessions.  I can't afford those.  So I am trying to learn how to do a session myself.  Here are some tips from what I have learned from my very first session with my daughter for her birthday pictures:

1)  Camera-I borrowed my friend's camera.  I cannot take professional photos with my cell phone.  Well at least those pictures will not have good pixels for when I want to print or enlarge those pictures.  My very own camera is on my Christmas list this year.

2)  Battery-Make sure your camera is charged.  When I called my friend to borrow her camera she mentioned needing to charge it.  This has happened before that when you need the camera it is not charged.  So plan ahead and charge your battery.

3)  Memory Card-Make sure your memory card is not full.  Download your pictures after each session.  Delete the ones you don't need before downloading.  Then you don't use up space on unwanted pics.  This will also prevent your session from being cut short.  No space, no pics.

4)  Theme-What are your pictures going to be for?  This will help with the next tip...  

5)  Location-Find a location that works for you.  A park, your house, your favorite spot.
A place that goes with the theme.  We have a favorite park that we have done pictures for many different reasons.  I love the landscape there and the pictures always come out great.

6)  Outfit-Coordinate your outfit with your theme.  Christmas pictures-maybe wear green, and red. Birthday or Anniversary-your favorite colors.  

7)  Props-Your theme may call for props.  Bring some mistletoe, a blanket, or accessories, etc..

8)  Assistant-You may need help taking pictures, carrying the props, or outfit changes.  It is also good to have someone assist when you are working with kids.  Help fix hair, fluff dresses, or make the person in the picture laugh.

9)  Fun-I always say, if something is a chore then don't do it.  Leave it to the professionals.  Taking a picture is capturing a moment in time.  Portraying a memory.  Giving someone your vision through an image.

10)  Display-Print your art.  The pictures you take are an artwork.  Your own.  Print out wallets for family.  Enlarge the print you took and display it.    
This is our masterpiece.  Our theme for this birthday is Ariel the Mermaid.  This was our favorite photo of our daughter.  So powerful.  We went ahead and printed it so we could display it for her birthday and also in our home.  We went online to AdoramaPix as a metal print.  It came out great.

Metal Prints
Your images are infused right into the surface of a solid sheet of metal, resulting in bright vivid colors, a rich iridescent sheen, incredible depth of detail, and outstanding durability.

You can pick the shape of you print to be a square, rectangle, heart, panoramic, round, oval or a designer shape.  We did rectangle because of the angle of the picture.  This print is actually  11 X 17.  Do not let the big candlestick holder fool you.  The candlestick holder is huge as well.  This is a prop for her party and it works perfect for her theme.

For more information, go to

Friday, November 27, 2015

Flick Friday-The Divergent Series: Allegiant

***Disclosure-No compensation was received.  Informational post only.

I said I would not get hooked but I did.  My husband got me hooked and now we can't wait for the third installment.

ALLEGIANT takes Tris [Shailene Woodley] and Four [Theo James] into a new world, far more dangerous than ever before. After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago.  For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known.  Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths.  Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity.  In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

In Theaters March 18, 2016 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 Festival of Lights-Moody Gardens

***Disclosure-I received complimentary passes.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience. 

The holidays are time for celebrating traditions with loved ones.  Some families travel from far but no matter the distance, they make it to their loved ones.  Where they are no traditions, make some.

A Christmas tradition that many families celebrate are driving in neighbors checking out the lights.  I remember my parents taking us for drives to see the pretty lights.    So this year we are hitting one of the largest light display, Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens in Galveston.
There are more than 1 million lights within 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays and nightly live entertainment. 
Festival Admission: $10.95 (includes ice skate admission)

Arctic Ice Slide Admission: $7 for one slide, $20 for 10 slides and $25 for all day

Hours: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Tips to Festival of Lights-

1)  Wear a sweater.  It can be a bit chilly at night.
2)  Bring your own skates. 
For more information, go to

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ice Land-Moody Gardens

***Disclosure-I was invited to a media event.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Heading down South for the holidays?  Galveston, TX?  Have you been to Moody Gardens?
Have you ever seen 2 MILLION POUNDS of ice?  I have!  A team of 30 professional ice carvers from Harbin, China have created Bikini Bottom Iceland. 
Your kids will love to see SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward.
I had so much fun.  I really felt like I was there with these ice sculptures.  They even have a slide!
It is an experience you have to experience yourself.  

Tips to visiting Iceland:

1)  Wear gloves.  I forgot my tech gloves.  I had to keep taking them off and putting them back on.
2)  Wear socks and tennis shoes or boots.  I wore my Mary Janes with slip on socks that did not keep my toes warm at all.
3)  Bring a camera.  You will want to take several pics and selfies.

Everyone who enters will be given a parka to use in Iceland.  It is a full length hoodie that zips up.
Admission:  Adult: $26.95  Senior (65+)/Child (4-12): $21.95

Save $5 on Value Days:  Sunday-Thursday: Nov. 15 - Dec. 17 (Excludes Thanksgiving)

For more information, go to

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tasty Tuesday-Piada Italian Street Food

***Disclosure-I was invited to a Blogger lunch to sample the menu.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

As a foodie, I love finding new places to eat especially for lunch.  Italian food is one of my favorites.  Last week I discovered I have been missing out on some good Italian food.

What Is Piada from Matt Eisenacher on Vimeo.

There was a lot to choose from but I finally decided from the Tascas.
A Tasca is a lighter Italian sandwich made-to-order on thin-crust Piada dough.  I picked the Farm Club with a Kale salad as my side.  
I happen to sit at the same table with a very sweet person, Valerie Sweeten.  She shared her some of her lunch picks with me.
Piada cheese sticks.  Crispy, small Piada dough stone baked with mozzarella cheese and brushed with extra virgin olive oil.  So cheesy.  This is a good appetizer to share.
Artichokes are a topping that can be added to your Piada, salad, or pasta bowl.  These were really flavorful.

The dough gets 2 thumbs up from me because it was so thin.  I cannot wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.

Piada has 2 locations in the Houston area:


1930 HIGHWAY 6

Coming soon-

For more information or to find one near you, go to

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Good Dinosaur Movie Review

***Disclosure-I was invited to attend an advance screening for review purpose.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs.  
"The Good Dinosaur" asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?  

Would it all be different? 

In The Good Dinosaur, an Apatosaurus dinosaur named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend.  While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

My thoughts-My 3, almost 4 year old and I went to the screening.  My daughter is a real movie critic already.  We both were laughing so hard throughout the entire movie.  It is a movie that any age will enjoy.  The entire theater was laughing.  There is a lesson to be learned and it is spelled out so simple.  My daughter and I really connected with this movie.       

Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.  The perfect family movie to catch this holiday weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy 45th Birthday Neutrogena Rainbath

***Disclosure-Sample product was received for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

The fall brings fresh breezes, the smell of pumpkin everything and something you might not have known - it's NEUTROGENA Rainbath's 45th Birthday this year!
After a long day I just wanted to relax and unwind.  I dropped some Neutrogena Rainbath in my bath.  I killed to birds with one stone and used it to shave my legs.  My legs were left so smooth.  

You can use it:
-in the shower
-in the bath
-for shaving legs

It has:
-antioxidant-rich ingredients
-unique fragrance of spices, fruits and herbs
-refreshing-warm scent 
With each lather it cleanses, softens and conditions skin without any heavy residue.  It provides a clean, fresh burst that awakens your senses and refreshes your entire body.  The special formula leaves skin in better condition.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Disney's THE FINEST HOURS Coming January 2016

***Disclosure-No compensation was received. Informational post only.

Disney's THE FINEST HOURS, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and stars Chris Pine, Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, storms into theaters on January 29th!

Check out the trailer:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Walt Before Mickey Release on DVD

***Disclosure-No compensation was received.  Informational post only.

The true story of "that" boy whose dreams built "that" kingdom. Yes, you know WHO and WHAT I am talking about?  Sometimes the struggles in our lives lead to great soaring futures.  The legendary Walt Disney had a tumultuous childhood, yet he was determined to overcome obstacles in his path, before the creation of his first iconic character: Mickey Mouse.

He was a dreamer!  

Check out the trailer:

Releasing on DVD on December 5, 2015.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lego KidsFest 2016 Tour Dates

***Disclosure-I am a USFG blogger.  I will receive complimentary tickets for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Lego KidsFest is coming to Houston in 2016.  We are so excited.  We cannot wait!!  The tour dates have been released.  Here are the 2016 locations and dates:

Charlotte, NC: Feb. 19-21 (Charlotte Convention Center)
Harrisburg, PA: April 8-10 (Farm Show Complex & Expo Center)
Kansas City, MO: May 13-15 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Louisville, KY: June 3-5 (Kentucky Exposition Center) 
Milwaukee, WI: Oct. 7-9 (Wisconsin Center)
Houston, TX: Oct. 21-23 (NRG Center)
Cleveland, OH: Nov. 4-6 (I-X Center)

Five sessions — all identical and 4½ half hours in length — will held at each tour stop.  LEGO KidsFest tickets can be purchased at  Tickets are $19 for the Friday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and $22 for both sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning session. 

Some of the activities at the shows include: 

  • LEGO Model Museum: life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play
  • Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family 
  • LEGO Star Wars: build and display a Star Wars model
  • LEGO Disney™ Princess: create a princess scene to add to a LEGO story book
  • LEGO Super Heroes: pose with a life-size Spiderman model and more
  • LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
  • LEGO Retail:purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
  • LEGO Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City
  • LEGO Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member
  • LEGO Mindstorms: build and program robots and snakes
  • LEGO Technic: get hands-on with the cool, realistic vehicles at the booth
  • Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
  • Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
  • Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color foster group creativity

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Magazines-Redan Publishing

***Disclosure-I am a USFG blogger.  I will receive sample magazines for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Does your child like to read?  We have subscriptions to magazine and my daughter likes to go through them.  She does not know how to read yet but she likes for me to read to her.  She also likes to play I Spy in our magazines.  We have not found a magazine just for her....
Have you?

A Magazine For Every Child! Great Interactive Children's Magazines Each issue contains stories, a craft project, a collectible poster and a workbook full of fun educational activities that are designed to give your child a head start in developing their early learning skills with the help of their favorite characters. Your child will spend endless hours stimulating their imaginations and having fun not realizing they are learning!

Redan Publishing is offering Independentmami readers a special discounted offer plus a FREE bonus issue for ordering. These interactive magazines will make the perfect gift for all your little kiddos!

For more information or to place an order, go to and click on the magazine cover with your child's favorite character to order.

AXE White Label Dry Spray Review

***Disclosure-I received this product in the Unilever Dry Spray & Walgreens VoxBox for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Do you use AXE products?  My husband and son do.  They offer a wide variety of products.  Thanks to Influenster for sending the AXE White Label dry spray in our Unilever Dry Spray VoxBox.
My husband works long hours.  His schedule can range in hours on any given day.  He also works the graveyard shift.  So he was ready to put this dry spray to the test.

His thoughts-

-He likes the fragrance.  (I do too.  It is not too over powering.  Some body sprays can give me headaches. With this antiperspirant, he did not need to add body spray)

-He sprayed and it instantly dried.  Which is good because he does not want to leave a deodorant stain on his uniform.

-He said it seems to be keeping him dry.  (You know men are very skeptical.)

I like that it offers wetness protection for 48 hours.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thirsty Thursday-Tempranillo Day

 *** Disclosure-I received sample product for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Where did the year go?  The holidays are here.  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  We get to spend time to celebrate family, history, our cultural heritage and traditions.  Today is Tempranillo Day. One of the greatest expressions of the Tempranillo grape is found in Rioja, Spain, a region near and dear to our hearts.

Campo Viejo Rioja ~ Reserva 2007
Varieties: 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo

It is aged for 18 months.  It is Ruby-red colour.  I like it, very smooth.  A great aroma.  

One of our family traditions is to get together at my in laws to make tamales prior to the upcoming holiday.  It is a girl's day which includes wine, laughs, and tamale making.  We each have a wine glass and apron.  We come ready to hit the assembly line.  Tamales are hardwork but they are so yummy.  

Rioja wines are a great pairing for Latin cuisine and traditional holiday favorites like tamales and chicken mole.  We all enjoyed this bottle!