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Friday, June 14, 2019

Candytopia Houston

Somebody's childhood dream has come true.  Remember that song, if all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops....oh what a joy would that be?  Can you imagine candy everywhere?  Well Houston, no more imagining because Candytopia has dropped into our city. 


Thanks to the creator of Candytopia for making my little girl dreams come to life in this new experience.  My family received a special invitation to get a sneak peek at what is in store for Houstonians.  We were in for a really big treat too. 


From the creative mind of the Candy Queen herself, Jackie Sorkin brings our greatest wish to life.  Jackie and her team have created a Candyland in Houston that you will not want to miss.  Candy confections that are larger than life and sweet art that looks to die for.  Your senses will be on an overload.  From the minute you walk in, you will be immersed into a golden ticket kinda world.


Each room is unique.  There is a different experience to be had.  No matter your age, you will want to see, feel, smell, and of course, taste the samples provided.  The space is kid-friendly in every way.


A little someone did not want to leave.  Her favorite room had to be the underwater, under the sea room.  Make sure you look up, around, and enjoy the space.  Picture-perfect, instagramable pics, every time.  No filter.  And the staff is friendly and ready to capture those moments for you.


TICKET PRICES:
Adults: $28
Kids (4-12): $20
Children 3 and under: Free

Candytopia opens today at The MARQ*E entertainment center (7620 Katy Fwy, Suite 360 Houston, TX 77024).  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit candytopia.com.

Don't forget to download the Candytopia app before getting there.  You will be able to use the QR code to see special affects and photo booth pictures will be sent straight to your email.  


How sweet is that!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway - Captain Marvel

I have some great news for all of my Marvel fans.  Who are my Marvel fans?  Do I have any here?


MARVEL STUDIOS’
“CAPTAIN MARVEL”



LAUNCHED IN DIGITAL MAY 28 AND LANDS IN BLU-RAY™ COLLECTIONS JUNE 11


Have you seen this movie?  Have you been waiting to add it to you collection?  Real fans have collections, I get it.

Thanks to Disney Home Entertainment one lucky reader will win a digital copy of CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Extensive extras, deleted scenes, gag reel, commentary and much more!

BONUS MATERIAL (may vary by retailer):

Blu-ray & Digital:

· Alternate Movie Versions

- Movie with Intro – An introduction by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.

- Movie with Commentary – Commentary by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.

· Featurettes:

- Becoming a Super Hero – Follow Brie Larson's journey as she joins the MCU, and see what it takes to be a Marvel Super Hero in every sense of the word.

- Big Hero Moment – Explore how impactful Captain Marvel's entrance into the MCU is, and how she inspires audiences around the world.

- The Origin of Nick Fury – Witness some of the MCU’s most significant events through Nick Fury's eyes, and see how his influence helped shape the MCU.

- The Dream Team – Discover why Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck are the perfect pair to direct Marvel Studios’ most powerful hero.

- The Skrulls and the Kree – Take a deeper look into the Skrulls and the Kree, their ongoing conflict, and the importance of shifting perspectives in the film.

- Hiss-sterical Cat-titude – The cast and crew dish on working with Goose and the raw talent it takes to portray such a complex character on-screen.

· Deleted Scenes

- “Who Do You Admire Above All Others?” - Kree Commander Yon-Rogg must answer to the Supreme Intelligence, who questions his leadership ability.

- Starforce Recruits - Yon-Rogg lectures a roomful of students on the Kree's mission to defend all nations from the scourge of the Skrulls.

- Heading to Torfa - Vers (Danvers) and her fellow Starforce members banter as they prepare for their rescue mission to Torfa.

- “What, No Smile?” - In this alternate version of a scene from the movie, Vers is consulting a map when she receives a dubious offer of assistance.

- Black Box - Keller attempts to track Vers and Fury after their escape in a quadjet from the Joint USAFA Facility.

- Rookie Mistake - Novice S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson helps Director Keller out of an embarrassing situation.

· Gag Reel – The fate of the universe hangs in the balance as the cast battles props, flubs and Flerkens in these outtakes from the set.

Digital Exclusives:

· Journey into Visual Effects with Victoria Alonso – Experience how filmmakers' visions of the MCU come to life on-screen through the skill of the Visual Effects team.

· What Makes a Memory: Inside the “Mind Frack” – What does it take to craft an action-packed sequence for a Marvel Studios film? Nothing short of an epic team effort!

· Concept Art – Explore artwork from “Captain Marvel” and trace the visual development of characters.

· On-Set Images – Uncover a trove of behind-the-scenes and production photography.

Enter below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is US only.  1 winner will be randomly selected.  The sponsor will take care of fulfillment to the winner.  The winner will need to claim prize immediately.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Wellness Wake Up Call

Ever suffer from a really bad headache that does not go away for days.  Now imagine, your face swelling, eyes twitching, and much more symptoms for over a month.  Yeah, that was me.   It hit out of nowhere and nothing helped.  I went to urgent care and then followed up with my doctor.  My doctor then ordered a slew of tests and specialists visits to try and find what was wrong with me. 


Things are never what they seem.  Little did I know that I was functioning but not really functioning.  You know that saying, listen to the body.  Well, I should have paid a little more attention.  My body was trying to tell me that something was wrong.  I did not listen.  I have been living a couple of stressful months.  And the more I suppressed it, the more I strained my body.  And this was the result.  After seeing the ophthalmologists, allergist, neurologist, therapist, and dentist; we finally have an answer.  STRESS

To be honest, nobody knows what is going on in my head.  Behind my smile, my mind is working a million miles.  Women carry a lot on their shoulders.  We worry for our children.  We pray for our loved ones.  We are strong for our partners.  We are there for our parents.  We do it all at work and at home.   I fall in this description and then some. 

I give until there is no more to give.  Nothing left for me.  But who carries me, who will tag in when i'm too tired to give, and too worn out to try? 

I continue to fail at taking care of me because I leave me for last.  I do not learn my lesson of putting me first.  How selfish of me to even think to do that! 

The FOMO is real.  The fear of dropping the ball on all who need me and all who depend on me.  But I am not realizing that is will be missing out if I don't take care of myself.

How many wake up calls does it take us to realize that we are needed?  To be present for the moments in life that matter, not for those that won't matter. 

So take a half day, take a full day, heck the week... enjoy the weekend, make memories, and laugh a lot.  Laugh til it makes you cry.  Cry til it makes you smile.  Let it all out, whatever and however it needs to come out.  And love and be loved.

P.S.  My stress caused me to grind my teeth while I slept which caused TMJ.  My jaw bone was jammed into my check bone causing all of my symptoms.  While trying to find a cure, I meditated, I relaxed, and I unwinded.  Taking it a MOM-ent for me.

Friday, May 3, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway-The Lego Movie-The Second Part

Everything is awesome....because Batman, Lucy and Emmett are back!  And we are so excited that we are hosting a giveaway thanks to our sponsor.


Thanks to Warner Bros. for sending a review copy.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Synopsis-It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are now facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than it can be rebuilt. The battle to defeat the invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a galaxy filled with fantastic planets, strange characters and catchy new songs. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.
Rules are simple:

1)  Leave  comment on this post telling me who is your favorite character and why? (1 entry)
2)  Share this giveaway on any platform.  Make sure to tag, independentmami.  Come back and leave an entry with your link to your post. (1 entry)
3)  Leave a new comment on any 2019 post. (1 entry)

Good luck.  This giveaway ends on May 9, 2019.  One winner will be selected.  Fulfillment will be done by sponsor.  US only.  The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.

Flick Friday-UGLYDOLLS

I hope that I am a good example for my children.  We can not guarantee that they will always do what is right, we can only hope that everything we teach them, is in there somewhere.  Also, I cannot protect them forever.  I wish we could.  The world can be cruel at times. 

Thanks to Allied and STXfilms for inviting my family to the advance screening of UGLYDOLLS.  All opinions stated are my own and based on my personal experience.

Synopsis - In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye.  Here, the free-spirited Moxy and her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities.   In this all-new story, the UGLYDOLLS will go on a journey beyond the comfortable borders of Uglyville.  There, they will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don't have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.

And isn't that the best message we can teach our kids. 

Perfection is just an illusion.  Busting that bubble sooner than later is just what I did with my kids.  At times, some topics are harder than others to talk about or bring up.  UGLYDOLLS can be a great conversation starter. This movie not only has a great message but it a good movie for the entire family to enjoy.

The film is inspired by the unique and beloved global plush toy phenomenon launched in 2001 and features all new original songs from the cast of popstars.  Unconventionality rules in the new animated musical adventure starring the acting and singing voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull.  Also starring in the voice cast of UGLYDOLLS are Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Wang Leehom, Emma Roberts, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and Lizzo.

UGLYDOLLS is directed by Kelly Asbury and is in theaters on today, May 3, 2019.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Discovering Backyard Wilderness

How connected are your kids?  I do not mean to the WiFi but to the outdoors.  We are a society that has a schedule for screen time but do you schedule outdoors time too?  Do you?  No judgement from me remember that I am the mom who decided to make this year's resolution to be outdoors more.


Thanks to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for inviting our family to a screening.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My daughter recently was assigned a science fair project.  Remember those?  You were given a topic, you have to do research, and then you have to present all your findings.  Every the projects were different.  My daughter is in the first grade and this year they were assigned different animals.  She was so excited to be able to make her selection.  My daughter loves animals.  She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.  She came home with her assigned animal and I was  ready to hit the library.  You know, to do our research from inside a book.  Just then we received the special invitation to watch the new 3D documentary - Backyard Wilderness: The Wild Around You at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  
   


Synopsis-In Backyard Wilderness: The Wild Around You, follow a young girl who discovers the intricate secrets that nature has hidden close to her front door.  Absorbed by electronic devices, young Katie and her family are blind to the natural splendor all around them—until Katie uncovers a new world.  This stunning film reveals animal inhabitants in rare and breathtaking detail, inside dens and nests, and moving along forest floors and pond bottoms.

When I was younger, I was not encouraged to get outdoors.  Research was done in the library, inside the books.  When my son was in school, he was encouraged to do his research in the web.  The internet is a plethora of information.  But I have always encouraged my kids to be hands on, explore, and be creative.  I liked that this 3D movie invites you to step outside because you never know what you will discover.  There is a whole other world, if you stop and pay attention.  Disconnecting from our electronics and connecting with the environment. 

Our family recommends this movie.  We think it is perfect for families and it is for all ages. 

For tickets and more information on Backyard Wilderness, visit www.hmns.org or call (713) 639-4629. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Crated with Love

February is upon us.  Did it creep up on you like it did with me?  I bearly remember celebrating the New Year.  How do you greet month two of this year?  Is it the month of LOVE for you?  or not?

Thanks to Crated with Love for providing sample for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My mother in law gave me the best advise recently.  She said that marriage is about two people who are willing to fight for each other.  If it was easy everyone would stay married for ever.  It takes work from both, each giving an equal amount of love, passion, and devotion.  Not one giving more than the other.  She reminded me how in the beginning when we first are dating, boyfriends and girlfriends work hard to impress and win each other over.   Is it that simple?

My husband and I were having a conversation about the beginning of our relationship.  We talked on the phone for hours, daily.  We went on dates, weekly.  Month by month our relationship grew.  Thinking back, we realized how special those times were.  We both realized that over the years we had lost some of that.  Our focus went from each other to the schedules, routines, and deadlines.  Many with long lasting marriages have told us, that life is not about those things but about the one that stood by you.  I am thankful for those that continue to remind us that we have to nurture our relationship.



Do you and your partner go on date nights?  My husband and I do.  I try to get as creative as possible so that it is not the same ole, same ole thing we do every time.  But coming up with ideas can get hard at times.  Wish I had a little help...

Put it out in the world and the world answers, right?  Heard of Crated with Love?  It is a subscription box service that sends couples at-home date nights that focus on strengthening their relationship through activities and games created by a team of experts.

Sounds fun and super easy.  So, what's in the box? 

Every box shipped includes 4 or 5 date night challenges or activities along with all the items needed.  The goal being to help inspire laughter so that couples can reconnect and create quality time together.

We enjoy our one on one alone time.  It is our time to rekindle our relationship and remember how it all came together.  My husband and I love playing games.  This is what happened with our box.  

Unboxing was a mystery within itself.  Our box was cute and so perfect for us.  The challenges were so much fun for he and I.  We talked, we laughed, and talked some more.  We were able to unwind and have fun.  Play a game that had us working together.  Suddenly we were not talking about work or the kids, we were in our own space.  

This month, how about trying something different?   

Crated with Love offers a monthly date night box delivered right to your door!  It makes the perfect gift for a love one.  For more information, go to cratedwithlove.com.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Things To Do In San Diego

Four years ago, I fell in love with San Diego.  Before I visited, I created my very own San Diego bucket list.  It was a wonderful trip that my husband and I were able to take.  I did not get to cross everything off my list but I told myself, I would be back.  And of course, my wish was to have my children be able to experience this beautiful city as well.  Fast-forward to 2018, my son is stationed in San Diego and living on Coronado island.


Who would have known that this is how life would play out?  I love that I get to visit once again.

Here is my list of Things To Do in San Diego:



1)  Tour a Haunted Hotel-Who knows what you will see at Hotel Del Coronado?  Go for the curiosity, stay for the view.


2)   Hop Aboard the USS Midway-You do not need to bring your own sailor for a private tour.  There is a free audio tour available in several languages that is very interactive.  The volunteers are great too.  Stop and hear their stories, they have many to share.


3)  Hang out with the Seals-You may not be able to hang out with the Navy Seals but the La Jolla seals will even pose for you.


4)  Tour Caves-Do you dare travel down this tunnel?


5)  Experience the San Diego Zoo-It is an adventure.

Don't forget to check out-
-Seaworld San Diego

I could not believe how many things I missed doing the last time I was in San Diego.  I even found new things I wanted to add to my list.  Most of the items on my list I did on the fly, very inexpensive, or even free.  The city is tourist friendly.  You can find discounts online.  If you have time, plan ahead.  If you have active military or veterans, ask for discounts.  Parking was no problem. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Getting Nutty in 2019 with PBfit

How was all the yummy holiday food?  Did you over indulge?  Did you leave your healthy eating habits at the door?  I mean, I understand.  Abuelas tamales are the best.  Who can blame you, when all the desserts you have been waiting to eat all year were neatly displayed on a giant table in front of you!


Thanks to PBFit for providing samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Time to get back on track and bring all those healthy eating habits back.  You know what to do. (This is what I tell myself!)  But after all that sugar intake, your body might start craving it.  Cravings are hard to fight off.  This is my biggest problem.  Can you go cold turkey?  I can’t. I have a sweet tooth all year long.  Fighting a sugar craving is really hard for me in a house full of sweets.  The problem is also a world of products full of sugar.

We have to make the change.  The manufacturers are not going to make the changes.  Some are trying to reduce sugar.  Others are finally keeping it real on the labels. It is our job to know what we are putting in our mouths.  Do you check your labels?  I am guilty of not doing this all the time.  But why should we have to check the labels every, single time.  Why not just find products that we know are good for us?  Maybe a brand that does the work you.

PBfit has taken away-90% of the fat and two-thirds of the calories. (Compared to regular peanut butter)   Made from real roasted, pressed peanuts.  With a dash of organic coconut palm sugar and kosher salt. All-Natural – Gluten Free – Protein

Now available in Sugar Free! This is one New Year’s resolution that will be easy to keep.

Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day with this PBfit & Grape Smoothie - 3 ingredient recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk
PBfit
1 cup frozen grapes

Instructions:

Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until thick and creamy. Pour into a large glass and enjoy!

Calories 165 • Fat 5g • Protein 11g • Carbs 32g • Fiber 5g

Monday, January 14, 2019

My NoSweat Resolution for 2019

Looking back at 2018, I realized I wanted to be outdoors more in 2019.  I think I became a hermit the last couple of years.  It was like I was allergic to anything that had to do with stepping out of my front door.  But I plan on changing that this year.  I want to return to my roots.

Why, you ask?  Well I think it is important for our health to not get into the rut of sheltering yourself from anything and everything.  The world is a scary place but it becomes less scary the more you face it.  I am challenging myself to be outdoors at least once a week.  I used to go outdoors every day in the past.  Somehow I got comfortable just hanging out at home and being a homebody.  Total opposite of my character and how I had lived my life.


Thanks to NoSweat for providing product for review. All opinions stated are my own based on my
personal experience.

The challenge is to step out.  Embrace today.  Do what comes natural.  Explore the unknown.  There are so many things to enjoy and do outdoors:

Ride a bike.  Riding bikes is not just for little kids.  It is the new cool thing to do, actually.

Take a stroll.  Walk.  Have you ever just walked with no place to go?  It is amazing what clarity you get.  How lost in the moment you could be?

Climb as high as you can go.  Try something new.  You may have not thought about rock climbing. Start small and then go big.

Run, forest, run!  You don’t have to find a forest or do you?  The air is so different there.  Find a park.
Let the wind hit you in the face.

Sit and be still.  Just be there.  In that moment.  You and what is in front of you.  Close your eyes and use your ears.

Don’t sweat the small the things. Do more of the big things. Pick a side and just go for it.

Whatever the excuse I will give myself, whether it be working out, traveling, outdoor recreation, or just nothing; the one thing I know is-I won’t be sweating things this year. 


Well, NoSweat has me covered on that aspect.  NoSweat thin, disposable liners stick to the inside of headwear to instantly absorb sweat and prevent odors, stains and even acne.  The liners are soft and lightweight and each one can last up to two weeks.

-Peel it
-Stick It-

NoSweat it!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Let’s Get Ready for Bed

How are your routines and bed times going?  Are you back on track yet?  After long holiday school breaks, routines, schedules, and bed times can get all out of whack with our families.  But the little ones can have a harder time than mommies and daddies.

 
Thanks to Nurturing Steps for sending sample product for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Healthy sleep habits are learned from a very small age.  I loved receiving tips and tricks from other mothers on what worked for them.  Every story shared always reiterated routine, routine, routine. 

Michael W. Smith has launched Nurturing Steps, an infant and toddler series with the simple mission to enliven a child's journey with hope and faith through music and storytelling.  

Let’s Get Ready for Bed takes children on a journey through Sleepy Puppy’s bedtime routine. And when Sleepy Puppy turns out to be not-so-sleepy after all, his friends Eddie the bear and Lamby the sheep know just what to do to help him drift off to dreamland. Along with read-aloud rhymes and a cover that sparkles with glitter, Let’s Get Ready for Bed also includes an exclusive link to a lullaby by Smith. The song is meant to further help lull young children to sleep.

“One of the greatest joys of my life is being a parent and a grandparent,” says Smith, the father of five, who is called “G-Daddy” by his 14 grandkids.  “I want to serve the next generation well.  That’s why I created Nurturing Steps, to provide stories and songs that will help shape the faith of our newest generation.”

I have been a fan of Michael W Smith since I was a teenager.  I love his music.  And now, I love this book.  It is a cute story that we can share with our kids.  It is not just any story, it has a great message. 

For all the latest Nurturing Steps news, go to www.nurturingsteps.com.  To connect with Michael W. Smith, go to www.michaelwsmith.com, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Monday, January 7, 2019

LUZIA by Cirque de Soleil Coming to Houston

Happy New Year!  Any Resolutions?  Resolutions to have more fun this year!  Who doesn't like to have more fun?  Life is about moments and being in them.  Laughing more.  Enjoying life.

Disclosure-This is a sponsored post.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Cirque du Soleil is bringing LUZIA to Houston, Texas!  Experience rain inside the big top, jaw dropping acts and larger than life props in this unique production unlike any show you have ever seen before.  You will be transported to a surreal world of wonders!


The new Cirque de Soleil - LUZIA will have shows going on from January 10 to February 24 at Sam Houston Race Park.


LUZIA "The Waking Dream of Mexico" is sure to bring vibrant, colorful costumes with amazing acrobatic, mind blowing performances that you will not want miss.


I cannot wait to see the story, to join in magic because I am sure the music will be great.  This is a couple's date night waiting to happen or the perfect Valentine's gift for a loved one.  Got some gal pals, celebrate Galentine's Day together while watching some amazing performers. 


Buy your tickets at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia before they sell out!  You will not want to miss the show.  Click on the link now and save 15% off your tickets today.