Monday, December 16, 2019

2019 Kids Gift Guide

Christmas time is upon us.  Are your lists ready?  Do you know what to get your kiddos?  Everyone is always asking me what to get their kids.  I love shopping for kids.  I like looking for the perfect gifts that will make their eyes light up.  Do you?

Well if you are still looking for some gifts ideas, here are some of my recommendations:

1)  Sesame Street - 50 Years and Counting - Who does not love Sesame Street?  350 mins of fun and learning.  I love giving DVDs as stocking stuffers.  They make the perfect gifts because you can watch over and over.

Books are great gifts to give.  Winter break is the perfect time to grab a book and read.  

2)  Three Paws - This book encourages children to be bold, make new friends. It promotes the importance of both independence and inclusivity.

3)  Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog - On Christmas Eve, Ted and Brad snuggle by the fire as their father tells them the magical story of his encounter with Santa Frog.

4)  Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book - The Ballerina of the Realms dances on every page of this magical book!  Follow the elegant Ballerina of the Realms as she dances center stage in this artistic pop-up book, celebrating each of the unique and picturesque Four Realms.

5)  Bright Lite Inspiring a “you CAN sit with us” mentality amongst their readers and creators, BRIGHT LITE is a one-of-a-kind publication that takes shape in the form of a small, bi-annual coffee-table book.

Who doesn't like toys?  STEM toys are even better.  I love to give gifts that call for learning.

6)  Stomp Rocket - Stomp Rocket's line-up of STEM toys provide hours of screen-free fun and make a perfect for all ages! Stomp Rocket is 100% kid-powered and easy for kids to set up with no batteries required! 

I hope you find the perfect gift for your kiddos.  I have lots of wrapping to do, how about you?

Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog

Does your child like to read?  Winter break is around the corner, what will your kids be doing the entire time?  My daughter loves to read.  My son was the total opposite.  He did not like books or reading.  I tried everything I could think of.  But I remember having a hard time with reading too.

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

Reading was not my thing.  But that is why I wanted my kids to like it.  Reading can take us places, teach us so much, and you can do it anywhere at any age.

My daughter received the book Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog.  The Ted the Friendly Frog books are great for kids.  Written with kids in mind by a parent trying to teach his kid how to read. 

In the book - Ted and his brother Brad are snuggled up by the fire on Christmas Eve, waiting to hear the story of Santa Frog.  Their father tells them an incredible tale of the time he met Santa Frog, and they can't believe their ears!  A frog in a red coat, flying a sleigh pulled by nine birds, leaving presents under Christmas trees; it almost sounds too good to be true.  When the story is done, Ted and Brad can't wait to see if Santa Frog comes again that night.  Will Ted get to meet Santa Frog this Christmas?

I like the story.  I like that the book rhymes and is an easy read.  I like the lesson in the story.  My daughter liked reading about Ted and following along the adventure as each page was turned.
Scott McCall began writing short stories to help his son learn to read.  Together they wrote some stories that rhymed.  It was from this experience that the idea of Ted the Friendly Frog evolved.  Ted the Friendly Frog and Santa Frog is the third book in the series.

 For more information about the series and author, visit

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway - Cinderella and the Secret Prince

Do you have a princess at home that dreams of a castle and dancing at a royal ball one day?  My daughter was born with pixie dust dreams.  Who am I to judge having been there myself?

Disclosure-This giveaway is hosted by Shout! Factory.  Review copy was received.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal opinion.

On November 5th, Shout! Kids and Gold Valley Films released a secret, never-before-told tale of Cinderella.  Cinderella and the Secret Prince tells about a new adventure we have yet to hear.  Just in time for the holiday break.  Grab your blanket, some hot chocolate, and curl up on the couch with the family.  Follow along with the fairy, the mouse friends, and of course, Cinderella.  Check this out:

About - During the Royal Ball, the real prince was turned into a mouse by the evil witch, and the "Prince" from the Royal Ball is in fact a fraud! Now begins the new adventure to save the real Prince and help him defeat the evil force.

Want to win a copy for your family?  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is only open to US.  The winner will be randomly selected.  They will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Fulfillment of prize will be by the sponsor.  Good luck.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway - 100 WAYS TO BE THANKFUL

Tis the season to be thankful.  We have hit November, the month of Thanksgiving.  This year I have more to be thankful for than those in the past.  The last five years I have not been as thankful as I should have been.  I should really explain what I mean...

Disclosure-This giveaway is brought to you by National Geographic Kids.  Review copy was received.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal opinion.

This year has been eye-opening for me after my health scare and awakening.  But I am not alone in this, my family too has been affected.  We have been having a lot of open dialogue with my daughter and she has had several inquisitions.  As a parent, the changes I made were for our future as a family.  We learn from our mistakes and we should be thankful for them as they offer us a chance to grow.  For the past five years, without knowing, my attitude have been very ungrateful.  I should have been thankful for all the little things, the bigger messes, and the huge chaos in between.  Instead of looking at the negative, I should have found the positive in my situations.  Like I said, it was a good lesson to learn and to be able to teach my daughter in hoping that this helps her as she grows older.  Sometimes when we are in situations, we cannot look at the bright side.  I will give you an example:

Now I can be thankful for - the time my husband was able to spend with my daughter as a stay-at-home dad after he lost his lost for a year.  It was very unexpected.  I am not sure if I have talked about it here or not but I am ready to talk about it now.  My daughter was able to have time that no money can replace with her dad.  I am thankful that our family went back to the basics as we had to make due with what we had and stretch what we did not have.

These conversations are not easy to have with kids.  The lessons are there though.

In the month of November we are all taught to give thanks on one day, but we should be thankful all the time.  Do you go around the table on thanksgiving and say what you are thankful for?

National Geographic Kids Books has released 100 Ways to Be ThankfulA book that features 100 creative ways to open up the conversations about gratitude in our life and help kiddos be able to identify it.

It is a great book that kids can pop open and open up their minds to the attitude of gratitude.  Each of the 100 ways has opened questions, suggestions, and most of all ideas in easy to read language for the entire family to get involved.

Like #41, practice random acts of kindness.  Simple and easy to do.

My life lesson from above is actually #62, look for a lesson in struggles.  The tips are great.  I could have used them a couple of years ago.

Are you curious read the rest?  Well, you can win your very own copy just in time for your Thanksgiving get together.

Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US only.  Fulfillment of prize will be done by sponsor.  The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  One winner will be randomly selected.  Good luck.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wellness Wednesday - Inferno Hot Pilates

The end of the year is upon us with only November and December left.  Where are you in your wellness goals?  As you have been reading in my Wellness Wednesday posts, this year has been a year half empty, half full - glass of life.   The year did not start of this way, but now this girl is on fire!

Disclosure-I was an invited guest.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal opinion and personal experience.

My journey started late but I started.  I spent more than half of the year living an unhealthy but most of all UNHAPPY life.  I was suffering inside.  I have had a long time to think where did all go wrong, how did this happened, and how long has it been like this?  Five years ago my life was flipped upside down from all angles in my life.  When I thought I was handling it, well I was only repressing it all.  We all handle things differently.  The process can either make us or break us.  I have been broken.  My glass could never get full because it had a crack in it.  That crack just kept spreading and I could not grasp how foggy things were getting until I literally was having vision problems this year.  It has been very hard for me to talk about it all but it has to come out so I can let it go.  I cannot continue to hold on to something that is not mine to hold.  The universe knows why and I have no need to question it.  Not anymore.  

It happened.  I lived it.  I learned from it.  Let's move on.    

It took five years for me to realize that I did nothing wrong.  I tucked and rolled with the punches that life threw and I am now on the other side.  My glass is full, the good kinda full.  It is overflowing.  

Like Pink says, even if you see my scars....could you love me any way?  I can, I love me!

I am still putting the cracked pieces together but the fire that is inside me is filling the holes one by one.  My journey has taken to a place of transparency and has given me a new courage.  I do not even know my own strength.  Mental or physical.

I am trying new things and taking my body to a healthier place.  Have you heard of Pilates?  I had and never had the courage to try it.  I did not think I had that kinda control.  

I was invited to try Inferno Hot Pilates at a new fitness studio, Hot Power Fitness.  Did you know?

Pilates developed in the aftermath of the late 19th century physical culture of exercising in order to alleviate ill health. - Wikipedia

I in no way shape or form would have imagine surviving the first five minutes of the warm up, much less an entire hour.  But the instructor made me feel so comfortable with every move that was modifiable, if needed.  She was so encouraging and her playlist was fire.  Did I mention that it was inferno?  

The heat is provided through infrared panel that allows the heat to penetrate the body maximizing the benefits increasing flexibility, blood circulation, detoxification, stress release, and pain relief.

The class was high energy and intense.  It was fun and it had me waking up body parts that had been asleep.  I burned a gazillion calories and I met some new fitness friends that had the courage to try the class too.

Hot Power Fitness is located in the Houston Westchase area that also offers hot yoga, restorative yoga, Zumba, fitness seminars, and private group classes.  For more information or to take advantage of their new low introductory rates go to:  (Tell them Alba from Independentmami sent you)

12350 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77077 -

Thanks to Hot Power Fitness for the invitation and the kick the you know where.  I will leave you with this that happens to be on their wall -

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wellness Wednesday - Clean Eating

My health has become my priority with all of the doctor's visits and results I have recently received.  I am taking it one day at a time and focusing on getting me better.  Thanks to one headache caused by TMJ.

After I found out I was no longer allergic to the long list of foods, I was still in shock.  See I was still getting hives after eating.  Stumped by the reaction, I decided to eliminate the things I was previously allergic to.  I wanted to try and pin point the problem.  That same week I was challenged by a blogger friend to make one change.  This was the start of me clean eating.

But what does CLEAN EATING mean?  I have been trying to lose weight for awhile now.  Nothing I tried was working.  I was already under doctor's care for my liver issues.

I decided, enough was enough.  This summer we traveled and of course, enjoyed lots of good food.  I had just came back from our last vacation.  I replayed all the sodas, sweet desserts, and don't get me started on all the fast food we ate.  My one thing to change was that I was not going to drink any more sodas or sweet teas.  I am from the South and sweet tea runs in my blood.  Also because in the past I had been allergic to yeast, I decided to give up bread.

That same day I told my husband we were going grocery shopping to start meal prepping.  While at the store I thought about what I wanted to eat.  I made a dinner schedule that worked for all of the family, not just me.  I know that this is a life style change.  I have been here before in the past and know whats to do.  I have done it several times.  Sunday night, meal prepping was done.  I was ready to start my week.

Then the week started and my 6 small meals was not cutting it.  Day one was super hard.  I felt as all I did all day was eat.  I was too hard to keep up with my eating schedule.  Day two came and it was still hard.  I decided that in order to be accountable I was going to be sharing my story online.  Soon enough I had friends and followers giving support and offering their success stories.  They shared what worked for them.  I felt very supported and listened to each suggestion.

Clean eating for me meant that I eliminate the food that was causing my body to react.  I eliminated sodas and sugars.  I eliminated yeast as it always made my stomach swell.  I started keeping a food diary and watching how my body reacted.  The changes I made actually worked.  I no longer suffer from hives after dinner and the scale has actually started moving.

In a little over a month, I had lost 20 pounds and after 3 months a total of 30.  I made changes to our eating.  We cleaned out our refrigerator and pantry of items that we were not eating.  We stopped eating food that comes in a box.  We started eating all fresh food.  I even have started purchasing organic and grass fed.  We plan a dinner schedule that everyone can enjoy.  We eat foods that we all like.  We cook together.  The life style change has began because we all are in this together.  I am really enjoying my husband cooking for us as well.  He is learning that he enjoys cooking.

And lastly, we eat something different everyday.  Previously meal prepping meant eating the same thing at least two to three times a week.  This time, we are enjoying a variety of choices.

Find what works for you and your family.  Start with one change and see how much this will change.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wellness Wednesday - TMJ

The body gives you signals, are you listening?  Do not wait until it is too late to respond.  We are moving too fast through this life.  But what happens when life slows us done?

The one appointment that was pushed back would be the answer to all my suffering.  The visits had all been long, the results all disappointing, and in the end I was just so exhausted.  I drove across town almost everyday to try and find answers.  The Allergist had mentioned that she thought the dentist may be able to confirm what she only could assume.

I walked into the dentist office like a regular visit.  They took my symptoms and did the regular testing to include X-rays.  I sat in the chair just waiting.  And then the dentist comes over and says it's TMJ.  I felt like she had the mic, said TMJ, and then dropped mic.  As I picked up my jaw off the floor, I had a lot of questions....

Ladies and gentlemen, ever heard of TMJ.  (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)  What does that even mean? 

In simple terms, my jaw bone was jammed into my cheek bone.  My medical history does not show this being genetic and I had not had a jaw injury.  The next most obvious was STRESS.  But let's rewind, what were my symptoms:

-I felt a pain like an ear ache but different, in my left ear
-Chewing caused my headaches flare up
-Shooting pain in my face on my left side

The prime suspect was stress.  Stress was causing me to grind my teeth which I had never done before.  And when the dentist ask, "do you grind your teeth?"  You answer, "Um, I am asleep.  How am I suppose to know?"  Dumb

Due to the overload that I had allowed in my life, my body had started to fall apart.  I finally had answers.  But how do you fix this?  Yeah NO, to those of you who want to just smack me a good one to pop it right out.  Not happening.  A mouth guard was ordered and I will be wearing this for the rest of my life.  

So what was the lesson here, slow it down.  Let others help.  You may think you can handle all things, super person, but your body may know differently.  And now TMJ rules my world:

Timeouts R

This really was a really scary situation from start to finish.  It caused me to slow down but for reals.  The timeouts were great and allowed my body to heal.  The healing process was very therapeutic and very much needed.  

Do you visit the dentist every year?  Did you know you are suppose to go every six months for check ups?    Wellness dentist check ups may be covered with your insurance, so what is your excuse?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

***CLOSED***Giveaway - The Lion King

Where are my Lion King fans at?  Did you go catch this movie in theaters?  We love all the songs.

Disclosure-This giveaway is sponsored thanks to Disney Home Entertainment.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

In “The Lion King,” the all-star cast brings our loved characters to life; Donald Glover as Simba, BeyoncĂ© Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.

“The Lion King” can be watched in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Code, and DVD.

Bonus features include*:

Perfecting the Pride – The filmmakers share their experience and the attention to detail that brought the film to life.

Pride Lands Pedia --Dung beetle shares the importance of his “roll” in the African Savanna in a fun, bug’s eye view of the land its inhabitants.


The Journey to “The Lion King” -
The Music - Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.
The Magic - Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.
The Timeless Tale - Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.
More to Be Scene - Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”
“Circle of Life” – Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film
“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie
“Hakuna Matata” – Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.

Music Videos
“Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John
“Spirit” performed by BeyoncĂ© Knowles-Carter

Filmmaker Introduction
Audio Commentary – By Director Jon Favreau.
Song Selection
“Circle of Life”
“I Just Can’t Wait to be King”
“Be Prepared”
“Hakuna Matata”
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
“Never Too Late”

Protect the Pride –Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.

Thanks to our sponsor, two (2) lucky readers will win a digital copy for themselves.  Enter below:

1)  Leave a comment with your favorite song or scene.  (1 entry)

2)  Share on any social media platform and come back to leave comment with link.  (1 entry/per share)

Good luck.  Giveaway ends on 10/18 at midnight.  Fulfillment of prize will be done by sponsor.

Wellness Wednesday - Eye Spy Answers

I have not always had 20/15 vision.  Maybe when I was little but through the years, I had to start using glasses.  And after several years of wearing glasses I decided to get lasik.  Best decision ever.

That is an oldie.  Circa 2007, car selfie.

If you are keeping up with my story, up to now, I have no answers.  My next appointment is with my eye doctor.  (Blurred vision often means there is a need for corrective lenses.) 

Did you know there are different types of eye doctors?

Optometrists prescribe and fit eye glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. 

Ophthalmologists are the next level.  They diagnose and treat eye diseases and perform surgeries.

I was referred to an Ophthalmologists. 

My eye doctor is an Optometrists.  He has had my chart for over 10 years now.  The testing he does goes beyond what regular eye doctor's have done previously.  I made the executive decision to go to him first.  (Again, do what make sense to you.  You know your body.)  I figured he has my eye's history.  I shared with him my symptoms and the results from previous doctors.  He ran scans of my eyes and compared them to my scans from previous visits.  The results... there was nothing wrong with my vision.  There were no changes that he could see from previous scans.  He showed me each eye and what he looks for.  He explained the different things that the eye can show.  The eyes can show:

- Diabetes
- Diseases
- Deficiencies

Not sure I have mentioned this but I am under doctor's care for my liver.  It really interested me to see how much my eyes showed. 

And yet, we hit another dead-end.  On to the next.

Stay Tuned... Wellness Wednesday - TMJ

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wellness Wednesday - I Am Allergic To What?

Have you ever had an allergic reaction?  Maybe you ate something and your lip started swelling.  Or out of nowhere, you start itching.  Your body gives off signs when it does not like something.  Are you listening to your body?  Are you looking out for the signs that may be there?

Last week, I told you that my doctor referred me to several doctors including the Allergist.  I had previously been to the Allergists when I started suffering from allergic reactions all of sudden a couple of years ago.  I went in then thinking OK I am allergic to something.  When I received my results, I was shocked.  After the birth of my daughter, I started suffering from several body ailments that I had not before.  I questions my doctor and she said our body changes as we get older.  And now my allergy tests, said I was allergic some of my favorite things.  It was like they took all of my favorite things and said you are allergic to all of them.  It was so hard to eliminate those foods that I have always eaten.  I even started the shots to help me.  I did them for close to two years and then, I just gave up.  It was hard keeping up with my shots and all those visits.  So what did I do to help my allergies?  I tried to avoid those foods.  I ate them in moderation.  I dealt with the reactions.

It is never a good idea to cause your body allergic reactions or live on Benadryl for the rest of your life.

Fast forward to this year and my current symptoms, swollen and rash on face.  The Neurologists had no explanation.  The Allergists ordered full allergy testing.  What does that mean?  I get to get poked with very small amounts of several items to try and trigger an allergic reaction.  The tests started.  I had been through this before so it was not a surprise.  But for those of you that have not, what actually happens?  There are two types of tests; blood tests and skin tests.  The skin tests is exactly that.  You get poked on your skin to test if you get a reaction for the items being tested.  They will ask you what caused the reaction, if you remember.  It is good to keep a food diary or write down what happens when you get a reaction.  When I went in for my visit, my face was still a bit swollen.  I explained all the symptoms I had been suffering from and the previous doctors I had seen and would be seeing.  The Allergists read all my results and then sat down with me.  And the results showed that I was allergic to....


The Allergists explained that that is exactly why the shots are good for you.  She said the treatment I did previously had helped me overcome my reactions.  She did warn not to try and test my body.  She advise to take it easy on my body.  The allergies good come back.  Too much of something can become bad for you. 

And this point, she had no answers for the swelling in my face or the rash that I got.  Nothing had reacted.

I was still suffering from my headaches.  The Neurologists and Allergist both were dead-ends.  Next..

Stay Tuned... Wellness Wednesday - Eye Spy Answers

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wellness Wednesday - It All Started With A Headache

Where do I start?  It all started with a headache.  The signs were all there stress, not sleeping, and feeling super tired.  I ignored all those signs until my body decided to give me new signs.  Enough was enough, it said.  It would not take any more abuse from me.

One day, I woke up with blurred vision, my face was swollen, rash, and a piercing headache.  I was suffering and I did not know how to help myself.  Nothing I tried worked.  I was falling apart.

I went to the doctor and she did not have an exact answer for my pain.  She ordered a slew of tests and referred me to see a Neurologists, Allergist, Ophthalmologists, and a Dentist.  

I wanted answers and I wasn't sure how I get through those tough days.  I could not even focus.  The slight sign of any light bothered me.  I had to reevaluate, slow down, and care for me.  By me looking for answers, I would discover so much more.  

Neurologists.  Have you ever been referred to one?  Do you know what to ask?  What tests they will run on you?  Anything that has to do with my head or brain always scares me.  Was I having an aneurysm?  This was the first time I was going to a Neurologists.  I was not prepared.  I followed my doctor's orders and just went to the doctor she referred me to.  I just wanted answers and fast relief.  My experience ended up being horrible.  I did not do my research on the doctor or office I was being sent to.  I also trusted them to know what they were doing as professionals.  Regardless of their unprofessional care, I went through all the tests and visits.  When you are sick, all you want is to feel better.  

What I learned?  

-Research your doctor or referral.  Check online profiles, reviews, and web pages.
-Ask the doctor more questions.  You are paying for care.  There is no time limit for your appointment, so don't feel rushed.
-Review your request for testing prior to you leaving the doctor's office.  Ask why the test is being requested?  Are there different tests that can give the same results?
-Check your insurance coverage.  Does your copay cover the price of all testings?
-Listen to your gut.  If something seems wrong, do something about it.

After a handful of tests which even included an MRI, over $2000, and several visits later, I still had no answers.  

On to the next doctor, hopeful they can give me answers....

Stay tuned for next week, Wellness Wednesday - I am Allergic to What?

Monday, August 26, 2019

Code Ninjas Pearland - Silverlake

Another year is upon us now, are you ready?  As a parent, we worry about our children being prepared or ready for the life they will live.  We want to prepare them with all the tools they will need.  Is your child ready for the 2019 - 2020 school year?

Thanks to Code Ninjas Silverlake for inviting my daughter to check out their place.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Technology is improving our world, day by day.  We are in the age of technology.  The things I learned when I was in school, are now part of old history and there is a new age of stories to be told.  I want to prepare my kids.  Coding is taking over and is everywhere.  Do you know how to code?

What if there was a place that could teach your child about coding in a fun environment?  Code Ninjas is a center for learning valuable skills with a game-based curriculum for kids ages 7-14. 

Your child can build, play, and learn at their own pace as they gain ninja skills.  They will be guided and helped by the Code Senseis®.  They will receive color-coded wristbands and lesson plans to match their skill level.  As they advance from white to black belt, they will receive special recognition.  

I had my reservations that my daughter would not be able to even figure out what to do.  But she easily absorbed everything that was being shown to her.  She went through a lesson and was coding.

As scary as new things may be, it is ok to try them.  Code Ninjas makes it super easy to be a hovering parent at arms reach.  Your child will not only build video games while learning to coding, but also construct and play with cool robotics, and engage in fun STEM games and activities.

If you are looking for a place to take your kids after school that they will enjoy, Code Ninjas has a flexible year-round schedule.  Find out more information, go to

Code Ninjas - 8325 Broadway St.Suite 224, Pearland, TX 77581

Friday, August 16, 2019

Houston: Fandemic Tour 2019 is Back

The new convention experience that hit Houston last year is back this year with even more celebrities, panelists, and guests.  Fandemic Tour is coming to NRG this October 18, 19, and 20. 

Disclosure-This post is in collaboration with Fandemic Tour as a brand partner.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My family and I had a great time last year at Fandemic Tour.  There was so much to see and do and this year there is so much more that has been added to the programming.

Whether you are a comic fanatic, a superhero nerd, or Cosplay geek, you will want to check out this year's line up, guest list is still growing by the way.  You can check out the celebrity list here.

Who here is This Is Us fans?  We are huge fans of Milo Ventimiglia, Jack from This Is Us.  Also from Gilmore Girls, Heroes and the cutie in Second Act will be available on Oct 19 and Oct 20.

Fandemic Tour is a family affair.  We like to check out the exhibitors and artists. 

My husband and kiddo are both ready to meet Charles Martinet the Nintendo voice actor for Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Toad, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi and more.

Tickets are available for purchase now at Fandemic Tour.

General Admission

$40 — Friday Pass
$50 — Saturday Pass
$45 — Sunday Pass
$75 — Full Weekend Pass

• Each paid adult may bring up to two children (aged 10 or under) at no charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
• All general admission ticket sales are final. No refunds will be given due to any particular guest's need to cancel an event.

Don't forget to the join the conversation on October 20 for your chance to win tickets. Follow me @independentmami and @moneysvgparent on Twitter and join the discussion using #FandemicHouston.
Must be 18+ to participate and eligible to win prizes.

Grand Prize is Fandemic Fan 3-Day VIP with access to the VIP lounge, swag bag, and so much more...

Prizes include a 3-Day general admission, a Fandemic Swag lunchbox, a signed copy of Jane Two by Sean Patrick Flanery, and autographed photos from:

Charisma Carpenter
Sebastian Stan
Bella Twins WWE
Milo Ventimiglia

Be sure to RSVP "going" on the event page, follow @moneysvgparent on Twitter at -

To be eligible for prizes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tips to a Better Massage - Pure Vichy

Are you getting massages?  How frequent and what kind?  Everyone's talking about self care nowadays.  We are being encouraged to take time to focus on ourselves a little more.  Massages are not to be treated as a luxury.   They should be a part of our routine self care maintenance.  I mean, who is going to take care of you, if it isn't you scheduling it in.  I choose me, so should you!

Disclosure-I was invited to Pure Vichy for a complimentary massage.  All opinions stated are my own based on my own opinion.

Now that you have chosen you, time to schedule a massage.  But wait - there are things that you need to know before scheduling your visit.  

Here are my tips to a better massage:  

1)  Aches of Interest  - Medical history matters.  Did your therapist talk to you before your massage?  It is important that your therapist knows why you are needing or wanting a massage.  You have body aches that are in need of healing and need assistance.  Is it a muscle, is it a nerve, whatever is bothering you; be upfront.  The more they know, the better they can assist the area or areas.


2)  Be in the Moment - I have gotten many massages in the past where I felt as I walked in and nothing happened.  I am the type of person that gets on the bed and will try to relax the entire time.  But before I even get to get my massage, I am not shutting down.  I am go, go, go.  So when I get to this peaceful, relaxing place - I am not able to unwind.  This happens a lot.  Find a good time to schedule your massage, when you are less likely to be full speed ahead.  Don't just squeeze it in.   Whether you realize it or not, the therapist can tell if you are relaxed or not.  Get to your appointment early, unwind, relax, turn off the your phone, and you may be able to see better results on the table.

2)  Preventative Maintenance - A massage should never hurt or leave you in discomfort.  Do your research about pressure you want?  Every body is different.  Your tolerance can change over the years.  Listen to your body.  Do not be afraid to let the therapist know if you are not appreciating a certain technique.  You may need follow up visits for continued after care.    

3)  Location - Find a place that can take care of all your needs.   I was recently invited to Pure Vichy.  It is a day spa offering many services including massages.  I had a wonderful experience and learned some valuable information.  I did not feel like I was just another person they were running in and out of the door.  The best thing was that I felt like I was at home.  Every room was very inviting.  

The care I received from all of the staff was from check in to check out, excellent.  My massage therapist was very knowledgeable.  She explained body care, stretches, and after care techniques.  She took the time to listen to what my concerns were, asks relevant questions, and gave me good feedback prior to and during my massage.  

I had a wonderful, relaxing massage.  Extra thanks to the wonderful staff at Pure Vichy.

This hidden gem is located at 2128 Welch St Suite B, Houston, TX 77019  For more information or to schedule your next massage call - Phone: (713) 429-9582 or Email:

Friday, August 2, 2019

BetterBody - In Search Of

I'm in search of a better body.  One that is healthy inside and out.  I know that what I put in my body matters and it affects my body.  I have to make better choices with the foods I put in my mouth. 

Thanks to BetterBody Foods for sending sample product.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Let's be honest for a minute.  I have fallen into the slump.  After my busy day or busy week, I do not want to go into the kitchen.  Who wants to slave over the stove?  Our schedules have been extra full that it has been easier for us to grab a bite to eat while we are out.  And keeping it real, we are foodies.  Summer, vacation, travel, and road trips have brought on a few extra pounds on top of the ones that were already there.  With the passing of my birthday and back to school around the corner, I would like to refocus what we are putting on our plates. 

Small changes can make a difference.  I have decided to try clean eating with the entire family again.  This can be hard at times.  So I decided selecting better ingredients for the meals I make is the way to start.  I am starting small with some of my favorite recipes. 

I like to meal prep on Sundays.  This helps get our week started on the right foot.  I try to make a couple of meals to offer a variety.  Usually when I use the family packs of meat, I have leftover after measuring out our meals.  I have to get creative to use all the leftovers.  One of my favorites to make with leftover chicken is Chicken Salad.  Chicken salads are not hard to make and you can add your favorites like nuts, dill, vinegar, etc...  My family likes to keep it simple.

Chicken Salad

-shredded chicken
-dill pickles
-BetterBody Foods Avocado Mayo
-hard boiled eggs

I am not one to write down recipes or measure ingredients.  A sprinkle of this, a dap of that, and a small taste here and there.  BetterBody Foods sent me a bottle of their avocado mayo.  I was excited to try it in one of my recipes.  Playing in the kitchen and getting creative with ingredients are some of my best meals.   Clean eating is a little intimidating to me.  You have to look at the nutritional facts, count calories, and balance your plate.  This is why small changes can help me stay on track, keeping me focused, and ultimately being successful.  This is why choosing good ingredients and replacing the bad ones are important. 

Avocado Mayonnaise by BetterBody Foods offers:

· Cage Free Eggs
· Non-GMO
· Doesn't contain soybean or canola oils
· Dairy-Free
· Gluten-Free
· Paleo & Keto diets approved
Check out their recipes page that offers ideas, clean eating, and does the counting everything for you.  CALORIES, FAT, PROTEIN, CARBS, etc...  These can make a big difference in your progress.

Now I can take a bite out of that.  And so can my family.  By the way, my recipe swap was a success.  The avocado mayo took my chicken salad to the next level.  It was enjoyed by all. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Planning the Perfect Playdate Party

I love to host parties.  Something about opening your home to friends and family brings me lots of joy.  I had taken a break from hosting parties because there is so much that goes into throwing a party.  Preparing for the party can be so overwhelming.  Trust me, I have been in tears the night before a party.  Hosting and greeting everyone, now that is the fun stuff.  Through trial and error I have learned how to do things better and more efficient, it's kinda my cheat sheet to planning a party.

Disclosure - I was selected to host a #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate Party.  Thanks to the sponsors of our #NowMoreThanEver party kit which included Disney, Jakks Pacific, Michael Angelo's, Popped Passion Popcorn, and Pillow Pets.  All opinions stated are own based on my personal experience.

Planning the perfect playdate party can be as easy as 1, 2, 3....

1)  Theme - A theme can drive the party.  So picking the right one could be key to your success.  Go with a theme that makes sense to you.  If you are throwing a party for a family member, pick something is true to them, something that makes them happy, and brings them joy.  Themed parties are so much more fun.  The theme will bring the decorations together. 

Personal Tips-Once you pick a theme, look around your house and see if you have any items that will go great with your theme.  We had plenty of Mickey Mouse items that we used as decor. 

You can also DIY items for your party, like creating a curtain with streamers.  This can transform a room and add a pop of color.  It can also be used as a good place for pictures.  Everyone loves balloons.  Take them to the next level by creating a balloon garland.  At the end of the party, you can hand out all the balloons to each of the kids.  What kid does not love balloons?

2)  Food - I love to feed my guests.  Any party I host, is a buffet of goodness.  If you are not hosting a charity gala or sit-down, bring out the good China dinner, then simple foods are my go-to.  Like I said, I have learned that less is more.  This way you spend more time with the guests and less time in the kitchen.  The menu should not stress you out or break your bank. 

Food that is convenient and affordable is always on my first choice.  Michael Angelo's makes it so easy with their frozen meals and party trays.  Cook in the oven or microwave.  Ready to serve. 

Personal Tips - Fruit trays are great for both adults and kids.  Sometimes kids do not like the food served at parties but they will munch on the fruit.  Save some money by creating your own fruit tray with some of your favorites, and don't forget to add some cheese squares.  Save time, take the stress out, and grab one from the store that is ready to serve.   

Another favorite is popcorn.  This can be fun.  Make bracelets or necklaces with popcorn.  All you need is a needle, string, and popcorn. 

Here is an easy to make Pixie Dust Popcorn:


  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Vanilla Candy Melts
  • Sprinkles

1.  Pop the popcorn according to instructions on package.
2.  Microwave candy melts in microwave-safe bowl, pausing every 20-30 secs to stir.  Repeat until melted.
3.  Drizzle the melted vanilla over popcorn and stir in sprinkles.
4.  Place in the fridge for 5-10 mins to allow the candy to harden prior to serving.

If you don't have time, I know that you will be a winner with a Popped Passion Popcorn Cake.  You can order a customize popcorn cake and have it shipped directly to your door ready to enjoy!

3)  Entertainment - You do not have to have a strict itinerary to have fun.  Games can keep a party going, make your guests have so much fun, and it keeps everyone entertained.  Find games that are appropriate for your guests.  You can make small game areas so that everyone can rotate and enjoy.

Personal tips - Plan ahead and try out the games yourself.  Troubleshoot things before the party.  If you have crafts that need extra supplies, you can prepare small kits for each guess with all the pieces already included.  These can also be taken home, if guests are too busy having fun at the party.    

Assign helpers to game zones.  My daughter tried out all the games and was a handy helper to all the smaller kiddos.  You can shoot the parents emails with instructions for the games ahead of time.  This way they can participate along with their kids.   

Communicate with parents to see what are some of their kiddos favorite games to play.  I have hosted game nights before and we ask each person to bring a new game for us to play.  This keep guests from getting bored and they get to share one of their family favorites.

Play it by ear, let loose, and enjoy your party.  Being a host should not be scary.  The next time a mommy asks for you to host the next play date, you will be ready. 

Do you have any tips that you have learned?

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.

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

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?



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.