Thursday, October 17, 2013

$25 Gift Certificate to Nurture Elle for Stylish Nursing Tops! Ends 10/31, Open US/CA #treatyourself

We're just a couple of weeks away from Halloween and there's one thing that's on everyone's mind... treats! Welcome to the Treat Yourself Giveaway Hop, hosted by So Easy Being Green and Viva Veltoro! In this Hop, you'll find lots of special treats to keep your entering giveaways until it's time to go out and gather your own! Be sure to hop around to all the giveaways in the Hop Linky below, and don't forget the ultimate treat... the Treat Yourself Grand Prize!
As a busy working mother, I am often looking for stylish clothing options that make nursing my almost 5 month old Valentina on the go as easy as possible. Enter Nurture Elle! Nurture Elle is an awesome company, started by a mama in 2010 who was frustrated at the plethora of restrictive, uncomfortable nursing clothing out there on the market. It has plenty of fantastic clothing options that fit great before having baby and after. And have I mentioned how stylish they are? You'll get to see for yourself in a forthcoming review of a Nurture Elle shirt, where I will show you how awesome it is to nurse with one via video review, but for now, check at some of the various shirts with different openings you can get at Nurture Elle!

Check out this gorgeous, luxurious 3/4 butterfly sleeve breastfeeding top (MSRP $59.95)! The style is universally flattering and the color is absolutely perfect for the holidays, right?

Oh MAN, I love this dress (MSRP $69.99)!! It is an awesome, sexy cut that makes this an awesome party dress for any holiday gatherings that you may have to go this time of year. It also looks fabulously comfortable, and WOW - so easy to nurse your little one! How many dresses out there are easy to nurse in?

Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round readers will get $10 off your purchase at!

One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to purchase anything their little heart desires at Nurture Elle :)
Enter in the Giveaway Tools App below!

Thanks for entering a chance to treat yourself to my giveaway, now it's time to hop around to all the others, including the delicious Grand Prize. One lucky Winner will be treating themselves to a Year's Supply of YumEarth Organic Candy, a Roku 3 Streaming Media Player, and 4 yummy bags of Lovely Candy Co. Superfruit Chews, Fruit Chews, Chocolate Swirl Caramels, and Chewy Original Caramels!

  Treat Yourself Grand Prize


Viva Veltoro, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Treat Yourself participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finish the sentence friday! "The hardest choice I had to make..." #ftsf

Finish the Sentence Friday

After a bit of a hiatus, I am now posting again for the Finish the Sentence Friday hop. This week, I am writing about:

"The hardest choice I had to make was..."

Putting my lovely, gorgeous Tuxedo cat to sleep on May 11, 2012. Holmes, aka "Goose"/"SupaGoose"/"Silly Goose", was a very special cat. In July 2006, with only 10 minutes to go until the Dutchess SPCA was closing, I heard a jingling noise that caught my attention among the many cages filled with cats. It was a lovely tuxedo cat, jiggling a toy on the door of his cage from nudging the door so hard. I came over to him and instantly fell in love. He nudged me so hard and it was love at first sight.

Meeting him coincided with me being close to moving out of my parents' house and living on my own. I visited him almost every day for a month until I moved out of my parents house to a room I was renting in a house in Downtown Albany, NY. When we moved in together, he was a little shy and apprehensive at first. But it wasn't long until we got really close.

Me and Goosey hanging out after one of my grad school classes, late September 2006

I moved out of Albany after one semester and transferred to a different graduate school in Valhalla, NY called NY Medical College. I then moved to Long Island for the summer of 2007 to take Organic Chemistry (at a time where I wanted to become an MD instead of a Ph.D.) and ended up meeting my now husband. I moved back home in August 2007 to go back to grad school and spent a lot of time with my Holmesy. He was my snuggle bug - mommy's buddy. Tim (my now hubs) and I moved in together in January 2009, and this was the first time Holmesy had to share his mama with someone else. He was a little shy at first.
Hiding with his sister Cindy Belle on one of his favorite blankets in my closet, January 2009

It wasn't long, however, until he got used to his surroundings and really started to have a blast. He had such an adorable personality and always made everyone's hearts melt whenever they saw him. He was also quite the comedian cat :) very silly (that's how he got the nick name "gooSe" from "Silly goose")
Silly boy trying on my glasses - early 2010, with his favorite blanket that he was cremated with, "Pea Gween"

He started having urinary issues and was diagnosed with calcium oxalate crystals in his bladder. He needed surgery to flush them out. Over the next year and a half, he ended up needing minor surgery and various medications to keep him comfortable, and was on a special diet. Still, it never seemed like "too much". It was never beyond what I thought would be fair to him. But one day in early May 2012, things changed. He started having trouble eating his dry food, in a way I never saw before. I took him to his vet, who was great, and they said that they thought it was just his teeth bothering him. They didn't see any issues.

Still, he had significant issues with eating and it didn't seem to feel right. I knew him so well so I knew something was up. I took him back to the doctor and saw his favorite vet to give him a recheck. When she propped open his mouth to look at his teeth, my heart sank. Like an elevator plummeting from the top of a skyscraper to the bottom floor. When she opened up his mouth, I saw it.

It was a grape sized tumor at the base of his tongue, way in the back of his mouth. It looked so large, throbbing. Like was very uncomfortable. I read that in older cats (he was around 6-7 years old when I adopted him in 2006 and this was 2012), tumors on the tongue like that are not benign. Removal usually meant a feeding tube for a few months because you could never get the whole tumor and it would eventually come back. Chemo was an option.... but only if his heart was good.

And at the moment that the doctor was talking about his tumor, the blood work they did the day before came back. He had end-stage heart failure. Who lives with heart failure and oral sarcoma? Well, this little strong love. I was so amazingly lucky to be able to take him home that Wednesday afternoon and spend 2 more days with him at home, until I made the decision to have him escape his  pain (he had already stopped eating and had a mini stroke the day before) at 5:37 PM on May 11, 2012. 

It was the hardest thing for me to do... my love for him was always everlasting. What would I do without him? I was heartbroken. He was my son.... I always spoke to him and asked him, "Please, Goose, if I get pregnant, please come back in his or her body as part of that baby's spirit". I asked him, Please, Goose. I am ready to be pregnant. I am ready to be a mom.

And as of September 14, 2012, someone a girl with bad endometriosis and a couple chemical pregnancies saw those 2 magical pink lines. I became pregnant with my daughter, and carried my healthy baby girl to term and gave birth to her this past May. I thank Goose every day for being a part of her spirit. I see it in her. It was the hardest thing I had to do, but now he watches us from Heaven. LOVE YOU GOOSE!! <3

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Social Post!! Week of 9/29!

Hey all! Sorry I took a break from Sunday Social! This teaching 3 classes and taking 1 six credit doctoral class thing (while taking care of a 4 month old and doing my second exam) is KILLING ME SOFTLY :). But I love you guys too much to have too long of a post drought.... so please! Enjoy the latest addition of mine to the Sunday Social link-up!

1. What is your dream job?
Here comes my nerdiness! My dream job would be a tenured epidemiology/public health professor, where I could teach any subject within public health that I love, I could spearhead some awesome maternal and child health epidemiology projects that I have dreamed up, and I could spend my summers off in a foreign country like Italy with my family, working remotely :)

2. If you had just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time?
Unfortunately, my work really isn't for money. I would still go to school and finish my doctorate, to be the first doctor in my family. I would still teach and I would still do research, but I wouldn't worry so much about overworking myself. I would do it for the love of the subject... but I would definitely pay off all of my family's bills and have them help me with child care lol.

3. What piece of career advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?
 If you don't have a Master of Public Health degree, go get one because you need it in public health! Beyond that, do whatever internship or low paying public health job you can get your hands on out of school. You never know what connections you will make that will get you to your next job, which might have a nice sized paycheck. 

4. What would be your ideal "just for fun" job?
I could never not work in public health - it really is my lifeblood - but a long time from now when I have a plethora of published papers and have taught my fair share of college classes, I can imagine me and hubby opening up a lucheonette. He is such a great cook and I really love baking. I miss it!!

5. What was your first "real" job?
My first job with a W-2 and all that was a bookseller at Waldenbooks right out of high school in 2001. My first actual grown-up job where I was salaried was the Program Director of the now defunct Putnam County (NY) Cancer Services Program.

If you would like to participate in a future "Sunday Social", head on over to Ashley Lately's Blog for next week's questions and link-up!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway!! Ends 10/12! Open to the US and Canada!

Many people I know use coconut oil for numerous reasons. For instance, I have met many cloth-diapering mothers who use it in place of a commonly used ointment or cream for diaper changes on their little one. But what is virgin coconut oil?  While most coconut oils are made from copra, or dried coconut meat, virgin coconut oil can only be made by either quick drying or wet-milling fresh coconut meat, or non-copra. Tropical Traditions exclusively sells a highly lauded version of virgin coconut oil in their Gold Label line of the highest quality that the company is known for.

Interestingly, Tropical Traditions was the first company to publish standards for the uses of virgin coconut oil, in terms of edible oils, over ten years ago. While I did know of some uses for coconut oil that I mentioned above, I had no idea of how many different ways you could use it in the kitchen!! You can use coconut oil for frying, for baking, for making mayonnaise or ketchup, to make soup and even make pudding or pie crusts! The possibilities are honestly endless... and what's even better is that coconut oil presents a gluten-free option for your family to cook with a great versatile ingredient if your family is indeed GF. While the FDA doesn't want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil is

Tropical Traditions and Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round are teaming up to offer you, our readers, the chance to win a quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil for you to use in the kitchen or wherever you choose! The giveaway is open from September 29th to October 12th! What are you waiting for? Enter today for your chance to be able to try out all the great ways you can incorporate coconut oil into your lives!

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using from Tropical Traditions for a review that will be forthcoming. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

League of Legends Summoner School Review! {POST BY SARA}

League of Legends Summoner School Review
My background knowledge in League of Legends is above average. I’ve only been playing for a year now, but I play almost every night and joined a gaming clan to better myself. Little did I know after months and months of my boyfriend asking me to play, I would finally give in and join the ranks in the most played game in the world.

What is hard about League of Legends (LoL) is that, unlike competitive games like Chess, the game changes drastically with each update. Every new patch, a champion could get weaker, an item might lose its worth, or a new play style will surface. Not to mention, new champions are released periodically which many break awesome 5-man team comps that have worked in the past.

Australian brothers UberGiant, UberGiantsBro, and LittleUberGiant (Platinum and Diamond ranked) have spent hours playing and researching to put together a comprehensive guide on the ever-changing game. They created the Summoner School, which has a 5-day free trial available for anyone interested in trying out their methods before committing as a full-fledged student. They liken it to how a doctor goes to medical school before practicing. One must study and learn before going out into the field--In this case, the fields of justice.
Summoner School consists of four classes: pre-game, in-game, team-game, and post-game. The guides contain lengthy in-depth articles which are supplemented with videos and pictures. For someone who is a visual learner, seeing football-like plays on where to ward and position myself was very helpful. I would’ve enjoyed gameplay pictures for every section but copyright prohibited it. Aside from articles, there's a helpful glossary full of jargon for players new and old. I still catch myself not knowing lingo.

This is one of the images used in the Summoner School to show where to ward when your team decides to split push during the game.
What people don’t realize is that one of the most important parts of playing this game is to work well with your team. It sounds easy, but when you queue up with randoms and don’t have the ability to use Ventrilo or Skype, you have a higher chance of messing up due to miscommunication. Sometimes you get put on a team where people claim they don’t know a role or they build items not suitable for their champion. Aside from skill, this is all about team work and patience.

“Be able to play all roles in solo queue. It’s frustrating not having people who are flexible. By getting good at all roles, you become a better player by knowing what your teammates can best do and what your enemy is trying to do. This helps you counter your enemy.” – Summoner School

The Summoner School taught me my biggest issues with each lane. As a support, I never warded correctly. As an ADC, I wouldn’t be able to last hit every minion. As mid, I was reluctant to push the lain correctly for fear of being ganked from so many sides. And so on. Taking these classes opened up my weaknesses to me and showed me what I need to work on. Watching pros (especially now that the LCS for Season 3 is happening) will be my biggest learning lesson.
What was great about the Summoner’s classes was that the wording was very casual and friendly. I felt as if one of my friends explained these tips to me.  I feel that it will also serve as a basis for me to coach my team members during a game.
No matter what your intention is by playing LoL, what you put into it is what you get. Whether you only play against A.I.’s or aspire to get to Gold just to get that new skin from Riot, you could learn from studying LoL in an academic way.
“In all areas of life, the successful do their craft differently to a ‘normal person.’ Take for example a world-class musician. He practices at least 4 hours every day while your local trumpet player gets one lesson a week and plays no more than 5 hours a week. And then there are others who talk about wanting to learn an instrument yet do nothing about it.” – Summoner School

Before this, I didn’t know if I would be comfortable enough to play in ranked. But now I think I’m ready to play my preliminary matches now.

Find me on the NA server as: EagleSystem and sign up here for your own free 5 day trial!

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Awesome $200 Steals N Deals giveaway hosted by Mom Loves 2 Read!

Welcome to the Steals & Deals Giveaway
hosted by Mom Loves 2 Read
Where one lucky winner will receive 2 amazing prizes:
a $100 giftcode to
a $100 giftcode to

that is a $200 value that is sure to put a smile on someone's face!

A little about these wonderful websites:  is a website that provides customized paper products such as stationary, photo cards, address and gift labels, invitations, notepads, calendars, notebooks, iphone and ipad cases and so much more.  You can even customize an entire collection of items with the same or similar theme!

Checking out, I instantly fell in love with a lot of different products on the site. Since fall is upon us, I am totally diggin' the adorable Halloween and Thanksgiving collections. Seriously.... don't these invitations make you want to have a Halloween party?

One of the many beautiful selections you can find 
at for a great Halloween bash! is a website that specializes in Photo Canvas prints, ready made art work and Vintage framed art and even acrylic blocks with a personal photo inside!

The first thing you will notice about this website is that it's really easy to use. I uploaded a picture of Valentina for her 3 month shot I took of her and selected the 'aluminum print' (I always thought those were so cool!) They can change the color scheme to Sepia or B&W and even perform basic editing to your photo, like date stamp removal, for free! They can even touch up blemishes for a nominal fee. I really like this site and will definitely check them out in the future for my print needs :)

Enter using the form provided! Open to US only please - Must be 18 or older to enter/win.
 Entrants must complete entries honestly and may only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account. Enter between now and October 2nd!

Disclaimer:  The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. Void where prohibited by law. Open to US residents only, 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email within 7 days of end of event. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary to win. The sponsor(s) is responsible for prize shipment to winner of this giveaway. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Finish the sentence Friday... "My favorite summertime memory was..." #ftsf

We're finally back with another FTSF post after a little break because the beginning of this semester (and me teaching 3 separate classes at 3 separate colleges)!! 
Today, the theme of the week is "My favorite summertime memory was...."

...seeing my little girl smile for the first time. My summer wasn't filled with the normal activities that most people enjoy because I gave birth at the end of May. June was wet and yucky and July was too hot to breathe, so we didn't get to enjoy much of the outdoor weather until August. Nevertheless, I still have a favorite memory of the summer that I will hold dear to me.
The most amazing thing to me was seeing my little girl smile at me for the first time. All those sleepless nights and cries that we couldn't quite decipher at first.... all my worries about whether or not I would be a good mom... everything went away when I saw this little cutie smile for the first time. Here is one of those pictures :)
If you want to participate in the FTSF hop, please click on the link above!!

TotLogic Diaper Balm #review and #giveaway, part of the Bringing Home Baby Giveaway Hop!! #BHbaby US only, ends 9/23


Is there anything more precious than welcoming a new baby into your life? In celebration of the joys that come from having a new baby we are celebrating by joining the Bringing Home Baby Giveaway Hop hosted by The Frugal Greenish Mama and Life as Leels! Each blogger participating in this giveaway hop is offering a fabulous prize for Mama or Baby valued at a minimum of $25. Be sure to hop around and enter them all, including our two Grand Prize packages valued at $274 and $557!

Two of our readers will win fabulous prize packages!

BHB Grand Prize Baby

The first grand prize giveaway package focuses on all things baby! Who knew something so small could need so much? This amazing package includes an Ingenuity Washable Playard with Dream Center in Sahara Burst, Boba 3G Carrier, Tiny Love Gymini Bouncer, Svan Child Totseat, Moraki Cloth Diaper, Rockin Green Laundry Soap , a pair of adorable Pediped Originals shoes, Lillie by Bebe au Lait Hooded Towel, 2 Red Hens Rooster Diaper Bag, Dolphin Organics Travel Set, MAM pacifiers and teether and a Halo Sleepsack Swaddle.

The second grand prize package focuses all on Mama! It is valued at $274 and includes a set of nursing clips from Glamourmom, a $35 Lamaze Intimates gift certificate, $25 Pink Blush Maternity Gift Certificate, a Loving Moments Nursing bra, Milk Makers & Bumpboosters cookies, Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover, Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Package and a way for Mama to have a few moments free with an Automatic Bouncer from Ingenuity!

Go Enter the Grand Prize Giveaway Baby Package & Mama Package now!

I started entering baby and mama-themed giveaways when I was pregnant, and one of the first things that I won was a big tub of TotLogic Diaper Balm back in January. When I received it, I tucked it away with all of the other baby stuff I was accumulating. I ended up giving birth to my daughter this past May 29th, and she was gorgeous and beautiful and healthy (a wonderful newborn baby :) ). Unfortunately, she ended up having high bilirubin counts from Day 3 of life until she was about ~2 and a half weeks of age. It was quite a stressful, trying time for our family, as we were so worried for little Valentina. I have been breastfeeding her since she was born, so I was on order from her doctor to breastfeed her on demand.

My little girl in her going home outfit that was too big for her. 
You can see she's pretty yellow from the bilirubin :(

Of course, when you are feeding a baby on demand, your baby is making dirty diapers more often than she would if you had her on a scheduled feeding. My daughter's doctor had recommended to use petroleum jelly or Desitin cream to prevent diaper rash, but she ended up getting it anyway. We then had to utilize prescription diaper rash cream on her to help keep the rash at bay. While it did prevent it from spreading, it didn't do much to make it go away.

Valentina was about a month old when my sleep deprived brain remembered something important that was packed away in the many tubs of baby stuff in our house. The TotLogic Diaper Balm! The balm that is filled with loads of natural ingredients, is safe for sensitive skin (and although we were using disposable diapers at the time, is also cloth-diaper safe!) and has a nice scent and feel to it. I found it and immediately started using it on Valentina at every diaper change.

Well, it didn't take me and my husband long to become believers in this amazing product. It is FANTASTIC. It cleared up her diaper rash in only a couple of days and it has not come back! I can't make any claims that it actually cured the diaper rash, but I do know that her condition improved once I started using the diaper balm regularly. It goes on smooth and cleans up great, unlike the other petroleum and zinc oxide based creams that so many use on their little ones. What's also fantastic about it is that it can be used on any parts of the skin, even mamas with dry hands! I am telling you... this product is absolutely amazing.
I actually ended up writing to the owner of the company to partner with them to hopefully make another individual a true believer of this wonderful company. So TotLogic and I have teamed up to offer one lucky winner a tub of TotLogic Diaper Balm!
Enter below between now and September 23rd!!

Disclosure: The Frugal Greenish Mama, Life as Leels and the Bringing Home Baby participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.
Furthermore, while this review was based on a product that I received as part of a giveaway I won back in January, I was offered another free product from Logic Product Group as described in this post as compensation for hosting this particular giveaway.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Awesome jewelry candle giveaway, with new perfect fit rings inside!! Ends 10/1!

 photo b081f205-5510-4666-a997-dda0580e56d7_zps24d5e6fe.jpg

Welcome to the Jewelry Candle Giveaway

Hosted by Mom Loves 2 Read!

*Sponsored by Jewelry Candles*

Mom Loves 2 Read has partnered up with Jewelry Candles to bring you this amazing Giveaway!
This time we are giving away TWO Ring Candles to 2 lucky winners!

Each Ring Candle is a unique gift - you can Choose the size of the ring you will find inside!
Choose from sizes 5 - 10
AND each Ring hidden inside is worth anywhere from $10 up to $7500!!!  

These would make fun surprise gifts for loved ones or friends!
Can you imagine a romantic candle-lit dinner - as the wonderfully scented candles burns a surprise begins to appear - a beautiful ring - and not only that, but it fits! 
The hubs and I don't often get a chance to have a romantic night on our own with our beautiful little one in our lives now, but I certainly would love to have a nice date for two at home (with my parents watching her, perhaps?) illuminated by this gorgeous candle. And what lady wouldn't want to wear a gorgeous piece of jewelry custom fit for her? I love this idea - it's a beautiful surprise and really makes an occasion extra special. Hope my hubby is reading this for a possible 30th birthday present for me :)!

Giveaway dates: September 9 12:00 pm through October 1st 11:59pm CST.
Open to US only please -  must be 18 or older to win. 
Void where prohibited.

Easy to enter - simply fill out any of the entries on the provided form - The winners are chosen at random from all validated entries - Entries will be checked for validation prior to winner's random selection.  Winners will have only 48 hours to reply and claim prize, if no reply another will be selected.

Disclosure: Mom Loves 2 Read did receive compensation in the form of free products in exchange for posting this giveaway. Sponsor ~ is responsible for sending prizes, prizes often take up to 8 weeks from validation to receive.  Mom Loves 2 Read is not responsible for prizes!  Regardless this sponsor is personally promoted by choice.  A personal review of the product will be coming soon from Susan @ Mom Loves 2 Read. This Giveaway is in no way affiliated with facebook, twitter, pinterest or any other social media mentioned in the giveaway form.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

$100 gift card giveaway from! Ends 9/30!

Welcome to the $100 Giftcard Giveaway

Mom Loves 2 Read has teamed up with and an amazing group of bloggers, including Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round, to bring you this fun giveaway. is a great website where you and your family members can register for free and set up a personal wishlist.  It's so easy you can even use facebook to login and register!
My Perfect Gift has nearly anything you could think of to add to each wishlist.  You, your spouse and even your kids can all make their own wishlists to share! 

Ever since I became a mother to a beautiful baby girl a little over 3 months ago now, I miss those days where I could pamper myself. I have already been dreaming of getting myself a Clarisonic face cleaner, a white gold locket to hold my little girl's picture when I'm at work and even an Ergo baby carrier for when my girl gets a little bigger (and the baby k'tan is getting tight so that might be sooner than later). Making a wish list on will make it easier for my friends and family to buy presents for me for my birthday and the holidays instead of trying to buy that ever elusive guessing game of "What does she want this year??"

Here is how you can be Eligible to Win~
Only mandatory entry 

First ~ Sign up and create a registry and add at least 3 gifts to it 
- it's that easy!
{you can even sign-up with one click using Facebook}

If you already have a MyPerfectGift Registry just add a new gift to your existing wishlist.

Entries will be validated using Winner's email he/she registers with.
If registering using fb, it is the email you use for your fb account 

One lucky winner will receive their choice of a 
$100.00 or Visa gift card!  
(Visa GC only available to US residents)

Giveaway Details
Open to US residents age 18+
Giveaway starts September 8th and 
ends September 30th at 11:59pm CST
Enter using the GiveawayTools form BelowHave FUN!

Disclaimer: Disclosure: To be eligible to win this giveaway you must create an account and add at least three items in your registry. If you have an existing account add at least one new item to your registry. 
Mom Loves 2 Read did receive compensation for this giveaway event, however my opinions are my own and may differ from yours.  Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, twitter or any other social media.  Prizes can take up to 8 weeks to arrive.  Void where prohibited.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Arbonne Skincare Giveaway & Review! Part of "Spa for Ma" event!! Ends 9/16 #spa #relax #pamper #mom

Spa for Ma

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop! I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers and our hosts Measuring Flower and Homemaking Hacks to bring you this fun event that helps mom to kick back, relax, and WIN--just in time for the kids to be back at school!

This event is a giveaway hop which means that, after you're entered my awesome prize below, you can "hop" on to the next blog to enter their prize as well. All the prizes in this hop are worth a minimum of $25. You can find a list with links to all the other blogs towards the bottom of this post.
I am excited to announce that our grand prize sponsor for this event is KOHL'S! They're giving away a $300 gift certificate to one very fortunate reader! Click HERE to enter to win this incredible grand prize.

I had the pleasure of reviewing some awesome products from a spectacular company called Arbonne. Arbonne is a skincare company founded on botanical principles by a group of leading bio-chemists, biologists and herbalists. It originated in 1975 and its products have been available in the U.S. since 1980. They offer a wide range of products such as skincare for any type of skin, cosmetics, hair products and even holiday gift sets.

I was lucky enough to review some of their products from their FC5 product line as well as their Arbonne baby product line. First, my beautiful daughter Valentina got to be pampered with an Arbonne baby body lotion product sample. The ABC design is cute and simple, and catches the eye. The body lotion has a nice herbal smell to it that isn't too overpowering, which I liked because I like my baby to smell like well... a baby :). It has a nice thickness which moisturized her really well with only using a little bit. It didn't leave any filmy residue either, which made me happy.

I then got to review a sample of some fantastic body moisturizer from Arbonne's FC5 line. The cream smelled great as soon as I opened the package, and it instantly felt awesomely thick and luxuriously rich on my hands when I began to spread it on them. I have pretty dry skin, and have since giving birth to my daughter. I can personally attest to how great this lotion made my skin look and feel - they are definitely as soft as they look! I don't often have time to pamper myself with a 3 month old, so it felt great to use this Arbonne lotion and soften up my hands to feel silky smooth!

BUY IT: Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round readers will get 15% off orders from Donna Lotts', Independent Consultant for Arbonne's official ordering site , when mentioning Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round. In addition,  if Donna receives 15 orders of $50 or more as part of this event, she will give away a Coach purse!

WIN IT: One lucky winner will win an Arbonne Shea Butter Hand & Body wash, ARV $26.00! Enter below!

Disclosure: Measuring Flower and its writers, Homemaking Hacks and its writers, and the other bloggers participating in this hop are not responsible for any sponsor(s) who do not fulfill their prize(s).

Happy Mommy Labor & Delivery Gown from Butternut Designs Giveaway! #readytopop US only ends 9/18

We've decided to celebrate Labor Day this year in a totally fun way – by celebrating those Mamas and Babies who have done some of the hardest labor out there! Welcome to the Ready to POP! {a Labor Day Giveaway Hop} hosted by So Easy Being Green, According to Jenny, and Viva Veltoro!

 Each blogger in this Hop has a fabulous Mama or Baby prize for you to enter to win – so be sure to hop around to them all, including the Grand Prize!

As many of you already know, I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl back this past May after 22 hours of long, arduous drug-free labor! While I labored in my own clothes for many hours of it, I ended up changing into a hospital gown when I was getting into the heat of my labor (close to transition). My baby girl had to be monitored closely throughout my labor since I had pregnancy-induced hypertension, so it was essential that I had something on that allowed me to have the fetal monitors on me at all times. Throughout my intense labor pains, I never felt completely comfortable in the hospital gown since it didn't fit good and it wasn't really on me very well as I wiggled and braced myself for each contraction. Now looking back, I think to myself, if I could do one thing different, it would be to make sure I had comfortable clothing through the ENTIRE labor process, not just before transition.
Thankfully, Kristen from Butternut Designs on Etsy has put her talent to good use in making custom gorgeous, custom sized labor and delivery gowns that follow strict hospital guidelines with easy arm and back access. With beautiful black lace trim and a stylish sash for a more fitted look, Butternut Designs' Happy Mommy Labor and Delivery gowns (ARV: $55) will not only keep you comfortable throughout your labor, they will give you a sense of style for your first pictures with baby that a hospital gown just can't compare to!
Talk about stylish! Check out this gorgeous Happy Mommy Labor and Delivery gown in black with black lace trim!


You can learn more about the Happy Mommy Labor and Delivery gown and all of the other great maternity clothing that Kristen from Butternut Designs offers by checking out her Etsy shop:
One lucky winner will receive a Happy Mommy Labor and Delivery gown with black lace trim in the gown color, size and sash color of their choice! 
Now, be sure to hop over to enter to win the 
amazing Grand Prize for Ready to POP!

Ready to POP! Grand Prize

One lucky reader is going to win an adorable 2 Red Hens Diaper Bag, a fabulous set of Buttons Diapers – an All-in-Two Cloth Diapers System, and an absoutely beautiful CatBirdBaby Pikkolo Baby Carrier! 

What are you waiting for!?  Go Enter Now!

According to Jenny, Viva Veltoro, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Ready to POP! participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gorgeous Signature Black Duffle Coach Bag Giveaway!!!

This post is sponsored by yours truly and a great group of bloggers! Back to School doesn't have to be just about the kids! Moms deserve a BIG thank you for all the hard work they put in year-round, especially at back to school time. And that's why My Boys and Their Toys has teamed up with these amazing bloggers to give one lucky reader this awesome COACH Park Signature Duffle in black. Seriously, I have a fascination and love for Coach products. They are so gorgeous and exude instant style. There is nothing like walking in the streets of Midtown Manhattan with a Coach purse on your shoulder!!
Back to school Coach giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My first class without my daughter


Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new semester for me. I am an adjunct college professor at 2 area colleges, and will be teaching epidemiology and nutrition to formidable, undergraduate minds. This is my 3rd semester teaching college, and this one is much different than the previous two. Yes, the excitement is there, but (thankfully) a lot of the nerves of how I would be as a teacher aren't. There is also one more notable absence that I can't stop thinking about, however. Tomorrow is the first class I will teach without my daughter inside of me.

The first class I taught, August 29, 2012, was actually when I was 2 weeks pregnant (and even though I wasn't officially preggers at that point, we all know that the first day of pregnancy begins with the first day of your LMP). The last day of the spring semester, which I spent feverishly grading my class' online finals, was also 2 days before my due date (and 5 days before I actually gave birth to my little girl). This past year, I taught in East Harlem, and the commute from where I am to where I teach door-to-door is about 2 hours. Every step that I took, every song I listened to on the train ride, every thought that crossed my mind while passing by all the towns so beautifully placed along the Hudson river, my daughter was in my belly. She was the frequent subject of my thoughts, especially because I didn't find out her gender while I was pregnant.

The bigger I got, the more I enjoyed looking obviously pregnant. The more I enjoyed teaching thinking to myself, "Wow, I wonder if she is absorbing any of this!" and "I bet this will make her one smart cookie!" It was especially fun when I would feel her kick or move around when I was teaching - she never liked when I wasn't talking so she would get active if it was too quiet for her liking!! There was just something so special to me about experiencing the journey of being pregnant for the first time and teaching (almost) every single week while pregnant.  I got to foster a love for epidemiology in my students and watch them grow, and they got to see me grow as a professor and of course, quite literally as a pregnant person :).

But tomorrow, there will be no sweetheart in my womb. She will be at grandma and grandpa's house, having fun with them as well as her godmother/aunt (our blog co-writer, Sara). I am trying to just embrace my enthusiasm for teaching this class, as it will be the first time I am teaching at this particular college. While it may be hard to forget the emptiness of my womb, it is easy to recall how full my heart is with love for my little Valentina. That's an occupation that will never leave :).


Monday, August 26, 2013

Samsung Chromebook Giveaway!

Samsung Chromebook Giveaway 8/26 - 9/16

Hosted by: One Punky Mama

The Samsung Chromebook is an awesome machine that represents the future of laptops and working on the go. While it's lightweight and has 2 USB ports unlike the Macbook Air, the highlight feature of this product is the solid state drive (SSD). Having an SSD means your heat output will be greatly diminished, your startup time will be greatly reduced and the likelihood of you having a hard drive failure will be significantly lower than if you just had a regular HDD. This is a fantastic computer for everyone - from the causal surfer to the hardcore college student. 

One lucky winner will win (1) 11.6" Samsung Chromebook with WiFi
Details: - US Only - Ages 18+ - Date August 26 12:01am to September 16 11:59pm -
All entries are optional

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round is not responsible for prize. If you have any question please send an email to All entries are optional, if you do any of the tasks you can collect the entries, but if the winner task is a task you did not complete, a second winner will be chosen.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Social Post of the Week #3

Sunday Social

Time for yet another Sunday Social post :) I can't believe that I am going back to work this week. I am excited because I am teaching at a new college but I am also sad that I'm going to have to leave my girl to go to work. Love that face!!! Well, doing these posts is something that keeps my mind off of it, at least for now!


1.) What do you miss most about being a kid?
I don't really miss too much about being a kid honestly. I had fun but I don't miss it. The only thing I might miss about it is the lack of bills, but that's pretty much it.

2.) Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it?
My nickname growing up was Chrissy. I was called Chrissy probably up until college. For some reason, it gets under my skin now when people call me that!!

3.) What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
Oh, wow, where do I begin? I loved the swings, the slides, the jungle gym, monkey bars, playing manhunt.... growing up from grade 1 through 6, I was in a really small school so we always all played together and had a blast.

4.) Did you participate in any school activities?
Before I moved during 6th grade and went to a different school, I was in girl scouts. I played town league softball in grades 8 and 9 (even though that wasn't through my school). I started the debate club in my senior year of high school but it was super lame so I never really went. I was also in National Honors Society and coordinated the junior class leadership project in 2000.

5.) What i the funnies thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?
There are a few things they often remind me about. Like when my dad was sleeping when he was supposed to be watching me one day, I pulled out all the drawers in the kitchen to help me step up to the counter and get my flintstones vitamin (My mom nearly had a heart attack when she came home).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Personalized Prepaid Debit Card from {REVIEW}

I had the pleasure recently of reviewing a personalized prepaid debit card from is a fantastic company that offers you the opportunity to choose from hundreds of designs to grace your prepaid Visa debit card. Its site is incredibly easy to utilize and navigate. Once you select your desired card design, all you have to do is enter some of your personal information (so your name can be properly printed on the card) and you're all set! Your card will be mailed to the address you provided! The only problem you might have is deciding which of the many awesome designs to choose for your card :).

A screenshot from the Home Page. The site is so simple to navigate - and if you see a particular design you are fond of and want to tell your friends about, each card has social media buttons that make sharing a cinch!

I ended up choosing the fractal card because it's pretty groovy (just like me!), and it came in the mail relatively quickly after ordering it.The card comes pamphlet-style with tons of useful vital information. For starters, all of your funds on the card are FDIC insured and you automatically get Visa's zero liability policy fraud protection. What's super cool about this card is that you can use it for direct deposit for your paycheck. All of the instructions in how to use this card for direct deposit can be found in the pamphlet. This is particular useful if you want to put money in your paycheck away for savings and use the rest for spending on this card!

The pamphlet your card comes in is pretty cool! 
Very informative and has super easy to follow direct deposit instructions

When you active your card, you choose a PIN just like you would with any other debit card. I ended up using this card both as a debit card and as a credit card at two different locations - a local deli and a Sonic drive-thru. Using it as a debit card at my local deli was fast and simple, and it was fun to pay with a card that was personalized to my style. When I used it in the Sonic drive-thru, the cashier complimented me on how cool the card was! It definitely is an attention-getter, which is awesome because it's super cool to be able to make a statement without saying a word :).

All in all, I am super impressed at how easy it was to order the card, how quickly it came in the mail and how simple it was to use at any of the countless locations Visa is accepted. I am definitely a fan of :)!

While I was received the product in question as compensation, 
the opinions stated in this review are 100% honest and completely my own.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Finish the Sentence Fridays - I wasn't really myself when... #ftsf

Time for another entry in the "Finish the Sentence Friday" blog link up!!

It's a fun weekly event hosted by a bunch of great ladies, click on the button above to learn more about the hosts and how you can join in the fun!
This week's theme: I wasn't really myself when...

...I took my first qualifying exam for my doctoral program. I'm not sure if my doctoral program is identical to others, but I am going for my Doctor of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology. In my program, you have to take your first qualifying exam about 3 semesters into your studies to basically prove you are ready to study at the "next level" (e.g. propose new theories, challenge existing correlations, etc.) I had always thought that the big scary monster in the closet for me would be the dissertation defense. But once I settled into the program and heard stories about the first qualifying examination, I had a much sooner nightmare to contend with.

The reason why this exam is so frightening is that it determines your future in the program and basically, your life! You have 2 weeks to answer 3 questions - easy enough, right? For our program, there was a basic public health theory question, a track specific question and a question on public health leadership. Doesn't sound so bad! Well... you have 5 pages, double spaced per question to basically synthesize every single article you've ever come across in the realm of the question. If you think you can summarize these articles and simply report back, you're wrong! It's like baking a cake - you have to take all of the ingredients (e.g., important parts of an article from author X, a helpful chapter from a textbook written by author Y) and synthesize it into a tasty concoction of current information and trends. Did I mention that you only have 1 chance to retake the exam if you fail and if you fail that attempt, you have to leave the program?!
Sounds about right :).
If it sounds overwhelming, that's because it is! From the moment the exam was emailed to me, all I did was eat, sleep and breathe "first exam". Like the rest of my classmates, I abandoned non-essential internet usage (especially Facebook and Twitter!!), and completely dedicated myself to completing the exam to the best of my abilities. When I realized I couldn't resist the temptation of having a television in the same room as the room where I was doing most of my work, I ended up using the computer lab of my undergraduate alma mater (whose students were on winter break so it was relatively quiet there) to re-read articles I had saved that I knew would be important as well as those on our official reading list, scouring Google Scholar for articles to support a point I KNEW that I had heard before and typing/highlighting my draft answers in more colors than a bag of jellybeans!!

Even though 2 weeks SEEMED like a long time, it wasn't. Especially considering it took me a week to write out an answer to the first question that I was confident about (and still had the other 2 to go). Getting 8 hours of sleep suddenly became a distant fantasy, the likes of which was only forgotten by consuming massive amounts of Diet Mountain Dew. Also, my dinners consisted of whatever was in the nearest vending machine, most often doritos or fritos. I was a walking zombie, but even though I was incredibly sleep deprived, I had to use my brain MORE than I would have on a full night sleep. I was a machine - a nutty, sleep-deprived, malnourished studying machine!!

It got so nuts that I didn't sleep for almost 40 hours straight as the deadline approached. The icing on the cake was that I still had to get my butt up after only sleeping a few hours once I officially submitted the exam to get on a train back down to NYC (to Lehman College in the Bronx) for my first day of class. Wow! 
I am happy to report back that I passed the exam as of March 2012 :). But unfortunately, more scary hurdles are ahead in my academic career (my second comprehensive exam in February, and dissertation-related fun for the remainder of 2014/2015). Although now that I have a baby, I think I have more training in how t handle that "functioning on little sleep" thing :)

Thanks for reading :)