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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!!