Monday, April 20, 2015

Pacific Play Tents Combines Imagination, Creativity and Fun! {Review & $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway}

Pacific Play Tents logo
I'm pretty sure that it is a childhood right of passage to turn common household objects and furniture into innovative and entertaining creations. Who didn't grow up using couch cushions, chairs and a sheet to create a fort? Or climbed into a cardboard box and turned it instantly into a boat or a castle?

These days, however, much to parents' dismay it seems that kids more often turn to electronics and screens to occupy their time indoors and encouraging them to do imagination-based play can sometimes be difficult. But not anymore!

Things have been made much more fun for everyone thanks to companies that create playful, engaging, iconic products that are entertaining, durable, versatile, and loved by children and parents alike. Essentially, playtime will never be the same due to the quality, creativity, and safety of Pacific Play Tents!

Pacific Play Tents products

Dedicated to creating award-winning tunnels, tents and toys for the past 25 years, Pacific Play Tents wants nothing more than for kids to let their imaginations soar. Each creative structure they offer is designed to last and painstakingly tested to insure long-lasting playtime, fun, and safety. Their vision of a world filled with more personal, unplugged moments is continually validated by parents, customers, "Best of" lists, and more!

Is there anything not made better with a tent? Reading, coloring, playing house, racing cars, cuddling with a stuffed animal, having a tea party, taking a nap... put it into a tent and it's infinitely made better!

Which is exactly why I couldn't wait to see my kids' reaction and the dreams and adventures that they would have with Pacific Play Tents' incredible The "Painting" Teepee.

Painting Teepee

Designed for ages 3+, The "Painting" Teepee combines the endless imaginative possibilities of a tent with the ingenuity and talents that all young artists possess. This impressive 64" tall teepee begins as a blank canvas and, with the help of the included paint set, ends up as a creative, colorful masterpiece that can be played with time and time (and time) again!

As soon as this box arrived, the girls and I went right to work on the easy assembly process, as they just couldn't wait to start designing and playing!

Pacific Play Tents assembly

Everyone loves products that require little to no assembly and The "Painting" Teepee is just that. It barely took a few minutes before we had the poles together, slid them into the canvas channels, and tied the top to hold it securely.

The result was just begging to be painted!

The Painting Teepee review

After quickly checking out the amount of space inside (which is just right for one or two kids to fit easily)...

Pacific Play Tents teepee

...the girls went right to work painting images, doodles, scenery, and more.

While we began with using only the enclosed paint set...

Pacific Play Tents teepee paint

...we soon pulled out a bag full of our own paints to extend the number of colors available (and because my kids were intent on wanting to mix their own unique blends that apparently required a multitude of options).

Pacific Play Tents Painting Teepee

Inside, outside, near the top, at the bottom — there is no wrong way to paint on this awesome canvas teepee and, without any sort of prompting whatsoever, both girls mentioned We're artists! and This is FUN! over and over.

Painted teepee

From carefully planned designs to impromptu doodles, The "Painting" Teepee is just the thing to start a child's imagination going without ever having to have it stop!

My girls have painted and painted and painted and played and played and played and each time they have seen this teepee taken back out, they have been just as excited. It really is the perfect inspiration for both artistry as well as amusing, fantasy, make-believe fun.

Pacific Play Tents Painting Teepee review

As a parent, I not only love how much The "Painting" Teepee encourages my children's adoration of all things artistic as well as using their imagination to the fullest, but that the actual structure itself is so well-made and easy to use indoors as well as out.

When not in use, the entire thing folds together and is extremely lightweight. Simply condense it up and move it to just about anywhere — lean it against a wall, slide it under a bed or couch, tuck it into a corner, or more.

The Painting Teepee storage
This could be even thinner if I used one or both of the fabric ties that came with the teepee and wound it closed.

Then, when art or playtime (or a rainy weekend or a day when there is no school) comes around again, it takes all of 10 seconds to pop this back open and go right back to the enthusiasm!

Pacific Play Tents The Painting Teepee review

When it comes to a unique product that will allow kids to play, daydream, and pretend, Pacific Play Tents offers a huge selection of tents, tunnels, parachutes, bed tents, adorable chairs, toys, and more that will peak imaginations of all ages and entertain everyone from children through adults.

You've got to check out all of their amazing options that range in price from affordable to extravagant (The "Painting" Teepee retails for $170.99)! Find out more by visiting and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, while products can be ordered directly from their website, elsewhere online or in stores such as Walmart and Target.

And, thanks to the generosity of Pacific Play Tents, one person will soon see just how much fun the child in their life can have with a tent, tunnel or more as well, because...

One lucky person will win a $50 gift certificate to Pacific Play Tents!

A big thank you to Pacific Play Tents for providing The "Painting" Teepee for me to review as well a $50 gift certificate for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Join in Burt’s Bees 28-Day Face Cleanse Challenge with their New Natural Renewal Face Care Line!

Burt's Bees logo
This post is part of a sponsored partnership with Burt's Bees and DataRank, but all thoughts and opinions shared are honest and my own.

While I would love to claim that I take stellar care of myself, that's just not the case. Between my lack of willpower, my focus on my children's health and well being, and my pure and utter laziness, it's clear that I could use improvement in a variety of areas.

Need to lose a few pounds? Check. Drink more water? Of course. Floss regularly so my dentist can stop scolding me? Don't even get me started.

Another area in which I haven't always done 100% is with my skincare routine. Although I have the best intentions, there are just some days that I barely remember to splash water on my face let alone pull out cleansers and lotions and creams.

Fortunately, I'm now on track to make far better choices for myself thanks to the one and only Burt's Bees!

Burt's Bees product line

Started 30 years ago from the partnership of an artist and a beekeeper, Burt's Bees has always stayed true to a very simple idea: what you put on your body should be made from the best that nature has to offer.

Is it possible to not be a fan when all of Burt's Bees products are all natural and contain no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial ingredients or fillers? Instead of an ingredient list filled with chemicals, compounds and symbols, these products are created from natural items including beeswax, honey, lemon, almond, aloe, pomegranate, acai berry and more.

Add to that the fact that Burt's Bees never tests their products on animals; they have strong beliefs in being simple, natural and responsible; they won't accept anything less than striving for their own extremely high standards; and they continue to receive rave reviews and responses on the effectiveness and quality of their products, and it is clear that Burt's Bees is a winner all around.

But, as much as I thought I was familiar with Burt's Bees products, I was thrilled to be introduced to their new natural Renewal Face Care line!

Burt's Bees Renewal

The full line of products in the Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line includes:
  • Burt's Bees Renewal Refining Cleanser
  • Burt's Bees Renewal Firming Day Lotion
  • Burt's Bees Renewal Firming Night Cream
  • Burt's Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum
  • Burt's Bees Renewal Smoothing Eye Cream
Individually or separate, these products are designed to plump up your cells to help reduce the look of lines and wrinkles, improve firmness, and make skin appear smoother and more hydrated. Is there anyone who doesn't want that?

And right now is even more of a perfect time to get your skin in shape by participating in the Burt's Bees 28-Day Face Cleanse Challenge!

Burt's Bees 28 day challenge

Did you know that your skin renews itself every 28 days?  Don't let another month go by without working towards more beautiful, healthy-looking skin!

Here is how the 28-Day Challenge works:

how it works

Easy peasy!

First, sign up, where you'll receive all sorts of great tips emailed to you to help achieve a healthier, more beautiful you inside and out. At the same time, you'll also be entered to win all sorts of amazing sweepstakes prizes, such as celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder's new book, The Beauty Detox Power, a Vitamix Blender, the full line of Renewal Face Care products and more!

Second, use as many of the Burt's Bees new Renewal Face Care products as you would like for 28 days, while sharing your progress and supporting others using the hashtag #28DayFaceCleanse throughout social media.

I love being able to see all of the other participants of the Challenge as well as Kimberly Snyder herself...


...and getting to join in and share my progress as well. For now I'm just starting out, but I can't wait to see the great results at the end of the next 28 days!

A photo posted by thxmailcarrier (@thxmailcarrier) on

Are you ready to join me? Because then the first thing you'll want to do is head to your nearest Walmart to pick up some awesome Burt's Bees items!

Burt's Bees at Walmart

We all know that Walmart is the destination for huge selection, convenience and money-saving options, but I especially appreciate that they make it so simple to find and stock up on Burt's Bees. They have them all!

On my most recent trip, I had no problem finding four of the five new Renewal Face Care products — the most difficult part was deciding which ones I wanted to try first!

Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care
While the prices of the Renewal Face Care products are higher than others, see below for a great money-saving coupon offer!

In the end I opted for the Renewal Firming Day Lotion (I'm loving the addition of the SPF 30!) and the Renewal Smoothing Eye Cream and, after my initial uses, I'm pleased with both.

The scent, the texture, the non-sticky-feeling, and the knowledge that they are both clinically shown to reduce the look of deep wrinkles and help improve my skin's firmness definitely makes me happy!

Burt's Bees Renewal review

So what are you waiting for?

Before you head over to Walmart, clip and print out this excellent coupon to save $3 on any one Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care product. Then go shopping... and be sure to say hi at #28DayFaceCleanse!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

FabKids: Chidren's Fashionable Outfits Styled Just For Them! {Review}

When it comes to styling my daughters, it seems to have taken me a while to learn a few basic concepts: I should only purchase their clothes in outfits and getting their opinion matters.

Otherwise, it seems that we end up with random (albeit cute) shirts or shorts or skirts that just don't match anything and are therefore never worn. How many times have I pulled the same tunic top out of Little Sister B's closet and kicked myself for not having found a pair of leggings to go with it? And, as much as I thought Big Sister E would look chic in the romper I purchased for her, what good did it do to buy it if it's just going to hang in her closet while she wrinkles her nose at it?

Fortunately, these situations never have to happen again thanks to the site that empowers kids to express their individuality through their own personal fashion sense... while also ensuring that pieces always have a coordinating mix-and-match style to them: FabKids.

FabKids clothing

Started by a team of parents that believe in celebrating every child's unique individuality, FabKids is a children's fashion brand and personalized shopping site that styles and sells monthly outfits and shoes for boys and girls. Whether your child is adventurous, creative, spontaneous, outgoing, shy, independent or more, FabKids functions on the idea of building their confidence and letting it shine!

While other clothing websites display and sell each article separately, FabKids not only puts their pieces into complete outfits, but sells them as such. Even better, they utilize your child's personality to customize and suggest the outfits that they believe will be liked best. It's like having your own personal shopper right there online... and who wouldn't be excited about that?

FabKids outfits

The result is that the whole process of shopping at FabKids is simple as well as fun. Once you have taken the Style Quiz about (or with) your child, FabKids assesses their personality and offers outfit suggestions.

As every outfit they offer is age-appropriate, comfortable and designed to work at home, at school, on the playground and more, all that is left is to pick out your favorites! Pricing for Regular Members starts at $42; however, once you sign up as a VIP Member (which is free and can be canceled at any time), you'll receive outfits for $29.95, with items that start at $14.95 and shoes from $16.95. VIP Members also rack up reward points, earn special savings, and more!

But let's be honest, all of this doesn't matter if the clothing offered isn't stylish and trendy and will be loved and worn by kids, right? With FabKids, there is no worry! Little Sister B was jumping with excitement to see the outfit she had chosen as soon as the fun pink bag arrived in our mailbox!

FabKids shipping

Who wouldn't love to find this much happiness addressed to them?

I managed to get a quick peek at the amazingly colorful Fire Princess Outfit...

FabKids Fire Princess Outfit

...before Little Sister B had to put it on.

FabKids review


It was immediately evident that this outfit was not only true to size, but that all of the small details that FabKids had included really gave both items a finished, quality look.

The Girl On Fire Dress is (obviously) visually appealing, but just gets even better the closer that you look. Each of the front seams and "flame" ruffles are smartly sewn, while the top features a stretchy, shirred backing that ensures that it can stretch and adjust to each girl (as well as extend the amount of time that it will fit).

As an added customization, the shoulder straps button in the back and have three length options, also making it so that this dress can grow right along with the cute wearer!

FabKids Girl On Fire Dress

Combine the Girl On Fire Dress with FabKids' classic Fab Soft Legging (which really are super soft!) and this outfit comes together just right.

As our spring mornings have still been a bit chilly around here, Little Sister B has been able to pull on a cardigan for a little extra warmth in the a.m...

FabKids girls clothing

...but then remove it by the afternoon to show off the bright colors and perfect twirlability of this awesome outfit!

FabKids Girl On Fire Dress review
FabKids clothing review

For kids that love fashion, FabKids is the place to go!

I appreciate the ability to purchase clothing that works together (as well as can be mixed in with other pieces) and my girls end up having expressed their individuality and style tastes in ways that make them happy (and are durable enough to withstand playground fun). It's a win-win and we're looking forward to seeing the diverse range of fashions and trends that are debuted next month!

To find out more about FabKids and the ways that they can effortlessly style the children in your life from head to toe, visit their website at and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Other than the Fire Princess Outfit that we received from FabKids in order to facilitate this review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this site and their products.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Style, Safety and Power: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Compact Utility Vehicle {Review}

 Mitsubishi logo
Although I have to admit that I've gotten pretty content with driving around in my minivan (just call me a Soccer Mom!), there are times that I do miss having a vehicle that is a bit smaller and not as matronly.

But how could I give up all of the versatility, comfort and storage space and go back to a little car?

Or at least that's what I thought. Then I was introduced to a way to have it all in the form of the Mitsubish Outlander Sport SE 2.0!

2015 Outlander Sport

My first time hearing the term CUV – Compact Utility Vehicle – the Outlander Sport combines the utmost in style (inside and out) as well as sky-high standards of safety and features galore in its 5-passenger compact crossover category.

How could I not be excited to get to hang out with this cutie?

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Available in a variety of different colors and models, the Outlander Sport has everything from technology to safety to affordability that families depend on, whether running errands around town or, like us on our recent Florida vacation, traveling from theme park to theme park.

Upon first laying my eyes on the Octane Blue SE 2.0, it was easy to see that Mitsubishi had covered every inch. From the matching bumpers to the chrome detailing to the alloy wheels, this isn't a generic looking sedan or SUV, this is a vehicle for the family that isn't sacrificing appearance for convenience!

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport exterior

After admiring the outside, I couldn't wait to hop into the Outlander Sport to see just how much it had to offer on the inside as well.

When I did, I continued to be impressed with all that Mitsubishi had included, as the heated front seats were extremely plush and comfortable, the one-touch Start/Stop engine button was perfectly located, multiple aspects of the car could be controlled right from the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and each and every gauge was clearly illuminated and easy to read.

Looking into the back, there was plenty of room for two or three people to fit with ease and my kids quickly discovered (and loved) the fold-down armrest/cup holder!

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport interior

But when it comes to transporting items around, the Outlander Sport is clearly a winner in that department as well. Considering how easily the second row of seats fold down with the press of a button (both together or a 60/40 split), owners would never have to worry about carrying anything from groceries to strollers to even furniture.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport storage

Once I began driving the Outlander Sport around, I quickly found that there wasn't much more that I could have asked for than what was already included.

The really nice 6.1" touchscreen display made it extremely easy to control the audio system, navigation system, see the backup camera (love!), and more; there were roomy storage compartments and cup holders throughout; the center console was super convenient with a USB port and 12V outlet — perfect for our technology-filled lives...

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport convenience

...and, one feature we didn't even initially realize was there, it had a gorgeous panoramic glass roof with LED illumination!

Whether driving day or night, it only took the press of a button to slide the inner roof covering back to see out. Then, with another press, the roof popped open to let in the beautiful weather!

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport sunroof
This photo doesn't at all do justice for this huge and beautiful glass roof!

All in all, after a week of driving the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport around Florida, I was sad to say goodbye to it. It provided decent gas mileage (25 city and 32 highway), kept my family very safe (Active Stability Control, 3-point seatbelts and head restraints, advanced 7 airbag system, Mitsubishi's patented Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution safety cell body construction, and more), and there wasn't a single complaint about lack of legroom or space.

Each day that I got in on our trip I found new features that I hadn't noticed before (The side view mirrors are heated! That would sure come in handy during our Midwest winters or Did you see that? The windshield wipers just went on their own! Rain-sensing wipers! Genius!) and the high quality of the Mitsubishi craftsmanship is evident everywhere you look, inside and out.

Heck, this adorable car even says Hello when you turn it on and See You when you turn it off! Why can't all vehicles be this friendly?

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE

With an MSRP of $22,795, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 2.0 drives well, looks amazing and is a great choice for families who want more space than a typical car but want to drive something smaller than an SUV or minivan. You can find out lots more on this incredible vehicle by visiting the Mitsubishi website and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Other than the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport that I was provided by Drive STI in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion about the features and quality of this vehicle.