Friday, January 6, 2017

Eliminate the Drama of Being Sick with Advil Cold & Sinus {$25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!}

Advil Logo
This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

Confession time: I don't get a flu shot.

Every year I make sure that my daughters each get one and I pat my husband on the back when he gets his and I nod agreeably with my mother and my friends and everyone else who does... but, me? No, thank you. I know that it's supposedly completely false that getting the shot is what makes me sick the following day, but that was my experience for so many years in a row that I've just stopped. It is what it is.

I'm knocking on wood that now that I've written this it doesn't mean that I'm going to spend much of 2017 sick with the flu.

In the event that we do get sick, however, it's best to be prepared. Whether it's a cold, sinus pressure, a sore throat, or more, the drama of not feeling your best can lead to all sorts of disruptions in daily life. It's hard enough missing school or work, but no one wants to have to cancel on an evening out with friends, date night with your significant other, a weekend getaway, and more.

Therefore, here are my top five tips for cold prevention as well as feeling better and relieving the drama of an illness as quick as possible...

1. De-stress.

Easier said than done, of course, but when you are stressed out, you are more likely to get a cold (and it makes getting rid of one more difficult). Too much stress elevates the cortisol levels in your body, which hurts your immune system, and also cuts down on the cells that work to defend your body from illness.

Whether you are fighting off an oncoming sickness or trying to find relief from one that has hit, try to find the time to relax!

meditation relaxation

2. Rest.

This is a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, many of us try to stick to our regular routine and "tough it out" when we're sick, but that can just make your body even more rundown. Instead, when at all possible, curl up in bed, pull up the covers, and sleep, sleep, sleep so that your body can do it's thing fighting off the illness.

3. Stay hydrated.

Water is always the best choice, but if you aren't a fan of plain H2O, try yours warmed up with lemon and/or honey. The average adult human body is made up of around 65% water, so don't deny yours what it needs!

glass of water

4. Add moisture to the air.

If your home doesn't have a built-in humidifier (or even if it does), turning on a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom can help loosen congestion and make it easier to breathe. Just make sure you do a better job than I do of remembering to keep your machine clean or else you'll just be circulating dirty water into your air!

5. Advil Cold & Sinus.

When your cold or flu symptoms become too much, why would you turn to anything but the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for cough, cold and flu combinations? Advil Cold & Sinus is the number-one selling pain reliever combined with a powerful nasal decongestant to provide fast relief so you can continue on with your day.

There is definitely no reason to be more miserable than you have to be when you're sick, so I like to be prepared with Advil Cold & Sinus on hand to stop those crummy symptoms in their tracks. And clearly I'm not the only one, as people have been trusting Advil Cold & Sinus for powerful, non-drowsy relief of their tough cold and sinus symptoms for over 20 years!

Ask for it at your local pharmacy counter and find out more on the Advil Respiratory website and on Facebook.

Advil Cold & Sinus

This cold season and beyond, take care of yourself as best you can to hopefully avoid as many sicknesses and illnesses (and the dreaded flu) as possible. Your body is counting on you!

Thanks to the generosity of Advil Cold & Sinus, one person will be prepared to head to their favorite drugstore and fill up their medicine cabinet just in case, because...

One lucky person will win a $25 Visa prepaid gift card!

visa-25-gift-card

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

See the World with edlee Bamboo and Wooden Polarized Sunglasses {Review}

edlee logo
When it comes to sunglasses, I always had two rules to live by.

One, unless I'm staring directly into the sun, I always remove my shades when I'm talking to someone and hope that everyone else does the same. I find it awkward and strange to be carrying on a conversation with a person and not be able to see their eyes. How do I know where to look?

Two, in the past I never found a pair that I really loved and, truthfully, was okay with that. Considering that it required me to put in my contact lenses in order to be able to use them (something that I was often lazy about), I wasn't going to spend any considerable amount of time or thought into finding a pair of sunglasses that I cared that much about.

But now things have changed.

I still abide by my first rule as much as possible, but as for the second? It's out the window. Due in part to first getting laser eye surgery and eagerly ditching my thick prescription as well as any and all eyeglasses and contacts. And second? I've been introduced to edlee.

edlee sunglasses

Created by an ex-mechanical engineer, the edlee brand represents far more than just another generic pair of sunglasses. Instead, their signature lightweight, stylish, and sustainable frames are constructed with the highest quality in mind and include features that easily take these shades to the next level.

As well as making their eyewear out of good-for-the-environment bamboo and wood, each of the 13 styles have flex hinges to ensure they fit any face shape and have polarized lenses to help reduce glare and lessen the harmful effects of UV light. The result is that these sunglasses slip on like a dream, provide wearers with a clear, crisp view, and manage to make you feel like you're relaxing on a sunny beach even when you're in fact just shading your eyes from the reflection off of the cold winter snow.

I have to admit that I was a bit hooked on edlee even before their sleek bamboo boxes arrived at my door!

edlee bamboo box

Although I was enamored with the look and convenience of the box itself, cracking it open and seeing edlee sunglasses waiting inside was just that much better.

First up, the Waves Series and their classic, simple design that appeals to just about anyone and everyone. Is there a way to go wrong with a pair that look this chic?

edlee waves

I have to admit that prior to edlee, I hadn't realized the difference that flexible hinges make on eyewear.

But these high quality hinges really do make it so that these easily adapt to your face — not to mention give the frames a feeling that they won't snap into pieces when you pull them open!

edlee flexible hinges

As much as I enjoyed wearing my Waves, Big Sister E was also quick to claim them for herself and wore them just about every moment that she wasn't in the water during our beach vacation!

edlee waves review

Fortunately, my eyes weren't left to fend for themselves, as the edlee 10Ks in an amazing shade of light grey have had them protected and happy right from the start.

edlee 10ks

With frames and temples made entirely of edlee's signature and sustainable bamboo, these sunglasses are the lightest that I have ever worn and I have loved being able to adorn them for long periods of time and barely remember that they are there (nor do they leave any sort of mark from weighing down on the bridge of my nose).

I also hadn't realized what a difference polarized lenses make in sunglasses, but edlee has changed that for me in these 10Ks. The view —of the ocean, of my children playing, while reading, and much more— is always free from glare and any sort of squint that I had been used to!

edlee 10k review

Added bonus? These frames are so light that if they fall into the water, they float! This unique quality was a main focus of the edlee brand when they first launched on Kickstarter and was a clear hit, as they raised $50,000 in a matter of five weeks and gained adoring fans by the thousands.

These days, edlee is back on Kickstarter to not only share their amazing eyewear with more of the world, but to promote their Shared Experiences campaign. This generous initiative allows backers to not only pick a pair of edlee sunglasses for themselves, but they are given the opportunity to send a pair to anyone they want, anywhere in the world at no added cost. The campaign launched November 10th, and they surpassed their funding goal within five hours!

edlee buy one share one

As much as I was excited to receive my own edlee sunglasses, having the chance to send a pair to a friend made them infinitely better! I loved knowing that the person I chose was going to be surprised to receive a bamboo box in the first place, but that she would then also get to share in the edlee experience with me! How very cool is that!

(Spoiler alert: she was thrilled and I felt even more awesome!)

As if edlee hadn't already included enough reasons for me to be completely impressed with their quality and the Buy One Share One campaign, they put things over the top by including their No Questions Asked and Lifetime Guarantee policies.

It's simple. Once you receive your edlees, simply register them online. If ever damaged, lost or stolen, they will send you a one-time-replacement pair of your exact sunglasses, no questions asked.

Now that is what I call flawless, unbeatable customer service. Who hasn't broken a pair of sunglasses in the bottom of their bag, left a pair behind when they were buried in the sand, or simply set them down to never see them again?

edlee review

If you're ready to see the world through a pair of edlee lenses with me, head over to their Buy One, Share One Kickstarter campaign to find out more and join in this special shared experiences initiative. It ends January 9th, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to not only treat yourself to an incredible pair of sunglasses (at a great discount), but a lucky person in your life as well!

You can also find out much more about edlee, their beach culture, and their full collection of high quality eyewear by visiting edlee.com and connecting with them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Other than the sunglasses that I was provided by edlee in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about these products and this company.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Dream-Come-True Mermaid Transformation: Fin Fun Mermaid Tails {Review}

Fin Fun logo
As Little Sister B's birthday began drawing near, I was met with my usual struggle as to what gift I could give her. Toys? Clothes? Accessories? Stuffed animals?

Well, sure. But...

What about something a little more unique? Something that I knew would make her eyes open wide and her jaw drop to the floor? Something that would hold her attention long past when her taste in one type of toy has changed or has long been outgrown?

That's why I was so excited to be introduced to the huge selection of high-quality mermaid tail designs from Fin Fun!

Fin Fun mermaid tails

As I mentioned last month, Fin Fun offer a vast selection of mermaid tails to choose from, making it easy to shop simply by selecting one of the categories. For instance, the Fin Fun Mermaidens collection features tails based on the beloved Mermaiden Princess characters, each with a unique personality and story, which can be found on the kid-friendly FinFriends.com site.

Or, for a brighter, more eye-catching option, the Limited Edition collection combines fantasy with nature's beauty in spectacular designs that have a shimmery, shiny look and feel. I found that no matter which category I browsed, each of Fin Fun's tails were even more incredible than the next!

Which is why I couldn't wait for one to arrive and for Little Sister B to be just as excited!

Fin Fun reaction

Does anything warm a mother's heart more than seeing her child so happy?

Right away we were elated to see the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail and accompanying Fin Fun Swim Monofin in their stylish packaging...

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail packaging

...and I appreciated that both pieces were ready to use right out of the box.

The Mermaid Tail itself is, quite simply, gorgeous. The colors are bright and shiny as they gradually change from yellow to green to blue scales down its full length and the whole overall effect is a shimmery, sparkly texture.

As the fabric is made from a high-quality, breathable, 4-way stretch poly spandex swimsuit material, there is no problem pulling this lightweight, stretchy tail right on!

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail

At the same time, the tail is open at the bottom so that it not only aids in getting it on and off and makes it so young mermaids can shuffle/walk, but it also makes it possible for the Monofin to be pulled on and off with ease.

Simply pull the mermaid tail up enough to pop your feet into the Monofin holes and then stretch the tail down and around to complete the full effect!

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail and Monofin

Is it any wonder that Little Sister B is so enamored with her Fin Fun Mermaid Tail and Monofin that she hasn't worn it once without a HUGE grin on her face? When we were packing for our beach vacation she questioned me time and again as to whether I had packed it because she just had to have it with her!

I really don't know if she could love this any more than she does, both for the incredible, attention-grabbing, realistic way that it looks as well as for the fact that it allows her to glide effortlessly through the water when swimming with it!

Fin Fun review

From top to bottom, Fin Fun has impressed us from the start!

I appreciate the attention to detail that goes into their products as well as their focus on comfort, performance, and safety. I don't have to worry that Little Sister B cannot get the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail or Monofin on or off on her own, and the tail itself can even be machine washed on gentle to keep it clean and ready for the next use.

It really isn't any wonder that Fin Fun's award-winning products have become a celebrity favorite, as well as the best-selling mermaid tail brand in the world!

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail review

Do you have a mermaid fan in your life? Fin Fun offers amazing options in sizes for kids through adults, so you're going to want to head over to FinFun.com and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to see their full lineup of incredible mermaid products.

While a complete mermaid transformation is a little on the expensive side (the Bali Breeze Mermaid Tail and Monofin retail for $54.95 each), I am quite positive that Little Sister B will be using these gorgeous pieces for years to come!

But, wait! Why not save a little on your purchase? If you have a young mermaid fan in your life that would love Fin Fun products just as much as mine does, enter the coupon code USFAMILY16 to save $5 off of your order today.

Other than the Mermaid Tail and Monofin I received from Fin Fun in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about these products.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Construct, Ride, Climb, Imagine, and More at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago {Review}

Legoland Discovery Center logo
During our recent visit to Chicago, my family was looking forward to a wide variety of sights, attractions, shopping, restaurants, and more. After all, this is one city that has something for just about everyone, right?

However, I have to admit that we were all especially anticipating our time visiting The Windy City because of one particular destination that we were finally going to get to experience and check off of our bucket list.

Because truly, if you're in the Midwest and have young children, you've got to make time for the unique, original, creative, constructing fun that is to be had at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago!

Legoland Discovery Center Chicago

One of ten LEGOLAND Discovery Center locations across North America (with even more throughout the rest of the world), LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago opened in 2008, 50 years after the LEGO Brick as we know it was invented and patented in 1958.

After having visited LEGOLAND Florida as well as LEGOLAND California and having a blast at both, it wasn't at all a surprise that we couldn't wait to step inside our first Discovery Center to see the exhibits, life-size models, 4D Theater, rides, building opportunities, and more.

First up, Miniland!

Miniland Chicago

I find it incredibly fascinating that builders are able to turn LEGO bricks into miniature replicas of just about anywhere in the world — and seeing famous Chicago landmarks built from almost 2 million LEGO bricks was no exception!

From Willis Tower to Navy Pier to the Wrigley Building, I could have examined Miniland Chicago for hours to take in all of the intricate details included on each and every structure. There was even a group of LEGO minifigures taking a segway tour of the Chicago scenery, something my husband and I did in real life years ago!

Plus, as Miniland is updated seasonally, Big Sister E and Little Sister B had a great time pointing out when they found a tiny Santa Claus or decorated tree. I would love to come back and see the changes that occur throughout the other seasons!

After oohing and ahhing over Miniland, we stepped into Jungle Expedition and continued to be amazed at all that can be built from LEGO bricks.

Legoland Jungle Expedition

As well as pointing out the extraordinary tigers, monkeys, hippos, and more, we had a great time guessing at the answers to the various quizzes posted around the room. I found out a lot of fun facts about jungle animals that I previously hadn't known (or even thought about)!

The remainder of our time on the first floor of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago was spent in the interactive LEGO City Builder room, riding the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, peeking in at a Master Builder hard at work, and marveling at some familiar faces portrayed as astounding life-size LEGO characters!

Lego Discovery Center Chicago fun

Both of my girls could have spent hours making their own creative pieces in the LEGO City Builder zone (we did return to this room multiple times throughout the visit), because who doesn't love the open-ended creativity that comes with sitting down with unlimited LEGO bricks? Not to mention being inspired by the LEGO City and LEGO Friends skyscrapers, police and fire stations, cafes, suburban streets, beaches, and more!

As well as wanting to build over and over, my girls happily rode the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride time and time again (if there was ever a line at all it was very short, which made Mom happy, too)! This is one ride that is very appealing to all ages, as my husband and I got into the action of zapping the skeletons, trolls, spiders, boulders, and more in an effort to rack up more points. It was definitely a favorite for all four of us (and, ahem, I believe I'm the undefeated champion in the family)!

While we had already had a blast on the first floor of LEGO Discovery Center Chicago, once we went upstairs we found an entire second level of entertainment awaited!

Legoland Discovery Center Chicago 2nd floor

After eyeballing the tasty options for sale in the Cafe; marveling at the idea of having a party here in the Birthday Rooms (Little Sister B immediately declared LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago as her upcoming birthday party location of choice); and discussing how neat it was that the LEGO Master Builder Academy allowed kids to learn building tips from the LEGOLAND Discovery Center model building team; we headed in to experience Pirate Adventure Island.

This HUGE climbing structure spans multiple rooms and offers all sorts of active, free play! Climbing, constructing, sliding — there is even a DUPLO Village section for the younger crowd and a giant water table where kids can construct their own LEGO boat and see how smoothly it can sail through a variety of obstacles.

For older kids, or simply when taking a break from Pirate Adventure Island, Merlin's Apprentice Ride and the LEGO Racers: Build & Test area were both big hits with my girls!

Legoland Chicago rides

I lost count of how many times Big Sister E and Little Sister B rode Merlin's Apprentice Ride, as they would hop off when the ride stopped, hurry back to the entrance, and get right back on again! But considering that it was not only fun, but also good exercise in that riders have to keep pedaling for their seats to stay up in the air, I was happy to see them love it over and over again.

When they weren't biking their way through the sky, the girls also spent quite a bit of time building large and small vehicles to race down the ramps in the Build and Test zone. Their creations ranged from very basic to fairly complicated and it was great to see what LEGO bricks and wheels they picked out to work with next!

To complete our visit to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, we were sure to also visit the LEGO 4D Theater and take a tour of the LEGO Factory.

Legoland 4D Theater Factory Tour

In all prior 4D shows (the 4th dimension is an added experience such as wind or bubbles) Little Sister B has never enjoyed the experience and ended up removing her 3D glasses and/or hiding her face in my arm.

However, whether it was because she was already having such a great time at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago or because she was so excited to see familiar LEGO Movie and LEGO Chima characters on the screen, she ended up loving the shows — we went in multiple times to see the different movies being played throughout the time we were there!

For our final experience, our tour of the LEGO Factory was a short presentation of the entire LEGO brick creation and all of the kids involved were riveted hearing about each step of the process. How cool that the tiny plastic granulate turn into such a beloved toy! And, as an added bonus, everyone on the tour left with a special souvenir LEGO brick and who wouldn't be excited about that?

life-size lego

With unlimited access to all 11 different attractions, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago has more than enough to keep kids entertained for hours. We never once felt rushed and the kids loved the ability to be able to go back and forth (upstairs and downstairs) whenever they felt like it!

The Discovery Center does a great job regulating the number of people who are visiting at any given time, meaning little to no lines, and the entire place isn't so massively monstrous that it becomes overwhelming. Every staff member we interacted with was extremely gracious and friendly and even the restrooms were spotlessly clean and LEGO-themed!

All in all, our entire family had a great time and the whole visit was a welcome change from 'typical' museums or attractions that we know. I'd love to visit again in the future to take part in some of the special events that they host throughout the year!

To find out much, much more about LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and all of the Discovery Center locations, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. If you live in or are visiting the Chicago area, be sure to add this must-see attraction to your list!

I was provided complimentary tickets for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago in order to help facilitate this review, but they in no way affected the amazing time that we had and my honest opinions in this post.