Sunday, February 7, 2016

Small But Powerful: Overcoming Challenges on the Way to Greatness {#SmallButPowerful}

Tide logo
This post is sponsored by Socialstars and Tide, however all opinions are my own. #SmallButPowerful

Although there are plenty of men that look like stereotypical football players (i.e. big and beefy) that will be a part of tonight's Super Bowl, there is something that I find inherently appealing about the little guy. Is it rooting for the underdog? Or just relating to being the odd man out?

Or possibly it is just knowing that size isn't always in direct correlation to power when it comes to a lot of things in life. The biggest cars aren't always the best; there are plenty of tiny dogs that are just as amazing as their larger counterparts; eating a giant chocolate cake instead of a small slice may just leave you with a stomachache; and more.

Another example? Tide Pods that, while small, are incredibly effective at keeping my family's clothing clean and stain free. This 3-in-1 detergent (detergent, stain remover and brightener all in one) dissolves quickly in both hot or cold water and can be used in HE or traditional machines. I absolutely love the ease, convenience and effectiveness!

Tide Pods

But let's go back to talking people, because there is no shortage of incredible heroes, politicians, athletes, servicemen and women, athletes, and many more that may be small but are still extremely powerful.

I have personally admired many men and women who have overcome diversity and obstacles in their lives and careers but one who immediately comes to mind due to being small in stature (and a female in a male sport) is the incredible Becky Hammon.

There is no doubt that being the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history could be a little daunting, but Becky has taken it all in stride as just a part of her #SmallButPowerful story. Take a look at this amazing short video that just oozes her toughness!

Becky Hammon

While I have encountered a wide variety of challenges in my life, one that always immediately comes to mind occurred nine years ago this month.

Before Big Sister E was born, ultrasounds had shown that there was a defect in one of her ureter tubes (the tubes that connect each kidney to the bladder). Once she was here, doctors performed all sorts of scans and tests to determine the severity and the likelihood of the issue resolving itself... but, in the end, surgery was the answer.

baby renal scan
One of many pre-surgery renal scans.

Just seeing your child get hurt can tug at a mother's heartstrings, but handing my first baby over for surgery? Whew, it was easily an obstacle that I wouldn't want to relive.

But of course my incredible girl was plenty #SmallButPowerful and came through surgery with flying colors. Further checkups and scans proved it had been wildly successful and, nearly a decade later, Big Sister E is completely healthy and of course has no recollection of the event at all. In fact, other than the photos and the scar on her back, she might otherwise not believe me that it happened!

baby surgery
Surgery day!

What challenges have you conquered or obstacles have you overcome? We are all #SmallButPowerful in our own way!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Providing Protection, Moisture and Flavor to Lips Everywhere: ChapStick {Review & Prize Pack Giveaway}

Chapstick logo
While the majority of people think of the same common items that are must-haves when heading out the door (e.g. phone and wallet), there is one more essential that I need with me at all times: lip balm.

Whether I'm heading out to run errands, taking my girls to play dates, meeting friends for coffee, going to dinner with the whole family or more, I just can't take the feeling of having dry, cracked lips.

Not to mention that this everyday essential also protects and visibly improves the appearance of my lips at the same time, so is it any wonder that I've gone as far as to attach a pouch specifically for my lip balm right onto my keychain? Now there's no chance that I'll be out and find myself wishing my favorite beauty product was there, too!


As you can see, this great little portable pouch isn't just designed for any old lip balm, it is perfectly sized for the one legendary beauty staple that has held my lips' loyalty year after year: ChapStick.

With a specialized formula for every lip need, ChapStick is the tried-and-true product that is found in purses and pockets from coast to coast (and across the world)!

keychain ChapStick holder

It is no secret that ChapStick helps us achieve moisturized and hydrated lips no matter our age or the season (it is especially a must in the cold, dry winter air!), but did you know that there is an entire collection of ChapStick products, each with their own specialized benefits?

From focusing on relieving dryness to providing a silky feeling to offering a sweet flavor, I was looking forward to expanding my ChapStick horizons to see more of what the full product line contains.

ChapStick review

My lips were tingling as soon as I opened the box!

Starting with the ChapStick Classic Range in Original, Strawberry, Cherry, and Spearmint, I was immediately pleased that these were indeed the lip balms that I have always known and loved. As the brand was created more than 100 years ago, there really is no need to look elsewhere for the #1 name in protecting and moisturizing lips!

Keep it Original, toss in fun fruity flavors like Cherry and Strawberry, or keep it fresh with Spearmint; these ChapStick Classic Range varieties are perfect for each and every day.

ChapStick Classic Range

When you know that your lips are going to be taking on the elements than usual, ChapStick Sun Defense offers a conditioning formula, including sun protection with SPF 25. Winter, spring, summer and fall, this unique ChapStick prevents and temporarily protects chafed, chapped or cracked lips. Don't even think of hitting the slopes this winter without it!

ChapStick Sun Defense

If your lips do end up needing a little extra TLC, however, ChapStick Medicated is the perfect answer. Whether you are feeling under the weather or just need that extra boost of hydration, ChapStick Medicated quickly soothes and seals in moisture with a light, protective barrier to help heal dry, chapped lips.

ChapStick Medicated

For an extra boost of hydration, the ChapStick Moisturizer collection (I sampled the Raspberry Crème, Original, Green Apple, and Vanilla Mint varieties) feature special moisturizing ingredients such as Aloe and Vitamins that leave your lips feeling soft, supple and silky in winter or summer.

I love that these are not only delicious but that their ultra hydrating formula really does leave my lips feeling like they have locked in some extra saturation!

ChapStick Moisturizer collection

Finally, if you are looking to treat your lips to a refreshing and fruitful getaway, the ChapStick Tropical Paradise Collection is the solution to bringing the islands with you wherever you go.

These tropical inspired, fresh fruit flavors are reminiscent of warm weather and an island breeze and come in amazing Mango Sunrise and Aloha Coconut varieties (the latter is available exclusively at Walmart stores).

ChapStick Tropical Paradise collection

No matter if you prefer original or fruit flavors, need traditional or extra protection, or simply are like me and don't leave home without the go-to lip balm product that always keeps lips soft and smooth, there is a ChapStick flavor and formula for everyone. Which one is right for you?

To find out more about these and all of the other fantastic ChapStick products available, be sure to visit and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will be prepared to keep their lips soft and protected for quite some time to come, because...

One lucky person will win a complete ChapStick prize pack*!

*Prize Pack contains one each of the following ChapStick varieties: ChapStick Classic Range in Original, Strawberry, Cherry, and Spearmint; ChapStick Moisturizer in Raspberry Crème, Original, Green Apple, and Vanilla Mint; ChapStick Tropical Paradise Collection in Mango Sunrise and Aloha Coconut; ChapStick Sun Defense; ChapStick Medicated.

The ChapStick® product, information and monetary gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celebrating our Game Day Traditions with P&G and Walmart {#GameDayTraditions}

Walmart logo
This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Growing up in a non-sports fan household, my first real introduction to cheering on a team probably came in high school when I would go with friends to football games (although I highly doubt that I paid that much attention to the game itself).

In college, however, I began to notice that attending football game after football game actually left me quite a bit interested in the game itself. Whether it was the die hard spirit of the school and the fans or simply that I finally understood many of the rules and complexities, football was suddenly much less foreign and a lot more fun.

Fast forward to today and having married a born and raised Wisconsin boy? Football. Football is life and the Packers are everything (followed closely by our alumni, the University of Wisconsin Badgers). We watch, we cheer, we yell, we travel to see games in person — it's just what we do!

packer fans
The next generation of Packer fans, circa 2011.

So when it comes to getting together with family and friends to spend a day eating, drinking, and cheering on the green and gold, there is no doubt that we have a few traditions.

Wearing full Packer gear? Check.

Craft projects planned for the kids when they get bored? Check (thanks to Grandma).

Bowls of chips and pretzels filled? Stocked up on beverages? Sandwich fixings prepared? Taco dip opened and ready? Check, check, check.

Really, the only negative about getting together to watch football is the cleanup, both before and after. I'm not having people over when our house is a mess and, due to the amount of "enthusiasm" displayed during the game, the aftermath can be a bit tricky as well.

Fortunately, Walmart has the perfect P&G home and personal care products to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Big Game without worry!

P&G products

From cooking to cleaning to spills to stains, I always find myself turning to P&G for the Big Game as well as for every day life. They have a product for everything!

Most recently, I knew we were set for all upcoming football games and beyond thanks to the great selection of P&G items sent over from Walmart.


Along with vacuuming up the cat hairs off of the furniture and ensuring my kids have removed their toys from the middle of the living room, my pre-game cleaning prep is mainly spent in the kitchen and guest bathroom.

Risk having guests go into the restroom and find that the toilet paper roll is empty? No, thank you! Instead the Charmin Ultra Strong Mega Rolls 12-pack provides plenty of extras, while also being clog-safe, septic-safe, and 4X stronger when wet than the leading bargain brand.

Charmin and Febreze

See that Febreze Air Effects Linen & Sky waiting right there as well? No one wants the embarrassment of leaving odors in the bathroom, so keeping that single bottle there provides the satisfaction of knowing that tough odors will be eliminated (rather than covered up) without being overpowering.

With the bathroom cleaned and stocked, that leaves the kitchen and my personal favorite P&G product, Bounty Select-A-Size.

Bounty Select-A-Size

These hardworking paper towels contain their awesome Trap & Lock Technology to quickly absorb messes and the fact that I can grab them in half or full sizes means they are perfect for cleanup in any size. Slushy footprints in the front hall? Milk drips on the floor from a leaky container? BBQ sauce splattered on the table? It's all no match for Bounty Select-A-Size!

Also, not only does Bounty come in handy before and during our Big Game celebrations, but they're a must for my final cleanup afterward. And while I'm wiping the last of the sticky fingerprints off of the chairs, I typically have a load of laundry running at the same time to take care of all of the spills and messes that occurred on our clothing.

I'm not sure how my children (and okay, sometimes me, too) can end up with food all over their outfits, but at least Tide PODS Spring Meadow is there to do the dirty work for me. This 3-in-1 detergent (detergent, stain remover and brightener all in one) dissolves quickly in both hot or cold water and can be used in HE or traditional machines.

Tide Pods

Year after year our #GameDayTraditions stay intact thanks to P&G high quality products that are available at Walmart!

Find out more about these and all of Procter & Gamble's great items by visiting them at and connecting with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also check out all things Walmart at and on Twitter and Facebook.

What are the game day traditions in your household?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Comfort and Convenience in My New Love: 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD {Review}

Kia logo
While I have always been a firm believer in the saying You never get a second chance to make a first impression, recently I was able to see that that being open-minded is also extremely important.

Case in point: Kia.

I sincerely apologize to you, Kia, as my first impression of your vehicles was nearly 10 years ago when on a group vacation in Hawaii and riding in a rental minivan. I was pregnant with Big Sister E and often found myself squished in one of the back seats as we drove through the twisting, turning roads of Maui... let's just say that when I went back home I associated that Kia minivan with my feelings of discomfort and motion sickness.

And that was it. The brand was tainted in my mind and has been for the last decade.

Thankfully, I recently had the chance to update (and completely change) my views of Kia when I spent a week driving (and falling in love with) the amazing 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD.

2016 Kia Sorento

When making our plans to head out to Californa for a recent family vacation, I knew that having a reliable, versatile crossover utility vehicle would make life easier on so many levels. Plenty of room for the our extended family of six, a push button engine start, a powerful entertainment system, an intuitive navigation system, a rear view camera and much, much more?

Clearly it was time to rethink my past with Kia.

As soon as this gorgeous vehicle rolled up to be mine for a week, I was already wondering why I had taken this long to give them a second chance.

2016 Kia Sorento review

Available in a variety of different colors, seeing the Sorento in this gorgeous Titanium Gray was the perfect combination for the athletic look and flowing lines of this sleek, smooth automobile.

No matter which angle I chose, this crossover was giving off the impression that it was fun to drive and was ready to go anywhere and everywhere that I would choose. From the sound-absorbing glass to the modern, chic moulding to the 19" chrome alloy wheels — this car has it all!

Kia Sorento exterior

And that was only the outside! Once I climbed in and had a view of the interior, I continued to be impressed with all that Kia had included. Right away I liked the sleek and attractive leather seats and the way they contrasted against against the black dash, chrome and trim.

But not only do these seats look good, they are so plush and soft and include features like heating and cooling! There is a lot of cabin space throughout the Sorento, so once you've climbed in and sat back in comfort, no one feels cramped or squished. Plus, these seats can be controlled and adjusted in so many different ways (the driver's seat can be tweaked in 14 different ways!!) so that each passenger can personalize their ride.

At the same time, I adored the way that the driver's seat remembered each of my settings every time I entered the Sorento. Turn the car off, the seat moves back to provide ample room to get out. Get in and turn the car on, and it returns precisely to where I wanted it (up close for my vertically-challenged self). Talk about feeling pampered!

Kia Sorento seats

Plus, Kia not only included just about every convenience possible, but I love that the Sorento has them all within reach.

There are cup holders throughout; the front console/armrest provides plenty of storage; there are power and USB ports handy to charge our tech with ease; a multitude of controls are located right on the (heated!) steering wheel so you never have to reach for them; multiple heating and cooling controls to satisfy everyone; it only takes one touch to open the full panoramic roof; and much more!

Kia Sorento controls

As well as all of the conveniences and comfort for the first and second row of passengers, when you have more than four passengers, the third row in the Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD is surprisingly roomy. I typically find that row to feel more as an afterthought in vehicle design and used only when absolutely necessary, but this crossover provides plenty of space for two adults to fit comfortably!

Or, by simply folding down the second row (all together or a 40/20/40 split) and third row (both together or a 50/50 split), this vehicle provides a huge amount of storage and transport space for just about any cargo you could find!

Kia Sorento third row

Along with all this space, comfort and convenience, Kia didn't skimp on quality, power and safety in the Sorento either. The overall ride is extremely comfortable and the steering is smooth and light. Even the hum of the engine is quiet but still pleasing!

For help getting around, the navigation system gives you turn by turn directions, the Rear-Camera Display aids in backing or parallel parking (there is also a Back-Up Warning System to let you know if you're getting too close), and the Blind Spot Detection System (I adore this feature!) gives you an alert if there is a car hiding on either side when you go to change lanes.

blind spot detection system

Even cooler, the Sorento has power side mirrors that automatically fold in to stay out of harm's way when you turn off and lock your car. No more worrying that someone will knock into one with their shopping cart in a parking lot when they are safely tucked in instead!

folding side mirror

After a week of driving the Kia Sorento around California, I had a difficult time saying goodbye to it — and multiple family members commented on how they would love to own one for themselves.

It was spacious without feeling giant (there wasn't a single complaint about lack of legroom or space); it kept my family very safe with a plethora of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control; and was overall it was a pleasure to drive.

In short, I couldn't have been much happier with the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD and being able to really give it a good test drive has fully changed my opinion of Kia! I would love to own this crossover and be able to drive it every day of the week!

Kia instagram

No matter if you are running errands around town or piling in for an adventure cross-country, the Sorento drives well, looks amazing, and is a great choice for families. The SXL model is at the top of the line (with an MSRP starting at $41,500), but there are seven other models that start at $25,100 to fit a variety of needs and budgets.

You can find out lots more about this incredible vehicle by visiting the Kia website and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Other than the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD that I was provided 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 how much I loved driving this incredible vehicle.