Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Backpacks that Make a Difference: Sydney Paige {Review}

Sydney Paige logo
When both of my girls reached the age when they would start attending preschool, they were extremely excited. Not only for the opportunity to be a "big kid" or the chance to get to go hang out with friends for a few hours... but because of their backpack.

That's right, their backpack.

Both kids have always been somehow enthralled by the way that backpacks offer the capability to tote things around and that they contain your own special belongings for you. Add to that the way that this single accessory is the symbol of being old enough to head off to school and it has been love from day one.

But let's be honest. Other than some extra pockets or a cheesy licensed character, nearly all backpacks are basically the same and not really anything to get excited about.

But... what if there was something more? What if there was a way to purchase a backpack that would be enjoyable and functional while, at the same time, it helped to make a difference in the world? One that gives knowledge and a feeling of global responsibility? Inspiration and encouragement to take action in our lives to think of not only ourselves?

That's exactly what is found with Sydney Paige.

Sydney Paige backpacks

Across the United States, 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line, a statistic that makes my heart hurt every time I see it. So when I hear that the mission of Sydney Paige is to promote the importance of education and enrich the life of a child in need while empowering those more fortunate to help break the cycle of poverty . . . one child at a time, it makes me beyond proud to support them.

For customers, the process is simple! For every backpack bought, the same one —not a cheap imitation— is filled with age-appropriate school supplies and given to a child in need (customers are able to designate the non-profit that will receive this great donation), giving these kids much-needed confidence for returning to the classroom. Children around the world deserve to gain an education, and they need supplies to do so this back-to-school season.

Sydney Paige mission

Needless to say, I was already in love with Sydney Paige and their "Buy 1, Give 1" process by the time I started browsing their amazing products. With backpacks available in four different sizes for toddler to adult, fantastic accessories for all ages (lunch bags, tablet sleeves, and more), and stunning children's books sharing the company's positive messages, there is easily something for everyone.

Why wouldn't I want to send my child off to school carrying a stylish and trendy Sydney Paige backpack when it is also helping kids in need?

school backpacks

Although both Big Sister E and Little Sister B would have loved to have the chance to carry any of the Sydney Paige backpacks, it was easily love at first sight when the Raleigh Laptop Backpack in Purple Patch arrived at our door.

Sydney Paige backpack review

From the World Changers line (for kids 4' - 6.5'+ tall), this beautiful backpack features a chic circular design on the strong polyester exterior and plenty of accessory hooks on the front.

The reflective piping around the front adds safety (as well as more style) and the two expandable side pockets are perfect for when my daughter needs to stash a water bottle for hot days. I appreciate the padded, reinforced bottom to help keep this backpack from wearing thin as it is placed along all sorts of textured surfaces while Little Sister B is fond of the padding along the breathable mesh back.

Sydney Paige review

But when it comes to what really has my daughter excited to bring her Sydney Paige backpack to school, it has to be the endless number of pockets and compartments.

There are two zippered pockets along the front along with a convenient accessory pocket, complete with ID holder, key fob and smaller pockets for supplies. At the same time, for older kids that like to listen to music or have a phone to carry, this backpack has a top zipper pocket that is the perfect size to keep their technology safe. There is even a small hole in the pocket that leads right to the earbud port for easy listening!

Sydney Paige backpack

Finally, Sydney Paige did anything but neglect the main compartment of this backpack, as it is easily accessible with a double zipper and has more than enough room for Little Sister B to tote her belongings to and from school. She has already declared the padded laptop sleeve (large enough to fit up to a 15" laptop) the perfect place to slide in her daily folder!

kids laptop backpack

While wearing a backpack is a necessity for preschool through college and beyond, that doesn't mean that you can't support a great cause (and teach your child a fantastic lesson about giving) at the same time.

Sydney Paige is making a difference in the lives of low-income children by giving them the tools, courage and confidence to learn and thrive in school, stay in school, and graduate... and making it easy for all of us to help their mission with the simple purchase of one of their great backpacks this coming back-to-school season!

Find out more about all of the incredible products offered and the difference that Sydney Paige is making for kids everywhere by visiting SydneyPaigeInc.com and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Other than the Raleigh Laptop Backpack that I was provided by Sydney Paige to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion of this product and this amazing company.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Stay Cool, Comfortable and Refreshed in the Traveling Breeze Fan-Cooled Chair {Review}

Traveling Breeze logo
Although I like to think of myself as pretty easygoing, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a weather snob. Here in the Midwest it's too cold for my liking for the majority of the year, and then BAM. Summer. Why can't it just be pleasant, a little sunny, a nice breeze, maybe a cool drink in hand?

Instead, I find myself sitting outside in the scorching heat day after day for all sorts of reasons. Sporting events, visits to the park, parades, BBQs... even if I happen to find shade, it's not like I can set up an air conditioner or a box fan to help keep me cool, right? Not exactly.

Instead, I now bring along something that combines the benefits of a fan with the convenience of lawn chair. I bring the Traveling Breeze Fan-Cooled Chair!

Traveling Breeze chair

The only sports/camping chair of its kind to take things a step beyond comfort and portability, Traveling Breeze's patented technology integrates efficient fans right into their pop-up chair.

Fans in the chair, you ask? Yes, there are fans right there in the back of the chair to deliver a quiet, powerful airflow up along your back and neck. Simply flip a switch and this handy system keeps your head, back, neck and shoulders cool all while you kick back and relax anytime, anywhere!

Skeptical? I was, too. So when a tall, slim package from Traveling Breeze arrived, it was time to see the Fan-Cooled Chair for myself.

Traveling Breeze portable chair

Right out of the box this unique chair is safely stored in its carrying bag and nearly ready for use.

Simply slide it out of the bag and pop it right open...

Traveling Breeze review

...and the sturdy frame and strong nylon fabric is ready for your relaxation (complete with convenient cup holder).

However, one peek under the left armrest reveals the power source and operating switch. Just install batteries (important note: not all versions of the Traveling Breeze Fan-Cooled Chairs use disposable batteries - one comes with a rechargeable battery and charger, so no need to worry about replacements!) and pop the compartment back into place.

fan sports chair

Once you flip that switch, the Traveling Breeze Chair provides hour after hour of refreshing cooling thanks to the two strong fans on the lower back.

fan cooled sports chair

Remember my initial skepticism? It was immediately erased when I sat in this chair and felt the cool air coming through the soft mesh on my neck and neck! Forget standing up 10 minutes later and feeling sweaty while peeling my shirt from my back, instead I happily stayed cool and refreshed from the moment I sat down to the time I stood up.

In fact, every time my family has brought the Traveling Breeze Chair with us this summer the only problem we have had is forcing everyone to take turns beating the heat with it!

Traveling Breeze chair review
My girls loving the ability to cool off in the Traveling Breeze Chair at a recent swim meet!
Wondering about how long the disposable batteries might last and the continued cost of replacing them? That concern of mine was also dismissed once I put my Traveling Breeze Eco-Adapter to use!

This handy little cord connects right to the power source on the chair but then, by using the USB port on the other end, is able to run the Fan-Cooled Chair directly from the power of a portable cell phone charger. I simply make sure my portable charger is full before we leave the house and then it is ready to run the fans on my chair all day. Genius!

Traveling Breeze Eco-Adapter

Whether you're heading to a neighbor's cookout, spending hours on the sidelines of a soccer tournament, enjoying an afternoon tailgating with your buddies or packing up for a weekend of camping and fishing at the lake, the Traveling Breeze Fan-Cooled Chair is uniquely perfect for the occasion.

It folds compactly, sets up immediately and keeps you cool without any effort or work. Why sit outside without it?

Available only from Ace Hardware for $49.99, this Traveling Breeze Fan-Cooled Chair is only one of Traveling Breeze's innovative cooling products available. They also have fantastic options for the beach, the stadium, and more! A different version of the Fan-Cooled Chair (with a rechargeable 12-V battery) can be purchased directly from TravelingBreeze.com, on Amazon or from a variety of other retail partners for $69.95.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or simply find yourself spending time outside in the heat, this is one company that knows how to provide cooling comfort with ease. Once you've sat in the Fan-Cooled Chair, you won't ever want to go back!

Find out much more about this and all of Traveling Breeze's cooling options by visiting their website and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Other than the Fan-Cooled Chair that I was provided by Traveling Breeze 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 this product.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rock Out This Summer with KIDZ BOP 32 {Available Today!}

Kidz Bop logo
While I have long heard the phrase "anthem of the summer" in reference to one particular song that spreads in popularity from coast to coast, in order for it to be accurate in our house it would need to be altered to anthems.

Because it just isn't possible to select a single favorite tune when there are 15 fantastic choices to listen to (nonstop) with today's release of KIDZ BOP 32!

Kidz Bop 32

KIDZ BOP music is known for being a compilation of "today's biggest hits sung by kids for kids" and has been delivering safe and entertaining music for kids for 15 years — that's a whole lot of awesome, age-appropriate music for families everywhere!

By taking the popular songs of the year, removing the suggestive lyrics and having them performed by kids (the current members are Grant, Ashlynn, Matt and Sela), it's no wonder that parents as well as children can appreciate these CDs — and is also why millions and millions of them have been sold to date!

Kidz Bop kids

With today's release of the 32nd KIDZ BOP album, the group has yet again taken this season's hottest songs and made them kid-friendly and fun. My girls have been playing the entire CD over and over (and over) and they and their friends have been absolutely loving the ability to dance and sing along to these popular hits!
  • Cake By The Ocean
  • No
  • My House
  • Love Yourself
  • Don't Let Me Down
  • Work
  • Never Forget You
  • Out Of The Woods
  • Hide Away
  • One Call Away
  • Just Like Fire
  • Stressed Out
  • 7 Years
  • One Dance
  • Life Of The Party (Bonus Track)
As if the music of KIDZ BOP itself wasn't enough, I love that they have recently teamed up with Hostess with the Mostess to put together a huge post on how to create your own KIDZ BOP bash this summer.

Filled with great ideas, activities, and free printables, you've got to head over now to see How to Throw the Ultimate POP STAR Party for yourself so that you can get started planning your own!

pop star party ideas

I have always loved that KIDZ BOP is the perfect way to have the whole family singing, dancing and enjoying just how toe-tappingly fun popular songs can be when they are kid-friendly, and KIDZ BOP 32 is no exception! Say goodbye to questionable lyrics and hello to enjoying familiar tunes that are appropriate for all ages!

Whether you're having a rockin' party or just want something that the whole family can enjoy in the car, KIDZ BOP 32 and the entire line of KIDZ BOP CDs are sure to be a hit. More details and purchase information can be found in the KIDZ BOP Shop (this CD retails for $13.98) as well as on Amazon (for $11.88).

You can also connect with KIDZ BOP at KidzBop.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter so that you don't miss the latest and greatest, new releases, the current tour, upcoming events, and more.

Other than the copy of KIDZ BOP 32 that I received 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 this product.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Cravings with Meta Appetite Control {#MetaAppetiteControl}

Meta logo
This post was sponsored by Meta Appetite Control as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

There is no doubt that summer is in full swing around here, as everything from the nonstop heat (alternating with rain) to the flip flops to the endless pile of swimsuits and towels waiting to be washed are making the days fly by at a rapid rate. How is it mid-July already?

But here's the thing. My kids grab snacks throughout the day to keep them fueled up for their next activity, and I always seem to find myself joining in simply because... well, why not? The problem, however, is that Big Sister E and Little Sister B truly are burning all those calories while I, on the other hand, am sitting. Sitting in the car, sitting in the bleachers, sitting chatting with the other parents, sitting on the pool deck — you get the point.

Therefore, keeping a handle on my hunger cravings is extremely important in an effort to stay on track with my healthy eating and weight loss goals. If I'm not hungry, I'm much less likely to give in to the temptations that surround me morning, noon and night!

Which is why there was no hesitation last month when I said yes to trying out Meta Appetite Control!

Meta appetite control

As I mentioned, Meta Appetite Control is clinically proven to help users feel less hungry between meals (reducing appetite for up to four hours), and is the #1 doctor recommended fiber brand that contains 100% natural psyllium fiber. With every serving, that psyllium fiber in the powder thickens to form a gel, which aids in the sensation of fullness.

The result is that users like myself can make it through their busy schedule without constantly feeling hungry (or, in my case, hangry) at all points throughout the day. It really is just that easy!

Meta appetite control orange

Including Meta Appetite Control as a part of my everyday routine hasn't been a difficult adjustment in the slightest, as I find myself reaching for it most often after lunch to help ward off the constant afternoon cravings.

Instead of joining my kids in their snacking, a glass of Meta Appetite Control gives me a small boost of energy and a slight full feeling. Plus, as all that is required is to place two rounded teaspoons into an empty glass and mix briskly with eight or more ounces of water, I can simply bring my zesty orange drink right along with me if we're heading out!

Meta Appetite Control on the go

Although I still have more work to do in terms of my overall wellness, I'm happy knowing that Meta Appetite Control has at least helped improve my eating habits. One day at a time is the way to success!

Want to give Meta Appetite Control a try with me? It is available now at your local Walgreens, where you can save $5 on it by filling out the form below (Influence Central will select and handle all product and coupon fulfillment). Who doesn't love to save a few bucks on a great product?

Find out more about Meta Appetite Control (which is available in Sugar-Free Orange Zest, Sugar-Free Pink Lemonade Quench and Unflavored Smoothie Enhancer) and all of the other innovative Meta products by heading over to MetaWellness.com. Be sure to also connect with all things Walgreens at Walgreens.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Fun with Kemps Craveable Ice Cream Flavors {Giveaway - 5 winners!}

Kemps logo
This post is sponsored by Kemps, but my love for their ice cream is all my own!

While spring was coming to an end and the hot days of summer began to roll in, this year I focused on staying realistic about what the season would entail.

Although I'd like to say that I pictured leisurely, relaxing days — the kids are out of school, so we'll have plenty of time to enjoy the park or go on a picnic or just kick back and play in the yard, right? — I also knew that the various camps, sports, lessons, classes and events that my girls were signed up for would greatly impede on that daydream.

Therefore, I wanted to be sure to carve out plenty of those carefree moments, for myself as well as for my family. After all, when we all look back, the most memorable days are going to be the ones spent together laughing and having fun, right?

Plus, this summer I found my inspiration in a unique location. Instead of spending time planning, organizing and preparing, I simply opened up my freezer and had the answer: Kemps ice cream.

Kemps Ice Cream

There’s nothing more special than spending quality time together in the summer, whether just the family or with a few friends. So why not make it even sweeter by adding in one or more of Kemps' craveable ice cream flavors?

Think it might be difficult to find one that the whole family will enjoy? Not when Kemps has 40 delicious flavors to choose from that are smooth and creamy and loaded with delicious add-ins!

Chocolate lovers will find bliss in delicious flavors like Moose Tracks Double Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Old Fashioned Toasted Almond Fudge. Candy lovers will adore unique offerings like Pearson’s Mint Patties, Nut Goodie and Salted Nut Roll. And around the holidays we can all celebrate with our families with tasty bowls of Pumpkin Pie, Candy Cane and Holiday Vanilla!

Kemps #ItsTheCows

We opted to try two new-to-us flavors recently and there is no doubt that the Caramel Cow Tracks and the Double Caramel Cookie Crunch have been a huge hit.

Whether we are hanging out after a long, hot day or are enjoying the company of amazing friends, there is just no comparison to the old-fashioned goodness of Kemps ice cream. The only negative is when you look down at your empty dish or realize in dismay that your cone is quickly disappearing!

Kemps dessert

Ready to kick back with your own scoop of Kemps deliciousness? In celebration of July being National Ice Cream Month, FIVE lucky winners will receive $5 coupons for Kemps ice cream so that they too can kick back and have a summer filled with creamy goodness!

Entry is easy! Simply visit Kemps here and then leave a comment below telling me which of their incredible flavor(s) you would like to try first. This giveaway ends on July 20, 2016 at 11:59pm CST!

Kemps Ice Cream giveaway