Apr 15, 2014

The 10 Greatest Moments From The Best. Weekend. Ever! #ContinentalMom #ForWhatYouDo

Today's Top 10 Tuesday is packed full of my favorite moments from my weekend with Continental in San Antonio and Uvalde, Texas. INSANE! INSANE! INSANE!

My friends, this past weekend was up there in awesomeness with my wedding and Ollie's birth. Seriously. Thanks to Continental Tires, I met 10 incredible top bloggers across different platforms, I ate amazing food, I had my every need anticipated and provided for, I learned about the different measures of tire tread and what they really meant, I got to compare the top leading tire manufacturer's tires in multiple driving scenarios, I learned life saving driving skills, I got to ride in a helicopter and in a 150k BMW Drift car, shoot skeet, and see the Alamo! All in 36 hours! INSANE!!!! I just kept thanking everyone, and in-between pinching myself to make sure it all was not a dream.

Aurorae SYNERGY Towel-Mat A.k.a. Best. Yoga. Mat. EVER! #Giveaway

The products reviewed today were provided free of charge. All opinions are my own. As if. 

I have been practicing yoga for over half my life on and off. I fell out of my practice when I got pregnant, and didn't go back until just last February. When Ollie turned two, I had this awakening that I was out of shape, over weight and needed to do something about it STAT! So, I went back to the one and onto exercise regime I stick with, Yoga. 

While it was amazing to get back to the mat, I found that I was slipping all over the place in my warm vinyasa and power yoga classes. I have a feeling being 40 pounds overweight and sweating like boxer in the 12th round of the fight of his life might have something to do with it. Thankfully, after trying out FOUR different mats in an attempt to fix my slipping issue--it was really that big of an issue-- I found the answer; The Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat.  From the very first use, my hands and feet did not slip!

After three weeks and 12 classes of solid use, I can honestly say this is hands down the best mat I have ever used.  And I have practiced on quite a few over the years.

For those of you who are long time yoga lovers, this mat is most likely intriguing and questionable at first glance. In fact, I know exactly what you are thinking, a mat that has the towel STUCK to the top of it? Sounds cool but...  Is it really practical for all types of yoga? How does it stay bacteria free?  How do you wash it?  

...I had all of the same questions and concerns too. 

Believe it or not, to clean the mat clean you machine wash it! Or, sometimes I will just throw it in the shower with me after class, hand wash it, then  roll it up with a towel to remove the excess water and then hang it over the curtain rod. By morning it's dry and read y for my next class! I LOOOOOOOVE THIS MAT! 

OK, so here is the lowdown on the one of a kind (US PATENT PROTECTEDEco-Friendly Synergy Mat, by Aurorae.

  • 1st product of it's kind. Bonds a 5mm Yoga mat bottom surface with Lush Slip-Free Microfiber Towel Top Surface. 
  •  72" long.
  • The more you sweat, the better your grip. 
  • Great for Hot Yoga practices, Ashtanga, Bikram etc. 
  • No Slipping, no bunching or movement like you get from having a separate towel on your mat during practice. 
  • Easy to care for and machine washable. 
  • No Odor
  • Light weight and easy to carry. 
  • Eco Safe SGS approved, free from Latex, Silicone and Phthalates
  • The company has highest and most rated yoga mats on Amazon!
From my very first down dog on the mat I was hooked.  It made such a difference for my practice.  Imagine, going from slipping every class to not. at. all! 

To keep the mat fresh in-between washes I use the Aurorae Spa Organics Meditative Mist in Lavender. And because I love the smell so much, I give my mat a couple of sprays before my class too!

I have the soy harmony candle too, because I love everything lavender. $25 for the set! 

And because I am a mom who has to lug half a house with me wherever I go, I also have the, Aurorae Yoga Mat Sport Bag/Multi Purpose Crossbody Sling Backpack. ($35 on Amazon!)

Ok, so clearly I am obsessed with everything Aurorae right now. 

Bottom line: If you have issues with slipping in yoga class, I cannot recommend the Aurorae Synergy mat enough! I have four mats, and use this one exclusively. It has really changed my yoga practice for the better. 

To get your own, CLICK HERE.

Feeling lucky? Sign up below for your chance to win a Synergy mat in you choice of color! 
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Apr 13, 2014

Not Only Does The World Not Stop When Mom Goes Away, Dad LOVES It...

Would you believe that Ollie didn’t cry once for me while I was away?  When I would call, Skype or FaceTime all I got were smiles and tales of his adventures with FTD.  PLANES, Mommy!--FTD Took him to the local airfield. “Walk-a-wagon, Mommy!”--FTD took him for a walk in the wagon twice a day. “Sghetti and chippies, Mommy!” --Dad-dinner of pasta and fries. “Ollies’ House, Mommy!"--FTD took him to see our new house. The tales of their adventures went on and on, with FTD in the background filling in the details. I couldn’t believe my ears, after all my worrying over leaving Ollie, he was having a grand time with daddy; clearly unaffected by my absence.

Day One. Going To Work With Daddy
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Apr 10, 2014

Caught Between, 'I Am Going To Miss You So Much' and 'PEACE OUT!'

I'm getting on a plane and flying far away from FTD and Ollie. I am really torn about this. Part of me wants to hold Ollie so tight and smother him with kisses and 'I Love Yous' until I leave. The other part of me wants to pack my shit and head to the airport a little early. The mom in me doesn't want to go. The me in me  that is desperate to wear heels and nice clothes and have grown up conversations, is so excited to board that plane for my awesome weekend. Regardless, all of me doesn't feel bad one bit that I am going.

It's hard to believe that in the two-years, two-months and eight days since my son was born, I have not spent more than six hours away from him. No overnights to grandmas house, no business trips or cousin sleepovers. Truth be told, I am OK with that. I miss Ollie when I am away from him for one-hour. So the thought of being away from him for nearly 60 hours is a lot to process!

The only thing holding me back from being 100% stoked to get away (alone) for the weekend is my worry over how Ollie will react to me being gone. I worry about what Ollie will think when mommy doesn't come home for two sleeps? I wonder if he will give FTD hell over going to sleep without mommy. I wonder if he will think I have left him for good...   

I am looking so forward to the weekend. I need to get away and recenter to me.  I need to be off mommy duty for a couple of days.  And well, in addition to all of the awesomeness that is planned...  I am SO SO SO SO looking forward the bed at the hotel. I dream of it's emptiness. I dream of it's quietness. I dream of it's clean sheets that have not had any dirty fingers or snotty noses rubbed all over them. For two nights in a row I get to sleep in a clean bed by myself without the fear of a little toddler staring at me at three in the morning screaming, WAKE UP MOMMY! I only have one word for it, Bliss.  Pure freaking good night sleep bliss!

FYI: That's what my bed heaven looks like...

This may sound silly, but I do wonder how much I will miss him and if my heart will physically hurt being away from him for so long. I know how much I miss him when I am away from him for two hours, so I cannot imagine how much I will miss him when I am away for two days! I insist dropping him off at the church for mommy's day out is the greatest moment of my day, until I go back to pick him up... THAT is the greatest moment of my day.  Oh my gosh I have to stop talking about missing him, it's making me miss him already!

As much of a badass kickass super duper dad FTD is... I'd be lying if I said I was not a little worried about FTD being in charge for the weekend. I know in my heart that FTD is completely capable of looking after Ollie for the weekend. I know the two will probably have the best time eating shit and wrecking the joint. But I also know first-hand that looking after a toddler for six-hours straight is a whole lot of work, so to think FTD is on duty for 60-hours straight... SUCKS!  I have no doubt by the time my plane lands FTD will be one crazed daddy. I wouldn't be surprised if he hands me Ollie and the car keys at the airport and tells me he is going to have a few drinks at the airport bar and will catch a cab home.  I know I would.

FTD when it's all over...
When I get all caught up in should I go, should I not go, I remind myself that I am going, it's going to happen, and it's going to be SO MUCH FUN! I also know that when I get back all will be even better than when I left. Still, it's not easy to just leave, so I have started to hold Ollie a little tighter and closer, and for a little longer before putting him in his crib to sleep. I have also planned a big day for us today so he will have his fill of mom and boy time before I leave... and so will I.

Bottom line: I desperately need this time away, and am so excited for all of the amazing events I get to attend being a brand ambassador for Continental. Still, that doesn't mean I won't spend a good part of my time away wondering what FTD and Ollie are up to, and how much crap they have consumed while wrecking the house...

Have you gone away from your child(ren)?  Please tell me about it...
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Choopie! Strolling has never been better... #LOVE #LOVE #LOVE #Giveaway

My friends, I can honestly say that in all of my years of blogging and testing children products, no product has surprised me like the Choopie Citygrips.  I was absolutely blown away from the very first time I used them.  I love them.  I really do...

I feel bad that all I want to do is talk about the Citygrips, because the Soho Citybag and Cityhooks deserve some love, but oh my goodness... those Citygrips! I want every stroller owner to have a pair. They are so soft and fun. Think: Stroller game changer...

 I really cannot believe I am tripping over these things, but I am.... and they are really the simplest thing too!

So what's the deal?  Citygrips are handle bar covers for your stroller...

At first I thought, is that really necessary?  My friends, YES!  For so many reasons...

1. They are so soft, it makes pushing the stroller somehow a pleasure.
2. They protect your stroller handle bar(s)
3. They protect your hands from your grimy handlebars, especially the ones that are breaking down.
4. They are machine washable, and trust me, after a few pushes of the stroller, you will see why that is SO important!  Especially if your little one like to push the stroller more than riding in it.
We both love them!

5. They are available in huge variety of patterns!! ($12.95!)

So how do these fancy little things work? One word, VELCRO!

Just take them out of the packaging, slide them over the stroller handle bar and fasten the Velcro. Easy.

I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea... AWESOMENESS!!  In addition to the Citygrips, Choopie is making sure parents on the go have the extra hand they need with the Cityhook.

This thing swivels in any direction you want, and will hang that way too! And at $9.99 for a set, it's worth every cent!

So, how do you get these on your stroller?  First you go to the Choopie.com website and sign up for your 25% off coupon. Then you order them! And check out the Soho Citybag while you are there! CLICK HERE!

Or... if you are feeling lucky, or want to win a set for a friend... Sign up below for your chance to win a set of Citygrips in your choice of pattern AND a pair of Cityhooks!  THREE will win!!! (I wish I could give a pair to each one of you!)

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Apr 9, 2014

I'm a Continental Mom! I'm Still In Shock... #ForWhatYouDo #ContinentalMom

A couple of months ago I received an email that made me sit down, and yell for FTD.  A media representative from Continental reached out to let me know I had been chosen to be a Continental Mom! Growing up around cars, I knew this was big. Really big. That's why my legs failed me. I was in complete shock!  After FTD read the email, he said, "Well done, baby. Call your brother, he is going to be so proud of you too. But tell him to sit down before you tell him... (My brother owns an import racing and off-road fabrication business. Essentially, he custom builds race cars and off-road vehicles from the ground up... and puts Continental's tires on most of them.)

Ring... Ring... Ring...
(We call each other "bro." We have been doing it since we were kids. It's a Miami thing...)
Bro: Hey, what's up Bro?
Me: What's up Bro! Are you sitting Down?
Bro: Oh, no. What have you done?
Me: I'm a Continental Mom!
Bro: A What?! Oh, God. You have lost your mind... Are you pregnant again?
ME: NO! Continental has chosen me to be a brand ambassador for their newest tire TrueContact. They are flying me to San Antonio and then taking me to their proving grounds in Uvalde to test the tires on various tracks under various weather conditions.
Bro: ...
ME: Bro? Are you there?
Bro:  I think I just crapped my pants! YOU are going to Uvalde? YOU! Not me, the McCormick that dreams of driving on those grounds. YOU?
ME: Damn straight! ME! ME! ME! ME! Not FTD or Ollie either. JUST ME!!! And I have every intention of testing the hell out of those tires. I mean, Drive it like you stole it! testing...
BRO: Well... At least I know you will do our name proud, and leave a lasting impression on those fools who chose the wrong McCormick!
Me: I'll take lots of pictures.
Bro: I'm really proud of you sister, go make me proud.

You all... I AM SO SO SO SO excited about this!!! As a brand ambassador for Continental, I will be flying to San Antonio this weekend to test out their newest tire, TrueContact. Why in the world would they want moms to do that you ask? Because, the tires were designed with moms in mind! After all, we are the ones who put the majority of miles on the family car, we should feel safe and secure. Plus, believe it or not, the tires on your car dictate a big part of your safety, fuel economy and carbon footprint! The TrueContact tire maximizes safety and savings across the board!

Oh, and in addition to the ridiculous amount of photos and selfies I plan to take and Instagram like a rockstar... The awesome PR team at Continental is going to make a mini movie just for me! I'll share that next week when I get home from my super awesome adventure. Wish me luck!

Not following me on Instagram yet? (Profile name: FirstTimeMomAndDad)  Click the icon to start! Instagram
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Apr 7, 2014

We Bought A 1920's Fixer-Upper! Why, Yes... We Are Completely Nuts!

My friends, after what seems like forever and a day, FTD and I bought a house. Needless to say, we are so excited... And scared as can be. This place is three times the size of our shoebox condo and twice the monthly payment, but OH MY GOODNESS it has everything we want, including a huge backyard to release the beast (Ollie) into! SO. SO. SO. SO EXCITED!

Clearly, its a fixer upper...  and when I say "fixer-upper" I mean, needs more TLC than a guy suffering from a common cold. Our little slice of 1920's heaven has wallpaper everywhere, hardwood that are pristine in some rooms, but then desperate for restoration in others--some genius glued vinyl to them in the 60's-- and throughout the house there are fixtures that I'm pretty sure Christopher Columbus brought over with him---I'm totally using them too! Even though there are a few updates, for the most part, this house has barely been updated since the 60's. There's even an old converted oil lamp in the kitchen, and even a crystal chandelier hanging in this strange side room FTD and I have no idea what to do with.  You all this place is the goods.

After the home inspection FTD and I went home, first I threw up from all of the things the house needed, then made a list of the repairs and cosmetic upgrades needed to make this place move-in ready. The list was three pages long and estimated to cost near 10k-- if we have it done professionally. Yes, Ten Thousand American Dollars needed to move in.

Do we have that? Hell, no! We just bought a house!

Due to our financially strapped situation, we will have to get very creative with the needed renovations. So, while that is bad news for us, it's REALLY good news for those of you interested in DIY... shared by two clowns; One clown with lots and lots of DIY experience (FTD--restored two victorian mansions in OZ) and one that has absolutely NO clue what the hell is going on (ME-restored... um... well... I can make... um... That wall paper, I can take that down.)!
How cute is that fireplace???
Over the next few months prepare to be wowed with some DIY awesomeness!  We plan to even video some of the DIY moments just in case they are funny enough to submit to America's Funniest Home Videos so we can win the 10k we need to avoid any further DIY embarrassment!  For example, we need a privacy fence. One we cannot afford. So FTD being the ever resourceful one that he is, has found that we can buy Bamboo fencing that will somehow magically roll out around the existing chain link fence to give me the privacy I need, at a third of the cost of a wood fence. Who knew?!
 I can already tell "rolling out our privacy fence" will be SUPER DUPER FUNNY! very informative to those interested.

In addition to the fear of the rather large mortgage payment and the three page renovation list with the 10k price tag, I am also worried about how Ollie will take to the move. All he has ever known is his little room in the shoebox. I already told FTD before we move in, I want to make Ollie's new room look EXACTLY like his current room. I want him to wake up in the middle of the night in the new house and see familiar things. I also want him to love this home as much as I do, so I am trying to do everything I can to make him comfortable. Every time Ollie and I go over to the house or even drive by it, we have a big talk about how it's Ollie's new house with his new blue bedroom room and BIG backyard for swings and slides. I am sure after a couple of weeks he will get settled...

Today, we bask in the glory of finding our perfect little slice of home. Tomorrow, we figure out how in the hell we are going to get the ugliest vinyl floor the 60's ever spit out unglued from a once beautiful hardwood floor... WHOO HOOO I cannot wait!!!

Who glues that to hardwood???

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Apr 4, 2014

It's All Fun And Games Until It's Your Kid Riding The Flamingo

"I promise, one day you will laugh about this..." Those are the famous words every parent will hear at least once during their journey through parenting. And nine times out of ten, it's true. Even if at the time it seems impossible. Such is the case with one of my best friends, when yesterday while she and her husband were shopping for patio furniture, her two year old attempted to mount and ride a metal Flamingo landscape ornament in the middle of a major hardware store.  FULL of people.

Toddler to dad when being removed physically from the store: Why Leaving?
Dad to Toddler: Because son, the party ended when you tried to ride the Flamingo.

Mom and Dad: Not happy! 
Everyone else in the world: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

So. Funny! To me and you only of course. She doesn't see the humor... yet...

While my friend recounted the horrific day of shopping with her husband and two boys, I could not help but laugh hysterically. And truth be told, part of me was laughing because I was relieved it was her telling the story and not me. It easily could have been me telling this tale of out of control children. What with having Thing1 (FTD) and Thing2 (Ollie) to contend with on shopping trips. Some of you may remember the time FTD decided while in the bathroom fixture section of the hardware store, it was a perfect time to teach Ollie how to use the potty, and wash his hands...

Yeah, see how fast the tables turn?

Of course, in between fits of laughter, I was full of encouraging comments for my friend. You know things like, Oh it wasn't that bad... Who cares what those douche canoes giving you the stink eye think...  You know how toddlers are... This too shall pass... I was the mother's food bank serving up spoonfuls of of great mother advice. (Read: Spoonfuls of Hypocrite because it's advice I rarely follow.)

Every time my kid acts like that I am equally, if not more, annoyed, embarrassed and crazed. Do I follow my advice?  Hell, no.  But here is the thing, I really meant what I was saying, who cares about those people, toddlers are a special breed, this is just a phase it will pass. You don't see grown men climbing on things... (disregard above photo of FTD for sake of conversation.)

That's what got me thinking; The next time Ollie tries to climb on a yard ornament (because I have no doubt if presented with the opportunity he would try to pole vault onto it using a stick he found in aisle 5) or just business as usual, lose his toddler mind in the public, What if I stepped back and tried to look at the situation as an outsider? Ask myself, Is what's going on really as bad as I think? 

What if I stopped freaking out so much when Ollie refuses to listen or behaves like a child possessed by a-holes, and just kind of accepted it as part of parenting. I just deal with it and move on, without letting it ruin any more of my day than necessary. You know, take on the school of thought I try to push on my friends.  If I can say, This Too Shall Pass to every one, why can't I believe it applies to me too? Why can't I laugh at my own kid too?

Of course when my kid goes batass crazy I will reprimand him, and do all of the appropriate 'parenting' things. But if I could just find a way to relax and and not get so worked up when my toddler is exceptionally embarrassing or naughty, then maybe I will have tapped into the true secret behind good parenting. A.k.a. Surviving parenting a toddler with my sanity and smile.

I have to try something, because from what I hear the toddler twos and threes are much worse than just screaming and mounting metal flamingos in the hardware store. So, from now on when Ollie screams in my face, or runs away I am going to try to not get so crazed and discouraged by his behavior, but think of it as a phase that WILL pass, and maybe even will eventually look back and laugh at.  Even if it is a psycho ward certifiable laugh.

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Apr 3, 2014

App-Tastic Thursday: Letroca... I LOVE LOVE LOVE This Word Game! P.s. It's FREE!

I love word games. LOVE them. Since before iPhones and apps, I have been playing Boggle at my mother's kitchen table, Scrabble online, and crosswords and word searches over coffee. It's safe to say, my hands down favorite game genre is word games. So when the opportunity to review a word game presented itself, I didn't think twice.  And thank goodness for that, because now instead of playing mindless games on my smartphone, I'm playing a game I not only love, but is exercising my mom fried brain too! My friends, I present my true new fave App, LETROCA! (Free and Available at both the iTunes and Google Play stores!)

This is one of those games that is addictive, but in a good way. Created to teach children ages around 6 and up vocabulary and spelling, this game is really for anyone who loves a good word game. It's easy and fun to play.

Here is how: You get seven letters to make as many words as possible with. The hard part is finding ALL of the possible words, including the longest seven letter word. 

Do you know what the longest word is?
(Correct! No, Really, the word is correct!)
To keep things interesting for all ages and levels, there are three different game modes:

1. Classic- This is a timed game where you get 2.5 minutes to find the largest word to advance to the next round, but during game play you also try to find all of the possible words.

2. Half- In this mode you just need to find half of the possible words in 2.5 minutes, the largest word is not required to advance to the next round. This is great for kids learning to spell to provide a challenge, but not such a challenge that if they cannot spell 5, 6 or 7 letter words they will not advance.

3. Zen- This mode is a free for all, fun for all. You have as long as you want to find the longest word.

I play classic mode for the challenge.  Seriously you all, I LOVE this game and have not touched candy crush once since I have downloaded it.  I'M CURED!!!

Sorry.  Moving on...

Then, once you find all of the words, you can share your brilliance on Facebook!

If you are a parent wanting to use this free game as a learning tool for your child, the game will record your child's stats for you to review later... and maybe even set reward goals for your child using the stats! 

Ok, 'nuff said.  If you like word games, or are looking for something to help your child learn vocabulary and spelling, I 100% recommend you download this FREE game!!

(Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese!)

For App Store Download, CLICK HERE!

For Google Play Download, CLICK HERE!

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