Category Archives: reviews and giveaways

The American Girl Store: every little girl’s dream.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to attend a preview of the new American Girl Store opening up at the Florida Mall in Orlando. The girls don’t have an American Girl doll yet, but they pour through the catalogs every time one arrives in our mailbox (and I usually have to find someone-usually a mom of all boys who happens to get one delivered to her house-to give us another one so that the girls can each have their own to ooooh & aaaaah over).

I knew the girls would love a sneak peek at this new store, and it would just make their want for an American Girl doll that much more (good thing they are getting them for Christmas from nan & paps!).

I didn’t even tell the girls that we were going until the day of. I actually let my mom tell them, because it was on a Wednesday afternoon when she usually picks up the kids to spend a fun afternoon with her (since it’s early day) and I knew if I let her tell the girls that we were going somewhere special, they wouldn’t be so sad that she didn’t take them to the park like she usually does on a nice Wednesday afternoon.

My friend, Melissa, and her daughter, Emma, actually tagged along, too. It was a nice girls’ night out and the girls were in heaven the whole time. When we entered the doors of this store, we stopped at every single display and oooooh’d and aaaaah’d over everything we saw (much like the girls do when they get the catalogs in the mail). It was like a living, breathing American Girl catalog. I couldn’t even believe it when we walked up to one display that had a doll sitting in a wheel chair, wearing a cast on her leg, wearing a cast on her arm and wearing a finger splint! I mean, come on, they think of everything!

american girl store orlando

The girls told me everything they wanted for Christmas (pretty much every single thing in the store) and picked out the dolls they wanted to tell nan & paps about. Lexie wants Kit (OMG, she’s the cutest thing ever!) and Lilah wants Julie, the hippie doll that we thought Lexie would have wanted since she is our living hippie (but Lilah loved the long blonde hair and braid, of course!).

new orlando american girl store

american girl store orlando

The girls all walked away with a goodie bag of books and magazines and even an American Girl tshirt for their future dolls. We loved our time there and the girls cannot wait to go back. What we loved even better? Two days after we were there was the Grand Opening, when an expected 10k+ people were there, waiting in long lines and not getting to shop as leisurely as we did probably. Win for us.

new american girl store orlando

I was not compensated for this post, we were invited to the preview and the girls received their goody bags, but all opinions are 100% my own. 

RaceTrac’s #CrazyGoodCoffee and a giveaway.

Ok. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest RaceTrac.

Over the summer they hosted the ever popular SodaPalooza and they’ve got something else up their sleeve now that it’s fall. This week (October 12-18th) you can grab FREE coffee, any size, any kind, without any coupon or any purchase. Cha-ching. Money in your pocket and crazy good coffee in your hand.

RaceTrac's Crazy Good Coffee

As the new RaceTracs have been popping up in our area, I’ve kinda fallen in love. You walk in to these huge stores (I hear 6,000 square feet) with tall ceilings and themed stations all around them, including their coffee bars (to top all coffee bars). Not only do they have six different kinds of coffee to choose from (including pumpkin for the everyone-wants-everything-pumpkin-in-fall season) but you can customize your coffee with every kind of sweetener or creamer imaginable. I’m a make-my-coffee at home kind of person for the most part, and when I make my coffee at RaceTrac it’s just like if I were making it at home because they always have what I want for my coffee.

So, don’t worry about brewing up your own coffee tomorrow (or any other day this week) and head on in to your local RaceTrac.

Oh. & to make your day even brighter, RaceTrac is giving you the chance to win a $25 RaceTrac gift card just for being a loyal reader here. Double cha-ching. You could have $25 more dollars worth of free coffee or fill that gas tank up on them, you pick. Wanna win? See below.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was written by me on behalf of RaceTrac. I was compensated for the review, however all views and opinions are 100% my own.

wiww: A Trades of Hope review & giveaway.

Last month, I attended one of those home parties. You know, the kind where a bunch of ladies are invited, good food is served, small talk is had and you end up buying some sort of product at the end?

Well, this kind of home party was a little different than your normal home party. It was one that you not only walked away from with something pretty for your money spent, but you served a greater purpose in making your purchase.

Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope was started by women for women. But not just for any ordinary woman. It was started for women living in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. Their website says,

We work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we’ve had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.

Trades of Hope partners with over 20 artisan groups from around the globe to sell handcrafted jewelry, scarves, bags and home decor. Some countries these ladies come from include India, Uganda, and Haiti. The items made are consider fair trade products, meaning the artisans are paid fair prices for their products and services. With fair trade, Trades of Hope artisans make approximately 6 times more than they would normally make in the context of their own country. I also love this information about who is being helped through Trades of Hope.

And if that’s not enough of a difference on our world, Trades of Hope also does something called, “Gifts of Hope” where they give donations to programs that promote long term business and education. For the party I went to last month, if the party reached a certain amount in sales, a goat would be donated to a family. From this goat, they would then not only have milk for themselves, but a business of their own through selling milk to others in their area. The hostess of this party made sure that we were able to give that goat, and it was really neat to hear when all was said and done that we raised enough money in sales to achieve that goal.

The item I ordered was a gorgeous metallic scarf. I had actually got it just in time for my trip to Boston and wore it on my first day (travel day) there. It was a great way to dress up a simple pair of jeans and long sleeve shirt. I cannot wait for the fall weather to arrive here in Florida (for more than just a day!) so I can wear it more!


Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope scarf

Trades of Hope artisans


Now, want to know what you could win?! In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my friend Shelby (the Trades of Hope entrepreneur who my other friend, Katie, hosted her party through) is offering up the Triumph Bracelet to one lucky reader! It is handmade in Haiti using cereal box and clay beads (say what!? cereal boxes??? so cool!) and 50% of the net proceeds will be given to three different organizations who support women battling breast cancer. triumph bracelet breast cancer awareness

This is near & dear to me because my own grandmother fought breast cancer (and triumphed!) many many years ago.

So, how can you enter (and hopefully win!?) Just follow the steps below!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

pleated poppy

Firmoo: a review.

Firmoo is a Global Online Optical Store that offers fashion glasses at a great price. These glasses can be ordered in lots of options. You can order them for prescription, non prescription, just frames or as sunglasses, too! I love that their goal is to provide vision & fashion the frugal way. Who wouldn’t loveContinue Reading

Essential Oil Review: My Life’s Essentials

A few months ago I was contacted by Julie at My Life’s Essentials in regards to checking out some essential oils and doing a review on them. I’ve been wanting to try essential oils for sometime now, so this review was meant to be. After eagerly jumping on this, I gave Julie a rundown ofContinue Reading

wiww: French Toast School Uniform Review

This is a little different spin on my usual What I Wore Wednesday post, the kids are taking over and what they are wearing for back to school this year is what we’re serving up. School’s out for summer, but we all know how fast the summer can come to an end. I’ve got schoolContinue Reading

Seattle’s Best Coffee at Publix: a review.

Today is the first day, in two weeks, that we have nothing to do. Summer started and we were busy. The kids had two back-to-back weeks of VBS and I was cramming in as much work at Reach as I could during that time. So for two weeks straight, we got up every morning justContinue Reading

Fill ‘er up for free all summer long with RaceTrac’s Sodapalooza!

I mentioned last month that RaceTrac’s Sodapalooza FreeFill event was back for the summer. Spend a one time fee of $7.99 for this special mug and get free refills on all fountain and frozen drinks all summer long?! What is not to love about that? The kids and I finally had our chance to swingContinue Reading

RaceTrac’s Sodapalooza FreeFill is here!

I don’t know about you (or where you live) but here in Florida it’s reaching summer-like temperature’s already! I have a feeling this summer is going to be a hot one if we are in the 90’s in May with the heat index being much higher! What better way to cool down than to enjoyContinue Reading

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