Wednesday, September 16, 2015

family travel: kid travel packs ...

Tips for Traveling with Kids
I am so excited to start sharing with you some pictures and information about our Family vacation we took this summer!  We started off flying by into Montreal Canada, headed to Quebec City, then drove down to Kennebunkport Maine, and ended our travels in Boston!  It was quite the trip, and we really enjoyed ourselves!!

When we travel with our kids, whether it's by car or plane, I always pack a little travel pack for them filled with some activities, snacks, games, and surprises!

My kids know that we do this, so the anticipation is always something we can rely on.  They get so excited to see what is in their packs!  They key is we don't let them see what is in their packs until we are in well into our travel, and they just can't take anymore, and real boredom sets in.  Enter, the fun travel packs!
Tips for Traveling with Kids
Over the years, I have added different items to the Travel Packs, but usually they have some sort of games, a snack/treat, toys, coloring/activity books, and a few other special toys.
We were excited when Tropic of Candycorn sent over these adorable TOC travelpacks with a few fun items inside!  I was able to add a few other special items, and my kids were thrilled!

For Norah's Travel Pack
Tropic of Candycorn Travelpack -backpack that includes a lot of the little toys/activities all ready to go!
Kleenex-for running noses or hand clean up
Work book or coloring book
Crayons/Pens (crayon pen with several colors I found at Deseret Book)
Little treats/snacks
Suckers- I like to let them have a sucker during take offs or landings to help pop their ears
Mini toys - playdough, card games/activities
Favorite doll-  This darling Ella the ballerina doll is from Gal-Pals and is handmade!
Tips for Traveling with Kids
For Ezra and Tommy's Travel Pack (affiliate links used)
Tropic of Candycorn Travelpack -backpack that includes a lot of the little toys/activities all ready to go!
Kleenex-for running noses or hand clean up
Work book or coloring book we like the Summer Fit workbooks!
Crayons/ Pens
Little treats/snacks
Suckers- I like to let them have a sucker during take offs or landings to help pop their ears
Mini toys - playdough, card games/activities
Spirograph (Found at Target)
Favorite Books- Ezra is obsessed with The Janitors series by Tyler Whitesides  a great book for Elementary aged kids who can read!
Rubix Cubes (my kids are obsessed!)  I got Ezra the mother of all Rubix Cubes, a very unique Rubix cube, check it out here!  It kept him occupied a while.  He still hasn't figured that one out.
Thomas and Norah loved the 2"x2"size Rubix Cubes!
Family Travel
We whipped their travel packs out as we were awaiting our International flight to Canada, and the kids were just in heaven!  Pretty much like Christmas morning with all of their surprises!
We ended up doing a Red Eye overnight flight, and boy was I grateful for those bags as our flight was delayed.  Also, when we arrived in Montreal early in the morning, our rental car company took several hours to come pick us up! Travel Packs to the rescue!
Norah enjoyed a little game of soccer with her Globe beach ball from the TOC travel pack in the deserted Montreal Airport.  (Sidenote: Scott Disick was on our flight if you are a KUWTK fan, wink)

So, you may have thought.  Where are the iPads, and video games?!  I know.  Believe it or not, as much as they would LOVE to have an iPad to keep them company, my husband and I still like to use little activities and things as shown here instead of electronic devices as much as possible.  We have really tried to make an effort to not use our phones or iPad devices to keep our kids entertained.  I think they may have watched a movie at some point, but they really are good little travelers and have always been used to having to "entertain themselves" without technology, even on long 12 hour car rides.  But, honestly I think that is what has made them such good travelers!  So, it seems to work for our family!

Travel has always been so fun with my little family, but since we have been out of diapers, and don't require strollers and packing up everything but the kitchen sink anymore, it really has been a game changer!!  My kids have to carry their own activities, and that's all we need to bring other than a few other snacks that I'll carry.  But, wow!  Traveling with much less stuff was SO nice!!  This was probably one of our first official vacations that actually felt more like a vacation than a trip!  Exciting!

So, tell me, what do you use to keep your children entertained while traveling?!  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Simplicity Laser Event + a Giveaway! ...

I'm excited to let you know about Simplicity Laser, and their newest location opening, and a Ladies Night September 10th!!

Simplicity Laser was founded in 2009, and is opening it's 12th location in six states!

They have emerged as an industry leader with over 35,000 clients, and 2 million treatments performed!
They offer anything from Laser Hair Removal to Facials and Chemical Peels!

Simplicity Laser is committed to transforming people on the outside so they feel great inside by providing the most advanced non-invasive corrective series and seeing the standard with professional staff and the latest technology.

I wouldn't mind some under-arm laser treatment, so I don't have to keep up on shaving, and let's be honest, maybe upper lip too.  ;)

So, I hope you can make it to their Ladies Night at their newest location in Bountiful, Utah!

I can't wait to check it out, and I'm hoping to leave with one of their amazing prizes they will be giving away!  
I hope to see you there! 

Here are the details for the Ladies Night!  (Open to all!  Please come!)

Where: 24 South 500 West Ste. C
Bountiful, Utah 

When: Thursday, September 10th, from 6-9 pm

What: Ladies Night!
Simplicity Laser will be giving away over $20,000 in prizes, some of which include gift baskets of product (elta sunscreens, skinceuticals, etc) a Nuface device, chemical peels, facials, a variety of 18 month and 24 month memberships, starter packages (6-8 treatments), gift cards to Simplicity.  
Nicea Degering from Good Things Utah will also be there to MC the event!
There will also be a fun Photo Booth, Mocktails will be served, a candy bar, as well as free product samples and treatments!

To Register for the Event, be sure to head over to their Facebook Page, and RSVP!!

Who doesn't need a good night out with the ladies getting pampered?! Can't wait!  

For more information on the event, head over the the Simplicity Laser Blog!

And, be sure to head over to my Instagram Account - @armelle_blog, I'll be giving away a Facial from Simplicity Laser over there! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tempurpedic- Tempur-Flex Giveaway ...

I am so excited to partner with Tempur-Pedic today to review one of their amazing new TEMPUR-Flex mattresses, and give away one queen size bed to one of my readers!

I wanted to make sure that before I wrote this post, that I had a full review of the mattress, so that I can pass along accurate information to you!
The latest mattress to hit the shelves in the Tempur-Pedic line is the TEMPUR-Flex!  
It is the brand's first mattress collection that combines adaptive support and pressure relief with a slightly spring feel thanks to an all-new TEMPUR material and innovative Dynamic Support layer.
It also includes a new moisture-wicking, cool-to-the-touch SmartClimate System. Which has been great for my husband who tends to be a warm guy at night!

The TEMPUR-Flex is available nationwide at authorized Tempur-Pedic retailers, and through as well as the brand's flagship stores.  
We received our new TEMPUR-Flex mattress back in June.  We had just gotten home from a two week vacation, and the thought of sleeping in our own bed was heaven!

My husband and I were so excited to try it out.  Even before it was set up we both fell back first onto the mattress, and let out an, ohhh, ahhhh!!! Nice!
My husband and I have been married for 12 years now this August, and we never invested in a high quality mattress.  I am not sure why, because it really is life changing.  I mean, why didn't I get one of these beds when I was pregnant three times?!  That would have made such a huge difference!  Word to the wise, don't wait!  You won't regret it!

I have LOVED the TEMPUR-Flex because it is firm, but also pillowy at the same time.  You sink into it in all the right places, but you aren't swallowed up by the mattress either.  
I had been having this lower spinal pain the last few years, and I have a spot on my spine that always felt tender.  The last few months, this bed has definitely helped with that pain, and it feels nice to not only sleep in the bed with no more tossing and turning, but also it gives nice support to sit in bed and watch TV or check my phone updates, which I'm guilty of doing way too often.  My bed is my happy place, and much more so with my new TEMPUR-Flex!   It has been nice as a side sleeper to not have too much pressure on my joints when I sleep, and I can get a better quality sound sleep!
It's safe to say that both my husband, and I are LOVING our new mattress, and we are for SURE getting a better nights sleep!

Now, I am so excited to give away one Tempur-Flex Queen size Mattress to one of my amazing readers!!  (Queen size mattress range from $1999-$3199!)

This is giveaway will happen mainly on my instagram - @armelle_blog, so be sure to head over there to enter, and for BONUS entries, enter below with the Rafflecopter giveaway!  And, be sure to leave a comment telling me why you need this mattress!

This giveaway ends September 2nd at midnight, U.S. Residents only.  Good Luck!!

**** CLOSED!!  A winner has been picked!!!  Thank you so much for entering!! *****
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 31, 2015

Neposmart - Securing Your Home Before Travel ...

I am so excited to start sharing some of our family travel photos with you!  We had an amazing two weeks of adventure, and I keep thinking about how much I want to go back!
I mean, how gorgeous is Maine?!  My new favorite place! 

But, first I wanted to share with you a few tips on securing your home before travel.

Being away from home is always an exciting time, but you do have to think ahead when it comes to family travel.  Not only all the packing, keeping the kids happy with activities, but also be smart about protecting your home while you are away.

Here are a few of the things we check off of our list before leaving town:

1) Let your close neighbors know the dates you will be away- That way they can keep an eye on your home for you, and report and suspicious behavior.  Sometimes a package or two will arrive while you are away.  Keeping your porch clear of any packages or flyers will help with theft of packages, or a dead giveaway that you are out of town. We also have family members check in on the house everyday to make sure all is well, and keep up the yard work. 

2) Stop mail.  You may have a large mailbox, but sometimes the postal workers will leave packages on your door step.  To keep your mail safe and sound, just place a Hold Mail service online with the post office, and they will hold your mail until you are back in town.

3) Pay your bills.  Sometimes if you leave town for a few weeks, you are thrown off your bill paying schedule.  Make sure you go through your bills and look at the due dates so they all are paid until you return.  You don't want any electricity or things shut off while you are away.

4) Lower your heat or A/C while your away.  It doesn't need to run constantly while your away, and you will save on your bill.

5) Shut off interior water.  We always shut off our interior water to avoid any floods or leaks while we are away.

6)  Set up automatic timers on exterior lights, and lights throughout the house. 

7) Lock up the home, and set your alarm system.  Double check all windows, and doors.  I know my kids are prone to unlock windows. So, we make sure to check them often.
8) Security Cameras.  Being able to monitor your home in real time while you are away is priceless!
I was so excited when Neposmart contacted me about their new product they wanted to send over for me to try!

Neposmart is a home monitoring system that doesn't require a monthly subscription or payment.  You can connect your camera devices to your smartphone with their app, and monitor, record, and snap photos while you are away from home!  It can also be set to record when it senses motion.  You can control your garage door with the push of a button on those days you may have forgotten to close it.  One if the biggest forms of burglary happen when your garage door is open, and thieves can easily come in an grab things and go.
You can mount or set several cameras throughout your house, and the best part is that they fit in seamlessly.  They work in the dark, and you can also set camera angles or move the camera around to check everything since you can control the camera from your phone.  It also receives audio and you can speak through the camera as well, which I have found to be convenient when my kids are raiding the pantry and I'm in the room next door, I can just tell them to knock it off from the speaker. Wink.
I think that they would also make an amazing baby monitor if you have little ones as well.
It was so nice to have peace of mind while away traveling that all was well at home, and all was safe and sound.
Even when exploring lighthouses, or hanging out at the beach in Maine, we were able to keep a close eye on our home in real time from the convenience of our phones.  And, it was nice to know that we would be alerted and the cameras would record if it sensed any movement in the house.
Pretty cool, right?!
It's always nice to be able to check in on things at home while you are away.  Knowing your home is safe and sound allows you to enjoy your vacation so much more!

To learn more about Neposmart, and their amazing home monitoring cameras, be sure to head over to their site!  We have really enjoyed ours!

Outfit Details:
Sandals: Yosi Samra (most comfortable sandals ever!)
Bag: Baggallini Bags- Nassau Crossbody in Aquamarine
Sweater: H&M
Denim Dress: H&M
Earrings: Wrenn Jewelry

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workout Routine and Intel 2-in-1

Intel 2 in 1
#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.
My exercise routine has changed a lot over the years.
Back when I was in high school, and got my first gym membership, it was all about the kickboxing and step aerobic classes.  Remember Tae Bo Classes?!  I'm getting old.

Then, In college I got into Yoga, and my main form of working out consisted of Yoga, Pilates, and running.  I loved the mix.  After college and pre-kids, I still practiced yoga, it helped that my office offered yoga classes right on site, so I could sneak away mid-work day and get my Yoga in.  I also still ran for exercise, and did a little weights on the side.
Post kids.  Now that is where it all changed, the convenience of gym workouts, and working out at studios wasn't as easy with  dragging around three small children.  Plus, I was also pregnant or nursing all the time for several years, or at least it felt like it.  I continued to run a lot mainly to help lose the baby weight, and get some alone time in if my husband was home to stay with the kids.  We also got a treadmill at home, which helped to get some exercise in while the kids were napping or playing. I also enjoyed running to the park, and working out at the park while my kids played.  Triceps dips, push ups, lunges, whatever I could fit in.  But, I kind of forgot about Yoga, and other options of exercise.

Lately, my kids are starting to get a little older, and with my two older ones in school it helps that I can have a little more time to myself.  After I trained and ran a half marathon a few years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate some more forms of exercise into my workout routines. And, I'd still like to get toned up, it seems to get harder and harder the older I get!
I came across some great, and free workouts on YouTube.  I loved Jillian Michaels workouts, and my latest favorite is the Tone it Up girls Bikini series.  They have many amazing workouts on their YouTube channel that I've been loving.  Especially their Bikini Yoga series which has been nice to get back into the practice of Yoga.
I enjoy the at home workouts, because I can do them whenever, even if my kids are home.  And, I just have to lookup my favorite routine on my Intel 2 in 1 Laptop/Tablet Lenovo Yoga 3 (affiliate link), and get to work.  I like to change it up so I don't get bored, and that has helped.  I also like to hit my treadmill with my tablet to watch my TV shows that I save up for the treadmill, since somehow it feels less guilty or lazy to watch trashy TV if I'm also working out.  Wink. (anyone watching The Whispers? So creepy!?)
I also recently discovered HIGH FITNESS and Grit classes, loved all the HIGH energy!  I had no idea that some Lululemon stores have free workout classes every Saturday.  It's been pretty fun to get to know what the latest workout crazes are since I haven't had a gym membership in over 8 years!  

So, what are you favorite workouts?  Any I should know about?!

Yoga Outfit:
Albion Fit Racer Tank
Albion Fit Floral Cropped Leggings

Friday, July 17, 2015

Panda Birthday Party ...

My youngest Thomas is a huge Panda fan, so when we were thinking of ideas for his birthday party, Panda quickly became the front runner.  Thomas has a special connection with Panda's.  Ever since he was a little boy he's always worn and loved this panda hat he has, so it kind of has become a thing.
I found these adorable cups, forks, and straws at Orson Gygi, and the napkins from Home Goods.  (I'll post all party sources at the end!)
We served little "Panda" Jelly sandwiches using a fun Panda mold I found on Amazon.
We got these adorable cookies for Eleni's Cookies New York.  They come with food coloring markers so that the kids can draw whatever they want on them.  It was a fun activity for the kids at the party.
I also ordered the most adorable Panda cookies from Eleni's Cookies New York.  All I did was give them a picture of the panda face that I liked, and they came up with the most adorable cookies I've ever seen!  I nearly died of cuteness when I opened the box!  Aren't they the cutest!
We played a fun little game of pin the tail on the panda. 
Cute little Panda friends!
Tommy had the time of his life, which always makes it all worth it!  This party was actually one if the easier ones I've put together, which always makes it nice to not be too stressed!

I'm just so glad he had a good time!  As much as I don't want him to grow up, it's so fun to see him do amazing things!  I just love this kid!

Party Sources:
Happy Birthday Sign: Oriental Trading
Leaf Bunting: Oriental Trading
Paper Bunting: Zurchers Party Store
Happy Birthday Wooden Forks: Orson Gygi
Birthday Cups: Orson Gygi
Treat Cups:  Orson Gygi
Panda Plates: Dollar Tree
Panda Party Hats: Amazon (affiliate)
Panda Cupcake Toppers/Erasers: Amazon
Panda Sandwich Mold: Amazon
Panda Figurine Toys: Amazon
Panda Cookies: Elenis Cookies
Cookies with Food Coloring Pens: Elenis Cookies
Panda Mask: Hobby Lobby
Napkins: Home Goods
Large Plastic Leaves: Hobby Lobby
Bamboo Flutes: Oriental Trading
Drawstring Backpacks: Oriental Trading- More on how to paint them in an upcoming post!

See more of the Panda Party here!

All Photos by Me.
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