The Busy Giffs: July 2017

July 24, 2017

More Disney Savings with Groupon Coupons

This post was written on behalf of Groupon, however all opinions are my own. 

I can't even put into words how excited I am for our Disney trip next month!
It's been just over 2 years since our last trip. Tyler and Emma are now 3 and 6 and both are HUGE Disney fans. I really can't wait to see their faces when they find out we are going!

I always look to get super (over) prepared when we go on vacation and going to Disney is no exception. I plan out outfits, order grocery delivery to the hotel, and stock up on less expensive Disney items that can be used as "souvenirs" which saves us money while we're there! Our Mousekeeping was amazing about leaving them in special places so it seemed magical to the kids when they got back to the room and something new was there!

Because I'm super cheap frugal, I'm always looking for the best deals and have found the best deals using Groupon Coupons! Obviously, a trip to Disney requires as much frugality as I can manage so I was thrilled to see Groupon Coupons for the Disney Store! From 10% off my order, to free shipping, to a super discounted Dooney and Bourke cosmetic case coupon, Groupon Coupons added a little bit more to my "fun money" account!


While I'm excited to save money at the Disney Store I'm equally excited about all the stores I can save money at as well.  Target , Macy’sWalmart, and Barnes and Noble all have great Disney merchandise that I can grab to prepare for our trip! No matter what your shopping need may be, Groupon has a deal for you! So, get saving and check on the deals for yourself! 

July 21, 2017

Best Things for Moms from Blogger Bash 2017

I already shared my favorite toys of Blogger Bash's Sweet Suite, but think I need a few minutes to talk about the amazing things that don't quite qualify as toys. There were a handful of things that I found super cool so they needed their own post. Rather than Sweet Suite, these mostly come from the earlier in the day Babypalooza and CE Week.


Again, in no particular order...



Kudo Banz
These things are amazing! Raise your hand if you have ever had a sticker chart for your kid? Now raise your hand if you were out in public and said sticker chart was no longer a good way to get your kids to behave? Yep. Kudo Banz works like a rewards chart except it's on their wrist so it's much more obvious way to keep them on track. Partnered with an app, it's a new lifesaver in this house.


Jojo Maman Bebe
Couple British accents with ridiculously adorable children's clothing and you basically have Jojo Maman Bebe. Basically, I'm obsessed. The charm of these clothes are amazing. I'm literally dreaming of Tyler running around in this fox hoodie all Fall.


Austlen
We all know I have a stroller obsession, but hold on to your hats-- this could very well be the absolute best stroller ever. You can buy it Day 1 and never need another stroller (as long as you only have 3 kids...). The Austlen Entourage is a stroller that grows with you, changing into 30 different configurations, that can hold up to 150 lbs total! Yikes! From a bassinet to a platform rider, it covers everything.  I barely even need a stroller but oh my gosh, do I want one!

Switchmate
Switchmate is going to revolutionize electricity bills in this house. The magnetic switchplates go over your already existing light switches and through a free app, you can control every light in your house. Gasp! Even better, in the coming months, they are releasing outlet plug covers so I canb control those plugs while I'm away too! This means no more coming home after work to fans that have been blowing on an empty room all day! I am ridiculously excited to get my house set up with this amazing technology!



Ticwatch
Another piece of amazing technology- the Ticwatch 2 http://amzn.to/2t9Fh02 is an affordable, gorgeous Smart watch that seamlessly integrates to your phone and as a piece of wearable fitness technology. So much more gorgeous than the square ones I see out now- I have seriously Santa hopes for this.


Re-Play Recycled
We actually already knew about Re-Play Recycled but it's worth sharing because they save the world and are adorable while doing so. Re-Play "rescues" milk jugs from landfills and turns them into these gorgeous plates, bowls, snack cups, and utensils (to name a few). The quality is insane and I can justify buying more, knowing how great the company is for the environment.


Armitron
Armitron is another company that I knew about previously but I didn't really pay attention to them last year, writing them off as a high end brand that wouldn't work for myself, my family, or my readers, but my mind has been completely changed. So many of these gorgeous watches are in the $50-$75 range and you can get 20% off your first order if you sign up for their emails. I mean, hello Christmas gifts! I maybe picked out a few that I loved and sent them to David already...


Tickle Water
We all know that I'm doing a lot more to be healthy (even if I can't lose any weight to save my damn life), and one of those big things was eliminating soda. I do still miss bubbles sometimes and instead have found myself drinking flavored seltzer water at times. I'm obsessed with Tickle Water because it has no added sugars and tastes good! I've already placed an order on Amazon and will be mixing some drinks up this summer!

I love getting to see so many brands and all their amazing products- which one are you most excited about?

xo, Heather

July 18, 2017

Top Toys at Blogger Bash 2017!!

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend Blogger Bash in New York City.  I've gone the past three years but the stars were just not aligning for me to go this year and I was seriously bummed. The women who put it on are, simply put, the absolute best and the interactions with brands is unmatched in any other blogging conference that I've been to.  I was beside myself when David came home and told me that he had rearranged his work schedule and I needed to grab a ticket since I was going! It really is amazing that I have a husband who is so supportive. Somehow, I was able to secure a ticket and a hotel in less than 10 minutes so it was official! I am so happy I ended up at Blogger Bash because I got to sneak peek so many amazing new toys that are hitting shelves now and will be hitting shelves in the coming weeks!


In no particular order, some of my favorites:

The LeapFrog Epic
We've always been fans of Leap Frog's tablets, with each kid having their own Leap Pad 2, but I am seriously excited for the Epic. While the Epic is already out, Leap Frog will have some BIG news soon and trust me, you'll be excited too! I love that the Epic allows me to use both Android Apps and the huge library of Leap Frog games and books that we already own. This may be the kids big present this year come Christmas time.


Mattel Enchantimals
I was most excited for these because I know a 6 year old who would be obsessed with them! Let's be honest, I'm obsessed with them. They are way cuter than the average Barbie doll and come with their own little critter friend. The line also includes bikes, sleepover set, and a Tree House Playset! I think they are perfect for my girl- inspiring creative play while still being fashion forward!


Antsy Pants
If you're looking for something to inspire creativity, Antsy Pants is it! The toys come in click and connect connectors and poles, as well as fabric covers, play tunnels and play balls! They can be constructed in any way so it's endless fun. As someone who often loses her kitchen table to the fort of the day, this makes me so excited! For less than $100, the kids could have a huge play set that will offer them hours of fun for days and days!


DreamWorks Spirit and Lucky Toys
I was so excited to see a line of Spirit- Riding Free toys since my kids recently discovered the Netflix show! My daughter loves horses and the storyline is so relatable for a 6 year old. Between the dolls of Lucky and Spirit and the plush horses of Boomerang and Chica Linda, there are so many things we'll be adding to our collection! Emma was thrilled to open up a blind box in a recent video!


Puppy Dog Pals Play set
Puppy Dog Pals is another new show that my kids are in love with! Every episode is a new adventure and Tyler just loves it! Amazon already has a few plushes and books, but the play sets and blind bags (check them out in this video!) coming soon are amazing!

Pikmi Pops
Because anything and everything blind bag/box is super hot right now, Pikmi Pops are another one I expect to be huge! Made by the same company that makes Shopkins, Pikmi pops are blind "lollipops" with a stuffed surprise character inside! These were officially released last week and will be hitting shelves soon!


Bag O Dirt
I love Play Vision's squishy substances! We loved Floof last year and while they showed Bag O Dirt at Toy Fair, I was excited to see it's for sale now!! It's a super cute way to "let kids get dirty", without actually getting dirty.  Add in a few bugs and it's a boy's dream.


Playdoh
Everyone knows Playdoh but I love that they have some very educational sets this year! A full set of letters and Playdoh is a great way to work on letters and spelling with younger kids.


Num Noms
We first played with Num Noms last year, but they are rolling out even more toys, including an awesome nail polish maker! I love when toys my kids already love go bigger and develop more creative options for them!Add some pretties to an adorable toy and Emmalee will be in love!


Glitter Girl Accessories
Glitter Girls are another super exciting, not in stores yet toy! Glitter Girls are made just like the Our Generation girls (found at Target) but as 14" dolls, rather than 18" dolls.  Emma's first doll was an Our Generation doll before getting her American Girl dolls. American Girl rolled out Wellie Wisher last year (14" dolls) and I'm excited to see what sort of accessories will be offered so that we can grow our collection!


Super Wings
We've already talked about Super Wings, but again, Tyler is in love so I was excited to see them again! While they offer great play sets and action figures, I am most excited that Jet will be joining the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year! Even more exciting: I've been toying with the idea of going (it's a Bucket List item!) and this makes it that much more exciting!

Shopkin's Cutie Cars
These are so exciting to me because they aren't released yet! Shopkin's Cutie Cars are going to be a big hit! The beloved characters of Shopkins are now cars! Again, you'll be able to collect them all!


Mini Mojis
With over 100 to collect, Mini Mojis will be another hot collect them all! You can buy them now at Jo Ann Fabrics! The kids were lucky enough to open one up already! You can check them out here:


So there you have it! A few of my favorites from Sweet Suite! There are SO many more toys and I'll be covering a handful of them in future posts as well! I imagine many will end up under your Christmas tree this holiday-- which are you most excited for?

xo, Heather

July 12, 2017

Copy Cat Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster with Herbalife

I have to admit, I have a major addiction. I'm not a coffee person at all, but Marylou's, a local coffee shop, carries what they call an Oreo Cookie Monster and oh man.. it's my weakness. I am lucky enough to have a student whose dad runs a few of the stores so he randomly would surprise me at school with one! Amazing, right?

Except that each one is loaded with sugar and fat, even when it's made with skim milk.


Did I mention each one is close to $5!? Yikes. It's a hit to my wallet and my gut each time I order one, but like I said, I'm addicted.

I've been working hard on making better food choices. I'm not at the gym/working out part of the journey yet but that's okay. Until I get my food intake under control, it won't matter how much I work out. Needless to say, I needed to find a new way to enjoy these delicious and addictive drinks.

My friend Katelyn got into Herbalife a while back and it's changed her life. I love the shakes and I hate most protien shakes so it's a big deal for me! No gritty taste and they actually taste good. I don't have to add anything to them to enjoy them, however I thought 'what if I added a bit to the Herbalife Cookies and Cream to try and make a Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster'?


Using Herbalife's Cookies N Cream Protein Healthy Meal, skim milk, Hershey's Simply 5 chocolate syrup, and 2 Oreos I was able to almost replicate the delicious flavor!

I added 8 oz milk, 2 scoops of Protein (1 serving size), a teaspoon of chocolate syrup, the Oreos, and ice to milk my mixer. A few second sof blending and I had a perfectly creamy, delicious, and addictive substitute!

After adding up nutrition labels, you can see how my Herbalife Copycat compares:


Amazing, right!? The sodium and the sugars are still higher than I'd like, which still makes this more of a treat but I feel a lot better drinking this copycat shake than an actual Marylou's Oreo Cookie Monster! Less than half the fat and calories and so many more nutrients and vitamins!

If you're interested in trying out Herbalife, check out Katelyn's Herbalife Page or join our Herbalicious Facebook Group! She's amazing, pressure free, and just a sweet girl! I'm so happy I have her by my side while I work towards my best me!

xo, Heather

July 10, 2017

Getting Ready for Disney - Outfits


The countdown is officially on! We're about a month away from a rather impromptu trip to Florida (less than 4 months from deciding to flying!) to visit our favorite Mouse and his friends!

After doing the important things like getting a puppy/house sitter squared away, paying for it (ha!), and planning what we're doing when... it's time to move on to the fun extras! I always start preparing outfits for the kids whole family, let's be honest.

The kids already have a ton of Disney themed clothing items so I do a quick inventory to see what is "August in Florida" appropriate. I stick to tanks, t-shirts and shorts for the kids. I really love them in t-shirts, even in the heat because I can worry less about their shoulders burning in the sun. Even though I love Emma in dresses, shorts are a much more practical option

The great thing about Disney apparel is how much there is out there if you don't have what you want! Obviously The Disney Store offers so much but there are other avenues to find Disney themed apparel! You'll notice there are NO Etsy shops on here... don't worry- they're coming soon!

Facebook Boutiques

I found adorable tunic tops for Emma from an adorable Facebook boutique called The Mocc Shop. They do flash sale type selling, where things are posted and then purchased as a group and sent out. It can take a few weeks to get something but the prices are cheap so it's worth it to me! I found the same tunic tops (referred to as Pearls) on other Facebook boutiques like Mawmaw Sally's as well.  Mirror Mirror Boutique is a personal favorite and they had the most adorable mermaid bikinis!

Disney pearl, facebook, boutique

Box Lunch

Box Lunch is a lesser known brick and mortar store but I love their mission. With every $10 spent on pop culture-themed product offerings of apparel, accessories, home goods, gift and novelty, and collectibles, BoxLunch helps provide a meal secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. Look good and do good? Sold.
I'm super in love with the Goofy movie shirts-- super throwbacks! For David, for myself, or for one of the kids! Although.. the guys face in the picture... hmm....

Goofy Movie, Powerline music

Hot Topic

I always steered clear of Hot Topic. Growing up, it was the goth/punk store and I am neither but they have amazing hair accessories, make up, and Disney merchandise! Dave and I each grabbed a tank top from there!



Kohls

Kohls is another often overlooked but since I love the savings there, it makes sense to shop there for Disney stuff as well! Not only did I grab some great tanks to Tyler and David, but I also bought little trinkets, like lip gloss and a Mickey doll to tuck away to have as pixie presents during our stay!


Disney shirts, toys, vacation, disney world


Keds

Keds has an entire collaboration line and I'm obsessed. I had planned on buying a new pair of Sperrys but I think a pair of Keds may be what I end up with! They're adorable!
Amazon has the Minnie head pair {you can purchase through my affiliate link here}.


Minnie Mouse shoes

Vans

Van offer a much wider range of designs than the Keds, offering [aff]unisexkids, and toddler sized shoes. I love that they can be ordered through my Amazon affiliate link and are eligible for Prime which means you'll have them in 2 days!

collaboration


Dooney and Bourke

I am obsessed with the Dooney and Bourke Disney bags. Like, the Disney Sketch is my dream bag, but unless it clearances out like the Coach collaboration did [not likely], I'll keep dreaming... How awesome is the new Star Wars design?! Amazon has a ton of designs, but many are much more marked up than the Disney website.



Next up... picking out ears to match our outfits!

xo,  Heather

July 6, 2017

Fiery Tropical Sunset {A Grown Up Drink}



I'm a sucker for a good summer drink. I find that in the colder months I stay away from most alcoholic endeavors, but come summer, I cannot get enough fruity, tropical, and cold drinks. [I mean, I can, I just choose not to].

We went to go see a certain swashbuckling pirate movie last month and the special drink for the show was a very tropical concoction made with all sorts of tropical juices and some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. I honestly wasn't sure how it would work together but oh man... it was amazing! I came home and immediately started playing around with some combinations so now I present The Fiery Tropical Sunset.

You'll need:
a glass of ice
1 oz grenadine
4 oz orange juice
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

Add your ingredients in order.  I started with the grenadine and then poured the juices and alcohol over the back of a spoon to help keep the colors separated.
Enjoy!

Much like the Tipsy Smores Shake, this one is best enjoyed on the back deck, watching the sun go down.

xo, Heather

July 3, 2017

Alice in the Village, Mystic CT


It's very rare that I get time with just my girl. With David's work schedule, I usually have both kids or no kids, and if I ever have just one kid, it's usually Tyler, while Emmalee is at dance, a friend's house, or at school. So, needless to say, I jumped at the chance to go out with just my girl while Tyler was at school last week.

We adventured all the way to Mystic, CT, only about an hour away, to go to Alice in the Village, an Alice in Wonderland inspired cafe.


Emma and I are huge Alice fans (even waiting in line 40 minutes last time we went to Disney!) so it seemed like a great place to go for tea.

Because it's situated in Old Mistick Village there is tons of parking and lots more to do so we decided to start with tea and then head out shopping. Entering into Alice in the Village is pretty magical.  I fell in love with the door handle-- it was perfect!


It feels like you're walking into a hedge garden and are immediately greeted by tons of Alice in Wonderland toys and memorabilia that you can purchase.

If you don't make a reservation for  Afternoon Tea or High Tea, you can order a pot of tea and a tray of desserts to bring to your table. Emmalee stocked up on marshmallows and macrons but I grabbed a lemon petite-four to enjoy.


Not only does Alice in the Village offer tea, but they also have a selection of bubble teas and "cocktails"- tea mixed drinks. The treats were delicious and we sat surrounded by wall art right from the Alice in Wonderland story. 


While we were only there for about 20 minutes, it was a great girl date with my favorite girl- we'll absolutely be heading back again!

xo, Heather

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