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Give Global Gifts (AND Do Some Good!) with NOVICA This Holiday Season {+ a GIVEAWAY!}

Note: I received a gift card to facilitate this review, and one to give away (yay!). All opinions are honest and are my own.

Have you started shopping for the holidays yet? I’m trying to get a little bit of a head start in the coming weeks so that I’m not trying to squeeze it all in mid-December. A stress-free Christmas sounds like the perfect way to end 2020, doesn’t it?

Be sure and read all the way to the end of my post, where I’ll be telling you how you can win a $50 gift card to get a head start on your shopping!

Some people on my list are hard to shop for – I think we all have people like that on our lists, don’t we? For those people I like to hunt down items I know they’ll really love – unique things they couldn’t easily find themselves in local stores.

NOVICA is a company that makes it easy to find special things from all around the world. They connect you with artisans who make beautiful pieces – AND you are able to have a positive impact on their lives with your purchases. I first worked with NOVICA nine years ago, and I still adore the leather bracelet and bag I got back then.

This year NOVICA has all sorts of amazing gift options for people on your list. They even have a wide variety of face masks (who knew at the start of 2020 that these would become a hot accessory item?) – these are just two of the many choices they offer:

I decided I wanted to check out their jewelry, because I’ve actually been on the hunt for a new pair of stud earrings. I have three piercings in each earlobe, and I like to wear studs for my day-to-day look. I have been wanting some modern earrings, and I really had a hard time choosing between all the options on NOVICA’s site. I finally settled on these round sterling stud earrings, and I can’t wait to wear them.

They’re perfect. Simple and modern, something I can wear every day that will go with anything.

Beyond them being just what I was looking for, though, I love that I know these were crafted by a great artisan in Thailand, Wadarat Supasirisuk. I’m not one to go out globe-trotting at this stage in my life, so I’m really happy to be able to include these from around the globe into my jewelry.

I also found two beautiful bracelets from an artist in India, Neetu Barathi. I can see me wearing these daily – they’re dainty and feminine, and I love the smoky tone of the beads on each one. The first is a smoky quartz link bracelet, and the second is a labradorite and silver pendant bracelet.

NOVICA has much more than jewelry, though – they have sculptures, furniture, and all sorts of home decor, plus clothing, paintings, and even clean skin care products. Find special gifts this holiday season for anyone on your list – items from all around the globe that you can purchase from your living room.

Now, on to another thing I’m super excited about! I get to give away a $50 gift card to one of you so you can have your own fun shopping spree on NOVICA! I’m keeping it SUPER easy to enter – find details below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vehicle Feature Series: Dodge Ram 1500

This is a sponsored post partnered with Barkau Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Freeport. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In the last of my vehicle feature series, I’m focusing on the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500. I was never much of a truck person until my husband and I started doing more and more woodworking projects. The appeal of being able to haul large loads became apparent to me, and now that my husband has a small truck I have gained an appreciation for trucks even more.

The 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab model with optional front crash prevention and available Adaptive LED headlights built after May 2019 has been named a 2019 Top Safety Pick,  and focuses on providing a smarter way to tow. All 2020 Ram 1500 models now have the following features available: Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path and Trailer Detection, which scans the blind spot zones beside and behind the vehicle to help ensure trailer safety; amazingly enough this detection system automatically senses and accounts for the length of the trailer.

One concern many people might have when it comes to trucks is worrying about having comfort, and having enough space to fit passengers. The Ram 1500 has rear legroom of 45.1 inches, available reclining rear seat, available rear seat fold-down center console, and available under-seat storage. You can seat 5 people comfortably and still have room for gear that those people might bring with them. Getting in and out of the truck is easy, too, with power side running boards.

The tailgate on the Ram 1500 has a 60/40 split, and offers more ways to access the bed while still being able to handle demanding loads. The split, swing-away doors accommodate easy loading, making it easier to step up, load bulky items, unload and wash out the bed. There’s great storage on the exterior, too, with the RamBox Cargo Management System. 

Vehicle Feature Series: Dodge Durango

This is a sponsored post partnered with Kahlo Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In my latest post on vehicle features, I’m focusing on the Dodge Durango. I mentioned in my first post my love of SUVs, and I enjoyed learning about all this model has to offer, particularly when it comes to safety.

The Durango has all sorts of tech-advanced features like keyless enter ‘n go and UConnect technology that includes Remote Vehicle Start, Roadside Assistance, Android Auto Integration, Apple CarPlay Support, and navigation system. You can even add in a dual-screen Blu-Ray entertainment system.

The Durango has a strong and secure steel cage that helps keep you safe and secure in case of an accident. It has a blind spot monitoring system, and has Electronic Stability Control with Electronic Roll Mitigation that helps you maintain directional control on low-traction surfaces and helps prevent rollover. The Durango uses throttle control and limited braking when detecting slower traffic ahead to adjust cruising speed and keep a safe distance.

The brakes on the Durango are high-tech and intuitive, too, including: 

  • RAIN BRAKE SUPPORT When the windshield wipers are activated, light pressure is applied to the calipers to remove water from the pads.
  • BRAKE ASSIST Available Brake Assist can boost the braking power when it detects the rate and amount of brake application for emergencies.
  • READY-ALERT BRAKING Suddenly releasing the accelerator pedal will activate Ready Alert Braking, which prepares the brakes for a panic stop.
  • ELECTRONIC BRAKE FORCE DISTRIBUTION Regardless of any vehicle-load conditions, Electronic Brake Force Distribution regulates braking pressure from front to rear to enhance stopping distances.

Vehicle Feature Series: Chrysler Pacifica

This is a sponsored post partnered with Falls Motor City. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In case you missed my last post, I’m taking the time this month to share features of several 2020 vehicles, in hopes that this will help you narrow down your search if you’re trading in your old car like so many tend to do at the start of a new year.

This time I’m focusing on the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica. As a mom, I’m a big fan of minivans. The fuel economy, the safety, and the cargo space are all big bonuses, and the Pacifica definitely has all of these – and it also offers America’s first-ever hybrid minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets up to 82 MPG rating, and seamlessly switches from electric to gas.

The Pacifica is an extremely versatile minivan, with up to 243 possible seating configurations, and available stow ‘n go storage to haul all sorts of accessories that kids inevitably bring along with them. You can even opt for the stow ‘n vac onboard vacuum cleaner to make cleaning a breeze. 

The Pacifica also offers parking assist options, including: available 360° surround view camera, available ParkSense front and standard rear park assist, available parallel and perpendicular park assist, and rear cross path detection. All of these make for a safe and more convenient parking experience (and if you’ve got loud kiddos in the car with you, you know how hard it can be to focus while trying to park!).

Speaking of safety, The Chrysler Pacifica was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2019 when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlamps, and the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica achieved a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a parent, safety is my top consideration when choosing a vehicle for our family, so these details alone make the Pacifica a great choice. 

Vehicle Feature Series: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

This is a sponsored post partnered with Century Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Mt. Airy. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The start of a new year is often the time that many people are thinking about refreshing things in their lives – cleaning out their homes, purchasing new appliances, and trading in their old vehicles for something new. With vehicles in particular there are so many options to choose from that I thought I’d take the next few days to feature several options. 

The first vehicle on my list is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I’ve always had a predisposition towards SUVs, and have always thought a Jeep would be a blast to own and drive. I’ve heard many people say that once you’ve owned a Jeep you can’t go back to any other vehicle, because you just love them so much. These aren’t a typical vehicle one thinks of when purchasing for a young family, but these can be a great choice for adventurous families with slightly older children. 

The Wrangler Unlimited has different options for roof designs. There’s the “Freedom Top” hardtop with removable panels above the driver and front passenger. There are also two different grades of soft tops available, and what’s called a Sky One-Touch roof, which is like a hardtop except for the flat portion directly over your head that folds backwards at the press of a button. This lets you get close to the openness of a soft top with its roof removed, butis simpler than having to remove the soft top. 

And of course one thing that’s incredibly unique about the Wrangler Unlimited is the ability to remove the doors, really integrating yourself with nature. The off-road capability of this vehicle is what it’s really known for, and having the doors off while off-roading seems like an awfully fun adventure. 

Wranglers in the past were more utilitarian, with metal finishes on the interior, but many have mentioned the style and comfort offered now for the interior – carpet, and a soft-touch dash – and the infotainment options.

The Wrangler Unlimited has over 70 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats and over 31 cubic feet behind the rear 60/40 folding seats with an extra cargo bed under the hatch. Parents, take note: the Wrangler Unlimited comes standard with a completely washable interior featuring drain plugs and durable waterproof coating to handle even the messiest disasters little passengers might leave behind. 

New Year, New (to You) Vehicle!

This is a sponsored post partnered with Butler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The new year is just a few weeks away, and that means it’s a time of newness in many ways – new resolutions, and new starts… and it’s also a great time to get a new vehicle, because of all the sales that take place around the holidays.

In our house we’ve purchased both new and used vehicles, and I especially like getting used vehicles, because you can get a great deal. Obviously you can get great deals on new vehicles, too, but if you’re wanting, say, a car loaded with all sorts of extras (like a navigation system, leather seats, etc.), going with a used vehicle will let you get more for your money.

When you buy a used vehicle, you can typically also get better insurance rates, which is another way in which buying used can help you stretch your dollar. You’ll also find that there’s often a broader selection of types of vehicles when you’re buying used.

Of course, if you’re buying a used vehicle, there are things to consider that you wouldn’t have to think about with a new vehicle. Look at the condition of the vehicle (make sure you get a certified used vehicle and learn the history before buying) and mileage to make sure the value for what you’re spending is on point. Make sure that whether you’re buying new or used you do your research and make a good choice!

Tips For Buying A Used Car

This is a sponsored post partnered with Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram of Abilene. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Buying a used vehicle is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck – you’re more likely to be able to afford vehicles with all the bells and whistles, like navigation systems, heated seats, and built-in entertainment systems. I’ve bought almost all of my vehicles used, and it’s been a great choice. For some people, buying a used vehicle can seem a little daunting, though, so here are some tips for making sure your used vehicle is a smart buy:

Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your vehicle has been inspected, serviced, and repaired as needed. Because of this, it’s being sold with an extended warranty, and that is really valuable. Buying certified pre-owned lets you know you haven’t bought a lemon. 

Research the vehicle. You can look up the VIN number to see if it’s been in any accidents, or if it’s been damaged by a flood or fire, for example. Small fender benders wouldn’t scare me away, but a major crash in a car’s history could spell trouble. Not only that, some damage to the car could render it undrivable legally, so its best to know before you go.

Look for a car with decent mileage. This doesn’t always mean super-low mileage, because in a used vehicle that can be very hard to find. An average of 12,000 miles per year is considered the norm, so break down the total mileage by the age of the car to figure out if the car has a low or high average. 

Cool Car Features for Families

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman Toll Chevrolet. All opinions are honest and are my own.

When you’ve got kids like we do, your priorities in picking a vehicle are a lot different than if you’re buying a car as a childless person. Flashy features don’t matter as much. Instead, it’s all about what makes life with children easier. Here are a few cool car features that every family should look for in their new vehicle:

Entertainment System. This isn’t the simple DVD player setup you might think of. Nowadays, the players can stream shows and music, which broadly expands your options when on the road. You can even add WiFi hot spots to your vehicle so devices can stay connected no matter where you are.

Vacuum Cleaners. What parent wouldn’t like to have a vacuum at the ready? You can easily say goodbye to crumbs and other messes with a feature like this in your vehicle.

Hands-Free Liftgate. How many times have you gone shopping with the kids, only to get out to the car with your hands full? Many vehicles now have a back hatch that can open with just the wave of your foot underneath the back bumper.

Remote Start. This can literally be a “cool” feature in the heat of summer, when you can have the AC running before you and the kids even get in the car. The great thing is this feature that used to be hard to come by is now much more common.

What features would be included in your dream car?

Hyundai Palisade: The Ultimate Family-Friendly Car

This is a sponsored post partnered with Central Avenue Hyundai. All opinions are honest and are my own.

As the mom in a family of five, I’m always on the lookout for family-friendly vehicle options. When you’ve got that many people riding in your car on a daily basis, it’s got to be something that’s roomy and that functions well. I was excited to discover a new option for us to consider – the 2020 Hyundai Palisade. Here’s what makes it a great car for families:

Plenty of seating. The Palisade can be configured with either 7 or 8 seats, perfect for a family and even a few guests along for the ride. If you choose the 7-seat option, there are captain’s chairs in the second row, which makes it easy for kids to get to the back row.

Available 3rd Row Power-Folding Seats. Having plenty of cargo space is an important feature in a family vehicle, because with kids comes stuff. It’s awesome to be able to have seats that fold down with the push of a button – if you’ve got your hands full, it’s incredibly easy to make room for any large items (tuba from band, anyone?).

Available Blind View Monitoring. When you’re driving with kids in the car, it can be nearly impossible to be driving distraction-free. This feature helps you know when cars are coming up in your blind spot, helping prevent you from distractedly changing lanes into a vehicle, and making it even easier to keep your kids safe.

Smart Cruise Control. Like I mentioned above, distracted driving can be a challenge for parents when there are noisy kids in the back. Smart cruise control detects vehicles in the lane ahead of you and automatically slows the vehicle down to maintain a safe distance, preventing you from accidentally rear-ending someone.

With the beauty of the Palisade and the smart and safe features it offers, it’s a perfect family vehicle.

Major Black Friday Deal on Hoover Rogue!

We received a Hoover Rogue to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

love to scour the ads before Thanksgiving to see what Black Friday deals will be available each year. Even though we look online ahead of time, my husband and I still always buy the Thanksgiving Day newspaper so we can look through the ads there, too, and plan out what bargains we want to buy.

This year Hoover is offering a $200 DISCOUNT on their smart vacuum, the Hoover Rogue. This great deal is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday). As a family of five with three pets (one of whom sheds enough fur to make a new dog each month) we feel like we are constantly needing to vacuum. We’ve loved the idea of a robot vacuum for a long time – and now that we’ve tried the Rogue I can tell you they are totally a lifesaver.

The Rogue’s a little different than some other robot vacuums out there. It travels around the house and memorizes your floor plan, creating a map for itself. We watched on the Hoover iPhone app as it worked (and you’ll notice at the top of the screen shot we named our Rogue Wall-E!) For our first run we just had it do the main living areas and not any of the bedrooms or bathrooms and it was cool watching the app to see as the floor plan developed on screen.

Many other robot vacuums have a bump-and-go technology. This means the unit navigates by changing direction as it bumps into obstacles. With the Hoover Rogue’s Robart™ Memory Navigation Technology it allows it to actually follow a path and get a really comprehensive cleaning done.  And with the app we can watch the progress to see as it cleans each area of our house.

  

The Rogue has a dock and it will take itself back to its home base whenever it needs to charge or is finished vacuuming. We put ours in the living room for now but may move it elsewhere – you could use any location that is out of the way, has access to an outlet, and works well for your day-to-day life.

Another thing I love about the Rogue is the SmartWall™ technology. This means we can go in to the app and block certain areas (maybe we don’t want the master bedroom vacuumed this time, or you don’t want it to go around your dog’s water dish, for instance). And if you use Amazon Alexa or Google Home you can actually give vocal commands!

The Rogue is Wi-Fi connected so you can be out at lunch and start it up via the iPhone app – and as I mentioned above, you can check progress to see when it’s done, meaning you can time your errands to get back to nice clean floors!

And don’t forget – like I mentioned above, the Rogue smart robot vacuum is $499 normally… but is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday)!

How to Get a FREE Box of Samples From PINCHme!

I received a PINCHme box to facilitate this review. I was not monetarily compensated for this post, and all opinions are honest and are my own.

love trying new products, and oh my word do I love free samples. So when I got the chance to try out PINCHme I jumped all over it – the best of both worlds!

PINCHme was created to serve as a destination for members to sample products from the worlds leading brands, for free. All they ask is that you tell them what you think.

PinchMe-Box

It’s always fun getting a box in the mail, and I couldn’t wait to see what was included in mine.

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There were two food-related samples in mine, and seriously – both were a great fit for our family. The kids were all about trying the Quaker Chewy Bites, and I’m planning to make a peanut butter & chocolate protein shake with the grass fed whey.

Beauty-Items-PinchMe

I also got some shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, personal cleanser, deet-free bug spray & a lint roller. We have a labrador/golden retriever that sheds like crazy so I was especially excited about the lint roller!

Biore-PinchMe

My favorite part of the box was the Bioré products – they were all full-size, which is awesome in itself. But I have loved Bioré products in the past, and trying their new items was right up my alley. I love that these products include more natural ingredients like baking soda and charcoal. They all smell great with a light citrus scent, and they’re a great fit for my oily-to-combination skin. I can’t wait to tell my friends to give this new Bioré line of products a try!

To get your samples, remember to log in at noon on the day the samples are released (which happens to be TODAY, y’all… so get on it!) – click here to go ahead and fill out your profile so you can be ready to snag your samples.

 

We <3 Sam's Club

This is a compensated post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Our family consists of 5 people; my husband, our 9-year-old son, our 8-year-old son, our 4-year-old daughter, and me. We also have two dogs (one of whom is 85 pounds) and a cat. Our house is full and we run through food and household items so quickly (which I know will only accelerate when we enter the teenage years)!

Sam’s Club is a perfect place to shop for our family – for one thing, we can buy in bulk.

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HotTamales-Sams

We also find great deals on books, clothes, and toys.

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Pajamas-Sams

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The kids love getting free samples when we go, too!

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One of my favorite things to get at Sam’s Club is gift cards. They’re always cheaper than the value you receive, and our location even has gift cards for local restaurants.

GiftCards-Sams

Another reason to love Sam’s? You can save all sorts of time with their awesome app by scanning items as you go, letting you check out without even having to stand in line.

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Win a $100 Sam's Club Membership!

Right now there’s an awesome giveaway going on. You could win one of TEN free Sam’s Club memberships! Go here to enter for your chance to win… the giveaway ends THIS Friday, June 2nd, so go enter now!