Travel Giveaway: Host Happier Holidays with Hampton Hotels! #HamptonHoliday

Hampton inn for holidayThis post and giveaway is provided by Hampton Hotels.

This year, Christmas of 2013 is a historic one for our family: it’s the first year we’ve ever stayed home for Christmas! It’s actually the first time I’ll actually be in the city I’ve lived in for nearly 11 years on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Because our extended families don’t celebrate close enough for a day trip, we’ve always packed up and headed out of town to enjoy Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and usually a few more days at in either my husband’s or my hometown.

This year, my husband has a funky work schedule that’s keeping us home for Christmas. I’ll definitely miss seeing family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I’m excited to put out our milk and cookies for Santa and see my kids come downstairs from their bedroom on Christmas morning!

Keep reading for your chance to win a FREE one night stay at a U.S. Hampton Hotel! [Read more...]

Top 5 Entertaining Tips Learned at ALDI’s #InTheALDIKitchen Event

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Last week I had a great time on a blog trip visiting the ALDI headquarters in Illinois. The great team at ALDI put together a blogger-centric event that not only introduced us to ALDI’s culture and products, they also gave us crash courses in entertaining, food styling and photography.

Let me tell you, I can’t believe how much I learned in that time about all the topics, but I left excited about sharing some great entertaining and food styling tips with all of you! [Read more...]

Answers to Food Photography Questions from ALDI Food Stylists and Photographers

If you meet me in person and we get to talking about grocery shopping, you’ll likely notice that I’m something of an Aldi evangelist. Like most people, my life is busy, and I definitely don’t have it all together. It’s also nearly ingrained in the very core of my being that I must save money on groceries.

food photography questions

I know other people are amazing at clipping and organizing coupons, staying on top of store sales and getting fantastically low prizes on groceries. On the other hand, I am a huge failure at grocery coupons. Instead of spending time and energy on something I’m not good at, I opt to shop at ALDI where I can feel good that I’m spending less on groceries while still getting quality food that my family will eat.

I’m so excited to say that I’ll soon be headed to the ALDI US headquarters where I’ll be participating in interactive food styling and food photography demonstrations. The best part is that ALDI wants to hear from YOU!

nikon camera

I think almost everyone knows that food photography is challenging. The food stylist and photographer I’m going to meet with want to answer any questions you have about photography, tablescapes or other food questions.

It’s not everyday that I get to ask specific questions of a professional food photographer, so I’ll definitely be paying close attention and bringing up any topic I can think of!

Please leave your question in a comment below. I’ll be happy to pass it along and report back with the answers!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as I share everything I’m experiencing at ALDI’s Test Kitchen Event. I’m positive I’ll have some great information to pass along!

Join Me at Macy’s Glamorama on Friday, 8/2! See Cirque Du Soleil and Cheryl Crow!

glamorama 2013If you’re available tomorrow night, you should join me at Macy’s Glamorama! Ticket information is below, and it’s certain to be a fantastic event!

22nd annual fashion extravaganza starring Sheryl Crow with a performance by Cirque du Soleil, benefiting Children’s Cancer Research Fund!

Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama 2013, a Fashion Extravaganza, launches in Minneapolis celebrating this year’s theme, Fashion In A New Light, at the State Theatre on Friday, August 2nd at 8PM. Multi-talented singer, songwriter, record producer and musician, Sheryl Crow will headline the 22nd annual event. This year’s show also features a performance by Cirque du Soleil and Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star contest winner, The Summer Set. The event will once again benefit Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

Topping the list of deisigners this year: Jean Paul Gaultier, Philosophy, Rachel Rachel Roy, TALLIA Orange, Tommy Hilfiger, Weekend MaxMara, and Diesel. Attendees will also get a first look at Macy’s newest Impulse collection, Maison Jules launching at Glamorama in Minneapolis.

When: Friday, August 2, 2013 at 8 PM

Where: State Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Post-party to follow at Macy’s Minneapolis 8th Floor Auditorium

Tickets: Price ranges from $75-$1,000 and can be purchased through the Children’s Cancer Research Fund at by calling 952.893.9355.

Following the light themed show at the State Theatre, experience the illuminated after-party on the 8th floor of the Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis store. Refined, sophisticated illuminations lend to the after-party décor theme. Relax in ultra-cool sponsor lounges. Interact with fun activities. Enjoy a vast array of delicious culinary creations and special libations guaranteed to light up your taste buds. Dance the night away as the soundscape from K-Twin 96.3’s own DJ Dan lures guests to the dance floor.

In 20 plus years, Macy’s Glamorama has contributed nearly $5.0 million to Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Proceeds from the event support lifesaving, leading-edge research in the prevention, treatment and cure of childhood cancers and blood disorders. “Macy’s is helping us to change children’s lives by funding research that is changing the practice of medicine,” said John Hallberg, CEO of Children’s Cancer Research Fund. “We engage more people in our mission, and provide hope to more families, because of the support of Macy’s, their retail associates, and their customers. Their partnership is truly making a difference.”

About Children’s Cancer Research Fund
Children’s Cancer Research Fund has one focused and clearly defined goal: to cure childhood cancer. The organization is the largest single contributor to the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, a world-wide leader in pediatric cancer research.

Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s support enables researchers to continue their pioneering efforts in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of childhood cancers. Many discoveries funded by the organization have revolutionized the way childhood cancer is treated worldwide. For more information, visit

Disclosure: I am receiving admission to this event in exchange for writing about it via this website and various social media channels.

Big Thank You to All the #Brandcation Sponsors!

brandcation swagJust over a week ago I had a great time connecting with a small group of influential mom bloggers on a Brandcation. We stayed at the best condo rentals in Destin, Florida!

I got to connect with old friends:

influential mom blogger

…and make plenty of new friends!

There were lots of brands who made the entire conference possible, and I wanted to share a public Thank You to all of them:

Activity and Accomodations Sponsors

Restaurants that Hosted Bloggers

Swag and Sponsors info

Thank you to Momdot for the photos in this post and for planning this fun adventure!

Disclosure: media rates and in some cases comped activities were provided to showcase this venue and destination properly.

Top Things to Do and the Best Condo Rentals in Destin, Florida! #Brandcation

best condo rental destin floridaLast week I went on a Brandcation with a handful of other influential mom bloggers. We stayed at the best condo rentals in Destin, Florida: the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village.

The Emerald Grande resort was nice enough to cover a good portion of the accomodation costs to make it possible for the entire group to stay in the condos at the resort. Groups of four were assigned to a condo and we were set to move in for a long weekend.

best condo rental in destin fl

I walked into the luxury condominium and knew that we were staying in the best condo rental in Destin Florida! We could have fit twice as many mom bloggers into our room than what was assigned and still had plenty of space to live for a few days.

The condo we stayed in offered more than enough sleeping area for the four of us. I shared the master bedroom with [Read more...]