Michigan Gift Ideas for Busy Moms {+ Giveaway for Meijer Gift Cards!}


The post below is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. All opinions expressed are my own.

One of my favorite local corporate blogs is aHealthierMichigan.org from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The writers and social team publish GREAT content, and I often find myself clicking on their links to learn more about the latest and greatest in the health world, including recipes, tips, and more.

So when I was approached about publishing their gift guide featuring Michigan-inspired retailers, services and products, I knew it would be good stuff, and of course, a fab fit for this blog.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is my family’s insurance provider. Little did I know that I could get discounts with the Healthy Blue Xtras program. I am ecstatic to find this out, especially since supporting Michigan businesses is a passion of mine. Pair that with saving money, and I’m smitten!

You can visit the website to access more than $7,000 in exclusive discounts and offers on a ton of healthy products and services like food, fitness, recreation and much more.

Healthy Blues Extras

A few of my favorite discounts available that would be perfect for busy moms:

Additional ideas can be found in the gift guide below. Be sure to click on the “Learn More” button to see what discounts are available for BCBS Michigan card holders.

So many fun things, right? {P.S. Husband: I have been eyeing those Mitten Crates forever!} ;)

Additionally, feel free to join me on Twitter tomorrow at 3 p.m. to discuss Gifts for the Busy Mom. By participating, you will have a chance to win one of four $25 gift cards too!

HealthierMI Twitter Chat

There’s another chat on Tuesday, December 16 at 3 p.m. to discuss DIY last minute gifts, too.

BCBS is also giving me the opportunity to give away three $25 gift cards to one of my favorite Michigan-based retailers – Meijer! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below. Must be age 18 or up. Ends Dec. 8, 2014 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would be on your gift list for busy moms?


Win A VIP Experience at America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit from Absopure {Giveaway ENDS 11/24} #DetroitParade

Absopure Giveaway

There are few traditions as deeply rooted in Michigan as America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit.

As a little girl, I have fond memories of waking up each Thanksgiving morning to watch the parade, getting excited as I saw a floating Elmo or Big Bird go by, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the big man in red.

As a teenager, I attended the parade on a few occasions and always had a blast watching the floats, interacting with the fun clowns, and nabbing breakfast at a downtown restaurant after.

As a parent, I look forward to the day I can take my kids down to the parade so they too can be mesmerized by the lights and beautiful floats.

Absopure {yes, the water people} is a Michigan-based company that also has deep roots with this beloved tradition. For nearly 20 years, they have provided water to parade marchers, volunteers, Turkey Trotters and event staff.

While you watch the parade, be sure to keep your eye out for the company’s classic Model T delivery truck. It will be leading the way during the Model T section of the parade, and is driven by third-generation owner, William Patrick Young. The vintage Ford Model T was the first automobile used to deliver Absopure bottled water the year it was founded in 1908. How cool is that?


Because Absopure knows firsthand how much fun it is to attend this exciting event, they have partnered with me and Metro Detroit Mommy to give away a Thanksgiving Day Parade VIP experience to a family of four so they can create new memories this holiday season. The details are outlined below. [Read more…]

Sesame Street Live in Detroit Jan. 23 – Feb. 16, 2015 {+ Giveaway ENDS 12/1}

Sesame Street Live in Detroit Jan. 23- Feb. 16

Sesame Street Live is heading into The Fox Theatre in Detroit January 23 through February 16, 2015 and I have the scoop and a chance for you to win a family 4-pack! Sesame Street Live is a larger-than-life, musical touring stage production featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie…and more. As I have mentioned before, Sesame Street Live is one of our absolute favorite kid shows — my girls LOVE them, and there usually is some adult humor sprinkled in to give us a laugh, too.

I wanted to make sure this information was shared now since tickets to the show would be a GREAT gift for children. {I’m all about giving experiences versus another toy!}


No matter where you’re from or where you’ve been, everyone is special – so join in! Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and their Sesame Street friends welcome Chamki, Grover’s friend from India, to Sesame Street. Together, they explore the universal fun of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing, to sharing cookies. Join the fun and make a memory with your friends and family!

Each performance is 90 minutes of singing, dancing and audience participation, including a 15-minute intermission. The perfect length for very young children!


Ticket prices: $15, $25, $35 {Gold Circle} and $65 {Sunny Seats}

Opening Night {Friday, January 23 at 7 p.m.} — All seats are $10 {excluding Gold Circle and Sunny Seats}. Additionally, group savings are available. Groups 10+ call 313-471-3282.

Get the ultimate fan experience with Sunny Seats! The Sunny Seats Package includes a VIP Seat and a pre-show Meet & Greet photo opportunity with two Sesame Street Live friends. Additional fees/surcharges may apply. To charge by phone, call 800-745-3000.

To purchase tickets, visit this link: http://www.olympiaentertainment.com/events/detail/sesame-street-live-3

[Read more…]

Big Hero 6 Review {A.K.A. I Want A Squishy Robot}

Big Hero 6

The other night, my 4-year-old {Kinley} and I had the opportunity to have a mom-daughter date night to see Disney’s newest flick, Big Hero 6.

I wasn’t sure what to think prior to the movie. I had thought the previews made it look cute, but I didn’t know if it would capture our attention.

Well, I was positively surprised. Not only did the animation blow me away, but overall, I really enjoyed this movie — and so did Kinley.


With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, BigHero 6 is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, Big Hero 6 is directed by Don Hall {Winnie the Pooh} and Chris Williams {Bolt}, and produced by Roy Conli {Tangled}. This film is rated PG.

[Read more…]

Flash Giveaway With Kroger and Shell Fuel Rewards {$50 Kroger OR Shell Gift Card} ENDS 11/10

Kroger and Shell

Remember a few weeks back how I discussed the Kroger Fuel Rewards program with Shell and gave away a $100 gas card? Well, I have another opportunity for you to win a gift card!

All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below so I have your email information, and then share a testimonial about the fuel rewards program in the comments for your chance to win a $50 gift card to either Kroger or Shell.

What I’m looking for:

  • 1 – 2 short sentences about how you are using the Kroger Fuel program.
  • Feel free to include how long you’ve been a member of the program, how much money you’ve saved over time or this year alone, or even mention of being able to go on a family road trip as a result of your Kroger Fuel Points.
  • For extra consideration, be sure to mention the program by name (i.e. Shell fuel rewards).

The folks at Kroger and Shell will be evaluating the testimonials and helping me choose a few winners, so do a good job ;) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cirque Dreams Holidaze in Detroit Dec. 16-20, 2014 {+Giveaway ENDS 11/17}

Cirque Dream Holidaze - Giveaway

I have a partnership with Olympia Entertainment and will be receiving complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for promoting. All opinions expressed are my own.

With more than 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is sure to light up the holiday season when it returns to the Fox Theatre in Detroit Dec. 16-20. After sold out performances in 2009, 2011 and 2013, I can’t wait! I have yet to attend a Cirque show, so I have a feeling I’m in for a real treat.

From the press materials:

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is an original musical extravaganza of ornaments that re-imagines the holiday season and showcases an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe. Experience gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers. Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees and soldiers creating a wonderland of amazement.

Sounds great, right?

Cirque Dreams Holidaze - Detroit

[Read more…]

Snack Review: Harvest Snaps #HarvestSnapsFan {+Giveaway ENDS 11/13}

This post was created in partnership with Harvest Snaps. I have been compensated with product for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am a snacking queen. I love trying new, healthy snacks and being the first among my friends to build buzz with new products.

Therefore, I jumped at the chance to try Harvest Snaps when I was contacted by the company. I had seen them at Costco and Meijer, and always wondered what they tasted like. After checking out their fun social media presence too, I knew I had to give them a shot!

But dried peas and lentils as a snack? Would they even taste good?

I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I’m pretty sure they tricked my brain into thinking I was eating a chip, which was awesome. The snacks are baked, gluten-free, high in fiber and protein and low in sodium and fat — all things I was very happy to read as I try to get my family back on the healthy track.

Harvest Snaps Flavors

The six flavors include: Caesar {Snapea Crisps}, Tomato Basil {Lentil Snaps}, Onion Thyme {Lentil}, Lightly Salted {Snapea}, Black Pepper {Snapea}, and Wasabi Ranch {Snapea}.

[Read more…]

Buddy’s Pizza Opens Novi Location {+Giveaway ENDS 11/6}

Buddy's Pizza LogoLast night I had the privilege of attending a sneak peek for Buddy’s Pizza, the home of Detroit’s original square Sicilian-style pizza, which opens today in Novi. Anyone who hasn’t experienced Buddy’s needs to get there stat — it’s like a rite of passage for Detroiters.

Our family is absolutely thrilled about the new location. I have been to the original location on 6 Mile in Detroit, and the one in Warren, but am so excited to see them come further west to Novi, which is just a 20 minute drive for me.

The 68-year-old family-owned restaurant kick-started an expansion last fall and it continues as Buddy’s Pizza’s 11th location opens to the public TODAY at 3 p.m. at 44224 Twelve Mile Road, inside Novi’s Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk entertainment district. {Go watch a movie at Emagine and then go grab some pizza! Perfect date night!}

Additionally, today, $2 from every pizza sold at the Novi Buddy’s Pizza location will be donated to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Buddy's Pizza Ribbon Cutting - Novi

The new location is 8,000 square feet of amazement — with plenty of space for families to dine and lots of architectural details for patrons to admire. It seats 200 in a main dining room and features an urban, retro-styled interior and exterior, a main lobby, an outdoor dining area, main bar, banquet room, carry-out area, modern restrooms and kitchen.

The Novi location was designed by Northville-based Martone Design Studio, and pays tribute to Buddy’s Detroit heritage with vintage Industrial deco design elements, reminiscent of the original Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit. {Read: It is SO cool.}

Take a peek:

Buddy's Pizza Novi

[Read more…]

Sesame Street Live in Grand Rapids: Let’s Dance, Nov. 18-19 {+Giveaway}


Sesame Street Live is dancing into Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids November 18-19, 2014 and I have the scoop and a chance for you to win a family 4-pack! Sesame Street Live is a larger-than-life, musical touring stage production featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie…and more.


Hosted by two live performers, Sesame Street Live’s “Let’s Dance!” offers an up-close, interactive experience that includes dance parties. Elmo uses his imagination to ‘Do the Robot,’ Cookie teaches all ‘feets’ to dance, and Ernie shares the fun of dance with the Sesame Street favorite “Shake Your Head One Time.” Favorite friends join the audience on the floor – dancing with fans, not just for them. It’s Sesame Street Live like you’ve never experienced it before!

Each performance is 90 minutes of singing, dancing and audience participation, including a 15-minute intermission. The perfect length for very young children!



Ticket prices: $16, $20, $25 (Gold Circle) & $48 (Sunny Seats). Group savings available. Groups 10+ call 616-742-6185.

Get the ultimate fan experience with Sunny Seats! The Sunny Seats Package includes a VIP Seat and a pre-show Meet & Greet photo opportunity with two Sesame Street Live friends. Additional fees/surcharges may apply.

Tickets are available at the Van Andel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations and online. To charge by phone, call 800-745-3000.
[Read more…]

Guide To Shopping at Salvation Army Thrift Stores in Southeast Michigan {+ $50 Credit Giveaway}

Guide to Shopping at Salvation Army in Southeast Michigan


It’s no secret: I LOVE thrifting. I get the biggest rush from finding cool things at cheap prices. Of all the places I have lived across metro Detroit, The Salvation Army takes the cake as my favorite place to thrift. I’ve found everything from Stella McCartney handbags for $6 to Ann Taylor and Calvin Klein jeans for a couple of dollars — and still with tags on them.

Every time I post about my finds, people ask how and where I found the items, and often times I hear “I never have good luck thrifting!” Well, friends — I have some secrets to share with you. I’ve partnered up with Salvation Army Thrift Stores in Southeast Michigan to share the best days to shop to score fabulous deals.

So, here’s your guide to shopping at Salvation Army thrift stores in Southeast Michigan. These deals cover all 34 thrift stores across metro Detroit {stores in Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties}.

First, it’s important to know the days of the week to shop for the best pricing. How about a little graphic for you visual learners?

Best Days to Shop at Salvation Army

[Read more…]

Win A Free Photo Session with Lara Douglas Photography {Livingston County, Michigan Photographer}

Lara Douglas Photography Logo

As I have mentioned, I have very talented friends. One of the most talented gals I know is Lara Douglas. Her and I went to school together and I have loved watching her grow into a fabulous photographer. In fact, my head shot and family photos on here are all by her! She is a master of her craft and I love her beautiful work and sweet personality.

Her business, Lara Douglas Photography, focuses on weddings and creative portraitures, and is located in Howell, Michigan. She specializes in on-location and natural light photography.

View samples of her gorgeous work by visiting www.laradouglasphotography.com or friending her business page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/laradouglasphotography. She can be reached at (801) 472-1774 or via email at laradouglasphotography {at} gmail {dot} com.

Now for the fun…a GIVEAWAY!

Lara Douglas Photography

Her and I have teamed up to give away a FREE photo session to one of you! The session will include a 30 minute shoot, an 11×14 print and 2-8×10 prints.

How great would this be to win with Christmas just around the corner? Sounds like the perfect present for grandparents to me!

To win, you must be a resident or willing to drive to Livingston County, Michigan, and age 18 years or older.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shell and Kroger Fuel Rewards {+ $100 Gas Card Giveaway!}

Kroger and Shell

The post and giveaway below is sponsored by Shell Fuel Rewards with Kroger. All opinions expressed belong to me.

There is one line item that irks me each month in our budget: GAS. No matter what we do, we seem to spend a small fortune on it each month, despite having a very fuel-efficient car for our longer {kidless} trips and my husband’s commute.

But there is a few ways to save! This is how we roll:

1. GROUP ERRANDS. This can be tricky, but if you find yourself going across town for one thing, get all.the.things. you need on that same end of town.

2. USE CREDIT CARD REWARDS. With our credit card, there are months where we can easily accrue 5% cash back from getting gas. Pay close attention those months and don’t stray from the card that is giving you the most bang for your buck.

3. USE GAS REWARDS. Many stations have a rewards system — use it! It’s like free money in my mind ;)

Shell and Kroger are partners and a great example of how you can stretch your dollar. For every 100 points earned at Kroger, save 10¢ per gallon at participating Shell locations. {Maximum of 35 gallons of fuel per purchase.}

That 10¢ can add up to some BIG savings over time! And with gas prices not-too-shabby now and lots of reasons to grocery shop with the upcoming holidays, it’s a good time to save some green!

Here’s how Shell has partnered with Kroger

Use your Kroger Plus Card to earn points every time you shop at Kroger. Don’t have one? Just go to Kroger and fill out a simple application. It’s FREE and easy! You can earn 100 points for every $100 in eligible purchases.

Points earned in the current month are available for use through the end of the next month. For example, if you earn 300 points in a month, you save 10¢ per gallon on your next three visits, redeemable through the end of the following month. For more details, visit your local Kroger store or visit www.kroger.com/fuel .
[Read more…]

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