Michigan Is Auto

Share Why #MichiganIsAuto on Social Media and Earn A Chance To Win $500

I was selected for this sponsored post by HayThereSocialMedia.com.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Michigan Is Auto

Do you have a great reason why #MichiganIsAuto? Time to share it!

Every year, one of my favorite things to do on social media is to watch the buzz surrounding the North American International Auto Show {#NAIAS} in Detroit. When I worked downtown, it was so exciting to see the crowds gather at Cobo to check out the cool cars and have a wintertime reason to visit the D. Personally, I enjoy looking at the concept cars — it’s like a glimpse into the future! Walking through the show is truly like walking through an art display, and you can see the passion for the automotive industry in each area.

Amazingly, last year’s NAIAS drew more than 85,000 people, impacting the SE Michigan region with $365 million. To say NAIAS isn’t important to Michigan is crazy. Michigan is synonymous with the auto industry, just like Idaho is to potatoes or Texas is to oil rigs. All Michiganders know *someone* who works in automotive. {Personally, my husband works for a supplier, so I am thankful for the industry!}

As the global automotive industry heads to Detroit this week, MICHauto {the state’s automotive accelerator} is gearing up to reinforce why Michigan is the epicenter of the auto industry.Print

Today through Jan. 23, MICHauto will award two $500 VISA gift cards to the entry that posts the best, most creative reason why #MichiganIsAuto. To enter, post your submission on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MichiganIsAuto. Be sure to tag MICHauto using the social media handles below:

Please note this contest is not just for people who work in the industry or those who attend preview week — this is inclusive of ANY proud Michigander of any age and particularly all the people who will attend the show during public week! [Read more…]

#ShopSmall

#ShopSmall With FREE Money from American Express {$30 in Credit!}

#ShopSmall

I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE the Small Business Saturday movement, which is coming to a local street near you this Saturday, Nov. 29.

American Express cardholders can register their cards TODAY for a FREE $10 credit, which can be used a total of three times {at different spots} for $30 in savings, at participating #ShopSmall retailers.

There are LOTS of local spots that participate in this around Michigan :) Check out the MAP here. {For me here in Howell, it is nearly all of our downtown businesses.} I can’t wait to spend this at the stores around me. Bonus since my husband has a card too!

A little snippet of the fine print:

Get ready to Shop Small® on Nov 29. Spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business appearing on the Shop Small Map. If your transaction qualifies, you will receive a $10 statement credit within 90 days. You can take advantage of this offer up to three times, for a total of up to $30 in statement credits. Online transactions do not qualify.

YOU GUYS. This is FREE money! Plus, it’s just the perfect excuse to spend a day in your hometown checking out amazing small businesses. What’s also cool is that many restaurants participate as well. Holla for $10 off a meal after you shop!

My husband and I are both Amex cardholders {thanks to Costco}, so we have the credit on both of our cards. We did this last year and saw the credit show up on our next month’s statement. Easy peasy! I was super happy to have knocked out a few really cool gifts this way, too.

Even if you are not an American Express card holder, I urge you to shop local this holiday season. You all know I love saving money, but sometimes the feeling you get shopping small far outweighs the financial benefits.

Grab the credit while it’s available, have fun, and be sure to tweet with #ShopSmall!

VISIT HERE TO ENROLL YOUR CARD!

This isn’t sponsored, I just love this promotion and wanted to be sure you all knew about it. 

Where are your favorite Michigan cities to #ShopSmall?

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Pour It Forward

Pour It Forward and Help Hungry Michigan Families This Season #PourItForward

Pour It Forward

The post below is sponsored by The United Dairy Industry of Michigan {Milk Means More}. The opinions expressed are my own.

A recent conversation I had with my 4-year-old {pictured above}:

Me: “Did you know some children don’t have enough food to eat?”

Kinley: “You mean they don’t have cheese roll-ups and chocolate milk?”

Me: “No, they definitely do not have those things.”

Kinley: {Thinks for awhile.} “Mom, we should help those kids.”

I agree, kiddo. I agree.

In my pre-kids life, I didn’t have much money, but I had time and could often be found volunteering at local organizations in need. These days, I don’t always have the time to volunteer, but I am happy to give monetary donations when I can. My favorite organizations to give to are local ones helping my neighbors in need.

That’s why I love programs like Pour It Forward. It is an easy way for a busy mom like me to give back to my community, and have a wonderful lesson to teach my children.

The Pour It Forward Campaign is brought to you by Michigan’s dairy farm families, Milk Means More and all of the Kroger stores throughout Michigan. Through December 16, Kroger shoppers can purchase a paper milk gallon for an additional $3 at check-out. In turn, that money will help provide a minimum of one gallon of Pure Michigan® Kroger milk to a local food bank. Last year, the campaign raised more than 32,900 gallons of milk. This is a huge number because milk is something ALL of the food banks always need. 

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Miranda Lambert's Signature Drink

Earn Miranda Lambert Swag With CRYSTAL LIGHT Platinum Points #MC #Sponsored

Banner NineI participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for CRYSTAL LIGHT. I received a gift card to purchase CRYSTAL LIGHT products to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #MC

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I absolutely love the ladies of country music. One of my favorites is Miranda Lambert. I’ve seen her in concert and her voice is just as beautiful live as it is on TV. My favorite song of hers is “The House That Built Me.” I just love the raw emotion it evokes when she sings it.

Miranda Lambert recently paired up with CRYSTAL LIGHT for their Platinum Points program. This program helps to reward CRYSTAL LIGHT purchasers with Miranda Lambert swag. As a country music fan and CRYSTAL LIGHT fan, this sounds awesome! This program coincides with Miranda’s Platinum tour that she is currently on. Using the program is easy — just purchase CRYSTAL LIGHT from Walmart, take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone, and choose your Miranda-themed reward. To sign up for the CRYSTAL LIGHT and Miranda Lambert Platinum Points program, just click this link. I promise it’s simple!

To give you a head start, use the code mirandaic for 30 free points. You can also earn 10 points for each friend that signs up with your referral link.
Crystal Light and Miranda Lambert at Walmart

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Fall Lawn Care Tips

Fall Lawn Care Tips With Lush Lawn

Lush LawnThe post below is sponsored by Lush Lawn. Opinions expressed are my own.

There’s one thing these cooler temps mean: Time to wind down for the winter by pulling out the dead stuff and raking leaves off the lawn! Since taking care of the health of our lawn is not my favorite task, I am happy to have Lush Lawn help us out by prepping our lawn for cooler temps and nicer grass heading into 2015.

And let’s not even talk about the creepy crawly things starting to find their way indoors…ICK. Definitely not my favorite part of fall either. Thankfully, Lush Lawn can spray for those, too!

I received these tips from Lush Lawn to serve as a great reminder of what we all should be proactively be doing in the fall:

Fall Lawn Care Tips

1. FERTILIZE. Fertilizing in fall is great for the grass because the lower temperatures and increased rain cause the grass to thrive, and with that, the grass uses up a lot of nutrients, so replenishing those nutrients through fertilization is very important.

2. SEEDINGS. Doing seedings this time of year are great because of the weather conditions, too. Sometimes young grass is killed by intense summer heat when planted in the spring because it hasn’t had enough time to develop. If you seed in fall, you have fall and spring for the grass to grow and develop before summertime, so it tends to be stronger and more resilient.

3. SPRAY FOR BUGS. Right now is one of the most important times to spray for insects around your home and for bug proofing your home. As the temperatures dip, a lot of bugs will seek refuge in your home because it is much warmer than outside. This time of year in Michigan brings spiders indoors. Getting a good perimeter pest spray around the home will stop this problem.

4. CUT GRASS APPROPRIATELY. The last time you cut your grass in preparation for winter, it should be cut at 2 inches and not higher. Most the year, 3 to 4 inches length is great, but going into the dormant season, you want the grass to be cut shorter in order to reduce winter snow mold and other diseases that develop easier in long matted down grasses over the winter.

Lush Lawn is a family owned company based in Michigan that specializes in lawn care, pest control and tree services. They have offices in Brighton, Grand Blanc and Rochester Hills and offer services in those surrounding areas. Visit this link for a FREE quote and tell them I sent you!

How are your prepping your lawn for fall?

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mPerks personalized rewards

Baby Week + New mPerks Features for Meijer Shoppers

Attention Meijer shoppers! There are some BIG changes happening over in Meijer land today that just may officially make me a forever loyal Meijer shopper.

First, if you don’t use mPerks and shop at Meijer, go get it now. You can register by visiting mperks.meijer.com or by downloading the mPerks app for free in the iTunes App Store and in the Google Play Android app store. I love having it on my phone because I can easily scan through and grab savings while in the car before heading into to store. There’s also the ability to make a list, which makes it easier to shop.

mPerks personalized rewards First, if you log into your account TODAY, you will notice that mPerks is launching a Personalized Rewards update which includes:

  • Rolling start dates which give customers four weeks to earn after they clip their reward {with that said, don’t clip the reward until you are about to go to the store!}
  • Ability to earn towards any or all rewards at the same time — in the categories of your choosing {produce, paper products, health/beauty, etc.}
  • No waiting until the next month—when customers complete a reward, they can start a new one {This is helpful because I always would forget otherwise!}

new rewards 2

Once a reward is earned and clipped, they are located in a new ‘earned rewards’ section of the site, which makes it easy to keep track of all the savings. Updates are available at mPerks.com and on the Meijer mobile app. If you already have the app, be sure to download the update to gain access to mPerks Rewards 2.0.

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Get A Shot, Give A Shot

Think Walgreens for Back-To-School Immunizations + Tips for Anxiety! #GiveaShot #CollectiveBias

Walgreens Logo

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Back-to-School time means back to the doctor in every mom’s world for vaccinations. Not sure about you all, but we spend SO much time at the doctor these days for check-ups between me and my three kiddos. Unfortunately this time of year means I have to fight for good appointment times since the pediatrician is flooded with physicals for school age kids.

Walgreens Give A Shot

Enter Walgreens. I am so thankful places that are a convenient spot for moms to go for immunizations. They make it quick, easy and painless since NO appointment is needed {soooo awesome since only YOU know when your kid is in the best mood for a shot!}. Additionally, most insurances are accepted and I love that they will report back to your primary care physician to let them know your child’s immunization record has been updated.

Walgreens Pharmacy for Immunizations

Working with doctors for my job, I have truly learned the importance of vaccinations and yes, I am one of those moms who shout from the rooftops their importance. I believe everyone should have the right to choose as a parent, but I encourage you to get educated by reading medical journal articles and not just a random blog post or from a “doctor” who isn’t backed up by trusted organizations like the CDC.
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Getting Kids Ready for A New Baby

Sibling Preparation: Getting Kids Ready For a New Baby

Getting Kids Ready for A New Baby

Nothing has been consuming my mind more over these past few weeks than how my girls, Karina – age 2 {in 17 days} and Kinley – 3.5, are going to react to their new baby brother, who is due to arrive in 3 weeks+/-.

Kinley has been there, done that, and I know she will be helpful. At the same time, she’s stuck between that age of needing a bit of independence yet also still needy herself at times. Overall, I think it should be OK for her, but I’ve been doing everything I can to help her prepare for the changes ahead.

Karina is another story. She IS needy. She’s at that fun age that will throw a temper tantrum at the first notion of not getting her way. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit nervous to see what a baby will do to her temperament. I seem to often mis-judge what my kids can handle, so I am holding out hope it goes smoother than I think it will!

Here’s some tips for getting kids ready for a new baby that have seemed to help me so far:

  • Rent LOTS of kid-friendly books from the library about new babies and pregnancy. Books can be incredibly helpful — especially with older kids. Books have helped teach my kids that babies sleep a lot at first, and will need lots of my attention. One that is well-loved in our house is The New Baby from the Little Critter series.
  • Let them help clean and prepare baby items. With each item I’ve gotten out and put away, I’ve talked to them about how we will use it. For example, the baby will need the swing for short naps, and you can rock him in it gently if you’d like. I will use the Boppy while I nurse, which will be several times a day at first. I want them familiar with all the tools so they can help me when needed and begin to understand that those items are for him and mommy.
  • Make a visual of when baby is coming. I get constant questions from my big girl about when baby is arriving, so we made a paper chain to count down the approximate days until he comes. It has been a GREAT visual for her to see how much longer it will be. She tears off a piece of the chain every day.
  • Allow your children to pick out baby’s coming home outfit. Although our little outfit keeps disappearing from my hospital bag because my girls like to “show” him daily. Baby's Coming Home Outfit
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#Summerize Your Legs at Walmart

Shaving Tips to #SummerizeYourLegs #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. The hashtags #SummerizeYourLegs and #CollectiveBias can be followed to view other blog posts included in this campaign.

The best part about summer for me? LAKE TIME! {Which also means summer legs!}

Seriously…Is there a better reason to live in Michigan? I think not! In fact, I just learned a few awesome Michigan lake factoids thanks to a coloring book my daughters received:

  • No point in Michigan is further than 85 miles from any one of the Great Lakes.
  • The Great Lakes supply more than 80% of North America’s and 20% of the world’s surface fresh water supply.
  • There are 11,037 inland lakes which are 10 acres or more in size.

…and unrelated, but kids look SO cute in bathing suits, AmIRight? Couldn’t resist sharing these shots from our vacay earlier this year…

Beach Babies

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Springtime Lawn Care Tips from Lush Lawn

Springtime Lawn Care Tips from Lush Lawn

The post below is sponsored by Lush Lawn. I am receiving complimentary lawn services in exchange for blog posts and social shares this summer. Opinions expressed are my own.

Lush Lawn

Taken last month after our first lawn application. Our lawn is much greener these days!

Tis the season, ya’ll! Time for grass cutting {and the delightful smell that follows}, raking, planting and more. I will admit — taking care of the lawn is not my favorite task, so I am absolutely ecstatic to have Lush Lawn help us out this year. Our subdivision is looking mighty green these days and it makes me SO happy to drive through!

In our 6 years of home ownership, my husband and I have learned a lot about lawn maintenance. Though I’ll admit he does all the laborious tasks of cutting and trimming, I am the planting, weed pulling and watering gal. It takes time, but we love having a beautiful lawn and some color around our house in the form of flowers.

I received these fun tips from Lush Lawn that serve as a great reminder of what all of us should be doing this spring.

Springtime Lawn Care Tips from Lush Lawn

Hairdressing 101 For Your Lawn

Comb

After a long winter’s nap, it’s a good idea to comb your lawn with a light raking to improve air flow and break up any matting caused by snow piles or snow mold formation. This will also get rid of unwanted debris. Viola! No more bed head.

Prep For The First Haircut

Dull scissors help to create split ends. Make sure that before you cut your lawn the first time in the spring, that your mower blades are sharpened. You will avoid tearing the grass and opening the lawn up to disease invasion. Also, split ends on the lawn will make it look dull in color.

Style From Short to Long

Grass, like hair, continues to grow out over time. In spring, your first few cuts should be shorter than your regular mowing height in summer. Think of men’s hair styles in the early 1960’s as spring and the late 1960’s as summer. The second lowest setting on the mower is fine if your lawn is perfectly flat, use a middle setting if you have dips in the lawn to avoid scalping areas (ouch!). After the initial cut, raise your mower deck one notch every other cut until it is at its highest level when summer heat hit’s (3 1/2″ – 4″). Never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass-blade, so mow the lawn every 6-7 days until growth slows in the summer. A taller lawn in summer will help to reduce weed invasion, you will need to water less often, it will stay green longer and it will also help to keep damage from insects to a minimum. It’s a groovy look!

Wash In The Morning

While some us enjoy washing our hair in the evening, this should never occur with your lawn as it welcomes disease activity. Always water in the early morning when possible (between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.). Only water as needed in the spring in lieu of rainfall. Lawns need about 1″-2″ of water weekly depending on your soil type.

Accessorize

Most lawns look their best when they receive regular fertilization and weed control treatments. You can also add soil conditioners like Lime, gypsum and organic fertilizer to help improve results. Serious disease and insect issues should be addressed with specific control measures. Consult with a professional on these issues.

Lush Lawn is a family owned company based in Michigan that specializes in lawn care, pest control and tree services. They have offices in Brighton, Grand Blanc and Rochester Hills and offer services in those surrounding areas. Visit this link for a FREE quote and tell them I sent you!

How are your prepping your lawn this spring?

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10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid’s Entertainment

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

It’s EARTH DAY! To celebrate, I thought I’d make a fun list of ideas on how to take items you have around the house and repurpose them for the sake of our little ones and their creativity.

Whether you have kids or not, there is one thought that is universal: Kids can be very expensive! From craft supplies to clothing, toys and more, there are LOTS of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle for kids to save money, and Mother Earth. Here are some ideas:

1. Re-use popcorn tins as toy holders. We use ours from Christmas for all of our Play-Doh pieces, but these could be great for blocks, LEGOS, plastic toys or more.

2. Keep wrapping paper for crafts. Use the back of the paper as an “art canvas.” Because dude — special finger painting paper is expensive and this works just the same. It can be great for sticker artwork as well because what kid doesn’t like sticking stickers everywhere just for fun?!

3. Cookie cutters can provide hours of entertainment! Use them for tracing, Play-Doh and more.

4. Re-use yogurt cups for all kinds of kid-friendly reasons. Our preschool uses them for paint cups, but I love using them for color sorting activities, too!

5. Egg cartons make the perfect paint palette. Just plop in your colors and go to town. If you’re kids are like mine, they will mix them until they all turn brown, but that’s OK 😉

6. Use your postpartum bucket for sensory activities, or activities with a lot of little pieces. {Or, just a tupperware container.} I just love this little bucket for so many reasons. But kid crafting is the best. IDEA: Let your child take an old golf ball and cover it in paint. Tape paper to the bottom of the bucket and let the child roll the ball around to make some fun, abstract art!

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

Kinley “painting” snow with drops of food coloring in my postpartum bucket from the hospital

7. Re-use those big, decorative boxes from Jo-Ann’s for books. I have a few of these from presents I’ve received. We used to have a bookcase in Kinley’s room and it drove me crazy because she loved to pull all the books out and my organizational-freak self hated it {I love them arranged by size — cut me some slack!}. Now, she can pull them out all she wants and it makes for easier clean-up — I just throw them in the bin at the end of the day.

8. Baby wipe containers ROCK. We use ours for craft supplies and things like crayons and puzzles, but I’ve even caught Kinley using them as a bed for her small plastic junks. IDEA: Use one for all the little items us parents all like to keep in the car: Napkins, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, sunscreen samples, etc.

9. Use old curtains/shower curtains them as a crafting tablecloth or as a big canvas for your kids. Or, make a road on it for them to drive their toys with wheels on.

10. Boxes can make ANY craft. Seriously, give your kid an empty diaper box and see what they can create. We used one awhile back to make Kinley a robot costume, which was very well-loved when it finally went into the recycling bin for good! We’ve also made candy shops and a pet shop for all our stuffed animals. The options are endless.

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

What are your favorite items to repurpose for kid’s entertainment?

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Changes I’m Making To My Tech Life in 2014

2014 is going to be a huge year for our house…A year where we go from two kids {manageable} to three {meaning way outnumbered.} I have no doubt this will add a whole new list of challenges to my work-from-home life, so until this baby comes, I am working on getting my life in better working order. For me, a tech addict, this means cutting the tech clutter in my life so I can be the best parent and social media manager as possible.

These are the adjustments I am currently working on:

  • Decluttering my personal email. I used Unroll.Me, which helps to unsubscribe from lists and “roll” those email subscriptions you want but don’t really need daily, into one email. I can quickly glance through this email to determine if there’s anything I can’t live without.
  • Getting rid of apps that take away from my kids. For example, I’ve stopped using Foursquare. I love it, but taking time to check-in when I’m with my kids is just pure chaos. Plus, ya’ll don’t need to know how often we go to our favorite pizza joint.
  • Turning off nearly ALL Facebook notifications. I was getting a ridiculous amount of notifications for groups I am in. I turned them all off. If I need something, I will seek out those groups.
  • Hiding people who bring me down on Facebook. You know those friends that post negativity all the time? Yeah, I have a few of those. I truly love those folks, I just couldn’t handle the doom and gloom on a daily basis, so I hid them…and deleted a few folks, too.
  • Trying not to insert my opinion on Facebook. This is a hard one for me because I am super opinionated and an emotional Facebook user {I get very worked up over silly things like politics and mommy ignorance}. What I’ve learned though, is that whatever I say typically doesn’t matter. So why try to offer my perspective to a stranger unless it truly is something that will help them? I’d rather invest my words in people I know care or just private message them. This one has been a hard habit to break because I like feeling helpful, and I just FEEL so much.
  • Turning off all phone notifications. I don’t get any notifications on my phone for emails or social networks. I don’t need another distraction while I’m out. With kids, I’m usually only gone from my home for a couple of hours. Unless I am attending a social media event, anything to do with being “online” can wait until I get home.
  • Putting the phone away — period. There’s no excuse unless you are alone with nobody to talk to. Nothing is THAT important.
  • Ignoring all tech between 5-8 p.m. Unless it’s a client emergency, or I know it’s going to be a quick conversation, it can wait until the kids are in bed. That is our family time and the time our kids are the most needy. I need to be present.
  • When I am online, trying to make the best use of my time. Stay on task — for example, finish drafting client content before starting a blog post or moving on to my next task. Avoid getting distracted by the rabbit hole of the Internet…and only have a few tabs open at once {another HARD one for me!}.

I have to say, just making these small changes has made me feel worlds better. I want to truly be present for my kids and these are simple fixes for me. I am excited for a more productive 2014!

What techy decluttering tips do you have?

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Jill Mackey and Max Eli

Hair Tips from Maki J’s Salon and J Beverly Hills

Maki J's Salon Collage

The beautiful historic building in downtown Howell that houses Maki J’s Salon. Photos by Miraya Dust.

The post below is sponsored by Maki J’s Salon. All opinions expressed are my own.

I had the privilege of attending an open house for Maki J’s Salon, a growing boutique salon in my hometown of Howell. While there, I met owner Jill Mackey and celebrity stylist and professional color developer Max Eli of J Beverly Hills hair products, which are available at Maki J’s.

I loved learning how engaged Jill is in the community, and her commitment to selling environmentally friendly products like J Beverly Hills. As someone who is so not on-par with the hair world, I learned SO much. I can’t wait to apply some of the tricks I learned to my own hair life {which is currently at a stall as I grow it out to donate}!

Jill Mackey and Max Eli

Jill Mackey of Maki J’s Salon and Max Eli of J Beverly Hills

I asked for your questions on my Facebook page and here’s what Jill and Max had to say. Both are a wealth of knowledge and I undoubtedly would trust either to do anything to my hair :)

HAIR TIPS FROM MAKI J’S SALON AND MAX ELI OF J BEVERLY HILLS

Q. What are ways to make color last longer?

A. Professional grade products that are paraban and sulfate-free are key. Also, make sure to use a great conditioner, and do things like wear a hat at the beach and immediately rinse your hair after playing in the water.

Q. Best way to keep blonde from turning brassy/ashy?

A. First, when coloring, the stylist should use a vita-based solution. Second, it’s crucial to use a shampoo specifically made for blonde hair. J. Beverly Hills makes a “Blonde” shampoo that is perfect for this exact reason because it neutralizes unwanted tones and adds brightness to reduce yellow tones.

This product can be purchased at Maki J’s of course, but if you’re not local, it is also available on Amazon here.

Q. Best inexpensive shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair?

A. This was a toughie. As stylists, they believe there is nothing available that even comes close to touching salon-grade shampoos. Max specifically mentioned Johnson & Johnson products and shampoos like Head & Shoulders are some of the absolute worst offenders on hair in general — especially if it’s color-treated. You are better off buying a professional shampoo and using it just a few times a week to make it last longer.

Q. What is the best shampoo for long, untreated hair?

A. Without physically touching your hair, this was a hard question for Jill and Max to answer. Something I learned was that you may need two different kinds of shampoo for the top of your head versus your ends. Jill suggests a gentle ‘everyday’ shampoo and conditioner free of sulfates and parabans, and to do a masque treatment like this one from J Beverly Hills on the hair once a week to help maintain scalp and hair health.

J Beverly Hills at Maki J's Salon

J Beverly Hills products at Maki J’s Salon

Q. What is an easy, mom-friendly hairdo?

A. This depends a lot on facial shape/structure and the texture and thickness of your hair. But, the short, tousled look tends to be the easiest look to maintain.

Q. What do I ask for to get multi-dimensional color? Highlights? Lowlights? Both? Neither?

A. Say exactly that — dimensional color. A professional stylist should understand what that means and be able to work with you to find the perfect shades to complement your skin tone and eyes.

Q. I’m no longer dying my hair and it gets greasy really fast. What can I do besides keep dying it?

A. Jill and Max in unison — change shampoos! Make sure it’s paraban and sulfate-free, too. Those chemicals don’t do the hair any good.

Q. What is the best way to combat winter static?

A. Moisture! Make sure to use a quality moisturizing conditioner. You can also use a spray-on leave in conditioner. Also, love this tip — instead of rubbing your hair dry, simply squeeze it with a towel so it doesn’t frazzle the hair cuticles and cause both frizz and static.

Q. I’ve been using semi-permanent color on my brown and white hair. Lately, the white won’t color. Is there a better non-permanent solution?

A. You’ll want to use a quality hair color with low alkalinity to help reveal the hair structure. The semi-permanent colors associated with quality products like J. Beverly Hills should do the trick.

Q. What trends are IN for 2014? What trends are out?

A. First, ombre and chunky stripes are OUT. “Naturalizing” the hair is IN. What this means, is your stylist takes the hair one shade darker and one shade lighter. Also, sand/natural blonde colors and chocolates are super hot right now.

Another item that is out? The flat-iron. Max stressed to me how horrible these can be for hair. If you do use it, use only an ionic or ceramic iron and use it on medium heat only — never ever on high. If you have time in the morning, instead of using a flat or curling iron, go for soft curls, which can be made with velcro rollers.

Maki J’s Salon is located at 122 State St. in downtown Howell. To schedule an appointment with Jill, call (517) 540-1412.

Stylists: Jill is also looking to hire! If you’re looking to work with a great, hard-working gal, give her a call or send an email to mackeyjill@att.net.

Learn more about Maki J’s Salon by following them at the links below:

Like Us Follow Us Instagram Google us

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30 Things To Do Inside With Toddlers

30 Things To Do Inside With Toddlers

30 Things To Do Inside With Toddlers

Looking for something fun to do to beat the winter blues? Try these 30 things to do inside with toddlers!

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In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan is literally under a blanket of snow. The don’t-go-outside-unless-it’s-an-emergency kind of snow.

Which, in many cases, is fine and dandy. But when you have little kids, being stuck inside can make you feel crazy. Trust me.

Alas, temps with negative wind chills aren’t my cup of tea either, so inside we’ll stay.

Here are 30 things to do inside with toddlers to beat the winter blues:

Little Mermaid Craft #shop

  • Build creations with Play-Doh. We love adding pipe cleaners and googly eyes to ours to make little monsters.
  • Make creations with salt dough. Bake and then paint. {ornaments for Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, etc.} Here’s a super simple recipe.
  • Plan a treasure hunt and hide small toys around the house. Tell the kids clues on where to find them, or just let them know when they are getting warmer.
  • Travel with your mind. Help your kiddos pick a geographic location {e.g. Italy} and search the Internet for fun surrounding the area {e.g. YouTube videos for kids in Italian}. Bonus points: Try making a food item that is native to the area, too.
  • Color!
  • “Shop” for specific things around the house. Use a play shopping cart, or even an old Easter basket and arm your child with it, telling them to go find something specific — like anything blue.
  • Make a rainbow rice sensory bin with this tutorial. Just put a tarp or sheet under it for easy clean-up!
  • Play hide and seek. If you’re child isn’t old enough, just try hiding a toy and helping him/her find it instead.
  • Play dress-up and have your kids “model” while you take photos.
  • Crank some tunes and have a dance party. We are partial to toddler tunes and 90’s music.
  • Use a box to make a house. Or a robot costume. Or car. Or castle. The possibilities are endless!
  • Make finger paint with shaving cream, Elmer’s glue and food coloring. Learn how here.

Sensory Play

  • Push your kids around in a laundry basket. This never seems to fail entertaining my kids. Plus, a great workout for mom or dad, too!
  • Play rock band. Pots and pans paired with a wooden spoon make for a lovely drum, while a tupperware container filled with uncooked pasta noodles makes for a fab shaker!
  • Finger paint. If you need a piece of “canvas” — simply use the back of wrapping paper! If your child can’t be trusted with paint yet, let him/her “paint” with yogurt or some other edible treat right on her high chair tray.
  • Clean. Kids love it — I swear! Give them baby wipes to wipe up the table, or have them help sort laundry.
  • Read, read, read! To make it feel more novel, create a fun little reading nook in a blanket fort with pillows.
  • Play “don’t touch the ground.” Place pillows and other random things on the ground and have your child(ren) hop from object to object, avoiding the ground – AKA hot lava 😉
  • Have “booty races” down the stairs. What kid {or adult} doesn’t think it’s the funniest thing ever to go down the stairs on your tushie? Have fun with it by racing or timing your child.
  • Indoor ice skating. Just rubber band some wax paper on your kid’s feet and watch them skate! Be careful — it can be really slippery, so you may need to hold little hands. Recover with some hot cocoa.
  • Have a picnic in your living room.

Living room picnic

  • Make art with expired items from your pantry. Kids can get creative gluing old rice or cereal to the paper. Heck, they can even color it if they’d like.
  • Play balance beam. Put tape on the floor {in a straight line, or get funky with a zig zag} and have them walk on it. You could also create a hopscotch board if you’re little one is skilled enough to handle it!

What are your favorite ways to entertain kiddos when you’re stuck inside?

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Tips For Becoming A Pro Mom

15 Tips For Becoming a Pro Mom To Little Ones

Tips For Becoming A Pro Mom

Becoming a parent is HARD. There is no doubt in anybody’s minds that little people are an absolute game changer. Personally, I think it’s mostly roses, but just like anything, there are good days and bad days. I definitely know at this point that God made kids adorable-looking for a reason. It truly helps you forget how difficult they can be at times!

I struggled with this title because I am in no way a “pro” mom, but I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, so I want to share them in case they can be helpful to someone out there 😉

These are some helpful things I have finally started to master in my three short years as a parent…Here are my tips for becoming a pro mom to little ones:

1. Baby wipes clean everything. Always have a pack of wipes on hand! Use them to clean dirty little hands. Use them to take marker off faces. Shoot, when the kids want to help you clean, hand them a wipe to help dust. Also, wipe containers are awesome for just about anything…crayons, stickers, hair accessories and beds for beanie babies. Reuse ’em! Learn how to make your own wipes here.

2. Nap prep is key. If you think your child is going to fall asleep for their nap in the car, change their diaper before loading them up, take off their shoes, sweater, and whatever may potentially wake them up when you transfer from car to bed. Also, before you leave the house, set-up their room completely. {For my little gal this means closing her curtains, turning on her fan and noise machine so it’s ready to rock. She’s a total diva.}

3. Always have an extra diaper and extra underware — even if it’s just for a quick trip. Accidents always seem to happen when you least expect it. {case in point: I just took a pair of poopy pants out of my coat pocket from our library visit earlier.} Also related: If your baby fills a diaper and it leaks at night, go one size up, at least for night. It will hold that extra urine!

4. Never forget to pack water, sippys, and an emergency stash of snacks. Just when you think the kids have had enough to eat, you’ll get in the car and the “I’m hungry” whine will start. I keep a stash of goodies in my center console, and in my purse, and it has saved me many times.

5. Take time to PLAY every day. Do not bring your phone. Do not open your laptop or tablet. Get on the ground and play. You’ll be amazed at how much your kids come alive during this time — even if you can only dedicate 10 minutes. Also, try to get outside. It can do wonders for sleep and can make a mom feel sane again, too!

6. If you find a good container of bubbles, buy about 10 bottles of it. Good, quality bubbles that are easy for kids to blow are hard to come by. And what kid doesn’t love bubbles?!

7. Make plans, but allow for flexibility. You just don’t know when a child may just want to stay home. I’m pretty sure my girls have come to love Mondays the best because it’s our pajama day!

8. Don’t clean up the house until the end of the day. I hate this, but it’s true: Cleaning up while children are awake is like sweeping during a wind storm. The second you sweep the floors, they will come dump sugar on them. Trust me.

9. If you’re going to feed your kid spaghetti, or anything similar, take off all their clothes if possible. Then, promptly throw them in the tub after.

10. Don’t show your toddler/preschooler something and expect them to be patient for it. The moment they see a cookie, piece of candy, etc. their mind EXPLODES and they can’t wait another second for it.

11. On that note, don’t tell your child about scented markers until they are 100% ready to handle their awesomeness. Because they may try to smell them and miss. And they will be sorely disappointed that all markers don’t have a scent.

Kinley and scented markers

12. The freezer does wonders for cooling off food quickly. While waiting, throw your kid a cracker so they don’t act like you are depriving them of food. Also? Don’t show them the food. {See #10.}

13. Organize your life where possible. My 3-year-old fusses over clothing, or her PJs every day. If I know I have to be somewhere in the morning, I will put an outfit out for the morning so there’s no battles. Keep a stash of snacks where kids can reach them, and so the non-vocal ones can let you know when they are hungry. Cut fruit and veggies at the start of the week to avoid chaos at mealtimes.

14. Each week, do something for YOU. Get out and take a walk alone for 20 minutes, read a book at a coffee shop, or go out with girlfriends. Having this time away will allow your children to bond with someone else and will make you come back to them feeling refreshed.

15. Trust your gut. You know your kids better than anyone else, period. Don’t let anyone make you feel small, mama!

What are your tips for becoming a pro mom? I still have many years to get through!

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Canon Bundle

Black Friday at Target + Shopping Tips #MyKindOfHoliday

This post is brought to you by Target, but all opinions and content are my own. Follow along with #MyKindOfHoliday.

Visions of Target fun danced in her head…

If you’re anything like me, you probably love Target. It’s the place I fantasize about the most. Is that sad? I don’t think so. I can shop with Starbucks, admire beautiful things that I can afford {mostly}, and they have the most inspiring dollar section ever!

Lucky for me since I’ll be out shopping and tweeting about Black Friday, they also have some rockin’ deals this season!

Check out the awesome deals for Black Friday at Target!

Here are a few of my favorites:
Canon T3 DSLR Bundle | $449 | Includes T3 camera, 18-55mm lens, 75-300mm zoom lens, 8GB SD card and Canon DSLR bag. {Almost half off the normal price!!!}

Canon Bundle
6-ft. pre-lit Alberta Spruce Artificial Tree | $30

$30 Pre-Lit Tree

Our Generation Doll | $20

{I love this because Kinley is OBSESSED with American Girl magazine and there is no way I will ever spend $129 on a doll!}

Our Generation Doll

Also, toys are BUY 1, GET 1 50% OFF with two toys of the same brand!!!

Assorted women’s slippers | $14.99

Yes, friends. These are at the top of my list! I even have tried them on and can vouch for how comfortable they are 😉 {Hunny, if you’re reading this, you should know by now I wear a size 9}

Slippers

Now, for the FUN! I’m excited to share a few Black Friday tips, too:

  • Bring a friend! Chances are you will have to stand in a line during your shopping experience. Having a friend to chat with will help make the time fly by.
  • Don’t overspend or get caught with shiny object syndrome. Plan ahead with a budget and stick to it.
  • Celebrate after you’re done! Whether it’s treating yourself to breakfast, or even a little sweet treat, use your time out as an excuse to treat yourself a little and kick off the holiday season. {Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks are my favorite!}
  • Use coupons! Check your local paper ads for coupons, but don’t forget about store apps on your smartphone as well! {Use the Cartwheel app to start saving on the things your already buy at Target.}
  • Use your store-branded credit card for extra savings. {I’m typically not an advocate for opening a credit card when it’s not needed, but Target has an awesome program where you can get 5% off EVERY purchase, all year.}
  • Shop online if you can. Many deals will be offered online, so feel free to stay in your PJ’s and just click away to avoid crowds.
  • Don’t be scared. Sure, it can be overwhelming, but don’t let it be. Have fun!

Follow #MyKindofHoliday for all sorts of Target fun, and if you’re local to Detroit, be sure to Tweet us ALL of your deals with #Local4Shopping!

What are your favorite Black Friday shopping tips?

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#ShopSmall

$10 Credit for American Express Cardholders to #ShopSmall

#ShopSmall

#ShopSmall this year with a $10 Credit for American Express Cardholders!

I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE the Small Business Saturday movement, which is coming to a local street near you next Saturday, November 30.

American Express cardholders will have the chance to register their cards starting TODAY — 11/24/13 — for a FREE $10 credit to be used at participating #ShopSmall retailers. There are LOTS of local spots that participate in this around Michigan :) Check out the MAP here. {For me here in Howell, it is nearly all of our downtown businesses.}

A little snippet of the fine print:

Limit one (1) $10 statement credit per American Express Card. To be eligible, Card Members must register any eligible American Express Card for this offer at ShopSmall.com. Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve®) are not eligible. See all offer terms here.

YOU GUYS. This is FREE money! Plus, it’s just the perfect excuse to spend a day in your hometown checking out amazing small businesses. What’s also cool is that many restaurants participate as well. Holla for $10 off a meal after you shop!

My husband and I are both Amex cardholders {thanks, Costco!}, so I hope to get the credit on both of our cards. We did this last year and saw the credit show up on our next month’s statement. Easy peasy! I was super happy to have knocked out a few really cool gifts this way. {Last year the credit was $25, but we’ll take what we can get!}

Even if you are not an American Express cardholder, I urge you to shop local this holiday season. You all know I love saving money, but sometimes the feeling you get shopping small far outweighs the financial benefits.

Grab the credit while it’s available, have fun, and be sure to tweet with #ShopSmall!

VISIT HERE TO ENROLL YOUR CARD!

This isn’t sponsored, I just love this promotion and wanted to be sure you all knew about it. 

Where are your favorite cities to #ShopSmall?

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#Local4Shopping

Find Holiday Shopping Deals with #Local4Shopping

Disclosure: I was selected for this sponsored post by Hay There Social Media. All opinion expressed are my own.

#Local4Shopping

I’m excited to let you all know that I am taking part in a really fun project with the company I work for, Hay There Social Media, and WDIV Local4, our NBC affiliate in Detroit, for the second year in a row.

If you’re looking for the best Black Friday deals in metro Detroit, online, and beyond, you must follow the hashtag #Local4Shopping on Twitter. It’s there our team of bloggers will share the best deals we can find to help save you time, money and your sanity. Together, we are recommending gifts, stores, prices and other tips to make your Black Friday shopping productive AND fun.

I personally will be heading out on Thanksgiving evening since that is when the best deals are for the items I am looking to purchase for my girls {Doc McStuffins doll, LEGO Duplo set and Play-Doh kit, for starters}. I’m heading up the gifts for children 5 and under with Amber at Metro Detroit Mommy and each of the other bloggers have a fun category, too. Check out all of our suggested items over at this link.

Play-Doh Ice Cream Set

Really pumped about this item — just $15 at Walmart {$59.99 on Amazon}. Kinley is obsessed with making cakes out of Play-Doh so I know this would mean hours of enjoyment for her! And for $15, I won’t cry when she break the pieces 😉

I have promised myself not to go overboard this year, so I’ve been tracking our Christmas spending tightly. These deals are going to make it an unbelievable Christmas for my girls. It’s absolutely not about the gifts, but we know all parents get them, so our team is here to help you get the most bang for your buck so you can save your dollars for things that matter — like giving back to someone in need. Also, don’t forget to #ShopSmall with Small Business Saturday, and to give the best gift of all while you’re out: YOUR KINDNESS!

To learn more, be sure to watch our segment on Local4News here: http://www.clickondetroit.com/money/consumer/holiday-shopping-frenzy-saves-you-time-money/-/1719076/23114046/-/ly7grnz/-/index.html

Follow our #Local4Shopping TweetTeam ™ Members at the following handles:


Join in the conversation:

Tweet ya later! Where is your favorite source for finding deals on Black Friday and beyond?

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10 Ways To Use A Bed Sheet For Imaginative Play

10 Ways To Use A Bed Sheet For Imaginative Play

10 Ways To Use A Bed Sheet For Imaginative Play

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I have a secret: My kids don’t play with toys.

OK, maybe a little. But really, all they need are sticks, leaves, and rocks and they will have fun for hours. That’s what’s so awesome about kids — they really show us how to relish in the little things.

Except we can’t get out to enjoy all the sticks, leaves, and rocks as much anymore because it gets dark at 5 p.m. here in Michigan. Darn you Daylight Savings Time! We had a good thing going…After dinner, we’d go for a walk, or play at our neighborhood park. Now? NADA. We are forced to spend the two hours that follow dinner, until bath time and bed time, locked up in our house.

This is our family time, where I try to step away from all electronics and just be with my kids and hubby. But filling that time? It can be a challenge when we’re indoors.

That’s why I often whip out one of my favorite games: Let’s play with a bed sheet!

Bed sheets have been one of my favorite “toys” since I was a little girl, and I’ve been having a blast passing along the fun to my girls.

Here are my top 10 ways to use a bed sheet for imaginative play — perfect for little ones:

1. Bubbling lava. Have two adults sit on each side of the sheet holding the corners with their hands and moving the sheet in a fast manner while it’s low to the ground. Have the kids run across it as fast as they can so they don’t “burn” their toes.

2. Parachute. Count 1, 2, 3, go! Hold the sheet on the corner and let it catch air. Then crawl underneath and enjoy the bubble that surrounds you. Kid wonder right there, friends.

3. Fort building. Get creative! Make your sheet into a cave, or pitch a tent with it using a broomstick handle. The possibilities are endless!

4. Ball popper. Place 3 or 4 smallish balls on the sheet and gently pop them up in the air. Have the kids chase after the ones that fall off.

5. Dress-up. Put the sheet over you and pretend to be a ghost and chase the kids {my girls like this!}, or make a tail for your kids with it so they can pretend to be a fish or a mermaid.

6. London Bridge. Holding the corners, make the sheet into a bridge, and sing the nursery rhyme, allowing the child(ren) pass underneath it in a circular manner. When is comes to the “take the key and lock her/him up” part, wrap the sheet around the child so they are “stuck” inside.

7. Don’t touch the ground. Put pillows on the ground and pretend the carpet is lava. The child must get to the sheet fort to be safe.

Ways To Use A Bed Sheet For Imaginative Play

Kinley playing don’t touch the ground. Don’t mind the underware shot. She hates pants these days.

8. Color guessing game. Take stacking cups or colored blocks and hide one specific color underneath the sheet. Have your child guess what color is under there. A great way to practice colors, too!

9. Road Map. Use an old sheet to make a road map and drive cars and trucks on it. You could even draw on a little town with fabric markers.

10. Letters. Use the sheet to make a letter and have your child guess which one it is. Sometimes you may need another object for some letters, so get creative with the items around you!

I tell you friends, these activities will keep toddlers and preschoolers busy for at least an hour or two. And you may even have a little fun in the process too 😉

What are ways you beat the “it’s dark outside” blues? I will be sharing ideas as I think of them for sure!

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Target Kid's Catalog

#MyKindofHoliday Kid Wishlist Fun with Target

The post below is sponsored by Target. All opinions expressed are my own.

Target Kid's Catalog

Target Kid’s Catalog

This year, it has been SO fun seeing Kinley’s excitement of flipping through each and drawing circles around all the things she wants to ask Santa for this Christmas. One thing that has been hilarious is seeing all the random things she has chosen. She is such a character! So far, her top contenders are a “wrestling guy” and a Doc McStuffins doll. If you’re wondering what a 3-year-old girl could want, here are some of the things that caught her eye in the Target Kid’s Catalog:

FurReal Friend Unicorn

 

Fur-Real Friends Fantasy Collection: Starbeam My Walkin’ Unicorn Pet {Is she not the cutest little stuffie ever? I totally approve!}

Playskool Hulk Figure

 

Playskool Heroes Marvel Hulk Adventures Electronic Talking Figure {She is in love with superhero things right now, hence why I am guessing she chose this!}

Doc McStuffins DollDoc McStuffins Magic Talking Doll {The adorable Disney show is one of her current favorites!}

Superman Long Sleeve Tee

Superman Cape Tee {Can I just say I really wish these came in adult sizes because I would SO rock a cape!}

Little Tykes Cozy CoupeLittle Tykes Cozy Coupe {She picked this one out for her little sister. I think she’s sick of her driving hers! Can’t go wrong with the #1 selling car in America! Always a hit for all ages.}

What I love about her picks is that they show no gender boundaries. She loves boy toys just as much as girls toys. It’s going to be such a fun Christmas full of surprises!

Personally, I am excited for Christmas shopping because it will give me the opportunity to wander around one of my favorite stores {Target} with a Starbucks red-cupped latte in my hand! It’s the little things, friends. 😉 BUT, if you’d rather shop online, all items from the Target Kid’s Catalog have FREE shipping through 11/27.

See you soon, Target!

What are your kids asking for this year?

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