Kristina’s Favorite Products!

I love a great product!  It doesn’t take much to get me excited about new household items, accessories or make up.  Here are a few things I have tried lately, and really like:

  1. Bona Hard Wood Floor Cleaner –  My floors have never looked so clean!  This cleaner is non-toxic, has no scent, and is good for the environment.
  2. Scrub Daddy scrubbing sponge –  Not only is it adorable, but it gets hard if you use cold water, and soft if you use hot water.  It’s the ultimate scrubbing and washing tool for dishes!
  3. Benefit Super Curling and Lifting Mascara – this stuff really curls and separates each individual lash, making my eyes look huge and my lashes luxurious!
  4. Younique BB Flawless Cream – I love that it’s a light-weight foundation and it feels like I have nothing on but it really evens my skin tone and covers imperfections.  This product actually lasted me 6 months and I used it at least five times a week!  Well worth the money!
  5. BonaVita 8 Cup Coffee Maker – This little guy is reliable, and makes a truly delicious pot of coffee at lightening speed.

BirchBox Review!

After much persuasion and the January theme of Birchbox I decided to give it a try to $10/month including shipping how could I say no!  Rachel was more than thrilled that I finally gave in after using all of her favorite products for years.  This past January they had a special Korean skincare box that you could opt in to.  If you are unfamiliar Korean’s have developed new and exciting makeup and skincare more advanced than any products here in the US.  If you are looking for more information check out Glow Recipe (great online resource with step-by-step, and you can also purchase online).

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The States are finally jumping on the bandwagon and it is becoming a bit more accessible here in the US.  I have seen a few products available on Target’s website and at Sephora.  There were 3 products that I’ve used so far.  This was a great way to try out a few great products before I purchased the full size versions.

RE:P – Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

Retail – $41.00repThis was a traditional clay mask it cleansed my pores and exfoliated my skin.  Overall I liked the sample but I don’t think that that I will be ordered it in a full size, it wasn’t that much different than any other clay mask’s I’ve used.  I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Goodal: Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling & Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam Packettes

Retail – $20.00-$40.00

There were different price points for the cleansing foams and the bubble peeling.  I really liked these products the cleansing foam was super creamy and the scent was super fresh and amazing.  It left my skin super moisturized and took off my makeup with no problem.  The bubble masking was super interesting, when you put it on it bubbled on your skin and tingled.  I used both of the products back to back my skin felt amazing afterwards.  This cleanser is something I will definitely be picking up in the future. Overall both of these products get a 5 out of 5 stars!

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I am really excited to try out the rest of the products in my Birchbox!  I would highly recommend a subscription.

Miles’ Photoshoot!

I have been itching to get Miles’ photos taken.  When I was younger, I saw my sister-in-laws get professional photos of their kids all the time and I never really understood why.  Now that I am a mom, I can see why the DIY photos beyond quick cell phone snaps are less of a reality.

My boss recommended I used her friend and family photographer, Ada DeFanti.  I checked out her site and really liked the way her photos transposed a candidness and true happiness.  They didn’t seem so “posed”.  After I met Ada, I could see why.  She was really sweet and down to earth, and made us feel truly relaxed and happy during our shoot.  Miles even gave her a few smiles!

The end result is I am in love with the photos of my beautiful boy.  The memories are priceless, but Ada’s rates are respectable.

Beautiful Glass Art in Pittsburgh

While I have been working for the Arthritis Foundation, I became friends with a former honoree, and amazingly talented glass artist, Ed Kachurik, and his wife Carol.  His studio is nestled in Westmoreland County, just down the driveway from his cozy home.

I have the opportunity to visit with him at least once a year to see all of the new pieces he has created while I am picking out awards for our Bone Bash Gala.

I highly recommend his work for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for awards, paper weights, ornaments, light fixtures, cremains, conversational pieces and more.  Ed and Carol are happy to tailor a piece for you!  Here’s their website.

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City Mini GT Review

Stroller shopping was one of the first big purchases/decisions we made when we found out we were expecting. Honestly, Ken didn’t care what crib I ordered or if I decided to buy an organic mattress…and he certainly didn’t care about the nursery decor either. But, what he did care about was the type of stroller we added to our registry. It’s an expensive item, and we use it almost every single day. I’m glad we took the time to look at all of the options and find the stroller that was the best fit for our family.

Strollers

For us, stroller shopping was VERY similar to car shopping. We looked at all of the options and features, considered our budget, and, once our choices were narrowed down, we took each one for a test-stroll.

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Have you every seen a pregnant lady pushing an empty stroller through the jam-packed aisles of Bed Bath and Beyond? Yep, I’ve done it and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I wanted to get a good “feel” for the stroller and walking through the aisles was the best way to do it.

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In the end, we decided on the City Mini GT and couldn’t be happier with our decision. The City Mini GT has a few added features that we really enjoy, like the larger wheels, hand break, and rubber handle.

  1. The hand break is such a nice feature.  It’s an easy click of the switch and I’m certain that both of the back wheels are locked into place. Plus, one of the sales associates mentioned that the manual wheel locks can do a real number on freshly painted toes, so technically I’m saving money by not needing a pedicure every week. 🙂
  2. One of the biggest differences we noticed with the City Mini GT was the smooth ride, thanks to a larger set of wheels. We’ve taken this stroller camping and use it daily on our evening walks, and just love how it glides across the different types of pavements.
  3. The thing we liked the most about this stroller was how easy it was to collapse. You simply pull the strap in the center of the seat and watch as the stroller folds in half. Easy peasy!IMG_7426

Let’s Go Bucs !!

I have always enjoyed a good baseball game.  I was never a devote follower or a true loyal fan to one team :/  I just loved to be around the excitement, the commitment, the ballpark foods, smells, and sounds.

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A good old American Ball Game has never been as fun as it has been since becoming Pittsburgh Pirates “Buccos” fan!  Michael is  a die-hard, in fact growing up just right outside of Pittsburgh- his entire family is.   Learning the game, the players, and how to develop opinions on a sports team has been a really great way for us to share in one of Michael’s true loves and hobbies.  He is a know-it-all too 😉  So I am lucky to have an incredible teacher.

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It would have been that I should be a huge sports fan, had my father not passed when I was 11.   He was the kind of dad where the entire family proudly wore Cowboys (or whatever sport was in season) gear from head to toe and there was little-to-no talking when a game was on (unless it was yelling or cheering of course).  I was the quintessential Daddy’s-girl.  I would follow that man anywhere in a baseball cap and a ratty ponytail just hoping to please him.  After he passed, sports fell to the wayside– and so it is not that I grew up not enjoying sports- but I had no connection because I had little understanding.  My teacher was gone.

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Tonight we will go to possibly our 10th game of the year?  We are so lucky to be a ride down the “Incline” and walk across a bridge (well- TWO) and just 30 minutes later we arrive at PNC park where one will find one of the most breath-taking views past the outfield that a ball park has to offer.   PNC has an incredible pre-game.  Most tailgates require parking lots packed full of cars that are packed full with coolers and tables and all your pre-game supplies.  Instead here in Pittsburgh the city closes federal street and just for a few hours allows all the fans to flood in front their beloved stadium and Roberto Clemente Statue and enjoy a few pre-game brews.   The federal street “Block Party” is one of my favorite Pittsburgh perks.

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Tonight I will put on my brand new “Gregory Polanco #25” t-shirt that my Fiance bought me to satisfy my love of the new player.   Meet his wonderful parents for a Pittsburgh Downtown dinner at one of many amazing restaurants that our city has to offer.  Then we will walk across the Clemente bridge to our favorite block party at our favorite stadium and happily cheer : “LETS GO BUCS!” and pray for another sweep!

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The Ultimate Stay-All-Day Lip Color

I have talked in the past about how grateful I am for my Birchbox subscription.  It has taught me so much about what beauty products do or do not work for me and my routine (and all with in comfort level).  My favorite benefit of the monthly subscription is that I get to try bold and bright colors that I could never afford to try otherwise.  I have transformed from “clear gloss girl” – to confidently styling bold purples, pinks, and reds!  I’ve- in fact – become so interested in new colors that this is my third lip product review!

With a wedding on the books and less than one year away – a “Stay All Day” product is the most important feature to me right now.  I want to know that photos at 2pm and photos at 10pm will have the same impact when it comes to my make up on my special day.

This months birchbox brought me THE one!  The one I might even use on my big day!  Its staying power is so strong- I think it will make it through 100 kisses, a few cocktails, and hours of smiles!

Stila Cosmetics is a brand worth knowing if you do not already.  And if you’re looking for a gem of a lipstick I suggest : Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.   My shade – “Bella.”   There are several other stunning colors:

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Venezia, Bella, Amalfi, Rosa, and Como

I thought a gender reveal party was the best way to see what this stuff really had to offer.

I applied my first coat at 12:00 pm and snapped a photo 30 minutes later:

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*NOTE; painting inside the lines is Crucial with this serious stuff!  Its going to STAY where ever you put it.

4 hours later, 2 beverages, a bottled water, and lots of talking and snacking later:

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Although you can certainly see the wear in this comparison – you wouldn’t know a difference with out the side by side!

This stuff has a matte look.  I would not advise adding a gloss over top, because I think it would carry your stain to outside your lip line or on to your teeth.   After about five hours it did begin to dry slightly on the inner circle of my lips, but still no changes, cracking, or bleeding on my lip line!

The only reason it finally came off is after several beers, crabs, and old bay I had to clean my forearms, face, and everywhere else!

I believe the stila stay all day liquid lipstick would have kept its promise otherwise!

I highly recommend this gorgeous shade and true stay all day product.

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Here’s to best friends and pink lips!


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As you can see- no transfer on to my main man either!

 

Ps. Our attire was appropriate- Its a boy!  Congrats to the Drake family on their new addition!

Summer in the Lehigh Valley

Summer time is the best time for adventure, every week or so I have tried (emphasis on “tried”) to do something fun and new with the girls. At the beginning of the summer I made a list of all the places in the Lehigh Valley that offer great activities for kids, so far we have hit two places on my list: The DaVinci Center in Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley Zoo at the Trexler Nature Preserve.

The Da Vinci Center is filled with fun exhibits and hands on activities for kids of all ages. This summer the big exhibit is National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers. The exhibit features all sorts of hands on activities and information on places that most people will never visit. Kids and parents alike get to experience everything from the African savannas to the Himalayas in Asia and everything in between.   My girls loved starring into the eyes of a Great White Shark and discovering bugs that live in the Amazon.

Driving a tractor @ The Da Vinci Center

Driving a tractor @ The Da Vinci Center

Just riding on a dog sled.

Just riding on a dog sled.

The Da Vinci Center also offers hands-on activities geared toward younger children (ages 2-6) every Monday from 10:30am-1:30pm. On the particular day we went they had huge blocks to crawl on and a car that the kids could add gears and car parts to. The girls love playing in the car and stacking and climbing on the blocks! Our favorite part of the day was the touch tank! There is something so exciting about touching a star fish and being face-to-face with a little crab.   The girls loved learning about all the different types of fish and creatures that were swimming by them.

The Da Vinci Center has a ton to offer and it is reasonably priced. I strongly suggest making a visit if you have kids; there is something for everyone!

The Lehigh Valley Zoo is on my top favorite days spent with my family.  The girls LOVED every second we spent wandering around and it’s the perfect size for younger kids. They offer a petting zoo and they also have a little playground set up. The girls loved watching the otter swim around and our youngest loved the goats. My personal favorite were the Mexican Gray Wolves! We can’t wait to go back again!

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Here is a list of a few of the other attractions we hope to visit this summer:

Crayola Factory-Easton, PA

Sesame Place-Langhorn, PA

Philadelphia Zoo/Adventure Aquarium-Philadelphia, PA/Camden, NJ

Please Touch Muesum-Philadelphia, PA

Best Eats of Rehoboth Beach!

Last week my family and I ventured off to our favorite vacation spot, Rehoboth Beach. The week was full of family, sun, naps and delicious food! If you know my family, you know how much we love to go out to eat, that doesn’t change when we go on vacation!

Every year we find a new spot that we fall in love with and this year was no different.

Last year my sister and I stumbled upon a little café called Lori’s Oy-vey Café, not only do they serve amazing coffee drinks and smoothies they also have an extensive breakfast and lunch menu! If you are looking for fresh ingredients and quiet atmosphere check it out. On mornings when we wanted to grab a coffee and go we stopped by Café a go-go, the perfect grab and go coffee shop. Their coffee was amazing and they had tons of delicious treats and sandwiches.

One of our all-time favorite lunch and dinner spots is Arena’s Deli. It has a great laid back atmosphere and the food is amazing and the quantity is more than enough. They also have great beverages and an extensive beer list. It’s the perfect fresh-off-the-beach lunch spot.

For the past ten years our first stop for dinner has been Obie’s by the Sea. Obie’s never fails to offer delicious, fresh food and the perfect casual atmosphere. The food is amazing and the ocean views are equally as perfect! Another one of our favorite dinner spots is Dos Locos Fajita & Stonegirll Mexican Restaurant. If you like Mexican food and beverages than this is the place to visit. Make sure to order a margarita!

I’m counting down the days for next year’s vacation and all the amazing food and restaurants Rehoboth has to offer!

Friday Favorites!

Here’s what I was loving this week!

1) Keurig® 2.0 K350 Brewing System-This amazing appliance was my Mother’s Day gift and I am obsessed with it. Not only can you brew your coffee it to be stronger, but it also comes with a carafe! That’s right, a carafe! I love this feature not only for myself but for when we have company over. I always hated brewing one cup at a time with my old Keurig, but now I don’t have to. I also love how quickly it heats up and is ready to brew.  If you are in the market for a new coffee maker I strongly suggest this one!

Thank you coffee Gods (and my husband) for this magical appliance!

Thank you coffee Gods (and my husband) for this magical appliance!

2) Stacy’s Simply Naked® Pita Chips and Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Hummus-This one is a two-for. Lately this has been our go-to snack. The girls love it, it’s easy and healty-ish. The pita chips are always super fresh and the Hummus is gluten free, lactose free and vegan. Both iteams I feel good about putting in my body and serving to my family.

Yummmmm!

Yummmmm!

3) Target toddler shoes-I.WISH.THEY.CAME.IN.MY.SIZE. I’m obsessed with my daughter’s shoes, that’s all there is to it. They are adorable!

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4) Threshold™ Indoor Outdoor Flatweave Area Rug-I needed a new rug terribly, our old one had seen much better days so when I came across this rug (on sale) I couldn’t pass it up! It’s the perfect pop of color for our living room and it’s super easy to clean.

Feels like summer in my living room!

Feels like summer in my living room!

5) Women’s Mid-Rise Rockstar Skinny Jeans-I love these jeans. They are super comfortable and easy to wash, not to mention you can dress them up or down.

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What were your favorites from this week?