the peanuts gang

Chicago Parent Playdate – April 26th {Giveaway}

We are receiving a family pack of tickets to attend Chicago Parent’s Playdate, but all opinions expressed are our own! Hope to see you there!

Are you looking to kick-off spring with a bang? Check out Chicago Parent’s Playdate on Sunday, April 26th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. With plenty to do for the entire family, you can play, eat, learn, shop & explore to your heart’s content. Located at the Accelerated Center in Northbrook, Illinois, this locale offers a wide variety of activities for the entire family to enjoy! Indoor sports, birthday parties, camps and more, the Accelerated Center offers plenty of options even apart from the Playdate, but this event is designed to give your family time to connect and just play together!

CP_PlaydateBLOGGERS

Do you want to win your very own pack of tickets to attend? Simply comment below why you need some QUALITY family time! TWO families will win and receive a family 4-pack of tickets to attend Chicago Parent’s Playdate. Winners will be chosen April 3, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. CST.

Samantha

A Verizon Love Story #VZWBuzz

November || December || January|| February

As a Verizon #MoreChicago Lifestyle Blogger I’m a member of a pretty cool
team of influencers. I have received a Motorola Droid Turbo (with a line
of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did
I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

Fifteen years ago, I can distinctly remember plunking a quarter into a pay phone and calling a boy I was canoodling with to tell him that my niece was born. This weekend, she’ll turn fifteen and not a day goes by that I don’t remember that distinct phone call.

Shortly after that phone call, I started a love affair that I never knew would last this long. When I first met him, he came to me in a rectangular shape with a long antenna. He was there when I jumped in my first car – a bright green Kia Rio.

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Pictured when I had to give my precious green/gold car baby away about six years ago.

He was there when I headed off to prom the first time and reminded me to call my parents to let me know we got to Great America.

Prom-Love

He went through some changes in the years that came. He switched to doing flips when I was in college and he helped tell family when I celebrated some big moments in my life like when I was on the brink of getting married.

Eventually, he got smart and helped me capture my very first selfie. My first post on Instagram.

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He captured some of my most favorite cherished moments.

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He makes it possible to share a peek into our day to day life, including capturing priceless Frozen moments for these misters.

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He is never out of reach, he is always on time, he is constant and consistent in his service.

He’s Verizon Wireless.

It might seem silly to pay homage to a phone company, but they have been a part of my life for as long as the love of my life has. The service has never failed me, the calls are consistent and never dropped and have traveled with me all over the country and even the world – to Europe and Africa. The method has changed (hello, Smart phones!) and I’ve jumped around from the iFamily to the Droid family, but Verizon has always been consistent and the family plan helps to keep us all connected. I am so thankful for this company being part of my life – capturing those super sweet moments and ensuring that I can share those special moments with those I love.

And for the record, the boy I was canoodling with when I called him from a pay phone? He’s managed to hang around for as long as Verizon has. I’m thinking he might be a keeper, too.

How does your phone service help to keep you connected to your life and those you love? 

Samantha

Walt Disney World Vacation: Day 5, Hollywood Studios #SchultzDisneyTrip

Day 1 || Blink. || Day 2, Part 1 || Day 2, Part 2 || Pin-Trading || Day 3 || Day 4

On our fifth day in the magical land of Orlando and the Mouse, we headed to Hollywood Studios! We had hear many good things about this park from one of our favorites, so we were excited to tackle it! One of the things we learned from our previous visits was about the secret pin-boards, so we knew part of today would be big on COLLECTIONS! Finding the last of some pin sets and working hard to trade for some of our favorite pins!

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One of our first stop was Star Tours – The Adventures Continue where Jack & Jim ventured in for a big adventure. Daddy and Jim LOVED this one and it was discovered that Jack was the Rebel Spy.  Is anyone surprised? While they were there, Charlie and I moseyed down to the Muppets and took a picture in front of the famed fountain. One of the biggest things we noticed was the immense attention to detail – beautiful landscapes and movie tributes with big bright pictures, walls and buildings!

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They even had their very own Pizza Planet! (On our list to visit next time!)

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Lunch was a Character Brunch at Hollywood & Vine with Disney Junior friends! I LOVED the interior and the boys had a blast meeting their friends (fun pictures on that later). Our highlight here was the delicious chocolate fountain – yum, yum!

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Again with the detail. I had to capture this “road” because it was just so realistic and reminded me of the Full House street!

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We meandered over to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but our fright got the best of us and opted just to pin trade over there. We found this part of Hollywood Studios to be the most congested because it was also home to Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Coaster. This coaster look epic, but our little scaredy cats opted to stay away! The rest of the park was a nice leisurely walk with plenty of space for strollers, families and humanity in general!

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We did opt for a photo op with the boys and their rocker, Dad!

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We met a few more characters throughout the day, including the coveted new addition, Baymax, and will feature those during our Character Meet ‘n Greet post. We headed over to the Pixar section for our FastPass to Toy Story Mania. This was one of my FAVORITE AREAS throughout the entire park. Pixar movies came to life on this street and I loved seeing how they incorporated little details here and there.

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Toy Story Mania had a GIANT Etch-A-Sketch that I wanted to take home!

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A barrel of monkeys just hangin’ around above us!

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One of our favorite rides of the entire WEEK! The entire family loved it and even better, they are making plans to expand it! But kids of all ages will love this, so I definitely recommend that you make sure this makes it into your FastPass plans.

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Some of our best “shootin’” was done in these parts!

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We finished Jack’s Puffles collection from Club Penguin when we found the elusive green one from a cast member from Reading, Pennsylvania. Jack has never been so delighted. Or awake.

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We passed by this blue beauty a few times that we HAD to stop for a photo op!

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A picture with Maleficent for Riya.

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And delicious treats included with our quick service meal for the day!

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We hustled over to make it for the last Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration and Jim was moved deeply as he sang along. The boys LOVED this performance and I thought it was hysterical. If your crew loves Frozen, definitely add this to your list of Must-Sees.

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Goodnight, Fantasia!

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A full day with full hearts and bellies as we said goodbye to Hollywood Studios (now in the midst of changing its name!) We can hardly wait to visit again and continue to explore and try new things!

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What’s your favorite part of Hollywood Studios?

Favorites:

Charlie: Toy Story Mania!

Jack: Toy Story Mania!

Mommy: Scenery and Toy Story Mania!

Daddy: Star Tours

Samantha

Slam Dunk Dips & Cheez-Its for Game Day #BigGameSnacks

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

When March rolls around, all bets are on. My brother sends out the text giving us our random scoring number and we all watch as I typically lose most if not all games. But there’s always an excuse to celebrate basketball, even if you’re on a losing streak. One of the best ways to enjoy the big game is over delicious eats. What better way than a little dunking competition with new Cheez-It Grooves? #BigGameSnacks #CollectiveBias

#BigGameSnacks with Cheez-It Grooves and #CRUNCHD #cbias #ad

Hopefully, these are the lucky numbers!

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Game Day doesn’t have to be complicated, but little touches can go a long way. I used duct tape to create a simple basketball court on my serving table. The half-circles can be a tricky with rectangular tape, but I found that cutting the tape helped immensely. Plus, once it’s covered in snacks, I’m sure you won’t receive a foul for a minor decorating misstep.

Tableside Basketball Court #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

As soon as I finished setting up the court, my little misters soon grabbed their own Cheez-It Crunch’d and starting having their own friendly competition to see who could make a “basket” while they waited.

Stop, Drop & Toss with Cheez-Its #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Usually, they just ended up making the baskets into their mouths.

Jack LOVES Cheez-It Crunch'd #BigGameSnacks #ad #cbias

Next, I opted to create a variety of dips for dunking. These dips are smaller servings, but can be doubled or tripled for larger crowds. They pair well with the new Cheez-It Grooves (Sharp White Cheddar & Original Cheddar pictured) or other varieties of chips and pretzels.

Slam Dunk Dips & Cheez-Its #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Dill Mix Dip (with Greek yogurt)

1 cup of Greek yogurt, plain

2 tablespoons of fresh dill

1 tablespoon of fresh garlic

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for maximum flavor oomph! Want to please those guests who are watching their waistline? This yogurt is made with Greek yogurt and cuts down on those calories and fat a bit! It can also be made with sour cream.

Slam Dunk Dill Dip with Cheez-It Grooves #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Slam Dunk Dill Mix with Greek Yogurt #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Baked Potato Dip

1 cup of sour cream

2 tablespoons of Baked Potato Dip Mix (can be found online or at craft fairs)

Garnish with bacon or green onions.

This delicious dip pairs perfectly with Cheez-It Grooves and captures the essence of both the snack cracker and the dip. Your guests will flip for this delicious dinner-gone-dip option!

Jump Shot Baked Potato Dip #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Baked Potato Dip #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Three-Pointer Dip

1/2 cup of softened cream cheese

2 slices of fresh mozzarella

1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Warm dip in microwave or the oven until the cheeses start to melt. Once starting to, remove and gently stir together to create a THREE cheesy dip that your guests are sure to love!

Three-Pointer Cheese Dip #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Have your guests vote on their favorites! Overwhelmingly, our guests gobbled up the Three-Pointer Cheese Dip and LOVED the Sharp White Cheddar Cheez-It Grooves the best! Wash these delicious eats down with some Basketball Blues Punch – perfect for when you think you’ve had just enough dribbling for one day!

Basketball Blues Punch

Your Favorite Blue Punch from the grocery store (3 cups)

2 cans of clear soda

Whipped Cream (I choose French Vanilla)

Blue & Lime Popsicles – cut up as your ice cubes

Mix everything together, add in your popsicle “ice cubes” and top with scoops of whipped cream and serve in fancy glasses for extra oomph. Enjoy and share the Blue Love!

Basketball Blues Punch Recipe #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Basketball Blues Punch #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Voila! Best of luck to you this season – may your favorite team win! Either way, these snacks and treats will be a slam dunk for you and your guests!

Slam Dunk Snacks & Cheez-Its for Game Day #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

When prepping for the big day, I headed over to Walmart to pick-up our Cheez-It favorites. Cheez-It Grooves can be found next to the traditional Cheez-Its in the snack cracker aisle. After picking up your favorite variety (choose from Zesty Cheddar Ranch, Original Cheddar or  Sharp White Cheddar), head over to the Chips aisle and snag Cheez-It Crunch’d in Cheddar Cheese or Hot and Spicy! Cheez-It is dedicated to using only 100% real cheese, which is baked into every delicious cracker.

In-Store Shot of the Cheez-Its #BigGameSnacks #cbias #ad

Think your palate for all things cheese is perfected? Vote on the Cheez-Its Most Valuable Cheese Contest taking place from Feb – April 2015. You can vote on your favorite flavors and varieties from six popular Cheez-It flavors and play games for a chance to win $10,000. For even more cheesy inspiration, check out Cheez-It on Twitter & Facebook.

What is your favorite way to enjoy your Cheez-It?

Samantha

Great Savings on RO*TEL at Walmart!

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

Are you creating a big snacking spread for the Big Tournament? Looking for ways to spice up game day and save money at the same time? #JustAddRotel is the perfect way to spice up your favorite recipes. From guacamole to pot roast sliders, adding a can of RO*TEL makes a traditional game day recipe into something extraordinary. Click this link to print a Walmart coupon where you buy 3 cans of RO*TEL, you will get 1 can free! With sports season just around the corner, now’s the time to start fine-tuning your recipes and your first stop can be to pick up some cans of RO*TEL to use at your next big gathering!  RO*TEL can be used to make traditional and favorite recipes better just by adding a can of Ro*Tel and makes serving a crowd on game day easy and delicious.

Great Savings on RoTel at Walmart #JustAddRotel

Hurry, this coupon expires on April 6th and is only while supplies last!

Get your ROTEL #JustAddRotel

Be sure to look for RO*TEL in either the Pasta or Hispanic aisle in Walmart!

What are your favorite recipes to use with RO*TEL?

Samantha

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel #Giveaway

We are receiving a press pair of tickets in exchange for our review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel runs April 10 to May 3 at the Civic Opera House (opening night April 11). The production is directed and choreographed by Tony, Emmy, and Olivier Award winner Rob Ashford and stars Steven Pasquale as carousel barker Billy Bigelow and Laura Osnes as his true love, millworker Julie Jordan. We are looking forward to seeing our favorite Good Wife star in a new role! He has our hearts and I’m sure he’ll capture them again!

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Carousel is the third Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to be presented as part of Lyric’s American Musical Theater Initiative. The King and I and South Pacific follow in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, respectively. Past productions were Oklahoma! in the 2012-13 season and The Sound of Music in the 2013-14 season.

Carousel runs Friday, April 10 through Sunday, May 3, 2015 (26 performances, including one preview and one student matinee) at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $29, and are available at lyricopera.org/carousel or at 312-827-5600.  The official press opening for Carousel is Saturday, April 11 at 7pm.

Giveaway

Are you looking for fun date night entertainment and a chance to enjoy a night in the city? Simply share with us in the comments below who you’d love to see Carousel with and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets for a show of your choice (April 10th, 11th or 12th).

Samantha

Every Girl’s Crazy ’bout a Sharp Dressed Man #SpringintoCarters

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

When I became mom to my second son over four years ago, I often lamented the fact that the options were just not out there for boys’ clothing. I would head to stores and find aisles and aisles and aisles of girls’ clothing and accessories, while most boys were left to about one or two racks, especially when it came to holiday clothing options. Over the years, I have found that some stores have picked up on the lack of boys’ options and Carter’s has definitely stepped up to the game in a big way as I recently discovered. Half the store was devoted to boy options and I couldn’t be more pleased! Even better, check out this AWESOME 25% off coupon to pair with some of these stellar sales!

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Spring into Carter's with their new Spring line #SpringintoCarters #IC #ad

Whether you’re looking for Easter clothing or just updating to spring styles, they have something for everyone. I LOVED the t-shirt selection and the tees and shorts were on mega blockbuster making them the perfect mix and match for playtime! The sale lasts from March 11 through 25th with many great options to choose from.

Spring sales, cute accessories and Carter’s Rewards, Oh My!

Carter's Forever #SpringIntoCarters #IC #ad

I made a bee-line for the dressier clothes knowing that Easter was just around the corner – updated classics – think plaid and polos were the name of the game and I was pleasantly surprised at the options. My eye was drawn to the pinks, but I eventually settled for complementary outfits topped off with a stellar pair of sunglasses for each.  They even had a great selection of My First Easter baby products that would work for your brand new bunny this holiday season.

I mean, I can’t.

Just call me Zoolander #SpringIntoCarters #IC #ad

Just two cool dudes

Brudders #SpringIntoCarters #IC #ad

One of the best parts? That even the fancy clothing stands up to the active lifestyles of two rough & tumble boys

Jack Jumps! #SpringIntoCarters #IC #ad

Don’t skip through Spring too soon, but be sure to check out the Swim line that Carter’s offers as well.  With everything you need for beach play, the kids will be set with sun protective swimwear, towels, tanks & shorts for summers along with the cutest accessories for the beach! (Think hats and sunglasses). Finish the look with protective footwear and you’ll be ready for a day out by the sandy shores!

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For just $100, coupled with coupons, sales and clearance pricing (coupon not applicable on those), I snagged everything above including some great winter coats and gear, Halloween costumes, outfits, pajamas and Easter clothing!

Don’t shop ’til you drop without the 25% off coupon above! Update that wardrobe without cashing out your bank account! If you’re looking for outfit inspiration, look no further! Check out more from Carter’s on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter & Facebook.

What clothing are you hoping freshens up your spring line this season?

Samantha

Walt Disney World Vacation: Day 4, Magic Kingdom #SchultzDisneyTrip

Day 1 || Blink. || Day 2, Part 1 || Day 2, Part 2 || Pin-Trading || Day 3

Welcome back to our Disney World recap! As with anything in life, slow and steady sometimes wins the race and when life gets in the way, these posts go by the wayside! I promise to continue recapping, so your patience is always appreciated!

 After a mistake on my part that Magic Kingdom had Magic Hours this morning, we arrived raring to go at the park at 7:40 a.m.  

I was ready!

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Monorail trek!

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Next time, Grand Floridian!

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Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He’s ready to run!

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We went through the initial gates with Jim leading the pack, ahead of us, with the plan that he would run ahead to catch our spot in line. They stopped us at the arches by Main Street Station and informed us that they opened at 8:45 a.m. – NO Magic Hours, but the boys and I were still in front though. Where was Jimmy Gene you ask? He had somehow slipped by the workers at the front and was then wandering Magic Kingdom basically solo – initially unaware that they weren’t open yet.

He quickly realized he needed to blend in when the only ones in there were for breakfast reservations He stopped to take a Selfie with the Castle (duh) and explore the park and scope out the details for the coveted Frozen loves. When the park finally ACTUALLY opened, the boys and I followed the line back there to find Jim blending in with the crowd of people as he continued to speed walk to the front. At 9:01 a.m., we were the fifth family in line and by 9:05 a.m., we made our departure to the rest of the characters since everyone else was waiting for the sisters. HUGE Shout-Out to my hubby who not only was willing to run ahead for his boys, but even wore the matching shirts we bought. He’s basically a Rock Star! 

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Sweet Success!

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After our super quick, 8 minute trip to see Anna & Elsa, we had the back of the park basically to ourselves since everyone else was waiting for them. We caught up to Ariel (character post coming on its own!), said hi to Alice and the White Rabbit, road Dumbo, Tea Cups and the Racetrack before jetting off to our next adventure. 

We stopped for a bit to meet Tinkerbell.

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Caught sight of Stitch and a parade in Town Square.

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Jack paid close attention.

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We jumped on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

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Hopped off to give Jessie a chance to snuggle with Charlie’s Toy Story snuggie and then hopped back on the train to finish our leisurely ride around the park. Daddy and I enjoyed the much needed rest for our legs.

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We had a fast pass for the Jungle Cruise and this breezy comedic ride located just near the Magic Carpets of Aladdin was the perfect rest stop after climbing up the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

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Daddy met his favorite – Gaston! And we enjoyed ice cream sundaes for lunch!

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A stop to Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor was cut short by two boys who urgently needed potty breaks

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Impromptu Dance Party with the Incredibles while Jack & Daddy rode the Buzz Lightyear Ride. Again.

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PHEW! We made it – nearly 13 hours in Magic Kingdom without a real break!

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But the sights were glorious…

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Fueling up for the last few hours and the monorail ride home!

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Last of our ice cream treats for the day with the best view in the house.

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A second thought on this sour ice cream treat…Charlie was not a fan…

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Woohoo, Fireworks!

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And the crushing realization that the ice cream won’t stay on the stick…

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Good thing the view is nice.

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Favorites:

Charlie: Meeting Anna & Elsa

Jack: Meeting Anna & Elsa

Mommy: STARBUCKS and the train ride

Daddy: Meeting Gaston

Samantha

Macy’s Prom Fashion Event – Woodfield Mall – Saturday, March 21 #MacysProm

 I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided compensation for this post about Macy’s Prom. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

It seems like only yesterday I was planning for my high school prom with my sweetheart (now husband) and figuring out what I was planning to wear. Now, time has flown by and my niece is in high school and I’m on the total opposite end of prom planning! This year, leave the planning up to Macy’s and head to the Macy’s Prom Fashion Event this weekend, March 21st at 2:00 p.m. at the Woodfield Mall!

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Join Macy’s for a Prom Shopping Party featuring prom dress picks inspired by pop sensations Sweet Suspense! Come to the store to check out the styles that Summer, Celine, and Millie personally chose, and enjoy sips and sweets, a DJ, and receive a free gift* when you try on your favorite prom dress.

Catch a live performance by pop sensations Sweet Suspense and see our latest prom dress collection in a runway fashion show! After the show, come meet the band in the mstylelab department for a meet and greet and shopping party. The first 150 customers to arrive to the fashion show will get VIP access to meet the girls and snap a photo with them!*

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*One per customer, while supplies last. **20% discount applies to regular, sale and clearance prom dresses in mstylelab and missy social dresses. See store for details and restrictions. Event subject to change or cancellation.*VIP line opens at store opening. VIP line has priority. While time permits. **20% discount applies to regular, sale and clearance prom dresses in mstylelab and missy social dresses. See store for details and restrictions. Event subject to change or cancellation

Samantha

No, #Netflix! Thank Goodness for Kimmy Schmidt #StreamTeam

I was recently asked to be part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and share posts each month based on my experience. We are longtime Netflix users and cannot wait to share our experiences with you! All opinions are of course are own!

Recently, I headed over to Netflix for my daily dose and was SHOCKED and AWED when I caught glimpse that one of Netflix’s Top Picks for me was…CAILLOU!??!?!

I cannot even.

Netflix Picks for March

Thankfully, I jumped over to Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club and found the romantic comedy I was looking for. Hysterical and sentimental, this was a definite feel-good movie with a stellar cast of characters.

And hello.

William Levy Movie

William Levy for Days.

Good thing Netflix has choices!

A few other GREAT selections as of late:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

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Don’t take my word for it. Stop what you’re doing. And watch it. Like yesterday. Then come back when you got a J-O-B. Or you’re in love with it. Whichever comes first.

Drop Dead Diva

Grayson, Owen, Jane, Stacey. Did I mention Grayson?

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Just go watch. Now.

Dance Moms Collection

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Don’t Judge Me.

What are your Netflix guilty pleasures? What’s your favorite top pick that Netflix has recommended for you recently? 

October || November || FRIENDS || Stream Team Finds || Lifetime on Netflix

Samantha