Monday, June 30, 2014

Winner: KISS Handle-Less Blow Dryer (and a Hint . . .)

Popping in after a big weekend (here's a hint!) to announce the winner of the KISS Handles-Less Blow Dryer:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Nataly! I'll be in touch via email to confirm your prize.

P.S. I'll be sharing more about the hint soon . . .

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Celebrating #NationalSunglassesDay with The Vision Council

Disclosure: I received promotional items from The Vision Council to facilitate this post; all opinions expressed are my own.

One of my favorite things about summer is wearing sunglasses: I like to coordinate them with my outfits, but I also have quite a knack for losing them as I've shared before! Beyond making a fashion statement, it's also important for me to take good care of my eyes. I'm nearsighted and have a history of glaucoma in my family so I try my best to stay on top of my eye health.

With the celebration of National Sunglasses Day on June 27th, I partnered with The Vision Council to share with you some important tips to keep in mind not only this season but year round when it comes to eye safety. 

Here are a few fascinating facts I learned during their webinar:
  • 25% of of an individual's lifetime UV exposure occurs before age 18
  • Everyone should wear sunglasses - even infants! The best shades for baby have straight arms so they don't pinch the skin
  • Only 21% of runners observed during marathons/races wear sunglasses - I was startled by this as it especially as I thought this group would be more generally health-conscious 
  • Geographically NYC has the highest % of survey respondents who say their sunglasses do not have UV protection - c'mon NYers! I definitely notice a lot of fashionista sunglasses-wearing going on here, but think with all the cheap kiosks that abound it's easy to just pick up something cheap and stylish without checking that it's actually safe
Trying on the Nicole Miller "Sheridan" sunglasses I was sent by the Vision Council while on the webinar!
During the webinar I was especially concerned about my challenge of getting Nia to keep her sunglasses on - she really isn't a fan! I learned to get a few different pairs especially some that aren't too dark as to obstruct her vision but enough to show Nia how much comfortable it is for her to have them when outside. Also, I try to set a good example by showing Nia that I wear my sunglasses and she can be like mommy. So far it's slowly working!

To get started, here are a few recommended styles for your little ones:

For those of you who are visual, this helpful infographic helps put into perspective why it's so important to wear sunglasses year round (in a case so the UV protection doesn't get damaged!) :

Do you wear sunglasses year round and do you ever struggle to get your kids to wear sunglasses like I do? Would love to hear your tips too!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy 5th Anniversary to My HomeyLoverFriend

Although Mr. Lovebird and I celebrated early back in March when we went on our trip to Puerto Rico, today is our official anniversary.

We were 18 when we met right before my 19th birthday (full story here) and I marvel at how we've known each other our entire adulthood.

A few of my favorite memories . . .

A whirlwind London trip: Uka came down from Finland, where he was playing ball in 2006, to see me for less than 24 hours while I was there on vacation with my college friend, Noelle

Our first time cooking Thanksgiving together - 2006

A silly moment captured during karaoke by our friend Eli

Sharing a few words after Uka's baptism at Jones Beach

Engaged in Las Vegas - 2007 (I always laugh at how he took his shoes off as though that'd make him significantly shorter for me!)

Getting our dance on at our rehearsal dinner
Married at El Conquistador
Nia's dedication
Our first family trip to Nigeria
My favorite Christmas photo of our family

Our first cruise
One of my faves from our Puerto Rico photo shoot

Here's to a lifetime, homeyloverfriend:


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keeping Your Kids Comfy with Evenflo's ProComfort Protection Series Car Seats

If there's one thing I've noticed as a parent on social media it's that my peers get really excited about car seats! The first go around with Nia I was a bit overwhelmed seeing how many car seats are out there and they can get cumbersome (and expensive!). 

I didn't want to have to buy 10 different car seats, but so far we're up to 3. With the purchase of more car seats in my future, when I was invited for an afternoon to learn about Evenflo's new ProComfort Protection Series at the lovely Blooming Nails & Spa with a few of my blogger buddies I knew I couldn't pass it up!

Over yummy cupcakes by Eleni's (and veggies to balance them out!), I learned about Evenflo's innovative ProComfort Protection Series which goes beyond just basic safety requirements and includes a special gel-matrix seat cushion that helps ease your little one's discomfort, maintaines proper seating ergonomics and improves blood flow. It actually sounds like a cushion I need! 

The ProComfort Protection Series includes the following models available at Target and
  • Symphony DLX Car Seat (SRP $249) - I'm loving this one especially because it goes from 5-110lbs. Amazing longevity!
  • The Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat (SRP $159.99)
  • Amp LX High Back Booster Seat (SRP $69.99)
Check out this video to see the car seats in action:

Once we learned about the car seats we were given manicures and pedicures (and more cupcakes!). I opted for just a much-needed pedicure - these pregnant feet are taking a beating and I was happy to catch up with fellow blogger buddies while I enjoyed the special treatment. 

Thank you Thirty Mommy for the bump buddy photo!
The service at Blooming Nails and Spa was great, and I look forward to returning to use my gift card that was in the gift bag!

Be sure to follow Evenflo on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates including their SureSafe System launching exclusively at Walmart in August!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Beauty Giveaway: KISS Handle-Less Hair Dryer

Disclosure: I received a complimentary KISS Handle-Less Hair Dryer for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Happy summer friends! If you're wondering if I've had the baby yet, click here for the answer.

Now that that's answered let's move over to a fab summer giveaway sponsored by KISS!

Check out this video for more details and enter below:

The KISS Handle-Less Hair Dryer retails for $29.99 and comes with 3 attachments. Ceramic tourmaline with a cool, hot and medium setting it really gets the job done quickly without using too much heat - something I'm very concerned about.

I've enjoyed how lightweight and cool to the touch it is and Nia, who usually cries when I do anything to her hair, didn't even complain when I used this for about 7 minutes to loosen her curl before heading to our local hair braiders.

KISS has generously given me one Handle-Less hair dryer to give to a lucky Harlem Lovebirds reader via the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway starts today and ends on Sunday, June 29 with the winner announced on Monday, June 30. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow KISS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest product updates!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Little Circus Student: Aerial Acrobatic Entertainment's Ground Circus Sampler at Next Step Broadway

Disclosure: I was given a free trial class by Aeriel Acrobatic Entertainment; all opinions expressed are my own.

I think I found the reason why my Lil Lovebird appeared to be so ambivalent about the circus as I mentioned in my recent UniverSoul Circus post: she actually prefers to BE in the circus!

It wasn't too hard to figure this out actually. I was recently invited to a trial Ground Circus Sampler class offered by Aeriel Acrobatic Entertainment at Next Step Broadway, a music and dance studio here in Jersey City. Knowing Nia wasn't too keen on watching the circus I got the idea that perhaps she'd like to learn how to perform circus acts instead. When I suggested it to her a few days in advance to build excitement at first she was wary, but each day I mentioned it and the potential fun she'd have she warmed up to a bit. It also helped that the trial class would push out her attendance of ballet for a week - a class I shared on Instagram last week that she reluctantly completed.

We made our way to the class, filled out our waivers and she joined two other students. At first I was concerned about the very small group but it actually turned out for the better: the students were able to get plenty of individual attention from teacher Paul Del Corral, who specializes in various forms of juggling (including knives!) and has appeared on MTV's My Sweet 16 and off Broadway. 

Starting off reluctantly with her peacock feather, which is used to get started in juggling since it falls slowly (who knew?!)
Nia is just shy of the 4 year old age minimum of the Ground Circus Sampler - a one-hour class happening 2x/week for 12 weeks this summer through August 21, but she did just fine after some initial shyness. Paul was great at getting the kids to warm up and eventually give most of the exercises a try. I even found myself getting excited and cheering and clapping them on! It took everything I could muster to not ask to join the class too - it looked like so much fun:

Teacher Paul was very patient helping each child move through levels of difficulty
When it was time to leave Nia beamed about having learned so much in just an hour and on the way home told me she wanted to go back! We're currently trying to determine which classes she should take this summer and logistics since I'll be with the baby (still nailing down a mother's helper!), but I appreciate the flexibility of the classes we want to attend on a drop-in basis. 

I highly recommend giving the Ground Circus Sampler a try and if you're unsure click here to call and sign-up for a free trial class. You and your kids won't regret it!

If you could learn one circus act what would it be? I've always been curious about the trapeze - seems so freeing (as long as there's a net underneath!).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Winner: Bamboobies $25 Giveaway!

{Image Credit}
Ahhhhh it was so refreshing to see just how Bamboobies are so well-loved - I really am quite passionate about them!

On to the winner of the $25 giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Laiken! I'll be in touch via email to confirm your prize!

And if you didn't win be sure to use the code HARLEMLB20 through the end of the month to get 20% off your order!

P.S. Stay tuned this Monday for another great giveaway to celebrate the official start of summer. Here's a hint: it's gonna help you look amazing!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just in Time for Summer Break: A Make Amazing $5K Contest & Interview with Lifestyle Expert Brit Morin!

I can be a crafty girl when I put my mind to it and attending Alt Summit in January really put me back in the crafty spirit. Meeting lifestyle expert Brit Morin while there was a highlight especially as she gave such incredible insight to the business side of her brand. 

When I learned she was partnering with Scotch for another outstanding crafting contest as well as sharing ideas for summer crafting with kids I was excited for the opportunity to interview her. 

You can check it out here:

Having won a Scotch contest in the past and attended one of their big events I can attest to what a fun brand they are and how easy it is to get kids of all ages involved in crafting especially with their washi tape (Nia and I are obsessed!).

To inspire your crafting sessions this summer Brit Morin's teamed up with Scotch for the Make Amazing contest offering 3 winners cash prizes of $5,000! Amazing, right?! You can submit your inspired creations featuring Scotch Blue via Instagram using the hashtag #makeamazing. Contest ends 8/3/2014 and full rules are here.

Are your kids crafting this summer? What are some of their favorite items to craft with? (Nia's in a crayon/paper doll phase lately!)

The Closest You'll Get to Picking My Brain

Ahhhhhh the beloved Homey Hook-Up . . . Mr. Lovebird, who has my best interest in mind, has winced over the years as he's witnessed me allowing people to "pick my brain." He's even chastised me for doing so. In looking at my fellow entrepreneurs I definitely see a trend that a lot of times it's women who request and permit this brain picking to go on instead of getting paid for the insight and services we provide. I've since taken a different approach, per Mr. Lovebird's imploring, which I recently shared on Instagram to much discussion:

As I stated in the Instagram conversation, I definitely think there's a place for an initial consultation, but time and time again I've had it happen to me and fellow entrepreneurs that someone takes advantage and just keeps coming back for more "brain picking" then hem and haw when it comes to actually paying for services.

I'm always happy to do informational interviews, but I've learned to identify those who are doing the most when it comes to brain picking.

This spring I had a couple features that count as a bit of acceptable "brain picking" that I'd like to share with you:

Blogalicious Solopreneur Spotlight:

In this quick feature I share my story, a day in the life and a few resources I find helpful. I'll be attending Blogalicious for the 3rd time this fall and if you'd like to join me there click here to register - there's still time!

If you have more time on your hands and want to learn a bit more about my journey check out this next feature:

Purpose Rockstar Podcast:

Thank you to those of you who have read, listened to and cross-posted these features on social media - I appreciate your support!

What's your thoughts on "brain picking" (actually sounds a bit gross if you think about it!)? Are you in a freelancer/consultant career that gets abused by "brain pickers?" How do you handle it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Special Sister Date Night at the UniverSoul Circus

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to the UniverSoul Circus by Klout and was not obligated to write this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

I'm kinda mad at my parents because they kept me unaware of the UniverSoul Circus. I asked my mom about it recently and while she mentioned she knew of it, we just weren't a circus-going kind of family. It wasn't until I moved to NYC and kept seeing it pop up in my social media feed that I became aware of the UniverSoul Circus. I actually didn't go to a traditional circus until last year, remember? Mr. Lovebird, who doesn't like clowns, wasn't into the circus either growing up, and we really never talked about going together or taking Nia.

Well last month I received a notifcation from Klout that I had received 2 tickets to the UniverSoul Circus. I knew from Nia's ambivalence last time and her father's clown hatred that I wouldn't be taking either of them so instead I decided to turn it into a sister date. 

It was AMAZING! 

This made me the most nervous out of all the acts - 4 motorcycles spinning inside this globe!
Meeting a few of the dancers after the show!

The trapeze artists were outstanding (and thankfully, very precise!)

From the fantastically festive opening in the above video snippet, which made me want to book a trip to the Caribbean STAT, to the dance breaks and humor this was the circus on a whole.other.level! Baby Agbai 2.0 was even jumping to the rhythm in my belly!

Loved the costumes!

The UniverSoul Circus would make a great date night if I could get Mr. Lovebird to go. I think I actually could - there were no blatant clowns in the ring, but I saw a couple clown-like ushers off to the side. If I could just keep them from making eye contact with Mr. Lovebird I'd think he'd be ok!

Fuzzy but funny! Ariane and I with Lucky, the Host
If not with Mr. Lovebird, then I'll try attending again with Nia next year. I think she'd like it, but definitely on a weekend. I went on a weeknight and couldn't believe how many kids were there up late especially on a school night. Some of them looked SO tired, but were still having a lot of fun!

Thank you Klout and UniverSoul Circus for a fun sister date night!

Have you ever been to the UniverSoul Circus? Check out future tour dates here.

Wordless Wednesday: Push Present Edition


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