Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our First New Hampshire Thanksgiving

So many memories being made up here in New England. A few to share:

Hope you and your families are having a happy Thanksgiving weekend!

P.S. Gray turned 5 months old on Thanksgiving Day! His monthly update and a cuddly review coming up . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Ferguson

"We know that pushing someone at a convenience store, or being a less than stellar student shouldn’t be a death sentence." - Face it, Blacks. People Michael Brown let you down.

via Mashable
"Every black kid has that moment where he has to decide to accept the armor that his parents present to him to get through life as an American black male, or walk around naked. And the crazy part is, it’s probably something most people outside of the black community never see." - What It's Like Being a Young Black Man in America

"What happens when he's grown up and not so cute and non-threatening? When he's walking through the world alone? No more the floppy-eared, playful youngster -- he's now the feral stray dog, worthy of extermination." - Dear White Moms

The above brought the following picture to mind especially when I'm told how adorable my now 4 month old son is; I wonder how they'll feel when he's 16 and towering above them?:

"And please, in your Facebook feed, share something that shows this matters to you. Don't say you don't want to be political. Don't tell me you don't want to offend people. Because all that means is you don't want to get into it with your clueless white friends." - Dear White Moms

"White allies, we need your voices. We need you to say that this is deplorable. Your silence does nothing and if you’re neutral on this, then you’re on the wrong side. Actually, your silence does do something. It says 'It’s okay that this is happening.' That hurts us all. Speak up." - About Ferguson, White Allies and Speaking Up When It Matters

And to the people who don't understand "the talk" or the looting (which I do not condone, but I see it as a symptom) or anything else manifesting from a country built on the oppression of a group of people here's what I have to say: As a woman married to a black man I can empathize, but I don't even try to act like I KNOW what he's gone through when he tries to explain to me the injustices he's experienced at the hands of the NYPD all because he was "being while black."  

If it's not your reality please don't disqualify the experience. 

And for those wondering what to do next, here's a request from Michael Brown's family via ABC News:

"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera. We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winner: Pampers $100 Prize Pack

How's everyone's weekend going? I nearly ended up in the ER last night after a bad fall (I saw stars for real - it was BAD), but thankfully I'm OK. Just trying to take it easy as much as possible although I'm quite sore. This bit of giveaway news for me and my BFF made my day though!

Annnnnd hearing Christmas music on the radio already while I've been out and about preparing for Thanksgiving brought this cartoon to mind:

Anyway, time to announce the winner of the $100 Pampers prize pack:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Ashley! I'll be in touch shortly so you can receive your prize!

Enjoy the rest of your pre-Thanksgiving weekend friends! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Little Dose of Pillows and Throws

Disclosure: I am a Homemaker Blogger and received store credit to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Having moved 6 times in 7 years, our current condo is our largest home yet. At 2,200 square feet we're poised to host a grand Thanksgiving just shy of 20 guests from 6 states. It's going to be epic! While we still have quite a bit of boxes to throw in the unfinished basement unpack, I've been working on warming up our space for our guests with a few soft touches from Wayfair

We're within walking distance to the water and although we were also near water in NYC, the Hudson just wasn't as idyllic as our nearby beaches, and I knew I wanted to bring the ocean theme into our home in time for our first holiday guests arrival. Using our existing rug and monogrammed chenille throw as a guide as well as the color scheme of the pillows our new (from a box!) couch came with I easily found these beach-themed pillows:

1: Coastal Sea Turtle Pillow//2: Loom and Mill Decorative Pillow // 3: Key West Rayon Pillow
My final selection however was this one:

Rata Cotton Pillow in Cloud
Not only did it fit well with the beach theme, but it picked up the lighter color within the palette of the existing pillows which was key since I wanted to have more than 2 pillows on the couch. I really appreciate the subtlety of the motif and that they are textured without being too rough. Thanks to our acrobatic 4 year old daughter, we've had issues with our pillows getting really flat very quickly but our Wayfair pillows fluff up nicely and so far have taken Nia's roughness pretty well.

Now that the living room is in a better state (I still need to figure out a window treatment), moving downstairs to the finished portion of our basement, I selected this throw to base the eventual theater/playroom on: 

Esprit Spice Cotton Throw
I find the colors bright and playful without being overbearing and the weight of the throw is perfect for snuggling up. I have a simple yet efficient plan for this space centered around the throw and look forward to revisiting the space in the new year and sharing how it comes together.  

Here are a few more fun prints from Wayfair perfect for a multifunctional space like our finished basement (soon-to-be playroom/theater):

1: Nirvana Cotton Throw //2: Clearwater Throw //3: Jewel Cotton Throw
Which space in your home needs a bit of decorative warmth this season? With Wayfair's current promotion you can save 15% off any Pillow, Pouf or Throw now through November 24, 2014 by using code WFPTP15 when you check out. 

Duracell's Helping Us #PowerTheHolidays

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of SheSpeaks/Duracell. All opinions expressed are my own. 

My mom had us on point at Christmas!
I'm much older than my 3 younger siblings and most Christmases I remember when we were growing up there was a common theme: lack of batteries. I don't know who dropped the ball ::cough, Dad::, but there was always a scramble on Christmas day to search for batteries to power one (or many!) of the electronic toys we received and while I could handle the disappointment, being so much older and wiser, the little ones would let their feelings be made known, and it usually involved tears.

Now as an adult, I learned my lesson and my husband and I regularly stock up on batteries - specifically Duracell! Blame it on my 80s childhood memories of being ingrained with the importance of the CopperTop, it's the brand I go to when it's time to power up my kids' toys and our household items. Thankfully Duracell comes in AA, AAA, C, D and 9V so all my family's power needs are covered! Another cool feature is that they have a 10 year guarantee in storage with Duralock Power Preserve Technology.

When it comes to powering up our toys, I'm typically noise-averse, but I can always count on my father-in-law especially to get toys that come in stereo, surround-like sound and of course those are the ones Nia loves the most. My husband's best friend is good at gifting those types of toys too and God forbid they run out of batteries. Nia will let us know that we have to get more NOW! (Are your kids that way too???)

Beyond toys, now that we're in northern New England it's also important for us to stay powered up in the event of a power outage due to extreme weather. We've had a few brief outages already that have prompted me to get our flashlights organized and check them for batteries. After going through hurricane Sandy I know how dangerous it can be not to be prepared in an emergency.  We'll also be creating a car emergency kit as well since we drive more here than in NYC-metro.

To order Duracell online you can go to Walmart's site and have them delivered right to your door in time for the holidays. For the latest news from Duracell be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you have any battery memories from your childhood? Are you constantly running out of them and scrambling for more? (And do your kids have mercy on you when that happens?!)

Monday, November 17, 2014

A New England Retreat With My Sisters

Yesterday I was playing catch-up after returning from a weekend retreat in Vermont . . .

With my sisters.

When I told a few people that I was preparing for this trip they raised an eyebrow and remarked, "Oh, that's a good idea!" 

And it was.

My sisters and I soft-launched our business earlier this year and while we've been taking on word-of-mouth clients, we are excited for our hard launch in 2015. To prepare for this I got the idea when during my familymoon at Snapdragon Inn earlier this year that I should return with my sisters for a business retreat to hash out our goals and prepare for our launch.

At the time I had no idea that I'd be driving only 2 hours north from Portsmouth, NH so it really seemed providence when we relocated and it came time to book our trip. My sisters made their way up from NYC on Amtrak. It was practically door-to-door!

A few highlights from our retreat . . .


Thank you to Michelle, innkeeper of Snapdragon Inn and her staff for yet another wonderful stay. She is an incredible hostess and I encourage my readers to book a visit if you can!

Would you consider taking a retreat with your family? Have you ever done something like that before?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pampers Mommy Memory Match Sweepstakes & Giveaway

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Those of you who follow me on social media saw I hinted at this post over this past week, and I'm excited for it to go live at last. Grayson's had a very tough week teething and as many of you know what comes along with that are epic diapers. To help with that Pampers has created their Stool Color Card to help parents feel confident in knowing that their baby's stool is normal:

Lately Grayson's been running a high fever which the pediatrician says is OK due to teething, but the extra assurance of the Pampers chart dealing with his super blast outs has been a welcome relief. These charts will be distributed to new moms at hospitals nationwide. Grayson was put in Pampers from birth at our hospital and while we have so many disposables left to use before starting cloth diapers, the softness of Pampers Swaddlers as well as the convenient wet stripe indicator has made diapering a breeze.

When using disposables I'm especially careful about diaper rash (you can find a helpful infographic here) and thankfully we haven't had to deal with too much of it with Grayson. From now until January 15, 2015 Pampers is running a Mommy Memory Match sweepstakes and you can enter to win 6 months of diapers and wipes! You’ll also have a daily chance to play the Mommy Memory Match game and win one month of free diapers and wipes or a Pampers t-shirt INSTANTLY!

As a special bonus to kick-off this contest Pampers is also giving one lucky Harlem Lovebirds reader a $100 value prize pack: 

· Pampers Wipes

· Pampers Newborn or Size 1 Diapers

· Diaper Genie

· Diaper Genie Refills

· Portable Diaper Caddy

The giveaway starts today November 15 and ends on Friday, November 21 with the winner announced on Saturday, November 22. Enter via the Rafflecopter below (open to U.S. residents only):

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Be sure to follow Pampers on Facebook and Twitter for the latest product news.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Twins Edition

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Top 5 Moments From Blogalicious 2014 #BeGreatB6

We got back last night from our trip to San Antonio for Blogalicious and while I'm still processing the amazing experience we had both as a blogging conference for myself and a family vacation, here's a quick rundown of my top 5 moments before my full recap goes live:

1) Hearing from Derreck Kayongo, the charismatic founder of the Global Soap Project; this moment at the end of his opening keynote was everything:

2) Leading the Community Conversation with one of my favorite bloggers Jennifer of Baby Making Machine:

3) Mario Armstrong's Master Class knocked it out the park again! (Click here for my mini-testimonial video about the impact it had on my brand after hearing him speak at Blogalicious 2012.)

4) Connecting with bloggers IRL - like I always say, Blogalicious feels like a family reunion to me!

5) The fact that Blogalicious doubled as a fantastic family vacation was icing on the cake! We had an AMAZING time in San Antonio:

Now I'm off for a bit of reality including continued unpacking from our move to New Hampshire and getting ready to head up to Vermont this weekend with my sisters for our business retreat, but I promise to have my detailed recap up soon!

If you just can't wait to hear more about Blogalicious 2014 check out the #BeGreatB6 hashtag across social media!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

San Antonio or Bust! #BeGreatB6

It's been rough, rough, rough around these parts, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to speak at Blogalicious tomorrow. Blogalicious is hands down my favorite blogging conference, and I often get the question: Blogalicious vs. BlogHer? I think it really depends on the blogger and what you're seeking. 

I like Blogalicious because of how it fosters community, and as I've shared before the more intimate vibe is my speed. Going to Blogalicious really feels like hanging out with family. 

At the time of this post we have a bit of a road trip ahead of us as we're flying out of NYC (it was cheaper than changing our tickets to fly out of NH), and I have to admit I'm excited to get a brief glimpse of the city again. Although I'm from Ohio NYC somehow feels like home to me despite spending 7 years there compared to my 9 years in Boston.

Unfortunately, I'm getting sick (again) and sucking down lozenges and water. All of us, except for Gray who's too young, received our flu shots though in time for travel and thankfully I got mine last week when I finally started feeling better from my first bout of sickness this season. Now whatever it was I had is coming back. I'm just glad the kids are doing well!

No rest for the weary especially since next weekend I'll be back in Vermont at the Snapdragon Inn with my sisters for our business retreat (you can read my family's first time experience there here), then the following Sunday family starts coming into town for Thanksgiving. It's going to be such a relief  to have the extra hands on deck. Although Uka's not traveling far like he used to unfortunately, we still don't get to see him much, and I haven't been able to find a mother's helper yet. I just keep telling myself it's temporary, and I'm pushing through (and of course running my immune system down in the process O_o).

Two other quick social media pieces of news that have been on my mind:
  • BlogHer 2015's in NYC, and a few responses I've come across have captured how I feel about it so I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Essentially, BlogHer in NYC was a first time BlogHer experience for me (and also my first conference). The venue simply was not suited for BlogHer. Additionally, it was just an extremely overwhelming, but worthwhile conference. I still feel shaken by my experience there so I'm proceeding with caution in 2015...

  • I'm thrilled to see that Facebook is changing its policy about liking pages to enter contests. It's no longer allowed. I agree with everything that The Baby Guy says in this post about the issue. His sentiments are why 99% of my giveaways only require one mandatory entry: a comment.
Have you attended a blogging conference before? What was your experience like? Also, do you think Facebook's policy is a good move?

P.S. Please send healthy vibes my way!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Best-Smelling Time of Year #FebrezeHoliday

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Febreze; all opinions expressed are my own. 

I have to be honest: November's hit me like a mack truck, and I find it unreal to be able to say that Thanksgiving is in a few weeks and Christmas is next month. We're hosting our largest Thanksgiving yet and one of my favorite things about the holidays are the amazing smells. Febreze's Limited Edition Home for the Holidays Collection captures this with scents like Frosted Pine, Apple Tart, Toasted Almond, Vanilla Latte and Sugared Cranberry. 

When our scentspiration box arrived Nia had a hard time waiting to open it - it was her first inkling that the holidays are around the corner! We went through the included activity cards together, and Nia decided to create Clothespin Reindeer. I remember making one of these when I was a preschooler (my mom saved it!) and Nia upon seeing reindeer hoof prints on the rooftop of the scentspiration box deemed our craft appropriate.

I picked up some simple crafts supplies, and Nia helped me put our reindeer together in a few easy steps:

If you want to recreate these you can add pipe cleaners for antlers, paint them and even add mini-jingle bells! We have a few supplies left over, and I'd like to paint a the reindeer brown like the craft instruction card and add some ribbon to hang them. It'd be the perfect gift for Nia to give her relatives!

When doing these types of holiday crafts Febreze makes it very easy to get into the spirit with their festive, yet pleasant scents. We won't be getting our tree until after Thanksgiving, but we've jump started the scent of Christmas with Febreze's NOTICEables Frosted Pine scent. I'm sensitive to scents that are overwhelming, and I like how subtle Febreze's scents are. They're not overly sweet or cloying. The Apple Tart scent makes me want to start baking, and the Toasted Almond makes me feel cozy, especially in our New England climate (can you believe it snowed here yesterday?).

If you want to get into the holiday spirit with Febreze you can find their Home for the Holidays scents exclusively at Walmart, and be sure to follow Febreze on Facebook and Twitter for the latest product news. 

Which holiday crafts are you making this season? Do you have a signature holiday scent - are you more into sweet scents or spicy scents?


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