City Days Filled With Play

There is pretty much no other way to say it: 3rd grade is taking an emotional toll on me. I know that it's a testing year and that we knew it would be challenging, but I guess I didn't realize it was going to be quite as difficult. For those of you who follow along, you know that Branden goes to a very demanding charter school and that he's on the bus each morning by 7am and doesn't get home until 5:15ish - rough. Then, he walks in the door with at least an hour of homework. We feel horrible that he doesn't get much relax time - which kids need - so we made a pact with him: he does his part during the school week and weekends are all about play. Our play filled, weekend city adventures include being out all day long as a family, so we bring lots of treats to snack on throughout because stopping in a restaurant multiple times just doesn't work for us.  So during our multiple stops throughout the day, we always have CLIF Kid Zbars on hand! (Also, check out their cool video here for more ways to encourage play.) Being a city kid has some downfalls and some major upsides, too. No, we aren't able to just send our kids out to play in the back yard, but we have the most amazing parks, museums, exhibits,  and shows for our littles - which are all pretty much in our back yard. Branden is pretty big on museums and likes to keep a close watch on new exhibits. (Hint: most NYC museums are donation entry, so if we're just passing by we'll drop only $10 and stop in for an hour … [Read more...]

Cooking With POM

**This is a sponsored post. As always, opinions are my own.** I think the best seasonal ingredients come around in the fall—pumpkin, squash, apple and pomegranates!  Pomegranate season starts in October, and the cheery red-purple is a classically fall color.  Plus, they have all kinds of amazing health benefits and yield some pretty wonderful healthy holiday meal ideas.  On Thursday, October 20th, I joined POM Wonderful and MomTrends for a cooking demo featuring this versatile and delicious super-seed. Our dinner party started off with appetizers and cocktails, all with a pomegranate flair, of course!  We had Moroccan Shrimp and a Pomegranate Bruschetta, all while sipping on Dapper Devils (gin pairs surprisingly well with the sweet, rich taste of POM juice).  After that, I had a chance to get my hands deliciously dirty, learning to incorporate pomegranate arils into quinoa, roasted salmon, chicken salads, and even guacamole.  You can put pomegranate in anything at all! The flavor of the pomegranate adds depth and a tart, sweet kick to just about anything you love in the kitchen.  For such a tiny seed, it packs a ton of flavor and is incredibly nutrient dense.  They’re loaded with vitamins A, C and E, and are a great source of fiber. They also have more antioxidants than a glass of wine or even a cup of green tea, making them a guilt-free sweet snack. If you want to try incorporating pomegranate into your family’s meals, but you don’t want to deal with the … [Read more...]

5 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy (Not Including The Gym)

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. There really is no denying the level of difficult to stay healthy - let alone when you become a mom. We power through our days and often forget to eat, then binge on the first thing we can find (most of the time it's something we regret) and fit in workouts whenever we can. Sound familiar? Pretty much! The thing is this: getting to the gym is great and I make sure to fit in at least 3 workouts a week, but there are lots of other things that we can do to live a healthy life, too. 5 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy Not only is cold and flu season approaching, but as moms we need to make sure that we have energy and maintain a healthy weight as our littles grow older. Here's how I keep my health in check: Stay Hydrated I know this seems self explanatory or even silly for me to mention, but water helps your body function properly and if you need to carry a water bottle with you all day around the house or to run errands - do it! Take a Daily Probiotic I started taking probiotics about 4 years ago after I had a really bad stomach episode and almost called 911 while I was at work. My then manager suggested probiotics and I have never looked back. I shop for my Nature Made® Probiotics at Walmart SuperCenters (where you can get the best price, duh!) and love how they make me feel every day. Nature Made® is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand for many key … [Read more...]

Hydration On The Go

  I drink water like it is my second job. It is seriously so important to me and I have a glass next to me or in my hands all day long. Having water so accessible whenever we are at home definitely makes me take it for granted whenever we are on the go. After having Blake and needing to have access to fresh, clean water at all times (whether it was for hydrating myself to produce breast milk or clean water for a bottle) made me really yearn for a better solution than walking around until we could find bottled water while on the go. I happily found ZeroWater which solves all of our water problems whether we are at home or at the playground. These ZeroWater Portable Tumblers are my absolute favorites! Whenever I know that we will be out of the house for a couple of hours or more, we make sure to pack these in the stroller and fill them whenever we pass a water fountain. I'm not a big fan of using water bottles either, so these are a great Eco-friendly solution. They are so easy to use (you literally just plop the filter inside) and the filters change colors so that you know when its time to change them. (You can buy replacement filters here.) And a total mom tip: these have helped us teach our little guy about the importance of water and hydration, too. So often kids just want to turn to sugary drinks and don't realize the harm it's doing for their bodies. Having these handy for long days throughout the city makes him more conscious about not only drinking … [Read more...]

Do Your Own Thing

  I am almost exactly 8 week postpartum and I turned 30 this past weekend. All the better reason to hop to it with my fitness routine, right? You would think so, but they hadn't really been my key motivators. Yoga. Running. Weights. (Oh my!) I hadn't really wanted to hear these words again until last week when that "thing" that I had been waiting to shift inside me and say "get up and moving you lazy woman," finally did. It's strange, fitness had always been my thing, it just took some time this time around and then BAM, it hit me all at once. What was it? It was the urge to get moving paired with new Reebok women's fitness gear and I was ready to go! Yes, there is no denying my excitement (it's written all over my face) about the new Reebok women's fitness gear. Sometimes you just need to fall in love with what you're wearing to get fit to actually get out and do it! Fitness clothes can be tricky fit wise, especially since they tend to fit on the smaller side, but I always suggest staying true to size or even a little bit smaller (even if it feels tight) so you can see your progress and so your pants don't fall down while you're running. (Yes, been there, done that.) Reebok Glam Tights // Reebok Crossfit Hoodie I know that a lot of you are into LulaRoe leggings because they "feel like buttah" and I can attest that these Reebok Glam leggings do, too - seriously the most comfy workout pants I own. And as a little added bonus they do sit up higher on my … [Read more...]

Healthy Habits

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Another summer has completely flown by and it's time to get the kids ready for back to school. Year after year, I can't believe how fast it really goes and this summer seemed even quicker with the birth of our little Blake right at the end. For me, it seems like our parenting style gets a little bit lax during the summer months. I don't worry quite as much about bedtimes, keeping routines, and daily baths - forget about it! Summer as a kid is all about being carefree and making memories. But as the season changes, I being my quest to establish those healthy habits again, which for us include Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Gummies. Establishing Healthy Habits For Back to School As difficult as it can be to get kiddos to go from "summer mode" to "back to school ready," here's how we're making it happen in our home. Shopping for products we love at Target. Target is like my mom Mecca and go-to place for pretty much everything. I always make sure that we stock up on healthy essentials at the beginning of the school year to help us get back on track, while getting everything that we need at great prices. Our little guy is a picky eater and I don't always know what he's eating at school whenever he buys lunch, so we make sure to include Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Gummies as a part of our daily routine. (Ahem - they taste so good and are made with all … [Read more...]

Getting Back on Track With Skinnygirl

This post was sponsored by Skinnygirl as part of an Influencer Activation. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. You guys, things are about to get real in about t-minus 10 days (give or take a few) when I will officially be the mom of two. I'm definitely stressing about pretty much everything and have focused way more on my feeding plans for Baby C then how I'm going to be feeding myself to get my body back on track post-baby. (I know, tisk, tisk). But the thing is this - thanks to Skinnygirl and their amazing products that seriously cater to real mom life (yup, Bethenny Frankel gets it!), I can stock up and have these products handy to keep me on track. Yes mamas, this crazy, organizing, plan ahead, to-do list constantly in hand mom-to-be is going balls to the walls and taking on my postpartum days without a true plan. Because I'm slowly learning that plans change and I need to start rolling with the punches. So let me preface my Skinnygirl journey with sharing this: whenever Bethenny first came out with the Skinnygirl Margarita, I had a case pre-ordered from my local liquor store. I've seriously been a brand advocate since the way beginning and have been super excited to watch it grow and branch out to what it is today - a brand that gets what us busy mamas want and need in our lives. (And sometimes, that involves alcohol!) These are all solution based products that solve everyday issues that we have whether from being on the go, too tired to … [Read more...]

There’s A New Clean In Town

This post was sponsored by NEW! Tide purclean as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.  Yes, my "Pittsburghese" came out a little bit in this blog post title. While there are many things that have changed in my life since moving to "the city," I'm still a Pittsburgh girl at heart. I guess that you could say that I have grown up a lot since moving here, becoming a wife and mom and essentially - my own person. I make decisions on my own that work best for my family and I, and once that decision has been made I stick to it through and through. One major change that I have made over the years is really turning towards an Eco-friendly lifestyle in every way possible, so  I'm super excited that my go-to for laundry has just released their new Tide purclean!   Available at Target (my favorite!), Tide purclean is the first bio-based detergent that still uses the power of Tide, yet is Certified by the USDA BioPreferred Program. It is new to the market and new to our home and I am loving it! Plus, it comes in the amazing fragrance of Honey Lavender and it pretty much doesn't get any better than that. I'm not gonna lie either - when we got to Target to pick this up, the shelf was completely empty except for a few bottles, so I think that says a lot about how excited NYC is about this new laundry detergent. Not to fear though, I did turn the corner down the aisle and found another display that was fully stalked and made sure to stalk up myself. (I know, I resemble a … [Read more...]

RAGÚ® Homestyle Pasta Sauce For a Healthy Life

***This is a sponsored post. As always, opinions are my own. *** Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a great event at The Bowery Hotel in honor of the new RAGÚ® Homestyle Pasta Sauce, and it was honestly one of the most beautiful venues with truly amazing food. Of course, the Italian girl in me was skeptical, but the mama in me was dying to test the new sauce out because, heck, it will make my life easier. I'm happy to say that both parts of me were satisfied and I'm so happy for all the ways this sauce will help my family and I continue to live a healthy life. As I know from growing up and watching both my Dad and grandmother make sauce on Sundays, a great sauce starts with great ingredients.  RAGÚ® only uses the best - with the red sauces having no artificial colors, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup, I can be one happy mama about adding this sauce to the family classics that I now make at home for my boys. Even though this line is new, the fact that RAGÚ® has a long, rich Italian history deepened my connection with the brand (and of course, made me want to jump right in!). After emigrating from Naples Italy, RAGÚ’s founder, Assunta Cantisano, started selling pasta sauce made from her family’s recipe from her front porch in Rochester, NY, during the Great Depression. The sauce’s ingredients were grown in her own backyard garden and prepared right in her kitchen. I also got the scoop from someone who has been with the company for a … [Read more...]

Doctor On Demand For Mamas on the Go

  This post was sponsored by Doctor On Demand as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Allergy season hit the Cooper household hard this year. The thing about allergies though is that you know you need to suffer through them because its being caused by the influx of allergens in the air...or do you? We would all like to be able to call up our doctors whenever we'd like and have a little chat, but that's not always possible, so we are stuck with taking time out of our day to lug the kids to the doctor, right? Wrong! There is now a better alternative with Doctor On Demand. Doctor On Demand is an extraordinary App available to families everywhere (keep scrolling for a code to try for $10 off!) that are busy, on the go, but get sick from time to time - ahem...all of us! Notice how I am sitting and relaxing during a quick break that I took in between writing and working and was able to participate in an easy breezy doctor's appointment for my special need, right from my smartphone. It is super convenient and you never have to leave the comfort of your home. Since allergies and the common cold can easily get mixed up, I wanted to speak to an actual doctor (buh-bye Dr. Google), and get my facts straight about what my family and I have been going through. It always hits us at the same time each year as we transition into spring, but especially since I'm pregnant and that I didn't really want to take Branden out of school for another pediatrician visit, … [Read more...]