Friday, April 17, 2015

Creating a fun Instagram canvas & prints {CanvasPop giveaway + promo!}

Please tell me I'm not the only one out there with almost 2,000 pictures hogging up all the darn memory on my phone. Did I mention they were just from the last year? Yeah, I know. I'm totally that annoying mom who posts way too many pictures of my kids on Facebook and Instagram. It's just so easy, especially with Instagram's lovely filters (a selfie's best friend). Sometimes I'll take the cutest picture though and think it should go in a frame or up on my gallery wall, rather than just stuck online in my online albums. Really, how often do you actually do something with the pictures you take? For me, not often enough, so when I was contacted by CanvasPop to do a product review I jumped at the chance.

I knew right away that I wanted to do some kind of collage or mosaic because like I said, I have a lot of pictures and choosing just one proved much too difficult. Uploading my pictures on CanvasPop was easy because I was able to like my Instagram (or Facebook) account in just a click (since I was already logged in on my computer).

I started off with a few of my favorite fun shots of the kids. A few turned into over 50 and I finally had to cut myself off and whittle it down to 36. I knew my canvas was going to be 20x20 inches and the pictures wouldn't be too small  on a canvas that size. I ended up doing a mosaic so the order of the pictures was completely random. That was probably the best choice for me because I probably would have spent way too much time second guessing how I had them all placed. This way was totally easy and from start to finish my canvas project took only mere minutes to create. I'm all about quick and easy projects these days! I can't be taking up an entire nap time just to complete one task, so this was perfect for me.

My CanvasPop mosaic arrived so quickly- I was surprised! I had a big box sitting on my porch within a week of placing my order. Very impressive for a custom order. My canvas was packed up safely and it was beautiful!

I have to admit- I was super impressed with the quality of CanvasPop's canvas print. I had a canvas done a while back from a big chain retailer (who shall remain nameless) and I was a little disappointed. I had even used a very large, exceptional quality, professional photo for that canvas (I'm talking over 5,000 pixels) and it still looked blurry to me. A lot of the details were lost when viewed up close, and it seemed cheap looking to me.

My family oohed and ahhed over the CanvasPop canvas for while right after I unboxed it. There are so many fun memories on it! That's what I love- these are not staged, dressed up pictures I captured. They are fun, spontaneous, day-to-day pictures I snapped quickly on my phone or iPod, so they really capture the real moments from our lives. There's the first picture I ever snapped of Harper in the hospital, Lily playing in the snow, Ayden outside walking around being Batman, all four cousins together on Christmas, Lily feeding Harper her first bottle, a very pregnant me & the kids at a birthday party, daddy with all the kids at the park while on a road trip, etc. Even our big fat cat Muffin is in a few of the pictures, which made the kids giggle like crazy. She's a part of our crazy family too.

As for the quality of this one- it's really nice, very sturdy, and looks stunning. You can really tell that this was handmade (see the sticker?) CanvasPop thought of everything, and even provided all of the hardware to hang it- including a nail. Seriously awesome!

I found the perfect spot for our new CanvasPop mosaic on the fireplace mantle.

I love CanvasPop! It was so easy to create my custom mosaic canvas, and I can't wait to get some prints made to add to my gallery wall I'm working on. CanvasPop has the best quality canvas printing and framed prints, unbeatable customer service, free digital proofs, and their 100% "love it" guarantee for life. Need some inspiration before you create your canvas? They have a great Idea & Inspiration Gallery you can check out on their website. It's full of real photos from real customers and some of these rooms are just gorgeous. I'm definitely going to browse around in there before I make my next CanvasPop creation!

OK, I know you all are dying to get your hands on a gorgeous canvas of your very own, and I have some great news! From now until June 30th you can use the promo code LULUSWEETPEA35 to get 35% off your CanvasPop order! (US & Canada only). Use it, share it, and pass it around to your friends and family because that is a killer deal.

Here's some more good news. One lucky person is going to win a FREE 16x20 canvas print with a .75 inch frame, courtesy of the lovely people at CanvasPop! You can enter the giveaway on the Rafflecopter widget below. Only the first entry is mandatory, and then more bonus entries will become available upon completing the first one. 

This giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
Winners will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter.
Giveaway is open until April 27, 2015.
Please refer to the terms and conditions.
Void where prohibited.
Don't see the widget? Try refreshing the page.
Good luck!

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I was given a free canvas print in return for my honest review. All opinions are, as always, my own. Thank you to CanvasPop for sponsoring this giveaway!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Get Spring Clean with PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurellWipes #CollectiveBias
Ahhh, children. I love all three of mine. They are the apples of my eye, my pride and joy, and my favorite little humans in the world. But they are also some of the messiest people I know. Between school germs, playing outside, eating, fingers in the nose, and frequent trips to the bathroom (which probably didn't include hand washing), my kids are basically walking, talking, sticky, germ-covered, grubby little creatures. Sometimes hand washing isn't even an option when we're running around to the playground or in the car. Let's face it, baby wipes and hand sanitizer can only do so much. Thankfully, these new PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes have my family covered for those times when we need to sanitize our hands and clean our faces.

Trying to keep germs and dirt away from these chubby hands is hard.

PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes are awesome! They are a totally new product from my family's favorite brand of hand sanitizer, all in a super convenient little canister. I found them at my local Walmart in the household cleaning aisle (not where the hand sanitizers are). PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes are available in two sizes- either the 70 count Clean Refreshing Scent or the 35 count Fragrance Free canister. I opted for one of each since I have a lot of little mess makers. The fragrance free option is perfect for my girls' sensitive skin. I love that PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes are safe to use on both the hands and face and are perfect for use at home, work, in the car, or on the go.

My kids and I love playing outside in the spring when the weather permits. Our favorite thing is to spread out a blanket on the front lawn and get out the bikes, scooters, sidewalk chalk, and yard toys. The kids will be crawling all over the ground drawing stop signs and arrows along the sidewalk and driveway after they dig their bikes, scooters, and helmets out of the shed. There's not much shade in the front so they usually turn into sweaty messes and then beg me for drinks and a snack. I usually make them come inside to wash up, but sometimes I forget. Either way, the little picnic is interrupted at some point for more tree climbing, digging in the dirt, and picking flowers. Kids are so easily distracted! So much for clean hands to eat with.

PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes are proven to reduce the transmission of germs in households. They are specifically formulated to remove soils and kill illness-causing germs on hands while still maintaining the skin's condition. This is big for me because I don't want to use anything too harsh on these cute little hands and faces! Plus, sometimes your hands are not going to come clean with just some regular hand sanitizer or a baby wipe. PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes knock out the grimy dirt and germs at the same time.

I've got PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes stashed in my diaper bag and in the car now at all times to keep my family clean and germ free. It's part of after school routine now- get in the car, grab a wipe,, and sanitize your hands before you touch anything! (including the baby). PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes help keep the school germs at bay.

Be sure to head over and grab this $1.00 off coupon to try out these awesome wipes yourself! PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes really are the perfect way to get spring clean.

What mess would you clean up with these wipes?

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Monday, March 30, 2015

NailMates giveaway!

If you've read my blog before you probably know I absolutely love my gel polish. Love love love. However, one of the not-so-fun parts of wearing gel polish is the dreaded soak off. A few days ago I introduced you to an amazing new (to me) product I just discovered called NailMates. NailMates are these ingenious little reusable caps that hold specially designed foam pads that you saturate with acetone and use to soak off gel polish, glitter polish, and nail treatments. You can read my full review and demo here, and you can also check out the Q&A section on the NailMates website. These babies are now my absolute favorite way to remove my gel polish quickly, efficiently, and without any dripping. A gel polish lover's new best friend!

I'm so excited to inform you that the awesome people at NailMates are sponsoring a giveaway so that 5 lucky winners can try out a set of NailMates of their very own! 

Here are the details:

This giveaway is open internationally.
Winners will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter.
Giveaway is open until April 13, 2015.
Please refer to the terms and conditions.
Void where prohibited.
Good luck!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Life lately & some goals

It's been awhile since my last personal update. Once again, time just slipped by me and then I realized I've only done seven blog posts in 2015 so far. Oops. I'll work on that. I mean, I feel like I've been blogging a lot, but I really haven't. It's just that when I do blog it takes me for-EVER now with Harper around. 

Speaking of Harper, can you believe she's 8 months old now?! How is it that 8 months have gone by since I gave birth to this little chunk? I know I've said this a million times before but time is flying by me at warp speed. For real. Sometimes it feels like it's only been 8 weeks because it's just slipped away so quickly and she's growing up so fast. She's showing no signs of wanting to crawl yet (she still hates tummy time) but she just recently started to like standing with support. Her big ol' thunder thighs are getting really strong and I'm starting to think she may just be a walker, rather than a crawler. She's a super happy baby now that her acid reflux has subsided and she pretty much smiles all the time. It melts my heart. I'm happy to say were are still going strong and are breastfeeding, though happily (for me) not as often as we were a few months ago. She was a pretty demanding baby in the beginning and was wanting to eat at the boob buffet just about every 30 minutes, and mama could not handle it. Somehow I got her to stretch out her feedings to every 2-3 hours at around 6 months and it was life changing. Thank you lord, mama doesn't have to pull her shirt down 20 times a day anymore. Along with nursing she's also started eating solids. It's so cute seeing her chomp up little bits of soft food with her 3 teeth she has now. Needless to say the solid foods have made cloth diapering, well...interesting. Washing them is a bit more labor intensive once she starts digesting solid foods. I'm staying up way too late researching which diaper sprayer to install on my toilet! All poop jokes aside, I'm really loving the cloth diapers and every week that goes by where I don't have to buy a pack of diapers has me going "Yesssssss!" 

My big kids are doing awesomely. Ayden joined his school's LEGO Robotics club and he's loving it. He gets to stay after school two days a week and work in a with a few of his buddies from class on their LEGO robot car. Not only do they have to build a working, moving vehicle, but they also have to program the electronics and computer system for it. He said it's kind of hard sometimes and they had a few problems with their car falling apart in the beginning, but I think they've found their groove and are working together better and figuring it out. Lily just turned 7 a few weeks ago and we had a roller skating birthday party to celebrate her big day. She's so grown up now and seems like such a "kid" to me now. I always think of her as my baby and I'm just starting to realize that the soft baby features are gone in her face and she's a big girl now. She absolutely loved roller skating and decided she's going to buy a pair of her very own with her allowance and birthday money she's been saving up. Little miss moneybags over here has saved up $54 on her own. I actually had to ask her to make change for me the other day because she has so much cash in her piggy bank.

Oh, and they hit their 10 hour reading goal at school for the last month and they each earned a free pass to our local amusement park for this summer! So proud of my little bookworms and I can't wait to take them to the park. I haven't been there myself in over 10 years, so it will be a fun trip for the whole family.

I've been trying to set a few goals for myself lately, but keeping up on them has proven difficult. Here's where I'm at so far:

Eat better. That's a pretty vague goal, but it's a tough one for me. I'm still breastfeeding, so of course eating a well balanced diet is important for both myself and Harper. It's a daily struggle. Why? Well, honestly, I just don't eat much during the day. This is nothing new, and it's just the way my body is and always has been. If you don't believe me ask my mom- she's exactly the same way, and I can thank her genetics for my small frame, low appetite, and super quick metabolism. I pretty much have zero appetite until around dinnertime, which I know isn't healthy. I start my day off with coffee (and no, I can't quit that, so don't even suggest it) and then I'm not hungry at all until well after lunch. I have to remind myself to stop, sit down, and eat something throughout the day because I find myself jittery from the caffeine buzz and light-headed at times from low blood sugar. I'll finally stop and eat a yogurt and a banana or something and then I forget about food again until after I've picked up the kids from school. Then I get busy again preparing dinner and decide to just wait to eat and fill up on a larger dinner. My kitchen is stocked with all kinds of quick, healthy snack options but getting them in my body has proven difficult. I'm working on it.

Exercise. I absolutely loathe working out. I hate it. It's boring, hard, and I hate sweating. Plus, I just don't know what to do with myself. I don't need to lose weight, as the baby weight is all gone (have you seen my baby? All of my body fat has been sucked out and redeposited on Harper's thighs). But what I'm left with is a skinny, squishy, flabby body with absolutely zero muscle tone or definition. Do I join a gym? Eh. That sounds like hell, to be honest. I love walking, so taking Harper for long walks while pushing her stroller is fun, but the weather isn't cooperating with me lately. In the past I've done yoga, pilates, and various workout videos at home but I always get bored with those quickly and don't keep up on them. What do I do? Someone motivate me.

See? Skinny, yes. Healthy? Not quite.

Blog my heart out. I'm working on this one! After stepping back and taking a bit of a break while I adjust to life with 3 kids I realized something: I missed blogging. It's just been something I've done for so long now that not doing it is weird, and I miss it. My husband stepped up in a big way and surprised me with a brand new, much needed laptop, and that has helped so much already. My old laptop had a broken keyboard (spilled coffee on it, fried it, and had to have an external one plugged into it), broken hinges (couldn't close it) and a bad battery (couldn't unplug it for more than 5 minutes). Having a decent computer to work on has already been a great motivator to get back in the game and hit it hard, and I've got so many great ideas coming up. Think giveaways, more tutorials, some recent beauty favorites, updates on my monthly beauty subscriptions, and I may even venture into the world of vlogging. I'm not so sure about seeing and hearing myself talk in a video, but we'll see. Stay tuned! Lots of fun stuff in the works. :)

Well, that's about it for now. Do you have any tips on how I should reach these goals? What do you do to make sure you eat healthy and get your exercise in? And what kind of things would you like to see on Lulu & Sweet Pea in the future? 

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