Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vac: the best handheld vacuum {review + giveaway!}

*This post is sponsored by BLACK+DECKER but my love for the Pivot Vac is all my own :)

Last week, I got a sweet little package on my doorstep.
It was like Christmas all over again.
It was my new Pivot Vac from BLACK+DECKER!

Now, if you've read my blog at all you know that I'm a clean freak, and I'm a sucker for cleaning products and gadgets. I even posted just a few weeks ago on Facebook asking my readers about vacuums (because I'm in desperate need of a new one). So when BLACK+DECKER reached out to me I knew it must be fate.

I could not wait to open this bad boy up. I took it out of the box, admired it for a few minutes, and then set it on it's charging base so it could get all revved up and ready to clean.

While it charged, I read up a little on the features of the Pivot Vac.
Here's what I learned:

• Innovative, patented nozzle pivots to clean up high, down low and even in tight spaces. The nozzle also features an on-board brush and extendable crevice tool.

• Its high performance motor provides superior suction capability when compared to other BLACK+DECKER cordless hand vacs

• The cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter keeping suction power strong.

• 3-stage filtration system with a pleated filter design offers the highest level of filtration to help prevent clogs and improve air exhaust.

•Wide mouth design scoops up large debris.

Sounds awesome, right?
You can read more about the features of the Pivot Vac here.

It didn't take long to charge, so I set to work cleaning everything I could find.

First, I had to try that amazing little brush on the end of it and see how it worked for pet hair. We have a very fat, hairy kitty cat that sheds a ton. She has a favorite spot on the arm of the couch where she likes to lay in the sun all day. The cat hair is literally the bane of my existence, so I was very pleased to see how quickly and easily the Pivot Vac loosened and sucked up all of the cat hair. I ended up doing the entire couch and I was shocked (and a little disgusted) to see just how much cat hair came off the couch. Check out this before and after:
{click to enlarge}

This little brush is amazing!

The next place I wanted to try it on  were the stairs. Oh, how I loathe vacuuming the stairs with my big, bulky vacuum, especially now that I'm pregnant! It's almost like a hazard, because I have to lug the huge vacuum out, balance it on the stairs, hold onto it so it doesn't fall down the stairs (and take me with it!) and get the hose out. It ends up being a workout, which is why my stairs are never very clean. What's worse is that at the bottom of my stairs is the laundry room where the litter box is, and the cat tracks little bits of litter up and down the stairs. It really grosses me out. But the Pivot Vac was really easy to use and I had the stairs clean in no time. The little concentrator worked great to get in the corners where dirt, debris, and kitty litter like to hide!
{click to enlarge}

Next up, I needed to try out that pivot action. I'd been procrastinating getting rid of this little cobweb I noticed above the bathroom door for a while now. Mostly because cobwebs creep me out, and I didn't know how to get it down without touching it. The Pivot Vac made quick and easy work of that too, and then I went around the entire house getting all of the doorways and the tops of the trim, where a ton of dust likes to collect.

By this point, the dirt bowl was looking pretty full (though I still had great suction) so I decided to empty it. Cleaning out the bowl and the filter was super easy. The dust bin popped right off and I emptied it into the trash can. I was pretty amazed at how much dirt, hair, and debris it collected! Even with all of that dirt in it, it never lost suction or got clogged. My old vacuum's hose was constantly getting clogged.

One of my personal favorites about the Pivot Vac is how lightweight and easy it is to use. There are no cords, no attachments to lose, and it's not hard to move from mess to mess. It's so easy to use that even my kids have gotten in on the cleaning action. They are at the age now where they have daily and weekly chores to do, and we've incorporated the Pivot Vac into our cleaning routine. They aren't so good at sweeping up messes or vacuuming their rooms, but now they can do it all on their own with the Pivot Vac, and they think it's so fun. They were literally fighting over who would do what chore- a mom's dream!

The amount of places I can use the Pivot Vac around the house is really endless. Besides the furniture, stairs, and doorways, I've also used it in the car, the bathroom floor (especially around the toilet), around the litter box and cat food bowls, under the kitchen table, kitchen rugs, in my sewing room (great for little scraps of fabric, thread, & paper), and it makes quick work of unexpected messes that the kids tend to make (spilled cereal, cracker crumbs, cookies, dried mud and dirt tracked in from outside). I'm not joking when I say I've been using my Pivot Vac just about every day since I've gotten it!

Now, here's the really fun part. Because I genuinely love the Pivot Vac so much, the people at BLACK+DECKER were generous enough to send me two of them- one for myself, and one to giveaway to one of my lucky readers! Isn't that awesome?! You can enter on the Rafflecopter widget below, and the winner will receive their very own Pivot Vac from BLACK+DECKER, valued at $79.99.
Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only.
Please refer to the terms and conditions.
Void where prohibited by law.
Only the first entry is mandatory.

So what do you think? Could you use a Pivot Vac in your life?
What would you use it to clean with?

Make sure to enter the giveaway! Good luck.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter weekend & another quilt

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend with their families!

We started our Sunday morning with the kids finding their baskets and checking out their goodies. Then we headed off to church and went out to breakfast afterwards, where I stuffed myself with an omelet, hash browns, and pancakes. What is it about restaurant pancakes that makes them so good? I can't resist them. Anyway, after breakfast we came home, the kids dug into their baskets and set right to gorging themselves on candy again played with some bubbles outside.

Later in the afternoon, the kids and I headed to my brother and sister-in-law's house for an Easter party. My husband had prior obligations back at church, so it was just me and the kids. However, the rest of my family was all there, including my parents and my other brother who is away at college. It was the first time we were all together since Christmas and it was a lot of fun. This Easter party & egg hunt is an annual thing for everyone else, but it was our first time being able to attend since we moved back. I love that we are all so close now and can spend the holidays together!

We couldn't have had more perfect weather for the party- it was about 60 degrees and sunny for the most part. There were snacks and beverages, some fun games, and an Easter egg hunt for the kids.
The kids each decorated their own paper cut out of an egg. Then they wore this silly bunny sack over their faces to blindfold them, got spun around, and had to pin the egg in the Easter basket. 

There were over 300 eggs out there for all of the kids to find.

The kids scored a ton of candy!

Ayden and Lily each won some prizes from the games. I think I was happiest about the plants they got to take home (which I thought was a great idea for prizes). Ayden guessed closest to the amount of jelly beans that were in a mason jar and Lily won for best decorated egg.

I knew my 1 year old niece was going to get more than enough candy for Easter, so instead I decided to make her another quilt. This is the 3rd one I've made her and it used the same fabric as the one I just made for the new baby's room. Now the cousins will have coordinating quilts with different patterns.

She's so adorable.

After the party we headed home and Shayne cooked up a prime rib for dinner. It was so good and I think I ate my weight in meat. We finished up the night by putting the kids to bed early (they'd been up since 6:30!) and we snuggled up on the couch with some fudgesicles and watched the new episode of Game of Thrones. Gosh, I love that show. I've read all of the books, yet each episode still leaves me on the edge of my seat and/or screaming at the TV.

All in all, it was a perfect Easter Sunday that left this 25 weeks pregnant lady exhausted!

 How did you spend your Easter?
I hope it was a great one!
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A little Gelish shopping haul, sale, & tips for ordering online

Hey gel nail lovers!
I wanted to share my latest gel polish shopping haul and pass on a great deal.

First off, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen my post about the awesome sale happening right now at Sally's Beauty Supply for Gelish MINI. Most of their polishes, including Gelish MINI, are buy two get one free. That's a heck of a steal for my favorite brand of gel polish! And the great thing is that the sale goes on during the entire month of April (oh, how I wish I would have found out sooner). I had a hard time just choosing three new colors, but I had to show a little bit of self control. Chances are I'll head back before the end of the month to get a few more, but I need to at least space out my shopping trips (for the husband's sake). I can go back in about 10 days and it won't seem like I have such a gel polish addiction, right?

Here's what I ended up choosing:
Carnaval Hangover (not sure why it's not "carnival")- a bright, pinky purple.
Radiance is My Middle Name- a fun teal color.
Black Shadow- your basic, glossy black.

I decided to try Carnaval Hangover first and I really like it.

As soon as I was done doing my nails my Ipsy Glam Bag showed up!
(More on Ipsy later).
They match perfectly.

I also recently purchased 2 full sized Gelish products off of Amazon. Here's the one thing you need to know about ordering your gels online: unless you are sure of the color, you may want to check it out in the store first. I have found a lot of gels are not 100% true to color, so sometimes you end up with a color looking different than what you expected. I like to see mine up close in person so that I can double check the colors straight from the bottle. I don't want any surprises showing up in the mail and I certainly don't want to be disappointed when I go to do my nails and the color looks totally different than the one I saw online. Also, check and double check the description for the size and color, and that you buy from a reputable seller with good reviews.

I got a full sized version of Make You Blink Pink, my favorite hot pink gel color (seen here). I also got a full sized bottle of Top It Off (the top coat) because I seem to go through top coat quickly. I love the bigger brushes that these full sized bottles have on them, especially for the top coat. I found it goes on really smoothly and gives it a great finish. I paid $8 for the hot pink and $10.92 for the top coat. That's cheaper than what I pay for the Gelish MINIs at Sally's and it's almost double the size. Good thing, because I use these ones a lot.

Also, in case you're not totally sold on gel nails, check this out:

This is my last gel manicure on day 1 and day 14. They were still pretty shiny and chip free (except I chipped the thumb that morning while cleaning house). This is why I love gels so much. 14 days of having great looking nails that I don't have to fuss over or mess with!

Don't forget to read out my DIY Gel Nails tutorial!
If you've read it & done some gels, tag me & hashtag it #LuluandSweetPea on Instagram or Twitter, or post it to my Facebook page! I'd love to see your gel manicures as well and I love hearing how the tutorials helped you.

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Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated or sponsored by Gelish or Sally's Beauty Supply. I get nothing from recommending them or linking to their websites. I just like the products!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

24 weeks, Spring fun, & an anniversary

Phew. We just finished up Spring Break here and I am beat.

It could have something to do with me being 24 weeks pregnant, but having the kids home for 10 days really took it out of me. 9 more weeks until Summer break and I'm already exhausted just thinking about that. I'm feeling huge, or at least bigger than I did at this point in my last 2 pregnancies. I'm also feeling the effects of being almost 30 and pregnant, rather than 20 & 24 while pregnant with my previous babies. I'm really tired, get winded easily, and I'm already getting really uncomfortable.
(this was actually last week)

We had a really great week of weather here, so on my husband's day off we decided to take the kids to the park downtown. The kids wanted to feed the ducks, and it wasn't until we had gone through a half a loaf of old wheat bread that we noticed the signs that read Please do not feed the water foul. Oops. Well, now we know. But we did made fast friends with some ducks, a lot of overly-aggressive geese, and even a few seagulls. The kids loved it.

On Friday my husband and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary. That makes it 11 years together, which is kind of crazy for me to think about sometimes. It definitely makes me feel a little old!

To see more of our fun Spring pictures, hop over & follow me on Instagram.
Did you do anything fun for Spring Break?

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