And This is Why I Love Men With Accents…

Oh to be 17 again…

If I could go back in time… I’d go back to when I was 17 years old. When I think back on my life… that was the time I felt the most free. The world was my oyster!  Much like now, I accepted adventure with open arms and I was fearless!  At 17, these adventures needed funding. I had been working since I was 15, but I needed to step it up. I needed pocket cash. Enter Denny’s.

The Denny’s was a symbol of my high school years. It was the place to hang out after football games and dances. It was where I first heard of a “dine and dash”. (Although I never had the guts to ever do that!) It was where I drank endless pots of coffee late into the night- giggling over Moons Over My Hammy and chowing on hash browns. I’d work there. It would be epic.

dennys

Summertime. I took on the coffee counter in the smoking section. I hated working the smoking section, but at least I could breathe a little easier at the coffee counter. I did well there. Friendly and quick to smile, I started acquiring regular customers. Mostly, older men. Truckers that were reminded of their granddaughter back home. And there were guys from the motorcycle repair school. Handsome guys. And there was one in particular. Let’s call him, Ethan.

Ethan sat down at my coffee counter one morning and I thought I was looking Val Kilmer square in the face. You know, 1986 Val Kilmer. Before he aged and all. Iceman, himself, was sitting at my coffee counter. Be cool, Kelly. Be cool. It was like magic. Our own little Denny’s coffee counter magic. Conversation was easy and smiles were plentiful. And oh… that accent! Australia. He could put another shrimp on my barbie any day!

Ethan came in everyday and asked me out everyday. But he was 20 and my parents knew better. Despite constantly turning him down… Ethan still came to see me at work, bringing me flowers and leaving me sweet notes. I think he enjoyed the chase. Don’t all boys? And then… one day… he told me he was leaving. He was done with school and was moving back home. Apparently, our motorcycle school is very prestigious. And. That was it.

I’ve never really forgotten about Ethan. It was an exciting time in my life. And every time we eat at Denny’s… I look at the coffee counter and I reminisce. Why did I tell you all of this? Because I’ve been chosen to be a Denny’s Blog Ambassador! Denny’s holds such a special place in my heart, despite being left pocket change as a tip after all the football games.

If you haven’t heard… Denny’s is revamping their menus, even the kids menus. I’m really excited by this, because, as you know, my Allison has Type 1 Diabetes. Eating out isn’t always easy, but a fun and healthier kids menu helps us out tremendously! I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned over the next 6 months as a Denny’s Ambassador. We’ve got some amazing content planned… from recipes to fun and games to a possible casual, local meet up at my old stomping grounds!

I would love to hear a story from your first job… Share one with me? Please?

xo

Kelly

100 Good Deeds

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What exactly is a good deed? To me, a good deed is going out of your way to do something kind for someone else. Doing good deeds has always been something I love to do. It makes my heart soar, to know that I might have had a positive impact on someone’s day. What are some examples of good deeds? Putting a small gift on the desk of a co-worker. Passing on a positive compliment to someone’s boss about them. Leaving a little extra tip at a restaurant. Listening to someone who needs a friend. Asking what you could do to help a friend out. Picking up the coffee for the next person in line. Giving a compliment to a complete stranger. And in return? You ask for nothing.

I’m currently participating in a fabulous movement. The 100 Good Deeds Movement. I’m writing this post without monetary compensation. I’m writing it because I believe in the notion of performing good deeds. I believe in paying it forward and being a light to those who need it. Mary Fisher, renowned author and advocate, spend years in Africa, helping vulnerable women create jewelry and earn a living. Her brainchild, The 100 Good Deeds Movement, will give women in Haiti, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Johannesburg, the opportunity to create a sustainable income for themselves.

I’m currently wearing one of the handcrafted 100 Good Deeds bracelets. It wraps around my wrist 3 times and it has a little rubber ring that I move along the beads each time I do a good deed. It’s a beautiful and tangible reminder of the impact I’m making… not only in my community… but around the world.

You can become a part of the 100 Good Deeds movement too! Simply send a tweet sharing a good deed someone else has done for you. Mention @The1GDbracelet, use hashtag #1GD and include the link to my blog post. The easiest way to do this is to click the “Sharing is caring” button at the top of this post. 15 lucky friends will be chosen at random to receive their very own 100 Good Deeds bracelet! The share button might give you an error message… but don’t listen. It’s just being silly.

I hope to see some of your good deeds floating around Twitter! #1GD

xo

Kelly

Smart Products to Send with Your Kids to Camp

Let’s talk about camp. I haven’t yet sent Rachel or Allison to an overnight camp, but I know it’s coming. From scout camp to field trips… they’re bound to be camping at some point in the near future. You may have already experienced sending your child to an overnight camp for the summer and you’re an old pro. I’d love to hear some of your best tips in the comments below. For now… I’m going to share with you a few products that have been recommended to me to send with my kids to camp:

Hope Paige medical ID bracelets:

Flower Power rubber kid's bracelet

·         Hope Paige bracelets are the perfect camp accessory for your kids diagnosed with an allergy, illness or medical condition.

·         All stylish accessories can be customized with an engraving on the back to alert EMT’s of medical conditions and provide necessary information.

·         As a parent you can ease your mind knowing your kids will be safe while having fun at camp!

·         All information can be found online at www.hopepaige.com or at your local Kroger store.

 

4id:

PWR-BudzO

 

·         4id PowerBudz light up with movement and help make you more noticeable

·         Send your kids off to camp with the 4id light-up products and feel comfort in knowing they will be noticeable and safe while having fun!

·         All information can be found online at www.4id.com

 

Welch’s Fruit Snacks:

 

·         Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth, but keeping your kids healthy, Welch’s® Fruit Snacks come in an abundance of colorful and flavorful varieties.

·         80-calorie pouches provide 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and are gluten-free and preservative free.

·         Visit www.welchsfruitsnacks.com for more information

 

Sparkling ICE:

·         Refreshing, zero-calorie beverage combining naturally flavored mountain spring water, fruit juice, vitamins and antioxidants

·         Available in eleven refreshing flavors and six refreshing Lemonade flavors

·         Sparkling ICE can be found in retailers nationwide.

·         Visit www.sparklingice.com for more details

 

Lance Sandwich Crackers:

Lance® Xtra Fulls® Cracker Sandwiches

·         Baked crackers, made with real peanut butter

·         6 grams of protein, No trans fat or preservatives

·         Available in two varieties: Toasty Peanut Butter and ToastChee Peanut Butter (cheese cracker)

·         Available at Wal-mart, mass merchandisers, and grocery stores nationwide

·         www.lance.com

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I chose to share about it because of it’s timely editorial content! xo

Party In a Jar Book: Monster Slime!

I’m so excited to share with you a project from my friend Vanessa’s new book: Party In a Jar! Today…. we’re going to make Monster Slime! Your kids will love making this stretchable, green putty and decorating the jar. After the fun… you can even help your child come up with a name and a story about their monster. The fun learning possibilities are endless. So let’s get started!

Party in a Jar

Materials (makes 6 – 4oz jars)

2 – 5oz bottles clear school glue
¼ cup water
green food coloring
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Borax
scrapbook paper
googly eyes
pipe cleaners
craft glue
scissors or circle punches
acrylic paint
sponge brush

Directions

1. Paint 6 baby food jar lids in your color of choice. Set aside to dry.
2. Shape pipe cleaner to look like monster arms and glue to the front of the jar.
3. Cut out 2 circles, 1 slightly larger than the other, out of different colored scrapbook paper. Glue circles to the jar, on top of the pipe cleaner, placing the larger circle behind the smaller circle.
4. Pour 2 – 5oz bottles of clear school glue into a large mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup water and 10 drops of green food coloring, mix well.
5. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of Borax in 1 cup of water and add to glue mixture. Use your hands to mix and knead until a solid glop is formed.
6. Store slime in monster jar when not in use.

Jar Tip:

Be creative and use different sizes of googly eyes, different paper and pipe cleaner colors. You can add some yarn hair, fangs or maybe even some antennas.

You can buy the Party In a Jar book on Amazon now!

More Book Tour Projects:

Shaping Up To Be a Mom

Eclectic Momsense

Pink Cake Plate

See Vanessa Craft

 

And… I wasn’t compensated for this post. I just love helping out my bloggy friends when I get the chance to! xo

Running Down Main Street and More…

One week ago… I was running down Main Street USA at Disneyland in a pair of new kicks from New Balance. Really. I was. And there were only a handful of other people there with me. It was one of the most surreal experience I’ve had. So far…

It was one week ago that I took my family with me to Disneyland because I was invited to take part in the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration #Disneysmmoms. It’s technically a conference… but they’ve got it right… it’s truly a celebration. I’ve been invited in years past… but the stars just weren’t aligned for me to attend. Until this year. And I jumped on the opportunity. Disneyland is a short 6 hour drive from Phoenix. I knew the girls would be thrilled and I would get to see some old friends, network, and meet the Disney team. I can’t even begin to thank the team behind this amazing event and I’m completely humbled that I was asked to attend.

Let me start off by saying that the entire 4 day program was amazing. From the family dinner on Thursday evening to the Fun Run and family breakfast on Sunday morning and everything in between… it was an experience my family will not soon forget. My kids favorite perk? We received badges that allowed us in the Fast Pass lines. But I soon discovered that these passes didn’t just get us in a shorter line… they actually created conversation with other people in line. I gained a few new readers over the course of the weekend and I got to share a bit about what #Disneysmmoms really is. We aren’t just a group of bloggers visiting Disney on some extravagant vacation… we are a community of moms and dads sharing with other families the joys of parenting through blogging. We are advocates of family based brands, like Disney, and we were given the opportunity to learn and share with our audiences.

The speakers were phenomenal. The football player, Donald Driver, was such an inspiration! Not only did he share his personal story, but he shared other poignant moments from his life and then went on to tell us how he grows his social media audiences by being authentic and genuine with them. He talked about the responsibilities that come with having influence online and how he and his family deal with it. I was so impressed by how he uses his influence for the betterment of others. We were given a copy of his book, Driven, and I’ve just cracked it open. I’ll let you know how I like it soon. But I can tell you that I’ll love it if it’s anything like his keynote was.

We also heard from LeVar Burton, a childhood hero of mine. I may or may not have spontaneously burst into song, singing the Reading Rainbow theme song, when he walked by me in the hallway. And there were representatives from Disney, Pixar, Twiter, Alamo Car Rental, and Build-a Bear. All of whom bestowed meaningful messages and relevant take-aways. I’ve created a short video of highlights from the trip down below. I’d love for you to take a peek. Mostly, I wanted to share with you, the readers, why these type of conferences are important. They help bloggers, like me, to strengthen my networks, to stay inspired, to keep up on the latest in the industry, and even more importantly… remember to take time out away from my computer with my family. Thank you so much for reading and supporting my work across multiple social channels. Without you… I’d have no reason to write and I’d not be able to partake in such amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

XO-Kelly

Healing my Spirit in Del Mar

Del Mar, California is an amazing place. I can’t thank the Village of Del Mar enough for inviting me as their guest. The moment I drove into the village and felt the cool breeze on my skin… I felt at home. Del Mar has such a sense of community. Families are playing at the park and community center. Couples are holding hands and walking down the beach. Joggers and bikers are enjoying the paths. One of my favorite experiences in Del Mar was simply engaging with the local shop owners. They take pride in their town and their business. They’re friendly and full of such great information for the visitors. Oh and… visitors aren’t made to feel like visitors. I felt like I was a townie. Like I really belonged there. A regular at Bully’s neighborhood bar, grabbing a quick beer among friends. Loved that.

The purpose of my visit was to experience the many wellness activities that Del Mar has to offer. I’ll start with my hotel. I stayed at the Clarion Del Mar Inn by Choice Hotels. It was a quaint, boutique style hotel and it’s been newly renovated. You’ll see in the pictures below, that my room was amazing. The ocean view was breathtaking and there was a great little balcony patio. Also… the room has a compact, yet functional kitchenette. This was great for leftovers and for keeping my snacks cool. Speaking of snacks… the Clarion Del Mar Inn has a cute little Bistro with an outdoor fireplace and view of the ocean. My favorite part of the stay was relaxing by the pool and in the spa. The pool and spa area are surrounded by gorgeous, lush gardens. It was the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring the beaches and village. The staff went above and beyond to make sure that my stay was a pleasant one. And it wasn’t just for me… I observed the staff treat every guest with just as much care.

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The Village of Del Mar offers so many wonderful wellness activities. From salon experiences, to yoga classes and massage packages. From decadent food and wine to a run on the beach… you’re sure to find the perfect activity to heal your body and spirit. I was so pleased to be able to make my way through Del Mar and create a little package of my own.

Let’s talk food. Jake’s is a fantastic restaurant right on the beach. At Jake’s… I really indulged. My friend, Fiona, came down from LA and we had a great time! It started with a lovely wine. A red blend called Prisoner. Along with that… a delightful cheese board with meats and breads. Finally… a delicious Kobe burger. Jake’s has delicious food, friendly staff, and a gorgeous view! We watched the sun set right from our table and everyone  cheered as the last flash of light went below the horizon. What fun!

Moving on that evening… we stopped at what may have been my favorite place in Del Mar. Cafe Secret is a charming little restaurant in the village. We asked our server what his favorite drink was and he served us the most delicious sangria! Really! Then we had some dessert. I cannot emphasize enough how delicious the 4 Leches Cake is at Cafe Secret! Cold, creamy, sweet… decadent! I wanted it again… but they were closed on Monday. Actually… I wanted to bring that point up. Many places are closed on Monday in the village of Del Mar. Make sure you plan your stops accordingly! More food… We had a delicious coffee on the beach at Poseidon and happy hour drinks and snacks at Pacifica Del Mar. They have happy hour deals every night in the bar area! Finally… Bully’s is the friendly neighborhood dive bar. Don’t miss it! They actually have a great dessert menu too!

photo 3Wellness. There are so many things I could say about wellness in Del Mar. I chose to have an hour long reflexology massage at De La Sole. They’re fantastic! Walking in… it’s such a relaxing atmosphere. There’s a tea service table, calming music, and a soothing fountain. My Reflexologist was so knowledgeable and kind. She explained exactly what she was working on and why. I could’ve chosen to have it quiet during my session… but I enjoyed asking questions. After my curiosity was satisfied… I did get quiet and relax. It was an amazing experience. I felt so energized after I left the session! I highly recommend checking out De La Sole. They even have a first time client, walk in special. Ask about it!

In addition to my reflexology massage… I enjoyed a long walk along the beach. The waves are so soothing. There was also plenty of activity happening around me. There were runners, beach yoga, surfing, and out in the distance… paddle boarding. I’d really like to try paddle boarding next time I’m in Del Mar.

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And now… I’ll bet you’re ready to plan your own trip to Del Mar! Whether it’s a family friendly trip, a girls getaway, or a wellness retreat… you’re sure to find it all in Del Mar.For more inspiration… check out their Pinterest boards. Here’s a special promo code, just for you, my friends! Call The Clarion Del Mar Inn directly at (858) 755-9765. Tell them that you have a special promocode: DREAMDELMAR This code gives you 25% off your room rate through May 31, 2014. I’d love to hear what you would most like to try while in Del Mar. Leave me a little note!

xo- Kelly

Note: As disclosed in the first paragraph of my post… I was guest of the village of Del Mar. I was compensated for my travel and received a 2 night stay. All of my activities were on my own. I loved every minute of my stay in Del Mar and I can’t wait to go back!