Traditions Matter With Hickory Farms

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A few weeks ago, I posted about how Hickory Farms has been a long standing tradition of mine and my family since I was a very little girl. Traditions matter because they create long lasting memories for your family and friends. Traditions demonstrate the importance of each person in your heart and in your life, something that can be passed on from generation to generation.

This year, Hickory Farms added something extra special and new to their list of specialty items. Check out Hickory Farms NEW Signature Chocolate Collection. The 1lb chocolate assortment offers the true taste of American confectionery craftsmanship. Each piece is created in small batches using the finest ingredients and paired with premium milk or dark chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate! The collection is available in select stores, from the catalog and online at HickoryFarms.com!

The holidays reminds our family of how fortunate we are and as a result, we take time out to give back to our community. During the holidays we like to spring clean our closets and toy chests and make a ton of donations. We also like to help out at local food kitchens. One of my favorite things about Hickory Farms is that they support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Share Our Strength is the leading non-profit organization working to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. To date, the combined support of Hickory Farms and their customers has raised more than $3.3 million. These contributions help provide funding for summer meal programs, emergency food assistance, nutrition education, holiday charitable giving and long-term solutions for families in need. Hickory Farms encourages us to help out too. For each Party Planner gift box sold this holiday season, Hickory Farms will donate $5 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Hickory Farms has 5 products that they offer free shipping to military APO and FPO addresses. For more information, check out www.hickoryfarms.com.

{Disclosure: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.}

Review: BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat (Perfect for Holiday Travel)

 

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The holiday season between the day before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the busiest travel season in America. Traveling during this time can be hectic, especially if you have to pack and carry bulky items like car seats. I discovered a really cool inflatable car seat by Bubble Bum that can make traveling with a car seat so much easier. Features of the BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat include:

  • Folds flat enough to tuck into an airline carry-on, back-pack or large handbag
  • Easily inflates (by mouth) for use in a rental car, taxi or Uber
  • Comfortable & Colorful
  • Appropriate for ages 4 to 11 years old
  • Rated a “Best Bet” Booster by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Winner of many awards including the The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval

While I highly recommend this seat for a weekend getaway or a week long vacation, I don’t recommend the seat for as a permanent replacement for a non-inflatable booster seat.

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of BubbleBum. I was provided product in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.}

 

‘Tis the Season with Holiday Cards from Minted.com

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Minted.com has always been my “go to” for all things festive: holiday cards, baby shower invitations, birthday invitations, etc.  I can’t wait to order our Christmas cards this year! They offer so many selections to choose from that I think I will order at least a dozen of several different cards.  What I’m most excited about this year is ‘The Minted Envelope!” Now we can save precious time with FREE recipient addressing from Minted, only for a limited time. I’m on target this year to finally get our cards ordered, stamped and in the mailbox. Minted makes doing so beautiful and easy, and it’s always a great way to kick off the holiday season!

{This is a Sponsored Post courtesy of Minted.com. All opinions are my own.}

Happy Friday! $50 Food Lion Gift Card Giveaway & Improved Coupon Hub

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Click HERE to Load your coupons

Food Lion has just made couponing a lot easier! They’ve created the MVP Coupon Hub where  you can click on the coupons you want and upload them directly to your Food Lion MVP Card! It’s as simple as linking your MVP Card to the Grocery Coupon Hub and start loading coupons. No more taking time out of your day getting paper cuts, running out of ink or paper for your printer and forgetting your coupon booklet on the kitchen counter at home. With this awesomely improved coupon hub, shopping for groceries just became more fun and easier for all those upcoming holiday parties! I couldn’t be happier. And I’d love to spread the holiday cheer! I’m offering up Two $50 Food Lion Gift Cards!

{Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post courtesy of Food Lion.}

ENTER TO WIN
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Hickory Farms Gift Box Giveaway

HickoryFarms
Hickory Farms Party Planner
Hickory Farms Party PlannerWhen I was a little girl growing up in Napoleon Ohio, Hickory Farms products represented something very special. It represented a high quality line of cheeses and sausages sold by a local entrepreneur named Richard Ransom. My mom was somewhat of a pioneer in the sense that she always tried to support locally owned businesses and would shop at the local farm markets. My mother would also proudly host every party with a delicious arrangement of smoked gouda cheese along with beef summer sausage and golden toasted crackers, sweet hot mustard and roasted nuts that she proudly purchased at the Maumee Ohio Hickory Farms store. We celebrated every single occasion with our closest family and our best friends around this assortment of savory and sweet treats.

My mom would especially get giddy when someone would gift her with a Hickory Farms gift basket, especially during Christmas time. She created a family tradition back in the 1970s and it’s a tradition that has continued with me to this day.

For more than 60 years Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition that brings family and friends together. Many Americans have a distinct memory of Hickory Farms at their holiday gatherings; Hickory Farms is very proud to be a part of those nostalgic moments and continues to focus on and celebrate its long heritage of tradition and authentic holiday memories.

Hickory Farms not only embraces passing down traditions through generations of families, but also creating new traditions and sharing them with loved ones. For more information or to purchase Hickory Farm products, visit www.HickoryFarms.com

I’d like to spread the holiday cheer that only a Hickory Farms Gift Basket can provide! Enter to Win the “Party Planner Gift Box” below. Contest ends on Friday, December 5th at 5 PM. The gift will be shipped before December 24th—just in time for Christmas!

{Disclosure: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.}

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#MyHCLook: Greet the Holiday Season with Gorgeous Hair at a Great Price!

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©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan…"The Before"-Ella's Naturally Unfinished Look

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan…”The Before”-Ella’s Naturally Unfinished Look

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan Ella…"The After"

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan
Ella…”The After”

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan Ella is ready for the holiday season to begin!

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan
Ella is ready for the holiday season to begin!

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan Thank-you Hair Cuttery!

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan
Thank-you Hair Cuttery!

Parents ask each other all the time where they get their kids hair cut. I hear that question at least once a week and I’m always enthusiastic and proud to recommend our entire family’s go-to hair salon. It’s HAIR CUTTERY®.  Co-Founder Dennis Ratner said it best when he described the HAIR CUTTERY as “the Starbucks of the hair industry”. Indeed it is. There isn’t another salon where I’ve seen so much talent under one roof. Most hairstylists are fully trained to  cut and style all textures of hair on all different people. From babies first hair cut to a mom’s makeover to a teenage daughter’s first prom to son’s big chop post college to a weekly father’s trim, HAIR CUTTERY really delivers fantastic service in a nice atmosphere and clean environment.

I take both of my kids to get their hair cut at HAIR CUTTERY every 8 to 10 weeks. I treat my six year old daughter Ella to HAIR CUTTERY to get a wash, blow-out and flat iron about once a quarter for those special “Mommy/Daughter Dates”. I take her more frequently around the holidays to keep her hair healthy, soft, polished and beautiful looking.

At HAIR CUTTERY, the staff understands that kids and parents have different needs for different occasions. They provide it all: professional service with warm, friendly, experienced stylists with the skills to create a fresh look in a short amount of time and at a fraction of the cost compared to much higher end salons. It is truly a one-stop shop for our entire family’s haircare needs.

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of HAIR CUTTERY. As a long standing customer for over a decade, I’m very proud to partner with them. All opinions are my own.}

Kombucha: My Healthy New Addiction

© ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

© ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

Kombucha is a fermented tea created by adding probiotics, gut-healthy bacteria, yeast, natural sugars and sometimes fruit juice and vitamins sometimes called “mushroom tea”. I’ve been hearing about Kombucha for almost ten years, but was hesitant to try it because there were some brands that listed “mold” and “bacteria” as the ingredients inside the bottle of kombucha. (What? I’m highly allergic to mold! )

However, after doing some research on the popularity of drinking kombucha, I discovered that it is not just a trendy food that “alternative health foodies” drink, it is a deliciously fascinating drink that has become mainstream and touted as a magic elixir.

I put myself on a “30 Day Kombucha Challenge”. I tried several different brands, but GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha gave me the best results for what I was looking for. I drank one every morning as a snack one hour after breakfast and two hours before lunch. Based on my personal 30 day experience, GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha gave me an enormous amount of energy, staved off hunger pains–especially reducing my sugar cravings, improved my digestion, reduced the amount of brain fog I sometimes experience as an over scheduled, exhausted, anxiety prone mom and it quenched my thirst, not to mention I lost five pounds.

I’ll admit that I was skeptical about the benefits of kombucha until I tried it myself. It tastes like a sparkling cider mildly flavored with bursts of ginger, bilberry, citrus and lemon. It’s an addiction of mine now, an expensive one at an average of $3.49 per 16 ounce drink from Whole Foods–but Kombucha is a healthy addiction and one that has changed my life.

{Disclosure: I was not paid or supplied with any samples of this product. All opinions are my own.}

#OTBloggerCrawl

 

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Anchyi Wei, Angelica Talan, Tammy Preston & Krystin Harlow 529 Kids Consign/OTBlogger Crawl Photography: Julien

Whitney Stringer, Angelica Talan & Megan 529 Kids Consign

Whitney Stringer, Angelica Talan & Owner Megan Podolsky at 529 Kids Consign Photography: Julien

Photography by Julien

Photography by Julien

Old Town Alexandria has always been one of my favorite places to shop. The allure of the cobblestone streets and gorgeously autumn colored leaves on the trees framing the Boutique District brings me back to Old Town more times than any other shopping area in Northern Virginia. The Old Town Boutique District offers everything including children’s apparel, home decor, specialty gifts, unique fashion designer clothing, lingerie, beauty, jewelry and shoes.

I was invited to be part of the first annual Old Town Blogger Crawl this year. This event was the first of it’s kind on so many levels. It was like “trick or treating” for fashionistas! Our exclusive group of bloggers went from boutique to boutique sipping sparkly beverages and nibbling on sugary treats while shopping, instagramming and tweeting about their purchases. Each participating blogger was linked with a boutique that related to their brand.  I was very honored to be a brand ambassador for my favorite kids consignment boutique in the entire DC area, 529 Kids Consign.

© Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

© Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

As brand ambassador, I received these two awesome Sugar Booger Lunch Bags by ORE Originals for Ella and Logan in addition to a few other awesome items customized especially for the kids. Follow me on Instagram for more pics of the event (#OTBloggerCrawl).

529 Kids Consign is an upscale children’s and maternity consignment and gift boutique nestled in the heart of charming Old Town on bustling South Royal Street. This quaint store will surprise and delight you. They specialize in the latest designer trends for mom, baby, and children up to size 10. Quality and style are highly important to them, which is why they are particular about the brands we choose for consignment. This is the absolute best boutique to consign all of your children’s gently worn seasonal clothes! They not only offer consigned items but also the freshest and most trendy must-haves for hip moms and cool kids!

{Special Thanks to Carlis Sanchez of Spicy Candy DC & Jessica Hoy of NeuProfile & Ink Blot Army for inviting me to be part of this awesome event! In Store/OT Blogger Crawl Pics courtesy of Julien.}

Autumn in Kid-Friendly Niagara Falls

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan ™Niagara Falls

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan ™Niagara Falls

My husband and I were trying to decide where to squeeze in a mini vacation before the end of the year. We tossed around a few destinations in the South where it’s warmer. But, we have had plenty of warm weather here in DC throughout September and October and I’m over it. I want to experience Fall! I want changing leaf colors, crisp cool weather and I want to wear sweaters and scarves. We hadn’t been to Niagara Falls or Toronto in exactly 20 years! After a game of paper, rock, scissors—Niagara Falls won out over Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah.

If you’re interested in taking the kids for a quick family vacation, a romantic weekend retreat or a mom’s getaway, Niagara Falls is a perfectly simple, beautiful and affordable destination to visit all year round.

STAY

The American side of the falls offers a plethora of affordable family friendly hotels while the Canadian side offers the most breathtaking views of the falls.

These are my favorite hotels on the American Side:

  • Holiday Inn: 114 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls NY. For business or pleasure, relaxation or entertainment, the Holiday Inn has everything you need for a memorable trip to see Niagara Falls. Just a five minute walk to the Seneca Niagara Casino, the mighty Falls, and a three minute drive to the Rainbow Bridge. Free high-speed internet, free parking, in-room coffee makers and fridges, indoor heated pool, brand new Sealy pillow-top beds.
  • Four Points by Sheraton: 7001 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls NY.Located on the banks of the Niagara River and only minutes from the Falls, this newly renovated hotel features river view rooms and Bella Visa Ristorante, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and offering waterfront dining.
  • Barton Hill Hotel & Spa: 100 Center Street, Lewiston NY. Located in the quaint Village of Lewiston, the Barton Hill Hotel & Spa combines the charm and comfort of a historic country inn with the service and amenities of a luxury boutique hotel. This hotel and spa is only minutes from the Niagara Falls State Park and includes luxurious accommodations and exceptional personal service in a serene location. The Barton Hill Hotel & Spa overlooks the lower Niagara River and is perfect for a romantic getaway or a business retreat.
©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan at Cave of The Winds

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan at Cave of The Winds

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan Thank-you Niagara Falls Tourism Bureau

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan
Thank-you Niagara USA Tourism Bureau

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

©Clarendon Moms/Angelica Talan

EXPERIENCE

The absolute BEST way to get the complete Niagara Falls Attraction Experience is by purchasing the Discovery Pass. It covers all of the world class attractions! It covers:

  • The Maid of the Mist® -Aptly named, this one-of-a-kind boat journey embarks from the base of the Observation Tower at Prospect Point for a round-trip adventure into the frothing waters beneath the American and Horseshoe Falls.
  •  Cave of the Winds- Explore beneath the American Falls, navigating your way across the catwalks to the famous Hurricane Deck. Those rain ponchos you see aren’t optional-you’ll be surrounded by the thundering power of water pounding down nearly two hundred feet above.
  • Niagara Legends of Adventure Theater - Witness Niagara Falls’ incredible stories and history that would otherwise take a lifetime to experience. Discover the thundering falls from a completely new and exhilarating perspective, and plunge over them with history’s daredevils. Located on the Lower Level of the Visitor Center. No individual reservations accepted.
  • Niagara Gorge Discovery Center – With hands-on learning for all ages, this family-friendly attraction includes interactive displays, a 180 multi-screen theater showing 12,000 years of the Niagara River, and just nearby, for a separate fee, stands a 26 foot rock-climbing wall that replicates the Great Gorge.
  •  Aquarium of Niagara- Home to more than 1,500 aquatic animals that represent ecosystems ranging from the Great Lakes to coral reefs. Enjoy performances by sea lions, shark feedings and penguin antics every day.

EAT

Niagara Falls USA restaurants offer many dining options for visitors to chose from.

Click HERE to visit Niagara USA for a comprehensive list of restaurants, places to shop and tips on planning your trip.

{Disclosure: Special Thanks to Niagara USA for sponsoring our Discovery Pass and to The Ford Motor Company for sponsoring our Ford Fusion Hybrid. All opinions are my own.}

Top 5 Fitness Trends in the DC Area

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan ™Soul Cycle

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan ™Soul Cycle

Fitness is a lot like fashion, very trendy. And DC is one of the most fitness friendly cities in the U.S. Whether you want to bulk up like the incredible Hulk or lengthen your muscles to look like a ballerina, DC has something to offer. So, forget the treadmill, ditch your average aerobics class and try one of the hottest classes offered in DC.

1. SoulCycle: SoulCycle is a marriage between a cycling boutique, rave dance party and weight training class. With a cult-ish following, tons of DC residents have been flooding the new cycling studio to find out what all the hype is about. Our first lady, Michelle Obama and celebs such as David Beckham, Lena Dunham, Kelly Ripa and Katie Holmes have been seen tapping into their soul at other locations and now you can too. This class promises to burn over 900 calories in one session, sweat is an understatement for these soul sisters (and brothers).

2. Barre: Based on the movements of ballet but coupled with the burn of cross-fit, Barre is no easy lift. The class is set to upbeat music and consists of a warm up, sequence of upper-body exercises using light free weights, push-ups and planks so participants will surely be put to the test. Slow and targeted movements are the key here. Your biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and back muscles will feel the burn during a series of ballet barre. There are about a dozen different types of barre available around DC, but my absolute favorites include: Pure Barre, Xtend Barre and Barre Tech.

3. CrossFit: CrossFit is an intense exercise program featuring dynamic exercises like plyometric jumps, and Olympic lifts while using non-traditional weightlifting equipment such as kettlebells, sand-bags, suspension systems or water-filled implements. You will often see cross-fit participants running in the streets drenched in sweat and that’s usually only the warm up. This class is definitely for those looking for a high-intensity, balls to the wall work out.

4. AerialYoga: Aerial yoga mixes together ancient yoga techniques with modern acrobatic exercises in order to create a total body workout that is fun yet challenging. This class is designed for the person who is looking to work out without feeling like they are working out. By utilizing soft, Ariel hammock fabric, this class stretches your body to the ends of the earth. The fabric allows for full support while participants try new positions elevated off of the ground. Think Cirque Du Soleil for beginners, for all those willing to try new things, this class is for you.

5.Tabata: Want to get in shape but don’t have a lot of time to do it? Tabata training is just what you need. Tabata is high intensity interval workout that last for only four minutes. The workout consists of high intensity movements for 20 seconds followed by a rest for 10; participants are expected to repeat this sequence eight times. An example of a high-intensity movement sequence is: burpees, squats, jumping jacks then sit ups. Participants are expected to do their desired sequence for 20 second straight as hard as they can then rest. For anyone who doesn’t have the time or the money to pay the new DC fitness tax, this workout is for you. Do it in your living room, bed room or even office when no one is watching.