Lucky Leprechaun 5k

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Published: 03/14/2016
(Recap: My 2016 New Years Resolution was to run a 5k every month.  You can read more about that resonation and the races I selected here. Want to go with me? It's not about the time, it's just about finishing, so if you want to try a 5k but need a cheerleader, join me- I'll be happy to cheer you on!)

This past weekend, I ran the PR Race Series Lucky Leprechaun 5k at Reston Town Center. This is a really great race for those of you who haven't done a 5k before.  It's mostly flat, it's well marked, and it's mostly flat.

I'm sorry, did I repeat myself? My bad.  I just hate hills.

 Because my middle son had a hockey tournament in Ashbury the same day as the race, my sweet hubby drove up with me so we'd only have one car instead of two.  He was massively bummed that we couldn't stay for the after-party, which was, of course, at a bar.  It was a St. Patrick's Day race, after all!

  I got new headphones for my birthday, and I love them. This is me putting them in, because my husband takes awesome pictures :-/
I also got this new matching purple outfit from my son, which I tossed my really nice race shirt over.  You can't see from the picture, but it's a "technical" shirt, so the fabric feels amazing.  
What's wrong with all this fab new racing stuff is that it's not green.  And man, did people get into this race and the St. Patrick's Day Spirit!! Next year I'll definitely go a little harder in the costume department. I am seriously lacking in tutu ownership, so I'm going to have to watch for a sale.  Side Note: Does anyone know where you buy adult sized tutus? Or maybe you make your own? IDK. 
Also, the kilts.  For the win.

There were a good couple hundred (maybe even a thousand?) of my closest running buddies at the race, so plan to be with a crowd.  Again, the beginning is very flat, the only real "hill" and I use the term loosely, is a slow grade the last mile.  It's nothing you can't handle, even if you don't like hills, evidence: I finished in less time than my last 5K! Whoohoo!

There was also a short kids run at 9:30, which we didn't get to do because, again, hockey.  However, I did get a giant green bagel that I could only eat half of, and it sounded like the after party was going to be a good time.  I did not require the services of a porta potty, but there were plenty of them for those who did.

The only downside to this race was for drivers who didn't notice the ample signage that the roads out of the town center were going to be closed for the race.  There was one woman who had gotten out of her car to scream at a police officer directing traffic (who was not in the least concerned) because the race was blocking her getting out to wherever she was going.

The irony was that she was wearing a shirt that said "Run", so she's probably blocked some traffic herself.

And honestly, exiting wasn't hard.  There was plenty of free garage parking when we arrived, and since they require you to keep a 20 minute mile pace (which you can walk), by the time I got my snack and we got back to the car, we were able to exit quite easily and get to our first hockey game of the day on time.

Glorious :)

I'd definitely run the Lucky Leprechaun again next year, and next time, I'll definitely wear more green!

Thanks for having me PR Races!!

Review: The Climbing Knights

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Published: 02/26/2016
I’m reviewing The Climbing Knights, one of four of SimplyFun new releases.

We love games in our house! We've got one set up in the dining room right now that took us too long to finish on Monday night, so we "paused" it until we have another free evening.  (Hint: put a quarter under the piece of the player who goes next!) Because of our love of games, I was definitely happy to be asked to review The Climbing Knights game from SimplyFun.

What's especially fun about The Climbing Knights game is that it's 3D.  Rather than being a flat board-style game, this game board goes up! What's really great about this style of game is that it's incredibly engaging.  We set the game up in our family room on the coffee table and forgot to take it down before having a few friends over, and the kids were immediately drawn to the game and wanted to know what it was and how to play.  

Here's the overview:
This game is for ages 8 and up.  It takes about 30 minutes to play and is for 2-4 players (because there's only four knights).  To win, your knight needs to climb the tower twice to retrieve "banners" and then slide back down.  Guards can stop you from reaching the top, so watch out! 

Each color-coded knight is actually a magnetic game piece.  Once you set up the castle game board, you move your magnetic knight up the walls using ledges to avoid the guards (they'll send you back down the board) and rolling 3 dice, one to tell you how many spaces to move the first guard (on the first landing), one to tell you how many spaces to move the second guard (on the second landing) and one to tell you how many spaces to move your own piece.  If you're really lucky, you'll roll that each of the guards has fallen asleep! (They can't get you if they're sleeping on the job.) 
The game isn't hard to assemble- although helpful hint, you'll want to turn the pieces to line up with the slots (it's really obvious if you're not 12 and just trying to jam it together in a hurry!) in the correct way.  It took us all of a minute to assemble the castle.  

Playing this game isn't really all that complicated.  You could actually play with much younger children if you wanted to remove one of the guards.  What makes it complicated is the strategy portion- where can you move so that you don't get sent back down to the bottom.  It's not quite chess-level strategy, but your children will quickly learn to think ahead a few moves and consider where the guards will be if they get the maximum number of moves each turn versus if they're sleeping each turn.  

In addition to the Climbing Knights, SimplyFun has several other games that you and your children might enjoy playing.  These are some of their newest releases! 

SimplyFun Review
We enjoyed this fun, 3D game and both my 8 and 10 year old think your kids will really love it, too! My 12 year old enjoyed playing with his siblings, but he can win the game in about 14 seconds, so we all think it's a little too easy for him.  Check out the full SimplyFun line and plan a family game night today! 
I was one of several reviewers for The Climbing Knights, and there were also families that tried out Archery Dice.  Click the link below to see what others thought about these fun, thought-involved games! 
SimplyFun Review
Crew Disclaimer

Giveaway! LuLaRoe

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Published: 02/25/2016
So, some of you may have already heard of LuLaRoe Leggings.  I had a few friends that had them- they're recognizable mainly by their super fun (okay, sometimes a little crazy) designs.  I hadn't tried them because leggings aren't usually a go-to for me because I need thicker fabric (okay, because I'm fat).  However, when Cassie asked me to try a pair for a giveaway, I figured I could always wear them around the house.

You guys, these leggings feel like a kitten and the Snuggle fabric softener bear had a magical baby.  I'm not even kidding.  They are like a hug for your legs.

LuLaRoe leggings come in two sizes, "one size" and "tall and curvy".  I'm on the edge of "One Size" so I decided to go with "tall and curvy" and the first thing I did after realizing they were amazing was to put them on my mom.  She's 6'2 and normally things that are "tall" look like she's getting ready to go wade in a creek, if you know what I'm saying.

As you can see- they go all the way to my mom's ankles! Love it! However they knit these, they seem to stretch and conform really easily to any body type, because they fit her 6'2 size 12 body and they fit my 5'7 size 14, and we were both in love with them!

The one unusual thing about LuLaRoe products is how you purchase them.  Unlike most HBB's where you order from a catalog, you'll want to actually meet up with Cassie so you can purchase from a trunk show (or host one yourself).  The patterns change constantly, and each print is a limited edition, so if you want it you need to snap it up!

In addition to their prints, LuLaRoe also carries solids, and I can tell you right now there is nothing I'd rather wear under a dress or a long sweater than magical SnuggleKitten leggings.

(Some of the prints that might be available at a trunk show, or maybe not! I love the blue starburst ones, Cassie was wearing a fun heart print when I met her...there's lots of options and you'll also notice some solids that would go with anything!)

Here's what Cassie had to say:

I host on-line sales so you get to shop from the comfort of your couch. It and my other sales are open only to the members of my Facebook group, or the members of a hostesses party - you're not competing against the entire internet for that perfect look. i can hold the private hostess parties either online or in-home for you and a collection of good friends. As the host, you earn FREE clothes as your party finds outfits that let them show off their sense of comfy-style. My inventory is ALWAYS growing - I'll have over 200 NEW items arriving in the coming days, and over 100 new pairs of leggings!

Want to win a pair of magical Snuggle/Kitten LuLaRoes to wear yourself? Enter using the rafflecopter below to win your choice from Cassie's collection!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of LuLaRoe Leggings in exchange for this review/giveaway.  All opinions are my own.  No Snuggle bears were harmed in the making of this post.  I am not responsible for you deciding you're never going to wear real pants again. Giveaway provided by LuLaRoe Shotzy.  By entering, you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules, found on this site under "Giveaway Rules."

Social Media Awareness

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Published: 02/08/2016
My friend whose son goes to school in another state received this memo and shared it with me to share with you.  I had never heard of a few of these, so I wanted to share with you all. (Source: Fairfield Public Schools)

We want you to be aware of the following apps and the cons that go along with them. The following apps might be a simple way for your child to keep in contact with his/her friends; however,even innocent use of most of these apps can land a child in a situation he/she never intended to be in. Here are some potentially dangerous apps that are popular among young people.
1. Tinder: An app that is used for hooking-up and dating. Users can rate profiles and find potential hook-ups via GPS location tracking. 450 million profiles are rated every day! The good news is, this app pulls information from user’s Facebook profiles, so it is more authenticated than other apps.
Problem: It is easy for adults and minors to find one another. Also, due to the rating system, it is often used for cyber-bullying, because a group of kids can target another kid and purposefully make his/her rating go down.
2. Snapchat: This app allows a user to send photos and videos to anyone on his/her friend list. The sender can determine how long the receiver can view the image and then the image “destructs” after the allotted time.
Problem: It is the #1 app used for sexting, mostly because people think it is the safer way to sext. However, the “snaps” can easily be recovered and the receiver can take a screen shot and share it with others. Also, a lot of images from Snapchat get posted to revenge porn sites, called “snap porn.”
3. Blendr: A flirting app used to meet new people through GPS location services. You can send messages, photos, videos, rate the hotness of other users, etc.Problem: There are no authentication requirements, so sexual predators can contact minors, minors can meet up with adults. And again, the sexting.
4. Kik Messenger: An instant messaging app with over 100 million users that allows users to exchange videos, pics and sketches. Users can also send YouTube videos and create memes and digital gifs.
Problem: Kids using the app for sexting and sending nude selfies through the app is common. The term “sext buddy” is being replaced with “Kik buddy.” Kids use Reddit and other forum sites to place classified ads for sex by giving out their Kik usernames. Also, Kik does not offer any parental controls and there is no way of authenticating users, thus making it easy for sexual predators to use the app to interact with minors.
5. Whisper: Whisper is an anonymous confession app. It allows users to superimpose text over a picture in order to share their thoughts and feelings anonymously. However, you post anonymously, but it displays the area you are posting from. You can also search for users posting within a mile from you.
Problem: Due to the anonymity, kids are posting pics of other kids with derogatory text superimposed on the image. Also, users do not have to register to use Whisper and can use the app to communicate with other users nearby through GPS. A quick look at the app and you can see that online relationships are forming through the use of this app, but you never know the person behind the computer or phone. Sexual predators also use the app to locate kids and establish a relationship. One man in Seattle, Wash., was charged with raping a 12-year-old girl he met on this app in 2013.6. is one of the most popular social networking sites that is almost exclusively used by kids. It is a Q&A site that allows users to ask other users questions while remaining anonymous.
Problem: Kids will often ask repeated derogatory questions that target one person. Due to the anonymity of the badgering, it creates a virtually consequence-free form of cyber-bullying. has been associated with nine documented cases of suicide in the U.S. and the U.K.
7. Yik Yak: An app that allows users to post text-only “Yaks” of up to 200 characters. The messages can be viewed by the 500 Yakkers who are closest to the person who wrote the Yak, as determined by GPS tracking.
Problem: Users are exposed to and are contributing sexually explicit content, derogatory language and personal attacks. Although the posts are anonymous, kids start revealing personal information as they get more comfortable with other users.
8. Poof: This app allows users to make other apps “disappear” on their phone. Kids can hide any app they don’t want you to see by opening the app and selecting other apps.
Problem: It’s obvious, right? Luckily, you can no longer purchase this app. But, if it was downloaded before it became unavailable, your child may still have it. Keep in mind that these types of apps are created and then terminated quickly, but similar ones are continuously being created. Others to look for: Hidden Apps, App Lock and Hide It Pro.
9. Omegle: This app is primarily used for video chatting. When you use Omegle, you do not identify yourself through the service. Instead, chat participants are only identified as “You” and “Stranger.” However, you can connect Omegle to your Facebook account to find chat partners with similar interests. When choosing this feature, an Omegle Facebook App will receive your Facebook “likes” and try to match you with a stranger with similar likes.
Problem: Sexual predators use this app to find kids to collect personal information from in order to track them down more easily in person.10. Down: This app, which used to be called Bang With Friends, is connected to Facebook. Users can categorize their Facebook friends in one of two ways: They can indicate whether or not a friend is someone they’d like to hang with or someone they are “down” to hook-up with.
Problem: Although identifying someone you are willing to hook-up with doesn’t mean you will actually hook-up with them, it creates a hook-up norm within a peer group. Depending on your sexual values, this might be something you don’t want for your child. Also, because of the classification system, a lot of kids will feel left out or unwanted, which can lead to anxiety, etc.

Introducing 100 WWC Gainesville Area Chapter

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Published: 01/25/2016
100 Women Who Care is trying to open a Gainesville Area Chapter.  Read more about this organization and learn how you can get involved below. 

It’s a very simple concept: We gather 100 women who care to make a $100 donation during a 1 hour meeting.  

The impact: $10,000 to a local charity, four times a year!  

Formation of a Gainesville chapter of 100 WWC is in the works. Please join us for our first meeting, held in partnership with the NOVA chapter of 100 WWC, on February 4th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Centreville Regional Library, located at 14200 St. Germain Dr., Centreville, 20121). A good turnout from our area means all future meetings will be held in Gainesville! For more information, check out our Facebook page at, or contact Julie Beal at or Hasna Ridwan at

New Years Resolution 2016

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Published: 01/03/2016
I have given up on being skinny, y'all.  I lack the willpower to live off of caffeine and dreams, and that whole "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" thing? Obviously that person never learned to cook because I can give you a list of things that taste that good. I did 21 Day Fix, which I loved, and I felt really good and I did lose some inches, but I didn't lose a single pound.

Not one.

And that was incredibly hard on me! Don't I just want to be healthy? No- I just want the scale to say that I'm worth living.

So this year, I'm going to work on changing that.  I am not going to define my self-worth with a number on a piece of battery-operated plastic.  Instead, I am going to answer the question about "Just wanting to be healthy" with a yes.  Yes, I just want to be healthy.  So I'm going to run.  Before I got sick I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and I'd like to get back to that, but I get wicked headaches now from my brain surgery, so I want to set myself up for success and not failure, so my goal is a 5k every month in 2016.  I don't have to get a certain time, I don't have to come in a certain place, I just have to run because I want to be healthy.

(And by "run" I mean "go".  My current "run" pace is some people's "walking" pace. That's fine.)

When I brought this topic up on Facebook, a lot of you expressed similar goals- whether you want to start walking, jogging, try a 5k, or you actually do want to lose some weight or whatever.

(I think you're just fine how you are, btw.  I've never known you any other way than the way you are right now and I accept you just like you are.  In case you don't have anyone else in your life to tell you that, let me be the first.)

However, if you wanna come out and "go" the course with us, I'd love company.  Here's the schedule for 2016, subject to change, especially since the race calendars I'm finding don't necessarily have commitments for farther out in the year:

The Tour de PWCMoms 2016 Race Planner
January: January 17, 2016 Celebrate Community 5k (Alexandria)
February: February 14, 2016 Run Your Heart Out (Fairfax)
March: March 12, 2016 Lucky Leprechaun 5k (Reston)
April: April 10, 2016 Heroes vs. Villains 5k (Fairfax) Family Friendly, kids run, family activities
May: May 1, 2016 Race for Hope DC (DC)
June: June 11, 2016 Twilight Festival (Ashburn) stroller friendly course with food/fun/moonbounces.
July: July 4, 2016 Firecracker 5k (Manassas) 
August: Date TBD Hoping they'll host the Starlight Run again in Triangle.
September: September 10, 2016 The Color Vibe 5k (Manassas)
October: Date TBD, again, hopeful they'll repeat the Columbus Day run at Leesylvania
November: November 24, 2016 Turkey Trot (Manassas)
December: December 31 Festival of Lights 5k (Centreville)

If you're looking for people to run with, a shoutout to Lake Ridge RidgeRunners and Moms Run this Town Manassas/PWC 

Annnnd....I think that's it.  To recap, you rock just the way you are, the goal for me this year is not to think my self-worth is defined by my scale, and we're gonna do some 5ks. Come if you want, I'd love to see you there.

Giveaway: "Playground to Paris" Photography Workshop!

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Published: 08/27/2015
This week's giveaway is an awesome one if you've got aspirations of being a shutter bug!! Check it out, and remember- since spaces are limited, you can go ahead and sign up NOW if you want to ensure that you get a spot, and if you win, your fee will be refunded! 

Maybe it was Christmas morning when you received your first DSLR camera. Or shortly before or after the birth of your first child. You planned to document every milestone with crisp clarity - so perfect that it would appear that you were reliving the moment with each glance of the photograph. You excitedly opened the new box and unloaded a piece of machinery that weighs more than a small child and has more buttons and controls than an airplane cockpit. How in the world will you ever understand how to use this investment? All you wanted were a few good shots of your family!!! 

If you can relate to this common Mom dilemma, then this workshop is for you! 

Don't resort to accepting iPhone shots of your daughter's recital. Don't be ok with your son all blurry as he scores the winning goal! Or worse! Is your "good" camera stored at home - and you aren't even sure where! Gain control of your DSLR and proudly carry it with you to all your events and USE it like a Pro! 

"Playground to Paris" is a 3-hour hands-on experience with Rachael Nichols, teacher and photographer, as you learn how to get your DSLR OFF of Auto and ON to great family memories.

What's included:
Meet other beginning camera users who share your struggles of learning to use their DSLR camera
Discover what all the buttons are and when is the appropriate time to use which setting
An explanation and practical practice of the basics needed for Correct Exposure using Manual Mode. 
How to best work with kids/adults
Hands-on practice inside the meeting room and outside on the streets of Occoquan 
Complimentary Professional Headshots for all attendees (because you deserve to be in the spotlight too!)
Take-home materials for continued practice and review
Morning and Afternoon Snacks
Gift and raffle items 
Invitation to join an informative and interactive Facebook group open to workshop attendees only
Discounts for future sessions and workshops with Parlez-Vous Photography

Other details:
This practical and hands-on workshop will be held on
Sunday, October 4th. 9am-12pm
The Loft Gallery in Historic Occoquan
313 Mill Street, Occoquan VA

**Use the Coupon Code: “PWCMoms" for a discounted rate of $100 (valid for registration before 10/06/15 

Limited seats are available. Please register early to ensure you have a spot. All participants will need to provide their own camera for use in class. 
While this class is perfect for parents wishing to photograph their families, it is also a great place for anyone who wants to get a better understanding of their DLSR camera in a hands-on, practical setting. 

AND it gets better! Enter this week’s giveaway for your chance to win a FREE spot at the workshop for YOU AND A FRIEND!!
(Spots are limited. Register now to be sure you have a spot. If you are selected as the winner, your registration will be fully refunded)

For questions or to learn more about Parlez-Vous Photography (@parlezvousphotography on FB and Instagram), visit, or email

Remember- by entering you agree to our Giveaway Rules!! 

Giveaway: Lil Chic

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Published: 07/16/2015
Leslie from Lil Chic came out to our Miller and Smith open house, and it was so nice to meet her!! I actually got a little misty when she showed me some of the collection because it reminded me of my middle guy's nursery (it was twinkle twinkle little star themed).  I informed my husband that we need to have another baby so I can have matching car seat, stroller, and diaper bag covers.  He informed me that was not gonna happen.


So, word to my sister in law, when you and my brother have kids, this is what you're getting from me, because it's adorable.  I'll let you pick the pattern, but that's about it ;) 

Leslie took the time to answer a few questions about her company for me- it's always better to discuss business over wine! Yay! 

PwcMom: Tell me what inspired your company?
LC: My co-owner is from Spain and a mother of two.  After her first child was born, she went to Spain and brought back footmuffs and stroller bags. She then found that, whenever she was out, she received a lot of positive attention from other parents of young children. 
It then became obvious to us, and those around us, that the quality of these products really stood out compared to other baby brands. And, because you could only find these products in stores abroad, we were inspired to bring them over here to the US!

PwcMom: What's your favorite product you carry?
LC: My personal favorite is the Stroller Footmuff from Lil Chic’s Bryn Collection.  I love the collection’s delicate floral pattern and removable lace accent.

PwcMom: What do your customers say about your products?
LC: The most consistent comments we receive are about the attractiveness and versatility of our products.  Our customers like the style as well as the option of buying coordinating items from each of our collections. Customers also like buying a canopy or footmuff and having peace of mind that what they have purchased will fit on their respective model of stroller or car seat. 

PwcMom: What do you like about owning your own business?
LC: I love the products and am excited for the opportunity to be the first to offer them in the US.  I also have enjoyed the challenge of starting a new business! 

You can find Lil Chic on Facebook and they're also on Twitter  and Instagram at lilchicbaby.  And if you've got a baby on the way or a shower coming up (and you want to WIN the baby shower) you should definitely check them out!! 

For the giveaway, Lil Chic is offering one lucky reader a Sydney Collection Travel Bag in grey- gender neutral and awesome! (PS- that's a $100 diaper bag!!) I especially love that the fabric is laminated (I'm sure that's not the correct term, but that's what I'm going with!) so that you can wipe off any baby-related mess. You know what I'm talking about. 

Enter Using Rafflecopter!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway provided by Lil Chic Baby, by entering you agree to be bound by any and all giveaway rules. 

Giveaway: Touchstone Crystal with Terri O'Neill

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Published: 06/17/2015
I think that we're overdue for a giveaway, don't you? 

Excellent.  Then let's away with Touchstone Crystal with Terri O'Neill.  I shared with you guys the piece she sent me to check out- it's absolutely gorgeous.  I've worn it a few times already (blues and greens are my go-to colors, so it matches a ton of my current outfits) and I have gotten at least one compliment every time I've worn it.  I love that it's sparkly and that the price is right for having a statement piece! Sparkles is my favorite color.  :) 

Erin is a busy momma, but she took a few minutes to talk with me about Touchstone Crystal! (That's her on the right- she's super sweet!) I asked her what she likes about this company, and here's what she had to say:                                                                                                    As a Mom of 3 little ones (7months-age 6) direct sales has always been the perfect balance of having a great income and the flexibility of being home with my children! I wanted a company that is well known, has high standards and has financial security...Swarovski has all that and more! Their newest division-Touchstone Crystal offers the best income opportunity, high quality jewelry at affordable prices (1/2 the line is under $50), the best warranty and the best hostess plan...Swarovski allows me to be home with my kids and allows me to get a 'break' to shower other women with sparkle! I've loved 'bringing the bling' into the lives of so many women-whether they just love to wear it or they've decided to change their own lives with the business opportunity! (Initial investment is only $139!)

In honor of Swarovski's 120th anniversary, Terri is offering our winner a personal shopping experience with $120 in free jewelry! If you'd like, you can upgrade to a personalized party with three friends (Sangria and Sparkles anyone?) and receive $175 in jewelry and each of your guests will receive a free Swarovski charm.

To win- head over to and leave a comment with a link to your favorite piece from Terri's line! (Not just the name, be sure to leave the link!) You can find the full line here.

Know someone who loves sparkle? She also offers special Swarovski Charms! Yours is FREE when you refer a friend who hosts a Summer Sparkle get together or starts her own business!
Learn more at
703-362-8535 (call/text)

Guest Post Review: Geek Fuel

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Published: 05/27/2015
Hi everyone!  This week we are reviewing two boxes for you to check out.  Both of these are geared more toward tweens and teens.  We have Geek Fuel up first and then we will have iBBeautiful.  We hope that between these two subs we have your tween/teen boys and girls covered.  Up first - Geek Fuel!

Geek Fuel is a geek and gamer box that is relatively new that is geared toward 9-14 year olds.  Their first box came out in December and they've become very popular, very quickly.

A monthly sub is $17.90, $16.90 per month for a 3 month subscription, $15.90 per month for a 6 month subscription and $13.90 per month for a yearly subscription.

Geek Fuel ships to the US ($6.00 shipping fee), Canada, and other countries.

What do you get? 
Every box will have a t-shirt, toy/collectible, game download and more.   Geek Fuel kindly sent us this box for review purposes.
A t-shirt is included in every box.  This is a very high quality t-shirt.  It appears to be an exclusive for Geek Fuel and is a fun print.  This shirt is a mash-up of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Avengers which has the turtles as Iron Man, Hawk, Thor and Captain America while April is Black Widow.
There were some Jelly Belly beans and two boxes of candy sticks included.  We're not sure if there is candy in every box, but a treat is always a welcome addition!  The jelly beans were delicious and the candy sticks remind us of the candy cigarettes we used to have when we were younger (which would be *SOOOO* not politically correct these days, so now we have "sticks"). The Scribblenauts Unmasked Mystery Box character is adorable and we received Green Arrow who is a super hot hero right now.  He is listed as ?/18 so he may be a rare one!
Breakstuff Club Coffee Mug - This is a very nice quality mug and we've run it through our dishwasher several times and there is no color or graphic loss.  This also appears to be exclusive to Geek Fuel and is great for younger or older fans (remember Breakfast Club parents?) Avengers characters are represented by school lockers and the mash-up includes Loki (as the Princess), Incredible Hulk (as the Basket Case), Iron Man (as the Brain), Captain American (as the Athlete) and Spiderman (as the Criminal).

Also included:  a Kingdom Wars Battles downloadable game code and sticker sheet.  The game download is worth $20.  Very cool that a game download is included in every box - this pays for the price of the box in itself.  No other gamer boxes do this that we're aware of.
The Geek Guide is included in every box and tells about the curation of the box.  Plus you get a retro video game magazine which has great articles for geeks and gamers alike.

BOTTOM LINE:  There are so many exclusive and neat items in the Geek Fuel subscription.  We love that there is a t-shirt and downloadable game code in every box - those two items push the value for each box well beyond twice what you pay for it.  The collectible figure is super cool!  There is great value for your money here if you have a tween/teen who is into gamer/geek items!  Or maybe even a grown-up who is :)
Author Bio: Rhubarb has lived in Prince William County for almost 16 years and is the mom to three wonderful young men. She is a sometime author and is active in her church. To relax she enjoys finding seashells on the beach and snorkeling for them in the ocean. Her new website and blog Rhubarb&Blackberry: Musings of a Landlocked Mermaid is a work in progress and is more fun than she could have imagined. Her current obsession is subscription boxes (beauty, food, home & lifestyle) and she hopes to launch her own branded items sometime this year.

Conversations off the Couch: June 6th Winery at La Grange

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Published: 05/21/2015

Group Therapy Associates is offering a "Conversations off the Couch" program at the Winery at La Grange- which sounds pretty fantastic to me!

The couples class will feature the topic of communication with local experts facilitating, ready to answer your questions and give advice, in a social setting rather than a clinic, while enjoying the company of great people who share your interests and struggles!

Tickets for two people are $165 total, which includes a catered lunch, wine and sangria tastings, a signed book, an expert panel discussion, and an open Q&A.  If you're going to go out, you may as well help your relationship while you're having fun!!

Click HERE to register! But hurry! Tickets are only available until MAY 26th!! 

2015 Frappuccino Happy Hour!!

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Published: 04/15/2015
Nothing says Happy Hour like a few sips of sweet, caffeinated goodness.

Unless it's 1/2 price sweet, caffeinated goodness.  That says it a little bit better.

Starbucks will be hosting its 2015 Frappuccino Happy Hour from May 1st-May 10, 2015.  During that time, you can get a 1/2 price frappuccino of your choice for 50% off from 3pm-5pm.

Giveaway: Menopause The Musical

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Published: 01/21/2015

MANASSAS, VA. – GFour Productions, winners of 54 Drama Desk and 44 Tony Awards are proudly bringing the international hit show Menopause The Musical® to Manassas, Va., and will play the Hylton Performing Arts Center (10960 George Mason Circle) for two shows only. Tickets are on sale now for performances on Wednesday, February 4 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, February 5 at 8 p.m. and are available at the Hylton Performing Arts Center box office,, or by calling 703-993-7759Groups of 8 or more can save $10 when mentioning the code GROUP, available through the box office only. 
Menopause The Musical® is a groundbreaking celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.” Now celebrating 13 years of female empowerment through hilarious musical comedy, Menopause The Musical® has evolved as a "grassroots" movement of women who deal with life adjustments after 40 by embracing each other and the road ahead.
Set in a department store, four women meet by chance while shopping for a black lace bra at a lingerie sale. After noticing unmistakable similarities among one another, the all-female cast jokes about their woeful hot flashes, mood swings, wrinkles, weight gain and much more. These women form a sisterhood and unique bond with the entire audience as they rejoice in celebrating that menopause is no longer “The Silent Passage.” 
Inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, Menopause The Musical® is a celebration of women who find themselves at any stage of “The Change.” The laughter-filled 90-minute production gets audience members out of their seats and singing along to parodies from classic pop songs of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. 
Menopause The Musical®now in its thirteenth year of production, is recognized as the longest-running scripted production in Las Vegas and continues to entertain nightly at Luxor Hotel and Casino. The hilarious musical has entertained audiences across the country in more than 450 U.S. cities, nearly 300 international cities and a total of 15 countries. For more information, visit
# # #
About GFour ProductionsGFOUR PRODUCTIONS (Producer) GFour Productions recent successes include winning the 2013 Tony Award® for their 50th anniversary production of Edward Albee's WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF; Co-financing the 5 time Tony Award®, 5 time Drama Desk Award®, and 7 time Olivier Award® Winner for Best Musical, MATILDA THE MUSICAL; Co-Producing the critically acclaimed revival of THE GLASS MENAGERIE starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, which The New York Times called "Glorious and Gorgeous!"; launching their 40 week tour of the Tony Award® winning musical, THE GERSHWIN'S PORGY AND BESS, and recently opening their breathtaking production of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL starring 5 time Tony Award® winner, Audra McDonald, as the unforgettable Billie Holiday. Their critically acclaimed follow up to MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL®, MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL, has recently entertained audiences in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Philadelphia and is currently playing a 65-city Australian tour. GFour recently premièred the Spanish-language version of their international hit, MENOPAUSIA EL MUSICAL, in Hollywood, CA. They began producing in 1981 with NINE, winning the Tony Award® that year for Best Musical. Among their favorite Broadway productions are MY ONE AND ONLY starring Tommy Tune, ZORBA THE GREEK starring Anthony Quinn, THE RINK starring Liza Minnelli, BABY, GRAND HOTEL, GRIND, BIG, TRUE WEST, the original and the revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES which won them Tony Awards for Best Musical in 1983 and Best Revival in 2004. Their combined shows have been nominated for 115 Tony Awards®, winning 44 and 110 Drama Desk Awards®, winning 56. For more information, please visit

TICKETS ON SALE NOW$44 | $49.50 | $59.50 
Groups of 8 or more: Save $10 when you mention code GROUP – available through box office only!
Hylton Performing Arts Center Box Office | hyltoncenter.org703-993-7759

Or, Win Your Tickets HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, by entering you agree to our givewaway rules.  PwcMoms is not responsible for hot flashes, night sweats, or estrogen replacement therapy.  But we will eat chocolate and have a glass of wine with you if it gets bad.

Giveaway: Stella & Dot with Tara Murray

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Published: 01/07/2015
On January 1st I had the chance to sit down with Tara, who comes to PWC by way of California, London, Maryland, and some cool trips all over the world working as a human rights lawyer. Seriously, she had some amazing stories!

Her current story is that Tara is now focused on being a mom to her 2-year-old son, and she's enjoying the flexibility that Stella &Dot offers her to be both a mom and an entrepreneur. While she was passionate about her legal career, she found it didn't allow her enough time with her family. When the opportunity to become a Stella & Dot Stylist was presented, Tara wasn't so sure at first because she'd never imagined herself with a fashion accessories business. But she genuinely adored Stella & Dot's collection and loved the company's motto of "empowering women to style their own lives". She decided to give it a try figuring that it might be a good way to earn money on a more flexible schedule. Plus, she figured she had nothing to lose because you earn back your initial investment (as little as $199) after just one or two trunk shows and you get lots of gorgeous accessories, which she was happy to have!  

While she definitely loves the jewelry (and who doesn't love jewelry?), her biggest passion has become helping other moms enjoy the same flexibility in working the hours they want either to pay off a few bills, have a little extra spending money, or even to totally replace their former 9-5. Because there are no quotas or sales requirements and you set your own pace, Tara thinks Stella & Dot really can be whatever you need it to be for you and your family and though she already has a team of about 20 all over the country, now that she's settled here she'd love to build a fun stylist team of PWC moms! If you're curious and would like to learn a bit more you can: chat with Tara at her next local Stella& Dot meet-up on January 10th, contact her at      

Here's a little more info about Stella & Dot: 

In addition to the business opportunity, Stella & Dot obviously offers sparkly things!

I love sparkly things!  I'm going to be sporting this bracelet (it says blessed in several languages and also comes in various "love" translations in gold and "always" translations in rose gold).

In addition to silver and gold delicates (including engravables) as well as some fun classics you can wear separately or together, Stella & Dot's got statement pieces -- if you're a little more daring than I am! All of their jewelry is made of sterling silver, gold vermeil, bronze, semi-precious stones, crystals, and hand-painted enamel. They also carry lovely scarves, handbags, and even a little girls' collection! And anything you get comes with a great return policy (so you're totally happy with your purchase!). Here's a sneak peek of the Spring 2015 collection that will be available starting January 13th:

You can shop for free by hosting your own trunk show! You can learn more here. Most of Tara's hostesses get at least $250 in free accessories and get to shop at 50% off on any additional items.  And because Tara knows just how busy the holidays have been, she's offering January hostesses a free massage from Massage Envy! She's only got a few dates left this month, so if you want to take her up on this offer -- and I would if I were you -- email her at  

Finally, the giveaway!! 

Tara would love to meet up with you for a catered custom style-session! She'll bring some great snacks, talk to you about your personal style, and help you pick out a few pieces to update your accessories wardrobe! As part of your prize, you'll also get a $100 gift card to spend during your consultation! And with half the collection under $50 you're sure to find lots of things to spruce up your style in 2015!  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, by entering a PwcMoms giveaway, which is provided by the sponsor and in no way affiliated with anyone else, you are agreeing to be bound by our giveaway rules. If you need somebody to come to your style session with you, I am totally available to come eat and try on sparkly things anytime.  Just sayin.

Meet Lisa Dillard and Bumble ABC

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Published: 12/01/2014
Lisa Dillard is a local mom and founder of Bumble ABC

Bumble ABC was born out of the idea that it would be great if there were something else in the Woodbridge area for little ones.  I found myself driving further and further out to find things to do with my two year old son.  The idea was originally born out of that,” said Dillard.
Bumble ABC enjoys a partnership with Engineering for Kids, utilizing their space during EFK’s down time.  They use existing classrooms and add more “little kid” options including playmats, tunnels, and tents, and swap the regular Legos out for Duplos.
With the learning center that Engineering for Kids just opened, there was some open calendar space during the day, so we’re using the down time in their space until we can open our own space.
“Each week open play has a theme,” explained Dillard. “We change the dress up clothes, craft, and toys to engage the children.  It’s not necessarily structured, but directed play.”
Bumble ABC holds open plays on Monday and Wednesday from 10am-12pm.  Open play is $10 per child, infants are $5 or free with a paid sibling. Bumble ABC also offers discounts to mommy groups and private groups, with a maximum of 20 kids.  They also offer mobile classes for preschools as well as birthday parties.  Classes are currently available in Science, Music & Movement, Sports and Art (ages 3-6).  They plan to offer Baby & Me Classes and Music & Movement classes (ages 0-3) soon.
For more information about Bumble ABC, visit them on Facebook or their Website

Disclosure: Bumble ABC is an advertiser with PwcMoms, but all opinions are our own. 

Nordstrom Personal Stylist Experience

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Published: 11/25/2014
A couple of weeks ago I was freaking out about needing new clothes.  I have another job that's one of those great paradoxes where it's a very small job, but when there are events for it, there's a good deal of meeting important people or just general face time with the public, and I have just never been one of those people who can look amazing just by waking up in the morning.

In addition to that, I've been a professional mommy for some time now.  When I worked, I worked in Children's Ministry and my required wardrobe was church clothes and/or jeans so I could get down on the floor and play legos.

One does not play legos on the floor in a white jacket.  One does, however, go to meetings in one. Another Hayat pick (blouse, too)

Suddenly, I had a conference to go to and a few info sessions to help run, and I didn't have anything I deemed suitable to wear.  After having a little Facebook panic, a friend suggested I schedule a shopping trip with a Nordstrom's stylist. It's free, it's easy, and there's not a minimum purchase, although they are paid off commission, so they certainly don't mind if you want to buy it all.

I picked an appointment with Hayat Ali out of Dulles Town Center, who was a lot of fun.  Prior to the appointment I indicated my size, what I do, type of things I was looking for, and she had an entire dressing room ready to go.  What I liked, we kept, what I didn't was whisked away.  When I needed new sizes or an accessory she made it magically appear.  You can book an appointment for a full style overhaul, a special occasion (think Mother of the Bride), a custom appointment, or a quick style session.  Note that if you're a hard fit (think button up shirts, my nemesis) Nordstrom will tailor your clothing free of charge.

(That's Hayat behind me- super nice and easy to work with!)

The good news is, this was totally awesome.  The bad news was that at the end, I picked out $4,000 of things that I wanted.  I didn't get them all, but I did pick up 2 jackets, 2 blouses, and a pair of amazing dark wash jeans to pair with items I already had.  I spent more money on myself than I have ever spent, but I felt amazing in everything and picked items that worked well with lots of things, although if anyone wants to get me a present, I have some suggestions.

Hayat was great about identifying what I like and what worked well on me.  She knew colors and cuts to maximize my good parts and minimize my flaws.  I was really happy with everything, and it helped me to feel really confident this weekend.  It's weird to be the oldest young person in a room- still "young" but with older kids, and with a really strange resume.  I could have total self-confidence on my own, but I don't, so this was a great boost for me.

This is me in one of my outfits- I've just finished around 18 hours of training and an exam- but everyone kept telling me how fantastic this blue blazer was- great job Hayat! (The lady on the left was President Reagan's personal assistant after he left office, incidentally an awesome woman!)

The other great part is that once you've worked with a stylist, they know what you like and if something fantastic comes in that they know you like, or if that jacket you wanted but was out of your budget goes on sale, they'll let you know. I would totally recommend doing this for a big event, or if you're heading back to work, or if you just like to shop and would like some help identifying new trends for your wardrobe!

So.  That's my overview of working with a Nordstrom stylist.  It was awesome.  If you go, you should pick Hayat.  You should also go with a budget in mind, and be okay with the fact that you can't get everything you want, and will have to make hard choices.  They're really really good at making you look your best, so you'll want it all.  I felt really happy with myself when I was done, and that was worth both the time and the money I spent.

PS- since I've now shown you my blazers, be sure to look surprised if you show up somewhere and I'm wearing one of them, mmkay? Thanks.

Nordstroms didn't solicit this review or pay me.  In fact, I paid them.  All opinions are my own.  I am not responsible if you look so foxy your husband takes you out or if you look so professional you get a promotion- but you could definitely thank your stylist.

Elite Maid Squad

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Published: 10/30/2014
We had a LOT of talk on Facebook the other day about cleaning services, and so I'm very excited to introduce our newest advertiser, Elite Maid Squad!

Elite Maid Squad offers online booking, same day cleanings, and flat rate pricing based on the number of bedrooms in your home. Extras like windows, linen service, appliances, and more are also available to add-on.  With the holidays coming, now is a great time to treat yourself to a little extra help around the house! Before family shows up, you can ensure your home is sparkling and ready for visitors!

Elite Maid Squad offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and is also locally mom and veteran owned! Right now, you can save $25 per cleaning on your first three cleanings when you use code PWCMOM2014! That's Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a fresh and sparkly New Year for you!

Guest Post: Supplements While Nursing

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Published: 10/28/2014
Earlier this summer, I asked you for your fitness/health/nutrition related questions for Max Muscle Owner Corry Matthews to respond to.  Thanks, Corry! 

Supplements for Moms who are nursing (Pre/Postnatal)

This is a question I am often asked - what supplements are safe during pregnancy.  Max Muscle Sports Nutrition carries several that I highly recommend to pregnant and nursing moms (if you aren't nursing, you aren't sharing the supplements post-partum with your baby so you can choose any range of supplements).

Protein Powder - these are easy portable ways to get nutrition in on the go, especially when you either don't feel like eating or don't have the time to cook protein.  Max Muscle offers a variety that are safe for both mother and baby.  MaxPro and Triple Whey are milk based proteins and generally safe for for pregnant moms.  Test babies tolerance if nursing by having one shake a day, if baby shows no signs of increased irritation 1-2 hours post shake than you can assume it was ok.  If you desire is to add more shakes do so, every 2-3 days, similar to how you introduce new foods to your baby.

Omega 3-6-9 - opt for a high quality nutraceutical.  This is good for both mom and baby - reducing inflammation, enhancing brain function and provides essential fats.  Another option is the Omega 3 plus.

Multi-Vitamin - choose a high quality prenatal multi-vitamin and take it during your entire pregnancy and post partum as long as you nurse your baby.  The additional iron, folic acid and b-vitamins are good for developing red blood cells, reducing neural tube defects in babies, and preventing anemia.  I highly recommend the MN Prenatal.

**For more on this topic, be sure to check out Corry's book- 9 Months In 9 Months Out.  Written by several women who are both mothers and experts in their field, this book discusses the second nine months of pregnancy- the ones AFTER the baby is born.  

This post is brought to you by Corry Matthews, owner of Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Manassas and Springfield.  Corry is a mother of 2, author, and certified nutrition expert with a speciality in pregnancy-related nutrition. You can reach her at: 
                                                       Corry Matthews 703-772-7113

Review: Malones of Manassas

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Published: 10/21/2014
I feel like I should re-title every review I do "Kristina's Sub-Par iPhone Photography Presents:", but I'm not going to because that's a lot of typing to have to do every time. 

Ain't nobody got time for that. 

But what they do have time for is a nice dinner out at Malones of Manassas.  Located in what used to be a church, Malones has a warm, intimate feel.  It's slightly louder than I would have expected, but I think that's just the voices carrying as they do in church basements- although this former church basement doesn't look like a fellowship hall anymore.  There's lovely stone and a wine wall and a bar complete with flatscreen TVs in case you want to have date night but your husband needs to watch the game.  I think the people actually seated at the bar were most interested in that :) 

 Hello people sitting near us! I'm taking a picture of the ambiance and you're in the way.  I hope you're having a lovely dinner.
So, on to the food! This is a white cranberry martini, which looks like Christmas to me, with tiny ice crystals and red cranberry garnish.  Tasty!  We ordered an appetizer, but it never made it to our table, which was okay because we decided that meant we were destined to order two deserts instead of one. Better!
 This is a "side for sharing" of Macaroni and Cheese.  It has ham, peas, and breadcrumbs and was pretty fantastic.  I thought all the pasta dishes needed salt, but I probably need to be in a 12 step program for sodium addiction, and there was salt on the table, so no big deal.  I love macaroni and cheese, and yes, I ordered a side of Mac and Cheese with my Tortellini.  I don't eat white flour normally and so since this was a review I needed to make that sacrifice in the name of....

Science.  We're going to go with science.
 For dinner, Austin got the Pork and Beans 2.0 which was homemade bangers- which he says were outstanding (I tried a bite and then stole another one and I don't typically do sausage).  The beans were not just Pork and Beans from a can- they were smoky and yummy.  He picked out the pork belly- it's not his thing- but I'm asking him to describe the dish to me right now (at 8:30 am) and he's telling me he'd eat it again right now for breakfast.  I'm pretty sure that means he likes it :)

Behind that is their crazy cobs.  You need to stop what you're doing right now and go get some of this corn.  We weren't sure it'd be great because the corn season isn't really October, but again, this is for science.  I would go back and order 4 servings of corn and just sit there and eat it with everyone staring at the crazy lady.  It was that good.
This is my Eggplant Tortellini, which, as I mentioned, I ate with a side of mac and cheese.  It was really yummy and I appreciate when a restaurant can do vegetarian well.  I was a vegetarian for 2 years and sometimes they just throw whatever junk they've got at you and assume that if you don't like meat you don't like food.  This was not the case here. 
 Dessert!! As I mentioned, not getting an appetizer meant two desserts seemed logical.  This is a "congo bar" which was a blondie with nuts and chocolate chips served warm with ice cream and caramel sauce.  It's really sweet but really delicious!
The creme brûlée (which is my hub's favorite dessert of all time) came with cranberry chutney on it, which neither one of us cared for- although the creme itself was great! 

Our dinner total was $102- so obviously Malones is more of an "occasion dinner" although we certainly could've not gotten 2 deserts and 2 sides if we were being budget-concious.  They do also have a bar menu and a lunch menu and a Sunday Brunch (which includes something called Stuffed Croissant Pudding, and I'm not sure how I've lived my entire life without having that in it).  This would be a great place to take visiting in-laws you need to impress for brunch.  

We really liked Malones.  We'd definitely eat there again for a special night out, or for a lunch or brunch at a great location! 

I'm really enjoying getting to experience Old Town Manassas, it's making the move from Woodbridge a lot easier to find a bunch of cool new things to do and places to go- so thanks to Malones for having us out!

We were provided with a gift card to do our review, but all opinions are my own.  Also, you probably shouldn't really eat 4 servings of corn all at once because I'm not sure what that would do to your stomach, but...that sounds like a science challenge, so if anybody wants to go cob for cob, I'm totally in. 

FREE Admission- Community Appreciation Week 2014 at the Freedom Center

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Published: 10/18/2014
This week is free admission week at the Freedom Center! We love our membership at FAFC- it's great for taking the kids swimming, my husband's actual workouts, and me pretending I can do Zumba with rhythm.

I can't.  But nobody laughs at me!

Below is the full schedule, but here are a few highlights!

Monday October 20th-
Eating for Weight Loss and Cooking Demo- 7pm

Tuesday October 21st-
Complimentary Breakfast in the Lobby- 6:30am and 9:30am

Wednesday October 22nd-
Les Mills Body Combat Class at 10:30am

Thursday October 23rd-
Technogym Orientation in the Weight Room 8:30am

Friday October 24th-
Family Movie Night in the Pool! 5:30pm (We plan to be there! Find me!)

Saturday October 25th
Family Fun and Fit Day 4pm-6pm

Sunday, October 26th-
Babysitting Certification (Registration Required) 9am-4pm

Review: Massage Heights

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Published: 10/16/2014
Some days, it is good to be a blogger.

Some days I refuse to use that term...but some days- it's a good gig.

Recently my neurologist told me that I would benefit from massages.  The muscles in my neck and head are all wound up and that's pressing on the nerves at my incision site (I had brain surgery if you're just tuning in) and that's giving me headaches.  The idea of someone touching me made me a little nervous because, well, all that stuff is really tight and painful.  I don't really like talking about it (so I don't) but if you see me, I'm in pain.  Every day.  Some days are better than others (kind of like with being a blogger) but it's just a fact of life that I live with now, so I didn't want to let someone hurt me MORE by giving me a massage and I didn't schedule anything.

At Bumps, Babies and Beyond, I was stationed with Massage Heights directly behind me.  In fact, they brought a chair and were giving quickie seated massages out- which I didn't try because if I was going to cry or something I didn't want to do it in the middle of Potomac Mills Mall.  The owner and I talked, though, and she said that she knew just the person to work on me, so I had to come in and try it out.

Well, fine. If it's in the name of research for my website, I guess I need to man up.

Massage Heights is located in Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge, across from Jerry's Pizza and the Teachers' Store.  I was signed up with Laura W. who actually did additional training so she could work on people just like me who have some complicated things going on with their muscles.

All I can say after my 1 hour massage is that y'all, I am so dumb.

I mean, seriously- I should have tried this forever ago.  I stood up from the massage table and I could roll my head back! I've always hear the expression "I have a knot in my back" but you know you can actually feel those suckers untying? It's crazy!

Laura was wonderful and really took time to understand what was going on with me, what I was looking to accomplish with my massage, and talked with me to make sure nothing was painful the entire time.  Some things were a little uncomfortable- working the knots out of my neck, for example, but nothing was painful, and I felt so great afterwards....

that I signed up for a membership so I can get one of these a month.

For real.

Massage Heights offers introductory massages at $59.99 for 1 hour, $89.99 for 90 minutes, or $119 for 2 hours.  You can also add "elevations" to your massage starting at $12, including hot stones, reviving foot scrub (I tried this, it felt lovely!), revitalizing face mask, or active therapy.  Aroma therapy is included for first time guests and members.  I opted for a mint scent because I am the only person on the planet who can't stand lavender- it smelled fantastic. They have four scent blends available, though, Relax, Breathe, Energize, and Revive.

Memberships are flexible with three price points and the ability to use your membership at any location (so if you're at the beach or away on business, you can find your nearest location there) and benefits also roll over, so if you skip a month, you can get two the next month.  I have this evil plan where I don't go again for 4 months and get one a week, but I'm not sure I can wait that long.  I have another evil plan where I make my husband go to massage therapist certification.

Instead, I think I'll just book my next appointment on November 1.  That's probably better.

For more information about Massage Heights, or to find additional locations, visit their website or Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a 30 minute massage to complete my review.  I opted to up to an hour, which I paid for. All opinions are my own. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying massage if you have any kind of "issues", but otherwise, you should go.  And call me, because I would totally take an excuse to go extra.

Guest Post: Postnatal Nutrition

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Published: 10/14/2014
Earlier this summer, I asked you for your fitness/health/nutrition related questions for Max Muscle Owner Corry Matthews to respond to.  Thanks, Corry! 

Postnatal Nutrition:
Wow...9, really 10 months is over and now you really want to get your body back in shape.  Well, hold on, it took 10 months to put on the additional weight, and it may take the same amount of time, some less some more, to lose it!  Here are the basics for eating to lose baby weight:

                If you are breastfeeding, do not begin dieting until after your milk supply has been established - this usually takes 2-4 weeks.  Also if breastfeeding ensure you are drinking ample amounts of water to maintain milk supply.  A good way to ensure this is happening, drink 8-10oz. of water every time you nurse your baby.

                Do not lose more than 1-2 pounds per week and do not drop your calories below 1000.  Losing weight too quickly may lead to fatigue, loss of muscle, decreased milk supply, depression and sagging skin. 

                Follow the same guidelines as during pregnancy when it comes to the foods you should be consuming until baby is at least 3 months old.  After 3 months postpartum your body is well on its way to recovery.

**For more on this topic, be sure to check out Corry's book- 9 Months In 9 Months Out.  Written by several women who are both mothers and experts in their field, this book discusses the second nine months of pregnancy- the ones AFTER the baby is born.  

This post is brought to you by Corry Matthews, owner of Max Muscle Sports Nutrition in Manassas and Springfield.  Corry is a mother of 2, author, and certified nutrition expert with a speciality in pregnancy-related nutrition. You can reach her at: 
                                                         Corry Matthews 703-772-7113

Date Night: Cheers Art Studio

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Published: 10/06/2014
Gina from Cheers has been inviting me out for some time to check out their studio- but to be honest, I've been avoiding it because I have zero artistic talent.

Maybe negative zero.  Can you have that?

Anyhow, we were near each other at the Bumps, Babies, and Beyond Expo and she invited me to come for their first "Date Night" this past Friday, and since there was nothing on the calendar, I said yes.  I figured worst case scenario, my husband and I could make fun of each other's total lack of talent in the painting department.  Don't get me wrong- if you need a room painted in one solid color, my husband is a boss- but painting anything else? Probably no.

But then, the strangest thing happened.  We had a ton of fun, and it turns out we don't suck nearly as much as we thought we did!

Let's back up.  Cheers is a "fun evening out" venue in Woodbridge off Minnieville Road.  You can bring your own libations and snacks, and an art teacher takes you through a prepared project.  I found individual Tiramisu and Wine Juice Boxes.  I am not really a drinker- and these were gross.  I don't recommend them.  (Or maybe that's just me not being a wine drinker) The tiramisu was good.

On the night we went, we were making two love birds sitting on a branch.  The sample project was daytime, but the teacher went on to demo an evening scene for those of us who needed different colors for our houses- which is what we went with. The people sitting near us were really nice, and incidentally, our friends showed up (totally unplanned!) so that was fun, too! First we did some swirly colors.  I was really good at this part.  Light in the center, dark on the outside.  The good news is, if you accidentally get some red or some green in your brush, people think you were being artsy! Just go with it! Don't tell them you're, in fact, a giant klutz!
Next we made birds.  There was a trick! We made ovals, filled them in, and then put the brush flat on the canvas and swirled it around itself to make the head.  #EvenICanDoThat
So here's where it started to get a little dicey.  I happen to like following directions.  My husband, however, wanted to be all innovative and do squares instead of circles.  I wanted to get an attitude about the fact that our finished product wasn't going to look like the teacher's (and therefore was not going to be winning), so I just sat back and let him go with the squares.  If I'd been making my own, I would have copied EXACTLY because that's how you DO it. 
 I drag this poor man out to more weird stuff than is fair, so the least I could do was let him do the squares.  Then he abandoned me to take a work call, so I added some color to each square and decided it was okay since everyone else was like "Wow, squares!!" I assume they were doing that to be nice, but I am pretending it's because it looks good.
In the end, we totally had fun.  We were even both impressed with our ability to make swirly colors and birds.  I'm not saying we're going to quit our day jobs, but it turned out pretty good considering the source (namely, two un-talented people!). I think we'd actually both really like to do it again- which is really surprising because this is not our thing.  I'd get my own canvas, though, so that I can copy the teacher exactly, because that's the kind of kid I am.  If you like to work cooperatively, that's perfect for date night...but if you're a little more independent, there's lots of individual options, too!    There was lots of laughing going on, and everyone seemed to have a good time. 
Ultimately, everyone's seemed pretty happy in the end :) A lovely way to spend a Friday night with my favorite guy in the world. 

For more information about Cheers, and to see their upcoming projects, visit their website or their Facebook page.  

Thanks to Cheers for having us come out! While our session was gifted to us, all opinions, including those about wine in a juice box, are my own.  As always when I'm talking about date night, make sure you use a designated driver. 

Guest Post: 8 Easy Steps to Save Money, Help the Environment and Our Community

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Published: 09/23/2014
8 Easy Steps to Save Money, Help the Environment and Our Community

Being green is a big buzzword these days. Everyone has heard of being eco-friendly and helping to reduce the environmental footprint, but many don’t know what they can do, or think their one contribution won’t make much of a dent.

At home, you can help protect the environment in so many ways. Every small step helps our community to become cleaner and helps make an impact on the environment. 

Everyone can do their part by practicing the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

We can all make some changes in our home that are easy and save us money! Here are some tips that are easy to do:
  • ·      Reuse and recycle what you already have! You can save tons of money on storage containers by reusing glass and plastic food containers when they are empty.
  • ·      Participate in recycling programs, such as recycling cans, plastic, glass and paper products.
  • ·      Use bio-degradable trash bags that are made of corn and dissolve over time, adding less plastic to our landfills.
  • ·      Save water and energy by avoiding using permanent press cycle when doing laundry, which uses an added 5 gallons for the extra rinse. Wash laundry in cold water, since 80-90% of the machines energy is used to heat the water. I promise your clothes will be clean!
  • ·      Avoid washing your car in your driveway.  Who has the time anyhow! Few people realize that washing our cars in our driveways is one of the most environmentally unfriendly things we can do. The average home driveway car wash uses 140 gallons of water, whereas an environmentally friendly car wash uses just 30 gallons and recycles water in a controlled water management system. And the soap chemicals run off your car and go straight into our storm drains which eventually get into our river, streams, creeks and bays where it poisons aquatic life and wreaks other ecosystem havoc.
  • ·      Use non-toxic cleaners in your home. There are many natural cleaners on the market these days that you can buy.
  • ·      You can also make great environmentally safe cleaners out of regular household items. The acid in white vinegar makes it naturally capable of killing mold and bacteria, and you can use it to clean mirrors and windows. Baking soda is great for deodorizing, especially with all that sports equipment from your kids.  Lemon juice is another bacteria killer and is a multi-purpose cleaner that’s useful for scrubbing walls and floors.
  • ·      Turn off Lights: I know this sounds incredibly easy and almost silly, but turning off the lights when you are not using them, as well as putting your computers, TV’s, etc on a power strip and turning them off nightly, saves tons of money and energy.  Electronics use a huge amount of energy, so turning them off helps reduce our energy consumption.

Not only will this help reduce the environmental footprint, but can also rid your home of the toxins that can cause major health problems from continuous exposure or even small amounts of exposure over time.

You can also help teach your children about being good to our earth by making small changes in your home which are easy, more economical, and SMART!

This post is brought to you by Suzanne Behrens, owner of The Smart Car Wash in Woodbridge.  Suzanne is a mother of 3, local business owner, and someone who cares about keeping our community clean.  You can reach her at .

Blue and Grey Ladies' Tea @Weems Botts

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Published: 09/22/2014

Milla's Playland A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years...