Things I Love Thursday

It’s been a few weeks since I published a Things I Love Thursday wrap up. I definitely wanted to post today as many of us, including myself, will be enjoying way too much turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie next week and relaxing in front of a fire or football game. I’m not sure if I’ll be posting next week so here are a few things I’m loving lately, from a new to me beauty product line to a fun new board game for kids…let’s face it, you can only play Hi-Ho Cherry O so many times, right?

Things I Love Thursday

Battle Sheep – In a wired world where kids zone out to too many games in front of a screen, I loved the Battle Sheep board game sent to us recently from Blue Orange games. If you’re looking for a fun board game to give to your child this Christmas, I highly recommend it! Plus I don’t know about you but it’s fun to discover new board games for family game night, although we always love the classics. The play time is “just right” for parents, too, if you know what I mean (no epic 2-hour games where someone “loses…” cough.) It kept me, and my 9-year-old, entertained. The sheep graphics are hilarious, too. It’s perfect for ages 7 and up!

Battle Sheep Game

Cooking Mama 5 3DS game – It seems like every kid between the ages of 8 and 12 I know has a Nintendo DS and we also have a 3DS. My 9-year-old typically gets at least one new DS game in her Christmas stocking so we were excited to review the new Cooking Mama 3DS game. It’s always fun to find games that are more geared toward girls, too, although some of the best chefs I know (including my husband) are men! My daughter loved this game and it was just released in September, making it a hot new 3DS game for Christmas lists.

Prize Candle – I love the concept behind this candle! Not only is it a fun idea (the soy candle burns down to reveal a prize ring of varying values from $10 to $5,000), but the candle smells great and has a long burn life. I absolutely love candles and this would make a great and unusual teacher gift. Right now they are also having an INCREDIBLE buy two candles, get two free promo going on so definitely check them out!

prize candle

Prize Candle Ring

My prize candle ring has a value of $10, but it is much blingier than that!

Michelle Phan Mascara

Em Michelle Phan Lengthening Mascara – My friends at Tieks recently sent me a wonderful goodie package filled with Em Cosmetics from Michelle Phan. I am loving the Lengthening Mascara in black! It lasts all day and night and wipes off easily at bedtime with my Neutrogena cosmetic wipes (also a fave product which are great to stock up on at Costco.) I was also sent Michelle Phan’s The Life Palette set in the career shades and haven’t really tried it out yet but I love that it comes with a free compact you can fill in with your favorite shades.

Super Skinny Serum Hair

Pink Out Loud! Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum – This was a special Breast Cancer Awareness Limited edition bottle and I am so glad I tried it! This serum smells AMAZING and helps calm the fall frizzies. I tend to have dry hair and this is perfect. I use anti-aging serums on my face, so why not try one on my hair? If you are looking for a hair product that will help battle dryness this winter, I definitely recommend it. I don’t know about you, but I never can get my hair to look as put together and polished as my stylist, but I’ve discovered that using the right product makes a world of difference and this is one of the best I’ve tried at home. This product is available year round, but this special edition pink accent bottle is only available for a limited time.

What new products are you loving this week?



Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Just Outside My Cubicle

Christmas in Nashville

Love the tree at my office but I won’t be decorating until after Thanksgiving, what about you?

One Mom’s Insights On Instagram

Instagram and Tweens Guide one mom's insights

As a wired family we embrace the use of technology within reason. When it came time for my middle school daughter to join a social network she instantly gravitated toward Instagram. She’s nearly 12 1/2 and I’d say at least half of her friends are on Instagram. Now that’s no reason to jump on that particular social media bandwagon, but I was comfortable with it once we covered a few basic ground rules. Today I’m sharing this mom’s insights on Instagram.

I was ok with her joining Instagram under a few stipulations:

  • Our daughter has a private account and does not divulge any details about where she lives or attends school.

  • She can only become friends with people she knows through school, family, church, Girl Scouts, etc.

  • Her dad and I both follow her account through our accounts and regularly comment/like and interact with her on Instagram so that we are visible parents to her peers

I also have Miss C “turn her phone in” on school nights by 9. She doesn’t have any electronic devices in her bedroom after bedtime.

As a general rule, I think Instagram is a fairly safe segue into social media for tweens and teens and technically it is intended for ages 13 and up so parents should be aware of that age recommendation. Most tweens and teens and their peers today aren’t embracing Facebook. They’re interested in Instagram, SnapChat and Kik.

I haven’t let Miss C open a SnapChap or Kik account, although several of her friends have accounts. As a parent I want to be able to monitor her digital conversations and Instagram allows me to do so. Any social media activity that touts it can “vanish” is not one I want a soon-to-be teen using.

Personally I really love Instagram as it’s very visual. Established in 2010, think of it as an extended Twitter but with pretty visuals (from photographs to graphics.) It’s a very clean and easy to navigate photo sharing app and you can go crazy with the hashtags, no 140-character limit like Twitter imposes. A lot of fashion and photography bloggers use Instagram and it’s visually a treat. I actually met a fashion blogger at a local event last week who doesn’t even have a Twitter account (gasp for all us old school social media types.) Facebook is like a traffic heavy interstate. Instagram is like a scenic road trip. Tweens, teens and brands that rely heavily on visual marketing love the Insta. And honestly these days what brand doesn’t rely heavily on visual marketing?

More than 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35, which makes it an attractive platform for many apparel, entertainment, and media brands focused on the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket.

social media monday

Here are a few discussion points to talk to your tween before they open an Instagram account. Just with anything that offers freedom beyond their own home and family, Instagram and any social media activity should be a topic for serious discussion. Kids are posting selfies faster than Kim Kardashian so be sure you set up ground rules and expectations, after all you as the parent are more than likely paying for their account at this point.

Instagram Discussion Points to Have With Your Tween/Teen

  • What will you do if a “friend” posts a negative or derogatory comment on one of your Instagram pics?

  • What if someone you follow posts offensive photos or comments?

  • Be aware that your social media conversations leave a digital “footprint” that the entire world can see. Even though your Instagram account is set to “private” your content can be screen captured and shared via text, email, etc. Nothing, NOTHING, is private online. Set your privacy settings to share as little personal information as possible but don’t relax into thinking that your information is truly “private.”

  • Don’t use Instagram, or any social media channel, to bully, spread unwarranted rumors, negativity, or seek attention in a negative way.

  • Set a good example on social media. Use it to share information, make people laugh or smile, inspire creativity, etc.

  • Remember common courtesy and the Golden Rule.

  • Before you post a photo or comment, ask yourself if you would be ok if mom, dad, teachers, or even your grandparents saw or read it.

Are your tweens on Instagram? What are your thoughts? (This post was approved by my tween, by the way!)


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