A Sparkle of Genius 2014-10-18T23:10:28Z http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/feed/atom Melissa Au <![CDATA[Check out our MCC Playskool In-Home Party! #ImagineWithElmo]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10539 2014-10-18T03:24:24Z 2014-10-18T03:24:24Z I wrote this review while participating in a campaign forMom Central Consulting on behalf of Playskool. I received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating. Who doesn’t love a party?  My kids had the opportunity to throw a MCC Playskool In-Home party with some of their cousins […]

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PlayskoolMCC

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign forMom Central Consulting on behalf of Playskool. I received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Who doesn’t love a party?  My kids had the opportunity to throw a MCC Playskool In-Home party with some of their cousins and their friends.  We are lucky to have all of our cousins nice and close so it was fun being able to share these really fun toys with them and the neighborhood kids.  As party of this party, we were able to sample these three games show above.  The kids were excited to be able to let their friends each choose a toy to take home with them.  The three toys that the kids played with were the Let’s Imagine Elmo, Stack ‘N Spin Monkey Gears and the Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes Optimus Prime and Grimlock. Naturally, the Elmo was the highlight of the party, but the different ages loved being able to try out the different toys. Here is some information about these fun toys:

ElmoTheMusical

Let’s Imagine Elmo 

  • Bring the learning adventures from the Elmo the Musical segment on Sesame Street off the screen and into the family room with the interactive LET’S IMAGINE ELMO plush!
  • The 13-inch Elmo pal comes with three different hats that unlock different imaginary themes and play modes: Prince, Cowboy, and Sea Captain

PlayskoolStacknSpin

Stack N’ Spin Monkey Gears:

  • With the STACK ‘N SPIN MONKEY GEARS toy, little ones can build up the fun by placing colorful gears all around their monkey friend’s belly, hands, and feet.
  • Kids’ sorting and stacking skills will be rewarded with a delightful visual experience.
  • The STACK ‘N SPIN MONKEY GEARS encourages Fine Motor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination and Cause and Effect.

PotatoHead

Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes Optimus Prime and Grimlock

  • New for 2014, the MR. POTATO HEAD brand combines mini spuds with Mix & Mash play in a two-inch scale featuring everyone’s favorite TRANSFORMERS characters!
  • Optimus Prime spud partners up with Grimlock spud to battle the Decepticons!  Squeeze the Grimlock figure’s eyes and watch as his jaw chomps and launches a projectile!
  • The Mixable, Mashable parts work with other sets (sold separately)

As part of this party, we received “When I grow up I imagine I’ll be…” stickers.  This was actually really fun activity that we did because kids have so imagination and they truly believe that they can be anything.  The younger kids wanted to be princesses and super heroes where the bigger kids wanted to be doctors, movie makers and construction men.  Many professions of their parents! :)

ElmoPlayskool

The Let’s Imagine Elmo was a huge hit.  Elmo is always a favorite toy every holiday season and I can imagine that it will be the same this year.  Elmo helps your child with their imagination as they can pretend play together.  I love that this set included accessories that changed the interactive game play.  He comes with Prince, Cowboy, and Sea Captain mode and Sea  Captain seemed to be the favorite of the kids! This is a really fun toy for ages 2-4.  We had a handful of 3-5 year old cousins that really enjoyed playing with Let’s Imagine Elmo.

PlayskoolPotatoHead

The Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes Optimus Prime and Grimlock says ages 2 and plus.  This is fun because it really is an enjoyable toy for all ages.  It was especially enjoyed with the kids ages 5-7.  My son and his friends love transformers and they really enjoyed being able to interact and build with the Mr. Potato Head and use their imagination to battle and play together with each other.  Some of the boys spent the majority of the party playing with this toy and were so excited to be able to take it home with them.

PlayskoolSpinLily

The Stack ‘N Spin Monkey Gears is geared towards younger ages but my 3 year old daughter and her cousin really enjoyed learning how they could move around the different gears and still make it spin. This toy plays music and encourages interactive play.  This toy is fun for young ages, but I really enjoyed watching the gears of my daughters brain work as she would swap out pieces and see what did and didn’t work to make the toy work. The younger cousins and friends were able to take home their own Stack ‘N Spin Monkey Gears.

Visit them online for more information about Let’s Imagine Elmo.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Eight things I learned about Dr Pepper Snapple Group #DPSBalance]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10532 2014-10-18T01:29:53Z 2014-10-18T01:23:27Z This post is sponsored by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  I had the chance to interview them with a group of other bloggers.  All opinions are my own. You know the saying, you learn something new everyday?  Well, I had the opportunity to have a call with the Dr Pepper Snapple groups and learned so […]

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group LogoThis post is sponsored by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  I had the chance to interview them with a group of other bloggers.  All opinions are my own.

You know the saying, you learn something new everyday?  Well, I had the opportunity to have a call with the Dr Pepper Snapple groups and learned so many new things. There are so many brands that we use every day of our life, but really know nothing about. Having the opportunity to sit down and actually chat with a brand is my favorite because you learn about them on so many levels.  Not only do you learn about their product, but you also learn about their successes, struggles, dreams and beliefs.  I left my interview with the Dr Pepper Snapple group feeling like this is a brand that not only understands my wants and needs as a parent, but they are doing everything in their power to try to meet their needs.  Here is what I learned from this interview.

Ten things I learned about Dr Pepper Snapple Group

1. When I think of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, I think of Dr Pepper and Snapple.  But did you know that they are SO much more than just that?  So much more that their brand has more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers and other premium beverages.  Many brands that we enjoy regularly and I am sure that you would recognize, too.  Which Dr Pepper Snapple product below is your favorite?  Me, I’m an IBC Root Beer lover!

DrPepperSnapple

2. Ever wonder how many Snapple flavors they have created?  Their reply,  “Over the course of our experience with Snapple, I think we have had almost 250 Snapple flavors!”   That is an impressive number of flavors!

3.  It takes a very long time start to finish to develop a new product.  Just because a product is in production doesn’t mean that it will stay in production.  It goes through a series of testing as well as taste testing panels before a product is finalized.  “We have an entire sensory panel that is a group of professional tasters that have gone through a lot of training to be able to characterize and describe flavors. The process actually does take quite a while! Consider we had 40 variants of Dr Pepper in the beginning, and we had to taste- test and narrow down the variants to what our consumers would most appreciate. It does require an intensely trained sensory panel, and we do have that in-house.”

4. Okay, seriously, I can even imagine this next one.  Everyone loves Dr Pepper, right?  Well guess how many people know the entire recipe for Dr Pepper. “Two! We can’t tell you who they are, but they are not in this room! It’s very, very top secret –that is for sure.” Talk about a super awesome family recipe!

5. What do you think are some of the most important factors that the Dr Pepper Snapple Group looks at in making a new drink? Here is what they said, Good value for their dollar, especially in a challenged economy, Convenience, beverage choices that have health benefits but most importantly: Taste is king! I love that they make great products but without sacrificing taste.

DrPepper

6.  Dr Pepper Snapple Group is made up of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that understand us and are in the same boat as us.  They want our kids to be happy and healthy.  They understand that active play is important and they have commitement to Active Play.  To help address the decline of active play in communities across the U.S., Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) launched Let’s Play to provide the tools, spaces and inspiration to make play a daily priority. This is such a wonder program.  As part of this initiative, they have built or improved 2,000 playgrounds which in return has provided 5 million children with the opportunity to play. Isn’t that amazing.  What I love most about this though, is that they have done this through volunteers.  They have had to date 2,300 employee volunteers donate more than 18,000 volunteer hours.  This is a company that has our back.

7.  I can’t get involved in Lets Play in my own home, and you can too.  Just visit www.LetsPlay.com where you can get lots of ideas for your family as well as find out more information about getting grants to help build parks in your neighborhood.  Getting your kids out should be a priority for all families and this site can give you resources to help make this possible.

8. Calories in vs Calories out is important to the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  They believe, “We believe that healthy lives depend on balance, balancing the calories you consume through food & beverages with the calories you burn through physical activity.”

Some of the choices they have made as a company to help us are:

Allison: “We also want to make sure our current line of healthy options is more available. For example, we are focused on making our diet product line and our smaller portion sizes more available. The majority of the products that we launch do have health and wellness in mind, and we want to help mom meet her goal of health and wellness in her household!”

Chris: “We also reformulate existing products. For example, we’ve taken 40% of calories out of the Hawaiian Punch juice drinks since 2005. We are continuing to listen to our consumers and identify ways to reduce calories in our products

Allison: “We developed Mott’s for Tots after we heard that moms of young kids were watering down the apple juice to reduce the sugar content. So we went ahead and did it for mom and then added the vitamins and nutrients that she was losing when watering down apple juice!”

I have enjoyed many of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group products in my home.  I love their commitment to the health of my family and I enjoy seeing the changes that have been make in ensuring and helping my home be healthy and balanced.

For more information about the Dr Pepper Snapple Group visit them online at http://www.dpsgproductfacts.com/ or  www.LetsPlay.com.

 

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Check out the new TacoTime Crispy Chicken Flatbread and enter to WIN! #FlatbreadFrenzy]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10524 2014-10-15T04:02:18Z 2014-10-15T04:01:45Z  This campaign is sponsored by Tacotime and Blog Meets Brand.  All opinions are my own. I love TacoTime.  We have one near our house so whenever we are looking for a delicious meal we stop by TacoTime.  There are so many great items available that everyone in my family loves.  If you haven’t been to […]

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TacoTimeFlatBreadFrenzy

 This campaign is sponsored by Tacotime and Blog Meets Brand.  All opinions are my own.

I love TacoTime.  We have one near our house so whenever we are looking for a delicious meal we stop by TacoTime.  There are so many great items available that everyone in my family loves.  If you haven’t been to TacoTime you definitely have to give it a try because it is very yummy.  Wait until you hear about their new TacoTime Crispy Chicken Flatbread!  TacoTime takes pride and care in the food that they serve.  This has always been apparent to me by the service and quality food that I have received.  Here is some information about TacoTime if you aren’t familiar:

About TacoTime

TacoTime

flatbread

I am so excited to share with you the new Crispy Chicken Flatbread.  Seriously, this sounds SO yummy!  The new Crispy Chicken Flatbread has all-white meat crispy chicken, cheddar cheese, lettuce, chipotle ranch dressing and their homemade salsa fresca and wrapped in a warm flatbread. Doesn’t it sounds delicious?  You should definitely head over to TacoTime to give it a try.  I know I will be enjoying it myself, soon!  To celebrate the new Crispy Chicken Flatbread lets celebrate with an exciting Flatbread FRENZY!

ENTER TO WIN

Because TacoTime is SO excited about Flatbread Frenzy, they are giving away $100 TacoTime Gift Cards daily from October 1st to 20th!  What a great giveaway! Head over to Facebook and enter to win this delicious prize during Flatbread Frenzy!  Don’t forget to share with all of your friends and family! On my way to enter to win…..

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Walmart® Savings Catcher and Crowdtap]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10512 2014-10-14T05:23:30Z 2014-10-14T05:16:41Z This sponsored post is sponsored by Crowdtap and Walmart.  All opinons are my own. Having four kids can be expensive.  Between school uniforms, school supplies, dance costumes, sports fees and so much more, it is important for me to save money where I can.  When shopping online I always find a coupon code.  When shopping […]

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WalmartCrowdtap

This sponsored post is sponsored by Crowdtap and Walmart.  All opinons are my own.

Having four kids can be expensive.  Between school uniforms, school supplies, dance costumes, sports fees and so much more, it is important for me to save money where I can.  When shopping online I always find a coupon code.  When shopping in stores I like to price match and use coupons.  Unfortunately, I am busy and price matching is not always an option.  Sometimes I only have enough time to go to one store and Walmart has everything to meet all my shopping needs.  Recently, while I was on Crowdtap I found out about the Walmart® Savings Catcher.  Seriously, this is such a fantastic program.  It is custom made for helping moms like me save a few bucks.  So, how does it work?

WalmartHowto

It really is as easy as 1-2-3.  You can download the Walmart Savings Center App or visit them online. I recommend the app, personally.  Every time you shop at Walmart you can scan the barcode at the bottom of your receipt.  I have found it most convenient to scan the bar code immediately because it is only valid within 7 days. I load my groceries into the car and scan my receipt before I drive away.

WalmartEReceipt2

 

Your receipt will be stored inside the App so you have all of your purchases in one place.  All of the receipts you have scanned with be listed and you can check back to see the status of your savings.

WalmartCompetitors

 

Walmart® Savings Catcher compares all of the stores in your area to see if there are any advertised deals in your area.   I was impressed to see how many different stores they were comparing prices with.  Walmart really has us in their best interest and helps us save money and save time.WalmartSavingsCatcher

 

If they find a better deal than you got at Walmart you will receive the different in a Walmart e-card.  This process takes typically about 3 days for the entire process.  You will get an email when they are finished. This process is so easy.  I love that saving money can be so quick and easy!  I don’t have to worry about taking the time to price compare.  Walmart Savings Center does all of the work for me!
WalmartEReceipt

I have shopped at Walmart three different times now.  Two of my receipts have not come back yet.  Unfortunately, my first shopping trip didn’t have any lower prices found.  I will continue to  scan my receipt looking for savings.  Many of my friends have saved a good amount of money with the Walmart® Savings Catcher. 
 WalmartRewardDollers

 When you sign on to the Walmart® Savings Catcher you can find out exactly how much money you saved.  You can redeem immediately or you can let your balance build until you can get something really great!  I think this program is fantastic and I am grateful for any opportunity to save! Visit Crowdtap for opportunities to earn great prizes. On Crowdtap you have the opportunity to complete quickhits and earn points.  Right now on the Walmart Savings Catcher Crowdtap you can earn great prizes!

TELL A FRIEND!!
Have you used Walmart Savings Catcher? Try it out and share the buzz, it’s that easy! By spreading the word you’ll be entered to win a $2000 shopping spree at Walmart… and so will your friends! Enter to WIN here!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[The Book of Life Giveaway #BookOfLife]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10548 2014-10-18T23:06:45Z 2014-10-13T22:57:13Z I am really excited about The Book of Life.  My kids have already been asking me when we are going to go see it.  This is definitely up on the list of things to do during Halloween time.  This movie looks adventurous and fun, but also like a really fun family friendly film.  Perfect for […]

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BookofLife-CharacterArt1

I am really excited about The Book of Life.  My kids have already been asking me when we are going to go see it.  This is definitely up on the list of things to do during Halloween time.  This movie looks adventurous and fun, but also like a really fun family friendly film.  Perfect for the Halloween season.

About The Book of Life
“THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village.”  Here is a clip for your enjoyment:

Visit the Book of Life Shop in stores and onlineIn celebration of the release of the upcoming film, The Book ofLife, Cost Plus World Market has developed exclusive Book of Life Toys inspired by the film. Products include a colorful Tin Keepsake Box, Guitar, Maracas, Manolo Rubber Duck Bath Toy, Kaleidoscopes, and more. Visit the Official WebsiteLike ‘The Book of Life’ on Facebook and follow on TwitterTumblr.

BOL-WorldMarket

GIVEAWAY!  We have a really fun Giveaway for you today!  To get you excited for The Book of Life in theaters, one (1) winner receives:

  • $25 Visa gift card to see the film in theaters
  • Mini guitar & keepsake box from Cost Plus World Market

Giveaway courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Open to US mailing addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[7 Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween #PoweringSafety]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10497 2014-10-13T19:28:45Z 2014-10-13T19:09:15Z  This post is Sponsored by Energizer and The Motherhood.  All opinions are my own. My kids love Halloween.  I don’t blame them.  It is pretty fun to dress up as their favorite character and go door to door to all of their neighbors houses and get free candy.  Whats not to love about that?  As […]

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EnergizerLOGO

 This post is Sponsored by Energizer and The Motherhood.  All opinions are my own.

My kids love Halloween.  I don’t blame them.  It is pretty fun to dress up as their favorite character and go door to door to all of their neighbors houses and get free candy.  Whats not to love about that?  As kids, they are so focused at the excitement of the night and the rewards at the end that they don’t even realize that safety is important.  My kids are all young enough that my husband and I still go door to door with them, and safety is very important to me.  I am very nervous for when my son is a little older and will be wanting to go off with his friends.  As a parent, I find it very important to talk to them about safety before we leave the house as well as when we come home at the end of the night.  You may ask what the point is in talking about safety when they get home, but this time is very important to me.  This is how Halloween safety works in our home.

PirateAuFamily

Halloween day in our home is a full day of fun.  Starting when the kids get home from school everyone is in Halloween mode.  The kids lay out their Halloween costumes and Trick or Treat bags so they are ready for the evening.  I start a pot of “Halloween Stew” in the crock pot for when it is time for dinner.  My husband comes home and we carve pumpkins so our porch is festive and lit up for when the trick or treaters come.  After dinner, everyone gets dressed in their halloween costumes and we gather in our living room for a family Halloween talk.  This is where we remind all of the kids of our family Halloween rules.   Here are some of our rules:

1.  Stay close to us when we are Trick or Treating. No running ahead.

2.  Help your younger brother and sister get to each new door.

3. No eating candy until we get home.

When we get home from Trick or Treating, we turn our front porch light on so other Trick or Treaters know that they can come Trick or Treating at our house and then we have another talk.  This time its about safety with the candy.  We know many of our neighbors, but not all of them, so in our home, we don’t eat any candy that is not sealed in a package.  The kids dump out their trick or treat bag and sort through their candy and we throw away anything that doesn’t look safe.  This Halloween, Energizer shares with us 7 Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween.

7 Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween7 Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween from Energizer

1. Plan a trick-or-treat route ahead of time. Create a route that avoids major intersections, but does have safe crosswalks and sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, be sure to walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Always look both ways before crossing any street.

2. Find new ways to celebrate the holiday. Seek out neighborhood “trunk-or-treats” as alternatives to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. These events are great for younger children or in neighborhoods that might be difficult to navigate on Halloween night.

3. Keep a portable light on hand (or head). As the sun sets, you don’t want to be caught in the dark. Energizer portable lights ensure you’re ready to hit the streets on Halloween night:

EnergizerFusion

o Energizer® LED 2 in 1 light Fusion Flashlights – Compact and versatile, Energizer Light
Fusion Technology products are convenient, water resistant and provide impressively
bright long lasting light—easily seen by drivers and other pedestrians.

EnergizerHeadlights

o Headlights – Powerful Energizer LED headlights are lightweight and convenient –
perfect for keeping hands free. That way, you may hold your child’s hand, while their
other clutches the ever-important candy container. The headlight can even add to or be
a part of a costume!

4. Pick the right costume. Choose lightly colored costumes, while avoiding head-to-toe dark selections. Make sure the costume fits properly and shoes are comfortable. If possible, avoid masks and opt for face paint so that vision is not impaired.

5. Walk, don’t run. Take your time and walk; don’t run from house to house on Halloween night. Use Energizer portable lights to be aware of decorations or other obstructions in yard and on sidewalks to avoid trips and falls.

6. Be selective. Only visit well-lit houses and avoid stopping at dark houses. Remind your children to stay in groups and never accept rides from strangers or enter homes without a parent or guardian.

7.  Charge your devices. Make sure to charge cell phone and ensure that your flashlight has fresh batteries. Energizer® MAX® with Power Seal Technology is long-lasting and no leaks guaranteed*. Use your cell phone for necessary communications (and adorable photos), otherwise keep it in a purse or pocket to avoid distractions.

*Or we will replace your device. See www.energizer.com/guarantee.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[How to Tackle Curly Hair #GoodyGorgeous]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10484 2014-10-15T17:56:31Z 2014-10-13T16:00:26Z This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Goody, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GoodyGorgeous http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV   I have straight hair. The kind of straight hair that when you use curlers, you take the curlers out and your hair instantly falls flat and boring straight. […]

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CurlyHair

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Goody, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GoodyGorgeous http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

I have straight hair. The kind of straight hair that when you use curlers, you take the curlers out and your hair instantly falls flat and boring straight. My husband also have straight hair.  You can imagine our surprise when both of our oldest kids ended up with really curly hair. I had no idea how to take care of curly hair. Luckily, with my son, you just keep the hair short and it is easy to care for. My daughter on the other hand, has the most amazing, beautiful long curly hair. When done right, it looks so beautiful. Although, every morning we start with the most miserable tangled mess. We always have to budget in extra time every morning to manage her hair. I have learned that there are two important things that are necessary to manage extremely curly hair. Number one is good hair product, and number two is a brush made for curly hair. Not all brushes are created equally when it comes to curls.

GoodyinCart
In hopes to find the perfect hair brush my daughter and I headed to Walgreens. They have a BOGO offer going on right now  with their Goody brushes so we were excited to give them a try.  We have been told again and again not to use brushes with curly hair, but we figured that there had to be some kind of solution because there is no way to get through tangles with a comb! 

LaurenGoodyHairbrush

As part of the BOGO offer we purchased the Tanglefix brush and the Quikstyle Half Round.  The Quikstyle is also available in a paddle brush.  My daughter was excited to find a solution to here tangled curly hair problem because it always takes too long in the mornings to get ready, and frankly, it hurts to get through tangles!! 

GoodyHairbrushes

Of course, in true busy life style, stressfully, me and all of my kids slept in in the morning and we had limited time to get ready for school.  My daughter came down after her show with brushes in hand and we set to work, ready to tackle the tangles.  Seriously, I wish that you could have been there to see the amazing Tanglefix brush in action.  

GoodySmooththroughhair

The first brush through her hair, went from top to bottom with easy, combing easily through all of her tangles.  This brush is the answer for curly hair.  We were quickly able to painlessly comb through her curly hair fast and easily.  I’m not kidding, this brush takes off at least 10 minutes from my morning routine.  And what a grateful surprise it was in the morning that we were running behind!  For my daughters hair, we found that after she showers we first, run the Tanglefix brush through her hair completely and the follow with brushing under her hair with the Quikstyle Half Round brush.  The microfiber bristles seem to help her hair dry quicker while not making it frizz. So, if your child has curly hair and you are struggling with How to Tackle Curly Hair and to find the right tools and time, we recommend:

1.  Tanglefix brush through her hair completely after a shower.

2. Follow by brushing under her hair with the Quikstyle Half Round brush.

GoodyCurls

I may have done the happy dance after sending my daughter to school because even though we woke up late, it was stress-free.  I look back on way to many school days when my poor daughter went to school with a crazy tangled curly mess hair tied to the top of her head because we didn’t have the time to work on her tangles. Next step, we will learn some extra cute hairstyles since her hair is more manageable!  The Tanglefix brush easily and smoothly brushed through her hair that she decided she would give it a try wearing her hair down to school! 

GoodyBuyoneGetOne

Buy One Get One FREE offer! 

Right now, while supplies last,  you can stop by Walgreens and use your Walgreens Balance Rewards card to get a great promotional BOGO offer! Purchase the Goody TangleFix and Quikstyle hairbrushes with the Buy 1 Get 1 Free Goody product offer available September 28, 2014- November 1, 2014.  This is such a fantastic deal for great brushes!  Especially if you are struggling with tackling curly hair, like I was!  To stay up to date on future deals like above, follow Goody on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Anna and Elsa 18″ Doll Dresses on Very Jane]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10477 2014-10-10T22:44:02Z 2014-10-10T20:11:06Z Anna and Elsa 18″ Doll Dresses I saw these adorable dresses on Very Jane and thought I would share.  Frozen is still very popular in our house so I picked up one of each for my daughters Christmas presents.  I think they are very pretty dresses. I especially love the Anna one. Elsa (Beautiful Ice […]

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VeryJaneDollDresses

Anna and Elsa 18″ Doll Dresses

I saw these adorable dresses on Very Jane and thought I would share.  Frozen is still very popular in our house so I picked up one of each for my daughters Christmas presents.  I think they are very pretty dresses. I especially love the Anna one.

Elsa (Beautiful Ice Princess): http://tinyurl.com/n7ug473  is available for $16.99

Anna (AKA Warm Hearted Sister) : http://tinyurl.com/m46nej2 is available for $19.49.

Note:  They are limited in quantity!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Go to School In Style with Paul Frank]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10469 2014-10-10T04:42:47Z 2014-10-10T04:41:58Z  I received Back to School items to review from Paul Frank and Saban Brands.  All opinons are my own. As a Saban Brands Brand-bassador I have had the opportunity to review products from many of my kids favorite brands.  Where my son LOVES power rangers, my older kids are Paul Frank fans.  Did you know […]

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 I received Back to School items to review from Paul Frank and Saban Brands.  All opinons are my own.

As a Saban Brands Brand-bassador I have had the opportunity to review products from many of my kids favorite brands.  Where my son LOVES power rangers, my older kids are Paul Frank fans.  Did you know that Paul Frank has a really cool line of Back to School products that your kids are sure to love?  From notebooks to pencil cases and school bags and more!  My kids love doodling and taking notes so they were very excited to each receive a Paul Frank pencil case and notebook.  I love the colors and styles because they are definitely cool and stylish!

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My sons shoulder bag was by far my favorite.  I love the bold colors and rounded corners.  This bag has plenty of room for all of his school supplies.  The over the shoulder style makes it stylish and comfortable to wear.  This is definitely a cool way to Go to School In Style with Paul Frank.
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I love that Paul Frank has so many cool options for boys and girls.  There is such a fun collection of styles.  My daughters bag was really nice and had extra pocket for all of her accessories.  She loved the bright fun colors, but the hot pink made it stylish and cool without being too girly!  The Paul Frank shoulder bags are made of a high quality fabric so they can last the whole school year long.  With my kids getting older, their bags are a lot heavier and a high quality bag is important to hold these heavier items.   PaulFrankShoulderBag

Go to School In Style with Paul Frank. Be sure to check out Amazon.com for more exciting Paul Frank products.  For more information on Paul Frank, please visit www.PaulFrank.com. And be sure to follow the brand on FacebookTwitter,InstagramPinterestYouTube and the Bloggin’ with Paul Frank Tumblr page!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10461 2014-10-13T18:35:59Z 2014-10-10T04:16:53Z I had the opportunity to interview David Benoit and received the goodies featured below for review.  All opinions are my own. I love music.  Music evokes so much feeling and emotion.  I can’t imagine watching a movie without the accompanying score.   Without music, a movie isn’t nearly as exciting, intense, sad, or whatever emotion […]

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Read our David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas Interview and enter to win a Peanuts holiday prize pack!

I had the opportunity to interview David Benoit and received the goodies featured below for review.  All opinions are my own.

I love music.  Music evokes so much feeling and emotion.  I can’t imagine watching a movie without the accompanying score.   Without music, a movie isn’t nearly as exciting, intense, sad, or whatever emotion it gives.  I listen to music when I work out, clean my house and just because I want a little pick me up.  Music makes me happy.  When I think of the Peanuts specials, one of the main things that stands out to me is the music.  I know many of us quickly think of Schroeder and his toy piano.

Read our David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas Interview and enter to win a Peanuts holiday prize pack!

Did you know that Schroeder received his toy piano on September 24th, 1951!?  This piano has been an important part of the Peanuts since then, including the holiday specials.  I thought this comic strip above was really fun! 

Read our David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas Interview and enter to win a Peanuts holiday prize pack!

I love this photo.  Everything from my favorite Peanuts characters to the fun colors.  It really is just represents the perfect Charlie Brown scene! :) This scene is an illustration based on the famous skating scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas in which the song “Christmas Time is Here” is played.

I have had the amazing opportunity being a Peanuts Brand Ambassador to interview some amazing people.  You probably remember our previous interviews of Sally Dreyers and Jill Schulz.  I had the opportunity to interview David Benoit.  David Benoit is a contemporary jazz pianist and composer.  He worked on several prominent Charlie Brown related projects (including Here’s To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years and the  star-studded 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas) that reflect his lifelong passion for the music of original Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi and solidify Benoit’s role as his  musical heir.

I hope you enjoy our interview about David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas:

Read our David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas Interview and enter to win a Peanuts holiday prize pack!

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID BENOIT

When did your passion for Peanuts and the Peanuts music begin?

 When I started reading strip at 8 years old; this was in the ’60s. I followed it very closely every day. Then I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas—we all gathered around the TV to watch it. It’s been a lifelong thing.

What was it about music and the brand that appealed to you so much?

Well, it was Charlie Brown and he was a loser! He was depressed a lot, and I was having a childhood like that myself [laughs]. I related to him, and felt I had a kindred spirit out there. Then the music was jazz and piano and upbeat and fun—I got hooked on it right away.

 Were you playing piano then?

 Just starting to get into it.

 What was your favorite piece of Peanuts music?

 Of course, Linus and Lucy is the most popular one. I like Christmastime Is Here, that’s still one of my all-time favorites. Another one I like wasn’t written for Charlie Brown Christmas, it was written for a documentary on Charles Schulz—it’s a piece called Pebble Beach. A lot of hardcore fans will know that one.

 What is it about A Charlie Brown Christmas and its music—what would the special be like without the music?

 It wouldn’t have quite the same charm and appeal. It’s a perfect marriage. You can’t imagine one without the other. It must have been fate that brought Vince Guaraldi to Lee Mendelson. I know from writing original music for Peanuts, Vince Guaraldi was always the reference point.

 So you feel jazz is the right genre for Peanuts music?

 I do. The kids are very sophisticated, their emotions, their vocabulary. Peanuts was one of first strips to do that—to have kids speaking intelligently, expressing deep emotions. Jazz, because of its sophistication, seemed to work very well.

 After Vince Guaraldi died, they tried using other composers; many of them, like Judy Munson, were very good. But she approached it from traditional cartoon composing, and it wasn’t the same. Upbeat jazz just hit a spark. They were looking for another jazz pianist to start writing music, that’s how they found me.

 What makes the Linus and Lucy theme so memorable?

 It’s one of those immediately recognizable motifs—you’ve got the left hand movement, then the right hand comes in, and it’s highly syncopated. It just gets everybody happy. The power of music.

 Why has the special remained so beloved?

 It might be the simplicity in its message, that Christmas has become so commercial. It’s so simple and heartfelt. It has the makings of a classic because it’s so simple and so heartwarming.

 Can you elaborate on your professional connection to Peanuts and how that came about?

 I had recorded Linus and Lucy on a record called This Side Up. At that time, no one had ever covered it. I did it, then it opened up a new group of fans. I also recorded Christmastime Is Here on an album called Christmastime. Lee Mendelson’s wife, Debbie, said, “Lee, you should check out David Benoit.” And he and I hit it off. It was one of those magical relationships that really worked. They were trying out several other jazz musicians, Dave Grusin, Dave Brubeck, George Winston, Wynton Marsalis, and me. We just clicked. Not long after that I became the official composer, but it wasn’t official until I met Sparky. That’s what you called Mr. Schulz because that’s what he asked you to call him. But it took me a while to get used to that!

 Do you ever worry you won’t be taken seriously for associating with Peanuts?

 Not really. I’ll tell you what I worry more about: When I started early on getting into the business of playing jazz that was happy, it got the moniker “smooth jazz.” Now that’s become the butt of a lot of jokes, like, “If the machines broke, you couldn’t make smooth jazz.” I worry more about that than I do about doing Charlie Brown music. There seems to be a certain reverence for Vince Guaraldi—there’s a respect. You just don’t mess with it. To me, it’s very honorable. The most common compliment I get is, “Oh, you wrote the Peanuts theme” or “You wrote Linus and Lucy.” I say, “No, that would be Vince Guaraldi.” But I’m honored. It’s totally a positive thing for me.

 What’s next for you?

 I’m working on my first all-vocal album. We’re talking with an artist named Jane Monheit, getting the songs ready for that. I’m getting ready to do a tour of The Music of Charlie Brown, starting in December and going all across the country. You can find the dates and cities on my website, benoit.com.

 Do you still watch the specials and listen for the music?

 I’m often traveling, and I don’t make it a point to watch them. Usually when the Christmas one comes on, we try to watch as a family.

 Who is your favorite Peanuts character?

 It’s Charlie Brown. However, I think Schroeder would have to be a close second! That would tell the whole story about me. I like Snoopy, but I’m not hip enough, not quite that cool.

For the Christmas tribute to Charlie Brown, how do you decide what songs to play, and how long is the set?

It’s about an hour and a half. Many songs come from that show, but we also play a few traditional Christmas songs. And I play a few of my own compositions for audience to hear the other side of me. There’s a pretty good variety of stuff. It’s a fun show.

Here is a fun clip of David performing the famous Linus & Lucy song during a Christmas concert in 2008.  Enjoy:

GIVEAWAY

Read our David Benoit and a Charlie Brown Christmas Interview and enter to win a Peanuts holiday prize pack!

Decoration is the name of the game at holiday time—and with this month’s festive giveaways, you can decorate your home and yourself! First, give your nails the Halloween spirit with these adorable Great Pumpkin–themed nail polishes from OPI. Then make your holiday home even more adorable with this miniature Peanuts ornament. And you’ve got the perfect soundtrack for your tree-trimming party, courtesy of this month’s interview subject, jazz musician and Peanuts composer David Benoit, whose classic CD, 40 Years of a Charlie Brown Christmas, offers Benoit’s gorgeous take on the music we all love so much. 

One reader will win:

40 Years of a Charlie Brown Christmas CD
Snoopy Ornament
Great Pumpkin Themed Nail Polish
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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