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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coolibar Sun Protection - Clothes that Look Great While Providing Sun Protection

The month of May is SKIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.  Be forewarned and prepare your family for summer 2015 with beautiful and full sun protection wear from Coolibar. Skin cancer prevention is too often overlooked.  But recently my youngest daughter (who's only 17 years old) had a mole scare. And this was something "abnor-mole" for her. And be aware - "normally" there are lucky diagnosis, not close calls. 

Fortunately we discovered that there are fashionable UPF 50+ sun protection clothes. At first glance most people don't think clothing is such a big deal when you're outdoors, afterall, aren't all clothes sun protective? But upon closer inspection a lot of clothes don't cover susceptible areas on the body or proper sun protection.  And that fateful area where my daughter's mole was on her forearm. 

The difference between regular clothes and Coolibar clothes is the lightweight and high UPF factor. My daughter doesn't typically wear a long sleeve anything in the summer! But this jacket, even on an 80 degree day and in a sweaty environment, was comfortable and cool. It was like wearing a loose tank top! 

The fabric was incredibly soft and the color was just great. Check out the cowl neck hoodie here.  We got one in 'smock blue,' perfect for a spring or summer day. My daughter loved the two pockets which held her contents better than a hoodie. 

So remember Coolibar, -great clothes, full protection and definitely worth the price! The medical costs to remove the mole was in the range of $500. Have peace of mind and be sure to provide adequate sun protection for your family.

Find Coolibar on Facebook, Twitter Youtube and their Website

Check out more of the beautiful and full sun-protection line on their website, and social media pages!

Founded in 2001, Coolibar is dedicated to providing the highest quality sun protective clothing, hats and accessories. Its mission is to develop fabrics that save lives, protect loved ones and encourage a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle. Based in Minneapolis, Coolibar brings Australia’s world-leading approaches to sun protection to the American market and beyond by producing and selling sun protective apparel for active families through their catalog and website. Coolibar’s name comes from the famous eucalyptus tree found in the Australian Outback that provides relief and protection from the sun’s harsh rays.  I was provided with a beautiful cowl neck hoodie to check out - it's beautiful!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's Mother's Day at Hallmark!

There's something magical about sending your mother, grandmother or mother-in-law a card from Hallmark.  There's such a variety to choose from - there's a card for every personality in your motherly life.

Mother's Day Cards from Hallmark!
Check out the selection above.  From a card that comes with a felt coffee cup sleeve to the giraffe with the big eyes (inside it says "You bet giraffe I do!"), there's a sentiment for that special mom who should be celebrated everyday!

For one lucky reader, leave a comment with your email below and one of you will win 5 cards from Hallmark.  And remember, when you send a card from Hallmark, you send the very best.  Love, Hallmark!  Entries must be received by May 2, 2015 to qualify for the random drawing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gamble Gardens Spring Tour 2015

Who's ready to Spring into Action at Gamble Gardens?

Head on over to Gamble Gardens on April 24 & 25, 2015 for the 30th Anniversary Spring Tour! This year their theme is There is No Place Like Home.  It is meaningful in many ways as Gamble Garden approaches this milestone anniversary of the founding and dedication of the garden.  The five gardens selected for this Spring Tour were each designed and planned as family retreats, for family resort living, and for gracious home entertaining.

Gamble Gardens is rich in history and makes a lovely backdrop to your family, prom or wedding photos.

I photographed a bunch of HS Juniors prior to their prom.  This time of year is spectacular.

For information about tickets please link here.  

Bring the whole family!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Kia Sedona SX-L Review

Once my husband and I ticked off the 3 children check box we consciously chose to be a minivan family.  Our current minivan (2005 Honda Odyssey) is coming up on 10 years. Through all of those years it’s been reliable, practical and comfortable.  However it was with great anticipation that we got to review the Kia Sedona SXL since we’re in the market for a new van. It would be great to see what’s changed in the 10 years since we’ve had our minivan.

Smooth as Silk
First off, the Koa Sedona SXL is a slick, silky vehicle.  I have to say it truly handles much nicer than my Odyssey.  It was one of the smoothest rides I’ve ever experienced.  The electric power steering makes driving a breeze.  While my current van has a back-up camera, the Sedona has front and rear cameras that help during parking and exiting a parking spot.  The navigation screen displays both front and back views in a split screen so you can clearly see what might not be as visible just with the naked eye.  There’s the added benefit of an audio feedback system that lets you know if you’re getting close to an object.  That’s a great feature and very handy for those teen drivers.  It works not only in a tight parking spot but also while driving and changing lanes.

Ready for a Road Trip?
The Sedona delivers 276 horsepower and a super quiet and smooth drive.  Both active and passive safety features provide the utmost safety whether you’re going to the grocery store or a cross-country road trip. 

Driver View
The Kia Sedona was named Best New Car Design at the 2014 New York Auto Show.  It’s definitely a winner and was a dream to drive. The dashboard has loads of features.   The steering wheel has a bunch of buttons to maximize the safety of having 2 hands on the wheel at all times.  You can answer the phone, lower the media volume, and manage cruise control and other car settings.  The comfortable driver bucket seat allows for 2 different drivers to have preset settings so you never have to grumble about your husband changing the perfect seat height and mirror view.   The front passenger seat also has electronic control seat settings.  There is a sunroof in the front, which I find I don’t use much in my current van.  Both seats have heating and cooling settings – true comfort in the cockpit.  There’s also ample room to store commuter mugs, snacks, small bags and more in the center console.

Passenger View
My 3 kids tested the second row and marveled at the comfort.  Not only are there two captain chairs but they come complete with ottomans or foot rests that make traveling first class. The middle row also has a separate sunroof.  Perhaps that makes up for the lack of an entertainment center.  I don’t find the lack of an entertainment center a concern at all now that most kids have their own hand-held device whether it is a smartphone or tablet. 

Kia’s UVO eServices App
Kia’s UVO is a subscription-free media service offered by Kia Motors America.  Besides hands-free calls using your smartphone and the built-in Bluetooth you can also stream music, download apps from the UVO Download Center including Yelp and Google Maps and register your account to view maintenance information.  Available for both the iPhone and Android you can sync between the phone and car and take note between your parking location, get roadside help plan stops along your trip.

Doggy and Luggage View
The third row and trunk space offer lots of convenience you don’t find in an SUV.  You can fold both the single seat or double seat or just one at a time.  When flattened my only complaint is the floor is not completely level.  A flat surface would mean it would be easier to sleep in the vehicle of you were using it for camping or to transport something that required a level surface.  My two big dogs are often relegated to the back of the van so having a level surface means more comfort.  I would add some blankets to make up for the bump in the back.  But beyond that minor inconvenience there’s plenty of room to pack, store and move lots of stuff.  Again, something most SUVs are incapable of carrying as much as a minivan.  That to me is reason enough to go with a minivan.

For me it was a welcome bonus to have an trunk door that opens with the click of a button on the remote.  You can open it with the remote or by pressing a button above the license plate of the trunk door.  Then simply press the button on the base of the door to gently close.  My two dogs, a Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever, had no problem jumping in the back of the van. The height of an SUV is typically too high to allow your dogs to jump in the back.

Nice to Have’s
A few of the niceties with the van include two USB ports in front, one in the back and two 110v outlets (front and rear).  The outlets are very handy when camping, charging or using a device that does not have a USB port.  On more than one occasion we’ve used someone else’s outlet to blow up our mattress when camping or use a blender at a tailgate.  So it’s a great ‘nice-to-have’ feature.

Some other awesome features include the cooling glove box that comes standard on the EX, SX and Limited and optional on the LX.  The trunk light is detachable for those times when you need a flashlight – ingenious!

The exterior has a lot to offer too.  The sleek looking grill mimics the lines of the windshield.  There are interior window shades and the overall comfort level is outstanding.  It rated very high in the crash test scores with an overall score of 8 out of 10. 

What’s the Bottom Line?
After driving the Kia Sedona SXL for a week, I have to say we are seriously considering buying or leasing this minivan as our next vehicle.  While Toyota and Honda minivans are often the top pick, their many recalls and hefty price-tags make the Kia Sedona is definitely a heavy contender. 

For more on the Kia head over to US News 2015 Car Rankings or Kia’s website.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Get Your Chex Party Mix On for the Holidays!

The first time I remember having Chex Party Mix was when I was a little girl - way back when.  It had been a while since I had some and wondered what took me so long to enjoy it again!

I recently attended a fun Chex Party at the Brit & Co MAKESHOP on 550 Sutter Street in San Francisco.  A group of bloggers and foodies had the chance to try our hand at making crafts and mixing with Chex Party Mix.  It was fun and a reminder to me to get my party-on - my Chex Party Mix that is.

Below is the front entrance of the Brit & Co Makeshop.  This is a great place where you can get your creative hat on and make some cool things with the tools they have including 3D printers, graphic designs, glitter, tins, paint and so much more.  Check out the list of classes here.  This is where we got to explore and get our Chex Aprons on!

And now for the tasty stuff.  There were about a dozen of us bloggers who got to check out CHEX and create some VERY tasty recipes including Muddy Buddy, (both sweet and spicy!), and savory mixes.  With just a few boxes of Chex cereal and a few simple ingredients, you can make some very crunchy snacks for after school, for parties - or for sharing at things like camping or picnics.

For wonderful array of Chex Recipes, check out the link here.  There's a recipe for any occasion. There are gluten free, sweet, savory or a combination of those.  And best of all these are healthy recipes that you feel good about serving your family.

For more on how to use Chex cereal, check out this link for great ideas.  Have fun with the whole family as you make your own creations for healthy, tasty snacks.  Get your Party On - With Chex Party Mix.

And for family fun give a creative gift with a class at MAKESHOP.  It's a gift that results in a creation all your own and fun memories with your family.  And check out the cool AWESOMIZED photo from my Google Plus album - it created this with several photos I had and made an animated, awesomized GIF of Brit herself explaining how to create some cool stuff for the holidays!

Happy Holidays Everyone!  And Party-On!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Video Entertainment Guide - Setting up Parental Controls

The holidays are quickly approaching and with that, millions of kids and adults are sure to get new video games.  But do you know the rating for each of their games, - are they age appropriate?

I remember giving my 3 daughters an array of video games through the years.  I remember the glee they had when they unwrapped their first video game, the Nintendo Game Boy Classic.  Now they mostly play video games with their Smartphones.   With ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) I can easily see the level of games they purchase and play.  Now that they are older they know how to select an appropriate rated game on their own.  They know the house rules.

Are video games 'bad' for you?  Check out this enlightening TedTalk by Jane McGonigal, a game maker.  She brings insight into the way games can help us as a society.

So over the holidays, take the time to get to know the games you selected for your children - or that others selected for them. If you have questions check out these wonderful parent guides over at the ESRB site.

As an example, Monica Vila, owner of TheOnlineMom explains how to set up Parental Controls on the Wii as well as a variety of other popular video game boxes.  Watch the ones that pertain to your household and be rest-assured that your kids are being monitored even when you're not in the vicinity!

Happy Holidays - and make sure your video gamers are safe and sound.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tinyprints 30% Off before the Holidays!

Did you run out of time before using our exclusive 40% off Tinyprints coupon?  If so I have good news.  I have a new 30% off coupon code to use before December 17, 2014.  To get your coupon please contact me at tinacasephotography@yahoo.com.  It's good for a ONE TIME use - enjoy 30% off your order. Excludes calendars, photo books, gift certificates, personalized postage stamps and Erin Condren weekly planners.

Exp: 12/17/2014

Reg promo, one time use.

Full disclosure I am a Tinyprints Affiliate.