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Thursday, October 16, 2014

WE LOVE BOOKS - What's New for Fall?

Some of these books are not available yet, but be on the lookout and put them on your list!

We’ve made our list and checked it twice…

Be on the lookout for some of the best books for the holidays.

The Giving Tree (50th Anniversary Edition) written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein
9780060256654 – $16.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 2/18/2014
Shel Silverstein’s bestselling and beloved classic THE GIVING TREE celebrates its 50th anniversary with a gorgeous green foil jacket and gold sticker!

Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star written and illustrated by James Dean
9780062304162 – $9.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 5/27/2014
Pete the Cat takes on the classic favorite children’s song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star in a paper over board picture book format. The perfect bedtime book for young readers!

Paddington written by Michael Bond, illustrated by R.W. Alley
9780062317193 – $17.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 7/22/2014
A newly repackaged edition of the classic story of Paddington Bear, this picture book will charm readers old and new! With charming illustrations, it’s the perfect introduction to Paddington for young readers!

13 Words written by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman9780061664670 – $6.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 9/9/2014
Here is a word book like no other! Only Lemony Snicket could so adeptly weave such a startlingly beautiful adventure out of a collection of the most essential words of all time.

A Very Marley Christmas written by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey9780062113672 – $9.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 9/23/2014
Presenting the paper over board edition of the hit holiday picture book, A VERY MARLEY CHRISTMAS.

Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker written and illustrated by Mary Engelbreit9780062224170 – $9.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 9/23/2014
Marie, the Nutcracker Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and many other beloved characters are all freshly imagined by the inimitable Mary Engelbreit in a charming paper over board version of the 2011 hardcover.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas written by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
9780062110626 – $17.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 9/23/2014
In this repackaged, rockin’ new spin on the traditional fable The Night Before Christmas, Pete the Cat proves that giving your all in the spirit of Christmas is the totally groovy thing to do.

Mia: The Snow Day Ballet written by Robin Farley, illustrated by Olga Ivanov
9780062100153 – $4.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 9/30/2014
Mia can’t wait to see the ballet performance, but when heavy snowfall keeps Mia from the show, she and her friends plan their own spectacular performance in the snow. A 8x8 storybook with fun sticker sheet!

Splat the Cat and the Snowy Day Surprise written and illustrated by Rob Scotton
9780061978647 – $16.99 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 10/7/2014
Dixie’s eighth I Can Read is perfect for reading on a snowy day—or any day! With fun, exciting illustrations, any day can become your best day ever!

Dixie and the Best Day Ever written by Grace Gilman, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers– $6.99 – 9780062086617 – Ages 4 to 8 – On Sale 10/7/2014
When Splat wakes up to learn that today is a snow day, he’s super-excited about all the fun things he and Seymour can do in this fun lift-the-flap book!


Nuts to You written and illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins
9780060092757 – $16.99 – Ages 8 to 12 – On Sale 8/26/2014
A funny and moving young tween novel about nuts, squirrels, friendship, and the power of stories to save the world. A great read-aloud featuring black-and-white art by the author on every page.

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
9780062019721 – $16.99 – Ages 8 to 12 – On Sale 8/26/2014
In this young tween novel, a third-grade boy named Aref says good-bye to everything and everyone he loves, including his wonderful Siddi, and prepares to move from Muscat, Oman, to Detroit, Michigan.

The Fairy Bell Sisters #6: Christmas Fairy Magic
written by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Catharine Collingridge
9780062267245 – $15.99 – Ages 6 to 10 – On Sale 9/23/2014
Clara, Rosy, Golden, Sylva, and Squeak celebrate Christmas—and their sister Tinker Bell’s return to Sheepskerry Island—in this sixth book in the FAIRY BELL SISTERS series.

The Graveyard Book Commemorative Edition written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean
9780062349187 – $9.99 – Ages 10 and Up – On Sale 9/30/2014
A special paperback edition of the award winning novel THE GRAVEYARD BOOK to commemorate more than 1 million copies sold, featuring a stunning metallic gold cover and a special piece of extra content.

Hey, Let’s Make a Band! by 5 Seconds of Summer
9780062366443 – $21.99 – Ages 8 to 12 – On Sale 10/14/2014
Calling all 5Seconds of Summer fans! Find out what it would be like to meet the boys in their first official memoir. Find out the full story of how four western Sydney teenagers picked up their instruments and dreamed of being one of the biggest bands in the world—complete with embarrassing photos and fun facts about the band!


Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
9780062271105 – $17.99 – Ages 14 and Up – On Sale 6/3/2014
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, clever, and emotionally poignant novel that tackles serious issues amidst the story of a star-crossed love.

The Selection 4-Book Box Set by Kiera Cass
9780062361790 – $39.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 7/29/2014
America Singer. a spirited seventeen-year-old girl living in a highly stratified society, must choose between a chance at royalty and a life of poverty with her true love. But as the competition continues and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

Positive by Paige Rawl
9780062342515 – $18.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 8/26/2014
In this compelling and compulsively readable memoir, 19-year-old Paige Rawl, who has been HIV+ since birth, delves into the events in middle school that would change her life forever.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
9780062235794 – $17.99 – Ages 14 and Up – On Sale 9/2/2014
Violet is at the heart of the most opulent city, but has been trapped there in the most dire circumstances. The first in Amy Ewing’s debut YA trilogy, THE JEWEL introduces a world where class rules and the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
9780062295040 – $17.99 – Ages 14 and Up – On Sale 9/9/2014
One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in non-linear flashbacks even as Liz’s friends, foes, and family gather at the hospital and Liz clings to life.

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton
9780062332585 – $19.99 – Ages 14 and Up – On Sale 10/7/2014
A revolutionary, fully integrated, multimedia book and gaming experience that invites its audience to join twelve Players in a worldwide, puzzle-based hunt for three hidden keys and the ultimate prize.

Clariel by Garth Nix
9780061561559 – $18.99 – Ages 13 and Up – On Sale 10/14/2014
Garth Nix’s long-awaited prequel to the New York Times bestselling OLD KINGDOM trilogy: SabrielLireal, and Abhorsen. The master of teen fantasy tells Clariel’s story and reveals how a girl gifted with the power of Free Magic becomes a dark sorcerer.

Divergent Collector’s Edition by Veronica Roth
9780062352170 – $19.99 – Ages 14 and Up – On Sale 10/21/2014
The #1 New York Times bestseller is now available in a beautifully designed collector’s edition with 48 pages of curated extra content, brilliant metallic book jacket, satin ribbon placeholder, and fold-out four-color locker poster. A great gift for fans who want to expand their Divergent library as well as new readers!

Monday, October 6, 2014

ClubSport Review - NorCal Fitness Club for the Whole Family

In this digital age one of the constant concerns a parent has is making sure their children maintain a healthy balance between their digital non-activity and being active.  Tapping, swiping, and texting isn't going to led to a healthy lifestyle. 

And parents are often no better.  We sit on our butts as we commute to work, work at our desks and watch our digital devices once we get home. But what if there was a place that entire families could enjoy together while getting in an awesome workout?

I had the chance to check out ClubSport in Fremont. It's a unique health club that's been in business for over 20 years.  I brought my two teenage daughters to check it out.  We were greeted by a ClubSport rep who showed us around the expansive facility.  And let me back up a little.  As we parked in the very full lot on a Saturday we were curious about a facility that could be so busy.  

But once we got our tour of the club we discovered why.  We passed massage rooms, a full outdoor olympic size pool with hot tub, tennis courts, basketball courts, racket ball rooms, weight rooms, and a huge room filled with treadmills, elipticals, cycles, and much more.  There's also a nice cafe with healthy, calorie conscious selections and a Starbucks.

I used nearly every piece of equipment in the large and spacious workout room which overlooks the outdoor pool.  From elliptical machines to treadmills, rowing machines and weights, it was a great workout.  Instructors are on-hand to show you how to properly use each piece of equipment.  And reps are constantly around wiping down each piece after each use.  Nice.  For teens 16 and under, a personal trainer can work with them and ensure a properly balanced routine.

After our workout we headed back to the locker room which was full of nice amenities.  I used the steam room which was next to a nice large indoor hot tub.  Plenty of towels and toiletries are supplied and loads of lockers with digital locks are provided.  The only drawback for us? The location.  If only there was one closer to Cupertino!

ClubSport can be found in the following locations.  Great for the whole family - check it out!

Fremont, Calif.
Pleasanton, Calif.
Valley Vista, Calif. 
Walnut Creek, Calif.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a day pass.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ESRB Celebrates 20 Years - Video and Computer Games Rating

[Twitter party is scheduled for September 24th at 8 PM EST #ESRB20 Twitter Party on 9/24 @ 8PM] 

Please celebrate with us as the ESRB celebrates 20 years.  September 16, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of  the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). ESRB enables the $21 Billion video gaming industry to responsibly market and educate consumers about what they are purchasing.  Similar to how food labels assist parents to understand the quality and nutritional value of what their family consumes, ESRB enables parents to understand the quality and safety level of the games their family plays.

Since September 16, 1994, ESRB ratings have appeared on nearly every computer or video
game sold in the U.S.  ESRB has consistently been recognized by government officials and consumers alike as the most effective entertainment rating system today.  As technology evolves ESRB is right in step.  ESRB has been proactive by introducing a rating service in 2012 to rate digitally delivered games and apps that made getting a rating easy, fast, and cost-free for developers. Whether your family is playing a game on a video game console, laptop or mobile device, you can find the trusted and familiar ESRB rating icons.

One of my kids favorite mobile games is Clash of the Clans. This is a game to be played as a group or clan. I felt comfortable knowing that the "E" rating was suitable for any age within their diverse group/clan.  [Clash of Clans is a mobile freemium strategy video game. A multiplayer game, Clash of Clans allows players to build their community, train troops, and attack other players to earn gold and elixirs while building their own defenses to protect against attackers. An interactive game, players can use the chat feature to communicate with others and join clans to aid each other.]

Check out this great video summarizing what ESRB is about:

Here's a guide-at-a-glance into the Rating System:

20 Years of Highlights:

  • ESRB started with five rating categories: EC (Early Childhood), K-A (Kids to Adults), T(Teen), M (Mature), and AO (Adults Only). In 1998, K-A was changed to E (Everyone), andin 2005, E10+ (Everyone 10+) was added.
  • 1 Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress December 2009: Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children The first rating certificates were issued on September 16, 1994. Some of the first rated titles included Doom for Sega 32X (M), Pitfall for Super NES (T), Super Punch Out!! for Super NES (K-A), Sonic Double Trouble for Sega Game Gear (K-A), and Donkey Kong Country for Super NES (K-A).
  • Of all the games rated by ESRB, 94% have been rated E, E10+ or T; E remains the most popular rating category, representing nearly 70% of all games rated.
  • Awareness of ESRB ratings remains consistently high with 85% of parents saying they are familiar with ESRB ratings.
  • Over 20 years, ESRB has rated games and apps submitted by over 9,500 companies formore than 40 different platforms, starting with 8-bit consoles.
  • In addition to rating games, ESRB also enforces advertising guidelines (Advertising Review Counsel established in 2000) and monitors privacy practices as a COPPA Safe Harbor (ESRB Privacy Certified established in 1999).
  • ESRB is looking to the future by streamlining digital rating services in collaboration with other rating boards across the globe.
For all of the latest updates such as videos, images, and infographics, including ESRB
Celebrates 20 Years and 1994 in Gaming, please follow ESRB on Facebook and Twitter or visit

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Parent Grapevine is an ESRB Parent Ambassador

I'm super excited to be part of the wonderful group of bloggers who have just been announced as official ESRB Parent Ambassadors.  ESRB stands for Entertainment Software Rating Board and is a nonprofit, self-regulatory body that assigns ratings for video games and apps so parents can make informed choices.  My three daughters have always enjoyed video games, starting when they were young and playing games that helped them learn to read, count and use their imagination.

Today, now that they are young adults, they still enjoy playing with the Wii and particularly with their mobile devices.  I am able to track their purchases through our iTunes account and check on the ratings of each game. By getting my kids involved from the get-go, I have been able to educate them on the safety level and ratings system to be sure they make good choices.

Along with Parent Grapevine being an ESRB Ambassador, I'm super excited to be associated with this list of amazing bloggers who I follow and enjoy reading. Stay tuned as more news about ESRB's 20th anniversary happens on September 16, 2014.  Twitter parties, blog posts and more!
ESRB will celebrate 20 years in the entertainment video game industry on September 16, 2014 - stay tuned as more announcements and activities happen this month!

Check out this super ESRB Cheat Sheet

Monday, September 8, 2014

Locally Sourced Produce at Safeway

When my children were younger we would often frequent our local farmers market. I did this to expose my children to fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables.  Now that they are older and we've all become busier, it's been great to know that I can stop by my local Safeway grocery store and pick up a wide variety of locally sourced produce.  It's like having a farmers market 24/7.

Just look at the wonderful array of fruits and vegetables in this bushel of farm fresh produce from my local Safeway.  From fresh plums, red pears and pomegranates to green peppers, zucchini, and heirloom tomatoes, Safeway partners with local farmers to bring organically grown produce to you.
In a study by Harris Interactive they found that only 30% of Americans incorporate local produce in their meals on a daily basis.  More and more children are being diagnosed with diabetes at an earlier age and this recent article shows the 5 shocking reasons why more people are clinically obese. It's more important than ever to educate our children from the get-go about healthy eating habits, introduce organically and locally grown fruits and vegetables to your dinner table, and support your local farmers.

What can you find at Safeway from your local farmers?  I'm able to select wonderfully fresh and organically grown fruits and vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and creamy, yummy avocados.  Sweet plums, pomegranates, pears and other seasonal fruits that are sweet enough to curb your dessert cravings will have your children asking for seconds. 

Recently my youngest daughter re-discovered avocados.  When she saw two ripe avocados in my basket she put together a wonderful Turkey-Avocado-Bacon grilled sandwich.  We used our favorite Oroweat Whole Grain Oatnut bread, Safeway Select Roasted Turkey, and some Safeway Select Extra Thick Naturally Smoked Bacon.  We also cut open the ruby red pomegranate which is locally soured and SO GOOD for you.  Check out my basket of goodies, our Turkey-Bacon-Avocado Sandwich, and be sure to see the Safeway Video at the very end.  Locally sourced produce from farmers near you.  If you haven't done so recently - it's time to check it out!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a basket of locally sourced produce from Safeway.  I was also provided with a $50 giftcard to purchase additional items to complete our wonderfully array of organic produce.  I only promote product I truly love and use regularly.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Personalized Rings and Necklaces by CentimeGifts

What’s one of the most personal gifts you can find for anyone no matter the age?  At the top of that list is personalized jewelry.  Gifts that are personalized with a significant date, name or milestone are simply unique and will become your most treasured family heirlooms.  Personalized jewelry makes the perfect gift for graduations, birthdays and weddings.  CentimeGift creates custom works of art that you can wear, stack and cherish for years to come.

As the mother of 3 daughters it becomes more difficult with time to find gifts that stand out.  But with CentimeGifts there is an array of beautiful and fun designs that is endless.  I had the chance to order the stackable rings with the nicknames of each of my daughters.  The rings are made out of 925 Sterling Silver.  The handmade construction is remarkable and beautiful.

Beyond the ring design you see here, there’s a wonderful selection of whimsical, classy and timeless pieces of bling that you will cherish from the moment you open the box.  The only problem with CentimeGifts is choosing your design.

What to get for your Bridesmaids?  How about a personalized necklace nameplate?  You can include a name and date or thoughtful word to live by.  Whatever you fancy you can personalize it to make it your own.

Best graduation gift ever:  What about a necklace that marks a graduation milestone with their name and date?  Or a custom ring or necklace with their favorite words to live by?  CentimeGifts are unique to you.

The New Mom:  Hey Dads, be a hero and present a CentimeGift for the mother of your children.  Moms will a piece or two of jewelry that keeps their children close to their heart and what better way than a necklace or set of rings for each child? 

Be sure to double-check your sizing especially when it comes to rings.  Since these are custom made you’ll want to be completely sure your rings will fit over your knuckles but be snug enough not to fall off.  For necklaces you’ll want to figure out the length.  There’s a great size chart in each of the necklace photos on the CentimeGifts Etsyshop. 

The prices for are very affordable.  These beautifully crafted, handmade works of art will become your favorite pieces of jewelry.  CentimeGifts goal is to create handcrafted, personalized silver jewelry in timeless, dainty designs that you can wear everyday.  They are created to last a lifetime and to hand down as family keepsakes. So what are you waiting for? Check them out and get your holiday shopping done early this year!

Check out some of my favorites designs:
http://centimegift.com/name-rings/stackable-name-ring perfect gifts for mothers and grandmas, bridesmaids gifts, graduation gifts

http://centimegift.com/initial-necklaces/personalized-signature-necklace very special, sentimental gifts. You can turn your own signature or someone's signature to the pendant of a necklace.

CentimeGifts can be found here:

Disclaimer: I was provided with 3 custom rings.  I can attest that the quality and workmanship is beautiful.  I only endorse things that have a high quality and CentimeGifts is outstanding.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Walmart To Go Keeps Life Simple

Save $10 on your first order by clicking on my referral link.

For the second time in a few weeks I have taken the stress away from my shopping routine.  It's been a crazy, hectic summer with all 3 of my kids working, little time to plan meals and on top of that I'm busy with my photography business doing shoots a few nights a week.  I'm lucky because I get fed wonderful dinners at events while my family has to scrounge for theirs.  So link to this page to find out about Walmart To Go makes life simple.  I can order what I need for them to make dinner, keep supplies on hand for breakfast and keep our toiletries and every day essentials in stock.  Without missing a beat!

What's so nice is everything that is perishable is refrigerated in their trucks and comes cold and ready to put in my own refrigerator.  All other non-perishable items are in separate crates.  The handy-dandy delivery guys come with a smile and bring everything straight to your home.  This saves me SO much time, it's super easy to open a Walmart To Go account and get started.  And your first few deliveries are FREE.  What could be better?  Oh - I know -the super prices that you find for things like cereal (best prices around), plus all of their weekly sales that you can find online.  

Plan your week from the comfort of your lazy boy chair!  Order, pick a delivery window (usually within a 2 hour time slot) and get on with your life.  It's super simple, fast and saves you so much time. And with free delivery - who wouldn't want to do it?

Are you a Bay Area influencer?  Then check out and sign up for the Walmart To Go First - VIP Experience

Disclosure:  I was provided with an initial eVoucher to test Walmart To Go out.  But since then I have spent my own money and saved my own time by shopping this super fast and efficient way.  I'm so pleased with this service plus my kids can order what they need too.  Make life simple. Shop Walmart To Go.

As a participant in the Walmart to Go First program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post.