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Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Fashionable Pieces You Should Bring in Paris' Tourist Attractions

Anyone who’s been to Paris will be head over heels in love with her beauty. With the city full of colossal and intricate structures, streets brimming with arts, as well as stylish people going out and about the city, you’ll feel enthralled to blend in. While you’re packing, make sure you bring a pair of gladiator heels, oversized sunglasses, designer handbag, a perfectly fitting trench coat, and an A-line dress that will take you from a simple tourist look to a blooming Parisian. 

Stylish Gladiators at the Eiffel 
When visiting the Eiffel Tower, don’t just take photos. Instead, dream of having lunch or dinner with a magnificent view by reserving a seat at one of the most posh restaurants up at the Eiffel Tower. Of course, you need to be extra pretty and sexy so wear a pair of black gladiator heels. Surely, your date can’t resist you from head to toe. 58 Tour Eiffel serves lunch starting at €21 and dinner from €80. Again, make reservations early. You don’t want to be waiting in line for hours in heels. 

Designer Handbag at Avenue des Champs-Élysées 
You know you’re a true blooded fashionista when you’re ready to flaunt your designer handbag in Paris. Make sure they’re original, especially when you’re walking along the most famous street Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Not only is the street one of the most popular ones in the world but it’s also one of the most expensive strips. If you’re after splurging and shopping, skip the mall and head to Champs-Élysées. Shops like Annick Goutal, Salvatorre Ferragamo, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Zara, Guerlain, Mont Blanc and a lot more can be found there. Otherwise, just stroll along the street and flaunt your designer handbag. 

Oversized Sunglasses at the Restaurants 
A lot of locals and tourists like to spend their afternoon drinking coffee, beer or wine in restaurants with tables and seats outside. That’s because people love to see cars and people passing by as well as appreciate the magnificent structures of Paris. Even when spring brings the cold chill, people like staying outdoors because of the sun. While you’re sipping coffee or wine while chatting with a friend, make sure to be fashionably snob in a pair of oversized sunglasses. 

Trench Coat at Pont Des Arts, Pont Neuf and Pont Alexandre III 
There’s something about bridges that make Paris connected altogether. As you enjoy the cold weather Paris brings, don’t forget to bring a stylish and perfectly-fitting trench coat as you stroll along Pont Des Arts, Pont Neuf and Pont Alexandre III which cross along the River Seine. It’s one of the romantic places where you hold hands or have your first kiss. Don’t forget to leave your padlock latched at the metal railings of Pont Des Arts if you can find a place.  

A-Line Dress at the Louvre 
Think Blair Waldorf and you’ll get inspired to dress like a pristine Parisian at the Louvre. If you understand the values of paintings and sculptures, walk in style and class in an A-Line dress. It’s difficult to finish the entire arts collection in one day so be prepared to dress comfortably. Flats work well with an A-Line dress and that’s comfy, too. No need to buy tickets in advance as there are lots of places to buy tickets when you’re in Paris. There’s a souvenir shop at the Carrousel du Louvre as soon as you exit the Metro. Be fashionably breathtaking when you visit Paris.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beauty Encounter Review

I recently learned of a new site, Beauty Encounter. While I don't wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, but I enjoy using quality products to get a better look that lasts. I do enjoy making occasions special by using perfume. My problem? I enjoy costly perfumes. 

I was pleased to discover that Beauty Encounter has a Discount Fragrance section to their website. I found every perfume, eau de parfum and body splash I've ever purchased on their site. And all fragrances are offered at a discount, some up to 75% off. Most that I like to purchase were discounted 40-48% off retail. Every fragrance name that I could think of I was able to find on the Beauty Encounter site. I found it to be a comprehensive store for all of your perfume and cologne needs. 

I also checked out the Shopping Rewards plan, called My B-E Perks. It's free to become a My B-E Perks member and when you do, you will earn points on every purchase. One dollar = one point. Save points and redeem for a credit off of your order (free merchandise). I believe that even if you don't plan to spend to a reward level, join the program. It's better to get those points than find out later you could have had a reward. 

Shipping is normally $5.95 per order for the contiguous 48 states. To sweeten the deal, Beauty Encounter offers free shipping on all orders of $60 or more, everyday. No need to wait for a special day to shop, you can have free shipping every day. I also found Beauty Encounter offers a variety of payment options. Credit card, Amazon Payments and PayPal are your online options. You may also send in a cashier's check or money order. 

Before you think Beauty Encounter is a fragrance site, be sure to check out their make up, accessories, hair care, body care and their at home lines of products. With discounts on almost every item, you can save on many of the daily care items you purchase anyway and get free shipping if your order is $60 or more.

I found Beauty Encounter to offer so much more than just makeup or just fragrances. It is a website full of interesting items at discounted prices. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

California Delicious $50 GC #Giveaway

Welcome to our California Delicious Giveaway

Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts is please to promote this giveaway hosted by Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More and sponsored by California Delicious.

I don't know about you, but fresh fruit just tastes better than processed or canned. And California Delicious has the highest standards for quality and freshness. It's not just the fruit they have, it's all of their gift baskets. Each one is a quality basket. Their Spring Delight (shown below) is the one that draws my eye every time I look at their site. Isn't it beautiful? 

You can read Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More's review by clicking HERE. I cannot think of anything better than then finding the perfect gift basket for that special person on your list. They can be tailored to the recipients tastes or likes. I like how unique they can be.

Onto the giveaway~
This giveaway will be live from 4/11 and will end on 4/25, starting and ending at 7 p.m.
This is open to US only. No P.O. boxes.
All entries will be verified
Winner will be chosen via
Winner will have 24hours to respond.
Winner must be 18 of age or older
One winner will receive a $50 gift card to California Delicious.
Enter below using the easy Giveaway Tools widget and Good Luck to you.

Disclosure: We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery nor did I receive compensation. Only 1 prize per household. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.
Why not join our Facebook Group to find out about the latest Blogger Opps or contact me and see how I can promote your product for you. For any questions or problems about this Giveaway, contact Tammie at

Monday, April 07, 2014

War Horse Makes Omaha Premiere with Discounted Family Ticket Night


APRIL 8 - 13

For my friends in Omaha who enjoy theatre. Be sure to check out the information regarding War Horse--which opens tomorrow night. This year, Omaha Performing Arts is trying out a new method to bring families to see live theatre. I applaud their efforts to make live theatre (and Broadway Tours) affordable for families. Please note, if you purchase tickets from other sources besides Ticket Omaha, you might be charged higher fees or not be able to get the family discount. 

The Tuesday, April 8, Omaha premiere of the National Theatre of Great Britain’s epic WAR HORSE, winner of five Tony Awards®, including best play, will feature a Family Night with specially priced tickets. Omaha Performing Arts will offer a limited number of tickets at 50% off for this Broadway touring production to introduce this”landmark theatrical event” to Omaha area young people.

A limited number of tickets will be available at one-half price for the opening night performance of WAR HORSE, Tuesday, April 8. Tickets will be available to one adult and one child, age 9 to 18 years of age. All other tickets are available for the show which will run Tuesday, April 8, through Sunday, April 13.
The show is being presented by Omaha Performing Arts as part of its Broadway Series.

The half-price tickets can be purchased at $32.25 each from Ticket Omaha by using the promotion code – FAMILY14. There’s a limit of one ticket per adult and one ticket per child. No more than two tickets per adult or per family. Seating will be available in the Grand Tier and balcony areas of Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. This show is recommended for children ages 9 and up. Additional tickets may be purchased at the regular ticket prices. All tickets are available online at; by phone at 402.345.0606; or at the Ticket Omaha box office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Streets,
Omaha, Neb. Ticket Omaha is the official ticket outlet for all performances of WAR HORSE.

Michael Morpurgo’s beloved novel, War Horse, is also the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s feature film of the same name, which earned six Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Hailed by The New York Times as “theatrical magic,” WAR HORSE is the powerful story of young Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, who has been enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. In a tale the New York Daily News calls “spellbinding, by turns epic and intimate,” Joey is caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. What follows is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, filled with stirring music and songs and told with the some of the most innovative stagecraft of our time.

The tour of WAR HORSE, which was adapted from the book by Morpurgo and by Nick Stafford, is directed by Bijan Sheibani based on the original Tony Award®-winning direction by Marianne Elliott and
Tom Morris, and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. At the heart of the show are life-sized puppets which bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

In addition to Best Play, WAR HORSE received Tony Awards® for Best Direction of a Play
(Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Christopher Shutt). A Special Tony Award® was given to Handspring Puppet Company for their integral work on the production.

The lead producers of the national tour of WAR HORSE are Bob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain.

The Broadway touring production of WAR HORSE comes to Omaha Tuesday, April 8, through
Sunday, April 13, 2014. Performances of WAR HORSE will be at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St., on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, April 8, 9 and 10, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 11, at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 12, at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 13, at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Omaha Performing Arts Announces 2014-2015 Season

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Omaha Performing Arts Season Announcement last night. It was a wonderful Gala event with some sneak peek performances by a couple of the upcoming season shows. 


The first announcement was The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Starring The Rockettes. I always wanted to be a Rockette, but I didn't make the height requirement (and if we can be honest, my talent isn't high enough either). But, it doesn't stop me from loving the Rockettes and I plan to be first in line to see the Christmas Spectacular. It was noted that a full sized Double Decker Bus begins taking the Rockettes and the audience on a journey around New York City at Christmastime. It should be a holiday spectacular event. 

Keep it going with Broadway shows such as Pippin and Motown the Musical. Special engagements of Blue Man Group and Sinbad. Then the other series feature Dinosaur Train Live and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It is a season packed with something for everyone. Be sure to check out the National Geographic Live! series and the Jazz entertainers coming. Below is the full list of the series and shows. 

Sinbad, ranked by Comedy Central as one
of the 100 best comedians of all time,
will be at the Holland Center February 6, 2015.

2014/2015 Broadway Series 
The Omaha Performing Arts 2014/2015 Broadway Series has five productions, opening with the Omaha debut of THE RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR, STARRING THE ROCKETTES, running November 13-30, 2014. This all new production features dazzling scenery and special effects, glamorous Rockettes costumes and choreography and a 50-foot LED screen that will enhance the show with breathtaking imagery, including the amazing “New York at Christmas” scene. The RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR is a beloved family holiday tradition and is the perfect show for all ages.

Performing January 27 through February 1, 2015 is the four-time Tony Award®-winning 
CAMELOT®, which tells the story of the infamous love triangle between King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot. Next in the series is the 2013 Tony®-winning revival PIPPIN, running March 3-8, 2015. 
PIPPIN tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence, and features breathtaking acrobatics. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL also opens that month, with performances March 25-29, 2015. MOTOWN recounts the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Eight-time Tony Award®-winner ONCE closes out the Broadway Series May 12-17, 2015. Featuring an ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on 
his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his songs. 

There are three special Broadway performances available to Season Ticket holders outside of the Broadway Series package. BLUE MAN GROUP returns to perform its popular multimedia show blending the lines of comedy and music October 24-26. The international sensation, Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, is back for a limited engagement December 19- 21. The feel-good show that has audiences coming back again and again, MAMMA MIA!, has a repeat engagement in Omaha April 24-26, 2015. 

2014/2015 Dance Series 
The 2014/2015 Dance Series begins with the contemporary dance company Aspen Santa Fe 
Ballet, which returns to the Orpheum on February 19, 2015, with a new production featuring the 
incredible piece, Square None. The Brazilian dance ensemble Compagnie Käfig performs March 18, 2015, entertaining the audience with their hip hop and Latin dance-inspired program. Pilobolus Dance Theatre returns to Omaha April 23, 2015 with a program featuring a Penn & Teller piece described as, "the ultimate in gripping, do-not-try-this-at-home choreography." 

2014/2015 Family Series 
Omaha Performing Arts’ 2014/2015 Family Series starts on January 23, 2015 with the live 
theatrical production of the PBS series Dinosaur Train Live! Buddy’s Big Adventure. The one-of-a-kind live black-light puppet show, John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean, will be presented February 20, 2015. The Chinese acrobatic touring company Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform at the Orpheum April 29, 2015. 

Rock Legends with Billy McGuigan will be
May 15, 2015 at the 1200 CLUB inside the Holland Performing Arts Center.

2014/2015 Jazz Series 
The six-time Grammy®-winning saxophonist, David Sanborn, opens the 2014/2015 Jazz Series on Sunday, February 15, 2015. Grammy® winning jazz musician, vocalist and songwriter Cassandra Wilson celebrates Billy Holiday's 100th birthday anniversary in a unique performance on March 7, 2015. Terence Blanchard, a Grammy®-winning jazz trumpeter from New Orleans, rounds out the series with a performance May 7, 2015. 

2014/2015 Showcase Series 
The Showcase Series for 2014/2015 begins with football great Terry Bradshaw in Terry 
Bradshaw: America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde … a life in four squares. The program features 
Bradshaw in a funny night of storytelling, comedy and singing on November 20, 2014. January 21, 2015 heats up when stars from American Idol pair up with professional dancers from Dancing with the Stars for Ballroom with a Twist at the Orpheum Theater. The Texas Tenors – the highest scoring vocal group ever on America's Got Talent – will bring cowboy charm and breath-taking vocals to the Holland Center on March 19, 2015. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie will be at the Holland Center April 28, 2015 with a performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alice’s Restaurant. 

Brian Skerry, a photojournalist, presents Ocean’s Soul on March 10, 2015, which is a speaking engagement featuring stunning images from his vast career as an underwater photographer.

2014/2015 National Geographic Live Series 
The 2014/2015 National Geographic Live Series features three exciting speakers and many 
stunning images. On February 10, 2015, Extreme Planet with Carsten Peter, extreme weather 
photographer, will feature tales of adrenaline and danger. Photojournalist Brian Skerry will present Ocean Soul on March 10, 2015, featuring stories and spectacular images from his vast career as an underwater photographer. Presenting Pink Boots and a Machete on April 7, 2015 is a wildlife expert, primatologist and television personality Mireya Mayor, dubbed by some as a female Indiana Jones. 

2014/2015 1200 CLUB Series 
The intimate performances in the 1200 CLUB Series begin January 15, 2015 with 
singer/songwriter José James, who is regarded as an underground sensation in both the modern jazz and DJ culture scenes. The gypsy jazz band Hot Sardines celebrates Mardi Gras in the club on February 17, 2015 with their unique sound that’s akin to wartime Paris via New Orleans. Later that month, jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker plays on February 27, 2015. The six-time Grammy®-nominated vocalist and Omaha native, Tierney Sutton, performs two shows on March 27, 2015 featuring material from her recent album “After Blue,” a re-imagining of the legacy of Joni Mitchell. The classically-trained musicians in Black Violin will perform a show blending hip-hop, rock, R&B and bluegrass April 12, 2015. 
An Omaha favorite closes out 1200 CLUB Season: Rock Legends with Billy McGuigan will be May 15, 2015. 

2014/2015 Special Performances 
Omaha Performing Arts’ 2014/2015 Special performances can be added to any Season Ticket package with most performances offering a savings of at least 15%. The first of the Special performances is Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli, July 17-20, 2014. In partnership with the River City Theatre Organ Society and just in time for Halloween, the classic silent film “Phantom of the Opera” will be screened October 22, 2014 at the Orpheum Theater with music played by organist Clark Wilson. David Sedaris returns to the Holland Center for more wickedly witty observations of the ordinary-bizarre on October 30, 2014. Christmas with The King’s Singers, featuring one of the world’s most celebrated vocal ensembles, will be December 3, 2014. Sinbad, ranked by Comedy Central as one of the 
100 best comedians of all time, will be at the Holland Center February 6, 2015. The Grammy®-winning South African a capella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, returns to the Holland Center on February 19, 2015. Food Network star Chef Robert Irvine will be at the Holland Center March 6, 2015 for an interactive theatrical event that takes cooking to new places. The Irish-American Celtic ensemble, Cherish the Ladies, performs March 11, 2015 just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. 

For more information about Omaha Performing Arts’ Season Tickets, visit or call 402.345.0606 or toll-free at 866.434.8587. Groups of 10 or more may also purchase tickets to the 2014/2015 season; groups can save up to 25% on select shows. For more information on Group Sales, visit or call 402.661.8516. Single tickets for the 2014/2015 Omaha Performing Arts season will go on sale at a later date. Due to the nature of live entertainment, all programs, performers, prices, dates and times are subject to change. 

New Purex Fresh Pet Laundry Detergent

If you are like us, you have some pet clothes for your pets. And when they get a little dirty or smelly or gross, wouldn't it be nice to wash them in a specially formulated detergent that is meant for pets only? Now you can with new Purex Fresh Pet Laundry Detergent. I really like how it is formulated for your pet's skin and is better for them than regular human laundry products. With odor control and the cleaning power of Purex, it is sure to delight you. 

From the manufacturer:
Introducing NEW Purex Fresh Pet-Cuddly clean clothes for your furry family.
Purex Fresh Pet keeps your furry friends clothing bright and clean just like yours! NEW Purex Fresh Pet Liquid detergent with Odor Control Action is a premium pet clothing formula that is specifically formulated to condition and moisturize your pet's coat and eliminate odor while they wear their favorite outfits. Whether lounging around on the living room rug or strutting their stuff on a neighborhood walk, your pet's outfits will surely be noticed. 
Check it out in the laundry aisle at your favorite retailer.  

Disclosure: Purex provided me with a sample of Purex Fresh Pet detergent for Pet Clothing in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Body Brite Omaha Review and #Giveaway

 Body Brite is located in Omaha off of 147 & Maple. I recently met with Micki, the owner, and her staff to learn about their services. Body Brite offers services such as Oxygen Therapy (facials), Teeth Whitening, Permanent Hair Removal (using Intense Pulsed Light) and Skin Rejuvenation (using Intense Pulsed Light). Body Brite is a franchise located in eight countries worldwide. It started internationally and the Omaha location was one of the first ten location in the United States. Micki is proud to say that in May 2013, Body Brite received the Best of Omaha award after only being in business for six months. 

I learned a little about each service and got to try the Permanent Hair Removal. The teeth whitening uses light to lighten the color of your natural tooth enamel. It takes 1-3 sessions to lighten teeth, but I understand most see several shades of lightening with the first treatment. Skin Rejuvenation applies small pulses of light to the skin which is transformed into heat. The heat helps stimulate new elastin and collagen. This is used to help eliminate fine wrinkles, reverse sun damage and can help with skin tone. It also helps with sunspots and helpe decrease pore size. Treatment is 6 sessions. Oxygen Therapy uses herbal serums and pure oxygen to activate cell and collagen production. They call it botox in a bottle because this facial focuses on eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. Treatment is 6 sessions. One client who was leaving when I was at Body Brite was telling Micki about her first Oxygen Therapy session. She loved it and couldn't believe how good her skin already looked after only one treatment. It was a totally unsolicited testimonial and she was thrilled to be undergoing the treatment. 

The Hair Removal was the treatment I tried. I was so excited to learn that after treatment, 90-95% of people will have permanent hair loss in that zone. I tried a test patch on my underarm, leg and face. First you ice the area to cool it and then the light zaps the hair down to the follicle. I couldn't believe that in only a couple pulses (zaps) of light, the hair was gone in the test patches.  I was a little nervous before trying this, but I found it to be painless. Once you ice the area a little bit, I could feel the heat from the light, but that was all. Even the face was pain free. Treatment is 9 sessions. Micki shared that after three treatments, most people find all the hair to be gone, but they can't quit then because the follicles will grow back a few times before being done. It takes the full 9 sessions for true results. 

From the Body Brite Website:
Welcome to BodyBrite, where our slogan is “Let Your Beauty Shine”.
Our lives are hectic, and sometimes when you look in the mirror, perhaps you don’t see who you know you really are. Our innovative treatments and professional staff of certified estheticians will replenish and renew your whole being, and you won’t need to spend thousands of dollars to do it.
Come and experience our IN approach: Intelligent, innovative, inspiring andinclusive. Whether you’re a man or a woman, whatever your skin type, ethnicity or age, we have the very best skin treatments available so your inner beauty shows on the outside, too.
Don’t hide your inner light. Come in to BodyBrite, and shine.
Some other Omaha Bloggers also gave Body Brite a try. Be sure to check out their reviews as well. 
SensoryMamaSavingCents tried the teeth whitening. 
MomSavesMoney tried an Oxygen Facial
LPO Beauty tried hair removal.

Now for the giveaway. Be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter below for your chance to have the treatment of your choice, valid at the Omaha location only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary treatment in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Learn about Mars at the Holland Center on April 22

Photo Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Nathan in particular was happy to hear about the speaker coming to Omaha on April 22--National Geographic Live's Exploring the Red Planet with Kobie Boykins, NASA engineer. This will be an evening spent learning more about the mysterious planet of Mars. A part of the speaker series presented by Omaha Performing Arts, Exploring the Red Planet will have Omaha native, Kobie Boykins, sharing about the Mars rovers, recent photos from Mars and he will share the future of space exploration with everyone. Exploring the Red Planet will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 22. 

Photo Courtesy NASA
About Kobie Boykins:
Boykins graduated from Omaha Northwest High School in 1992. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., beginning his career in the aerospace industry in the Advanced Mechanical Systems group at NASA/Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a student. After graduation, he began his first program, working on the entry, descent and landing systems for the Mars Pathfinder rover. He has since worked on the Sojourner, Exploration, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity r
As a Solar Array Cognizant Engineer for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, Boykins designed the deployable solar array structure and mechanisms that power the rovers. Both have outlasted their predicted life significantly and have found indications of past existence of water on Mars.
For the past several years, Boykins has been JPL’s supervisor of the Mobility and Mechanisms Engineering group, within its Spacecraft Mechanical Engineering section. He has overseen the designing, building and testing of mechanisms and other mechanical hardware for a wide range of robotic space vehicles. These include the deployment and mobility mechanisms for Mars rovers, pyrotechnic devices, launch locks and latches, multi-axis gimbals as well as technology development for future missions. Currently, Boykins is working on a project called Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) as a technical advisor for the Spacecraft Solar Array and Deployable Boom.
Tickets are still available to see Exploring the Red Planet and can be purchased at Nathan, who decided years ago to be an astronaut who visits Mars, is looking forward to attending and learning more about the Red Planet. We understand that Kobie Boykins is an entertaining and engaging speaker and we're looking forward to learning more about Mars and the things he has done through his work at NASA. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Guest Post - Mardra Sikora - Living the Good Life

Today is a guest post from my BFF (yes, we've been friends since high school). She's a fantastic blogger, wonderful mother and amazing advocate. You may not know it, but today is World Down Syndrome Day. I'm excited to see what she has to share with us about "Living the Good Life." Please be sure to check out her website at

On a recent road-trip to central Nebraska, my son Marcus leaned back and sighed, “This is the good life.” That particular weekend there was much ado about Nebraska’s slogan: “The Good Life.” So I smiled in agreement while my mind wandered over the parallel metaphor to our world.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it gets old defending the place you call home. Do you get tired of explaining what exactly is good about “the good life” to those who say they could never…? To those who are filled with ill-conceived notions and stereotypes about our day-to-day? What beauties there are to see and experience?

Like many kids, I knew I’d leave Nebraska when I grew up. But the days went by and, though there were other opportunities along the way, I chose to stay. And sometimes there were circumstances that chose me instead. Which brings me to the parallel metaphor. Life with my son, Marcus.

It’s not a new idea, the metaphor of the physical place we find ourselves and our larger fate. So here we go…

On March 21st we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. We celebrate because Down syndrome is part of who Marcus is. Like many families who find themselves in an unexpected place – it is not about making the best of it; it’s about celebrating the best of it.

What I’d like to share this World Down Syndrome Day, with those of you who don’t live in the place we do: It’s not what you think.

Yes, sometimes storms come in and make life difficult. Like Marcus’ heart surgery when he was still a baby. That was hard. And there are many beautiful places on this earth, including the amazing sunsets that linger on the horizon here. Yes, the same sun rises and sets in our world as yours and my love for my son is no more and no less than the love any mother can have for their child. I see his beauty, his talents, his ambitions, and these parts of him are not diminished by Down syndrome. My biggest disappointments come not from Marcus’ abilities but rather the limitations of other people to recognize his abilities.

To me, the good life means preparation: when it’s cold, you put a coat on. The good life means consideration: please and thank you and working hard is something to be proud of. The good life means both seeing beauty in the peaceful moments as well as celebrating with the roar of a crowd.

For us it is also about a lifetime full of laughter. Marcus’ guiding principal is to make sure the people around him are happy. It’s nice to live with someone who has other’s happiness as a top priority.

Yes, Marcus lives with us, so do 6 million other adult children in this country. Like many of them, this is a choice we have made together. There are options, we chose this one.

It’s not always an easy life. (Boring!) It’s not the perfect life. (Who has that?)
It is, in fact, quite a good life.

By day Mardra Sikora balances a patchwork of community, advocacy, work and family. Also by day she writes. You can find her antics at, on Facebook, and her favorite hangout, Twitter: @MardraSikora

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Soweto Gospel Choir Performs at Holland Center Omaha 3/28

Omaha Area People - What are you doing Thursday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.? Whatever it is, I'd suggest cancelling your plans and getting to the Holland Performing Arts Center!! 
It's not every day that you get a chance to see a multi-award winning African Gospel Choir. That's why.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performs one night only in Omaha and is presented by Omaha Performing Arts. It looks to be an impressive evening of music. Tickets are available at

From their press release: Soweto Gospel Choir has enjoyed more than a decade of success, earning accolades and awards as they tour the world. The choir has won Emmy Award®, two Grammy Awards®, three South African Music Association Awards and an Oscar nomination. The 45-member choir is led by choir leaders Shimmy Jiyane, Diniloxolo Ndlakuse and Mazwe Mhlongo. Backed by a small band, Soweto Gospel Choir weaves nuanced harmonies into the melodies of African spirituals, American gospel tunes and the occasional pop hit.
          Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in November 2002; the following year, the group began winning awards. They won Grammy Awards® in the Best Traditional World Music category in 2007 for Blessed and 2008 for African Spirit. In 2009, their collaboration with Peter Gabriel on the song “Down To Earth” in Wall-E earned a Grammy® as well. The choir won a Sports Emmy Award as winners of the Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics for a campaign they did with U2. 
Come sit back, relax and let the music wash over you on Thursday, March 28. Get your tickets now before they are gone. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sister Act at Orpheum Theater Omaha through March 23

When you think of disco balls and sequins and Motown's greatest hits, I would guess you don't think of church...or nuns. Normally I wouldn't either. But when you see the Broadway touring show of  "Sister Act," you get all this and more. 

Sean & I were able to attend opening night last night for Sister Act. It will be playing through Sunday, March 23. Performances remaining are Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Thanks to Omaha Performing Arts for bringing the 5 time Tony Award winner to Omaha. 

The theater was pretty packed last night, but the audience was sluggish at the start. As a former acting major, I pick up on the audience feeling pretty quickly. I know how hard it is to give high energy as a performer when you don't get the audience feedback. But I will give this top-notch cast credit, they kept the energy up and after only a short while, they had the audience totally engaged and turned it into one of the most up-beat crowds I've ever witnessed. By the time the curtain fell, every person was on their feet giving a standing ovation, clapping and dancing along. 
ABOUT THE SHOW: When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won’t be found – a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her fabulous disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of the newly found sisterhood.
Based on the mega-hit feature film, SISTER ACT features an original Alan Menken/Glenn Slater score with a vast inspiration of musical styles from Motown, soul and funk to great big disco anthems and Barry White-inspired musical comedy.
I have always enjoyed the movie and I was a little apprehensive to see how the show translated to the stage. I must admit that clever staging and choreography made the stage version an amazing show. I actually now like the stage version better than the movie. I loved the music and the singers were all very talented. We did see three understudies last night due to some illness in the cast, but even I couldn't tell who was the understudy. I had to look it up this morning to figure it out. They were that good. 

If you are looking for some fun music, a top notch cast and enough laughter to bring tears to your eyes, be sure to check out "Sister Act" before it's gone. 

Tickets are available through Ticket Omaha or by calling 402.345.0606.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SEA LIFE Aquarium - Kansas City - #Discount $3 off Tickets

On our tour of Kansas City, we are also going to head over to SEA LIFE Aquarium. They have all kinds of exhibits about sea life and sea creatures. And while we come from a world class zoo city, we enjoy checking out how other Aquariums present information. We have lots of fun at Aquariums (and manage to sneak in some fun facts while we are there). Our kids can't wait to go exploring and see another shark tunnel. 

SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium will transport you into the amazing underwater world. Come nose to nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. To get any closer you'd have to get wet! Are you a Shark lover or Seahorse fanatic? Perhaps it's the graceful rays or the clever Octopus that you love the most. Maybe you simply can't decide! Here at SEA LIFE Kansas City you can make up your mind and see them all - from the curious and the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. And you'll be able to get closer to them than ever before.

You and your family can also go and enjoy $3 off per ticket. Be sure to print your coupon and head over to the Sea Life Aquarium for loads of fun. 

Discount - $3 off tickets at LegoLand in Kansas City

Our family is big on museums and interactive entertainment. And when there just might be a little learning that we can sneak into the experience, we're all in. So check out the deal I am pleased to offer to all of my friends. You can take $3 off per ticket at LegoLand Discovery Center in Kansas City.

Explore LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City, the ultimate indoor playground for kids who are the biggest fans of LEGO! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City is one of Kansas City's best attractions for kids! Reach out and touch the stars in our 4D cinema, build the fastest car in LEGO Racers: Build & Test, zap the bad guys in Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, or have the ultimate LEGO birthday party. Plan your family visit and jump into the biggest box of LEGO bricks!

 I have a Lego loving family. All five of us enjoy playing with Legos and Nathan recently had an 'all Lego' birthday. We can't wait to head to KC and check out LegoLand. We are planning a visit for later this spring and will let you know about our visit.

In the meantime, remember to print out your $3 savings if you're headed that way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nebraska & Iowa Game Truck News

Do you remember the Game Truck? I had the opportunity to review it and you can see that review here. My kids had a terrific time playing on the game truck. What can beat unlimited video games on numerous systems? I was contacted and given some fantastic new information. 

They now have a NEW trailer in Omaha!!!!  The new trailer has 6 big screen TV's, extremely cool lighting and a power awning for guests of the Game Truck to have cake and ice cream underneath it in the shade!!!  According to my contact, the owner, it is LIGHT YEARS above the old trailer!  

It appears that we will get to review the new game truck later this spring. So be watching for more information, but know that you can book this truck even now. 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Baby Bullet #Giveaway

Welcome to our Baby Bullet Giveaway~


This Baby Bullet Giveaway is being hosted by Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More, Couponing Momma Giveaways and Reviews, Our Wolves Den and promoted by some amazing Bloggers.
Sponsored by Baby Bullet

When you buy baby food in a store, How can you be sure that it contains only the natural ingredients and no preservatives that you demand in a product? Well you can't be sure unless you make it at home yourself. Baby Bullet is your must have product to make homemade baby food that includes only the most natural ingredients that prefer it have. By using this product, You can have homemade baby food in less than 15 minutes. This is an "as seen on T.V." product. You can read Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More's full review HERE.

I personally didn't have a Baby Bullet--because they were not yet invented/sold when I was making baby food for my kiddos. But I loved making my own out of leftovers and with food I found on good sales. I did switch back and forth between homemade and commercial, but this would have made my life so much easier!!

Now on to the Giveaway……
  • This giveaway will be live from 3/9 and will end on 3/23, starting and ending at 7 p.m.
  • This is open to US only.
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner will be chosen via
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond.
  • Winner must be 18 of age or older
  • 1 winner will receive a Baby Bullet.
  • Enter below using the easy Giveaway Tools widget and Good Luck to you.

Disclosure: is not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Showing off my #DisneySide

You know my sister and I have a 'little'....umm...BIG thing for The Mouse. You know him, got a couple castles on the coasts and a few more overseas. Well, I call myself blessed beyond belief because this girl got selected to host a Disney Side at home party. Oh yeah, Mickey picked me. I was given the chance to host a #DisneySide party to show off my Disney Side. Well, why stick to a party when you can spread the love around town (and the country)?

Then came the hard part...waiting. Our #DisneySide shipments were packed by hand and shipped out in waves. So I waited through the first wave, second the third wave I'm getting nervous...but then, joy of joys, my box was shipped. I checked daily for it's arrival. Then came ice in the South--REALLY!! Even Mother Nature tried to slow my box down. UGH! Then the magical day arrived--- 

My box was a little beaten up on top, but the insides were just fine.


Thanks to American Tourister--official luggage of Disney, I have a new carry on bag. With wheels! And they spin 360 degrees!! I got to try out my new rolly spinny bag (yes, that's what I call it) on my trip to DC. Never had an easier time moving between gates since my laptop was in it and not on my back. And I had to truck through Minneapolis to change concourses and go from next to last gate to last gate in the other while grabbing lunch on the way. I had 30 minutes--loads of time. HA! But I could move quick with my rolly spinny bag. 

Then I opened my luggage....

Check out my Disney loot!
There's cups, plates, napkins, balloons, decoration, tablecloth, cookie cutters, measuring cups, race signs, Mickey/Minnie Love prints, HP (two smiles) Photo Card making set, cupcake papers, run window clings and bracelets, ideas on how to face paint Disney characters, stickers, tattoos, Muppet calendars, recipes, and more!!

We used the bulk of our Disney Side items at Nathan's Birthday Party. We put the bracelets, Muppets Calendar, Balloons, Tattoos and Stickers in his treat bags. I was going to use the plates/napkins, etc for the party, but the movie theater provided. So I'm now holding that until a certain someone I know celebrates her 40th this year (not me--my baby sis---don't tell her). She mentioned wanting a Disney Party...woot woot. Big sis is going to deliver!

Nathan's treat bags

The party-goers.

I love the look on his face while we're singing Happy Birthday!


Rebekah had some friends over for a playdate on another day and for snacks, we did Mickey Mouse Doughnut platters. Each child and mom got a doughnut. We had a ball...but my camera was being fixed and I forgot to take pics on my phone while the girls played. Since Rebekah has enough princess dresses and costumes for more than a week, every girl got to dress up as a princess. So much fun!

 AND THEN--if that wasn't enough partying, I couldn't help it. I had to send some of the Run Disney window clings, bracelets and signs to my sister and her friends. I snuck them into a box to my mom who got them in the suitcase for my sister. My kids had me make a sign that said, "Run Fast, Tia!" I'm so proud of my sister. She ran the Tinkerbell 1/2 at Disneyland in January. Then a few weekends ago, she did the Glass Slipper Challenge at Disneyworld. It's a 10K on Saturday and a 1/3 Marathon on Sunday. By completing both 1/2 Marathons, she earned her Coast to Coast medal. 

My sister with FIVE medals. Again--I'm so proud.

Here's our sign in her hotel for inspiration. 

Not to be left out, Dad & Mom put one up on her garage for her arrival home. 

We have had a long multi-event experience with showing our #DisneySide. 
Be on the lookout for a #DisneySide giveaway coming soon. 

Disclosure: I was provided with a Disney Side kit in exchange for hosting a party and posting on my blog. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own. 
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