Why I travel with a NOOK by Samsung (& how you can WIN one!)

This contest is over. The winner was Eva B. and she has been contacted, thank you for all who entered.

Take my NOOK everywhere! Great for traveling, unwinding, waiting and keeping the kids entertained

I’ve been on the road more than I have been home the last two months, and one thing I am finally getting thing hang of is learning how to pack everything I need for my trips in only carry-ons. Gone are the days when I needed great big suitcases to get me where I was going.

I’m even learning how to travel without a laptop or a big camera, but for today I want to share this travel essential with you! I received a NOOK by Samsung to try out and share with you here. It couldn’t have come at a better time. It came in the mail the night before I had to fly home to deal with a family emergency.

I needed to pack light and I don’t really have any idea how long I will be gone. I had never used a NOOK before, but I knew I could load it up with things to help keep me occupied and ways to take a mental break when nights got long at the hospital.

It has done all that and then some!

In the night before my flight, I rented and downloaded two light-hearted comedies to watch on my flights.

Since i downloaded them before I left, I can watch them anytime at my leisure for 30 days, but once I start the film I only have 24 hours to finish. For $4, I was able to watch new releases whenever and however I wanted to on the plane. Super Awesome!

Next, I downloaded several books I have been wanting to read because I knew I would be spending a lot of time in waiting rooms and just generally sitting around waiting on people during my trip. I finished one book my first two days here and will finish my second book tonight.

Instead of bringing tons of hardcopy books with me, I have my own digital library at my disposal.

View of the NOOK by Samsung library

And when my eyes tire from reading too long, I also have a few digital magazines on there to get my creative juices flowing again (Digital magazines are my favorite!!) and even a few fun games I can play when I just need something to take my mind off of everything. Did I mention the battery life on this thing runs circles around all my other devices? Seriously, I didn’t even charge it for the first 3 days and I was using it almost constantly!

Apps and games look great on the NOOK by Samsung

The tablet does so much more though, I have sent some important work files to myself via Dropbox, reserved a rental a car while I sipped a hot chai from Starbucks, and even live-streamed a conference I was scheduled to speak at this weekend but couldn’t since I had to drop everything and go. It was almost as good as being there.

Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

This little guy has been a true lifesaver for me this week and I am thrilled to have an extra one to give to a very lucky reader. If you would like to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK for you or someone you love this holiday season (what a great Christmas gift!)


One lucky reader will win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, a $179.99 value. To enter follow the steps below.


Visit Barnes & Noble here, then leave a comment letting me know what you would download first?



Get a second entry if you share this contest with a friend, either by sending them the link to this post, via tweet, with a FB post, or even a pin on Pinterest. Just leave an extra comment letting me know what you did.

Good luck!

*This giveaway ends at 11/16 midnight.Open to US residents only, sorry.

Congrats Eva B.!!!
You are the winner of the NOOK by Samsung, enjoy.

A Short Story: Unbloxing Creativity and Making Friends

Don’t Miss the GoldieBlox Giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Do you have a girl who likes to think outside the box? You'll probably like this story. but as clever as she was with gadgets and gears, she had trouble being herself around other girls.
Quote for the not so girly girl.
When friends came over to play, they would usually raid her untouched dress-up bin or redecorate her doll house while she sat close by building cities out of legos or geared up to save endangered stuffed animal species while they practiced being princesses.

but for one incredible Sunday afternoon, with the help of our friends from GoldieBlox she got to be herself … and one of the girls too!

As soon as she unbloxed her box of Goldieblox, she got a grand idea. She got busy reading all about them and thinking of fun things we could do with them.

She called it a Girl Party, but of course there were boys there too! She wasn’t going to leave anyone out. We chatted about it for weeks, though neither one of us is the actual pre-planned, over-the-top party type, so we daydreamed a bit, then called a few friends over at the last minute, for a fun day of play.

Just our kind of party.

“But what’s a party without cake!”, she said.
GoldieBlox Tinker Cake So she built the coolest tiered yellow toy cake you’ve ever seen. Then we waited for our friends to arrive.
GoldieBlox Parade Float Building and Racing Party -- best party we've done for my girl ever! The party went better than either of us could have imagined! The girls jumped right in, excited for story time, and ready to create. Each girl built her own parade float using pieces from this set, a female version of a wooden box car derby. We decorated them with pom poms and tiny pennant banners and then raced them down a cardboard ramp.
goldieblox-parade-floats The floats were incredible! And each one so different from the next. The kids favorite part was adding the cute little animals, many of them tinkered up ways to get the animals to spin as the floats raced down the ramp. (I have videos! I’ll share on Facebook)

The girls cheered in delight and us moms had a blast too.
Adorable! GoldieBlox Parade Float Racing party (like a box car derby for girls) We talked about the toys available for our future builders today and how we were happy to see the upcoming versions of GoldieBlox feature more diverse characters and more complex scenarios. It’s not enough for any of us to just buy pink blocks for our daughter’s, and GoldieBlox seems to be heading in the right direction for creating toys that aren’t just cute, but stimulating too.

We had such a great time together, we’ve already started planning our next party! The girls are going to make dunk tanks and even considering making this our future builders guild group. I’m loving just the thought of a group like that!

If any or all of this sounds relatable to a special little someone in your life, or if you’d like to try a GoldieBlox party of your own, I’d love to give your child the opportunity to unblox their creativity and make a few new friends of their own in the process.

Enter to win two sets of your own and get some friends together for a guaranteed successful day of play.

GoldieBlox Tinker Party - the perfect solution for kids who like to think outside the box
Enter to win a GoldieBlox Prize Pack on Kids Stuff World. Contest end October, 2 2014.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: GoldieBlox and MomDotMedia helped facilitate this get together. All opinions, smiles and memories are our own.

P.S. If you think the girls pictured here are half as cute as I do, you should see their blogs! Find lots more awesome at Family Love in My City, My Tots Travel and At The Fire Hydrant.

All Your Family Photos, Safely in One Place

Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of this post, brought to you by LyveHome

Making memories with my family and capturing our special moments together is what I live for.

And, apparently I am pretty good at it. I tallied up all the photos on my phone, camera and iPad this weekend …. and folks, you do not want to know how many “memories” I had recorded.

There were more than 3,000 photos on my camera alone since school let out in June! It’s a tad bit ridiculous. Now ask me when the last time I printed actual photos … or even uploaded these pics to my computer, and I will hang my head down in shame.

I know, because that’s exactly what I did on Sunday when my mother in law asked me kindly if I could please start sharing photos again. She loves to scrapbook, and the last time I uploaded an album to Shutterfly was oh, I don’t know about 3 years ago!! Now you know my secret. I stink at photo sharing and snail mail. Pray I never have to mail you a package …

There’s just no easy way to upload and organize things anymore. I don’t have time to sit and wait for my camera pics to upload, or storage space to move the bajillion huge image files from my DSLR I am still learning how to use. The technology has gotten “too good” for me.

LyveHome photo storage device - this thing is awesome! Holds up to a million photos

Enter LyveHome, a brand new type of storage system that seamlessly integrates with all of your mobile devices.

Here’s what I can tell you after trying ours’ for just a few days.

1. It’s beautiful

You won’t hear many people call a storage device beautiful, but LyveHome is. The storage unit itself is sleek and modern with a digital display that will scroll through all your family photos and even tell you what time it is.

2. It’s super smart.

The system will chunk all your photos into neat little albums based on the date you took them without you having to do a thing! It will even merge photographs from your phone, camera and iPad so you get a full picture of what a day in your life was really like. (Hmm, this gives me an idea for a future post to share with you guys!!)
LyveHome - Best way to store photos and access them across all your devices

3. It’s fast.

Importing information from one system to another is faster than you would expect. LyveHome will pull in thumbnails and metadata of all your photos before you can even tell it not to. (Yep, had that happen twice.) And then go back in and pull all the large files while you are busy flipping through and checking them out.

3. It’s a great way to remember

a look back at what happened a year ago from LyveI can’t remember the last time I have been able to flip through our family photos. There’s just nowhere to “flip” since I have done a horrible job of printing and managing them this far. LyveHome not only makes it easy, but fun to look back and remember what you were doing last week and even a year or more ago!

When I logged into the Lyve app this morning, it showed me this display of what we were doing this very week last year. I can remember it clear as day, now I can see and share that day with my children and family as well.

4. The system travels with you

Transferring photos from phone to Lyve is as easy as 1 2 3
All your photos at your fingertips, anywhere you go. Thanks to the Lyve app, you can view and access your photos from anywhere and download or share them with friends and family. Yay for my mother in law!

This is fabulous for a family like us. My husband travels quite a bit, now he can easily check in while he’s gone and see what we’ve been up to or look back and remember all the good times we’ve shared.

Like the time he took our son on his first coastal fishing trip and they caught this sting ray! He has very few photos on his phone, but now we can integrate and hold on to them forever.

5. The storage is MASSIVE!

Photo Album from Lyve storage device

It’s a 2TB storage system, which breaks down to about 1 MILLION photos which means even a photo hog like me can use and love this system for quite some time.

I know what you are thinking, but what about all those extra photos I take that I don’t want/need? Don’t worry, LyveHome makes it a breeze to delete photos individually or in bulk, but with a conformation request so no one deletes any of your family photos by accident either.

Oh yeah and last but not least, you can sync this baby with your television and watch your photos scroll by anytime! I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but I can’t wait. I’m not a huge television watcher, but I would love to have family photos scrolling by at night while I am up working on the computer.

Sounds pretty awesome right? Want to win one of your own?

All you have do is head over to the LyveHome webiste, then come back here and tell me one way this will make your life easier, better, simpler and why you want to win.


That’s it. No hoops, hurdles, extra doo dads, FB pages to like or things to click. Just visit the company, find out what they are all about and then come back and tell me why you want to win one. I’ll choose one lucky winner randomly after the contest ends September 2, 2014 at midnight CST and notify them via email.

Good luck!! Hope you win.

101 Kids Activities to Keep Your Children Entertained

Do you have any little makers in your house? This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this website with your purchase through these links

Kids that constantly need to be making or building something or taking something apart to see how it works. I have three of those kids, plus a handful of neighborhood kids who are always looking for something fun to do.

Kids Catapault made using craft sticks

We go through TONS of books in my house, but there is one that has not left our kitchen table all summer long. 101 Kids Activities, that are the bestest, funnest ever! is like an encyclopedia of craft projects and incredible things for kids to make and do.

101 Kids Activities -- My Go To Encyclopedia of Boredom Busters.

I keep our copy front and center and the kids flip through it on their own to find cool projects they want to try out. So far we’ve made a craft stick catapult (above), raced cork boats in our driveway, made awesome jewelry out of empty water bottles, created our own spy gear, and made our own watercolors.

And that’s just the projects I’ve done with my kiddos from the book this summer, they’ve been busy crafting and creating on their own too!

Next on my son’s to do list, this awesome glider made out of a recycled egg carton. See, the book is just too cool for school — and speaking of school. When it starts again in a few weeks, I will have even more children in my house in the afternoons than I do now and I will be so thankful to have this book by my side!

What I love most is how easily the kids can take a project they find in the book and turn it into a brand new project inspired by something they saw. The kids are having fun, using their imaginations and learning how to problem solve too, and that’s awesome.

This is awesome! Make a glider out of egg carton

Click here for full instructions:  Egg Carton Glider Target Throw

Disclosure: This book was written by two very special friends of mine, Holly Homer and Rachel Miller of the oh-so-popular Kids Activities Blog. They sent me a copy of the book to preview once it was published and I will treasure it just as much as our friendship.

Want to win your own copy of this book?

I love the book so much, I want you to have one to! Please leave a comment on this post telling me the bestest, funnest thing you did this summer with your kids to be entered to win. I’ll choose a winner, at midnight a week from today.

Osmo – Toys of the future, today.

Have you ever been amazed by how easy it is for a toddler or young child to pick up a smart device and start using it? It just comes naturally to them.

Imagine what would happen if we could tap into the intuitiveness of a touch screen and apply it in a hands-on learning situation.

Osmo - a new way for kids to connect with technology

What if you could bring the ease of apps and video games into the classroom without spending a ton of money. Turn a puzzle into an interactive learning experience. Or, get kids not just excited about playing video games, but having fun while processing that energy into cognitive ability.

An unconventional iPad game platform that takes kids beyond the screen, using mirror technology

That’s exactly what the folks at Osmo have done and the results are game-changing.

Osmo - Play Beyond The Screen

It’s as if they found a bridge between the virtual world that let’s children become a part of the equation. Fortifying actions through touch and reinforcing the skills by truly connecting and making them a part of the process.

I found out about Osmo about 10 minutes ago.

I watched this video and had tears in my eyes before it was over.

I was so compelled I didn’t just need to write about it here, I had to purchase not one, but two of them.
Sight unseen.

I’m that excited about it.

Why two you ask?

One for me and one for you! How could I keep a discovery like this all for myself? Osmo should ship just in time to make this THE present you’ll want under your tree this year. I know it’s crazy to even consider Christmas gifts in July … but this is one you won’t want to miss.

I can’t wait to share our journey with Osmo with you.

Osmo is available for pre-order right now for just $49. That’s half of what the price will be when the product comes out later this year.

Here’s what you get:

- Osmo Reflector Component
- Base Station
- Osmo Games – Tangram, Newton, and Words
*** iPad NOT included

Osmos reflector for iPad. Changing the way your kids interact with technology, for the better.
Osmos Game System - a revolutionary new way for kids to experience and learn from technology

Stay tuned for the KSW LOVES OSMO giveaway happening this fall.

In the meantime, find out more about Osmo here.

Simple DIY Watercolor Wall Art

Simple Watercolor Wall Art print, She puts the Color inside of my World

I know a girl.

She puts the color inside my whole world.

maybe you’ve seen her taking a more hands-on, behind the scenes role around here?

She’s always inspiring and has more creative talent than I know what to do with, she’s my daily muse … and she’s growing up, right before my eyes. This summer we’ve been carving out space in our home to give us each the creative outlets we deserve.

Love this DIY Watercolor art in this  home office!

This is a sneak peek at my new office that is slowly, but surely coming together. With lots of help from my resident stylist/designer of course.

I know a girl, she puts the color inside of my world.

This post is my first in the Cricut Design Star challenge, I know I am as flabbergasted as you are as to how I got here but hey, when life hands you an amazing cutting machine, loads of craft supplies and a few lemons … you know what they say — make stuff!

I wanna be the next #Cricut Design Star! #IMadeIt

That is what they say, right?

This month my team’s theme was:

Song Lyrics

I knew as soon as the theme was decided exactly what I wanted to do! Something I could look at when I’m feeling uninspired or less than that will make me smile and think of her. Thank you John Mayer.

Simple Watercolor Wall Art Project made in half an hour using a Cricut cutting machine

The project couldn’t be more simple, you can create your own one of a kind piece in as few as 15 minutes.

To make your own watercolor wall art, you’ll need:

- A frame
- some card stock
- a piece of artwork (could be watercolors, or markers, or ever crayon)
- a Cricut or other cutting device

I used the Nate’s ABC font to get the look you see here, you can find it in the Cricut Design Space to use on any project you wish.

Now for the fun part, want to win a Cricut of your own?

Here’s How

Cricut is GIVING AWAY a brand new Cricut Explore each day until the end of July. All you have to do is upload a photo of ANY project you’ve made (it doesn’t have to be made with a Cricut!) and tag #cricut and #imadeit on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you tag me in your post as well (@stacyofksw on Twitter and IG, or here on Facebook, Pinterest) then they’ll know you found out about the contest here and let me know too. It would be so cool to see one of you win!

For more information, see these posts for official rules and FAQ.

Want to win a new Cricut Explore cutting machine? Find out how here

P.S. Are you a blogger? Check out the awesome Cricut Blogger Network Program

Disclosure: I am part of the Cricut Blogger Network. I received a complimentary machine to facilitate my crafts and though I am not being paid for this post, I am submitting it for a chance to win some fun prizes. Wish me luck!!

10 Powerful Life Lessons from Tinkerlab

You know that feeling you get when you’re driving down the road and you hear a song on the radio you know is playing just for you?

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this website with your purchase through these linksThat’s the feeling I got when I opened up Rachelle Doolery’s new book, Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors. I know what you are thinking … what does a hands-on guide for little people have to do with me? But this is so much more than just a book for little people. It was as if she was speaking from the pages of the book directly to me, feeding me the words I needed to find at the precise moment I needed to hear them.

A MUST HAVE: Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors

I discovered there was a whole tribe of people, parents even, just like me. A group of creatives doing the best we can to raise open-minded children with the creative thinking and problem solving skills they’ll need to thrive in the ever-changing world around them.

Here are 10 life lessons I learned from Tinkerlab and how I intend to apply them in my home

"The results are not as important as the process." Rachelle Doorley, Tinkerlab 2014

1. The results are not as important as the process

As parents, most of us see this but as a non-educator it is so reassuring to hear someone else SAY this. I feel liberated that I am doing right by them when I take the pressure off and just let them have fun with our projects, not every craft or art project needs to be a mini masterpiece.

Lesson Learned: Kids are kids and art should be messy, fun, and creative!

2. The more exposure you have with a material, the more you will learn what you can do with it

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to quilt. I’ve dreamed about it since the first time I saw How To Make An American Quilt as a girl. I want to be one of those ladies when I grow up that has a tight-knit inner circle where we gather and gab and craft our hearts out. And though my husband bought me a sewing machine many moons ago, I have never – no, not even once, attempted to quilt.

Or sew much of anything for that matter.

It’s like I can’t help myself. My perfectionist tendencies keep me from trying things I might not be good at, but how will I ever master these skills or achieve the dreams I set out for myself if I don’t try?

If I ever want to be a quilter, I must first teach myself to sew.

Not just for me, but for my children. I stress over and over in our home that the only way they will get better at things is through practice.

Lesson Learned: It’s time to take my own advice.

"Getting rid of non-essential items goes a long way towards everyday happiness." Rachelle Doorley, Tinkerlab

3. Getting rid of non-essential items goes a long way towards everyday happiness

I am a pack rat [by association]. Items tend to accumulate in my house through sheer sensory overload rather than my hoarding tendencies. The more cluttered our space becomes, the more my mind shuts down to the point where I am practically paralyzed in my own home. I am sure there is a name for this condition … it is embarrassing to live with, can be downright crippling at times and is the one thing I am most ashamed of as a parent and wife.

Rachelle hit the nail on the head when she pointed out, no matter how much I declutter our home, it is the nonessentials that weigh me down and consume me. I have no idea what to do with them, but if given a choice between junk mail, random swag, party favor bags and my own happiness …

LESSON LEARNED: I choose happiness, each and every time.

I’m going to print this quote out and keep it on my fridge to serve as a reminder that it is pure junk standing in the way of my happy home.

4. My mood, and my children’s mood, greatly improve when we turn on the stereo or go outside.

How true is this? Yet time and time again we overlook this simple way of making life easier for ourselves. I’ve seen a dozen mothers this summer comment about how their kids are testing their limits and they don’t know what to do. Thank goodness this syndrome seems to travel in waves and a good friend is always quick to point out the cure.

You just need to get out of the house, take them outside, to the park, around the block, anything to reset the natural order of things.

LESSON LEARNED: Turn OFF the televisions and video games and turn ON some music that will lift everyone’s spirits. I always feel more creative when my inner child’s toes are tapping.

5. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing

Rachelle has a timely section in her book focused on, What is Enough? With all sorts of ideas and solutions for you to work through the items in your home with your family and decide how much is too much. Like Rachelle, I also had drawers full of pens … where do they all come from? And suitcases full of coloring books.

After talking it over, we decided the kids could do with far less coloring books and donating our excess to a local children’s home was a much better way to utilize them.

LESSON LEARNED: Enough is enough, really.

Life Lesson: Make more experiments.

6. Think of everything as an experiment

We know problems can have more than one solution, questions, more than one answer — by infusing creative experiments into our children’s lives on a regular basis we can help them wrap their heads around this too.

Anything can be an experiment! From making pancakes for breakfast to planting a container garden; it’s all in how you approach the concept — ask questions, hypothesize, explore – there is so much to discover.

LESSON LEARNED: Make more experiments.

7. Celebrate culture and diversity through art

What better way for a child to learn how different we all are, yet alike we can be than through art. We each have our own unique view of the world and by experiencing different cultures and witnessing diversity through art, we are also teaching history, tolerance, acceptance and empathy. A chance for a child to see the world through someone else’s eyes, and what a beautiful world it turns out to be.

LESSON LEARNED: Do more art. Take the kids to see/experience/consume as much art as possible. Talk about where it came from, who created it and why. Immerse them in the culture of others so they may grow to have an open mind and an open heart.

Art is a great way for children to express themselves.

8. Art is a wonderful way for children to express themselves

Feeling are hard. Even for grown-ups. Art is expression and a medium through which feelings can be made visual, given life. Before you even know the words you are looking for, you can act them out through art.

Lesson Learned: Art gives us all a tool to say things we cannot say

9. The arts position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important

And if this is the case, what a sad state we are all in.

LESSON LEARNED: Stand up for art.

"Building requires the skill of an engineer, a contractor, and an artist." Rachelle Doorley, Tinkerlab

10. Building requires the skill of an engineer, a contractor, and an artist

What amazing lessons they teach themselves all on their own.

Lesson Learned: Let them build.

These are just 10 of the reasons I fell in love with this book, but there are so many more! It’s rich with storied excerpts, interviews, and more than 50 activities you can do with your children.

A MUST HAVE: Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors

Grab yourself a copy of this book today, and be sure to visit Tinkerlab.com for even more inspiration.

Tinkerlab is available at these fine bookstores:
IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon.com | Roost Books | and other great bookstores

Don’t miss the Tinkerlab blog tour

Featured here: Imagine Childhood, Kids Stuff World, Peanut Blossom, Playful Learning, Babble Dabble Do

Sneak peeks and giveaways of the new TinkerLab book happening on these blogs <-- Love this book!

The Artful Parent / Toddler Approved / Creative with Kids /  Red Ted Art / Not Just Cute / Kids Activities Blog / Rookie Moms / Peanut Blossom /  Modern Parents, Messy Kids / The Imagination Tree / Babble Dabble Do / Pink and Green Mama / Make and Takes / Playful Learning / Imagine Childhood / A Mom with a Lesson Plan / Nurture Store / Simple Kids

July 10     Kids Stuff World

July 11     Let’s Lasso the Moon

July 14     Ain’t No Mom Jeans

July 15     Fun at Home with Kids

Summer Capsule Wardrobe from H&M

The H&M 2014 Summer Capsule Collection -- love how these pieces work well together and with other items I already own
We all know being a mom is a full-time job. Add in all of the roles and commitments we take on and we really do need a powerhouse wardrobe. Something capable of taking us straight from the gym, to the park, to a client meeting, and then out to dinner … on a budget. The thing I love about this Summer Collection from H&M is I can easily picture myself doing all of those things stylishly, comfortably and affordably.

Imagine yourself:


You want to look casual, comfortable, yet put together. For a morning like that, I love this navy blue patterned romper paired with the easy, breezy shirt jacket. Throw on some strappy black sandals, add a simple gold necklace and maybe even a bracelet to complete your look.


Your first instinct is to jet out of the house in your yoga pants and comfy, albeit stained gym tee and pull your hair back in a ponytail. I know because this is often my uniform of choice, but look how much more stylish you could be if you swapped the yoga pants for these loose cargo pants. The crusty, stained gym tee for this dressed up tee and complete the look with heeled sandals instead of your usual flip flops or dirty sneakers. Amazing what a difference this makes, but you’ll still feel as comfortable as ever


Every lady needs a secret weapon in her closet that makes her feel like a million bucks, the secret is keeping the shape simple. Go for a bold print or stick with basic black – either way this dress is a winner.


This dress can take you anywhere you need to go. From the park to soccer practice to a a backyard barbecue. I appreciate that the hem is fun, without having too much of an extreme high low hemline for grown ups. The fact that it is just $15! makes me want to buy two.


A sleek, but flawy tulle skirt is perfect for a fancy dinner, baby shower, or any social event where you need to look your best.


The structured look of a jacket … in jersey! Pair this wardrobe staple with your favorite skinnies or even toss it over a maxi dress for a simple, pulled together look in a hurry.


There is no such thing as too much of a good thing. This midnight maxi is incredibly versatile, the racerback style gives it a sexy update.

A few items from H&M to add some fun and functionality to my summer wardrobe

A few more fun additions for summer:

Just picture this lace tank paired over the top of the racerback maxi!
Some fresh new tees for summer, this striped one with the tie in the back is darling!
Striped wedges, simple gold bracelet and a fun new phone case for just $6!
This pair of gold cuff bracelets is coming home with me! They’ll look great with any long summer dress
The heel on those sandals is fantastic!
I’m a sucker for a striped tote, but appreciate a leather bag too. This one is the best of both worlds.

New H&M store opening in San Antonio, TX this week!!!

This post is brought to you in anticipation of the new H&M store opening up in San Antonio this week!! I used to live in H&M clothing when we were in Germany and haven’t shopped there since I’ve had kids. I don’t usually spend much money on myself, but I am planning to take a few bags of outgrown clothes to their grand opening event and take advantage of the sales and discounts. I love that they are adding a recycling component and taking a more sustainable approach to fashion, they currently have about 100 items available online made with organic cotton or through sustainable practices.

If you’re local, come on out to the event. We can stand in line and score some great deals together!
P.S How great does Gisele Bundchen look as the H&M spokesmodel? Now I want those striped pants too … I can see this becoming a problem.

* These links are NOT affiliate links, I just have a sincere love for H&M and helping moms feel more beautiful in their own skin. Disclosure: H&M is giving me a free outfit in exchange for this post, but as you can see I’ll be picking up much more than just that on my own. I LOVE YOU H&M!!!

What motherhood looks like

Share your snapshots of motherhood and connect with other moms on Instagram by using the hashtag #momsoninstagram

You guys all know what a huge Instagram lover I am by now … but I wonder, do you love it just as much too? It is easily my favorite way to share snapshots of my day and little glimpses of what motherhood truly looks like. It’s different for each of us and messy on many days, but more often than not it is beautiful.

Instagram gives me a way to connect with friends and family and meet new people going through the same things I am ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Want to know how you can meet other moms on Instagram too?

This is Mom Life. Let’s Celebrate it!


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Must-Have Photo Apps for Instagram

List of great photo apps! I love every single one of these

If you’re like me, you take the majority of your pictures with your phone. And you share them with family and friends over the social network app, Instagram.

You start out just uploading and sharing your favorite photos, but as time goes by you find Instagram is also a great outlet for self-expression and your photos can be edited to create mini works or art. My refrigerator is covered in Instagram magnets!

Sure there are filters built into the app itself, and those will satisfy you for a while. Eventually, you’ll want to personalize your photos just a bit more. Develop a signature style that is unique only to you. Thankfully, there are HUNDREDS of neat photo editing apps out there to help you do just that.

You could spend hours editing photographs on your phone … and make some truly beautiful pieces of digital art, but today I’m going to share 6 apps that will get you in an out of editing mode in a jiffy so you can get back to enjoying your life and the moments worth photographing!

My Must-Have Photo Apps Are:

My favorite photo editing apps, use at least one of these a day

Pic Tap Go

Pic Tap Go ($1.99) is hands down my favorite editing app. Besides the fun names and tons of ready-made filters you can use straight out of the box, you can also control how much of a filter you want to apply to each photo. Layer multiple filters on top of one another for a truly custom effect.

Pic-Tap-Go is my favorite photo editing app! I love that it learns my style of editing and allows me to save my favorite recipes for fast processing next time

Save your favorite styles as custom “recipes” so you can use them over and over. Once you’ve saved a few, you’ll have a one of a kind edit to your photos with just a few clicks of a button.


When I first stumbled onto the #VSCOCAM hashtag on Instagram I thought it was something only professional photographers could use. VSCO CAM (FREE) creates photos that look as close to actual film photograph as I have seen. The power of professional photo edits right at your fingertips.

Note: This app stopped working on my phone some time ago and I learned to live without it, after researching for this post I see why, They have done some MAJOR updating and it is basically a whole new app. I can’t wait to download and fall in love all over again.

P.S. I could get lost and live forever inside of VSCO Grid.


If Instagram and VSCO CAM got together and had a baby, it would be Afterlight (.99). Filters familiar to those you use in Instagram, plus frame and texture capability so you can crop photos into hearts, letters, stars and much more. Lots of fun to play with.


OVER is my favorite app for adding text to photos

There are a lot of apps out there that will let you add text to your photos. None of them are as sharp as OVER ($1.99).


Like OVER, there are many apps that will let you child collages. What makes PicFrame (.99) so great, you can add video inside your collages! A dream for those who love to scrapbook and a handy way to share personal updates with family and friends.


I read in a review for Waterlogue ($2.99) recently, it was “The app you never knew you wanted” and I wholeheartedly concur. Be amazed as the app paints your photos right before your eyes just like a watercolor painting. The detail is uncanny and there are several options to choose from to create just the look you want. Matter of fact … I bet Mom would love a painting for Mother’s Day!

A Great Series of Simple Photography Tips for Everyday ParentsThis post is part of a series of smart phone photography tips I have created for Melissa & Doug. While not an exhaustive list of apps, I think these are particularly well-suited for moms trying to capture childhood on their smart phone.

For more great tips on all things Instagram, be sure to follow these Pinterest Boards, Insta-Love and Capturing Childhood.
Follow Stacy of KSW’s board Insta-love on Pinterest.