Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser Review

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I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.

I love living in the country. It's peaceful, oftentimes relaxing, a bit simpler and I enjoy it much more than the hustle and bustle of city life. There are many perks, but I'll be the first to admit that there are many downfalls to country life as well. First of all, everything is far away.. like really far. There's no walking to town, unless I want to travel by foot for 2 hours. Most days, I'm just not quite that ambitious. And then you have the whole well water thing. While I enjoy not having to pay for city water, I don't much care for well water. My family doesn't like it either, so for the past three and a half years, we've purchased bottled water. I'm talking like cases and cases of the stuff. Sadly, we've contributed quite a bit of waste to our landfills.

Of course I love our beautiful Earth and want to do my part in protecting it and those plastic bottles were of no help at all. They're quite expensive too. I was spending $10-$20 each week on water! I finally said enough was enough and decided that a water dispenser was in order. I chose the NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser because I thought it would fit in nicely with the rest of the stainless steel appliances in our kitchen.

When I went to purchase water, I couldn't believe how inexpensive it was to refill your own bottles and purchase by the gallon. I ended up spending just a fraction of the cost compared to the same amount that I'd normally get.

NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser was very easy to set up and my husband had it plugged in and running in no time at all. It's very simple to use too - there are buttons for cold water as well as hot water. You just push the button for whichever you want at the time. THe hot temperature ranges from 176 degrees Fahrenheit to 203 degrees Fahrenheit so you can easily make a cup of piping hot coffee in the morning or hot cocoa for the kids on a cold winter day.

I really love that the NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser is virtually silent. I don't have to worry about hearing loud noises each time someone goes to fill up a glass. It also features a drip tray for those occasional spills! The nice thing about this unit is that I'm not limited to bottle sizes. I can use a 3, 4 or 5 gallon bottle with ease.

Overall, I'm really happy with our NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser. It not only goes well with the kitchen decor, but it allows for a quick drink of water anytime we need it. It's definitely gotten a lot of use from our family and is still kicking strong! I love that I no longer have an excessive amount of plastic bottle waste and I've saved so much money by just refilling our 3 and 5 gallon jugs.


You can connect with NewAir on Facebook and/or @NewAirUSA on Twitter!


Cheeky! Chic Paper Plates with a Social Conscience

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I received samples for this review/feature. All opinions expressed are my own.
The holidays are in full swing and nothing says satisfied stomachs and happy people than a sink and dishwasher packed to the brim! For some families though, stomachs and sinks stay empty. With the launch of Cheeky, chic disposable dinnerware, you can enjoy your leftovers without trashing the kitchen again and help fund a meal for someone who really needs it.
Hunger affects 59 million people in American each year, that's roughly 1 in 6 people going hungry in all fifty states. Cheeky has partnered with Feed America and donates one meal for each product you purchase. Their goal is to provide 10 million meals in the next year.

So what does that mean for you? An affordable, made in America, stylish dishware that saves a bit on your water bill, while helping others! It's easy to mix and match the products to create a theme for your lunch parties, make dinner just that much more special, or even enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers with a bit of cheeky fun! I am smitten with the blue print chevron style! The plastic cups are large, thick, and work great for water, juice, and pop without being flimsy. The plates range from 7 inches, up to 10 inches and are microwavable, grease resistant, and sturdy enough to cut on. The chevron pattern can be found full frontal, or just along the edges.
And to-go coffee cups! I love my glass coffee mug, but sometimes, like going to the park or sending my guests off with a nice warm beverage on a chilly night, calls for a fashionable cup, sleeve, and lid! Available in blue chevron or pink with stripes.

They have bowls too! Napkins, silverware and the all important blue and pink solid plastic cups!
Pink plastic cup, I'll fil-, oh never mind! You get the idea, Cheeky has everything you need to create a brilliantly styled meal, while giving to an amazing cause. While feeding your family, you help feed another and that makes for a great holiday season all around.
You can connect with Cheeky on their website, Facebook, and @cheeky_home on Twitter

Consider Some New Ways to Photograph Your Newborn

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Photographer Anne Geddes revolutionized newborn photography by dressing babies as beautiful sunflowers, fairy-tale creatures and darling zoo animals. While these images have inspired countless newborn photographers over the years, PhotographerCentral Pro Hari Simons has some different and heartwarming approaches to capturing special moments with your little bundle of joy. 

Safety First
Being safety-conscious with newborns is pretty obvious, but always worth emphasizing. After all, we are dealing with the tiniest people, so safety must be the first priority—regardless of the techniques that are involved. Never put a newborn in an uncomfortable or potentially unsafe position, keep someone close at all times, and keep in mind that not all babies can do all poses—never force a pose that the newborn seems to resist.

This is the main reason it’s important to find a professional. If they photograph newborns for a living, they will know all the tips and tricks to achieve wonderful photos without endangering your little one. Visiting is an easy way to find a local professional in your area.

Studio Shoot—the Basics
Lights! Camera! Action? More like warm temps, smooth textures, and soft lights. Newborns like to stay warm and cozy, so the studio will ideally have the temperature between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and/or have localized heaters for extra warmth.

It’s pretty loud in the womb, so newborns find comfort in white noise. It might be beneficial to find an app on your phone that can create white noise to soothe your child during the shoot.

It’s best to have a backdrop, blankets, and a baby basket at the ready. The photographer will most likely have a few of each available so that switching between them is smooth and easy. I like to stack up all my blankets so the first one can simply be removed after a pose and the next one is ready to go. For diaper-free poses, it’s a good idea to keep a waterproof pad under the first blanket in case the baby does… well… what babies tend to do.

Many newborn shots are actually a composite of two images. The initial shots may have the spotter’s hand propping the baby up in different places, but the hand will be removed from the final images. This goes back to the first point of safety. In order to achieve those adorable poses without endangering your baby, oftentimes cloning or compositing is required.

Time Sequence
Having a photographic record of your baby growing is something that you’ll treasure forever. Shooting a similar photo at a regular interval can give you an adorable documentation of your child’s development. Here are some simple ideas to help make a sequence consistent:
  • Have a common toy in each photo as a point of reference to compare size
  • Bring in a chalkboard to write their age and get creative with different ways of writing their age to visually change it up each month
  • As your child grows, include a different item from each milestone. This could be something that shows off the fact that your baby started crawling or said their first word. It could also simply be the representation of their interest this month
There are many different ways of doing this—from daily photos to a shot of each different growing stage.

Themes and Characters
Don’t think for a minute that costumes are just for Halloween. Photos of your baby as beloved storybook characters will make fun and creative keepsakes. There are many detailed costumes and iconic accessories out there, or you can use a collection of references to the story. Just make sure there are enough hints in the photo for a viewer to get the character reference. For example, a Harry Potter shoot could have the signature big round black glasses, a red and gold scarf, a wand, and possibly some leather-bound books.

Emotion Collage
With expressive children (even on the slightly older side), you can collect images of the child in the same spot with a variety of expressions. This can take a bit of patience, but you can then create a nine-image grid with photos that correspond with a particular emotion, i.e., happy, sad, angry, excited, tired, fussy, etc. Choosing a representative font and adding the name of the emotion over the image makes for a fun keepsake of your child’s many moods.

Just like anything with these tiny little bundles of happiness, patience is a virtue. So remember to take your time, be creative, and have fun! With some planning, these images will be cherished mementos for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two by London Jewelers: A New Way to Buy Jewelry

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This feature was written in partnership with Two by London. Opinions expressed are my own.

Two by London is part of the London Jewelers family and is doing some amazing things to personalize the jewelry buying process. You can go into the store, educate yourself about the jewelry you're admiring, and purchase some of the highest quality jewelry available. It's an amazing process that makes buying jewelry fun and unique to your jewelry needs.

Helping you to demystify diamonds, you'll learn about the 4 C's. Then you'll get to choose a setting, including some exclusive designs from Two by London, or from special collections from top designers. Even if you have your own image in mind of the ring you want, you can custom design it, making it as unique as the two of you. They also have a premier collection of rings fully set and ready to go in their showroom. Whatever your jewelry needs are, Two by London is there to help with their team of advisors, in-house designers, and GIA-certified gemologists.