Johnson’s Baby: Your Promise is Our Promise

Thanks to The Motherhood and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Have you ever made a decision to do something as a parent for the sake of peace of mind? Of course you have; we all have! For me, examples that come to mind include taking my children to the doctor when I wasn’t 100% sure that they needed to be seen, but I wanted peace of mind just in case (in a few instances there was nothing to worry about, but in other instances we discovered Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease, strep throat ad even the need for stitches).

I’ve also made the call on MANY different occasions to not use certain products (especially household cleaning products) due to my concern about their safety. My research would often yield conflicting reports about whether or not there was anything to worry about, but for the sake of peace of mind, it just made more sense to keep them out of my home.

The Promise of Peace of Mind

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JOHNSON’S® Baby products have been discussed quite a bit online over the last few years, as many parents had some concerns about the safety of some of the ingredients. And while the company asserts that their products have always been safe, they have also committed to listening to parents and caregivers, and seek a way to provide that peace of mind that is so important to us all. As a result, they have removed formaldehyde-releasing preservative and reduced traces of 1,4 dioxane from all of their baby products. Most of the new and improved baby products also have the parabens removed (scheduled to happen in 2015…great to see them ahead of schedule on this!). More information on their policies and timeline for product improvements and roll out can be seen at safetyandcarecommitment.com. I’m so impressed to see JOHNSON’S® Baby making and fulfilling these promises to provide peace of mind that every parent wants and needs. And I might have cried watching this video. Bet you can’t make it through without getting a little teary-eyed!

I love seeing a company who values cutting edge science AND the views and concerns of the people who use their products. Claiming the promises of their customers as their own is a true hallmark of being a family, and not just a business.

If you’d like to check out the reformulated products, here’s a list of what you’ll find that it new and improved on the shelves:

  • JOHNSON’S® Baby HEAD-TO-TOE® Wash
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thick and Curly Hair
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thin and Straight Hair
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo with Calming Lavender
  • JOHNSON’S® Baby Soothing Vapor Baby Bath

What to Expect at a LEGOLAND Destination: Atlanta Edition

Thanks to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta for hosting my family for a visit. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 

A few weeks ago my crew headed down to Atlanta to visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center there. Did you know that there are multiple LEGO parks of various types (from discovery centers to water parks to theme parks?). Definitely check out the listing because even if you don’t live near Atlanta, you still might have a LEGOLAND of some sort within striking distance.

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Location: A Surprising Spot!

I was quite confused when the GPS directions on my phone led us to a mall parking lot as we were trying to reach the Discovery Center. We decided to go ahead and drive the outside perimeter of the mall just in case it was there. And it was! I think I was expecting LEGOLAND Discovery Center to be in a stand alone building, and not inside a mall, though in hindsight the location makes perfect sense. Lots of families are already visiting this place, so a trip to LEGOLAND as part of a day at the mall could be fun for folks.

Self-Guided…Mostly

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Almost the entire center is self-guided, so you can go wherever you like as you see fit (that doesn’t mean you won’t find lines, though!). But the very first part of the experience is guided, and I think that’s by design so that too many people don’t enter the play areas at one time. You are guided through a room where you get to “make” a LEGO (and honestly, any kid older than 6 is going to realize that you aren’t actually doing anything in this room, but it’s still a really cute concept). Every child is given a complimentary LEGO with the logo of the center on it. I think that’s a really cool souvenir to add to the LEGO collections back home.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Rides

There are two rides in the center. The first is a “gentle thrills” ride called Kindgom Quest where parties of 4 get in a cart and go from scene to scene (some animation on the screen, some “live”) shooting your laser guns at targets. My almost 5-year-old was borderline terrified the whole time, yet my 2-year-old thought it was awesome. And it was my personal favorite part of the whole place; had my oldest not protested I would have ridden it twice or maybe even three times. Totally fun!

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The other ride is called Merlin’s Apprentice. It is very similar in concept to Dumbo at Disney World, only you have to pedal within your cart to keep your pod up in the air. That definitely added an element of fun to it. The line was LONG for this one; I think we waited 30 minutes for it (which is 3 eternities to a 4-year-old). The experience of waiting in line like that has me freaking out a bit about our upcoming Disney trip. But I digress…

LEGO Miniland

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This is the part of the center where I would have liked to have spent more time. If you have older kids, this will hold their attention (but it is lost on toddlers, I promise). They have recreated many popular sights of the city of Atlanta, all using LEGO pieces (over 1 million!). It is totally awesome and well worth 20 to 30 minutes of your time.

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Watch the Movie!

There is a 4D movie theater tucked into the back corner of the center. Definitely go see this! It’s maybe 20 minutes long, and you get sprinkled with water and even experience some snow fall right in the theater. It was a bit loud for a 2-year-old, but she still said that she liked it afterwards. My older daughter still talks about it a few weeks later.

Play Areas for the Littles

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They did have an area, right next to the place where you can sit down and eat, with jumbo blocks, a slide, and cute LEGO animal statues. This is a really good spot for toddlers to play in, especially while older siblings ride Merlin’s Apprentice.

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LEGO Friends

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Ok, honestly, this might have been the most disappointing part of the entire center for me. Darah’s just now starting to get into LEGO Friends (she still mostly uses LEGO Duplos with her sister). And I know that there is some controversy around the whole concept, since stuff shouldn’t need to be pink or purple and have hearts on it for girls to want to play with it, or for parents to be willing to buy it for their girls. But I like a lot of the Friends kits that they offer; they aren’t violent, either explicitly or implicitly, as some of the other LEGO sets can be. Anyway, I was excited to see this area, only to be very disappointed by how it actually looked. There were several building stations that looked like a hot mess. The main purpose of this area, according to the brochure, was to build a microphone that you could then use to do karaoke. There were no examples of microphones anywhere to be seen, so absolutely nobody in the area was doing that. And as for the karaoke machine, it was busted. It worked only if someone was constantly, and I do mean CONSTANTLY, tapping the screen to help the highlighted lyrics move along. It was rough, you guys.

We Went on Saturday

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To be fair to LEGOLAND, we arrived around 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday. That place was pretty well packed, and I imagine that it had been for several hours. I know what my living room looks like after just 2 kids have been playing with LEGOs, so it may not be fair for me to expect that LEGOLAND, which has thousands and thousands of LEGO pieces all over the place, and hundreds and hundreds of kids playing with them, would look pristine. It’s just something to keep in mind when you visit. I’d advise against going on a weekend if you can possibly swing it. Or get there right when it opens so that you can experience the building areas of the center before they have been destroyed.

So while I can’t say that I was completely blown away by LEGOLAND, I do think it is worth a visit for any family who uses LEGOs regularly. Tickets are free for those 2 and under, $17 for kids 3-12, and $19 for those 13 and up. But go online to buy your tickets in advance, because they offer really good discounts if you buy online!

Have you ever visited any of the LEGOLAND attractions? I’ve heard that the theme parks are unbelievably awesome! I’d love to hear about your experience! 

A Practical Yet Totally Fun Subscription Box: Beauty Box 5

Thanks to Beauty Box 5 for sending along a box for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Referral links may be included. 

I’ve been subscribing to various monthly box services for a few years now. They are especially fun for me because gifts are one of my top love languages, and with a subscription box, you get fun surprises in the mail every month.

One area where I’ve been hesitant to try subscriptions, though, was with makeup. So many of the options I have seen carry too much high-end stuff, or too many boutique brands that I’ll never be able to buy again, either due to price or limited availability. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a makeup product that you can’t get your hands on again. Ok, there’s a lot in life that is worse than that, I suppose, but you understand what I’m getting at, right? ;-)

Beauty Box 5

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I was very drawn to Beauty Box 5 because they have a really nice mix of higher end, niche, and more widely available and wallet-friendly products to check out. That is a great fit for me, because at the end of the day, I am always going to buy a fair percentage of my makeup from places like Target. This mama can’t have all her beauty products from Sephora, sorry to say!

I did an Beauty Box 5 review video that I’d love for you to check out so you can see exactly what’s inside. I’ll share some more thoughts about the products after the video, so scroll down to finish the post!

Ok, so now that I’ve had a chance to try everything, I want to share a few more thoughts about the items!

Revlon mascara: LOVE! I was already using a Revlon mascara faithfully, and I’m every bit as pleased with this one.

HASK hair mask: I used it a week ago and didn’t like how my hair looked and felt after the first wash (maybe I didn’t wash it out enough?). But I’ve washed it a few times since then and I think my hair does feel quite soft. So in the end, it was a win.

Nicka K nail color: I’m not big into nail polish, in general. This one was fine, but nothing to write home about.

Body Drench lip gloss: I wasn’t excited about it when I opened it, but you know what? It is REALLY soft. I do like it!

H2O Plus shampoo: I haven’t used it yet so I honestly can’t comment. Sorry! I didn’t want to use it during the 2 weeks after using the hair mask. I’ll update this post after trying it if I have particularly strong feelings one way or the other.

Beauty Box 5 Cost

This is a really affordable subscription box, and one that I have requested as a birthday gift because I loved it so very much. You can get them for $12/month if you pay month-by-month, or for $30 billed quarterly (which is $10/box) or $99 billed annually ($8.25/box). Shipping is free! I think $8.25 per box is a total steal, but let me show you how to get the first box even cheaper!

COUPON ALERT!!!

I’ve got a smokin’ hot coupon for you guys! You can get 50% off your first box by using the code HALFOFF at checkout. Just imagine getting all the goodies I showed you in the video, or something similar in nature, delivered to your door, for less than the cost of a tube of mascara. Kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

I’d love to hear if you already are enjoying this subscription, or if you decide that you want to try it. I can’t wait for my next box!!

Globally-Inspired Reading for Moms of the World: Mom Voyage

“I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central (#MC) for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Have you ever wondered how being a mother might look or feel in other parts of the world? I’ve been really enjoying looking at the Mom Voyáge website over the past few days, because it delves into that exact question, highlighting unique perspectives of motherhood from all over the globe. It also showcases just how similar the experience of being a mother is, no matter your country or culture.

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Current bloggers on the site hail from the U.S., the Netherlands, China, Japan, Holland, Australia, Britain and France. It’s definitely worth checking out (and subscribing to!). My favorite post so far is the one about American baby shower traditions (nothing I didn’t already know, but when you step back and objectively think about them, they are a bit strange!).

Here are some other ways to follow the great conversations happening on Mom  Voyage:

What new (to you) blogs are you reading these days? I’d love to hear (I’m always looking for great new reading material!).

 

Honest Company Laundry Detergent: An Honest Assessment

Referral links included. I only promote what I personally use! 

Today I’m showing off one of my favorite picks from the Honest Company Line: the Honest Laundry Detergent. It works GREAT and I love that it’s eco-friendly. I also love that a heavy item like this can show up on my doorstep and be taken off my shopping list when I run errands.

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How to Get the Best Price

The retail price for the Honest Laundry Detergent is $12.95, and it will cover 70 loads in an HE machine, which is what I have. That means the retail cost is 18.5 cents/load. That’s on the pricey end, in my opinion. But you don’t have to pay $12.95! Instead, get the essentials bundle and pay just $7.20.You get 5 items in your bundle for $35.95, which makes each item in the bundle cost just $7.20. This is absolutely one to put in your bundle. The per load cost of the product just went down to 10 cents/load!

This is a subscription service, BUT it is the most flexible subscription service I have ever encountered…you don’t HAVE to get something every month…just call in and have your date changed to whatever you like. I have my bundles scheduled to come every 6 weeks, but I have called in and gotten them bumped back or moved forward, depending on my needs. They are easy breezy! And cancelling is just as easy, too.

You can also add another bottle on to your bundle for the month at a rate of 25% off (bundle subscribers get up to 3 more items of their choice for 25% off, which is a nice perk) and that brings it down to $9.71. I personally recommend adding 2 two your bundle of 5 at a time to get the best price and to get stocked up, unless you are new to Honest Company and want to try out a greater variety. I tend to stick the items that are already less than $7.20 retail into my add-on spots.

New to The Honest Company? Start Here!

The Honest Company offers some great freebies to folks who are thinking of joining, including free diapers, so definitely check out my post on Honest Company free samples. After that, you’ll want to see my running list of Honest Company product reviews so that you can learn which products to buy and which ones to pass on, as well as how to bundle them for maximum savings.