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T-Rex busts a robotic move & becomes the must-have toy for the holidays

2014 September 30
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Zoomer Dino and TapInfluence. Thoughts, opinions, and super cool video of the dino in action is 100 percent honest and all mine.

What’s cooler than cool?

Dinosaurs.

What’s cooler than that?

Robotic dinosaurs.

Unless they get angry because you’ve drained their battery playing with them all afternoon.


Zoomer Dino angry

But you can easily solve that with a bit of juice via USB cable.


Zoomer Dino charged

Yeah, that’s Boomer, a robotic dinosaur. As far as George is concerned, it’s the best thing since sliced bread…Grandma Sycamore sliced white bread* to be exact.

Don’t believe me? Check out what happened when he discovered he’d be helping me review the new Zoomer Dino from Spin Master Toys:


That kid busted the Zoomer Dino from its cardboard container in record time. And then we read the instructions in record time because I was about to go crazy from the kid’s questions.


Zoomer Dino review

“How does it work? What does it do? Does it move? Does it make noise? Do I get to keep it? Is it mine or do I have to share?”

Dude. You gotta share. It’s too cool not to. Your dad would be super sad if you didn’t. Plus, look how curious this guy is. He needs all the play he can get.


Zoomer Dino review

We got Boomer out of his box and quickly had him up and running. Half the fun was discovering what the robotic dino could do. The other half was watching him in action.


I’m pretty sure this was George’s favorite review. And maybe Nathan’s too.

Here’s a bit more about Zoomer Dino Boomer. I thought it might better prepare you for when your kids will be adding it to their holiday wish list.


Zoomer Dino

  • Only you can tame Boomer; he can sense where you are and what you’re doing.
  • Boomer uses real dinosaur movements, sounds and incredible “dino-sense abilities” to detect when you’re nearby.
  • Boomer perfectly balances while roaming freely around your home (this was Nathan’s favorite feature).
  • If you pull his tail, he can get pretty angry. Watch out!
  • You can use your hands or the controller to tame his animal nature and build a friendship.
  • Boomer is the perfect pre-historic pet for kids ages 5 and up.


You can find Zoomer Dino online at ZoomerDino.com. You can also find him bustin’ a move as one of the stars on the . For more Zoomer Dino news, “like” Zoomer on Facebook.


* I only buy Grandma Sycamore bread as a treat when I head out of town. Because they’ve been raised on whole grain bread (Aspen Mills is our fave), it’s basically like dessert in sandwich form.

So what do you think? Would your kids enjoy Zoomer Dino Boomer? Do you think you’ll add it to your holiday shopping list?


ps post script

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Because we ARE brave and beautiful

2014 September 29
by Emily Hill

I Am Brave and Beautiful

A beauty movement sweeping the globe.

Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song “Try.” My friend Megan of Brassy Apple wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to share what they looked like without makeup. I couldn’t wait to participate.

I love these lyrics from Colbie’s song:

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

Megan and her friend Cobi of Peacefrom6pieces are the team behind this project. Their vision included creating a video inspired by “Try.” The talent of Robbins Creative helped make it happen. Watch the video and see these beautiful and brave women.

If you look closely, you’ll see some familiar faces.


I have joined over 100 blogging women from various backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and sizes who have made the decision to be BRAVE and BEAUTIFUL. You can join the movement—and I hope you do—by sharing what you look like without makeup. Snap a photo and upload to Instagram; include the #IamBraveAndBeautiful hashtag. (You can search the hashtag to see everyone who is participating.) If you tag it with #ColbieTRY, we might be able to get Colbie Caillat’s attention. After all, she was the inspiration for the project.

Are you brave and beautiful? I am…and so are my girls.

What the world usually sees (all dolled up).


Emily Hill headshot - isthisREALLYmylife.com

Hill family Hill family

What the world needs to see (au naturel).

#IAmBraveAndBeautiful

Photography by Lindsay Black (@lindsayblack_cfcdesign on Instagram)

#IAmBraveAndBeautiful

#IamBraveAndBeautiful

I remember when Madison, almost 17, was little and would watch me put on my makeup in the morning. One day she asked me, “Mommy, why do you wear makeup?” I replied something along the lines of, “It makes me look better, makes me prettier.” Her response? “You don’t need to wear makeup to look pretty. You’re already pretty! And I’m not going to wear makeup when I grow up. I think it’s silly.”

Fast forward a dozen years or so and my girls wear makeup more often than I do. But on the days they don’t, they’re still absolutely stunning. And I tell them they’re beautiful—and amazing and intelligent—as often as I can, for I fear the world will have them think otherwise. Though I am fairly comfortable in my skin (with or without makeup), my girls are navigating the crazy waters of high school, mean girls, dumb boys and all. As their mom, I’m trying my best to arm them with a self-confidence that will help them feel brave and beautiful no matter the challenges they may face.


share your natrual beauty - brassyapple.com

Now it’s your turn to join the movement.

You can start by clicking around—it’s a blog hop! Below are more brave and beautiful women sharing their natural beauty—and their hearts—with you. Some share stories; most get personal. Being brave and beautiful isn’t always easy but we gathered our courage and did it anyway. We hope as you click around (and hopefully pin various posts) you will feel the project’s importance.

Let it empower and encourage you.

YOU are brave and beautiful.

*** Blog hops often have glitches the first day. If a link doesn’t work, click on the “home” button for each site or search the blog name. Their post should pop right up. Links will be updated as soon as possible. ***

women sharing their natural beauty - no makeup

1. BrassyApple 2. Peace from 6 Pieces 3. Is this Really My Life 4. Among the Young 5. Love Me Dani Marie 6. Sweet Charli 7. Kim Orlandini 8. XO, Ashton Tilton 9. She Calls Me Mama Leisha 10. Raising Memories – Canada 11. A Little Tipsy 12. Amy Cornwell 13. A girl and a glue gun 14. My Craftily Ever After 15. Maybe I Will 16. WhipperBerry 17. Paging SuperMom 18. All Things Thrifty 19. Ashlee Marie 20. The Project Girl

women with our makeup on and what makes them beautiful

21. One Little Momma 22. Entirely Eventful Day 23. Diary of a Brown Eyed Girl 24. Tips from a Typical Mom 25. Utah Sweet Savings 26. Flats to Flip Flops 27. One Krieger Chick 28. What Meegan Makes 29. Simply Kierste 30. Live to be Inspired 31. HoneyBear Lane 32. Pretty Providence 33. Ma Nouvelle Mode – in FRANCE 34. MomEntity 35. Serger Pepper – in ITALY 36. Kiki and Company 37. Girl Loves Glam 38. Thrive

women from around the world share their face with no makeup on - BrassyApple.com

39. The Potters Place 40. Crafting in the Rain 41. Cooking With Ruthie 42. Delineate Your Dwelling 43. The Pennington Point 44. Bakerette 45. The Happy Scraps 46. Shannon Baird Photography 47. Tried and Tasty 48. Lionesses at the Gate 49. Fry Sauce and Grits 50. Lolly Jane 51. That’s What Che Said 52. Sugar Bee Crafts 53. Your HomeBased Mom 54. Happiness is Homemade 55. The Crafted Sparrow 56. R&R Workshop 57. I Should Be Mopping the Floor 58. Sassy Steals

Mommy bloggers share their face without makeup and what makes then beautiful

59. Let’s Eat Grandpa 60. Being Spiffy 61. Sumo’s Sweet Stuff 62. Ginger Snap Crafts 63. Bless This Mess 64. Apronista 65. Dreaming About Someday 66. Frenchie 67. Tastefully Frugal 68. Four Marrs and One Venus 69. Your Sister Circle 70. Over the Big Moon 71. See Vanessa Craft 72. Infarrantly Creative 73. Family StoryTelling

Natural beauty untouched photos

74. Albion Gould 75. Life as Mrs. Larson 76. Tried and True 77. Play.Party.Pin. 78. Bite of Delight 79. Ink Happi 80. ObSEUSSed 81. U Create 82. My Mommy Style 83. Find it Make it Love it 84. The Contractor Chronicles 85. Novae Clothing 86. Mommy Makes Things 87. At Home with Sweet T 88. We Like to Learn As We Go 89. House for Five 90. Organize and Decorate Everything 91. Sassy Southern Gurl 92. The Creative Mom 93. Keep Moving Forward with Me

raw natural beauty - join the movement

94. The Benson Street 95. Mom 4 Real 96. Sowdering About 97. illistyle 98. The Crafty Blog Stalker 99. A Fiery Red Life 100. Cupcakes & Crowbars 101. One Sweet Appetite 102. My DayLights 103. Restless Risa

beauty and bravery - women wearing no makeup - Brassyapple.com

104. Sypsie Designs 105. Vintage Mother 106. Like Mother Like Daughter 107. 30 Handmade Days 108. Queen B and Me 109. Apples by Ashley 110. Boutique Cafe – in CANADA 111. Just My Little Mess 112. Bombshell Bling 113. Sarah Tyau 114. Taradara Make it 115. Capturing Joy 116. Ivory Lime Photography 117. Jenkins Kid Farm 118. Free Time Frolics 119. Bella Storia 120. Dana Ohlsen Photography

#colbietry #iambraveandbeautiful

Ready to join in? Snap, tag and share! Tag @BrassyApple and @Peacefrom6Pieces too!

You can slso follow our Bravery and Beauty PINTEREST board for more inspiration!

ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Make the everyday a little bubblier and a lot more enjoyable {GIVEAWAY}

2014 September 26
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: This is a compensated post; the prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this campaign. Thoughts, opinions, and undying love for—and addiction to—Diet Coke is 100 percent true. Except the addiction part. I can stop any time I want.

I think.


It’s no secret I’m a fan of Diet Coke. I use it to celebrate, meditate and even collaborate.

You’ll find Diet Coke a must at every “business” lunch.

You could even say I’m a superfan because I share my love of Diet Coke (and pebble ice) with all my friends on all the social media. It’s pretty much heaven in a glass. Or plastic cup. Or Styrofoam container, which is the best way to keep your Diet Coke chilled for hours.

Why do I love it so? For starters, it tastes divine. And it has caffeine which is a blogger’s best friend. Oh, and it’s all bubbly and bubbles make me happy. All of those things combine to make for a magical beverage that makes my day a heck of a lot more enjoyable. But how does Diet Coke do it? Inquiring minds wanted to know so I asked Diet Coke just how it makes the everyday “taste” so good.

Here’s what he said.*


Diet Coke in the kitchen


Diet Coke in the office


Diet Coke in carpool


Diet Coke in the bath


Diet Coke with a book

Let’s be honest. A Diet Coke with a good book is about as good as it gets.

Although Diet Coke didn’t tell us exactly how he does it (and may have exaggerated a bit), the bubbly beverage certainly has a way of sweetening life’s everyday activities.

And not-so-everyday activities like the occasional economy class flight as portrayed in “Economy Class,” one of Diet Coke’s TV spots for their newly launched “Get A Taste” (#GetATaste) campaign.


Pretend that girl is me and the airplane is the chaos that is my home on a weekday afternoon and when I take a sip of the Diet Coke I’m suddenly in a fluffy robe lounging by a hot tub with cucumbers on my eyes, fresh polish on my toes and not a whiny child—or husband—to be found.

*sigh*

Lucky for you, Diet Coke would love to give you a glimpse into what life would look like if it tasted as good as Diet Coke.

It’s time for the UH-MAZING giveaway! You may want a Diet Coke in hand to celebrate the awesomeness you’re about to read.

Diet Coke wants to help YOU make the everyday extra bubbly. To do so, they’re giving one lucky ITRML reader a prize valued up to $1,000!


You can enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. The mandatory entry (see widget) asks you to share what would help you get a taste of the good life—something that would make your life a little brighter, bubblier and way more enjoyable…just like my beloved Diet Coke. Maybe it’s a round-trip ticket to visit your sister or VIP tickets to an upcoming concert complete with limo ride. Or maybe you’d love a new fall wardrobe including an amazing pair of Jimmy Choos.

Okay, maybe that’s just me.

The winner will be given their chosen “taste of the good life” (a value up to $1,000). I can’t wait to hear your ideas! Good luck!


* I’m not sure Diet Coke is a “he” but after this Diet Coke ad, I’m going with it. You’re welcome.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ps post script


Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Fall fashion favorites (old and new) {GIVEAWAY}

2014 September 25
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for P&G Fabric Care and One2One Network. Thoughts, opinions, and love of boots and button-downs are 100 percent true and all mine.


I’m going to be completely honest…I am NOT ready for summer to end.

The heat, the pool, the warm summer evenings, the outdoor concerts, THE FROYO.

Okay, you can enjoy that last one year round, but it tastes so much better on a hot summer day.

That being said, I’m okay with fall for three reasons: the boots, the plaid and the pumpkin everything.

As much as I love my sky-high heels, some of my favorite pairs of shoes are boots. As fashionable as it is to wear boots with skirts in summer (think cowboy boots with a short twirly skirt), if it’s warm enough to wear flip flops, the boots are staying in the closet. Do you want to see the boots I’m most looking forward to wearing?

Tough nookies if you don’t.

These high-heel black leather boots are my most favorite. Believe it or not, they’re actually comfortable.


BCBG black leather boots

These brown suede boots go with everything—and I wear them with everything.


brown suede boots

The newest addition (because Mom gets back-to-school stuff too) is this pair of grey suede ankle boots. I adore them.


grey suede ankle boots

Of course, the best thing to pair with boots is an awesome plaid (often flannel) button-down. My favorite one is this cutie. I was lucky it was available for this impromptu photo shoot. It often disappears and reappears in Madison’s closet.


plaid flannel shirt

I found this delightful orange shirt at a garage sale and wear it about once a week from October through April. No lie.


orange plaid shirt

The newest member of the button-down family (tags still attached) is this polka-dot piece. *sigh*


Roxy denim polka dot shirt

In an attempt to get into the fall spirit, I put together a fall fashion board on Pinterest:

Follow Emily Hill’s board fall fashion faves on Pinterest.


See anything you’d like to add to your closet?

Now, I’m not one to get rid of clothes easily, which is why it’s super important they stay in great shape—even if I’m not due to the holiday eating. I have fall fashion that’s been in my closet so long it’s probably considered vintage. And when I finally bust it out, it better be in as great condition as it was the day I bought it (or at least close if Madison’s been borrowing it—backpacks are hard on clothes).

One easy way to keep your fall favorites looking crisp is using the best laundry products like those from P&G Fabric Care. With Tide detergent (the Bleach Alternative version is the best!), Downy fabric softener and Bounce dryer sheets (my most favorite dryer sheets ever, truly), you have everything you need to get ready to strut your stuff for Fall.


P&G Fabric Care

P&G Fabric Care products will keep your sweaters, flannel and cashmere (sadly, not your leather boots) looking fantastic. If you’re thinking your fall wardrobe needs a face lift, try a little P&G love before you hit Nordstrom Rack (*sigh*) and dip into your holiday budget.

Oh! I almost forgot the pumpkin! It wouldn’t be fall without pumpkin in pretty much everything (other than laundry detergent) like these four-ingredient chocolate chip pumpkin cookies


Four ingredient pumpkin cookies

…and pumpkin bundt with cream cheese frosting.


Pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese frosting

Don’t forget the holiday pumpkin dip. This is truly my favorite.


Holiday pumpkin dip


And now for the giveaway!

P&G is giving one lucky ITRML reader a P&G Fabric Care gift pack similar to the one pictured above!

You can enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ps post script


Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Halloween appetizers (warning: a couple are extra ghoulish)

2014 September 24
by Emily Hill

Not all of these Halloween appetizers are gruesome, but each one does have a bit of creepy going on. It’s amazing how easy it is to turn deviled eggs into ghoulish eyeballs or mummify pigs in a blanket.

My favorite Halloween appetizers always come in dip fashion like the spider web dip pictured below. Throw in a side of monster brains and your spread becomes frighteningly delicious.


13 Halloween Appetizers

13 Halloween Appetizers

Cheese broomsticks
String cheese is the secret to these Sorcerer’s Apprentice Broom Snacks from Instructables.

Halloween breadstick fingers
I love making these Creepy Breadstick Fingers because they’re super easy.

Monster Brains dip
These Monster Brains from Taste and Tell kind of make me want to vomit…but in the best way.

fried mozzarella eyeballs
I’m pretty sure I could down a few pairs of these Spooky Fried Mozzarella Eyeballs from FoodieCrush.

jalapeno popper mummies
How cute are these Jalapeno Popper Mummies from Simply Sated?

spider bites
My kids would so totally love these Spider Bites from The Spice Gals.

spider web dip
How simple yet spooky is this Spider Web Dip from Your Homebased Mom?

bones and cheese dip
I love this Bones and Cheese Dip from Pocket Change Gourmet because it involves queso.

magical witch hat appetizer
Choose your filling when you make these Magical Witch Hat Appetizers from Hungry Happenings.

mummy hot dogs
I’ve always loved the Pillsbury-inspired Mummy Hot Dogs like these from Damn Delicious.

pumpkin cheese ball
The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball from Family Fresh Meals is also the perfect Halloween cheese ball.

mummy baked brie
This Mummy Baked Brie from Babble is simply spooktacular!

zombie dip
This Zombie Dip from Oh Sweet Basil is right up there with the Monster Brains. Ewww…


Speaking of ghoulish, I am so not a fan of those Scream costumes. You know, the ones with the bloody masks? In an effort to avoid seeing more of those this Halloween season, I’ve rounded up some amazing superhero costumes your kids are sure to love: “12 Superhero Costumes Perfect for Halloween.”

If your daughter would rather go as Elsa than Catwoman, check out this collection of beautiful princess costumes I’ve curated: “13 Simply Beautiful Disney Princess Costumes.”


Check out all the Halloween recipes I’ve discovered by browsing my Halloween recipes board:

Follow Emily Hill’s board halloween recipes on Pinterest.

ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

2014 September 17
by Emily Hill

I’m going to be completely honest. Before I tasted these chewy chocolate chip cookies, I was completely against using shortening in place of butter. Mind you, I have no problem using it to grease and flour a cake pan. But for some reason, the idea of all that shortening n a batch of cookie dough made the cookies less appealing.

I know, I know…shortening makes them light and fluffy but man, how I love butter.

I have now revised my opinion of cookie recipes calling for shortening thanks to these delicious, must-be-eaten-hot-from-the-oven chewy chocolate chip cookies. I inhaled the first one, taste bud-burning chocolate chips and all. So. Dang. Good.


Chewy chocolate chip cookies

I did find these were tastiest the same day they were baked. They weren’t nearly as chewy on day two, but that may be the result of putting them on a platter overnight that wasn’t airtight.

That didn’t stop me from eating them. Just sayin’.

Printable recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies below.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
 
Shortening is the secret to extra fluffy, extra chewy cookies. Best eaten fresh from the oven.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla; mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk together baking soda, salt and flour in a separate bowl. Add to shortening and sugar; mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Place rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet or silicone mat. Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

Other cookie recipes you’ll want to eat fresh from the oven…

Chocolate chip Twix cookies

Chocolate chip Twix cookies

Classic peanut butter cookies

Classic peanut butter cookies

Old-fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

Old-fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

Salted caramel toffee Rolo cookies

Salted caramel Rolo cookies

ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.

Top ice cream makers to best slow cookers

2014 September 16
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: My eBay guides were written as part of my collaboration with eBay. #eBayGuides

Today I bring you four more of my awesome eBay Guides.

Okay, maybe they’re not awesome but they’re kinda cool.

My first four guides covered cupcakes (one covering cupcake basics and one about filling cupcakes), cycling and yoga. You can check them out here and pin the handy graphics for later reference.

My latest guides jump from yoga to slow cookers. I’m trying to cover all the bases.

In “7 Yoga Essentials,” I share what you might want to include in your yoga practice (besides the mat) whether you’re new to yoga or have practiced for a while.


7 Yoga Essentials


In “Top Ice Cream Makers for Every Occasion,” I’ve done some research and picked the top ice cream makers no matter your needs, be it high-end gelato maker to the tiniest portable machine.


Top Ice Cream Makers for Every Occasion


Best Slow Cookers for Every Budget” makes choosing a slow cooker easy. I’ve found the perfect model for your next potluck or pot roast.


Best Slow Cookers for Every Budget


These super cute “Back-to-Schook DIY Mini Clipboards” are perfect for getting the kids organized because they easily display chore charts or to-do lists. They also make a great teacher appreciation gift because the kids can make them easily and quickly.


DIY mini clipboards


I’ll be writing more eBay guides in the next couple weeks. Hope you don’t mind if I share them with you!

If you feel the burning desire to share them (via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, email, snail mail—whatever floats your boat) I won’t mind it one bit.


ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.