Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Picking Out Windows And Doors With Pella


My husband and I are building a new home currently, and one of the most important aspects of the house for me are the windows. I love natural light. The more the better! My whole house layout had to work around the most natural light coming into my kitchen during the day (no joke).
So when it came down to picking out the windows ( and also a set of French doors), I was pretty darn picky.
That's why we decided to go with the Pella Windows and Doors 350 Series.
We wanted Vinyl over Wood or Fiberglass windows, and we loved all of the features that comes with the Pella 350 Series.

 
Watch the video below to see all of the features the Pella 350 Series has to offer.
 

My husband is a licensed contractor, so he is very familiar with windows, doors, and measurements. I was afraid I'd be left in the dust trying to understand everything that goes into window selection, but  Sheri (my Pella rep from our local showroom), made the whole process pretty darn easy and explained everything to me. 

Here are some helpful hints when picking out your windows and doors.
  1. Know your budget!!!! There is no point in picking out things you know you can't afford. The good news is Pella has windows, doors, blinds and shades that can fit anyone's budget. 
  2.  Make a Pinterest board of the styles you love. What shapes do you want? What style of grilles do you want. Search for "kitchen windows", "living room", "bedroom", etc. and pin your favorites.
  3. Figure out what kind of windows you want. Do you want double hung, casement, awning, slider, fixed, etc. Not sure on terminology, start HERE.
  4. What kind of material do you want the windows to be made out of? Pella offers Wood, Vinyl or Fiberglass. Thankfully Pella offers the Window and Door Design Tool that walks you through the process of choosing the perfect window or door for your needs. Pella also offers many different types of glass and hardware for your windows and doors, so keep that in mind.
  5. How important is energy efficiency to you? (it should be). Pella offers energy options that are just right for your climate no matter what area of the country you live in.
  6.  Work with an expert. Regardless of whether you'll do the job on your own, it helps to talk to a home improvement store rep, independent contractor or manufacturer's installer. This is where Sheri, our Pella showroom rep, came in. She was so helpful! 
  7. Find a retail showroom. Pella has more than 200 locations that only focus on windows and doors – You can see the products and get the expertise you need for your project.
 As I mentioned above, my husband is a licensed contractor with Gladden Construction.
He, our Pella rep, and myself all sat down and picked out the windows and doors that will go into our home.
As a contractor, Jamie appreciated being able to see grille patterns, window proportions, and the ability to change something on the spot with the rep's computer program.
He felt it would be a big help to the client, as most people can't visualize what their windows and doors will look like. I can agree with this, as it really helped me to see what each window would look like, and what our French doors will look like.

My husband and I decided on the Pella 350 Series Windows and a Proline Double Inswing Door that will lead to our back patio.  The majority of our windows are double hung, with grilles on the top halves. We also have sliding windows, transoms above the casement windows in the kitchen and breakfast nook, and three, fixed circle windows.

Here are two examples of the windows that will go in our home.
Click to enlarge

We also are going to meet with our Pella showroom rep to discuss windows for a possible cupola.


So when it comes to picking out quality windows and doors, Pella offers everything you need to help with the process. Take a deep breath and know you are in good hands. You can do this! Pella can help!




Disclaimer: My blog is currently partnered with Pella, and I received discounted windows and doors. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely that of my husband and myself.




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My biggest regret...

WARNING:
This post contains mature subject matter.

When I was 14 I met and fell "in love" with a 16 year old boy. Of course when you are that age you think you really are in love, but the truth is you have no idea what love really is. Now this boy was very respectful and treated me wonderfully, but the longer we dated, the more intimate we became. We were teenagers...bodies flooded with hormones, and we wanted each other.

The topic of losing our virginity to each other came up about a year into our relationship (please do not judge my parents for allowing us to date...they were not happy about me dating so young...trust me).  My boyfriend never pressured me into having sex. He wanted to of course, like any horny 17 year old boy would, but he never pressured me. For some crazy reason, I thought 15 was mature enough to lose my virginity! Oh how we think we are so grown up at that age. 

Anyway, my mom was very concerned and repeatedly asked me to wait until I was married. That sex before marriage was a sin (which it is). But in my head, I convinced myself that God would be ok with it since I really loved my boyfriend. You see, this is how an immature mind works. And because I was only 15, I rationalized that God would be ok with it.
After much thought, and being convinced this was the boy that I was going to marry anyway, I decided it was time.

We planned the night to be New Years Eve. It was important to me that we not be in the back of some car, and we couldn't do it at either one of our parents homes, so we went to someone's house (You see...kids can always find a way).

He brought a couple condoms and we decided this was the moment. It was a disaster! It hurt so badly that we could barely even do it. I ended up crying, he felt terrible, and it was all a mess. NOT how the movies portrayed it, not how I imagined it would be.  I was so upset.

THEN...the guilt set in. That's it. I've lost my virginity. It's all over. 
From then on, I had no reason to restrain myself with him, or any other future boyfriend I had.
Here's the thing...everyone always preached at me to WAIT...but no one talked to me about what happens if you don't wait. No one told me about second chances, or God's grace and forgiveness. 
So I repeated beat myself up about it. I was ruined so why ever tell any future boyfriend that I "loved" that we couldn't have sex. I already lost my virginity, so what difference would stopping make?!?!?

BUT, here's the thing. It would have made a HUGE difference. And this is why I am writing this. Maybe this is for a mom who needs to talk to her kids not only about waiting until they get married, but also that they can stop if they make a mistake. Or maybe this is for a teen who is contemplating sex or already had sex. You don't have to keep having sex just because you lost your virginity. You can still save yourself for your future husband or future wife. 

You see no one ever talked to me about second chances. But that is what Christ is all about. His love and grace doesn't stop once we screw up in life. Each passing moment is a chance to turn it all around. And that is what repentance means. To stop, turn around, and walk in the opposite direction of which you were going. To not only ask for forgiveness...but to RECEIVE it as well.

When I met Jamie, I knew he was the one for me. And after years and years of messing up, I knew I could still save myself for him. I wanted a wedding night. I wanted to walk down that aisle never having been with him. I wanted that excitement and intimacy that only married couples should share.
Thankfully he wanted that as well. 

Jamie wasn't a virgin either, but we both knew we wanted to save ourselves for our wedding night. We didn't want our wedding night to be just another night of having sex with each other. We wanted it to be special. We wanted to look at each other all night at the reception with excitement about the night to come.  

And we had our wedding night, and it was beautiful. It was everything I could have wanted. My only regret was I couldn't give him my virginity. I can never tell him he's the only man I've ever been with, and he can never tell me I'm the only woman he's ever been with. Sometimes that's hard for me as a wife. I don't like to picture my husband with someone else in my head, sharing those intimate moments. It brings rise to jealousy and a host of insecurities.  

So trust me...the benefits of waiting until you are married to have sex far outweigh the opposition. BUT....if you do or did lose your virginity...you can have a second chance! You can still be forgiven and can still wait until your wedding night. Jesus forgives and Jesus saves. We ALL have sinned...that's why we need a savior! So don't think you've ever screwed up too many times to be loved by the Savior. 

In a world where no one waits for anything...wait for your husband or wife, even if you have already made a mistake. Start over, and have that incredible wedding night where it's all about your union and love for each other. It is so worth it! 

XOXO,

Mandy



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Versa Spa Spray Tanning System At Beach Fever University Square Review


I just love the Versa Spa at Beach Fever University Square!

Here is a video where I go and get a Level 2 Versa Spa spray tan and also how it turned out. 

If you are debating getting a spray tan, then I highly recommend the Versa Spa! 
Watch my video below to see why!

XOXO,
Mandy




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back-To-School Styles At Payless

When it comes to Back-To-School shoe shopping, Payless Shoe Source is your one-stop shop.
Affordable and stylish, you'll find the perfect shoes for school.

"This pretty little ballet flat features a stylish upper with bow on the vamp, jersey lining, padded insole, and a flexible outsole. Sizes 10.5 - 13 are designed with a strap to secure the shoe on little feet. Manmade materials"
Dress from www.BellaGrace.net
These ballet flat are super girly, comfortable, and go with so many outfits.



Little kids are always running around. That's why I'm happy Champion made their boys Gusto Runner with memory foam insole.
These shoes are so light and comfortable, and my boys absolutely love them! They call them their squishy shoes that make them run fast.
These shoes "offer a mesh upper with sporty accents, laces for good fit, padded collar, soft lining, cushiony memory foam insole, and a non-marking, lightweight, flexible outsole. Manmade materials"

So makes to to visit Payless.com or visit a Payless store near you to grab your kids some stylish back-to-school shoes!




Disclaimer: I received these shoes from Payless in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts and opinions in this post are completely my own. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

LeapPad Platinum & Imagicards Review

LeapFrog's newest tablet, the LeapPad Platinum, is LeapFrog's biggest and best tablet. It's also the toughest tablet they make. 

I love this tablet. LeapFrog offers some of the best educational apps and games out there, and I love that my kids are learning while they use the tablet. The new LeapPad Platinum is also built to last with a shatter-safe screen and wrap around bumper. I also like the new stylus that has a soft tip. This tablet also comes with 8GB of memory and has a high-performance processor.
I also love the peace of mind I have with LeapFrog products. I know that my kids won't accidentally stumble across something on their tablet that I wouldn't approve of, and I know they won't be purchasing any apps or games without my knowledge.

Overall I love this tablet and the Imagicards. The kids love how the cards "come to life" when they play with them.
The Imagicards are a neat feature. Your child uses the camera to "capture" the card on the screen which brings the character "to life" in the game.  The cards can also be used with all tablets except the LeapPad1.
The cards come with a tin for easy storage, and also a play mat for card sorting and offline learning.


I highly recommend both products!
If you worry about some of the games your child is playing on his/her tablet, then I suggest you get the new LeapPad Platinum. I know you'll be so pleased.

*I was given the LeapPad Platinum with a set of Imagic cards for review, however the opinions stated here are my own.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fresh Beat Band Of Spies' Kiki Talks With Life Songs Of A Busy Mom


I recently was able to interview Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, who many of you will recognize as the award-winning television star known worldwide as "Kiki" from Nickelodeon's critically-acclaimed live-action musical series "The Fresh Beat Band."

Yvette is now starring in the brand-new Nick Jr. animated series "Fresh Beat Band of Spies," which teaches problem-solving to preschoolers. Based on the hit live-action show where the four best friends — Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout – are also a group of undercover spies and the pop band uses their individual talents and the coolest transforming spy gadgets to outwit a goofy cast of bad guys and solve an endless series of wild and wacky mysteries.



Yvette also recently released a new song and music video for her adult audience titled "Havana," (Click HERE to watch her music video) which blends her vibrant Cuban culture with soulful timeless pop hooks, R&B and Latin influences that seamlessly intertwine throughout her debut single. In addition to vocal duties, Yvette is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, playing violin, guitar and piano on her upcoming album. Since her first violin lesson at the age of three, this young creative soul has been immersed in a musically diverse world that established her early on as a multifaceted artist who was comfortable in any genre. She sang and acted professionally from her early teens and performed for royalty and heads of state with a jazz vocal group she helped form. She started high school at the age of 12 and graduated from the University of Miami on an opera scholarship at just 19 years of age. Shortly after, she took the stage with the Florida Grand Opera, performed at Carnegie Hall, and was discovered by the legendary Engelbert Humperdinck.  Since then, she has performed with some of the music industry's tops artists including Ne-Yo, Jason Mraz, Wyclef Jean, Gloria Estefan, Justin Bieber and All-4-One, among others.

I had a couple of questions for Yvette about her new show, and this is what she said:

-->
1.     How has the transition been from The Fresh Beat Band to The Fresh Beat Band Of Spies? 

Turning the show into an animated series and adding these new elements was such a wonderful way to allow the show to continue to evolve.  For us, it has been incredible and so far, the feedback from the fans has been nothing but positive!  I’m so happy everyone’s loving it!


2.     Is it easier or harder in your opinion to do an animated show over a live-action one?
It is infinitely easier doing the animated version!  You can technically show up to work in pajamas if you wanted to and it would be perfectly acceptable.  Unfortunately, I didn’t capitalize on that this time around, but hoping they pick it up for a second season so I can!

   3. Talk a little bit about your new character in The Fresh Beat Band Of Spies and how she is different/similar to the live action Kiki. 
 
She is still the same spunky, fun-loving Kiki who rocks out at shows with her friends, only now she is also a really cool spy who owns a beauty salon too. 

4.     What are your personal goals for the future? (Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5-10 years?)
How much time do you have?  In a nutshell, I hope to be happy, continue to do what I love and work with the people I admire

My kids loved the Fresh Beat Band, and I know they are going to love the Fresh Beat Band Of Spies as well.  Check out the show weekdays on NickJr. 





Tuesday, June 9, 2015

LeapFrog's Summer Camp!

LeapFrog is hosting the first annual “Summer Camp”, where parents can sign up for 8 weeks of free printables, activities, articles, videos, and more, that help kids stay engaged and learning over the summer. Each week presents a different theme, with materials covering skills in math, reading, science, creativity, and more!

For some background, research shows that children experience learning losses when they don’t engage in educational activities over the summer. As much as two months of learning can be lost during those long summer months (particularly in the math and science subject areas), which is why it’s extremely important to keep children’s brains active and challenged year round.

So head over to LeapFrog to sign up for LeapFrog's Summer Camp!