Cool Opportunity for Cat Lovers – #MenAndCatsContest

Do you know an extraordinary man with a cat?

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Purina Pro Plan is shredding perceptions of both traditional cat food and who typically loves cats by launching the Purina Pro Plan #MenAndCatsContest to celebrate the new Savor Shredded Blend. 

Purina Pro Plan is working to change the perception of dry cat food by introducing Savor Shredded Blend, an all-new mealtime experience that combines crunchy kibble and tender meaty shreds to provide both extraordinary nutrition and exceptional taste.

In order to change how people think of who typically loves cats, Purina Pro Plan is partnering with proud cat guy and “Devious Maids” actor Gilles Marini to search for extraordinary men who own and love cats. We are asking that people nominate the cat guys in their lives or that those extraordinary cat guys out there enter themselves by sharing a photo of them with their cat on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MenAndCatsContest and tagging @ProPlanCat from August 31 – September 14. Those men could be featured in the 2016 Purina Pro Plan Extraordinary Men and Cats Calendar and win a year’s supply of Savor Shredded Blend.

The calendars will be used to raise funds for rescue groups nationwide through the Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue network. 

For entry details and eligibility requirements and to learn more about Savor Shredded Blend, visit  and let’s not only change the perception of who loves cats, but also help rescue organizations across the country find loving, permanent homes for cats just like theirs.

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

Finding Time to Exercise with a Busy Mom Agenda

No matter if you work outside the home or inside, it can be difficult to carve out time for yourself. If you do find a few free minutes, you may rather spend it catching up on some much needed sleep or a good book. However, eating right and exercising are integral to your health and wellness. The following advice can make it easier for busy moms to fit in a few pushups without feeling guilty.
Map Out a Plan
Before you had children, you may have had time for workouts at the gym and taking the time to cook nutritious meals. While you wouldn’t trade moments of snuggling your child for anything in the world, it would be nice to be able to go for a run without feeling like your missing precious moments with your family. However, balancing work, family life and a bit of “me” time can help make you more centered and happy. At the start of your week, map out a plan for the days ahead. This includes school, work, meetings, extra-curricular activities and social obligations. This allows you the chance to see where you can fit in a quick class at the gym, jog or walk with a neighbor.
Work Through Life’s Complications
A broken water heater, flooded basement, sick child or overdrawn checkbook can add to your daily stresses as a mom. While you may want to give up and go back to bed after a bad day, you still have to take care of your own health and wellness. Incorporating a workout in between the bad moments will help you feel better. The movement can also be helpful in alleviating stress and clearing your mind. In addition to doing something fun such as a Zumba class, getting outside in the fresh air can improve your state of mind.
Daily Activities
If your job is a stay-at-home mom or you’re able to work from home, you may be able to incorporate small workouts throughout the day. This includes taking the children for a walk in their stroller in the morning hours. If you visit the park, chasing after your children can burn calories. Games of ball, tag and follow-the-leader can also be unique ways to fit in a workout. If you have an office job away from home, place weights and a step nearby. In between paper shuffling try to fit in a set of curls and step ups. If you work an eight or nine hour day, you could have put in more workout time than you would have at the gym.
Find Something That You Love
A great way to exercise and stay committed is by finding an exercise that you really enjoy. No matter if you’re traveling, taking care of the children or working, you’ll be able to find a way to make it a priority. If you like running, pack your running shoes and fit in a short run before you come home from work. For those with a gym membership, you may be able to sneak in a class each day, especially if they have on-site daycare. Your children get the opportunity to socialize with other kids, and you get the chance to do something healthy for yourself.
You Don’t Have to Go Big
While working out for an hour or more each day may have significant health benefits, you don’t have to go big every day. Set your goals for a minimum of 15 minutes per day. Whether you take a walk with the kids after dinner as a family, go for a bike ride or do rapids sets of walking up and down stairs, remember that some exercise is better than none.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Sorry But Do I Know You?

I recently read an article by a former radio host who talked about how when people ask what she does, she first mentions her former job rather than focusing on what she’s doing now. I have to admit – I do that all the time. Sadly, when I was in that big job, I was miserable and complained about it all the time. So much so that my husband convinced me to take a chance, go off on my own and start my own business.
That was eight years ago. At the time I had left my job, I was pretty confident. I had a ton of contacts. I thought I wouldn’t have a problem once I hung up my own shingle. But time and time again, all the people I thought were my friends, were just colleagues. A few went out of their way to help me but honestly, I can count those amazing people on one hand and I know they know who they are. While the others would take my calls, their responses were typically dismissive or disappointing. “I wish I could book your client, but sorry, I just can’t do it.” Over and over again I was rejected by people I used to work side by side with.
After a while, I finally gave up trying to reach out to my old “friends” and began to find new contacts who were receptive and actually began booking my clients regularly. I can’t believe I had to build a brand new list but have come to terms with the fact that all those people in those big jobs are never going to change unless they one day leave their perch, go out on their own and I get to say to them: Sorry but do I know you?

Keep All Your Photo Memories in One Place with PicJoy

If you’re like me, you probably have taken thousands of photos with your phone and while some will definitely bring back incredible memories of a vacation getaway or that first time you adopted a puppy, the rest are just a complete blur. Which birthday was that photo taken from? Was it last year or three years ago?
Now that all our photos are stored on an imaginary cloud, keeping track of those milestones is getting harder and harder. Thankfully, there are apps like PicJoy that are making it easier for all of us amateur photographers to capture the moments and the memories in real time.
IMG_4331.PNGYou can get a free download of thePicJoy App if you have an iPhone or Android device and once you do, the app automatically starts categorizing all your photos by date and year so that you know when you actually took those shots. Plus, you can also share a story to accompany all those special moments and share them immediately via social media or keep them stored so that you always remember the exact date your little one lost their front tooth or had to get braces (sadly, that would be my son in the next few weeks.)
There is something to be said about looking back at thousands of photos and actually being able to remember exactly what happened that date just by reading about it on PicJoy. PicJoy allows you to write your personal story, tag the people in the photo for easy organization plus everything else like sharing, deleting and posting.It’s that easy!
So if you are looking for a great way to finally keep track of your photos and truly create memories that not only last a lifetime but will also be memorable since you shared a story behind that snapshot, then look no further than PicJoy. It’s a fun and easy app and I’m loving it so much, I’ve gotta run and write 3999 more stories!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all my opinions and my love of great cellphone photos are 100% my own.

10 Things to Do in St. Thomas

1.Enjoy the Fabulous Views
Meet the seagull that visited our balcony every morning at Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
The running theme I found at Frenchman’s Reef was that every restaurant, bar and hotel room has an incredible view. Whether you are dining on the beach at CoCo Joe’s, enjoying a buffet brunch at Aqua Terra which has stunning island and harbor views, or spending the evening star gazing at the Rum Bar, the resort has incredible picture taking options wherever you turn — and even has selfie stations where you can snap the ultimate photo. Or you can just sit on your balcony each morning, greet a bird and snap a photo. Just use the Twitter handle @FrenchmansReef #TravelBrilliantly if you’d like to share your photos while you’re vacationing.
2. Eat, Eat and then Eat Some More.
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Favorite restaurant in St. Thomas: Havana Blue
The Marriott provides a free shuttle service that takes you to all of their properties and that definitely comes in handy after you’ve taken a long stroll to the beach and are too tired to walk back to your room. While we were able to dine at all the restaurants located near the hotel, our favorite was Havana Blue, an upscale latin inspired dining option with ocean views, a fabulous wine list, cocktails and desserts that were out of this world. The service was phenomenal, and the food was spectacular. My daughter couldn’t get enough of the snapper special and I was partial to the s’mores cocktail. Just be prepared — the prices at Havana Blue are incredibly expensive but if you’re looking for an amazing dining experience, then it’s a can’t miss when visiting St. Thomas. Right below Havana Blue is the Sand Bar, a less expensive dining option for couples and families that’s located right next to the beach and also offers a weekend brunch.
3. Take lots of day trips – snorkeling, paddle boarding, beaches and more!
I have to say that the best part of our visit to St. Thomas were the excursions we took each day. Right in the lobby of Frenchman’s Reef is the Adventure Center where you can pretty much book any type of tour, snorkeling trip and island hopping package to keep you on your toes throughout the week. While there are hundreds of activities to choose from, we opted for a snorkeling tour, a sunset sail, a visit to St. John, night kayaking, paddle board lessons and once my daughter was instantly hooked, she also tried paddle board yoga.
The dock for all our activities was conveniently located right near our hotel so all we needed to do was walk down a few flights of stairs and then hop on a catamaran or ferry boat to take us to our destination. You can also purchase ferry tickets at the Adventure Center too. A one way ferry ride is $7 per person.
Book all your St. Thomas excursions with the Adventure Center
Best Snorkeling Trip & Sunset Sail: The Cat
4. Shop till you drop
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A trip to St. Thomas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the shops in town. We were pretty strategic with our trip. Since it costs between $6-8 per person to take a taxi into town, my husband and son decided to stay back at the hotel while we took a cab to the shops. We first strolled through an open air market where we could bargain our way to the best price on a knock off bag, beads, jewelry and more.
There are tons of jewelry stores in St. Thomas and you can get some really great deals on tanzanite. We managed to score a pair of tanzanite earrings, a necklace and a ring from a shopkeeper who actually had someone who directed us to his storefront since he was a little off the beaten path. We also picked up a few pairs of Laramar earrings — another stone that’s indigenous to St. Thomas and we even found some gorgeous paintings that we purchased that were created by a local artist.
5. Take some great night trips too
While we had an awesome time aboard The Cat for our Sunset Sail, one of the best moments of the trip took place when we went night kayaking (sorry no photos since I was too busy getting freaked out by big fish under my boat). If you’ve never tried that before, it’s pretty amazing. After you get a brief kayaking lesson on shore you hop into a boat with a glass bottom that glows in the dark. Once you’re on the water, you can literally watch as sea turtles, stingrays and a host of other very large fish travel right under your kayak. I also loved that we paddled out to the home of the owner of the Bellagio Hotel which kicks off a light and cannon show every night for onlookers.
Can’t Miss Evening Adventure: Night Kayaking
6. Enjoy at least one romantic dinner while your kids enjoy room service
Spectacular Views & A Mouth Watering Menu: Mafolie
One of the most romantic restaurants in St. Thomas is Mafolie — set high atop a mountain, the restaurant boasts fantastic views of the island and ocean, delicious Caribbean fare and a tasty wine and cocktail list too.
7. Go Island Hopping
Another highlight of the trip was our ferry visit to St. John. While you can take a full tour of the island that includes a visit to a rum plantation and some time at the beach, we decided to hop aboard the ferry and spend the day on our own time. Luckily, we managed to find a very friendly taxi driver named Chris who directed us to a deli for breakfast and then took us to a more secluded beach, Cinnamon Bay where the kids got to paddle board again and I continued reading my book.
Breathtaking views & secluded beaches: St. John
8. Devour as many books as possible
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My Summer 2015 Reads:
The Husband’s Secret
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Who do You Love
Summer Secrets
In the Unlikely Event
9. Order a margarita by the pool
While it is pretty hot and humid in St. Thomas in August, the good news is, wherever you look, there’s the pool or the ocean and even a swim up bar if you don’t want to get out of the water to enjoy a cocktail.
Azul Pool, Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Marriott Resort
10. Do nothing and enjoy it.
St. John
St. John – Cinnamon Bay Campgrounds
Listen in to our Blog Talk Radio Show and hear more about our St. Thomas adventure!

Risk Factors in Breast Cancer

While there isn’t one predominant cause of breast cancer, researchers have found certain links to the disease. Smoking, drinking, family history and race are risks that can’t be changed, but they can increase a person’s chances in its development. However, just because you have several of the risk factors associated with breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get the disease.
Factors That You Can’t Change
Exams, testing and fundraising methods can spread awareness and make it easier to catch at its early stages. However, there are certain risk factors that you can’t change such as autisms link to certain cancer genes. Breast cancer is most common in women than it is in men. As a woman ages, their chances for breast cancer significantly increases, especially after you reach menopause. If you have a family history such as a grandmother, mother, aunt or other blood relative, you may be at heightened levels for the disease to occur. Caucasian women have a greater rate of developing breast cancer than African American women. However, African-American women are more likely to die from it. Breast radiation early in life, menstrual cycles that start before the age of 12 and menopause after the age of 55 can also increase a person’s chances of breast cancer.
Lifestyle Choices
Breast Cancer Awareness Month and activities such as walks and runs can help bring awareness to the disease. Big companies such as Eggland’s Best have become ambassadors to the cause. In addition to helping spread the word by displaying the “pink ribbon” of hope on their marketable products, they’re also pledging donations to help with the cure. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help lessen your chances of breast cancer, but there aren’t any guarantees. You can adopt certain changes and precautions by minimizing your consumption of alcohol. As little as one drink per day can significantly raise your risk. That’s why it’s best to limit your consumption. Obesity and weight gain after menopause are other contributing factors that can lead to breast cancer. Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising can aid in a healthier and cancer-free existence. Studies have also shown other lifestyle changes that can put a person at risk include taking hormone therapy after menopause and birth control pills. Research has also shown that breastfeeding between 1 and 2 years can slightly lower a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. With the many do’s and don’ts, education, preventative maintenance and talking with your physician can prove helpful. If you fall ill to the disease, support groups, clinics and seminars can provide guidance, comfort, and the chance at a better life.
Disproven and Less Clear Risk Factors
There are considerable gaps when it comes to research and breast cancer. While studies are still sketchy about certain findings, they do raise some questions in regards to what causes it. One theory that falls into this category is antiperspirant. Deodorants work to help the body block certain pores that produce underarm sweat. The primary ingredient that gives researchers concerns is aluminum. Whether it’s rolled, glided or sprayed, aluminum in antiperspirant may also prove harmful when absorbed.You can do your part by choosing something natural or organic. Breast cancer has also been thought to be linked to certain varying hormone levels. In addition to menopause and birth control, abortion can disrupt the body’s functioning. Similar to cancer, autism can involve irregular cell growth. The gene found in those with autism may also increase a person’s chances of kidney, brain and liver cancers. Other unclear risk factors include breast implants, bras and chemicals such as pesticides, cosmetics, plastics and products for personal hygiene.
*** This article was a sponsored post*****

Solve Your Home Improvement Problems with

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 11.21.00 AM (1) (1) (1) (1).pngWhen you grow up in a two bedroom apartment like I did in Queens NY, seldom are there opportunities for a kid to learn basic home improvement or repair tricks of the trade. Unless you were the son of the building’s super, which I wasn’t by the way, most apartment raised kids don’t have a clue on how to fix anything. I have been a home owner in Westchester NY now for seventeen years and can shamefully, but honestly say, not once during that time, have I ever fixed, installed, repaired, refurbished, adjusted, tinkered with, or altered anything in my home myself. I wish that weren’t the case and I know my wife wonders why she never put home competency on her checklist for requisite qualities in a man who she would ever marry. Screwing in light bulbs is literally the only thing I am capable of taking care of around the house. My biggest challenge on that front is replacing the bulbs for the recess lighting in our cathedral ceiling living room. And given my trepidation of a bulb slipping off the extension pole when I remove it, falling and shattering all over our floor, I usually put off doing it for as long as I possibly can.
I have even relinquished control of the simple task of changing the air filters inout house because the central unit is wedged toward the back of our attic which you have to army crawl through in order to access. So when my wife finally gets tired of choking on the dust and other allergens in our home, she will summon me to the stairway of our attic where we climb up together and I hold a flashlight pointed toward the unit for her to crawl to so that the she can replace the embarrassingly clogged filters. I’m always so proud of her when she completes the task even as she is mumbling several expletives during the journey. It isn’t always clear to me what those four letter words spoken under her breath are, but I’m pretty sure love is not one of them. I know that as Beth inches along the attic floor and thinks about all of the other things in the house that need repair, she must not only wonder why her husband can’t do diddly to fix anything but that there has to be an easier way of getting things done around the house affordably and quickly. Now, after all these years of being together, I can boastfully say that I have discovered a possible solution to our home repair needs and it’s called, an online resource that simplifies the effort needed to get a project done on you home. While this service won’t absolve me from my handyman incompetence, it will allow me to find fast and cost effective solutions.
What I love most about this site is the fact that you can type in almost any type of home service improvement or repair into the search function and it will come back with an estimate of what the cost will be immediately. Unfortunately, the cost of the entire project is not available as the estimates do not include parts or materials. But it at least provides you with a reasonable starting point. I also like the fact that all of the contractors that come through the system have been vetted by to make sure that they are adequate insured, bonded and have not had any serious business conduct issues. The site is very user friendly and is not cluttered with content that could be a distraction in figuring out what you need to do in order to get the estimates you need. You literally type in the project or repair you need, it give you an estimate and then asks you if you would like to add any additional items. Once that is done, you select 3 possible times for a job manager to contact you to discuss the project and decide how to move forward from there. In the event that something is not going well with the project or contractor, remains involved for you to call and help remedy whatever the situation might be. Almost everyone at some point in their life has had a bad experience with a contractor or repair technician so it is nice to know that you automatically have an advocate for yourself with in the event that something ever does go wrong with a project.
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So if you have a few things around the house that you have been meaning to get to but just didn’t have the time or energy to follow up on, take a look at for some help. And you can save an easy $50 off any project by simply texting your project and zip code to the phone number 206-745-3460 using the promo code RM50. Plus, we are also hosting a $200 giveaway to one lucky person who will receive credit towards home repair compliments of Enter below and we’ll announce the winner on August 17!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by However, all opinions and stories about my home improvement challenges, are entirely my own.