Maryland Mommy Blogger | Mommy 2K



Monday, July 25, 2016

Season 2 of BORN THIS WAY Premieres Tuesday, July 26th on A&E Network #BornThisWay #spon

screen grab courtesy of A&E Networks
Last year, I fell in love with a group of people who I only knew through a television show. I know that this happens more than most would like to admit; our infatuation with complete strangers is a real thing. However, this love was something special and completely genuine.

It was a feel-good love.
A the-world-could-use-more-people-like-this love.
An all-we-need-is-love love.

It's called, "Born This Way".
BORN THIS WAY chronicles the lives of a group of young adults born with Down syndrome as they pursue their passions while defying society's expectations. The series also follows their parents who share their own journey of joy, sacrifice, and unconditional love.
Unlike most "reality" shows that are filled with disturbing behavior and distasteful storylines, "Born This Way" is a breath of fresh air. It makes you feel like you should be doing more to make the world a better place instead of stinking it up with your silly hang-ups and minor problems. It's a show that needs to stick around to dim the spotlight that is so often placed on negative programming.

During last year's premiere, I immediately shared on Twitter just how enamored I was with this inspirational group.
It wasn't long before others begins chirping the same sentiments on Twitter while watching each episode live. The amount of joy experienced during this hour could fill a lifetime. I looked forward to watching each week.

Enough of me telling you about this wonderful show. Here is a teaser for Season 2 of "Born This Way" airing on Tuesday, July 26 at 10 PM on A&E Network:

How can you walk away from this and not want to be a better person? You can't! It's the power of being positive. It's infectious and inspires you to do more because you can and need to. Some people just have that quality about them.

I know a woman who is an inspiration. She is a caring wife and mother. Her professional life exemplifies her ability to be great at just about everything is life. She always carries a smile. Her spirit lights up a room. She is always willing to help and never wants the recognition. For that, I won't share her name. But, I will be partnering with A&E to send her a special gift just to let her know that she is appreciated.

With all of the madness going on in the world, it's nice to know that change can start at anytime to stop this war on humanity. Kindness, honesty, love and respect can shoulder a lot of the pain that we are carrying around. Most of our problems are small if we just face them with the confidence that trouble won't last forever. We are all given life to leave a footprint on Earth. Our story belongs to us. Tell it with a purpose.

If you're seeking inspiration, start by watching "Born This Way" when it airs on Tuesday, July 26 at 10 PM on A&E Network. You won't ever be the same again...and that's a good thing.

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Disclosure Information
I was provided a gift card for myself and an inspiring person as a "thank you" for sharing this information. The opinions and views are my own.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Family to UniverSoul Circus at the National Harbor #BestCircusEver #DMV {sponsored}

2015 Logo

I am still raving about my family's fun night with UniverSoul Circus this past Thursday at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It's an event that leaves a lasting impression on the attendees and has them talking about it for days and weeks after. I was reminiscing about our last adventure back in 2011, our first time ever attending. It was just like I remembered – fun, fun, fun! If you want to be apart of all the fun, I encourage you to visit UniverSoul Circus before it leaves the DMV area at the end of this month (July 31, 2016). If you need a little convincing on why you, your family and friends MUST attend, here are five reasons to help you with your decision:
1. There is no such thing as a bad seat.
The circus takes place under a tent (big top) and is laid out in the typical circular design, or a "ring". Each act enters the tent and takes center stage. Most of the performers make an effort to visit each side of the ring so that every section can get a piece of the action. There may be a few times when you're viewing the backs of heads (depending on your seat), but this does not take away from the show. Keep seat selection in mind when you are purchasing tickets. Don't be discouraged about sitting too far away or high up. The view is great from mostly everywhere.

2. Crowd participation.
This show belongs to you. Attendees are highly encouraged to get up, dance, perform and become apart of a few of the acts. This is why no two shows are ever the same. The UniverSoul Circus is so original and unpredictable because of this element. Most people are far from shy in this atmosphere, so you will mostly likely see several hands waving in the air, hoping they are chosen to participate. If you have ever wanted to join the circus, now is your chance. Make sure you shine during your moment.

3. Music. Dancing. Music. Did I say, "dancing"?
Who knew that I was going to be partying under the big top? I would have worn my dancing shoes. Before I even made it into the tent, I could hear the music pouring into the air. Upon entering, there was an energy like no other. People were out of their seats, groovin' and having a great time. Most of the dancing was being led by a group of fantastic performers known as Fresh the Clowns  (they weren't even creepy). The latest dance crazes were demonstrated and a few classics were played. It was the perfect mixture of old and new. Something for the entire family. Here's a spoiler: Soul Train line!

4. Diversity.
There are acts included in the circus from all over the world. Watch the big screen for more information as the show is being performed. You will be amazed by the amount of diversity that is included in the show. Acts from Trinidad and Tobago, China, USA, South Africa, Italy and a lot more. It literally and figuratively adds an assortment of color. The global awareness of the UniverSoul Circus is amazing and is a common theme throughout the show. Their messaging is very simple, "We are one"!

 5. Add-ons. The circus is the main performance, but you will find that there is so much more going on around you. You can ride the elephants or camels (for a fee). You can buy classic circus treats like snocones, popcorn and cotton candy (do not bring any outside food or drink with you). There are several toy options for purchase that help illuminate the big top with their colorful lights. I also love that there is a photographer that comes around to capture a picture of you and your group. You can choose to buy the picture if you want.

I could probably add more items to this list, but I am hoping that you visit UniverSoul Circus and are able to add your own reasons. I am sure that you will have no problem doing so.
You should know that the circus is on the grounds of the National Harbor. You will not miss the big tents upon your arrival. The location is 300 Waterfront Street Oxon Hill, MD 20754. There is parking available on the lot next to the tents. However, I parked in the St. George parking garage across the street from the show. It was a $10 fee. Make sure you plan accordingly for after the show. There will be a lot of traffic leaving at once, so if you don't have patience, try another option. Also, you can use your credit card to pay AT the gate on your way out. It is much easier than waiting at the machine. DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET.
Also, the circus starts promptly at the set time. You don't want to miss a single minute. Doors open an hour before the show starts in case you want to arrive early and get in your seats or take in a little of the action. Also, there may be lines of people waiting to get in, so do yourself a favor and arrive early. The show runs for approximately 3 hours, including intermission. I thought that would be a lot for my toddler crew to handle, but they hung in there the entire time and were never bored. Also, my baby nephew even enjoyed it and didn't cry once (he had noise reduction headphones on because it can get a little loud).

Overall, the circus was a blast. Take my word for it. Even better, go see for yourself. Purchase your tickets to UniverSoul Circus now. This is definitely an event for the entire family, from ages 0 to 110.

Best. Circus. Ever!
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Disclosure Information
Thanks to UniverSoul Circus for providing my family with complimentary tickets to attend the event. The opinion and views are my own.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Let Pampers Easy Ups Help Your Family with Potty Training #SPON #PampersEasyUps

Disclosure: I was provided Pampers products and decorations, as well as compensated to host a Pampers Easy Ups party. The views and opinions are my own.
Almost a year ago, I thought my toddler and I had kicked diapers to the curb. I had successfully, or so I thought I had, trained him to ask and use the potty in just a weeks time. For awhile, he was doing great. There was an occasional accident here and there, but nothing to make me think that he wasn't getting the hang of this no diaper thing.

Then, life happened. 
We were always on the go. In the car. In the gym. Hours at a time. Not that it's any excuse to forget my son's potty-training efforts. But I had completely given up on the commitment. It was Mommy who had failed. Yet another thing to add to my enormous list of incomplete parenting.
Potty training is an amazing milestone for toddlers and parents alike, but it can also be stressful. Spring is the time many families kick-off potty training so they are ready for summer fun and then for the start of preschool. Potty training can feel like an overwhelming process, and when minor leaks or accidents occur, it can be a disappointment. Pampers Easy Ups helps makes this journey a little easier by providing better leak protection than the leading competitor.
We decided to do away with diapers and give Pampers Easy Ups a try. I figured this would give my toddler the confidence of wearing underwear while still adding protection from any accidents. It also gave me piece of mind when we were in the car for extended periods of time and did not have a potty break. They served as insurance in a way – not that you wanted to depend on them, but the help was there if necessary. 
Training pants support the diaper-to-underwear transition for toddlers and their families as they have a more underwear-like look and feel while still helping to keep messes off clothing, bedding and other surfaces no matter where accidents happen: at home, on-the-go or overnight. 
When Pampers invited my to throw a potty-training party for a few of my toddler friends, I thought it would be the perfect time to get back into the swing of things. After all, there is strength in numbers. The more toddlers participating in the act, the more likely they would shadow each other and want to try whatever came their way.
First, feed the toddlers. This is a great way to get them all to listen to you talk. We went with a delicious meal of Chick-fil-A nuggets and waffles fries, accompanied with Juicy Juice. I also provided some water. I figured the more liquids they consumed, the more pee pee they would produce.
They were more excited about the balloons though.

The attention span of a toddler is not the greatest. I tried to talk to them about what they say when they need to use the potty. They pretty much have that part covered. Hopefully, they will follow through.

I sent each child home with a Pampers Easy Ups goodie bag for being such great sports. Hopefully, the treats will inspire them in their efforts to potty train.

We did have one toddler who has already mastered potty training. He was there to lend moral support and show his cousins that it can be done with a little practice and patience.
If you are looking for some tips to help you in your mission to potty train your child, here are some from Dr. Laura Jana:

Overall, the toddlers gave a big thumbs up to potty training.

Stay in the know. Follow Pampers on Twitter and Facebook. Search hashtag, #PampersEasyUps.

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Disclosure Information
I was provided Pampers products and decorations, as well as compensated to host a Pampers Easy Ups party. The views and opinions are my own. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hard Rock Cafe has a New World Burger Tour Menu {sponsored} #worldburgertour

Disclosure: The information, gift card, gift pack and giveaway have been provided to me by Hard Rock International.
I have consumed enough burgers in my lifetime to be ashamed...or not. I should probably be walking around with one of those burger costumes on because that is what I will eventually turn into. In fact, me telling you is just not sufficient enough. Here is a visual to assist you with understanding just how much I love burgers:
You can imagine my excitement when I was contacted to try the new World Burger Tour menu at Hard Rock Cafe. I needed zero convincing to take on this challenge. Challenge gladly accepted.

My very first Hard Rock Cafe experience was in Miami, Florida back in high school. Let's just say that was a loooonnnnnggg time ago. I just remember the atmosphere being so fun, upbeat and live. I didn't want to leave. But, for whatever reason, it has taken me this long to get back there. That is about to change...tomorrow. My family and I are visiting the Baltimore, MD location to get our hands on one of these tasty burgers. Just look at the choices:
Backstage Burger Pass

Hard Rock gives chefs at their cafes the freedom to create a unique Local Legendary Burger that captures the flavors of their city. This year more than 160 local burgers were evaluated by Hard Rock’s culinary team with fan favorites selected to headline the World Burger Tour menu. Throughout May and June, Hard Rock Cafe menus* will feature the following World Burger Tour offerings:

English Breakfast Burger (London, England) – a Certified Angus Beef® patty topped with sliced ham, a sausage patty, a fried egg, a portobello mushroom, arugula and garlic aioli and served with a side of baked beans

Java Lava Burger (Seattle, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty grilled and dressed in a house-made espresso rub and topped with lava sauce, crunchy java onions, bacon, melted Cheddar cheese and garnished with a fried jalapeño

Tandoori Chicken Burger (Mumbai, India) – a dark meat chicken patty seasoned with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, topped with mint mayonnaise and served with a side of cucumber

Jamaican Jerk Burger (Montego Bay, Jamaica) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with banana pepper rings, mango jalapeño cream cheese and jerk mayonnaise

ATOMIC! Burger (Las Vegas, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with Atomic beer-battered peppers, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic chipotle ketchup and chipotle mayonnaise

Tango Salsa Burger (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with andouille sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, chips de batata, a fried egg, salsa criolla and garlic aioli

Greek Burger (Athens, Greece) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with arugula, feta cheese and a tomato slice
Aloha Burger (Honolulu, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with Portuguese sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, a grilled pineapple ring with sweet soy glaze, guacamole, pico de gallo, served with Furikake french fries
I've been wrecking my brain over just what to try when I visit. Decisions, decisions. I'm leaning towards either the ATOMIC! or Greek burger. If no one were looking, I'd probably ask the waiter to bring both out, just because I'm a risk-taker. YOLO!

To sweeten this visit, Hard Rock Cafe has also created ADULT drinks that would pair perfectly with one of their burger choices. They come baring a cool, summer vibe being served in Hard Rock's iconic mason jars. Use the pairing suggestions as a guide, but feel free to mix it up a bit and order the drink that tickles your fancy. New cocktails include:
All Jacked Up – created to balance the Jamaican Jerk Burger’s spicy flair, this cocktail features a mix of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, PJ, Orgeat and lime juice, garnished with orange and pineapple wedges and a cherry

Crisp Sipper – inspired by the Aloha Burger’s sweet and savory taste, this cocktail features a mix of Hendrick’s gin, Monin Cucumber, lemon, orange and raspberry, topped with tonic and garnished with rosemary and thyme

MelonPalooza – designed to complement the fresh flavors of the Greek Burger, this cocktail features a mix of Midori Melon Liqueur, Malibu Rum, Hard Rock’s house-made sour mix and PJ, garnished with slices of pineapple and strawberry

Sweet & Fiery – inspired by the ATOMIC! Burger’s spicy flavor, this cocktail features a mix of Absolut Peppar Vodka, Canton Ginger Liquor, Blue Curacao, lemonade and ginger beer, garnished with a red pepper

Black Cherry Melonade (non-alcoholic) – created to complement the rich espresso of the Java Lava Burger, this mocktail features a mix of Black Cherry Real and Monin Cucumber, topped with ginger beer, garnished with a cucumber slice and a cherry
I'll probably go with the MelonPalooza cocktail because it sounds like my speed. I love a drink laced with assorted fruits. Besides, who doesn't want to say, "melon palooza, please"?

Now, I know that in the beginning of this post I said that I loooovvveeeddd burgers a lot. However, there are people in this world who love them a little more than this girl.So much in fact, there is an entire package created for these burger lovers.
Burger Tour for the Roadie

For those a little more hungry, Hard Rock will bring its menu to life and offer a unique burger experience that takes guests’ taste buds on an international journey

Hard Rock, in conjunction with global experience agency Infrared, is offering a World Burger Tour travel package that includes stops at iconic cities including London, England; Athens, Greece; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Seattle, United States. This four-stop, once-in-a-lifetime excursion celebrates the cities that inspired Hard Rock’s World Burger Tour

The World Burger Tour travel package is a private, 10-night trip that includes flights, first class hotel accommodations, ground transportation and exclusive dining and music experiences at Hard Rock Cafe locations in each city not typically available to the public
While you're getting your taste buds together and building up burger excitement, I should let you know that the limited-time World Burger Tour menu is available now through Thursday, June 30, 2016. Hurry in to your local Hard Rock Cafe location to try something great from the menu.

Follow Hard Rock Cafe on Twitter, @HardRockCafe, for all the latest updates.
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Disclosure Information
The information, gift card, gift pack and giveaway have been provided to me by Hard Rock International.

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