Preserve Family Memories with New App, everyStory

The following is a sponsored post brought to you by everyStory. All opinions are my own.

As a living, breathing modern-day mom, I have a ton of photos of my daughter and our family living on my phone. I’ve been searching for a way to safely preserve these memories besides just downloading them to my computer (which I hardly ever back-up – yikes!) Of course I post some photos to my Instagram or Facebook page, but wouldn’t it be nice to know all of your photos are safely stored in one secure location where only your closest family and friends can view them? Enter the new app, everyStory.

everyStory app

everyStory is a cloud-based story-sharing platform, created to preserve memories by saving photos and audio for generations to come in the safest way possible. This one-of-a kind tool is now available for iPad devices during open-Beta and can be downloaded in the App Store. Users can import photos from a computer, iOS photo album or scan physical photos directly into the app using a device camera. The platform integrates a social network component by encouraging users to tag photos with people, and/or by location, subject or date.

The Coolest Part?

To create an interactive photo-album, everyStory lets multiple users record an audio message, on the same photos, in a shared album or within a group. Users can simply tap a tagged person’s name to hear the story that is connected to a specific photo or album. Now, that’s special!

“I created everyStory after being diagnosed with colon cancer and realizing my son may never remember my voice or hear my stories. I am passionate about providing people with an innovative way to preserve and share memories forever in the most interactive way possible,” said Dave Keene, CTO of everyStory. 

It’s sort of like fusing the most popular file sharing and storing platform with the most popular social network into one amazing new app.

everyStory App

How to Use the App:

everyStory has endless uses but is especially perfect for sharing photos with family – perhaps of a newborn child, a special family vacation, a momentous occasion or even a grandparent’s life legacy – all with special user-generated audio to accompany each shot.  Simply tap someone’s name to listen to their special memory and view slide shows by replaying the picture and audio captured. Users are invited to join groups and are able to detail their special memories and share with others via an email invite.

everyStory App

Membership Options: 

Free Membership: Includes 500 free photos and unlimited audio. everyStory’s referral program allows free members and the referred new user to receive space for an extra 100 photos.

Premium Membership: Unlimited audio and photo storage is offered with the premium membership, $3.99 per month or $39.99 annually, along with access to exclusive content.

Give it a Try!

  1. Visit www.everystory.us
  2. Review “Pricing & Plans” located under the “How It Works” tab to select a plan option and create a new account.
  3. Import photos directly from a computer, iOS photo album or scan photos from a device camera to begin building your interactive photo albums.
  4. Tag photos using the audio recording capability to capture stories, ranging from minutes to hours.
  5. Create groups to collaboratively share photo memories in a safe and secure environment.
  6. Utilize the referral program to receive additional storage space and continue to save special memories forever.

Visit everyStory for more information.
Download the new app here.
Connect with everyStory on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by everyStory. All opinions are my own.

Spread the Love with Your #UltraHug Selfie and Huggies

huggies sponsored post

I love when big brands launch campaigns that truly reach communities and end up making a difference in one way or another. The Huggies #UltraHug Selfie campaign is aiming to do just that by giving away ten $2,000 community grants…and you can help!

In association with the new Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra diapers, which are available now at Walmart, Huggies is urging all parents to take an #ultrahug selfie with their baby and nominate a community project that is important to them.

How to Enter

Huggies Spread the Love

1. Nominate your community project by uploading a selfie of you and your baby to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UltraHug.

2. Be sure to include details in your social posts about the project you are nominating and why it is important to you.

3. From April 20th until June 25thHuggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag#UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page.

4. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

Such a great campaign – and who doesn’t love a good selfie with their baby?? :) Don’t forget to try Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers for yourself by visiting your local Walmart or Walmart.com.

For more information on how to enter your community project, visit the Huggies #UltraHug page here.

Spina Bifida Association

I’m nominating the Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida benefiting the Spina Bifida Association for one of the $2,000 Huggies #UltraHug community grants. Our sweet baby niece, and Blake’s first cousin, Brynn, was born with spina bifida. At not even 5 months old, baby Brynn has undergone several major surgeries, both in utero and postpartum. She is a fighter, an inspiration and the most adorable little babe in the world. We love you so much Brynn!

spina bifida association

The Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida is a family friendly walk event being held to raise awareness about Spina Bifida and celebrate the accomplishments of the over 166,000 Americans living with it. All proceeds are used for programs and services for people living with Spina Bifida.

My sister-in-law and her family in Kansas City will be supporting the Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida in KC: Spina Bifida Kansas City.

The Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida is happening nationwide, so please find an event near you and support this amazing organization!

About Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra

The Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better. They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day. The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection.

Date Night with Babysitter Tonight

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say it’s hard to schedule date nights for you and your significant other when you have babies at home. Time passes too quickly, and remembering to plan a date night often falls at the bottom of your to-do list. Then there’s the whole fiasco of booking a babysitter for the night; finding someone who’s available and most importantly, qualified to look after your precious kiddos. I recall too many nights when my sisters weren’t available to babysit so my husband and I just decided to stay home instead of making the extra effort to find a sitter outside of the family.

But, keeping your relationship afloat amongst the chaos of being parents is so important! That’s why I was thrilled to hear about a new service in San Diego called, Babysitter Tonight.

Babysitter Tonight

Babysitter Tonight offers busy parents an easy way to make Date Night happen. They currently have seven amazing kid-tested/mom-approved sitters to book for your date night needs in the Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Carmel Valley, Cardiff, Encinitas, Carlsbad, 4S Ranch, and La Jolla neighborhoods.

How it Works:

Visit Babysitter Tonight and fill out a request form online or give them a call at 619-354-1063 and schedule your date night on any Friday or Saturday evening. Once scheduled, you will receive a detailed email confirming your address, date/time of babysitting requested, the sitter that has been assigned to you on that particular night and any other logistics you clarified in your request form.

Quality Sitters:

All of Babysitter Tonight’s sitters are personally interviewed by their team, references are verified, background checks are conducted and each of them are tested by one of their “member families“.

After speaking with Kerily, the founder of BabysitterTonight, and reading her sitters’ bio’s on the website, I felt so at-ease scheduling our next date night, knowing our daughter would be in great hands. 

Pricing:

After the babysitting service is complete, you will be sent an invoice via Square that you can pay with your Visa or MasterCard debit card. There is no credit card required for deposit in advance.

  • 1-2 children is $15/hour + booking fee
  • 3-5 children is $16/hour + booking fee
  • 6+ children, call for pricing
  • Standard booking fee is $10
  • Last minute booking fee (less than 4 hours notice) is $20
  • Their sitters don’t accept tips so no need to worry about that.

My Personal Experience:

I opted to fill out the request form online. Within 24 hours I was sent a confirmation email with all of the details of my babysitting date along with an introduction to my babysitter for the night.

When our date night arrived, our sitter arrived 10 minutes early (loved that!) and we immediately hit it off with her. She was extremely caring, thorough and didn’t mind our huge 80 lb. dog jumping on her, so I knew she would fit right in. Before Mike and I left, we went over some simple instructions with her and she walked us through a “pre-game” sheet where she asked us emergency numbers and other important specifics. I was very impressed by the thorough process!

My husband and I left feeling reassured that our daughter was in great hands and were able to enjoy our dinner and ice cream date out on the town!

date night San Diego

The next day I received an invoice via email for the amount I owed for the services and I easily paid with my debit card online. Easy-peasy!

My husband and I are honestly so excited to have found such a wonderful and trustworthy babysitting service here in San Diego and we will happily book our future date nights through Babysitter Tonight!

Mommy Project, San Diego readers enjoy a 10% discount when you schedule a  babysitter through Babysitter Tonight. Use code: MPSANDIEGO for 10% off.

 

Disclaimer: The Mommy Project, San Diego did receive a complimentary babysitter from Babysitters Tonight. All opinions are my own and I only recommends businesses that I can truly stand behind.

Sous Kitchen: Healthy Dinners Delivered + Giveaway

As busy parents it’s sometimes hard to plan out your grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking – especially if you’re hoping for gourmet, healthy meals. That’s why I was excited to learn about Sous Kitchen, a California-based kitchen that delivers healthy, gourmet, family dinners straight to your door. All you have to do is defrost, cook and serve. Forget about the meal planning, shopping, chopping, measuring and prepping! And the best part? They use all-natural, local California ingredients so the meals are always fresh and delicious.

About Sous Kitchen

  • Areas served: California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
  • All ingredients used are 100% natural, fresh, anti-biotic and hormone-free delivered daily from local farms and suppliers. No additives or preservatives are used in any part of their process.
  • Meals can be ordered online from the Seasonal Monthly Menu.
  • All meals are family size and serve 3-4 people at an average of $5 – $6 per serving.
  • Meals come in convenient, insulated boxes filled with dry ice (that can sit on your door step for up to a day).

I was able to try a couple of meals from their menu, and they truly did not disappoint! I chose to try the BBQ Chicken, Green Beans with Garlic Butter and Southern Baked Beans, the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and the Lava Cake for dessert (yes, please!)

Every meal comes with easy instructions on how to defrost and prepare, so literally all I had to do was throw the green beans and baked beans in a pan, the enchiladas in the oven or the chicken on the grill.

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

And the final outcome was delicious and ready within 30 minutes!

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

 Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card to Sous Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food to review this business. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features services that we can truly recommend. 

My Unexpected Journey to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Leaving the corporate world to become a Stay at Home Mom was an easy decision that surprised me more than anyone. If you would have asked me  about my career plans 7 months ago, right before Blake was born, I would tell you that I planned to keep working and building my career. You see, I’ve always had a job ever since I was 14 years old. The day I turned 14 and was of legal age to work in California, I marched myself into Baskin Robbins/Togos and got myself a minimum-wage job scooping ice cream and making sandwiches – I was ecstatic for a paycheck all my own!

I continued working through my high school graduation and then moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University where I found 2 more jobs that allowed me to put myself through college. At times it was difficult to juggle class, selling advertising space for SDSU’s school newspaper during the day and waitressing at night and on the weekends – but I managed to graduate in four years. The week before I threw my black hat up into the air and celebrated my college graduation, I had already received a job offer from a company in Orange County as an entry-level sales and marketing associate.  It was a great first corporate job and despite me living in San Diego, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I commuted to Orange County bright and early every morning because I felt lucky to have landed a job straight out of college.



As the years passed I continued to bounce around from job to job, pushing myself higher and higher, gaining more real-world experience and building more equity in myself. When I landed my dream job with Hyatt Hotels, I thought, I’ve made it – this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Flash forward four years later and I was running the marketing department at one of the largest properties on the west coast. Nice suits, a new slick car I bought for myself and an office with a view – I felt important, driven and had big plans to keep scaling that corporate ladder.

The point of all this is that working is in my blood, my DNA, and I’ve worked hard for everything I have.  I don’t know how to not work. So when Blake graced us with her presence last November, I honestly didn’t think my mindset would change all that much. I had an amazing job waiting for me and big plans for my future. And taking into account all of my hard work, since I was 14 years old, how could I turn my back on my self-bought education and all of the years I spent investing in myself?

It’s funny how becoming a parent makes you blind and awakened at the same time. Once Blake was born, something changed in me. I wanted to be there when she laughed for the first time, when she said her first word and when she took her first step – I wanted to raiser her. I could care less about my journey to success – I suddenly was blind to all of those years I spent building my career – they didn’t matter as much to me anymore.   This little family that Mike and I had suddenly created – this was where I was supposed to be. It was so crystal clear and I didn’t doubt it for a second. I was also extremely lucky that I even had the option of becoming a stay-at-home-mom. I know many mothers don’t have that option because of financial reasons or don’t want to put their career on hold, and I totally get it and sympathize with them – but everyone has their own journey.

The Journey is the Destination

I love the quote, “The journey is the destination”. Even though I had bigger plans for my career, I didn’t miss out on the destination – my journey was the destination – and a destination that led me to a beautiful life, loving husband and adorable baby girl.  Now, I still do some marketing consulting on the side and of course I run this blog as a creative outlet, (remember, I don’t know how to not work?) but my full time job is raising Little Miss Blake. And forget fancy suits and an office with a view – this is the most important job I’ll ever have.

Pre-order my book, From Boardroom to Baby: A Roadmap for Career Women Transitioning to Stay-at-Home Moms



stay at home mom

 

Mental Snapshots, Vol. 1

I’m the first one to admit that I take way too many photos of my daughter. When I start to think that I should print them all out and make some sort of photo album, I begin to hyperventilate because there are just SO.MANY.PHOTOS! For now, I have them safely stored on my computer. But even with all of the photos, I miss capturing most of the good stuff…the stuff that melts you to your core and happens when you least expect it. It’s these moments that are the most dear to my heart, so I’ve started taking “mental snapshots” – hoping I can call on these memories after Blake is grown.

Here are 10 of my favorite “Mental Snapshots” so far:

  1. The moment the doctor put Blake on my chest after she was born. I have one image in my mind where she turned her little cone-head upwards and looked right into my eyes. At that moment, the last 19 hours of labor were forgotten, everyone else in the room faded away and I just saw her perfect little face. The first thought that ran through my mind when she looked at me? Worth it.
  2. The moment I picked Blake up from her crib and I felt like she really saw me  – the newborn “fog” had lifted and she just studied my face.
  3. The time I walked into our family room and saw Mike fast asleep with his mouth wide open, with Blake sleeping on his chest and her mouth wide open too – they had never looked more alike.
  4. The first time Blake smiled at me because she thought I was funny (not because of gas or an accidental smile) and that moment when I realized, I can make her smile! Oh, the triumph I felt.
  5. The first time Blake giggled which was really the first time I heard her little voice – precious and surprisingly loud! At this moment I began to look at Blake in a new light – she wasn’t really a newborn anymore – she was a bouncing, laughing baby girl!
  6. The moment when Blake was crying in her monkey bouncer and Tucker beat me to her, licked her face then laid down right beside her – the first time I realized he loves her.
  7. The first time Blake watched Tucker walk into the room and smiled so big – the first time I realized she loves him.
  8. The moment Blake discovered her hands – she stared at them so intensely, opening and shutting her little fists, that her eyes turned cross-eyed.
  9. The first time Blake rolled over – she scared me, her Auntie Jaclyn (who was also in the room), and herself – it was hilarious.
  10. The moment when Blake began her jibber-jabber. I was changing her diaper when all of a sudden, she just couldn’t hold it in any longer – she had things to say! We must have had a 30 minute conversation back and forth that first time on the changing table.

What mental snapshots do you have stored away? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

mother daughter

Spring has Sprung: 5 New Goals

Happy first day of spring! There’s something about the first day of spring that just screams new beginnings. The flowers blooming, the birds chirping, Tucker chasing the birds that are chirping…

I always like to set little goals for myself right around this time, because, let’s be honest, my New Year’s resolutions don’t always stick at first (I think everyone needs a good couple of months after the holidays to recover and regroup).

So, in no particular order, here is my list of 5 goals for Spring 2014:

1. Exercise More: I know,I know, SO predictable. But after my Fit, Fab Feb, I pretty much fell off the wagon. With this warm weather upon us, thinking about getting back into a bikini after having a baby is probably the scariest thing I’ve faced since a man with a chain saw chased me at a haunted house two Halloween’s ago (and that was TERR-I-FY-ING)! That being said, I MUST find the time to workout. And “finding the time” has come to mean, incorporating Blake into my workouts. Here are some great links featuring workouts that incorporate your baby. Blake and I tried a few of these and Blake laughed the whole time – so much fun!

2. Entertain in our Backyard: Pre-baby I use to love to entertain at our house. Strike that, pre-pregnancy! I tried to entertain a few times while I was prego and the whole, being too tired to enjoy the party and not being able to indulge in an adult-beverage with my guests, really just put a kibosh on the whole thing. But, now that Blake is a little older and not crying every hour, I can’t wait to host some fun spring and summer parties in our backyard! After finding this awesome lantern at HomeGoods and digging out this cool book from the closet, I’m ready to start planning some par-ties!

outdoor entertaining

Get your party pants on and follow my Outdoor Entertaining Pinterest Board for inspiration!

3. Plan Summer Vacations: Some of the best memories from my childhood were while we were on vacation. I can’t wait to take Blake on so many fun adventures, exploring new cities and countries. I want her to know how to get dirty while roughing it camping but also how to dress up for afternoon tea in Paris. (Check out more of my hopes for her, written before she was even born). I just can’t wait to show her the world!  This summer we’ll be taking her to Lake Tahoe, Colorado and the Outer Banks to start. So much planning, so little time!

4. Launch my Business: It’s official – I won’t be returning to Hyatt after my maternity leave. After living and breathing that job for 4 years, it’s time for me to take the next step professionally and launch my own marketing consulting business. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but finally life seems to be just where it should be in order to take this next step. It will also allow me a flexible schedule to be a full-time “Mommy” to Miss Blake. So, with one client strong, I’m launching KH Marketing in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll even throw a Launch Party to also help with my goal #2?

KH Marketing

5. Teach Blake How to Walk: Juuust kidding – the child is not even 4 months old! But, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Her belly laughing and now, rolling over are so adorable I just don’t know how she’s going to top those. (Somehow, I know she will). :)

baby girl spring fashion

Happy Spring!

 

Tuck’s Comeback: Activity #2

At first it was a bit tough to walk Tucker and push Blake in the stroller at the same time. While Tucker is pretty good on a leash, he’s still just a puppy at heart, so any other dog or even human who gives him a welcoming smile is enough to set him off – jumping, pulling, trying to play, etc. Trying to steer a stroller and keep a hyper dog at bay is quite the arm workout, let me tell you. And then there was the whole part about Tuck having to learn to walk to the side of the stroller rather than right in front of it! He lackadaisically would start swerving from side to side on the sidewalk, right in front of the stroller, which would cause quite the debacle trying to untangle his leash and get him to move so we could proceed.

Fortunately, I feel like we’ve finally worked out all of the kinks now and Tucker looks forward to our daily walks.

cute dogdog and baby

I’ve been pushing my luck lately and taking Tucker (and Blake) on longer walks around our neighborhood, purposely taking routes that incorporate two big hills. On one of the hills, there are several flat boulders that line the sidewalk, so I thought I’d add some agility tests for Tucker along the way. Each boulder we came to, I’d make Tucker jump up on the rock, sit and shake and then jump down.

cute dog

We did this about 10 times and he was loving this fun new addition to our otherwise routine walks. Although by that 10th boulder, his jump up was more like a slow crawl and he let out a big yawn.

cute dog

People driving and walking by (and even Blake) thought I was nuts, but I didn’t care – it’s all in the name of Tuck’s Comeback and another successful activity to help him shed a few pounds. Good, job Tuck-Tuck! :)

Tuck’s Comeback, Activity #1

If you haven’t already, meet Tucker.

Golden Retriever puppy

I hate the term “fur baby” because I’ve always treated him like a real baby (although he’s the furriest of furries) – he’s a huge part of our little family and proving to be a great big brother to Blake. (Check out a little history about this lovable goof in my past post, An Ode to Tuck).

I recently noticed that Tucker’s been looking a little…how to say this nicely…thicker than usual. Don’t get me wrong, he’s always been a little stocky fellow and I’ve always been the first to rush to his defense if anyone ever called him the “F”word (fat). “No, no – he just has a lot of fur,” I’d assure the accuser.

Well, this is the first time that I’m actually admitting that Tuck has put on a few L-Bs since Blake was born. The first 3 months with a new baby has obviously turned our household a little upside down and we haven’t been walking him as often as we use to. BUT, now that Blake is on somewhat of a schedule (I’m scared to even put that in writing because it will probably change tomorrow!) I’m dedicating this next month to getting Tuck back in shape. It’s time to put a little pep back in his step and I have various fun activities planned to get him running around and shedding some pounds. I will be his personal trainer over the next several weeks – poor little guy doesn’t even know what’s a comin’!

Activity 1: Stairs

This is a great one because we can do this little exercise when Blake is sleeping, or even just sitting in her monkey bouncer. I throw his ball up to our second story and Tuck runs as fast as his short stubby little legs will carry him up the stairs, retrieves the ball (because, you know, he’s a golden retriever) and then brings it back down to me – quick as lightning!

Golden Retriever dog

We did this about 6 times before he stopped short on the stairs and had to catch his breath – success! 

Golden Retriever puppy

I can’t wait to document all of his little exercise activities over the next month – after all  he has to impress the poodles at dog beach this summer! Stay tuned… :)

Whine & Dine: Kim’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Encinitas

My name is Kristin, and I’m a pho-aholic. There, I said it. I have an undeniable obsession love for Pho and would order it for take-out every night if that was acceptable in life.

That’s why I was extremely excited to find Kim’s Vietnamese Restaurant close by our house in Encinitas. Usually we order take-out from this place about once every other week, but in the spirit of our new vow to eat out more, we decided to dine in with little Miss Blake in tow.

The Low Down:

  • Very friendly service (they LOVED Blake).
  • Restaurant noise level was pretty quiet  with just enough white noise to keep Blake content.
  • The Vietnamese Zodiac Calendars pre-set on the tables were fun – I learned that I’m a Boar: “Noble and chivalrous (I started brushing my shoulders off). Your friends will be life long, yet you are prone to marital strife.” (Umm, what?! – Mike glared at me when I read the last part – haha!). Mike was a Rat: “Smart and honest (sounds about right). Prone to not having lasting friendships.” (Hmm – they really build you up just to cut you right down)!
  • We ordered egg rolls to start (delish!) and I got the Tofu Pho (I’m so predictable) and Mike went with the Chicken Chow Mein. Oh yes, and a glass of vino to bring out all of the flavors. 😉 Everything came out quickly, the food was piping hot and delicious and my water glass was always full (something I always appreciate)!

Pho Encinitas Kim's Restaurant

My Favorite Part:

Blake was awake throughout the whole dinner just peacefully sitting in her little car seat, watching Mike and I talk – so content. She even chimed in on our conversation with her sweet little coo’s every now and then. I just love her.

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