Gypsy Beard Vintage Winner

I won another giveaway (and I still need to post pics of that - d'oh)!  I'm so excited!  This time I won $30 to spend in the Gypsy Beard Etsy Shop, and it's going to be a tough decision on what to get.  I've been in desperate need of a wardrobe makeover, so this couldn't have come at a better time.

I can't decide what to get, though!  There are so many cute things in the shop, and I am notoriously indecisive.  I've got in narrowed down to 3 things:

What do you think?  I keep leaning towards that floral blazer, but I'd get a lot of use out of the yellow skirt, but the blue dress is such a unique statement piece.  See my dilemma.  Help!!!!

Sephora Fragrance Sampler for Her Giveaway

I am not hosting or sponsoring this giveaway. I am sharing it here in return for links on the Rafflecopter form. Thanks!

My Sephora addiction continues this summer. Here is an amazing sampler set giveaway so you can finally decide which fragrance you absolutely adore. Enjoy from LeChateauDesFleurs:
This Set Contains Samples Of: - BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline redeems to a 1.37 oz Eau de Toilette Spray - ChloƩ ChloƩ redeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - CLEAN Skin redeems to a 2.14 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - ESCADA Especially Escada reedeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia redeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Gucci Flora by Gucci redeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh redeems to a 2.5 oz Eau de Toilette Spray - Paco Rabanne Lady Million redeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Philosophy Love Sweet Love redeems to a 2 oz Fragrance Spray - Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y redeems to a 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Tocca Cleopatra redeems to a 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Spray - Beauty bag
Our vintage earring hooks are nickel free and lead free, so no worries for all of you with sensitive ears. All Hoop-La earrings are lightweight. You won't even know you're wearing them, except for the fact that you'll look amazing. So give them away to make a perfect gift for a friend, family member, or yourself.
Hoopla Lola Earrings
The giveaway is available for both USA and International Entrants.
a Rafflecopter giveaway The Reinvention of Jessica is not responsible for the prize delivery. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

10 Tips for Toddlers at the Waterpark

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Summer is here and that means plenty of fun in the sun!  If you have a waterpark anywhere near you, I'm sure it's on your bucket list of things to do this summer.  Waterparks are tons of fun for kids and adults alike and if you're planning on spending the day soaking up the sun and splashing in the pools with a toddler, you're going to want to make sure you're prepared to meet the many needs of a tiny human being.  I put together this list of 10 Tips for Toddlers at a Waterpark to help you prepare for the fun that awaits you at a waterpark this summer (and hopefully avoid the pitfalls that can happen with crazy toddlers).

  1. Sun Protection:  While waterparks do offer some shady areas, expect to be in the sun all day long, so be sure to slather on plenty of sunblock before you leave the house and remember to reapply every 60-90 minutes.  Hats are also a good idea, along with a swim shirt or other coverup.  Nobody likes a sunburn!!
  2. Kiddie Pools:  Know your waterpark before you go and where the kid friendly attractions are.  Most waterparks will have more than one area for little kids.  Figure out which one(s) are most age appropriate for your child and plan to camp out there.  Some kiddie pools are deeper than others, so be aware of the water depth, too!
  3. Life Jackets/Floaties:  Check to see if your waterpark has life jackets for kids.  I know some waterparks offer free life jackets for children on a first come, first serve basis, so check your waterpark's website for information before you go.  Most parks don't allow inflatable flotation devices, but will let you bring your own life jacket.  A swimsuit with a floatie sewn in is a good idea, too.  This floatie {affiliate} is my personal favorite.
  4. Adult Supervision:  This one is a no brainer, but make sure there is plenty of adult supervision for your little ones, and never leave your toddler unattended in the water!  Try to go with an extra adult or two so if you need to go to the restroom, or want to try a ride or two out, there is someone there who can take a shift of toddler wrangling.
  5. Snacks and Drinks:  You don't want your toddler to get hangry and have a meltdown.  Find out if your waterpark allows outside food and drinks to be brought in, and pack some snacks for the day.  Know where the concession stands are if you plan on buying food at the park.  And be sure to drink plenty of water!
  6. Take Breaks and Find Shade:  Speaking of meltdowns, your toddler is going to be having so much fun playing they may overwhelm themselves and end up having a meltdown.  Try to take a couple of rest breaks so your toddler can get some down time.  I doubt a nap would actually be possible with all the excitement around them, but just taking a little time to sit in the shade with you and recharge could make a big difference for everyone. 
  7. Swim Diapers:  If your little one isn't potty trained yet, they will definitely need waterproof swim diapers.  Waterparks require them for everyone's safety; nobody wants poop in the pool!  Even if your toddler is potty trained, you may still want to put them in a swim diaper.  I've never known a kid to ask to use the bathroom while in a pool, if you get my meaning.
  8. Restroom Breaks:  That being said, if your little one is potty trained and not wearing a swim diaper, make sure to take them to the restroom frequently.  Nobody likes pee in the pool, either.
  9. Swim Shoes:  Having swim shoes {affiliate} are a must have for everyone.  Waterparks aren't known for their shade and concrete gets too hot for little feet.  Pools usually have rough non-slip texture and are also tough on toes, so protect those piggies!!  
  10. Photographs:  I take photos of everything, and what's cuter than a toddler playing in a kiddie pool?!?  Or napping in the cabana?  Or eating ice cream?  Wearing sunglasses?  Wrapped in a towel?  I think you get my point.  Consider getting a waterproof camera.  They come in digital and disposable versions, or look for a waterproof case for your phone or camera.  If you don't feel like taking the risk with a waterproof cover, lots of waterparks will have staff snapping pictures you can purchase on your way out.
I hope these tips help you have a fun and safe day at the waterpark.  A waterpark is quite an adventure for a toddler and keeping these tips in mind can make the day go smoother and be enjoyable for everyone.  Just like at home, your little one is going to need to snack and rest in order to not have meltdowns.  When it's time to head home, have your toddler help you pack up so they'll be ready for the transition from fun in the sun back to the comforts of home.

House-iversary 1.0

how is this the only pic we took that day?

We bought our house one year ago today.  I can't believe how fast this year has passed, but at the same time, it feels like we've had this house for much, much longer than just 12 months.  Dennis and I spent almost 2 years looking for the perfect place, and it took us almost that long to realize exactly what we wanted.  We put bids in on a few other places (that obviously didn't work out) before I got pregnant.  After we found out I was knocked up expecting we I started to get panicky about not having any prospective places to even look at, especially after we had lost out on what felt like was the perfect place just a few weeks earlier (after almost 3 months of back and forth with the sellers).  We didn't want to wait too long to buy something because we wanted plenty of time to do any necessary renovations and pack and move before the baby (hahahaha!)

I scoured multiple times a day.  I had search criteria saved to my account and automatically got emails whenever matching properties were listed.  I drove around the neighborhood looking for properties that looked like no one was living in them and looked them up online.  I. Was. Desperate.  And then a listing popped up in my email.  Not just a listing, the listing.  Our house.  I knew it the minute I opened the email and saw the picture.  After looking online at hundreds of properties, I could tell this one was in excellent condition and the price couldn't be beat.  It was going to go fast.  We needed to act now.  I immediately called Dennis and tried to convince him to just put an offer on the table sight unseen (like 15 minutes after the property had been listed for sale - I was getting a little twitchy).  Instead, we arranged to have a walk through the next morning.

our first walk through

Even though I knew this house was The One, it wasn't love at first sight.  I think Dennis and I had gotten our hopes up and hearts broken over too many other places (we had even had a bid accepted on another place and then the sellers backed out - side note - that place still hasn't sold - take that other sellers).  During the walk through we both recognized what a steal the place was.  It pretty much met every criteria we had for a house.  It even had 2 bathrooms downstairs instead of just 1, which would be perfect if I ever decided to open my own massage space downstairs (each therapy room would have it's own shower!).  I wanted to make a bid right then and there, but we had only seen the first floor; the tenants upstairs weren't home, and the sellers didn't want them disturbed so didn't arrange for us to be let in.  Dennis wanted to wait.  I reluctantly agreed.  We were both nervous.

By the next morning, I convinced Dennis to put in a bid for just under the asking price.  The day after that, I got an email from HAR saying the property status had changed from an active listing to sale pending.  I called Dennis asking if he had heard anything.  I was assuming our bid had been accepted and we were going to buy a house!!! Our realtor called about that time and told us someone else had bid over asking price, and that we were not, in fact, going to be buying a house.  I was so disappointed.  Dennis was disappointed.  I was mad and frustrated and grumpy and desperate.  Dennis was frustrated and logical.  As usual, he brought me back down to earth and told me we'd find a place.  We just needed to keep our heads up, stay optimistic, and keep looking.  The listing for the property had already been taken offline by the end of the day. 

I kept looking.

About a week later, our house popped up in my email again.  This wasn't the first time a property we were interested in had been taken offline and then shown back up in my email.  When that would happen, I would usually call the listing real estate agent and ask if said property was actually available again or not.  One hundred percent of the time it turned out to be a glitch in the listing system and those properties were off the market.  So I tried to ignore the email.  That lasted approximately 1 hour before I called Dennis and told him to have our realtor investigate.  I could've called the listing agent myself, but couldn't handle any more disappointment so soon.

Dennis called me back.

J:  Well? (holds breath)
D:  David says the other offer fell through.
J:  And....
D:  The sellers don't want to accept our offer.  They think it's too low.
J:  [expletive deleted]
D:  They won't take anything less than the listing price.
J:  Well......that's not so bad.
D:  *sigh*
J:  Tell David we'll pay the listing price!!!  
D:  But we haven't seen the upstairs.
J:  There'll be time to see it, but we should get this place under contract right now.  It went fast once, and it'll go fast again.
D:  You're right.  We can always back out if the upstairs is trashed.

And so began our journey.  It took another 3 months for us to close on our "quick" sale.  I won't even go into the hellish process of actually buying a house (even though we had all our documents submitted to our mortgage company, our information changed hands so often, no one could seem to keep up with our stuff and we were constantly being asked to provide them with documents we'd already provided - but I digress)  We signed the mountain of paperwork one week before my birthday.  We thought about delaying the closing for 7 more days so I could say I got a house for my birthday, but the closing had already been pushed back several times and we couldn't stomach another delay.

I hoped we would close on a day I didn't have to work.  I wanted to sign the paperwork, and immediately start painting.  Like, leave the title company's office, head to Home Depot, and get to work.  Actually, I wanted to go to Barns & Noble first to buy a guest book for the new house, and then get started painting.  Instead, I had to watch the clock while we signed the papers to make sure we got done in time for me to make it to my first appointment.  I remember leaving the title company and rushing to get to work on time.  It was so surreal to buy a house and then rush to work.  I was able to get that guest book during my lunch break, though.

That night we had a few friends over, popped some champagne, and celebrated.  It was wonderful to be able to do something special to commemorate the day (we're still hoping on having a house warming party by the end of this month).  How I didn't take a single picture is beyond me.  I take pictures of everything!!!  At least Dennis snapped that goofy picture of me getting rid of the For Sale sign.

Happy House-iversary!  It may not have been love at first sight, but I knew you were The One the moment I laid eyes on you.  I'm head over heels for you!!!  Only 29 more years till we pay you off!!  Ouch........

Water Baby

This past weekend Jack got to try out a swimming pool for the first time!  Lately he's been freaking out over bath time, so I wasn't sure if he'd like my Grandma's pool or not, but I would definitely say it was a huge success. My Mom got him a pool floatie to sit in since he's really too small for water wings.  At first he was a little nervous and wanted to hold onto me, but he quickly relaxed and enjoyed just lounging and floating.  I'm so glad he enjoyed the pool!

I figured Fourth of July would be a good day to share pool pictures.  I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth!  What are your plans for today?  Anyone popping fireworks?  How about a barbecue?  Well, whatever you're doing, enjoy!

the moment of truth:  will he love it or hate it?

don't let go!

I think I like this!

hi, Mom

this guy is funny!
My cousin, Anthony, amused Jack

swimming is great!

Day in the Life, July 2, 2013

I'm having a hard time believing it's July already.  Such a hard time that I forgot to take my hourly photos on the first!  Oh well, I caught up on the second (I wish I had remembered on the first because I had a much more interesting day).  I'm in Shreveport visiting my mom and head home this afternoon, so I wanted to make sure to post this before I pack and head out.  We pretty much spent the whole day hanging out at Mom's house.  We played with Jack a lot, I did some contract work, and tried to catch up on some social networking (this blogging thing really takes work; good thing I like it!).  As usual, I took my photos on Instagram, and yes, my profile is still private.  You can follow along if you ask nicely.  Jack drooled on my iPhone and it's out of commission at the moment (baby drool is for real!), so none of these pics have been uploaded to my stream; at least the app will save to my camera roll!

9 am
view outside my bedroom window

10 am
morning playtime
look who's sitting up!

11 am
working on my dusty laptop

12 pm
playtime with Grandma

1 pm
sandy feet at the park

2 pm
social networking

3 pm
lunch time

4 pm
more playtime with Grandma

5 pm
Jack discovers the water hose

6 pm
even more playtime!

7 pm
before dinner snack

8 pm
pork chop

9 pm

Jack woke up sometime in the 5 o'clock hour to nurse, and then went right back to sleep.  He's surprisingly still asleep.  Guess all that playing wore him out, or he's growing, or something.  Either way, I was able to have my morning cup of coffee on the front porch with Mom.  The weather is surprisingly mild for July.  We want to enjoy it while it lasts.

9 am
morning cup

NKOTB The Package Tour

Last Thursday, my friend, Consuela, and I went to see the NKOTB Package Tour!!!  If you know me in real life or have read any of this blog (or follow me on Twitter), you know I'm a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan.  I'm so glad we were able to see the show!!!  We had great seats; it seems like every time I go to one of their shows I get closer and closer to the stage.  Hopefully someday I'll get up close and personal at one of their pre-show meet and greet events.  If that ever happens, I might crap my pants.  Seriously.  Crap.My.Pants.  But that's not going to stop me from trying to meet them someday.  I'll just wear Depends.

NKOTB - in the round
My favorite New Kid is Jonathan Knight, so the highlight of the night was when he actually sang solo on a song!!!  I nearly died!!!  In case you don't know, he's always suffered from stage fright and has never sung solo in concert...ever....not even when when it's only one line (except on my birthday when he sang his part in Step By Step - I like to think of it as my special birthday gift), AND HE SANG AN ENTIRE VERSE on Thursday (and I'm sure on every other night, but still)!!!

Donnie Wahlberg got up close and personal with the ladies in our section.  So far, I've been close to Danny Wood, Donnie, and when I was 10 I touched Joey McIntyre's hand (but that's another story for another post).  Jordan and Jonathan, you're next!  Seriously, I HAVE TO MEET THESE MEN BEFORE I DIE!!!  I think I should start saving for the cruise........

Win Tickets to Schlitterbahn Waterpark!

Summer is in full swing now, and if you're looking for something fun to do with the kids, a trip to a waterpark is probably on your summer agenda, and I'm excited to announce I have another giveaway for my readers:  admission for two to any Schlitterbahn waterpark!

Schlitterbahn water parks all have different claims to fame:

  • Galvestion:  The world's favorite INDOOR waterpark; yes, you read that right, INDOOR!  Great for the pigmentally challenged people of the world (like me and Dracula)
  • New Braunfels:  World's longest tube ride, America's Favorite Waterpark, and it's build along A RIVER, an actual river!
  • South Padre:  World's first Transportainment system where interconnected rivers are queue lines for rides.  YOU NEVER HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE WATER!!!  You can achieve a proper level of pruniness!
  • Kansas City:  Midwest's longest tubing adventure.  What's better than an adventure?  An adventure in a TUBE!!!
Which park sounds good to you?  I want to try Galveston's indoor waterpark, and the Transportainment system at South Padre sounds like a dream!  Maybe someday I'll have to try them all out.

Not only do I have two tickets to giveaway to one lucky winner, but I also have discount codes for all my readers, good at any Schlitterbahn waterpark in Texas.  Click here to purchase your discount tickets.  Enter promo code 299000335 for $5 off  a one day admission and promo code 299000334 for $7 off a two day admission.

Good luck, and happy splashing!

Disclosure:  I am receiving tickets to Schlitterbahn as compensation for writing this post.  All opinions stated are my own!
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