Making the switch to blu PLUS+ with the Xpress kit

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Readers must be 18 years of age or older. All opinions are mine alone. #bluPLUS #CollectiveBias

Making the switch to Blu #bluPLUS #ad
Everything these days is going the way of digital or electronic. Digital photos, digital communication, digital toys – and the list goes on. Why wouldn’t that change for recreational pastimes, like smoking?

Through the years, I’ve known a lot of smokers including my own mother, my husband and plenty of friends and acquaintances. Since I grew up with it all around me, the smell of cigarette smoke never really bothered me much. I’m so glad there’s new digital smoking devices like blu PLUS+ e-cigs to eliminate the smelly side of cigarette smoking so it doesn’t offend anyone.

I know how hard the love affair with nicotine can be – she is tough to break up with! My husband had been a smoker from way back and he made the switch to blu when it was a brand new product a few years ago.
Making the switch to Blu #bluPLUS #ad
There’s some deals happening right now if you know a smoker who’s looking to make the switch. blu is offering an Xpress Kit bundle right now for $14.99.  The bundle comes with a free pack of tanks, making it a value of $30! Supplies are limited, so make sure you head over to blu to check it out.
Making the switch to Blu #bluPLUS #ad
They have many flavor tanks to choose from on their website, I love having options like pina colada!

Making the switch to Blu #bluPLUS #ad
blu has a clean, simple website to navigate through and they also offer a rewards program! Learn more about the points system and what you can redeem by visiting blu Nation Rewards.
Making the switch to Blu #bluPLUS #ad
Follow them on social media channels to hear news and special offers

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5 simple ways to make your home more energy efficient

5 Simple ways to promote energy efficiency in your home #SunrunSolar #CG #AD

If you live in a southern state like me, you probably know just how blazing hot summers can get. Before I moved to Texas, my idea of a hot summer day was topping off at 85F. The hot summer can really put some damage on the electric bill and I cringe when I see the month’s total cost post because it’s so unpredictable. Atleast with being a homeowner, I have some control over what I can do to help soften the blow like optimizing my home for energy efficiency. My goal is to one day install solar panels on our roof, but for now I’ve put a few simple tactics into play.

1. Replace incandescent lights.

These twisty looking bulbs can cost a wee bit more than your regular light bulbs, but they definitely help cut the cost of energy over the course of a year. CFL’s are know to use 75% less energy than a regular bulb, and what’s even better is that they last longer too!

2. Think of alternative ways to cool your home

Because of the way our AC unit is placed in the attic, the coldest room in our house is JP’s bedroom. His vent is the first one that the cold air reaches when it blows out, and it’s ice-cold – and it feels delicious to be in there on a hot day! Consequently, I place a fan in the door frame of his bedroom to help push that air out into the rest of the home. We also have ceiling fans and some oscillating fans scattered throughout the house. If you want to spring for a digital thermostat, that could save you up to 150$ a year or more. Or you can try to win a nest digital thermostat by heading over here and entering into their sweepstakes.

3. Change the way you do laundry

One thing I’ve noticed about living in the USA that’s not very common is hanging clothing out to dry. Maybe it’s just in my specific area, but when I was growing up in Canada most everyone hung their clothing out to dry in the warm months. We had a clothes line installed in the backyard and my mother would pin up the wet laundry and let the sun and air do it’s thing. There’s something to be said for how crisp and fresh your clothing smells when it’s dry. However, if you’re dead-set against letting your neighbors see your unmentionables hanging in the breeze, you can try to avoid using high temperatures on your dryer and be sure to clean the lint trap often!

4. Keep your water heater warm.

Warm for a water heater can be anywhere between 120 to 140 degrees. It’s not necessary to keep it much higher than that. If you have the extra money, you can opt for a tankless water heater – they are a little pricey but well worth it since they only heat water on demand.

5. Plant a tree.

Adding some shade in the front or back of your home helps cut down on how much direct sunlight hits your windows and heats up your home. Plus, if you like trees, it adds some landscaping to your home!

These are the simple things you can do.. If you want to get more drastic, you can go for something a little more intensive – like installing solar panels on the roof of your home. I’ve seen this done in my neighborhood and I think it’s probably the smartest thing you can do for your home! If you’ve never seen what it looks like, here’s a few examples:

5 Simple ways to promote energy efficiency in your home #SunrunSolar #CG #AD

5 Simple ways to promote energy efficiency in your home #SunrunSolar #CG #AD

Alot of people are frightened off by what the potential cost installing them can be, but Sunrun is a company that has made it affordable for the average family. Wouldn’t it be nice to save an average of 20% on electricity? Of course actual savings vary – see Sunrun’s site for more details. They install, insure, monitor and maintain a solar system that is designed specifically for you and your home. You just pay a low, locked-in rate for the electricity that the panels produce. Now you are in control over your electricity costs and protect yourself against unpredictable  rate increases and surprises when you get your monthly bill. Sunrun can be leased, and homeowners can get started for as little as 0$ down!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Pack your hospital bag for labor and delivery – Everything you will possibly need for you and baby

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

So it looks like Monday or Tuesday of this week will be it! My due date is not for the 22nd, but since I’m having some complications with blood pressure and been on bed rest, the schedule has been moved up. My hospital bag has been packed for some time now, and I’ve put alot of thought into what I want to have with me. Next to clothing and toiletries, I highly recommend a birth plan as I speak from experience. I decided to skip it with my first delivery and things did not transpire as I imagined they would, resulting in a few things I still feel sour about.

Since I’ve been here before, I’ve put together a list of what I’m taking with me to the hospital for my planned c-section.

1. Comfy clothing

My comfortable outfit of choice these past 2 months have been loose t-shirts and yoga pants – specifically the ones from Target. I like them because instead of folding the printed side over, you can pull it up over your belly and it stays up nicely. For c-section mamas, this will cover your incision area, and you may be wearing these for the following week or two while you heal. Also, once you start to get your pre-pregnancy body back, these should still fit you.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

2. Granny panties

I bought a brand new package of these sexy skivvies for the sole purpose of them being ruined. They are also nice for c-section mamas, because it will sit high on your waist, covering your incision and any bandages. Plus, ugly as they may be, they are comfy.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

3. Nursing bra or sports bra

If you plan to breastfeed, you will probably want to wear something where you can easily pull one out to feed baby. If you plan to bottle feed, you’ll just want something comfy! Myself personally, I have one of my favorite sports bras packed.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

4. Snacks

These are not the “in case you get hungry” snacks, because the hospital usually has a nice menu for you to choose from. These are meant for helping you accomplish that dreaded #2 that your attending nurse will keep asking you about. With the mix of hormones running through your veins (or lack of) it can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Plus, going to the bathroom is going to hurt especially if you had a c-section… Alot. Save yourself some discomfort and stock up on fiber snacks to help you.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

5. Toiletries

  1. Shampoo
  2. Conditioner
  3. Body gel
  4. Toothbrush & toothpaste
  5. Facial wash
  6. Razor
  7. Small poof
  8. Hair brush
  9. Lip balm

Not shown:

  1. Mouthwash
  2. Emery board
  3. Hemorrhoid wipes & cream
  4. Deodorant
  5. Hair dryer

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

6. Makeup

If you like to wear makeup, spending 10 minutes to make yourself feel pretty will be worth it!

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

7.  Flip flops

The hospital shower floor kinda grosses me out, so flip flops help save my feet!

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

8. A towel from home

The hospital will likely provide towels for you, but they won’t be the lush ones you are used to from home. I’m not sure what to expect from my hospital, so I’m bringing one of my own.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

9. Slippers & Robe

These are nice to have when you are walking the halls either during or after the labor process. The doctor will also encourage you to do some walking post-op to help you re-gain use of your legs. Bring old ones!

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

10. Socks

It can get cold in the hospital and you might wish you had some!

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

11. Electronics

I love my tech gear, so I’m bringing my iPad & phone with their respective chargers.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

Also, its been my experience with hospitals that plug outlets are NOWHERE near the bed you will be sitting in most of the time. An extension cord to power your devices will make life so much easier.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

12. Camera equipment

I can’t be without my camera gear!

  1. Point and shoot camera OR
  2. DSLR camera & lenses
  3. Camera chargers
  4. Speedlight
  5. Extra batteries for the speedlight
  6. Video camera to record the birth PLUS charger
  7. Extra SD cards
  8. Lens wipes

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

13. A gift for big brother / big sister

If this is your second/third/fourth child, it is important not to forget them. Everything will be all about the new baby, and the last thing you want is for them to feel left out. When JP gets to meet his baby sister for the first time, I plan on giving him some small, but meaningful gifts – a book and a t-shirt so he still feels loved and included.

http://www.amazon.com/Threadrock-SECURITY-Little-Sister-T-Shirt/dp/B00GWZE5TE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425873551&sr=8-1&keywords=security+for+my+little+sister

Of course, there’s baby’s bag too! I’ve got this packed in my diaper bag

1. Photo session props

Most hospitals have an in-hospital professional photo service that takes baby’s first portraits. If it’s something you’re interested in – have a nice outfit, a fuzzy, solid colored blanket and be prepared to spend anywhere between 100-400$ on a package.

behindthestudio-21

behindthestudio-20

2. Going home outfit

When I first saw this too-cute-for-words outfit, I knew it was perfect. After all, I’m not having any more babies – so why not go all out? I found this at a local shop that specializes in baby clothing.

behindthestudio-19

3. Some normal outfits

I realize that baby will be most comfy in just a onesie and a swaddle. So I’m bringing some newborn clothing too.

behindthestudio-18

4. Heirloom blanket

My mom likes to knit, and she’s knit countless things for baby girl. This was used as JP’s receiving blanket, so there’s something special to me about using it for her too.

What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

Things you don’t need because the hospital will provide them

  1. Diapers
  2. Wipes
  3. Bottles
  4. Diaper cream
  5. Baby lotion
  6. Baby shampoo
  7. Pacifier
  8. Comb for baby’s hair

There’s countless other little things that you could also take with you to maintain your comfort while you’re away from home. I’m not taking any of these with me, but you may find them useful in your bag.

  • Birthing ball
  • Scented candles
  • Pillow from home
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pillow

I hope this helps you put together your own ultimate bag!

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