Anders Ruff Workshop

Pineville and Davidson, NC

Disney Hacks

Stroller Edition

Adventure Air

Rock Hill, SC

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Random Act of Kindness Day

Join my sister Larisa (, and invite your friends as she encourages us all to participate in a #RandomActOfKindnessDay. She's putting her idea of #spreadinglove into action! 

Here is the invite to "attend" on Sunday, July 31st - join her and invite your friends! Let's share love and kindness!

From the invite: 
  With all the hate and violence that has been in the news lately this country needs a day where everybody thinks of someone else and spreads love and kindness. Please continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones, but also get up and do something to help this country step away from the hate. 

If everyone in this country did one random act of kindness from 324 million people, that could have a huge impact and change that hatred into love. 

What are some random acts of kindness you could do? Help someone cross the street, listen to another person who is talking about hardships in their lives, volunteer for a nonprofit organization, give blood, give a hug, give a compliment, write a thank you letter, send a small gift to someone for no reason, pay for someone's coffee, pay for someone's grocery bill, cut a neighbor's grass, shake the hand of a stranger, help that mother in the grocery store whose kid is having a tantrum, give free lessons if you have an artistic talent, bake a cake for a member of the community, JUST DO SOMETHING! 

If we an make this go viral, get it on the news and get everyone to know this good day exists it might be one step closer to peace in this country. 

No, I don't think it will change everything, but it's one step closer to love!
Please invite your FB friends and everyone you know to take part in this day! Then on July 31st comment on what you did as your random act of kindness. Sending much love to you all!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Kid-Friendly Stops to Beat the Heat at South Park Mall

Moms. It's getting hot out.

Yes, I know we live in the the South, but this week it's felt more like we're straddling equator rather than living in Charlotte, NC.

My sister and I were bemusing where to bring our kiddos on these too-hot-to-be-outside Summer days and we came up with a fabulous game plan. South Park Mall is one of my favorite places to stroll and shop. Malls are perfect for getting the kid's energy out while sneaking in a few errands and catching some sales.

We parked in the Dillard's parking garage so our swagger wagons were covered and not volcanic upon our return with exhausted little ones.
Our first stop was the LEGO store, the kids were able to play with some of their loose LEGO's and check out all the large box LEGO possibilities. If you swing by the first Tuesday or Wednesday of the month you can participate in their FREE LEGO mini-build. Pre-registration is required and you can sign up for August's mini-build by going here.

We wandered into Pottery Barn Kids which always has SO much adorable stuff that makes my wallet cry. The kids like the kitchen sets, cranes and tea parties they have out for exploration by little hands. It's easy to spend time taking in all their newest must-haves for the house while the kids play house and I rationalize how it's actually a pretty good deal to spend $200 on a comforter (I mean it's on sale..).

The Disney Store has recently moved from Carolina Place Mall to South Park, and being a major Disney fan - it's always a must stop. The Disney Store is hosting Summer Play Days until September 5th. Each day your kids ages 3+ can participate in store events including Art of Animation, Trivia, Story Time and Showtime. Specific dates kids will receive a FREE TSUM TSUM wrist band - check out the dates here. Our kids love spotting their favorite characters, coloring and watching clips of Disney movies.

Next we swung by the Microsoft store to take in all that's new and digital. They offer FREE #YouthSparkCamps for kids ages 5-24 you can find out more about their offerings by clicking here.

My kids are love the samples of tea at Teavana so I order an iced tea while the kids follow me around the store with their tiny sample cups thinking they're all British and such. I love collecting all of their tea one ounce at a time. 

The American Girl store is a perfect place to bring your kids to wander, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it too. It's 100% concentrated girliness throughout the store. There is so much for the little ones to look at, and you can even grab a snack at their bistro. They offer events throughout the month ranging in price from $10-$40, you can see their events schedule here at the bottom of the page. 

Image from:
Last but not least is squishy, climbing, crawling fun of the outdoor ship play area located just outside of Urban Outfitters and California Pizza kitchen. I know these were tips to beat the heat, but stopping at this fun playground will give you a little while to warm up again before you head back inside to enjoy the AC in all its majesty. The bonus of this area is that there are large sails to create shade, however be aware that some of the ground and the equipment that is getting direct sunlight can be very hot. This is where you'll get an A+ if you've remembered to pack water bottles!

On your way out the door grab yourself a Starbucks for the drive home, and hope that the kiddos fall asleep in the car so you can park in the driveway running the air while they sleep and you scroll through your favorite social media site. Huzzah summer!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Family Figurines from Portrait Innovations 3D Studio Experience

Since becoming a mother I've taken on a self-appointed mama-paparazzi status. "Smile for mama sweetie!" echoes through our home on the daily. I'm consciously living in the moment - but I'm also taking photos, scheduling photo shoots and recording videos. In my mind I'm trying to freeze-frame  these precious moments with our children.

"Soak it up now," my friends with older kids say, "You're going to blink and they'll be teenagers. I miss mine being so little!"

All I can think is that I miss mine being as little as they were last week! There are no more crawlers in my house, my son is entering his last year of pre-school and my daughter has lost too many baby teeth to count. These moments are fleeting, so I'm doing my best to 'soak it up' while we're living in these memory-making years.

Down the road, when our house is quiet and there are no lunches to pack or diapers to change, I want to be able to reflect back on our pictures, videos and keepsakes and re-live the highlights of our lives together. The details of their chubby little arms, their little peanut noses and toothless grinning smiles. Every day I think to myself "If only I could freeze time."

When I discovered Portrait Innovation's newest line of products from their 3D Studio Experience, I was thrilled by how their technology essentially allows you to freeze time in a 3D figurine. In addition to their beautiful portraits work, Portrait Innovations in the Promenade Shopping Center in Charlotte is offering their 3D Studio Experience, which takes photography to a whole new level. 

Over 200 cameras work in concert to capture your family's 3D image inside their state-of-the-art studio.  They are one of only a few studios across the country offering this 3D technology- so Charlotte, we're lucky!

The kids happily stepped into the 3D studio and cheesed for the camera. Once our favorite photo was selected they were able to create a 3D keepsake figurine of the kids. In addition to figurines they also offer wedding toppers, bust statues, face magnets, game pieces, mini caricature figurines, and my kid's personal favorite - mini heads that fit on their LEGO bodies. 

They did an amazing job of capturing the essence of our kids in 3D - I LOVE how little bits is mid-step in her bare feet, little hands clasped - and that sprig of hair! My big guy is wearing his up-to-shenanigans-smile and my almost 8 year old has her hand on her hip, showing her natural sassiness! It's my sweet kids, perfectly frozen in time. 

While I was getting all weepy about their individual figurines, my kids were over the moon about their custom mini heads -which were only $4.99! They're ecstatic to be real characters in their block building endeavors. 

While every parent would love these figurines, they also make an amazing one-of-a-kind gift for grandparents! Grandparents Day is coming up on September 11th - so you still have time to order Grandma and Grandpa something that'll make their day memorable. We had our portrait studio session on a Saturday and it took about a week to receive our figurines and mini heads, I was impressed with the fast turn around time. 

Figurines range from $99 to $349 depending on the size and number of people. Our figurines were 6" and cost $99 each, if we had done a group figurine (i.e. if little bits would have stood still..) it would have cost $199 for the group of three, and they would have been created proportionally to one another.

For the month of July 2016 Portrait Innovations in Charlotte is offering a coupon for 25% off of figurines - so be sure to make an appointment soon to take advantage of the discount!

For more information you can stop by Portrait Innovations in the Promenade Shopping Center located at 5349 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Suite 700 Charlotte NC, or give them a call at 704-844-8633. They are closed on Mondays but open 9am-6pm Tuesday through Sunday. You can also click here for more information about their studio and schedule an appointment online. 

We were gifted our figurines and mini-heads, but as always my opinions are my own. I only share what I love with my readers, and I think you'll love these adorable custom keep sakes.