MommyCon: Why I Love It, and Why I Feel Families Should Try to Attend At Least Once

MommyCon: Why I Love It, and Why I Feel Families Should Try to Attend At Least Once

I have a confession. I love MommyCon. What is MommyCon you ask? I would describe it as a convention for parents about everything baby and family related. I went for the first time in 2016 and I fell in love. I enjoyed the experience, vendors, sessions, and meeting new people. I learned so much from my MommyCon experience, and I discovered parenting communities I didn’t even know existed. Sure, I knew a little bit about babywearing, cloth diapering, and natural parenting, but in my community no one really did all that. Shopping at big box stores and following “mainstream” parenting practices was the norm. After attending MommyCon I discovered smaller family own businesses who carried pretty much the same products, and a natural parenting community that I loved. Attending MommyCon changed me. It opened my eyes to other parenting perspectives, and I personally feel the experience has made me a better parent/individual. Below is a little bit of information about what MommyCon offers, why I love it, and why I feel families should try to attend at least once. (Tickets to MommyCon also make a great baby shower gift for the expectant parents. 😉 ) 20160724_100906

Sessions: When I went to MommyCon D.C. 2016 there were sessions on potty training, cloth diapering, car seat safety, kid’s health, postpartum rehabilitation, natural child-birth, menstruation, intimacy after baby, babywearing, making baby food, baby sign language, and much more.  (Whew! haha!) Some of these topics weren’t covered in the baby classes I had taken or even talked about by my friends or family. (I learned so much from the sessions I attended, and Cloth Diapering 101 is where my love of cloth diapering started.) MommyCon offers sessions for everyone, and because of this you have the opportunity to learn and broaden your parental horizons. Many sessions also provide attendees the chance to win giveaway prizes.

Vendors: You will find vendors of every kind at MommyCon. From well-known businesses, think Babies R Us, to smaller family own businesses. At MommyCon D.C. 2016 there were well over 90 different vendors. If you are an expectant parent starting to build your baby registry MommyCon is a great place to start. You will be able to see the products you are thinking of putting on your registry, but also products you might not have known you needed or wanted. You will be able to touch them, see demos of the product, and at some booths get a free sample or be able to enter to win one of their products. (Samples and giveaways are up to the vendor, and some may not have them.) You may also make friends or find businesses in your area you never knew existed. I found a couple small businesses that I order from to this day, and met people I still talk to as well.

Play/Family Areas: MommyCon does a great job of making the whole event family friendly, and they go even further by offering different areas for you and your family to explore and enjoy. At MommyCon D.C. 2016 there were play areas where you could take time during/in between sessions and let your kids get their energy out. As well as quiet area’s where you could take yourself and children if you needed a quiet moment. Other areas included a feeding lounge, babywearing lounge, changing area, and more. I found these areas to be great places to meet new friends. 🙂

Giveaways: Everyone who purchases a ticket and attends MommyCon receives a free gift bag full of samples, resources, and goodies. There is also a giveaway session at the end of the day where, everyone who purchased a ticket and is in attendance, gets a chance to win products from MommyCon sponsors/vendors. At MommyCon D.C. 2016 these included baby strollers, car seats, nursing pillows, breast pumps, and more. I highly recommend you stay and go to the giveaway session.

Community: One of the biggest things MommyCon strives to offer is community. MommyCon is open for anyone to attend, and you will find families of all kinds there. If I could sum MommyCon up in one sentence it would be; We are all different, but we are all parents. Since MommyCon is open to everyone they try hard to make it accessible for everyone. MommyCon tries to select locations with easy access, and that are close to public transportation. For those who cannot afford a ticket MommyCon offers a Scholarship Ticketing Program, and a Military ticket program for Military families. For those Military families who can afford a ticket MommyCon does offer a Military discount as well. ( I am personally very happy MommyCon does this since it helps low-income families gain access to resources and products they might not have had access/knowledge of otherwise.) You can find more information about these programs here: MommyCon Scholarship Tickets and here MommyCon Military Tickets.

Other Ways to Get Tickets: MommyCon also has a blogger and street team of individuals who have discount codes and can help you get a discounted ticket. Many companies who will have booths at MommyCon also giveaway free tickets on their social media sites, and days before MommyCon D.C. 2016 MommyCon also offered free tickets to individuals who would be able to volunteer and work the morning or day of the event.)   So do not fret! If you would like to go to a MommyCon near you don’t give up. There are ways!

So again, if you have never been to MommyCon before I highly recommend you attend at least once. I think you will find you will enjoy the experience and community. I will be attending MommyCon again this year (2017), and will be taking my husband along with me to show him why I love it so much. For 2017, they still have tickets available for their Memphis, Austin, Vancouver, Costa Mesa, Orlando, and Atlanta events. You can find locations/dates and ticketing information Here , and if you have any questions about the event you can find their FAQ’s Here or send an email to [email protected]

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – Because I love MommyCon so much I applied, and was accepted, into their blogger collective. This means I get to give away TWO FREE GENERAL ADMISSION MOMMYCON tickets. (Winner can select the event location they would like to attend.) I also have a discount code, PRETTYINBABYFOOD17, that will get you $5.00 off an Expectant Parent or General Admission ticket. CLICK HERE TO ENTER for your chance to win.


Working Out on A Budget

Working Out on A Budget

When my husband started working out at our local CrossFit box I was happy because he was happy to be working out. After looking at the cost for his membership though I was not as happy as I once was. Haha! It was expensive, and when I quit working to stay home with our daughter the monthly CrossFit membership was just too much for us. When I told him we should look at cheaper options they still weren’t in the price range we could afford. So, we had to get inventive. If you and your family are like mine, then below are some tips on how to work out on a budget.

Good ‘old fashion running/walking outside – I had to list this one first because it’s my favorite, and totally free! Haha! I know that sometimes getting out into nature is hard, especially if you have kids or your location makes it difficult, but it’s worth it! Find yourself a decent jogging/running stroller and hit the pavement. During the warmer months, my husband and I will go to our local park, that has a running trail, and take turns either walking or jogging with the stroller while the other is free to run for a lap. Hiking is another one of our favorite things to do during the warmer months. We have a baby carrier that adjusts to fit both my husband and I, and we take turns wearing our daughter as we hike.

Beachbody’s on demand free 30 days – My husband and I just finished our free 30-day trial of Beachbody’s on demand program and we loved it! We used to do Insanity way back when it first came out so it was a lot of fun to work out to Shaun T. again. The great thing about this program is that you can do it anytime and technically anywhere since it is online. (Since it is currently cold outside we have enjoyed the work out’s inside.) It’s pretty easy to sign up and then you have free access for 30 days to their online library of workouts. Some of the newer work outs you have to upgrade to receive, but the free Beachbody workouts are enough to keep you occupied. If you do not want to be charged for a paid subscription you will need to cancel before your 30 days is up. (I believe my husband called the day before our 30 days was up and cancelled.) This trial is totally worth it, and I started to see a physical difference after week one.

Groupon/Living Social – Many gym’s, and small businesses are now offering discounted memberships or workout classes though Groupon and Living Social. You can get discounts on gym memberships, workout classes, 30-day access to online workouts, and more that range from 50% off all the way to 90% off, and sometimes more. So, before you head out to sign up for workout classes look on Groupon and Living Social first. (Another plus is if you use Groupon through the Ibotta app you can get up to 10% cash back in your Ibotta app if you purchase through Ibotta.) 

dirty-girl-mud-run

Run in 5k’s/ Races for free by volunteering – Last fall I had a friend invite me to run with her in the Great Pumpkin Run, but I forgot to register fast enough and the race sold out. I was super mad at myself, but I did some research and found out the race still needed volunteers for check in the day before. The biggest perk of volunteering was you got a free race registration you could use the next day, or for another upcoming race. Score! So not only was I able to run with my friend, but I was able to run for free. Other ways to save are to see if the race you want to participate in has Groupon or Living Social offers. One year I signed up for a 5k obstacle race at a cost of $70, and later found the Race on Groupon offering registrations for $30. (Doh!) Don’t worry if the heat start time is not the time you want. Most races, if you are not trying to be timed, will let you run whenever.

Free gym trials – Before you spend the money on a gym membership I highly recommend looking to see if the gym offers a free trial. Usually these are promotional gimmicks to bring in new customers, but they can be beneficial to you if you are looking at joining a gym or just want a break from your regular workout routine. I know a couple of times a year the gym near my house will send out promotional free 3-day gym passes, or some gyms in my area, like the local CrossFit, will have a free intro classes. These are great ways to see if the gym is a fit for you before you shell out any money. If you end up liking the gym you visited I would recommend waiting till they have a membership sale. A great time to snag a really good deal for a gym membership is around New Years.

You Tube Video’s – Yes, I said You Tube. Haha! You Tube actually has some really good free workout video’s. You will be able to find video’s covering cardio, yoga, Pilates, and more. Popsugar Fitness has a lot of workout videos on You Tube. I have done a couple and have been pretty impressed. Now that our Beachbody on demand free trial has expired, and since it’s cold here, I will be switching to the Popsugar Fitness videos and burning some calories. 

If you follow the above tips you will definitely save yourself some money, and make it easier to work out on a budget. I would love to hear some of the ways you and your family work out on a budget. 

 


 

Why I Enter Contests/Giveaways – Dunkin Donuts Tweet & Greet

Why I Enter Contests/Giveaways – Dunkin Donuts Tweet & Greet

Everyone who knows me knows I enter a lot of contests/giveaways. I don’t win the majority of the contests/giveaways I enter, but when I do win it’s awesome. The reason its awesome is because I usually enter contests/giveaways for things that I want or need, and when I win it’s one less thing I have to pay for. (I never enter contests/giveaways for things I don’t need) I have a whole list of things that I would love to purchase for my LO, husband, and myself but sometimes funds are just to tight. Sometimes all it takes is a little tweet on twitter to win something that helps create memories.

Enter Dunkin Donuts Tweet & Greet. 20161114_194244I saw this contest and immediately thought of my husband and how awesome it would be to win and get a free date night. So I tweeted, and I won. When I told my husband he laughed, but was excited. From one tweet came a night of fun and memories.

We started out the night with a free tour of M&T Bank Stadium, Home of the Baltimore Raven’s. We saw the press box, got to walk down the home teams hallway before they run out on the field, we walked on the field, and then went into the locker room. 20161114_181329In the locker room we were greeted by one of the Baltimore Raven’s players, Marshal Yanda. For the next hour we ate good food, donuts, drank coffee, and got to talk about adult things. (Most date nights we end up talking about our LO.) We received free Ravens swag, baseball hats, shirts, gift cards, and other little trinkets. It was just what the donut doctor ordered.

Next time Dunkin runs this promotion I will definitely spend the 2 seconds again to send a tweet. Maybe next time we will win the Grand Prize and get to see the Raven’s play. A girl can dream. 🙂

Love free samples? Which free sample box is better? Pinchme vs. Influenster

Love free samples? Which free sample box is better? Pinchme vs. Influenster

Free samples are my jam. I am a big believer in free samples. Who wants to purchase a full size product to later find out you don’t like it or it’s just not for you? NO ONE. So I set out to find a couple of companies that advertise monthly boxes of free samples and coupons to those who sign up. The two I found were Pinchme and Influenster. How do they stack up and which do I recommend? Well lets see…

Pinchme: Once a month Pinchme holds a Pinchme Sample Tuesday. On these Tuesday’s they release available free samples and coupons from companies they have partnered with. To get the samples all you have to do is sign up and fill out a couple of surveys that tell them a little bit about you, your family, and general shopping purchases/habits. Then if you fall within the set criteria for the partner companies you will see free samples/coupons you can claim and add to your box. After you get your samples/coupons you then need to write a review to be able to be eligible the next Sample Tuesday. There are some kickers though. While some people will be eligible for samples every month there are also individuals who wont. I have been with Pinchme for several months and have been lucky to grab some samples every month. Some individuals go months without being eligible for samples. Another downer is sometimes it takes a while for you to get your sample box. Sometimes even running into the next Sample Tuesday, and if you haven’t done your reviews from your previous box you won’t be eligible for any new samples. You can check them out here. Pinchme.com

Influenster: Pretty much the same idea as above. Every month they have a sample box, but it’s a lot harder to get one. When you sign up you have to fill out a couple of surveys just like Pinchme, but then you have to link your social media accounts so you can get an impact score. Then every month to become eligible for a box you have to write a certain number of reviews for products you have already purchased and used. They usually do a theme for the reviews. Last month’s, July, was back yard bash and you had to review your back yard bash must have items. They also have survey’s that they call “snaps” that they would like you to do, which again is just writing reviews for products you have already used and every now and then answering survey questions. Even after several months I still have not received an Influenster box. I am sure people do, but not me. Haha! You can check Influenster out here.

So which one would I recommend?: Hand’s down I would recommend Pinchme. Not because I have actually received free samples, but because it is so much more user-friendly. I feel with Influenster I could write reviews till my fingers bled and I would still come up empty-handed without a sample box. I also believe that just because my social media out reach isn’t huge that doesn’t mean my word of mouth advertising doesn’t matter or won’t be as valuable.

Now I want to hear from you. Have you gotten an Influenster box before? How has your experience with Pinchme been? Let everyone know in the comments!

Baby Product Contests – Because who doesn’t love free stuff!

Baby Product Contests – Because who doesn’t love free stuff!

Love free baby stuff? OF COURSE. Who doesn’t. Sometimes though the world makes you work for it. Haha! But not really. It’s not a lot of work to just comment, share, and like. So here are some of the weekly or regular baby product giveaways that I enter on social media. I have even won one!

Bamboobies – Bamboobies is a company that sells breastfeeding supplies and necessities. When I was pumping I LOVED using their nipple balm. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Squeasy Gear – Squeasy Gear makes reusable food pouches for feeding your kids on the go. They usually run a Wednesday winner contest. If you win you get to chose one pouch from their selection. I actually won one week and this is what I got. I enter via Facebook.

squeasy

Joovy –  Joovy is a Baby goods company that sells everything. Highchairs, walkers, bottles, Strollers…etc. They usually run a weekly Joovy Tuesday contest for different products. I am really hoping to win one day. Haha! I enter via Facebook.

The baby Guy NYC – LOVE THIS GUY. My sister turned me on to this gentleman when I became pregnant. Jaime is a baby product tester and guru. Most times after he tests a product he does a giveaway for that product. You can enter via Facebook or Instagram, but mainly Facebook.

L’ovedbaby LLC – This company sells really cute baby clothes and accessories. They usually run a Free-4-All Tuesday giveaway. I haven’t won yet, but I’m going to keep trying! Haha! I usually enter on Facebook, but they also have the contests on their website.

I have found that a lot of companies do giveaways on social media so if you are looking for a certain baby product make sure to follow that company. It doesn’t have to be just baby products either. If you are into sports and run 5k’s through out the year look at the 5k’s you want to enter and follow those companies on social media. Who knows you might score your self some swag or a free entry if they are giving those away.

Seventh Generation Healthy Baby Party

Seventh Generation Healthy Baby Party

One of the best free item’s I have gotten so far this year has to be the Seventh Generation Health Baby Party box. This free item is not just for the recipient, but also for their friends and family members. 🙂 Seventh Generation gives out a limited number of these boxes a year to individuals who are apart of their online community Generation Good. The purpose of this box, other then a great marketing tool, is to also educate the consumer on what company’s do and don’t have to disclose on their product labels. It takes a little while to get the box but believe me it is worth it.

The box contains enough free samples and coupons for 12 guests. Along with some free items to those guests who win at Health baby bingo. The host also gets to choose a gift from the full size products in the box.

An example of what a guest will see in their bag: Sample of Baby wipes, dish soap, laundry detergent, baby cough syrup, baby food, Seeds, and at least 2-4 coupons.

Items you can win from the Bingo: A full pack of baby wipes, a full pack of baby diapers, a full size dish soap, or a bobble water bottle that comes with its own filter.

All I can say is this box is awesome. I was so excited to be selected. I would also be excited if I was asked to attend one of these parties. My rough calculation puts the value of these boxes around $50-$60. Are the products worth it? ABSOLUTELY. My parents use Seventh Generation Free and Clear dish soap to clean my fathers c-pap machine because it has no scent and doesn’t leave a residue. I love my Bobble water bottle and use it every day. I even purchased another Bobble water bottle for my husband because he kept taking mine. As for the diapers and wipes you can check out my review of the baby wipes and diapers here.

I hope some of you sign up for Generation Good and get selected in the next round of Health Baby Parties, because who doesn’t love free stuff?