Showering Sandy with Love #AmorBeneful

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser. All opinions are mine alone #AmorBeneful #CollectiveBias

Her name is Sandy, but I call her a bunch of other names: Mami, Mamuchi, Mimi. Our sweet little girl has all kinds of apodos. How have almost six years passed already since she adopted us?! I remember wishing and hoping and wanting a doggy just like her. I had a checklist of traits: small; light colored; female (since I’m outnumbered in our house!); fun, but not too hyper; and of course she had to be sweet and good with kids. We got all that and more when our Sandy stumbled into our front yard and she adopted us. Now that she’s getting on in years, it’s important to make sure she remains healthy and active. I also think that with any loved one, whether they walk on two legs or four, it’s important to shower them with lots of amor and spoil them every once in a while. This past week we did just that!



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Posted in Doggy Dearest, Health & Wellness | 7 Comments

Disney Side@Home Party: Food, Fun, and Family & Friends!

(This is the second part of my Disney Side@Home Party recap. You can find Part One here.)

Now that you’ve seen how fantastic my house looked during our Disney Side@Home Party, it’s time to share with you what the rest of our multi-generational party was like.

Food: I may or may not have gone a little crazy with the Disney/Mickey theme. I served Mickey-shaped chicken nuggets, Mickey-shaped ham and cheese mini sandwiches (brought to you by last year’s cookie cutter!), Cars & Crowns pretzels, and a vegetable tray that I very fittingly labeled “From the Land” as a nod to one of mine and my husband’s favorite parks, Epcot.

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Ulta Beauty has a new Miami location

Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the United States, with 797 stores across 48 states, has a new location in Miami! The new store is centrally located,  just minutes from Miami International Airport, Dolphin Mall, and Florida International University’s South Campus. This latest retail location features a beauty salon inside, as well as the products and brands Ulta customers love. Stop by their Grand Opening this weekend – July 10th through July 12th – at 10001 W. Flagler Street for a chance to win free treats and services (exclusions apply). Invitation is open to the public.

Hashtag: #ULTA
Facebook RSVP Link:
Twitter: @Ulta_Beauty –
Instagram: @UltaBeauty –
Facebook Page:

Ulta Beauty Miami Opening Invite

Posted in Around Town, Deals and Discounts | Leave a comment

Feeling all the feelings with Disney-Pixar’s #InsideOut (UPDATED)

Disclosure: The boys and I were privileged to see a prescreening of Disney-Pixar’s new movie Inside Out. All opinions below are our own.


Oh Disney-Pixar, is it any wonder that whenever the boys ask me, “What’s your favorite Disney-Pixar movie, I can’t pick just one? I fall in love with every new movie they release: the storytelling, the characters, the colors and animation. They set the bar higher and higher each time. Inside Out is no exception.

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Disney Side@Home 2015 Party Prep

(Okay, so this took me a little a lot longer to finish than anticipated. And it is also longer than I anticipated. So long, I’m dividing it in two. Here’s the first part. Read it all, I promise you’ll like it.)

Some weeks ago (really? Was it almost three months ago?! Better late than never…), we hosted our second Disney Side@Home Party, and I’m happy to report it was as great, if not better, than our first one last year! I got very crafty this year, and I’m thankful that my friend Amy Kikita, who’s got a genetic predisposition for amazing party planning, was on-hand to help  take over  lead the party planning committee.

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Posted in Disney, Family & Friends, Fun Stuff | 2 Comments

How to save for your child’s college education with the Florida 529 Sav­ings Plan

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Florida College Prepaid and Bloggin’ Mamas, opinions and experiences are 100% my own.

When I graduated high school, there was no financial plan in place for me to attend college. With three kids in the house, my mom and stepdad had to make end meet weekly, and there was no one to give them advice on how to best save for their children’s futures. I worked a part time job and with a little help from my parents paid my way through local college. I was fortunate enough that halfway through my college career I began working for the University of Miami, and because tuition remission is an employee benefit, I was able to obtain my Bachelor’s degree after completing Associate degree.

Not every child has a scenario like mine, or earns scholarships to prestigious schools. In fact, those scenarios are few and far between, the most common scenario is that of parents struggling to pay for their child’s higher education, putting it on credit cards and owing thousands of dollars in student loans. These days, student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally. With my eldest finishing his first year of middle school, and my youngest already halfway through Elementary School, my husband and I know we have to start planning for what lies ahead. Thankfully, these days parents have several options to prepare for this milestone.


What is a 529 Savings Plan?
529 savings plans are named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code 26 U.S.C. § 529 and are designed to encourage saving for future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Many states offer 529 savings plan options, including Florida Prepaid.
Money from a 529 plan can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for study at any accredited college, university or vocational school in the United States and at some foreign universities. The money can also be used for room and board, as long as the fund beneficiary is at least a half-time student. Off-campus housing costs are covered up to the allowance for room and board that the college includes in its cost of attendance for federal financial-aid purposes. Qualified education expenses do not include student loans and student loan interest. There is legislation currently going through Congress that will expand the qualified expenses.

What is Florida Prepaid?
Florida Prepaid is the largest, longest running and most successful prepaid program in the nation and we are here to help Florida families understand the importance of investing in education and make it is easy to do so. Florida Prepaid offers two types of savings options: Prepaid Plans and 529 savings plans. There are five different types of Prepaid Plans, and they can only be purchased during Open Enrollment (which usually runs from Oct.-Feb.).Every college savings plan opened with us represents an investment in a child’s future, and in our state.

The Florida 529 Savings Plan
The Florida 529 Savings Plan can be started at anytime and only requires a $25 initial deposit to open. Even if you can’t save for your child’s entire college education, starting something is always better than doing nothing. The funds in a Florida 529 Savings Plan can be used for any qualified higher educational expense, including tuition, room & board, textbooks, graduate school and much more. This gives you extreme flexibility to use the funds as you see fit, for whatever your child may need. And should those needs change during his/her college years, individuals are free to adjust as well.


Have you started planning yet? If not, today is a great day to start: it’s National 529 Day. I encourage you to check out the college planning options at

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Marvel’s AVENGERS: Age of Ultron in theaters NOW!

Disclosure: I was invited to a pre-screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron by Disney Pictures. All opinions are my own.

Avengers posterThe wait is over, it’s finally here: Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters across the country today! Can you believe it’s been three years since the last Avengers movie? We had a few movies from the Marvel Universe to help pass the time (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy), but the Super Six are back in this one, with a couple of new faces too.

I had the extreme pleasure of attending a pre-screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron this past Tuesday, and it was epic! Iron Man (my favorite…shhh, don’t tell the others), Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye take us on a new adventure as they protect the world from Ultron and his plan to change life as we know it on Earth.

Each character gets individual screen time, allowing us, the audience, to get to know them just a little better and relate to them a bit deeper than just their superhero persona. Their relationship as a team is tested by Ultron (perfectly voiced by James Spader), who is set on executing his plan, no matter the cost. But he is no match for the Avengers and a few new allies, including someone a bit familiar… (no spoilers here! Go see it and find out who I’m talking about!). Speaking of familiar, if you’re a Disney fan, you’ll recognize a familiar tune, with a bit of a creepy spin to it…

I heard Chris Hemsworth say in an interview this week that the first film was like the first day of school, and this second one was like a high school reunion. I really like this analogy. Avengers: Age of Ultron, while filled with the great fight scenes we all expect, also shows how the relationship between these characters has evolved and how they work together in spite of their differences. That cohesiveness, once they’ve gotten more comfortable not only in their own skin but as parts to a whole, make them a better team.



Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Chris Evans as Captain America. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee and Jon Favreau serve as executive producers. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015.

At 141 minutes, the running time seems long, but it won’t matter. There wasn’t a slow moment in the entire film, it was edge-of-your-seat action from start to finish. You’ll sit through it, and want more when it’s over. And you’ll get more: Phase 3 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins early next year!


As with all the Marvel movies, don’t forget to watch out for Stan Lee, and look out for that extra scene during the credits. Go see Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, and let me know what you thought!

Stay connected to Avengers: Age of Ultron
Like THE AVENGERS on Facebook:
Follow THE AVENGERS on Twitter:
Visit the official website:

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Here's What I Think, Movies | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday – Disney Side Party Prep

DisneySide Party Prep A few weeks ago we hosted our 2015 Disney Side party. My friend Amy Kikita helped. A lot. I had lots of great ideas, but was not confident that I could execute them. She helped me put the Mickey and Minnie centerpieces together out of styrofoam balls, make a decorative flag pendant with scrapbook paper in different colors and patterns that matched the theme (which we called “Hipster Mickey”), and helped me paint and prep items for our fun photo booth. It was perfect (and did you notice that even my walls matched?!)! Stay tuned later this week as I recap the rest of our party.

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Fun Stuff, Wordless Wednesday | 1 Comment

Waffles and Sunday Mornings

Hubby works six days a week, and with our conflicting schedules it is practically impossible most days to sit down for a meal together. Except for Sundays. Sunday is his day off, and since he’s a morning person, he’s usually wide awake by 7am (as are the kids). I, on the other hand, am a night person, and I like to sleep in. He lets me sleep until about 9am, or rather, that’s the time when I can’t keep my eyes closed anymore because the boys are being loud. Almost immediately after I get out of bed, I’m hungry, so I nudge hubby that I’m ready for food. We stumble to the kitchen to get started on our weekly tradition, family breakfast.

Nine times out of ten we make waffles and Cafe con Leche, usually accompanied with bacon, and more often than not there are strawberries or blueberries on hand to add onto the waffles. And by we I mean he, he likes to make the waffles, he won’t even let me make the mixture. And he is the expert in our house making Cafe con Leche. I sit there and watch, set the table and make the bacon, then watch some more until everything is ready.

A friend shared this simple waffle recipe with us years ago, and it’s been our Sunday breakfast tradition ever since!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups reduced-fat milk
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well. Do not overmix.
Let batter stand for about 5 minutes before cooking waffles. Heat waffle iron on 3 or 4, depending on desired crispiness. Makes 5 to 6 Belgian waffles or 8-10 thinner waffles.


Posted in Family & Friends, Feed Me, Life Happens | 2 Comments

Good Luck Charms Miami Spring Giveaway!

In Bloom by GLCM giveaway

Today is the first day of Spring, and In Bloom by Good Luck Charms Miami is the perfect accessory to wear during the season!

This gorgeous set of (3) is adorned with Almond Vanilla Accent Swarovski Crystals and Embellished with Spring Pastels and Metallic Metals, Stardust Beads and Facetted Crystal and Gold Bicone Accents. Its the perfect set for Spring Love!

We’ve once again teamed up with Good Luck Charms Miami to host a seasonal giveaway. This set would make a lovely gift for yourself or loved one for Easter, Passover, or even Mother’s Day! Check out their Instagram feed for other amazing creations! (Profile is private, but please feel free to request)

GIVEAWAY: One lucky Brandon’s Puppy reader will win the gorgeous three piece set pictured above from Good Luck Charms Miami. Just fill out the required entries on the rafflecopter form below. (For first time visitors, one of the entries is a comment on this post. Please scroll to the end of the post and “leave a reply”.) Winner will be announced on Friday, March 27th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Fun Stuff, Giveaways | 9 Comments