GoWallet Review – Get those gift cards organized!

So with the holidays coming up we all need a way to keep those gift cards that we are given organized as well a better way to figure out what the balance is, right? I know that trying to figure out the balance is always a challenge and I usually end up keeping the most receipt wrapped around the gift card. Honestly, that is not the most effective manner of keeping track.

I’ve found one of the best ways to keep track now. GoWallet!

Go Wallet

GoWallet is an app for your iPhone or Android where gift cards can be registered, allowing you to:

  • Easily manage multiple cards in one place
  • Access real-time gift card balances for supported gift cards
  • Conveniently access your gift card information on the go
  • Receive promotional offers
  • Purchase gift cards

This app has made it so easy for me lately for the few gift cards that I do have that I can’t wait to add more to it during the holidays! The first thing that you need to do after downloading the app is to create an account and then start adding your gift cards to the app by scanning the card or inputting it manually. Really it takes just a few minutes to do it manually and you can update it easily after that.

Go Wallet  Go Wallet
Once you have it all set up you you can start shopping! For most of the stores you don’t even need the actual card… but don’t get rid of them since there are some that do require it. As you use the card you can update the value of the card too by simple pressing the arrows in a circle icon.

Go Wallet

The GoWallet app will tell you how many cards you have, the balance of the cards, and a total of all of them combined.

Go Wallet

GoWallet has the added feature of allowing you to buy gift cards from major retailers, restaurants, and other service providers right through the app. When you purchase one you can either add it to your GoWallet account, email it to a friend, or send it to someone via Facebook. Sending gift cards to friends and family across the country or world just got a whole lot easier!

Tell me…. how do you keep track of all the gift cards that you and your family gets at the holiday?

Disclosure: I was provided a gift card in return for my review of the app. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Better than window shopping!

I love shopping and finding great deals but I have found something that is better than window shopping! Have you heard of Modnique? It’s a deal website that offers some incredible brands like Chanel, Tory Burch, Hermes, and so many more up scale brands. You know… the brands that we window shop for because the price tags are usually high.


With Modnique the prices are up to 85% off and new merchandise arrives daily and is featured in 36-72 hour events. Right now they’re having a great promotion going on… 20 Days of Deals! These items go super fast too! I was stalking an iPad mini going for $99 and wasn’t able to grab one. 🙁 The new deals are revealed at 6am PST every day and you can keep track of the new deals by checking out their blog or Facebook page daily.

I have spent a great deal of time on the site looking for some Christmas gifts but then I was sidetracked and found myself with half a dozen tabs open of things that I wanted for myself!

Like this coat…

modnique coat

Or these two things…

Modnique perfume Modnique necklace
 The prices on all of these are really affordable too! The Burberry perfume is only $29 after a 60% discount!.Well, maybe the necklace is still pretty expensive (only $1889 after a 54% discount) but it is gorgeous, isn’t it?

I will say that finding the right item can be like a little treasure hunt. Sometimes the item you want is already in someones basket or they don’t have it in your size, but with the variety that they have I’m sure that it won’t take you long to find something that you absolutely love. This is how it works; you pick something that you want, click to add it to your cart, and then you have a limited time to purchase it or it goes back on the virtual sales floor, giving some one else the chance to buy it.  You get a little countdown clock to help you keep track which makes it easy for you.

So if you can’t find me today it’s because I’m doing a little window shopping for things that I don’t really need but really, really want! Like the blue boots that I found by Marc Jacobs…. or the Hermes shoulder bag.

This review is part of a Splash Creative Media campaign on behalf of Modnique.com and I have received a gift certificate for the purposes of this review. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


Holiday Events in Michigan 2013

Michigan is full of the holiday spirit starting this upcoming weekend! There is so much to see and do with your family that picking one holiday event might be difficult.

Let’s break it down by area.

Detroit & the surround area

On December 22nd you can see the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Moscow Ballet at the Detroit Fox Theatre. This is one show only and definitely something that you don’t want to miss!

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Floats, bands, giant balloons, and celebrities. If you can’t make it to downtown Detroit to see it you can always watch it on TV from the comfort of your couch.

Detroit Zoo Wild Lights: The zoo lights up with an amazing light show! For 24 nights, more than two million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and animal sculptures on a half-mile trail through the front of the Zoo.

The Big, Bright Light Show: Downtown Rochester lights up and will be covered with more than 1 million points of glimmering holiday light.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village: Step into the past with carolers, candle-lit paths, horse drawn wagons, and of course Santa and his reindeer. The evening is topped off with a fireworks display too!

Genesee County area 

Christmas at Crossroads: This is the one place that we visit every single year for Christmas. The village has carolers strolling around, beautiful lights (you MUST see the tree that is fully covered in lights), and the trip is not complete without riding the old locomotive and seeing Santa.

Nutcracker present by FIM: We have been trying for years to get to this and have yet to make it. There is always some reason why we haven’t gone yet but this year we will go. This show features professional dancers from New York City’s Collage Dance Collective, talented students from the Flint School of Performing Arts, and the  Flint Symphony Orchestra.

Holly Dickens Festival: Starting right after Thanksgiving visitors to downtown Holly will be greeted by performers taking you for a trip through Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol”.

The Holiday Pops: For two nights you can celebrate the holiday season with music and song from the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Flint Festival Chorus with members of area high school choirs, Flint School of Performing Arts students and additional musical groups.

North Pole Express: This is really in Genesee county…. it’s actually Shiawassee county. But it’s really the only event going on in the area. But is so worth sharing! The 1225 has been fully restored and is the exact steam train that was featured in the movie The Polar Express. I’ve seen this train in person… it is incredible.

Lansing area

The Nutcracker 2013:  This is the 33rd year that the Nutcracker will be performed at the Wharton Center and features the Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan and some of mid-Michigan’s best young dancers.

Silver Bells in the City: This weekend, November 22nd, the city will be glittering with lights, a parade, the lighting of the tree on the steps of the Capital, and then a fireworks display all to start off the holiday season.

Wharton Center: The Wharton Center on MSU campus has several events going on for the holiday season. Holiday Pops Series, Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna, and  MSU’s Home for the Holidays.

This is just a handful of events that are going on around Michigan to celebrate Christmas in Michigan. To find something different or closer to you check out the Pure Michigan site where they have a huge list of holiday events from all over the state.

Are you checking out any of the holiday events where you live?

Fall Favorites – Amy’s Festive Warm Wassail Recipe

Today our special guest poster is Amy from Beloved Atmosphere and I met her not that long ago through an incredible Facebook group that I belong to. She is leading what I consider an exciting life! She recently moved to Europe and spends her free time traveling to incredible places (I’m a tad jealous).  

Amy is a devoted wife, a dedicated mommy to the Three Little Mermaids, a savvy traveller, an educator, and a darn good cook. When she’s not busy dining out at local hot spots or whisking her kiddos off to fun discoveries, Amy writes for Beloved Atmosphere, her blog that focuses on Travel with Kids, Parenting, Education, DIY and Crafting projects, Cooking and other Topics du Jour. Amy also manages Sunset Vacation Rental, her family’s vacation rental business for their house at the Beach. In whatever spare time she finds, Amy loves reading, sewing, cooking, and connecting on Social Media. 

You can find her all over the internet sharing pictures and videos of her family’s travel experiences, too. Check her out on Google+PinterestTwitter, FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

Now…. on to the good stuff. Amy’s Fall Favorite!

Doesn’t Autumn bring such comforting aromas and warm feelings?

Watching as the leaves change into brilliant scarlet, tangerine, mustard and plum always brings peace to my heart. As you cozy up in anticipation of Winter’s chill, simmer a pot of this delightful warm spiced cider and you’ll soon be feeling warm and spicy, too. A festive treat on a slow afternoon or a treat to enjoy as you prepare your Autumn and Winter holiday feasts, this Warm Wassail will be a tradition for years to come.

Grab your mug and your song book. Here we go a-wassailing!

If you’re a history buff, here is a link to the historical origins of wassail.

Side note: Where I’m from, a Hot Toddy is what we call any warm beverage spiked with alcohol. This Warm Wassail recipe is delicious both without alcohol and with a bit of Hot Toddy-ness. Our favorite add-ins include: Sandeman tawny port wine, cognac, brandy, bourbon, and red wine.

Amy festive wassail recipe

Amy’s Warm Wassail

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 6-8 hours Servings: 16 cups


2 quarts fresh apple cider

2 cups fresh no-pulp orange juice

2 cups cranberry juice

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (optional)

20 whole cloves

20 cinnamon sticks, separated into 4 for recipe + 16 for garnish

1 pinch ground ginger (optional)

1 pinch ground nutmeg (optional)

1 pinch ground allspice (optional)

Garnishes: serve on the side of the pot next to the mugs…


Sugar cubes

Cinnamon sticks

Whole cloves

If you wish to “spice things up” and make this spiced cider a Hot Toddy (alcoholic)…

Amy festive wassail recipe

1 bottle bourbon, cognac or brandy

1 bottle red wine (Madeira, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot) or mulled wine

1 bottle tawny Port wine


  1. In a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, fresh orange juice, cranberry juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.

    Amy festive wassail recipe

  2. Add whole cloves and 4 cinnamon sticks. Then sprinkle in to taste: ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground allspice (each spice is optional).

    Amy festive wassail recipe

  3. Allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  4. After one hour, transfer to a slow cooker, and allow to simmer on the keep warm or low setting for 5-7 more hours before serving.

  5. Serve hot in mugs. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick.

  6. If you prefer a Hot Toddy, add your preferred alcohol to your warm wassail.

Amy festive wassail recipe

Enjoy the warm Autumnal spice aroma this wassail brings into your Kitchen and home.

Fair Warning: You’ll want to bundle up and sit around a fireplace the moment you sip this delectable beverage.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Fall Fun Revisited

family shot

Fall is my favorite time of year and one of the things that we do together as a family is go to Crossroads Village a couple of times during the year. At Halloween they decorate the entire village and have trick or treating for young and old alike…. dressed up or not! This year it happened to be over 80 degrees that day so the costumes we had picked out just weren’t going to work! We improvised though!


The maze was fun for the kids even if you could see over the top of the walls! Although I’m not sure what’s up with that look she was giving me.


As you can see she was excited for lunch!


I’m hoping that she doesn’t visit my blog all that often or else she is going to be pissed at me for posting this picture for the world to see. Although… better here than Facebook, right? And she refused to smile nice anyway.


He had so much fun running through the maze over… and over… and over again. If there wasn’t a way out I bet that we could have left him there for the rest of the afternoon to play!

Huckleberry Railroad

Of course the highlight of the trip is riding the old steam locomotive! This train is an original that has been fully restored and is run several times a day taking riders for a 40 minute journey through Crossroads Village, past Mott Lake and by the county fairgrounds. The entire ride is narrated and complete with music as well as decorations along the way for the holiday and well worth the trip to Crossroads!

Okay…. so  much for wordless, huh? Good thing that I’m linking up with Seven Clown Circus and Parenting by Dummies for WordFUL Wednesday!

parenting BY dummies

Andrew, Santa, and I

Every year we pass by the center of the mall where Santa has set up shop and is surrounded by a magical winter wonderland. I watch the families as they wait patiently or not so patiently for their turn to talk with Santa so they can explain those bad moments, elaborate on the good, and tell him everything they want on the never ending list. I look at them with fond memories of doing the same thing with my girls when they were younger, but now they’re older and don’t fully believe in Santa.

As luck would have Andrew believes in Santa! He recognizes the big man and will look at me with his head titled slightly and says, “anta?” Other times he smiles and says, “ho, ho, ho”. It’s all beyond cute!

We braved the mall to have our turn with Santa. But this time I planned ahead! I didn’t want to stand in that line, weaving in and out of the ropes that help form the line, for an hour or more with a 2 year old who can’t sit still. We left early and got to the mall just before the stores opened and Santa had just arrived. We were first in line and there was nobody after us.

We had plenty of time to make our way carefully up to Santa. Andrew was enthralled with the animated deer and fake snow that surrounded Santa’s chair and had to check it all out. Finally, I was able to get him closer and he stopped, pointed and said, “anta.” He refused to get any closer to the big man. This was my fear…. I really was hoping that we’d get a good picture… but he wanted nothing to do with him.

Eventually we made it to Santa but it was only because I had to pick him up and walk over there. Andrew was glued to me and his little arms weren’t letting go for nothing. Nope, the cute Santa picture wasn’t happening.

Thankfully the photographer was great and we got a picture!

andrew, santa, & I

Yes, that’s me in the picture. It was the only way that we could get Andrew close to Santa. Better than nothing right?

Good thing I got ready that morning!

Creative Kristi Designs

One to remember

Every year I hope to get one perfect picture of my kids together during the holidays. It’s the one time of the year that I can almost guarantee that they’ll all be dressed up and some what coordinating…. Yes, I know I can try other times of the year but I have teens so that should be enough explanation, ok?

Anyway, this past weekend we had our first holiday gathering and I brought my camera along and snapped pictures here and there and when the kids were standing near each other I took that opportunity to take a couple of them together.

the girls.... posing

Is this the one to remember? Nope. It was missing their brother who is in a constant state of motion unless he is asleep.

The kids

Oh look!! Two of them are smiling nicely! Andrew obviously didn’t want his picture taken and I think Natalie was talking to someone near me. So, this one isn’t the one to remember.

After the last picture I gave up. One day I will but until then I have all these cute and silly pictures of my kids that remind me of exactly who they are. They sweet, smart, fun loving, honest, and most all … they’re mine. I love them all more than they’ll ever know. So while I may never get that one perfect picture the ones I have are all ones to remember.


I am linking up with Allison and Galit for some great fun and fond memories that we’ve all captured. It took me all week to get to it but I finally did it!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Surviving the Holidays

With the holiday season fast upon us family gatherings, office parties and other celebrations with family and friends will soon occupy a lot of our time. This can be a stressful time of year and even more so when you have divorced parents, are divorced your self, or worse yet both! Coordinating all the events could give even the best planner a run for their money!

But what can you do to get through the holiday season without causing harm to one of your family members or going absolutely insane?

Yes, I know what you’re thinking…. Wine! Lots and lots of wine. But in all seriousness there really are a few things that you can do to survive the holiday season!

  1. Just roll with it – Yes, you heard me. Don’t let things get to you otherwise you’ll end up getting stressed out. If you know that the holidays with your in-laws is a rough time then prepare yourself in advance and just let things slide, because it’s only one day and then you can go back to your own home and relax.
  2. Stay home – I know it’s radical but if you have to do it then stay home and do what’s best for you and your family.
  3. Me time – I think that this is an absolute must. Take time for just you whether it’s reading a book, taking a long hot bath, or get out for a cup of coffee with a girlfriend.
  4. Don’t have the party at your house – for me this causes more stress on myself and my immediate family because of all the work that it involves and the stress of making sure that everything is perfect. Let someone else throw the party and you just go and enjoy it.

I know that I’ll be taking some of my own advice this year! With at least 4 family gatherings to attend this holiday season I’ll need some me time at home… with a glass of wine!

So how do you survive the holiday season with your family? Join the conversation on BlogHer and share your thoughts with everyone and while you’re there enter to win the $250 sweepstakes!