Keratin Treatments are the Best

@zicococonut Water allowed me to complete a life list item! What a cool experience! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis post was brought to you by the makers of ZICO Coconut Water.  I received compensation to write this post through the #CrackLifeOpen program. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Most campaigns that bloggers participate in are geared towards promoting a product or service. Very few actually encourage you to make positive life changes.  I have greatly enjoyed working with ZICO Coconut Water on their #CrackLifeOpen campaign. Through the campaign, they encourage not only myself, but also my readers, to create a Life List. Life List items are small changes you can make to live a better life. You can read my Life List here. But they took it a step further. Once my Life List was written, they made it possible for me to complete one of these items! So cool! Yes, of course you should run out and buy ZICO Coconut Water – especially the chocolate (yum!). It is great for hydration and is high in potassium. But you should also look at your list and actually make some changes! It feels amazing.

Frizzy hair! This is why I put a Keratin treatment on my @zicococonut Life List. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI looked at my Life List and tried to figure out what would make the most positive impact on my life right now. To some it may seem frivolous, but I decided on the Keratin hair treatment. Up until a few years ago, I did my hair every morning. That meant that I showered, blow dried and flat ironed my hair. Every morning. I know that most women do this but my hair is really thick and blow drying takes forever. Getting ready meant that I spent about an hour and a half.  And somewhere along the line (I truly think it was my oldest starting school) I stopped doing my hair.  But I never felt good about it. My hair has lots of natural wave, which I actually like.  But my hair also has TONS of frizz.  Leaving my hair to air dry saved me lots of time, but I never felt polished. And by mid-afternoon, my hair just went up in to a bun to hide it. Lately, even my bun was looking frizzy and I was feeling really down about my hair.  I felt like the blow drying and styling just contributed to the demise of my hair so I reserved those things only for days when I had events where I had to look my best of might end up in a photo.  A little vain, I suppose.

Before my "life list" item: Wavy, frizzy hair that I need to hide under a hat. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe frizz surrounds the entire crown of my head.  On sunny days, I can hide it with a hat but most days it’s just there for all to see. It really bothers me. I know that our flaws stand out way more to us than other people but we all want to look our best. So when I met my good friend, Carole, for dinner a few weeks ago I finally knew that the Keratin treatment had to be done. Her hair was glorious. It looked so healthy and she had done nothing to it to get it to look that way.  Other than a Keratin treatment. So I called her gal and booked my appointment. 

I participated in a campaign by @zicococonut where I got to complete one of my "life list" items. I'm so grateful! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI was giddy with excitement in the week leading up to my treatment. I literally couldn’t sleep thinking about how awesome it was going to be.  And then I would get all anxious.  What if my hair rejected it?!  What if I pay the money and it doesn’t really work?!  But I had to try it out and see if it would be as life changing as I thought it would be. 

The things you do for beauty...#ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe things you do for beauty, am I right?  The Keratin process is really simple. They clean your hair really well to remove any residue. Then they comb through the special sauce. These glasses were for during the blow dry portion and meant to keep your eyes from stinging if they are sensitive to the solution.  I felt ridiculous but I just knew it would be worth it for the final results. 

Getting a Keratin hair treatment was truly life changing! @zicococonut #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThere was no down time with the solution at all.  Once it is applied, they blow dry your hair and then flat ironed. The flat ironing activates the solution and it works its magic. It took about an hour and a half for the whole process from start to finish. 

After my Keratin Hair Treatment!! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis was me immediately following the treatment. There are still some flyaways, but my hair felt like silk! Your hair always looks amazing after leaving the salon so the real test would be the following day after my first shower.

After the Keratin hair treatment! No frizz! No product! No blowdrying! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comDay 2! Sorry for all the car selfies but these were taken while out running errands. Holy, life changing! That morning, I rinsed out the treatment, conditioned and then did NOTHING else! No product, no blow dry, nothing! I felt amazing! I felt so much more polished than I usually do. This was the wash and wear look that I had been wanting forever! I am so glad that ZICO Coconut Water inspired me to complete this item from my Life List. While this is a somewhat temporary fix (it should last about 3 months) and the frizz will slowly start to come back, I know that this is something that I will be budgeting for in the future.  If that means I have to give up clothes shopping or a house cleaner, I’ll do it. The confidence that having my hair look good brought me that didn’t take me forever to do, was amazing. I didn’t realize I felt so bad until I felt so good. Where I used to be super bummed out about getting ready in the morning I’m now excited to. It has even prompted me to put in a little extra effort in getting dressed. Toni at Proper Hair (let me know if you need her contact info! she’s awesome!) will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me my first Keratin Treatment. 

My first pilates class at Reformer Fit in Dana Point. Crossing this off my @zicococonut life list! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comAND THEN! Since I was so inspired to start really trying to #CrackLifeOpen, I decided to complete another item off my list. I tried out my first Pilates Reformer at Reformer Fit in Dana Point! I have always wanted to try out these machines and thought that this might be an exercise that I really enjoy. I was right. I think I’m in love and I’m dying to take classes consistently. You engage a ton of muscles in each move but it is really fluid. It is more fast paced than yoga, which I need. And less high impact than running. Which I also need. My instructor, Dottie, was awesome. 

Trying out a pilates reformer machine at Reformer Fit in Dana Point. Inspired by my @zicococonut life list. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd look at my hair! So this workout was about a week after my Keratin treatment and still NO FRIZZ!  Usually during and after exercise my hair would be fuzzy and unruly all around my face. But not anymore! And once we were done, I took it out of the bun and kind of shook it out. Done. Still the best thing I have ever done!

@zicococonut Premium Coconut Water encourages you to create a "life list" of small changes you can make to live a more purposeful life! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI don’t think I was fully prepared for making one pretty small change having a big impact on my life. It really made me realize how important having and revising a Life List really is. As things are crossed off, I plan on adding new things. And I am going to continue to make the time to complete items.  I am trying really hard to leave my cell phone at home when I walk the boys to and from school, but I’ll be honest, I’ve slipped up on that one a few times. But mostly I am thankful to ZICO Coconut Water for a campaign that encourages living better lives. I’m proud to be a part of their campaign!

So what changes have you completed from your Life List?

Share a few items on your Life List with @ZICOCoconut on InstagramTwitterFacebook, use the hashtag #CrackLifeOpen and you may even be in for a special surprise!  

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestStumbleUponShare

Pancake Mountain Dance Party with The Bots

Headed to a Pancake Mountain Dance Party in Los Angeles. A few weeks ago my family did something super awesome. We headed to Los Angeles to be part of a super fun Pancake Mountain Dance Party featuring The Bots. You probably aren’t familiar with Pancake Mountain but you totally should be. Now being created in conjunction with PBS Digital Studios, Pancake Mountain is the coolest music and variety show for kids.  The show is lovingly hosted by a puppet goat, named Rufus Leaking. He’s quite a character. We’ve been fans of the show for years and have several of the DVDs they used to produce.  What drew me to the show in the first place was the fact that they don’t dumb down music for the kids but introduce them to some rad bands and musicians. And they encourage creativity and individuality and fun. And the dance parties! They throw dance parties, with fantastic bands (past dance parties have included Tegan and Sara, and King’s of Leon) and get the kids up on stage right in on the action. Once they moved their studio to Los Angeles, I knew that at some point, we would need to check out one of these dance parties. 

Pancake Mountain Dance PartyIf you are local, sign up on their mailing list to find out about their upcoming events or dance parties. We had a blast and my husband and I ended up dancing along with the band too! It was such an awesome afternoon. I will be adding a link to the video as soon as it is ready! 

Behind the scenes of a Pancake Mountain dance party with The Bots. We hung out in the studio while the production crew set up and The Bots warmed up and did a sound check. I loved that my kids got to see this. It was an awesome experience for them. And The Bots are awesome. These LA based brothers are young and they rock. I was super impressed with their playing, lyrics and professionalism. I loved that my boys got to see these kids (I can call them that because I am almost 40) living out a dream, playing music and putting out albums at such a young age. 

Trying on costumes for the Pancake Mountain Dance Party. And then the boys got to try on some costumes from the prop room. Pancake Mountain features a cast of characters that are talented and funny. My oldest got to try on the glittery top hat of “Captain Perfect.” He was excited. 

The Bots band with the boys at the Pancake Mountain Dance Party. It was a pleasure to get to spend the afternoon with The Bots. Now go check out their music. And follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Check out the Pancake Mountain trailer here:

And then subscribe to their You Tube Channel so you don’t miss a segment!  And sign up for their mailing list so you can attend the next dance party! We had a blast!

Follow Pancake Mountain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

DIY Family Reminder Chalkboard

DIY Family reminder chalkboard to keep you organized. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.com*This post is sponsored by Martha Stewart Crafts® via Blueprint Social.  All opinions, thoughts, craft errors, chalk hands and paint stained floor are my own.

I am a list maker. I literally write everything down so I don’t forget it.  But the problem is, I’m also a stacker/straightener.  Do you know what that is? It’s where I straighten things up by making stacks.  Which means I bury my to-do lists.  So I wanted a way to be able to leave out family reminders so we don’t forget things as we head out the door in the morning. DIY chalkboards are not new. But I wanted to do mine a little bit differently.  I wanted it to sort of blend in with our decor a little bit, a little more arty.  And I also wanted something that wasn’t totally permanent in terms of what it says. I like to use things in multiple ways. I figured out that Chalkboard Paint would be the perfect thing to use.

Martha Stewart offers great chalkboard paints and liquid chalk paint to use with their adhesive stencils. #ad #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewartCrafts // cupcakesandcutlery.comMartha Stewart Crafts® has these awesome products out that worked perfect for my project.  The color options for the Martha Stewart Crafts® MultiSurface Chalkboard Paint are amazing! While of course the traditional, dark chalkboard color is classic, I was excited to play around with some of these other colors. And they work on any porous surface so they are totally versatile.  And the Martha Stewart Crafts® Erasable Liquid Chalk is EXACTLY what this project needed! It goes on like paint, dries and doesn’t smudge, but can be wiped off with a damp cloth!  Totally perfect. The Martha Stewart Crafts® Adhesive Silkscreen Stencils are made to work this awesome paint so I couldn’t wait to try them out.

DIY "Don't Forget" Chalkboard for keeping your family reminders right where you will see them. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.com

For this project you will need:

A wooden board

Black spray paint

Martha Stewart Crafts® MultiSurface Chalkboard Paint

Blue painter’s tape

A paint brush (I used a roller brush, but either will work)

Martha Stewart Crafts® Erasable Liquid Chalk

Martha Stewart Crafts® Adhesive Silkscreens
Use spray paint to add some interest behind your DIY chalkboard for family reminders. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comI laid out my board on a drop cloth and used the spray paint to create some lines. There is no rhyme or reason to how I did this, I just knew that I didn’t want it symmetrical.

Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comNext I taped off the edge of the board with the painter’s tape. I used a small roller to paint on the Martha Stewart Crafts® MultiSurface Chalkboard Paint in Oxblood.  I found that using a brush left the surface a little less smooth when finished but either is fine. I let the first coat dry for about an hour and then painted on a second coat. I let that dry and then did some touch ups where the board needed a little bit more paint. I didn’t prime this area first as I was fine if the black lines showed through a little bit.  But the paint covered it really well.

I then let the paint dry for 24 hours before priming it with chalk. If you don’t prime your chalkboard paint first, whatever words you first write will not completely wipe off. It’s such a bummer.  All you have to do is take a piece of white chalk, lay it on its side, and rub the chalk on the board. I did this in rows, first cover the board in one direction and then turning it one half turn so the lines were going the other direction. Then, using a soft rag, wipe it all off.  Make sure to do this outside. It’s crazy messy.

Liquid chalk paint is awesome when you want a note to stay on, but not permanently. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comOnce it has been primed, your chalkboard is all ready to use. I decided that although the Martha Stewart Crafts® Adhesive Silkscreens are super awesome, the letters were not quite the scale I wanted for my board.  I decided to free hand “don’t forget” and then use one of the decorative  stencils for a little extra fun.

Martha Stewart adhesive silkscreens are perfect for use with the liquid chalk paint. It goes on like paint and doesn't smudge. But comes off with a damp cloth. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe stencils work best if you rub them to your surface, concentrating on the area right next to the screen. Also, start with a light hand with the Martha Stewart Crafts ® 2 oz Erasable Liquid Chalk but make sure to cover completely. As you can see from the arrow on the right, I missed the tip. But once it was dry, I was able to wipe it off and redo it. I chose to use the Liquid Chalk for this part of the sign as it won’t change from day to day.  While once in a while I will probably change what the sign says, you know, for birthdays, holidays, special messages, etc., mostly I want it to just say, “don’t forget.”

Easy Chalkboard family reminder board. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comI really like how it came out!  While it may not fit in everyone’s decor, it goes perfectly with our aesthetic and vibe. The Oxblood even matches our carpet really well!

Family reminder board for keeping yourselves organized on your way out the door. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comWe now have a place where we can write notes to ourselves about what we need to remember each day as we are heading out the door.

DIY Family Reminder Chalkboard. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe smaller chalk works better for smaller writing so I’m keeping some right by the sign to make it super easy.

DIY chalkboard reminder board for the whole family. #ad #MarthaStewartCrafts #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewart // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd of course Ronald has to watch over it.  Forgetting to bring any of the things on this list, well that just wouldn’t be prudent.

The Liquid Chalk Paint from #MarthaStewartCrafts is awesome! No smudging and wipes off their chalkboard paint with a wet towel. Genius! #ad #PlaidCrafts // cupcakesandcutlery.comI also decided that I wanted to make a chalkboard area on a fabric lunch bag. Since my youngest son will only be in school a few hours a day, we will still be running a lot of errands together in the afternoons. I love to grab things to keep him busy and I know that if I keep a few “grab bags” ready to go, it will cut down on the time it takes to get out the door for our errands too.

DIY anywhere tote for kid's toys using chalkboard paint and liquid chalk paint. #ad #PlaidCrafts #MarthaStewartCrafts  // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis liquid chalkboard paint is kind of amazing. While I am sure the kid’s can rub it off if they really set their mind to it, it will absolutely make it through your trip to get your tires rotated, mail something at the post office or wait the 3 hours to see your doctor… I am also in love with this color of paint, Habanero.  And it didn’t make it in to this post, but I also tried out the color, Ink, a navy blue color and it is SO great!

A fabric lunch bag is a great back to school gift idea for teachers. Especially when filled with fresh flowers. I used #plaidcrafts #MarthaStewartCrafts chalkboard paint to personalize it. #ad // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd how cool is it that “Legos” easily wiped write off the bag when I decided the lunch sack would also make a fantastic back to school gift…

The Martha Stewart Crafts® Chalkboard Paint, Liquid Chalk and Adhesive Silkcreens are available at MichaelsIn addition to the new Martha Stewart Crafts® Chalkboard line, visit Michaels to learn about more new product, including Martha Stewart Crafts® Vintage Decor Paint!

Want to know more about the Martha Stewart Crafts® Chalkboard Paint? Watch this quick video from Martha, herself:

● Plaid Website: http://www.plaidonline.com/

● The Plaid Palette Blog: http://www.plaidonline.com/blog – The Plaid Palette is a source of inspiration with news about new product introductions, project ideas, tutorials from Plaid’s craft experts and giveaways.

● Newsletter: https://www.plaidonline.com/craftnewslettersignup.aspx – Sign up for Plaid’s email newsletter for special coupons, project ideas and more!

● YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/plaidcrafts – Plaid’s YouTube channel features videos with product demonstration, special seasonal projects and ideas from top Craft Experts.

● Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/plaidcrafts

● Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspiredByPlaid

● Instagram: http://instagram.com/plaidcrafts – A look into daily life at Plaid and project inspiration.

● Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/plaidcrafts

Google+: http://plus.google.com/+PlaidOnline

*I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Martha Stewart Crafts® and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own. http://cmp.ly/3/FdAzcC

 

Create a Purposeful Life with a Life List

*This post is sponsored by ZICO Premium Coconut Water but all opinions and thoughts are my own. Life List printable: So you can plan a more purposeful life. #ad #cracklifeopen // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you guys know the difference between a Life List and a Bucket List? I didn’t.  But that really didn’t matter because I didn’t have either type of list. If you aren’t sure how they are different, let me tell you.  A Bucket List is something you create of things you want to accomplish in your lifetime, like visit the Grand Canyon, or sing the National Anthem at a sporting event. These are big life experiences that you want to do before you die. A Life List, on the other hand, are those smaller things, that we can add to our daily life, to live more purposefully. Think adding exercise to get healthier, or waking up 15 minutes early every day to read the bible.  This list might also include things that you have always wanted to do, but the intention would be to live a better life in some way, like taking a photography class, or planning a block party so you can meet your neighbors and create quality relationships with them. As we go in to the school year, I thought it was super important that I take a minute and really think about how I can make my life better by making some small changes.   ZICO Coconut Water is inspiring people to lead a more a more purposeful life. #ad #cracklifeopen // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am in love with the new ZICO Premium Coconut Water campaign.  “Crack Life Open” is their slogan and that really resonates with me. So often we get wrapped up in our daily tasks and forget to really enjoy living. I’d like to think we can all find those small things, throughout the day, that are a positive moment – something that impacts our life in some way. I think living a purposeful life is a way to be more healthy. Not just in terms of exercise, or eating right, but really changing your mind frame on how you view things and adapt from change as well as what takes priority in your every day life.  I encourage you to really think about your day and see if there are ways to make some positive changes.  I'm creating a Life List to help guide me to live a better life, with more purpose.  #ad #cracklifeopen // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI REALLY enjoyed creating my Life List with ZICO Premium Coconut Water.  Do you have one yet? Here she is, in no particular order:

  • Leave my smart phone at home as I walk my kids to school each day. I can use that time to talk with them and help them plan their day. On the way home, I’m going to enjoy the walk and really just take a quiet moment to myself before the hustle and bustle of the day kicks in.
  • I know exercise is important but I just have no interest in doing the same thing over and over. I’d like to explore new options or ways to be active so that I can learn new things, work different muscles and perhaps find something that I truly enjoy so it won’t feel like it is a work out. Is that wishful thinking?  I hate to sweat.
  • I  want to get a Keratin hair treatment. This is not as frivolous as it sounds. You feel good when you look good.  And right now, my hair makes me feel messy. But I don’t have the energy to “do” my hair (it takes about an hour to blow dry and straighten – what? I have luxurious, thick hair…) every morning. But I want to come across as more polished to the people I meet on the days I don’t have an event that I have to get ready for.
  • I want to plan regular date nights with my husband so we can stay connected.  He has always been my best friend (since high school) and I miss him. Our busy schedules mean we are sometimes like passing ships and I want to make sure that we make time for each other and that he knows that my heart is with him even when he is working on the couch and I am sleeping.
  • I want to be better with menu planning and grocery shopping. I want to start a new system where I create our week’s menu based on sales and what is in season. Not only will it help our grocery budget but we’ll also be eating what is more fresh.
  • I want to make breakfast more of a priority for the whole family. In years past, breakfast time is when I get all my social media scheduled for the day. But I need to make a healthy breakfast for myself and family so we can all start the day off right.
  • I want to go back to reading magazines because I love them not to find inspiration or something project or blog related. I have always found tremendous happiness in magazines and because of mom guilt and mile-long to-do lists, magazines have almost become part of “work” for me. I need to get them back in to the “me-time” category. And I have two BIG Life List items that are on my heart. But it just isn’t the right time yet. I’m a mom first, and right now, my focus has to be on my kids, their care and what they need to live a fulfilling life at the moment. But I really help families live better lives too.
  • I want to create a project (a site? a book? a video?) based on helping kids see the creative careers that are out there and know that if there isn’t a job for something that they want to do, then they need to figure out how to create it.
  • I want to put on a big family festival. I won’t go in to details as there are not coherent thoughts here yet, more like one of those brainstorming cloud bubble things bouncing around my head.

Creating a "life list" with ZICO Premium Coconut Water. #ad #cracklifeopen // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com I am so grateful that ZICO Premium Coconut Water reached out to partner with me for this campaign. I needed the encouragement to create this life list. And now I will start to implement some of these changes. What changes are you going to make in your daily life to #CrackLifeOpen?  The fantastic Lauren of A Fabulous Fete made a printable for all of you so that you can easily make a life list too. Just download it and think about the changes you can make to live more fully!

Share a few items on your Life List with @ZICOCoconut on InstagramTwitterFacebook, use the hashtag #CrackLifeOpen and you may even be in for a special surprise!  

Download here: Life List Printable

The #FunnestSport with USA Swimming

Experiencing the top swimming talent in the US at USA Swimming Nationals! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis amazing opportunity for my son and I was made possible by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  On August 8th we were invited to the William Wollett, Jr. Aquatic Center to check out the USA Swimming National Championships.  The top .3% of all swimmers in the United States were here competing for a spot on the National team for the Pan Pacific games.  The level of talent in this one place, including a crazy amount of Olympians and those posed to be future Olympic stars, was insane.  We were fortunate to get an intimate look in what USA Swimming calls the #funnestsport. 

USA Swimming Nationals #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe day started with us getting a tour of the competition.  I mean, we were literally on the “deck” where only coaches and swimmers are allowed.  We were right in the action and I’m not going to lie, I felt like I was in the way a little bit.  I also thought I might end up in the pool.  But it was awesome to be able to share this with my son so he could feel the excitement first hand.  We got to see the determination on each of the swimmer’s faces and also the camaraderie between the other athletes.  As we learned throughout the day, although swimming is based on your individual times, it feels very much like a team sport.  And the abs!  There were abs every where! 

Checking out USA Swimming National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh did I mention we had a photographer following us around?  That wasn’t awkward at all.  Here’s me trying to look like a celebrity.  Or trying not to sweat to death.  Or looking at some abs.  You decide. 

Ready to sign autographs at the USA National Championships. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur tour included a look at the pavilion that is available for both swimmers and spectators.  The pavilion was a place to find food, a full swim shop for any swim equipment needs and also a places for the athletes to sign autographs.  Remember this event featured a bunch  of swimming super stars.  O took his turn at the table…

Learning about swimming as a sport and how fantastic USA Swimming is. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOne of the coolest parts of the day was getting to chat with 12 time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres.  Not only is she freaking gorgeous, she’s crazy inspiring, amazing athlete and an all around nice person.  It was really special that she gave us some of her time to talk about her swimming experience.  She also told us a little bit more about SwimToday.org.  While my area is full of swim teams, other areas, especially in other parts of the country, they are not so easy to find.  SwimToday.org is the place to go to find one in your area.  Dara reinforced the idea of swimming being very similar to a team sport.  It’s also much easier on the body than sports like football.  And your kids don’t sit on a bench, they are always participating.  Dara has gotten involved in spreading the word about swimming as she feels that it is a a sport that often gets overlooked but teaches kids so many positive qualities.  We also got a chance to talk to Mary Gen Ledecky, mom to Katie Ledecky, swimming superstar.  At 17, Katie is an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder.  We got a chance to find out what it’s like to parent an Olympic athlete and again, she talked about how the swimmers really feel more like family than opponents. 

Swimming selfie! #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then it was time for a selfie. 

Swimming with Olympic medalist Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe the kids were treated to a little time in the pool with Dara.  An absolute once in a lifetime moment to get to swim with an Olympic swimmer.  

Swimming lessons with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t say enough about Dara.  She was truly amazing.  She was funny and so kind with the kids.  She gave them little drills to do and then had them race.  The coolest. 

Pool time with olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd right on the other side of the practice pool where the kids were playing, the National Championships went on.  The entire experience was amazing.  It is not an event I will soon forget.  And although I am not sure my son fully grasped just how cool this experience was, even he commented about it feeling pretty special. 

Swimming with Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. #sponsored #funnestsport #momtrendsswim // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThank you Dara, USA Swimming and MomTrends for showing us a really cool look at swimming.  To find a swim team near you, be sure to check out SwimToday.org.

*This post was sponsored by MomTrends and USA Swimming.  All opinions are mine. But the facts are real. And swimming just might be the #funnestsport.

Photos 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 are mine

Photos 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 are courtesy of Mike Lewis (check out his portfolio!! AMAZING!) for USA Swimming