Health

Playing some sexy games with your partner is an easy way to let go of your inhibitions, get to know each other better and, maybe, even learn a thing or two about yourself. So plan to spend some personal time together and have fun. Your love life will thank you!

1. 30 Seconds

In this wildly sensual teasing game you’ll have just 30 seconds to give each other as much pleasure as possible. What makes it fun is the fact that usually it isn’t enough, which turns out to be a good thing because now it’s your turn. You’ll find that you both need multiple turns, as you’re not allowed to give directions or help in any way.

Toy Ideas: Heartbreaker  |  Scout


2. Mirror, Mirror

Start off by doing something to your partner that you enjoy. They will then repeat that same move on you and vice versa. This game is not only about discovering what pleases your lover, but also about helping you uncover new sensations that you didn’t know you liked.

Toy Ideas: Pocket wonder wand  |  Double impact


3. Lights, camera, action!

Becoming very trendy in the last several years, sensual videos bring new and exciting atmosphere into the bedroom. Plus, you’ll have an intimate recording that you can enjoy again and again. Let your imagination soar and experiment with decorations, costumes, and toys.

Ideas: Ruffle babydoll and panty set  |  Lasso love ring


4. Hot & Cold

This sensory deprivation game is one of the most erotic games to try. You will need a couple of toys with different textures and two bowls of water – hot and cold. Start the game by blindfolding (and even tying up) your partner, then stimulate their pleasure zones by changing up the temperature and texture of the toys.

Toy Ideas: Caress silicone  |  Casper


5. Truth or Dare

If you’ve never played an erotic version of this game, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. Take turns asking each other naughty questions or daring to do kinky things, and you’ll surely uncover some fantastic things about your lover. You can be as wild, or tame, as you want. Just make sure to set some ground rules first.

Toy Ideas: Soft touch set  |  Double indulgence


6. Alphabet

In this game, you take turns tracings letters or even whole words on your partner’s most private parts. The trick is to only use your tongue when you’re writing and the receiving partner has to keep the eyes closed, can even be blindfolded for an additional thrill. To kick this up a notch, try adding a Finger Vibrator to the mix. Use it to stimulate one zone when you’re writing on another, it will make the guessing a bit harder by spreading the attention, but that multipoint stimulation will take them all the way to ecstasy.

Toy Ideas: Soft touch blindfold  |  Pleasure finger


7. Spin the Bottle

Remember the thrill of playing Spin the Bottle with your friends; remember how it made you tremble by giving you a chance to kiss that special someone? Well, now you can make the game even more exciting. All you need is a bottle and a large sheet of paper with a list of all your favorite caresses. Set a limit for each turn, as the list can be quite long. Stimulation of some erogenous zones can be tricky without specially designed toys, so feel free to bring them to the game. You know what we mean, right?

Toy Ideas: Petite Treats  |  Silicone P-spot vibe


8. Stark Naked

To play this game you need a radio or your music collection with a shuffle function. Take turns guessing the singer’s gender for the upcoming song and whoever gets it right, chooses the position. Make it even more exciting by playing with a couple’s vibrator, which will really maximize the pleasure and double the fun.

Toy Ideas: blueMotion Nex 1  |  Unity


9. Hot, Hotter, Hottest

Have your partner write down on paper some secret wishes they have, then hide those notes around the house and make your partner find them. Looking for those notes can be a great foreplay, as you will be controlling the vibrator your partner will be wearing and the closer they will get to the note, the more rewarding you make the vibrations, so, by the time the seeker will find one, both of you will be really turned on for the main course.

Toy Ideas: Adventure remote control egg |  Love play


10. Roll the Dice

Make that popular game even hotter by taking it outside the bedroom. Roll the dice to see where the game will take you and how long the action will last. And keep a toy at every location to use for extra fun and pleasure.

Toy Ideas: Pink fantasy soft cuffs  |  Couple’s delight


11. First to Finish Loses

The goal of this game is to make your partner orgasm before you do…whoever holds off the longest is the winner. If you win, you get to guide your partner in how to use your favorite toy to give you an orgasm.

Toy ideas: We-ring  |  Eva


More toys and sexy ideas.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

My daughter wants to be the next Simone Biles. Yes, that Simone Biles. The one who brought home four gold medals in gymnastics after the 2016 Olympics and thrilled the world in the process. Suffice it to say my baby girl is driven, and I want her to achieve her wildest dreams. Of course, if this is going to happen my family has to prioritize being healthy. I admit that while the rest of my family does a good job of staying active, mama needs to do better so that I can be supportive and encouraging — but also lead by example. And like many families, we could definitely use some help making healthy food choices at home, so that our girls are prepared to make healthy food choices of their own.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America understands challenging it can be to do all of this, and they want to help families do better. Their Triple Play initiative is a comprehensive health and wellness program designed to give young people and their families not just awareness, but also the tools necessary to make healthier decisions.

Triple Play, which is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company and Amerigroup Foundation, is a program that focuses on three key areas: Mind, body and soul. The overall goal is to encourage participants to increase the amount of physical activity they engage in and help build a support network of positive relationships — all designed to help create a healthy lifestyle. Triple Play is currently available to 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs that serve more than 4.2 million youth in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Personally, I know that I need to increase physical activity. I feel better when I get up and move my body, even if just for 20 minutes a day, and even if I don’t admit to my husband that he’s right when he says it will help. Triple Play aims to help us all focus on the “I feel better when” mantra, so that we can make decisions that make us feel our best.

During the winter, my family doesn’t get outside often, save for the stray 70-degree day that reminds us Mother Nature has no respect for date or season. The rest of the time, we have to find ways to stay active indoors. My 3-year-old has this particular mission on lock. There is no piece of furniture she will not climb, bounce on, or jump off. She also spends a lot of pretend playtime as various animals and a ballerina — sometimes at the same time.

My older daughter has gymnastics. Even though she’s not enrolled in classes right now, she still uses the equipment we have at home to keep her skills on point. The rest of us have to get a bit more creative about it. My older daughter dances with me because she knows that’s my favorite way to move, and my husband uses the every room and every surface to exercise — from the counters in the bathroom to the door frame of the laundry room.

When it comes to meals, we have to be even more thoughtful. Old habits die hard, and one of mine is eating convenience food. We are constantly working to include fresher foods and more vegetables and fruit in our routine.

In addition to providing support for kids, Triple Play also provides a guide for parents, with step by step details for making good choices all the time.

So what about you? What do you do to keep yourself and your family active?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the American Cancer Society. All opinions are mine alone. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American Cancer Society. #Th3Fight #ad #CollectiveBias

As a parent, there is little that feels worse than being completely helpless when your child is hurting. And yet that is precisely the place my husband and I found ourselves in back in 2010 when our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia.

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The process began innocently enough. She had a cold that took a little too long to clear, and swollen lymph nodes that just wouldn’t go away. Her pediatrician told us to keep an eye on her, and bring her back if things didn’t look better in a week. Within that week, she tripped over a baby gate, sprained her ankle and developed a swollen lymph node on — of all places — her head. A lymph node that an ER doctor told us was just a cosmetic problem we shouldn’t worry about.

But I knew my daughter, and I knew she didn’t seem like herself. She’d been sick for weeks, and I wanted to know what was wrong. So I took her back to her pediatrician, who asked to do some blood tests. Within minutes, she came back with words that scared me probably more than anything else ever has in my life — she thought my daughter might have leukemia. She didn’t even let us go home. She immediately called our nearest children’s hospital and had them send an ambulance to come get us.

Once the doctors confirmed her diagnosis and admitted her, we were left to figure out life now that cancer had come calling. Think about this:

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, after heart disease, and it accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. One. In. Four. Those numbers mean that in 2016 in the U.S., there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 cancer deaths.

The weight of that knowledge really hit us when she was diagnosed. But we had to find our “new normal” somehow.

More than six years later, I am so happy to say that we did find that new normal, and my beautiful daughter, shown below with her little sister, is 6 years cancer free.

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Through it all, my daughter was a fighter. She maintained a positive attitude and remained inquisitive and curious about her treatments, and she really was an inspiration to my husband and I. She rarely complained, and she was stronger than I think I could ever be if the roles were reversed. Now, she’s a competitive gymnast who continues to fight for an amazing life.

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Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas knows a thing or two about fighting. He fought and survived testicular cancer. If you didn’t know that (I didn’t either), that’s because he had been very private about his battle. But now, he’s working with American Cancer Society as a global ambassador and going public with his story in hopes of helping other cancer fighters and survivors. And his experience sparked the idea to create The Fight, an empowering song celebrating survivorship.

The first time I listened to this song, it brought tears to my eyes. I love the idea of an anthem that honors and celebrates the seriousness of cancer along with the joy of surviving.

You can join The Fight too. Download the song from iTunes. Proceeds from the sale of this song benefit the American Cancer Society. You can also learn more about Taboo’s own fight.

The American Cancer Society has made a commitment to raising awareness about the prevention and early detection of cancer. In addition to their prevention efforts, they are invested in researching cancer causes and treatments. They are currently funding more than $420 million in cancer research grants, and they have invested more than $4.3 billion in cancer research since 1946.

The truth that many of us have been or will be touched by cancer, either directly or indirectly. Download The Fight from iTunes to honor the fighters in your life, or just to help make sure that the American Cancer Society can continue to do the work.

Disclosure: Hello Products has provided me to with product to facilitate this review, along with compensation for my time and effort in creating this content. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Juliza is going through a phase. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one when your toddler turns from a cute, cuddly ball of love into a tiny dictator who has found her voice and knows how — and when — to use it to maximum effect. This dictatorship doesn’t take a break, either. From the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to sleep, she’s telling us all what to do, and what she is and isn’t going to do. Apparently, when I prayed for patience, God decided to give me an endless supply of situations in which to practice being patient.

This pattern holds true when we go to brush our teeth in the morning. Since before Juliza turned two, we’ve been brushing our teeth together in the morning. At first, this involved me physically brushing her teeth for her. Soon, it evolved to her “brushing” them herself. Notice “brushing” is in quotation marks. Because her idea of brushing mostly involved sucking the toothpaste off the brush. Then she decided that she didn’t feel like brushing at all.

I tried a ton of strategies for getting her to the sink:

I promised treats if she’d brush her teeth, from delicious fruit snacks to trips to the park. The snacks were somewhat effective, if counterproductive to the whole tooth-brushing process.

At one point, I let her brush my teeth first. That was fun. And by “fun”, I mean torturous, given my sensitive teeth and gums and our severe misunderstanding about the meaning of the word “gently.”

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Some mornings, I just held her between my legs and brushed her teeth with her kicking and screaming. Neither of us enjoyed those days, and we usually both ended up equally frustrated. That led to other mornings, when, not wanting to fight with a stubborn toddler, I just avoided the whole process altogether. I know. I know. Bad mommy.

Things changed quite a bit once we started using Hello products fluoride-free toothpaste. We are still not at the stage where she quite understands how to spit when she’s brushing, so we need toothpaste sans fluoride if she’s going to swallow it. Hello Products not only has fluoride-free toothpaste — it has fluoride-free toothpaste that actually tastes good. And yes, I tried it.

Juliza loves the watermelon toothpaste. And because of the style of the tube, which sits upside down when not in use for easier application, I can allow Juliza to squeeze it herself without too much mess. Because there are still messes sometimes, but not nearly as bad as I imagine they’d be with a traditional toothpaste tube.

So after all our trial and error, it appears that two things have made her finally enjoy brushing her teeth again:

  1. Tasty toothpaste that she enjoys using (thanks Hello!), and…
  2. Giving my baby dictator space to be a baby dictator, and reminding myself that this phase will pass eventually. And ice cream. Copious amounts of ice cream. For me, I mean. Because I don’t drink wine.

Don’t worry. She makes up for it with all this cute.

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Back in March 2004, my husband and I had been married for less than a year. We were still figuring out how to do the married thing and how to live with each other when the unthinkable happened: He was in a near-fatal car accident. He was riding in the backseat of a friend’s car when they were hit by a drunk driver less than a mile from home. And in a wild turn of events, NOT wearing a seat belt actually saved his life, because he flew away from the impact.

The accident turned our world upside down. He was in and out of the hospital for months because of complications from the accident and his subsequent treatment. We did, fortunately, have health insurance at the time. But he was hospitalized more than an hour from home each time — which meant that I literally slept at the hospital — often in waiting rooms — so I could be close. And after using my two weeks of vacation, I had to go to work every day, and I drove back to the hospital at night when I got off. All of this proved to be expensive. And health insurance doesn’t cover meals, gas, toiletries and all the other things you need when you’re living in and out of hospital rooms.

My husband, in the months after the accident, still wearing a neck brace.

My husband, in the months after the accident, still wearing a neck brace.

Adding insult to injury, a few weeks after my husband’s accident, my employer started offering Aflac voluntary insurance. Voluntary insurance that would’ve paid cash directly to us to help with the immediate expenses that we were incurring as a result of the accident and helped with the deductibles. Admittedly, if we had not been in that specific situation, I may not have considered applying for Aflac at all. I probably would not have understood the importance or wanted to deal with the perceived “hassle” that would’ve come with the paperwork to enroll. But our situation made it really clear why having voluntary insurance before we needed it was a great idea. So even though it was too late to help with the accident expenses, I signed up anyway, because I never wanted to be in that position again.

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More than a decade later, we are long past the initial panic that comes with dealing with an accident. But we are still dealing with health issues related to it, and we are still in a precarious enough financial situation that voluntary insurance like Aflac is still worth it. And now we have kids to worry about too.

Right now, most employers have an open enrollment period, where workers can review benefits offered by their employers and enroll in insurance policies that are the best fit for their current situations. If you’re a millennial, like me, you probably have a million things to worry about at any given time. We’re all trying to keep roofs over our heads and keep the lights on, and most of us know how easy it would be for one emergency to cause irreparable damage to our families’ finances. Especially if you have a health insurance policy with high deductibles and copays, as so many employers are offering these days. And yet, according to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, 14% of millennials would rather walk across hot coals than complete their annual benefits enrollment.

Trust me. I completely understand the aversion. But it’s worth it to review your benefits, or even speak to your employer’s benefits expert, if it means you can save up to $750 this year by making informed choices (like avoiding plans with high deductibles, if you can help it), and protect your future financial interests at the same time.

Think of my story as a cautionary tale. None of us wants to end up in financial ruin, completely out of cash, because of an illness or accident. It is worth the peace of mind to know that you have a backup policy that can help you directly when you most need it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central.

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I wish I could say honestly that my family and I have the healthiest diet in the world. Really I do. But the truth is that for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lazy cook with very particular tastes. So I tend to cook the same thing over and over again and rely on my husband — who is a much more inventive chef than I am — for variety. And while, as a general rule, I understand the need to have essential vitamins and minerals in our diet, I can honestly say that it’s unlikely we always get what we need from diet alone.

As a result, we try to fill those dietary gaps with vitamins and supplements as needed, and we usually do so with our favorite brand. Nature Made® is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand for many key dietary supplement categories.* They are the first brand we go to no matter what we need, from vitamin C and Echinacea during the onset of cold season to B vitamins to make sure we’re getting enough.

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Nature Made® is the brand we choose to help keep our family healthy, and we usually get them at Walmart. Because of their everyday low prices, we can stock up without having to wait for them to go on sale.

And the selection at Walmart is pretty impressive too.

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Nature Made® has a variety of vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) to help support nutritional gaps with your health goals in mind ranging from Digestive Support, Heart Health & Function, Energy Metabolism, Women’s Health and much more!† So regardless of whether you just need to replace some of the vitamins that might be missing from your everyday diet, or you want a supplement to help with a more specific need, chances are, you can find what you’re looking for.

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This time around, we picked up vitamin C to help us brace for the weather change that’s finally happening in Georgia, fish oil for EPA, DHA and Omega 3s, and melatonin to help us sleep better. And with a toddler who has only started sleeping through the night consistently in the past few months and the busy holidays coming up, sleep is an absolute necessity around here.

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Nature Made® vitamins and supplements: An easy, convenient way to help your body get the nutritional support it needs every day, whether it be to support bone health, immune health or energy metabolism (helping convert food into energy).†

Want to learn more about Nature Made®? Join their Healthy Habit Builder program where you can find motivation and get tips related to your specific health goals. You can also head over to the Walmart hub for a chance to win one of 60 Walmart gift cards worth $50 each (no purchase necessary).

*Based on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central.

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A few years ago, my health was in a pretty good place. I’d started paying closer attention to what I was eating and I had my sugar habit pretty well under control. I was drinking water more than anything else, and I lost a lot of weight. Then I got pregnant with my now 2-year-old, and I fell off my new lifestyle. I got back in the habit of eating whatever I wanted whenever the mood struck me. Now, I’m finally ready to start taking better care of myself again. So when I got an opportunity to try Nature Made Probiotics, I figured I’d use it to jumpstart my renewed commitment to wellness.

So why try a probiotic? And why Nature Made? Well, Nature Made® is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for many key dietary supplement categories*. It’s a brand my family and I have used for years for many of our vitamin, mineral, and supplement needs and bridge nutritional gaps, so it’s a name we trust. So it was easy for me to be sold on the idea of trying a new product category.

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As to the first question? Well, I’ve been interested in trying probiotics for years. I’m no stranger to digestive issues, and I love the idea that a simple, daily supplement can help me feel healthier in a way that will be noticeable on a daily basis. And Nature Made® Probiotics: Nature Made® Advanced Dual Action Probiotic has been clinically studied and provides dual support to both your small and large intestine for comprehensive coverage to help support digestive balance and healthy gut flora.† All that to say it is designed to make my gut feel a lot better than it has been in recent years.

I’ve been taking the probiotic for a few days now — two pills a day as recommended — and my husband has even joined me in my efforts. I have to say that I’ve already noticed a difference. I feel less bloated at the end of the day, and just generally lighter. I am sincerely hoping that with continued use, my experience will improve further.

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Feeling better in this way has encouraged me to try feeling better in other ways as well. I’ve begun paying more attention to what I’m eating and when. I’ve started drinking more water. I’d be lying if I said I started working out again, but let’s just say that’s at the top of my to-do list as well. Wish me luck.

If you’re looking for a way to jump-start your own health journey, you can head to Walmart to stock up on Nature Made items at their every day low prices. You don’t even have to wait for them to go on sale 🙂 For more information on Nature Made® vitamins and supplements that are available at Walmart, visit the Nature Made® Retailer Hub and enter to win one of 60 Walmart gift cards worth $50 (No purchase necessary).

You can also visit www.healthyhabitbuilder.com and join the Nature Made® Healthy Habit Builder program where you can get motivation and tips around your specific health goals.

Nature Made® vitamins and supplements: An easy, convenient way to help your body get the nutritional support it needs every day, whether it be to support bone health, immune health or energy metabolism (helping convert food into energy).†

*Based on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report – Pharmacy Times Survey.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

Say Hello to Hello Products

Disclosure: Hello Products has provided me to with product to facilitate this review, along with compensation for my time and effort in creating this content. As always, all opinions are my own.

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When my family and I embarked on this journey to make our lives as green as possible, there were a lot of things we changed. We switched to reusable shopping bags (though I admit I forget them in the car. A lot.) We ditched paper towels in favor of actual towels and cloths, and switched to toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper. We switched our cleaning and personal care products to ones made with fewer artificial ingredients. But one of the products for which we continued to buy a “traditional” version (as opposed to a “green” version) is toothpaste. This is not because there are no natural toothpaste brands. On the contrary, we tried a couple. But none of them stuck, because none of them tasted as good as what we were used to or felt as effective.

When Hello Products reached out to me about their full line of “Naturally Friendly” oral care products, I admit I was skeptical at first. Because I’ve been there before with natural toothpaste and even toothbrushes. But I figured what the heck. What could be the harm in trying them, right?

Well, I’m absolutely glad I did. Hello has managed to change my mind and my family’s morning routine, and now I can brag that even my toothpaste is eco-friendly.

So what’s so special about hello and their products? Well, here’s a brief list:

  • It’s free of triclosan, dyes, and artificial sweeteners. All sweeteners are naturally derived, and the corn-based sweeteners are made from non-GMO corn.
  • Their toothpaste tubes are BPA- and phthalate-free. Plus, they’re just well-designed and really pretty.
  • Their boxes are made from recyclable paper sourced from FSC-certified sources and printed with soy based ink.
  • Hello is made in the U.S., though a small amount of their packaging is made in Canada and Italy.

So how does all of that translate into finished products? Well, I love their toothpaste.

We received a variety flavors to try:

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I know what you’re probably thinking. That’s a lot of mint flavors. Don’t they all just taste the same? Well, they actually don’t. Mojito Mint has a kick that I imagine is similar to what an actual mojito would taste like. What? I’ve never had one, so I don’t know for sure. Pure mint is just that: Made with just mint. And it tastes like it. Supermint is actually my favorite flavor. It’s made with mint, spearmint, and peppermint.

What all three flavors have in common, though, is that they leave my mouth feeling extra, like extra, extra, clean when I’m done brushing. In addition to the minty freshness, my teeth feel really smooth — much more noticeable than when I use traditional toothpaste. Which means I have no desire to use traditional toothpaste again.

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And I love that there’s a fluoride-free option for kids. At 2 years old, Juliza loves brushing her teeth all by herself. The problem is that she still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of spitting out the toothpaste. Since we don’t want her swallowing fluoride, we need something she can use until she gets the hang of spitting. And she loves the flavor. Now, she’s only too eager to brush her teeth. Which I consider a big win.

Hello has already changed our mouth care routine for the better — so much that I’ll be working with them for the next few months to share how they’ve made our lives friendlier. In the meantime, you can find hello products at Target and Target.com.