“Nothing’s built to last these days,” says my dad when I explain that I’m on my third vacuum cleaner in five years. Of course, it’s partially my fault for having 20 cats and a bad temper, but I’m not going to tell him that!

Thankfully, there are many options nowadays for dealing responsibly with our broken householdappliances. Simply throwing away your broken appliances is bad for the environment. But the truth is that broken appliances can be extremely difficult to dispose of in a safe manner. The components of many household appliances can contain hazardous materials or gases, and the many countries have strict guidelines governing their disposal. Improper disposal of household appliances is damaging to the environment and
can carry a hefty fine. So, let’s look at some other ways of responsibly dealing with your ailing appliances.

Repair It

Instead of disposing of your appliance, why not have it repaired by a reputable handyman? Many
problems with appliances are minor and the repairs are relatively inexpensive. Why buy a new appliance if the old one just needs a new wire or a simple repair? A company like Service Force, for instance, has more than 500 approved engineers and can offer free quotes online!

Even better, try not to let it get to the broken stage by having your appliance serviced on a regular basis? This may sound like a bit of a lecture, but regularly servicing and looking after your appliances is the best way to keep them running for years without any major problems. If you put in the effort, you’ll get the extra mileage. It is highly advisable to buy and keep the Highest Rated Power Tool Combo Kits at home as they are extremely handy and as they can even be used often at home for the smallest of repairs. Good bench grinder is a reasonable investment as well.

Recycle It

Many household appliances have some parts that can be recycled. The downside? This involves not just knowing what materials make up the parts, but and having a lot of time on your hands to dismantle the appliance piece by piece. This suggestion won’t be practical for the vast majority of people, but it’s worth mentioning if you’re the type who likes taking things apart.

Return It

Many manufacturers have a system for the return and/or proper disposal of their products. Call the manufacturer of your appliance and find out if they run such a program or if they can recommend a local disposal center. Beware, however, that the cost of returning the item could be very expensive depending on the type and size of appliance. Find out if their return program includes free return shipping or local pickup.

Sell It

We are talking about broken or outdated appliances here, but you might be surprised how many people are interested buying your old junk! Of course, many of people who would be interested in buying it are also people who may know a thing or two about the appliance and may be able to salvage it or some of the parts for repairs. The bottom line: Your junk could be somebody else’s treasure. Post it on Craigslist, the Facebook Marketplace or one of the many apps available for selling local items. You might get lucky.

Donate It

Many organizations repurpose all kinds of old and broken appliances and use them for a good cause. Contact local charities and non-profit organizations to see if they have any use for your broken appliance. Do make sure they understand that the item is not functional and would need to be repaired or used for parts.

So, before you chuck out that broken down microwave or dodgy drier, have a think about the best,
most responsible option before buying new!

I share a lot of photos of my daughter. A lot. And while I do love shooting photos of her because she’s gorgeous, I promise that’s not the only reason I do it. I take hundreds of photos of her every week because she is a brand rep.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a brand rep is a person who represents your brand online by providing high-quality photos wearing or using your products and sharing them with their own followers.

If you are a business owner who is struggling to get high-quality photos of your products, keep reading.

I got Juliza started brand repping about a year ago, and it is very different from the blogging model I was used to. In my previous interactions with brands, unless we had an agreement beforehand or they contracted and paid me, there was never a guarantee that I would post about any products they sent to me. They were taking a chance in hopes that I would, like many brands and businesses do with influencers, or they’d just pay for the privilege if they wanted guaranteed exposure.

Many small businesses can’t afford to send free products to influencers in hopes of getting a social media or blog post in return, or they’re not willing to take that risk. Brand repping removes much of that risk.

How Does Brand Repping Work

Instead of randomly sending product to influencers, brand repping allows brands to form a relationship with a rep, or even a team of reps. And when a rep takes on the responsibility of working with a brand and signs on as an official part of the team, we are promising to uphold our end of the bargain:

Reps get free or steeply discounted products in exchange for high-quality photos of those products in use, and help promoting the brand.

|| PAUSE ||

Before million dollar brands come here thinking that you can get free photos out of folks by employing this model, please understand that the reason this works without a lot of friction is that we are working with small brands. We want to help the small shop community succeed, which is why we are willing to exchange photos for no promise of payment.

If you can afford to pay influencers to work with you, you absolutely should reward them for their time and effort.

How to Get Started

Working with brand reps isn’t rocket science, but there is a right way to approach it. The first thing you should do is head over to Instagram. This is where the majority of the brand rep community lives, and it is the best place to find reps to work with your brand, as you can easily see from their feeds whether their photography style fits your needs.

Start by searching hashtags for reps:
#brandrep  |  #brandreppin  |  #brandrepsearch  |  #repsearch

Need a step-by-step guide?

I’ve got you covered. I took the time to write a comprehensive eBook guide for small shops and brands who are looking to work with brand reps to get amazing photos that will help you grow. And it’s a steal compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you’d spend hiring a photographer.

$24.95Add to cart

For just $24.95, you get:

  • A breakdown of all the tiers of brand repping, and why all reps are not made equal
  • A step-by-step guide to hosting a rep search, so reps will come to you
  • Details on several other ways to find reps, if you don’t want to do a search
  • Guidance on picking a team that will help you grow
  • A guide to writing a rep contract, including a sample contract

This is an introductory price that is only available for a limited time! Compare that to $100+ or even $1000+ to hire a photographer.

$24.95Add to cart

Still need convincing?

Take another look at the photos in this blog post. I shot every single one for my daughter’s role as a brand rep. The brands represented get to use these amazing photos on their social media pages and websites to help sell their products. There are tons of other reps out there with similar or better photography skills.

A post shared by Juliza Ann (@julizaann) on

The photo above recently went viral, and as a result, the brand received tons of interest in her clothing and new conversions.

If you are struggling to get sales for your small brand because your photos are less than stellar, building a team of brand reps is a great way to get amazing images for a low cost. What are you waiting for?

Buy the guide for just $24.95 and save hundreds!

$24.95Add to cart

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I’m a sucker for good design. What can I say? I love products that are functional, obviously, but if they can also serve up a good dose of form, I’m sold. Many baby products are heavy on function, but leave a lot to be desired in the design department. This is why I love Urbini. We having been using their Omni travel system since Juliza was an infant, and we still use the stroller to corral her on outings that will involve a lot of walking — or a lot of shopping. So when Walmart asked me to review the Urbini Turni travel system, I was excited to give another one of their products a try.


The Turni system includes a Sonti infant car seat with a base, and a full-size stroller. Juliza is too big to sit comfortably in the car seat these days, but she was happy to pretend for the camera.


You can see that her head is right at the top of the car seat because she’s so tall. Anyway, there are some features of the car seat that I really like. First, the base is easy to install with a seat belt or the LATCH belt system. It literally took a minute to get it strapped into our van. Compared to the pulling and tugging I had to do to install Juliza’s current convertible car seat, it was a breeze. And the car seat snaps in easily and slides out with the pull of a handle.

The seat itself is well padded and offers adjustable straps that can move as baby grows. It can accommodate baby up to 35 lbs. While Juliza hasn’t reached the weight limit yet, her height means that she’s definitely more comfortable in a bigger seat.

As such, the stroller is what I was really looking forward to trying. Our previous Omni system had a unique setup. The car seat and stroller seat snap into a free-standing frame separately. The Turni has a more traditional configuration, with the car seat, sans base, designed to sit on top of the stroller.


Speaking of the stroller — I was not anticipating having to put it together. It came out of the box in several pieces, with the wheels and seat bar requiring installation.


For the front wheels, that was really easy. They just snapped into place. The rear wheels were a bigger challenge, though. One wheel came attached to the axle with a place to attach the second. To do that, I had to first remove a washer and “hairpin” in place on the empty end of the axle, slip the wheel on, then replace the washer and hairpin. Removing the hairpin was a challenge, requiring a bit of elbow grease and coordination, but slipping the wheel and washer onto the axle was easy enough. The biggest problem, though, was replacing the hairpin. I fought with it for 15 minutes easy, and it slipped out of my hands a few times and flew across the room. Which meant I had to spend another 10 minutes on my hands and knees on the carpet trying to find it.

Finally, I slipped a flathead screwdriver through the middle to open it a bit before putting it on. That helped just enough to let me slide it into place grudgingly. I almost gave up, and my thumb was sore for a full day afterward from trying to install it. Not fun, and I hope that there’s a way to make this easier in the future. Once it was finally in place though, attaching the rear axle to the stroller was simple.

All of that aside, I really like this stroller. My little one can sit forward- or rear-facing, and making that switch is really easy. I just have to push a button at the top of the seat and slide it into the position I want. I LOVE this feature! No. Really. The reversible shade can work either way, and it is huge with a ton of coverage.


Juliza was only too happy to try the new stroller, but she was a teensy tiny bit (read: very, very) mad that I took her out to try the rear-facing position.


In spite of her unhappiness at being told what to do — because toddler — I really love the ease of switching seat positions and the fact that I can have her facing me in situations when she gets overwhelmed by the environment.

The only feature I really miss from the Omni stroller is the adjustable handle. My husband is quite a bit taller than I am, and my oldest daughter is shorter. We really miss not being to adjust the stroller handle to a more comfortable position for our varying needs.

Juliza found the height perfect, though, since pushing is her favorite way to use a stroller. SMH.


Overall, the stroller is really easy to open and collapse, offers a comfortable and smooth ride, and has a cupholder for Juliza AND for me. That last detail matters. Trust me. The rear-facing seat can also lay all the way back and convert to a bassinet for small babies who are sleeping. The bassinet feature of the Omni system came in really handy for us when Juliza would fall asleep while we were out and about, so I can vouch for the usefulness of this faeture.

At $179, its an affordable travel system that offers great design, functionality and comfort. I’m really loving the Urbini aesthetic.


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When I was pregnant with baby Juliza, there were a few things that I knew I would need, without a doubt, to get us through the first few months relatively unscathed. Thankfully, I come with built-in boobs, and diapers and burp cloths were given by friends and family. But I also knew we’d need blankets and swaddles to keep baby comfortable and secure. I’ve always loved the soft, lightweight feel of muslin blankets, but with tons to buy for a new baby, they were a bit cost prohibitive.

Now, one of the most popular makers of muslin blankets, crib sheets and swaddles, aden + anais, is offering a new, affordable line at Walmart. I recently got a chance to try out some of the new Ideal Baby products, and I was not disappointed.


At first touch, muslin fabric may feel like it’s too thin to really be effective, and it doesn’t have any stretch. What I’ve found, though, is that it is super soft and comfortable against the skin, and it stays warmer than I expected, even during colder winter nights. Plus, the fabric is really breathable, so it won’t keep baby hot when swaddled.

Juliza is way too big to be swaddled these days, but I did get to try an Ideal Baby crib sheet and hooded towel.


The sheets come in fun patterns, but we chose the Pretty Sweet pattern, featuring hearts and a great pink and turquoise color scheme. Baby Juliza is not a fan of being in her crib, for the most part. But when I put this sheet on her mattress, she spent a few minutes just sitting there rubbing the fabric. Apparently, she thinks it’s really soft.

I was concerned that the thin fabric would be cold when I put her down after nursing her at bed time. Because of this concern, I usually cover her sheet with a blanket tightly wrapped around and under her mattress, so I never have to put her down on a cold surface. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the muslin wasn’t cold at all.


We also tried a hooded bath towel. I thought she might be too big for it, but it’s the perfect size for bath time — or for playing pretend with a “cape”. It is made of terry cloth with muslin on the hood, and it is soft and supple. Plus, it feels like the type of fabric that will only get softer after a wash. I can’t say for sure that this is the case, but that’s how it feels.


But by far the best part of these high-quality muslin products is the pricing. The sheets are just under $13, the towels are $9.99 apiece, and you can get a 3-pack of swaddles for just $20.

Next time I have to buy a baby gift, these are definitely going to be on my list.


Disclosure: I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of being a Sprint Ambassador, which means I’ve gotten to test a variety of devices powered by their network. I have been really pleased with the quality of the service, and I never experienced dropped calls or areas where there was no signal. If you’ve been considering a switch, I can honestly say that I’ve been happy with the service.

And now, Sprint is giving you an even bigger reason to switch: To celebrate launch of their new, faster LTE Plus network, Sprint is offering a whopping 50 percent off the price of most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rate plans.

That’s right. You’ll pay just half of what you would’ve with other carriers, on a network that promises to be faster than Verizon and AT&T. New customers can get a phone via Sprint Lease, iPhone Forever, installment billing, or they can pay full retail price. The offer is available for new customers who sign up through January 7, 2016, and the 50% off rate will continue until January 2018. Get more information about the offer.

Need another reason to consider Sprint? How about a giveaway?

Win 1 of 2 Sprint Phones!


Sprint has graciously provided me with two devices to give away to my loyal readers. One winner will take home the HTC Desire 626s from Sprint Prepaid, shown above. It has a 5-inch HD touchscreen display, runs Android™ 5.1, Lollipop, and includes an 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera. Sprint Prepaid monthly plans don’t require a contract, and they include unlimited data, talk and text. Mobile Hotspot is included on select devices.


The second winner will take home Sprint’s HTC One A9, shown above. This Google Android phone comes with a fingerprint scanner, which can be combined with Android Pay to make online shopping as easy as one click, along with a 13MP rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) to reduce shake. It is also one of the few smartphones with an expandable microSD™ memory slot, and it comes with Google’s Now on Tap feature, which allows you to look up more information about whatever is one your screen. For example, you could look up reviews for a movie your best friend texted you about, listen to a song mentioned in a blog post, or book a restaurant reservation from an email.

Want to win? Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below! The entry period closes Jan. 1 at 12:00 a.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My oldest daughter is a builder. She loves to take things apart and put them back together, or build things with pipe cleaners and tape, including huge elaborate blanket forts with multiple rooms, and doors and windows. I’m not exaggerating.

So when Walmart offered to send me a GoldieBlox play set, I knew she’d be overjoyed to play with a toy designed to encourage the part of her brain that loves to build. Plus, this feminist mama was only too happy to have her play with toys that were invented to empower girls.


She chose the GoldieBlox Girl Inventor Zipline Action Figure, because zipline.

It took Ja’Naya all of 15 minutes to put the zipline carriage together, and another 5 to memorize the process so she could do it again (and again) without the help of the instructions. That can be explained by the fact that it is designed for kids ages 4 and up, so at 10, she was able to grasp it quickly and retain the information.



The best part, of course, was letting the Goldie fly. And a week in, baby Juliza’s new favorite phrase is “Want dolly fly!”



My two girls have been having so much finding different places to anchor the zipline at different levels of slackness and different inclines, and they’ve even tried to make Goldie land in baskets and bags when she reaches the end of the line. The line has suction cups at the ends, and they’ll stick to glass and metal, but it can also be tied off to an anchor point if necessary.

It’s hard to capture a photo of the action, so here’s a very quick video of Goldie doing her thing:

Ja’Naya has grown a little bored with the build process because it is relatively simple, but she has asked for more GoldieBlox toys so she can build her collection of parts, allowing her to use her imagination to create whatever she wants. She tried making other stuff from the parts included in this set, but there aren’t very many, so there wasn’t much she could make.

Thankfully, Walmart does have other GoldieBlox sets, including a Builder’s Survival Kit with a ton of parts that can be mixed and matched. So on Christmas morning, Ja’Naya will find another GoldieBlox set from Santa under the tree, and we’ll add to it throughout the year.

And because I’d be remiss if I didn’t say: The age recommendations on these sets are there for a reason. Many of the parts are really small, and while Juliza didn’t attempt to put any in her mouth, she could’ve easily swallowed some of them if she had tried. She did, however, manage to scatter the parts all over the house, and it took us 30 minutes of hunting to find all the little pieces. The next thing we need to find is a box to contain all the pieces.

But we are now huge fans of GoldieBlox, and any kid who is a maker will love them too.



You may have noticed that I take a lot of photos for the blog in Baby Juliza’s room. There are reasons for that. First, it has amazing light during the daytime. Second, the decor makes it is my favorite room in the house. I love the bright, happy color palette, and Juliza seems to really like it too. So when Walmart offered to send me their Pinwheel crib bedding to try, I admit I was a little skeptical. I didn’t want to change the atmosphere of the room by introducing colors and patterns that wouldn’t work.

Lucky for me, Pinwheel’s bedding patterns are fun, trendy and modern, so it wasn’t difficult to find one that would fit right in. I chose the Sweet Tweet crib bedding set, which featured colorful flowers and birds in with pink and white as the main colors.


Juliza was genuinely excited about getting to put new bedding in her crib. I was just hopeful that her excitement would translate to her sleeping in her own bed all night.


The Pinwheel bedding comes in 3- or 6-piece sets from Walmart. I received the 3-piece set, which includes a crib sheet, comforter and crib skirt. I thought I would miss having a bumper pad inside the crib, but I didn’t, and neither did Juliza. However, there is a bumper available that you can buy separately.


The sheet is a little on the thin side, but it softened up a bit after washing. By far, the hit has been the comforter. It is soft and cushy, and Juliza loves snuggling up under her new “banket.” I should explain that she loves wedging her between my husband and I and crawling under our comforter, so she was only too happy to have one of her own.


This has made it much easier to get her into the crib during the day when she’s wide awake and in a playful mood, so cross your fingers that attitude will transfer to nap time and night time.

The Sweet Tweet crib set is on sale right now for $24.98 at, which makes it a thoughtful, cute, affordable gift idea for a new mom or baby. If Juliza could, she’d give it two thumbs up.


There is only one word that can adequately describe what December is like around these parts: Chaotic. In addition to the typical family-related running around after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, there’s also the fact that my blogging workload typically skyrockets and that I’m trying to wrap up graphic design projects for the end of the year. Add to that the unfortunate fact that at least one of us usually gets sick once the weather officially shifts to “cold” (except this year, it was all of us), and December is just a recipe for stress. As a result, I tend to shop online when it comes to Christmas gift-giving, because I have neither the time nor the desire to spend hours in a store looking for a great gift when I can just do it from my computer or smartphone.

So when Walmart offered me the opportunity to try out their in-store pickup service, I knew it would fit right in to my holiday shopping habits.


I like shopping at for one major reason: I can always find tons of items that aren’t available in store — or at least not in my store. This year, I wanted to get baby Juliza a puppy. Except — you know — not a real puppy because I’m not doing that again for a long time to come. I wanted to give her a Fur Real friends puppy. However, given that she’s not even 2 years old yet, I didn’t want one of the super fancy, expensive toys that she may or may not destroy. After all, her nickname is “Hurricane JuJu.” Nope. I just wanted a sufficiently cute puppy that did — well — something. Anything, really. Bark. Roll over. Pay all our bills. Sorry. Wrong list.

Anyway, had a bunch of Fur Real friends options, including a cute puppy that barks and bounces AND costs less than $20. So I added the puppy to my cart and choose the free in-store pickup option at my closest store. Once the order was complete, I received email confirmation and notice that I’d get another email when my order was ready for pickup.

The order wasn’t scheduled to be available until four days later, but it was actually ready in just two days — Right on time, because I was headed to Walmart to do grocery shopping anyway. I just picked up my order before I got started.

The orange in-store signs guided me back to the pickup counter in the back of the store.



There were a few customers in front of me, but once it was my turn, the pickup process was quick and painless. I showed the associate my pickup notification email and ID, she pulled my order, I signed for it, and I left. Easy peasy.

I do wish that there was more than one person working the pickup desk, because a long line grew behind me while I waited, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for those customers to have such a long wait for what should’ve been an easy pickup. But overall, the process was simple, and you can’t beat free shipping and avoiding walking around the store to find an item that a 30-second website search could find so much more easily.


And now, baby Juliza will have a puppy waiting for her under the tree on Christmas morning.