Saturday, March 14, 2020

Support Sacramento Area Businesses from Home

ETA: With the new recommendations, it is more important than ever to help our local businesses!  Thank you for taking the time to visit this page and to support local businesses!

Hi friends!  We are in an uncertain time and I know that most people want to hole up in their house.  However, our local businesses are suffering due to the fact that people are too afraid to visit.  While looking on Facebook, I saw a GREAT idea that is a simple way to help your local businesses without even leaving your home.  All you have to do is go online to their website and buy a gift card.  Then, as soon as you feel comfortable, you can go get your meal, salon service, gift items, etc...  To take it a step further, I am compiling a list of local Sacramento area small businesses that offer online gift cards and I'm linking them here.

Please keep in mind that these businesses are owned by FAMILIES in our community who have to feed their children too.  The brick and mortar places still have to pay the rent and utilities for their spaces as well as the bills at home.  If you are able to contribute to them a little bit in this time, they will be so thankful.

Don't forget that this is also a WONDERFUL way to shop for gifts.  Easter is coming, maybe get your kids a gift card to their favorite ice cream or boba place.  Mother's Day is in a couple months, get your mom or wife or whoever a massage or meal at their favorite restaurant.  If you have a kid who is going to have a birthday, you can get them a gift card to a play place or a store to pick out their own gift.  There are also local store who have put their inventory online which I will list as well.  We have to ban together to help our local businesses!

Here are the businesses that have reached out to me or been sent by friends:

Imagine Play Elk Grove is offering 20% off gift cards.  They are an indoor play space for children.

Craftopolis Crafting Club - water marbling classes and events.

Flatland Brewing Company - 21 years and up, craft beer.  Gift cards and merch online or order beer online and pick up with ID.

Safe Space Bodywork - massage therapy.

LashesxGiselle - eyelash extensions.

Bloom Sacramento - beautiful farm to table floral arrangements.

Maycup by Yenisei - Elk Grove based makeup and beauty services.

The Kitchen Table - kitchen boutique, also offering curbside pickup.

A Seat at the Table Books - progressive, inclusive book store.

The Pomegranate Boutique - clothes and accessories for women, men, and children in a variety of sizes.

River City Sass - handmade wooden and leather jewelry

Kalani Kakes - island inspired desserts

Comic Crate - Comics for kids delivered to your home.

Tomato Alley Collective - Kitchen goodies and tools.

Baby Face Makeup - non toxic pretend makeup for kids.

Tough Little Piggies - soft sole shoes for babies and children.

Snug Bub - stain resistant expandable baby clothes.

New Glory Craft Brewery - 21+ craft beer gift cards and merch.

Ruby Dot Designs - Personalized gift items.

Beautigirl Esthetics - Rocklin, CA based salon.

Tanya Martin Skincare - Folsom, CA based skincare studio.

Harlow's Music Venue - 10% off gift cards to redeem at later.

Gather Studio and Market - Granite Bay, CA studio for arts and crafts with local makers market.

Sugar Coated Cupcakes - Elk Grove, CA home bakery

Bogle Vineyards - 21+ Clarksville, CA winery 20% off wine until April 1, free shipping for Bandwagon Members.

Little Chances - Woodland, CA children's boutique with gift cards and their inventory available online.

Green Gifts Elk Grove - delivers package free or refillable household and personal care products right to your front step

WaxBare Elk Grove - gift cards for body hair removal.  Use code STAFF for a discount AND to have your proceeds help supplement staff member income during slow downs.

Crystal Rising - Healing crystals, gifts, and accessories.

The Good Rub - Plant powered body care, use code LOCAL10 for 10% off.

Lodi Wine Tours - Limo tours through Lodi wineries.

Hoshall's Salon and Spa - Folsom, CA gift cards and products available to ship to your home.

Another resource is DapIt App where you can find local gift cards and purchase from the app.

I will be adding more to this list.  If you'd like to be added please leave or send me a link directly to your gift cards or online products.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Our Braces Journey with Surfside Kids Dental

Ever since my kids were toddlers I've been told by dentists that they would need braces even though their tiny baby teeth grew in perfectly straight and evenly spaced. As they grew older, the doctors were right and their adult teeth did in fact come in with little room and out of whack. To ensure proper jaw growth and development we decided to invest in our eldest son, 12, first set of braces at Surfside Kids Dental. With this commitment, it was super important for my family to choose an orthodontist that we trusted and whom was financially accommodating.

This post is in collaboration with Surfside Kids Dental.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own, as always. 

Having been to a few Sacramento dentists over the course of the years it has been a real challenge finding a practice that my whole family has loved. Personally, we've gone through many trial and error experiences to lead us to the right place. I am happy to say though we have finally found a dental home perfect for us! 

Here are some tips I suggest when looking for the best dental office for your family: 

1. The vibe. I know it may sound silly but when you are going to be spending a lot of time in a place it is necessary that you feel comfortable, your kids enjoy the environment and everyone feels at ease from start to finish. That includes not only the visual atmosphere but also the energy that the people in the office create. 

2. The doctor and assistants.  Being that these are the people in direct contact and treating your child, it is so important that you educated throughout all steps of an appointment and comfortable talking to them. Additionally, observe how the team interacts with your child, it's imperative that your child feels good and trusts them in their care.

3. The front office staff.  No matter how much you may like the doctor or assistants, if you don't vibe with the front office staff that is a red flag! These are the people whom assist with patient scheduling and whom deal with your personal information. As the front office staff are who initially set the tone for your visit, I encourage you to pay attention to how you feel when communicating with them. Personally, I look for professional etiquette with friendly, warm and relatable conversation. As organization is really important as well, I am always grateful when the office handles my insurance and billing matters with care and in a timely manner.  

We first went to check out Surfside Kids Dental after many of our friends sung their praises.  Upon entering, my kids loved the decorative beach themed office! There were many things for the family to indulge in the lobby like toys, TVs showing cartoons, computers, and video games.  They also have an area for complimentary water, coffee or tea. Oh, and we can’t forget about the massage chairs for the parents. The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable while being warm so that the kids are at ease. A small detail I loved is that the office has your child fill out a fun facts form to get to know them better. 

At our Elk Grove location orthodontic consultation, we had Dr Plewe as the orthodontist. He is a very calm and reassuring man. My older children do not like a bunch of fake friendly or hyped up energy.  Dr Plewe was friendly and made sure to get to know both my sons and never was abrasive or over the top. Another thing that really impressed me was that even though we had both of our sons checked out, Dr Plewe told me assured me that we were fine to wait on my younger son’s treatment and that believed in his case, everything may correct itself over time. I appreciated that we were not immediately pushed into a treatment case.  I felt like Dr Plewe wanted what was best for us, and not just to put braces anyone who may be interested. 

Surprisingly, putting braces on only took about 1 hour after the consultation and paperwork.  It was not a huge ordeal and they do it right in the office with all the other kiddos getting their teeth cleaned and check ups.  My son was able to watch the movie that was playing on the ceiling TV and wear headphones during the application.

Here is a video of our process:

Afterwards, they set us up with an electric toothbrush, flossers, toothpaste and aftercare papers.  My son was sore for the first few days after as he adjusted to having the braces in his mouth.  He should wear the first set of braces for 18-24 months depending on how well he takes care of them and how his teeth respond. 

I'm so happy that we got them done at this tween age before he had to consider possibly what his peers may think, or care too much about his appearance. From a mother's perspective, I felt so much ease that I was doing the best thing by getting him in easy for an orthodontic evaluation and moving forward a treatment that was best for him and his oral health. I can't wait to see what his smile looks like when we are done! 

If you'd like to keep up with our journey, I will be sharing a bit on my Instagram Stories. Follow me there to see our check-ups and any other dental related stories we might have for you!

An orthodontic consultation is always free of charge at Surfside, be sure to tell them “Ashley Newell said Hi” if you make it in! 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Park Winters Summerland 2019

Oh, the magic that is Summerland!  If you read my Summerland 2018 blog post, you know how much I loved the event!  I was so lucky to be invited back to the blissful Park Winters for an inspiring day of fun and networking.  Unfortunately, we had previously agreed to another important function the same day so I didn't get to stay the whole time but I'm recapping what I got to experience.

All photos are by Shannon Morse Photography and used with permission from Shannon Morse.  Shannon is a phenomenal photographer, check out her site for more amazing photos!

Of course, Park Winters was decorated in the most amazing fashion!  They have the most amazing event planners and florists set up gorgeous areas to sit and lounge in.  This year the theme was Summer Solstice and they appropriately held the event on June 21.  There were lovely tones of blush pink everywhere!  It was a dream!

For things to do, there was a market to shop from amazing local vendors.  There was also a beautiful flower crown making station put on by Farmer Hands.  An artist named Greg Galinsky was painting a canvas live.  The stunning Park Winters pool was available for swimming or living your best floatie life as well as lounging in cabanas, listening to the DJ, and grabbing a drink at the bar.

We had a delicious picnic style lunch provided by Nugget Markets.  They had sandwiches, veggie trays, fruit trays, charcuterie boards, and a variety of lovely desserts.  Coffee was offered from a coffee cart called Whole Latte Love Bar.  A variety of different drinks were available at different locations throughout the property.

After lunch, there was a panel of amazing Sacramento and Bay area influencers moderated by my friend Kachet Jackson-Henderson of The Kachet Life and also creator of The Blog Bloc.  We heard from Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting, Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella and Grove Haus, Tamryn Miller of Wannabe Fashion Blogger, and Will Thompson aka GoodThompson of GoodInc.  The panel spoke about influence, vulnerability, and the importance of being yourself.  It was informative and inspiring to hear them all speak!

In the afternoon, the Bar Baby Co mobile bar opened with their amazing specialty drinks.  Bar Baby is the cutest trailer and they are actually based of out Sacramento so I've seen them before.  They made amazing drinks to match the theme of the event.  I had the Femme Rising and it was delicious!  It also had a cute little empowering message included to read.  Boba Guys came and set up a boba bar which was so delicious!  And the Meltdown Ice Cream truck came to help everyone cool off with their classic ice cream truck treats.

On our way out, we stopped by another area with a different coffee truck called Lady Falcon Coffee Club and got their bottles cascara for energy for the drive to our family reunion.  It was delicious and tasted so much like tart cherries.  VisitYolo, Hotel Winters, and Davis Farm to School had a great Farmer's Market set up giving out delicious produce and there was a station to make your own trail mix.  Another great snack to give us energy for our trip.

Thank you so much to Park Winters and all the amazing sponsors of the Summerland event!  Summerland is one of my very favorite days of the year and I'm so thrilled to be able to attend!  I can't wait to go back to Park Winters!

For those who've asked, my dress is from Torrid and my hair clips are from Amazon.

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Summer Family BBQ

A couple weeks ago, my friend Laura and I threw a Summer Family BBQ for some of our blogger friends.  Of course, summer is a great time for entertaining and who doesn't love a BBQ?  Laura has a great backyard for entertaining so we put our heads together and came up with a great event.  Today, I'll be recapping the event for you.

We had many amazing sponsors for this BBQ!  I'm so grateful that they made this event possible for us.  As always all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

KimiLove,, Savvygreystyles, Eraeholland, Tomorrowsmom
ProbablyatTarget, FancyFixDecor, ThisMomsaDreamer, BlogAboutitAll


Of course, what's the most important part of a BBQ?  The food!  We were lucky enough to have Western Grassfed Beef as a sponsor for our event.  Western Grassfed is a local company based out of Woodland, California.  Their cattle is raised with no antibiotics or added hormones.  They are 100% grass fed and raised in an open pasture.

For this event, we decided on Western Grass Fed Brisket and hot dogs for the kiddos who don't want to eat brisket.  Brisket is a great cut for a crowd since it can be cooked for a long time and is relatively low maintenance once it's on.  For the BBQ, Laura's husband used a smoker to cook the meat.  He did a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to let the meat sing.  Also, once sliced brisket is great for feeding a crowd and pretty versatile.  It can be eaten on its own, made into a sandwich, chopped and added to a salad, etc...  The brisket was a huge hit with all our guests!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Photo by Blog About it All
We also served Western Grassfed Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs.  They are gluten free which is wonderful since we had gluten free attendees.  They were a huge hit with the young and young at heart!  We simply offered buns, ketchup, and mustard to go with them.  The kids gobbled them up!  We provided rolls, buns, chips, condiments, crackers, vegan dogs, and an assortment of water, lemonade, and juices.  We asked our guests to bring a side dish or a snack to add to the table.  It was a great way to ensure that the kids in each family would have something that their parents know that they would eat.

What goes better with delicious BBQ meats than some nice cold beer and wine?  We were lucky enough to get some beer from Flatland Brewing Company that paired so nicely with the smoky meat. We also had delectable wines from Rippey Family Vineyards,  crisp white since it's summer and people love a nice refreshing glass on a hot day and some bold reds to pair with the beef.
Flatland Brewing Co - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Rippey Family Vineyards - Photos by Tammy Le Nguyen
Our friend Nicole of Fancy Fix Decor set up the cutest lemonade stand with elements from Rod Works in Laura's backyard and we offered lemonade in a lovely dispenser.  It was such a big hit with the kids and felt so nostalgic.  We also had a cooler filled with bottled waters and juice pounces for the kids.  It's so important to stay hydrated in the summer!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

You can't have a party without some yummy treats!  We had two AMAZING dessert sponsors.  Joe Boy Bakes gifted us some amazing fika buns in three different flavors.  To go with those, we had delicious ice cream from Leatherby's Family Creamery and chocolate and caramel sauces to go on top.  This was a HUGE hit with all the kids!  What's better way to end the day?

Boy's Bakery Fika Buns - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Ice Cream Scoops and Sauces from Leatherby's Family Creamery

Photography and Decor
We were lucky enough to have Tammy Le Nguyen take photos for us!  We also had a gorgeous backdrop by Dani and Kayla Events with black and white gingham to match our theme and the cutest balloon arch.  We also had the cutest floral arrangements done by Fancy Fix Decor.
Dani and Kayla Events photo backdrop - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

Dani and Kayla Events photo backdrop - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

We knew that the adults would want to sit and chat so we really only needed entertainment for the kiddos.  We partnered with Astro Jump of Sacramento who hooked us up with the COOLEST bounce house ever!  There was a slide and a basketball hoop INSIDE the bounce house.  I felt really safe knowing that the kids wouldn't tumble off the slide into the grass or accidentally hit someone walking by with a stray basketball, it was all contained.  The whole process was so easy!  Their friendly staff is quick and efficient and the bounce house was a favorite of all the kids.
Astro Jump Sacramento Bounce House - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

We were so excited to have some great brands donate prizes to our raffle.  I think all the moms got to walk away with a prize.  Thank you to Rod Works, Amazing Lash Studio Elk Grove, Maverick Stacy Gallegos, and Imagine Play Elk Grove for providing raffle items!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

Swag Bags
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our amazing swag bags: Surfside Kids Dental, Random Olive, NewSongs School of Music, Popcornopolis, Allison Traverse Warren Realtor, Birds of a Feather, Danitizia Krystal Singh Realtor, Two Country Divas, and My Thrifty Sister.

Photo by KimiLove

It's always so nice to get together with friends!  What kind of get togethers do you have in the summer?

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

My First Speaking Engagement

Last month I was invited to speak at an event called Love Yourself Boho Brunch put on by Her Elk Grove.  It was my very first time speaking in front of an audience without the support of a panel.  I was really nervous but I figure through discomfort comes growth so I accepted the opportunity.  Here is my experience including my one major regret.

(Photos are courtesy of Cynthia Rodriquez Photography.)  

I practiced my speech time after time to myself and to the mirror.  I practiced in the car and at night before I went to bed.  I lived and breathed this speech and how I could convey such a huge concept such as loving yourself in a 5-10 minute speech.  I wanted to give the attendees value and a takeaway that they could go implement in their life.  I wanted them to be glad that they heard the talk and most of all I wanted to not waste their time because time is the most precious thing we have.

I spoke on how switching from a negative mindset to a positive mindset can literally change your entire life.  Now, I'm not crazy and I don't think that positivity alone can cure disease or anything like that.  But I do believe that when you believe in yourself and when you decide that you are enough, that gives you the strength to fight for what you deserve, to leave toxic situations, and to better your life.  I also believe that pushing away from saying negative things about yourself and shifting to be more realistic is the simplest and most effective way to love yourself.  For example, instead of saying "I look so fat in this shirt" you could say "this shirt is not right for me."  It's generally the same idea but shifts your mindset from being horrible to yourself to simply being realistic.

My hugest mistake for this event was not asking anyone to record my talk.  I have no video of the full thing.  I'm really sad because people asked me to see the whole video and I didn't have one.  If I had thought about it, I could have set up my own tripod and recorded it myself.  That's my biggest regret so if you are speaking or performing at an event, don't forget to ask someone to record it for you!

Overall, it was a great experience and I would speak at this type of event again.  It felt really amazing to hear that my words and story were helpful to other people.  When I entered the lifestyle blogger and influencer realm, I always hoped I would be able to make a difference in the lives of others.  This event gave me immediate feedback that I did just that.

Thank you to Haku and Wine for making me a custom flower haku (crown) for this event!  I love it and still have it in my house as a reminder of this day!

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