Best Family Hiking Trails To Consider

This is a guest post from my friend Lauren Webber over at the Enjoy!

Hiking is an amazingly healthy activity to do especially with family and loved ones. It has numerous health benefits such as strengthening the core muscles, regulating blood pressure, and lowering the risk of heart diseases. Hiking even aids in controlling weight – especially if you use sugar-free snacks.

If you’re doing it with family and kids, what could be a better way to bond in a natural environment free of technological distractions?

To get a break from the daily hustle of life, you can choose one of the following hiking trails that are also perfect for kids…  Continue reading →

Daily Harvest Review: Can This Smoothie Delivery Service Save You Time & Make You Healthier?


Smoothies are a big deal. In fact, they are now a $5 billion a year deal, according to Technomic, and are served up more than one million times each year. People love smoothies because they provide an easy way to consume a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables – and they taste great. With Daily Harvest, the smoothie market just got a little healthier.

Created by a busy mom looking to find simple and convenient ways to eat better, Daily Harvest delivers superfood smoothie ingredients to your door. With a mission of making fresh, organic ingredients – chiefly, fruits and vegetables – both accessible and convenient, this well-reviewed company delivers whole food smoothies, oats and soups to your freezer. Daily Harvest’s produce is picked and flash frozen within hours (rather than days or weeks, like some freezer-aisle produce) at its peak of quality, without adding any preservatives or sugar, to enhance nutrient density and flavor. All you have to do is open your freezer, add liquid, blend and enjoy.  Continue reading →

Which New Jersey Colleges Are Giving Students the Most Debt

Below is a guest post.

Jimmy Houghton is a CFP with three boys in high school preparing to enter college. As they seek to find the perfect schools for themselves, he urges them to consider the costs of attending each. Aside from his work, he enjoys writing about personal finance and blogging.

College graduates typically fare better in the job market than those with only a high school degree. However, as many high school graduates looking at colleges quickly learn, the cost of education is skyrocketing. By many estimates, the average cost for both tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 academic year was around $34,000 at private colleges and about $10,000 for residents attending state public colleges. Non-residents at state colleges spent an average of $25,000. Those are all national averages, but it can be helpful to look at the variances between schools within a particular state as well.

Even more so, it can be helpful to take a look at how much debt graduates actually have when leaving school, since the average cost of attendance doesn’t give an accurate picture of which schools are more generous with scholarships, which are in areas that are cheaper to live in, or any of the other variables that make a noticeable difference to how much debt you’re likely to walk away with. If you’re wondering where New Jersey stands when it comes to the schools where students graduate with the most debt, here are the top five.

Stevens Institute of Technology

First on our list is Stevens Institute of Technology, which is a private college focusing primarily on research programs in engineering, science, and management. Part of the reason this school is number one on our list of schools that give students the most debt might be because of the high cost of tuition. To attend SIT during the 2016-2017 academic year came to around $50,000 for tuition and fees alone. One perk, though: each incoming student is given a free laptop that is preconfigured with software specifically tailored to his or her major. While this is a nice bonus, we can’t help but note that it’s a one-time perk that comes with a side of large student loan bills for the majority of its alumni. Unfortunately, a high proportion of students also use private student debt, in addition to federal student debt, thus increasing the long term interest costs for students. About three-quarters of its graduates have both federal and private student loan debt.

Bloomfield College

The second spot on our list goes to Bloomfield College, located in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Tuition, fees, and other expenses for the 2016-2017 school year come to $29,000, which is fairly reasonable considering the cost of tuition both nationally and within New Jersey. Its graduates’ average debt is $47,000 and about 95% of its graduates have student loan debt. Bloomfield College is a historically Presbyterian liberal arts college.

Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University comes in third, with 89% of their students graduating with debt averaging almost $41,000. That’s significantly more than their yearly combined tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students, which comes to roughly $32,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year. GCU is a Catholic college founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Its daytime undergraduate student body was women-only until 2013, when the school became fully co-educational. Students at GCU attend the School of Education, School of Arts & Sciences, or School of Business & Digital Media.

Centenary College

Tuition and fees for 2016-2017 at the fourth school on our list, Centenary College, run $32,098 a year. However, a whopping 100% of their graduates have student loan debt (the highest on our list) and it averages $40,588 per person when their four years are up. Centenary is a small liberal arts college offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, and it is located in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Last on our list is the New Jersey Institute of Technology, located in Newark, New Jersey. Unlike most on our list, this school is a public institution, and in-state tuition and fees comes to an affordable $16,000. Non-residents paying out-of-state prices were charged almost double that, however, with 2016-2017 costs coming in at $30,326. This college is a public research institution with programs in engineering, business, science, architecture, and technology fields. Of the five schools highlighted on this list, it has both the lowest average debt upon graduation ($37,195) and the lowest percentage of graduates with student loan debt (62%). In fact, among institutes of higher education in the entire state of New Jersey, it has one of the lowest percentages of graduates with debt, even though its average debt puts it on our top five list.

An Intro to

Below is a sponsored post.

Basic Invite is one company that’s passionate about giving you an easy way to create and order custom invitations, cards, and announcements that look amazing. With limitless options, you’re able to create a card that’s unique to you and fits your style exactly. They give you the control to make customizations, so the end result is ultimately in your hands.

Their shop provides customers with a wide array of categories to choose from, so you’re sure to find what you need for any upcoming events. You can order your entire wedding suite from them (including save the date cards, invitations, and enclosure cards), you can announce your baby’s birth with an amazing photo card, and you can even send out modern baby shower invitations with their unique designs. They even offer invitations for other types of parties, thank you cards, and options for businesses!

To give you a better understanding of exactly what Basic Invite has to offer you, keep reading to learn more about some of their available products and what makes them unique compared to similar companies.

Custom Invitations

Get people excited about your upcoming celebrations and invite them with a gorgeous invitation. Whether you need wedding invitations, birthday party invitations, or baby girl shower invitations, Basic Invite has plenty for you to choose from. Customize your invitation to your liking and then choose the perfect matching (or complementary) envelope and deliver it to your guests. An invitation that stands out is sure to get them excited for your event!

Basic Invite also allows you to get creative with the design template you choose, as you can make color edits to every element on the invitation. They even have options for every event in your calendar, such as graduation parties, Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, and even baby shower invitations for twins. No matter what you’re looking for, Basic Invite is sure to have it!

Custom Cards

When it comes to cards for those important events in your life, you’ll find exactly what you need inside their online shop. They provide a variety of cards, including: holiday cards, graduation cards, and even baby shower thank you cards. If you do both invitations and thank you cards with Basic Invite, you can find matching designs to ensure everything fits the theme of your celebration.

If you’re preparing for a wedding, they even have designs for enclosure cards. If you need direction cards, RSVP cards, accommodation cards, reception cards, or registry cards, there are some great options for you. Think of Basic Invite as your one-stop shop for all your card needs! There’s no need to seek cards from another source, so you won’t have to worry about trying to match their design to someone else’s.

Custom Announcements

Need to make an important announcement? They’ve got you covered! In the Basic Invite shop, you’ll find templates for wedding announcements and also birth announcements. You can spread the news about you nuptials or your new bundle of joy in style with the help of their creative designs. There are a plethora of designs you can choose from, including many that allow you to upload your own photos.

Better yet, you’re able to customize each element of your chosen design to create exactly the announcement you had in mind. With so many color options and customizations to choose from, you can take their templates and make them unique to you. The entire process is much easier (and more affordable) than hiring a designer to do custom work for you.

What Makes Basic Invite Different From the Rest

When ordering from Basic Invite, you are provided with an almost unlimited selection of colors for your order. Whether you’re purchasing invitations, cards, or announcements, you can choose from a wide array of colors to create exactly the design that appeals to you. There are over 180 different color options to choose from, allowing you to change the color of each element on your design. This allows you to truly customize your creation so you can bring your chosen design to life.

They even provide over 40 different colors of envelopes. After all, the envelope your card is placed in is equally as important and should look great as well! With so many color options to choose from, you’re sure to find the right shade to pair with your design. This ensures your baby boy shower invitations, party invites, or other cards are exactly what you wanted. Each envelope is peel and seal, which is both quick and secure.

And, there’s no need to stress about what the end result will look like either. Basic Invite allows you to order a printed sample of the card you designed. This gives you the opportunity to see exactly how it’ll print and allow you to check out the paper quality all before you place your final order. By ordering a printed sample first, you can be sure you’re 100% happy with your design before placing a full order. If you receive a sample and you need to make some changes, you can do that easily.

You also have the option to use their free address collection service. It’s so simple to use. All you have to do is share a link, collect the addresses you need, and then you can receive free envelope printing. All of this is done through a stylish landing page that you’re able to create. It’s also safe, so your family and friends don’t have to worry about sending their personal information. This takes the hassle out of gathering addresses from your mailing list and makes the entire process stress-free for you! Plus, all of the addresses are saved in your address book for later use.

Whether you’re looking for custom invitations, cards, or announcements, Basic Invite is definitely a great place to turn. With all the design templates they have to choose from, it may even be a little difficult settling on a final option but that’s all part of the fun!

NYC Trip Planning Checklist

Hello ladies! In one week we take our annual family trip to New York City! We’ll be sightseeing, seeing a show, and visiting some relatives out there. The whole gang is excited to go.

Since I’m planning everything now, I figured I would share my planning checklist for anyone else who is going as well.

Hope you enjoy! 

Planning an NYC Trip

When you’re planning for a trip, there’s no doubt that it can be a pretty hectic and stressful time. You have to arrange for travel and accommodations, you may create a plan for what you want to do once you’re there, and you have to get everything packed and ready to go. There’s a lot of stuff to take care of before you leave and you still have to make sure you make it out the door on time.

If you happen to be planning a trip to NYC, we’ve got you covered with a few things you won’t want to forget about. They’re sure to make your planning and your overall trip go much, much more smoothly!

Start Planning Your Trip Before You Leave

New York City is a very busy place with a lot of sights to see. There are so many shops, restaurants, and shows to see that you will likely have a packed scheduled during your stay if you’re trying to fit everything in. To make it a little easier and to ensure your trip goes well, you should really plan everything before you catch that plane or train to the Big Apple.

So, are there any New York City hotspots that you’d like to see while you’re here? Make a list of all the places you would like to visit. You might want to do the touristy things like check out the Statue of Liberty or go to the top of the Empire State Building. You may want to dine at some of the city’s finest restaurants or shop at some of the best stores. A great NYC resource (and one of my favorite sites) is Gothamist.

No matter what you’re planning to do during your stay, it would be worthwhile to plan everything in advance. You can create your own itinerary and block off time for certain adventures each day to make sure you can fit everything in. (And if you can’t, it’s all the more reason to come back for another stay, right?) Also, if you hope to visit any popular restaurants, you will want to make a reservation before you arrive just to be sure you can get a table when you want one. And if you’re dying to see that Broadway show, secure your tickets prior to the trip!

Get a CityPass to See Popular Destinations

There are quite a few popular tourist destinations in New York and if you’re planning to visit any, you might want to look into getting a CityPass. For NYC, the CityPass has two options for visitors. You can get a pass that will allow you to visit six destinations, three of which will be chosen for you and the other three will be your own choice. This pass allows you to visit the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will then have a choice between the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum, the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The other CityPass option allows you to see three destinations of your choice from the ones listed above. It provides an affordable option for you to see some of the city’s most popular destinations.

Arrange for Luggage Storage

Do you really want to drag your suitcase, backpack, or any other luggage around the busy and crowded streets of New York City? Of course not! Instead of having the added stress of carrying your luggage around and worrying about it all day long, there’s a much easier option you should go for.

Be sure to check out my friends over at City CoPilot, they provide safe and affordable luggage storage for people traveling to NYC. So, let’s say you’ve arrived in the city, but there are still hours before your check-in time at your hotel or AirBnB. You don’t have to worry about taking your luggage with you everywhere while you kill time. You can drop off your belongings at one of their luggage storage facilities all over NYC. They have locations in the Lower East Side, Times Square, and Brooklyn!

You can feel secure knowing your personal items are safe in one of our facilities. Plus, you don’t have to worry about taking your luggage into stores or restaurants where they might get in the way or could be misplaced. Everything will be safe and sound in one of our locations for you to come back and collect later on.

Know How You’ll Get Around the City

While many things are within walking distance of where you’ll be staying, odds are that you will have to catch a a taxi or take the subway at some point. It’s a good idea to know how you’ll be getting around before you get there so you can set some money aside in your travel budget for transportation. You can choose to take a taxi cab, ride on the subway, or even order an Uber or Lyft. If you’re planning to use Uber or Lyft, you’ll want to make sure you have downloaded and familiarized yourself with the apps beforehand! On my last trip to NYC I hadn’t downloaded or used either app on my iPhone and had to spend 30 minutes setting it up so we could finally get a ride. Ugh!

You may also want to download a NYC transit apps to help you locate trains, find schedules, and more. It’s sure to make getting around the city much easier!

Let Your Bank Know You’ll be Traveling

There’s nothing worse than traveling somewhere, going to use your debit or credit card, and having it get declined by your bank due to suspicious activity. To avoid this happening, before you arrive in New York City, let your bank know that you will be traveling. Tell them which days you’ll be out of town and where you will be so they don’t flag legitimate usage as fraudulent.

Personal story… On a trip to California I hadn’t told my bank that we were traveling and they froze our card after we used it once! It was a real headache to figure out.

Pack Smart

And of course, you will need to get all of your belongings packed before you head out to catch your transportation to New York. In order to pack the right items for your trip, there are a couple of things to consider. What will the weather be like during your stay? Check the weather for the time that you’ll be in the city and pack the appropriate clothes for the weather.

You’ll also want to consider what you will be doing while you’re here. Do you have any fancier events to attend? Make sure you pack a dressy outfit that would be appropriate to wear. Also, if you’re planning to do a lot of walking, you’ll want to make sure you pack your most comfortable shoes so you can focus on just enjoying your trip and avoid any unnecessary foot pain.

And you just might want to leave a little extra room in your suitcase for all the shopping you’ll likely do during your stay!

How to Use Cold Emails to Find a Powerful Mentor


Search “why mentors are important” and you’ll find page after page of results detailing how mentors can help entrepreneurs avoid mistakes, learn the ins and outs of their respective industries, and make invaluable connections as they build their businesses. Cue the frantic onslaught of would-be entrepreneurs hurling emails at any high-level executive whom they hope might give them advice.  Continue reading →

Carpet Cleaning: What You Need To Know

Sponsored post

As someone who takes care of the housework for a big family, I can tell you that carpet cleaning may be the toughest to effectively do alone. Yes, I can wash the dishes, do the laundry, and even cut the grass (when the husband isn’t around). However, when it comes to cleaning the carpet, my stress levels go up. Why? It’s because it’s more than a chore. Taking out the giant carpet shampooer, buying expensive carpet shampoo/chemicals, setting everything up… It makes me tired just thinking about it! That’s why I’ve decided never to do it myself again and I have a special recommendation for all those out there who never want to be stressed out cleaning their carpets themselves again — Green Choice Carpet of New Jersey.

Green Choice Carpet of New Jersey is unique when it comes to carpet cleaning. How? Just check out their website and you’ll see. Everything is state of the art, from the tools they use to clean your carpet (which are professional-grade) to the way that they book your appointment. What’s more is that they have been in business for around 20 years (family owned). It’s this experience and dedication to their craft that has kept them at number one in the carpet cleaning world.

Unlike other carpet cleaning companies, Green Choice Carpet of New Jersey focuses on both cleaning and repair. As we have some pretty old oriental rugs that have been in the family for ages, their repair service can certainly come in handy.

What’s even more impressive is the fact that their prices are practically unbeatable. They are able to do this by creating an efficient workflow (not wasting any time while cleaning or repairing your carpet) and cutting out the middleman by not outsourcing their work. They note on their website that a portion of their staff are family members.

When it comes to carpet cleaning, a service that is very detail-oriented, you want to go with an organization that has proven themselves time after time. I implore you to check out some of their reviews online. You may be blown away by how impressed people are. Just listen to what one reviewer had to say…

“The first surprise with these folks was the fact they were not only on time, but were ready to get to cleaning right away. I didn’t think they could get my carpets cleaned the way they did & I gotta admit I was utterly shocked at the fact my carpets were cleaner then they were prior to family coming over.”

Beyond all of their experience and dedication to their customers, they have made the entire process of booking and tracking your order status easy with their website. Have a question? They are always available to answer it. And as the name implies, their carpet cleaning products are G-R-E-E-N, which makes my life, as a mother, much less stressful.

What’s more to say about Green Choice Carpet of New Jersey? If you’re thinking of getting your carpets cleaned, I highly recommend them! Be sure to check them out soon though because at the time of posting this they are giving 15% off when you book online.

Top 5 Newborn Must-Haves

lotions & potions collection

The baby product market gets bigger – and more overwhelming for new parents – every day. There’s so much to think about when deciding what to buy for a new baby: purpose, safety, longevity, spatial constraints, aesthetic, and the list goes on. With new products launching almost daily, we decided it was time to compile a list of some of our favorites, spanning gear and bath to furniture.

  1. giggle’s new Lotions & Potions collection: giggle has just debuted a new line of baby skincare and cleaning products. The entire line is free of parabens, Phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances, and it is made in the USA – a new must-have for us. Everything is earth-friendly, and hypoallergenic, and the bath products are tear-free. The light all-natural Sweet Rice Milk Scent is super delicious – not too fragrant and the kind of new baby smell you want to keep inhaling. The best part? In addition to being gentle for baby, it’s gentle for mom as well, and the magical All Purpose Wonder Balm is a perfect fix for dry hands which new moms know all too well.
  1. Micuna’s Smart Fresh Bassinet boasts breathable mesh sides to allow for fresh air flow and easy sight lines to baby. And, it’s on wheels, making it easy for caretakers to move this from room to room.
  1. Nuna LEAF and LEAF Wind attachment: The LEAF Curv brings soothing baby seats to a new level, staying in motion for 2+ minutes with a single gentle push. Need longer soothing and have your hands full? The LEAF Wind attaches right to the LEAF seat base, and keeps baby in gentle motion through one of six speed settings. No batteries necessary makes this even better.
  1. BABYBJORN’s Baby Carrier One Air: This soft and breathable carrier makes babywearing a little cooler for mom and baby alike. Usable from birth, this carrier does not require an additional infant insert, and offers caretakers four carrying positions that are ergonomic for baby.
  1. CYBEX Platinum Priam: This is truly the latest and greatest in gear, suitable from newborn to around age 4, and customizable for every lifestyle. Three different wheel options appeal to city dwellers and weekend warriors alike, and two different seat options create additional versatility. As an added bonus, the deep color palette will keep foot mess to a minimum for older tots.

Considering any of these products? Have you used these brands before? Let me know your thoughts!

Our Kitchen Remodeling Experience

Kitchen Remodel

When my husband and I start a project in our home, it always turns out to be bigger than we thought. And that’s exactly what happened with our kitchen remodel.

What we thought would be just new kitchen cabinets actually turned into a full remodel/renovation (new cabinets, countertops, faucets, etc). So it went from a three day project to a two week project.

As frustrating as it was at some times, it was also a big learning experience for us. Even though John (my husband) is a big handy man and usually takes over these kinds of projects, he decided to leave it to the professionals this time and hire the fine folks over at They were absulutely delightful throughout the entire remodeling process. In fact, when we decided to switch from just having them install kitchen cabinets and countertops, to a full remodel, they were completely okay with it. I’m sure they were also happy that it ended up being more money, haha.

I’m writing this post today to outline the top three things I learned remodeling our kitchen (and what you should know too).


1. Cheaper isn’t always better.

When we first asked around, looking for kitchen cabinets, we were told by friends and family to order them online and have a contractor come to install them. Usually when you order them online you can find them for dirt cheap (probably because they’re made overseas). We decided against this because we have had a lot of issues ordering overseas for big home improvement projects.

After finding, they let us know they had a giant selection of kitchen cabinets to choose from. We were pretty blown away. You’ll even see on their site that they have a section for “cheap” kitchen cabinets. While we didn’t end up going with the cheaper version (we wanted to match the style with our current kitchen color/feel) they offered pretty nice financing options.

2. Look for kitchen inspiration online.

John and I thought we could design the kitchen from scratch. We designed our bedroom and living room with the help of Restoration Hardware but a kitchen is much different. For a kitchen design you have to consider how all of the big appliances are going to look with your color scheme, cabinet style, etc. We were absolutely stumped before we even got started.

What we did instead was “borrow” some designs we liked from different places on line. Below are some amazing resources for finding kitchen design inspiration…

At this point in the process we were only looking for cabinets. This is when I started to think, “oh, we should redo the countertops and the floors”. This eventually led us to remodeling the entire kitchen. So I warn you. If you start looking at all the beautiful kitchens, you might get sucked in and want to do even more than you currently want to.

3. Understand which style is best for your home.

This was a very hard step for me. Our home is a colonial but it’s also remodeled to the point where you could consider it contemporary. However, there are a few rooms in our home that could be considered a mixture of both. Because we were so indecisive, we worked with the contractor to conjoin the two styles and create our own unique kitchen style.

The End

Yes, the whole thing was a lot more than we originally wanted to do but it ended up turning out great. I’m very happy with the new kitchen. It gives us tons of storage, it’s updated, and it makes it easier for the kids to reach certain things.

The Secret to Celebrities’ Glowing Skin: Chemical Peels

If you’ve ever found yourself marveling at the flawless skin pretty much all celebrities seem to have, then you’re far from alone. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t covet Kim Kardashian’s smooth, unblemished skin or Blake Lively’s seemingly flawless complexion. You’d find it even more difficult to find someone that doesn’t wonder how on earth they do it.  Continue reading →