Party people: An Invisalign giveaway

My lovely friend Cam Bowman, who blogs over at Growing Up Goofy, graciously offered to co-host a fun Invisalign party with me last weekend.

There was fantastic food and sangria (courtesy of Cam’s amazing menu planning, party planning and amazing cooking!).

There were photos.

There were smiles, laughter and tons of questions from everyone.

We ate, drank, laughed and learned a ton about Invisalign. cocktail napkin pears with gorgonzola caprese skewers 2014-09-17_0005.jpg eppa sangria 2014-09-17_0007.jpg 2014-09-17_0008.jpg 2014-09-17_0009.jpg 2014-09-17_0010.jpg

I was never able to have braces when I was a teen and once I was into my adult years when I first heard about Invisalign, I assumed that my window had closed because I always thought that Invisalign took forever to work and that it was much more expensive than traditional metal braces. Nope. Totally wrong.

It turns out that the average Invisalign treatment is 12 months for adults. And the cost? Roughly the same.

Now that I know that, I think an Invisalign treatment may just be in my future, because really, what’s 12 months?

And when Katie and Matthew are older, we’ll be turning to Invisalign Teen because I love that there’s a less socially-awkward option than traditional braces that allows them to play sports without risk of injury and doesn’t leave them sneaking if they want any of the foods on the banned items list. (Teens are going to eat candy and chew gum. It’s a losing battle if we think otherwise!)

Special thanks to Drs. Cater and Galante for joining us for dinner and staying to educate us and share so much great information.

If you’re like me and you think you know what Invisalign is about and think it’s not for you, this Straight Talk: Smart Path to Straight Teeth Infographic has so many more details about why Invisalign is such a great option.

Thank you again, Cam, for co-hosting this fun event with me. I’m still dreaming about your Pots de Creme!

And to those who joined us, we’re so grateful that you set aside a Saturday night and spent it with us.

Finally, if you’ve always dreamed of getting Invisalign, it might just be your lucky day. Simply enter below for a chance to win a full treatment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although this is a sponsored post, all of my opinions, as always, are completely my own.

Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza

Brussels sprouts pizza, pancetta pizza, Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza

It’s September, but that doesn’t mean that the best of the fresh produce is behind us. I can’t get enough Brussels sprouts at this time of year, so I’m using them in any way I can dream up. This weekend, that meant Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza. This amazing dish will be in heavy rotation at our house this fall!

Brussels sprouts, pancetta and crispy shallot pizza
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1⅓ cups shredded Parmesan
  • 1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • pizza dough
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, with a bit extra for brushing the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Lightly flour a baking sheet and shape pizza dough.
  3. Brush pizza dough with olive oil, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Set dough aside.
  4. Rinse and drain the Brussels sprouts. Cut about ¼ inch off the stem end of each sprout and peel off the leaves. When they become difficult to peel, trim off another ¼ inch and continue removing leaves. Repeat the process until you have peeled off all the leaves; discard cores.
  5. Set leaves aside.
  6. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with kosher salt.
  7. Increase the heat to medium high and add Brussels sprout leaves. Saute until the leaves are bright green and slightly wilted but still crunchy, roughly 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer leaves to a paper towel.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium low and sauté pancetta until crispy, approximately 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Sprinkle pizza dough with ⅓ cup Parmesan.
  12. Top dough with Brussels sprout leaves, pancetta and shallots.
  13. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  14. Remove pizza from the oven and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
  15. Serve!


A collision of first and lasts

Polly Pocket

My sweet Katie,

Tonight I plugged the drain of my bathtub, squirted in a healthy dose of bubble bath, turned the not-too-hot water on and lined your Polly Pockets up on the edge of the tub.

This was probably the millionth bath you’ve taken in your seven years.

It seems that so much of mothering is focused on all of the firsts. First smile, first steps, first words, first day of school.

And there’s this span of time wherein you are cushioned by those firsts… where it seems as though each one builds on the one before it and there are so few lasts.

But, something tells me that before long, bath time will be a thing of the past. You’ll move on to bathing… showering… in private and this bubble of time will no longer be spent with me by your side, washing your hair for you… handing you the washcloth.

When you were a baby, we bathed together every night. We played with your multicolored foam alphabet letters, sang a million rounds of Old MacDonald and often you settled and nursed there amongst the popping bubbles.

Those days with you seemed so much slower.

Now our days are filled with lunch packing, school pick up, errands, homework and just the overall busyness life.

We are happy. But we are busy.

And somehow the years between when I felt certain that we had this immeasurable expanse of time ahead of us in which we could run a bubble bath and laugh and sing have collided into nownow when I just know those days are dwindling.

In many ways, now has become a time of lasts intermingled with firsts, where a single day can simultaneously hold joy of the new and melancholy over the no more.

But tonight, I drew your bath and climbed in beside you.

We played with your Polly Pockets together, washing their hair and singing our songs. Old MacDonald has been replaced by the entire Sophia the First CD.

Lasts and firsts.

And in each, I am learning, there is beauty.

Thank you for showing me the way, my dear girl.

I am so very grateful for you.

With so much love,


Give and get with Schoola!

Okay, it’s no secret that I’m more than a little in love with Schoola and the work their doing to help schools in need.

So now, I want to show you some super cute looks you can easily pull together from the site.

A dressy outfit for Matthew would total $35, with $14 going back to his school. (You can find these items here: shoesshirt and pants.)

Schoola clothes

Here’s a casual outfit for Matthew that would cost me just $16. And $6 of that would go back to his school. (Grab these items here: hatshirt and shorts.)

Schoola clothes

And this pretty style for Katie? Just $30 for all three pieces, with $12 going back to her school. (Buy these items here: shoesdress and sweater.)

Schoola clothes

The playful look for Katie below would cost me $35 and $14 would go to her school. (Grab these items while they’re still available! Skirtshirt and shoes.)

Schoola clothes

The grand total for all four looks would be $116 out of my pocket with $46 going directly to their school. That’s pretty amazing, right?

And if you shop now, be sure to use the code BacktoSchoola20 to save 20% off your purchase. (Code expires on August 20th, so hurry! Limit one use per customer.)

Don’t forget that you can also request a bag from Schoola by clicking on this donation bag request link.

Visit Schoola to learn more about how a single clothing drive in the 2102/2013 school year has now grown to a program that is 3000 schools strong!

Although I was compensated for participating in this campaign, as always the opinions expressed here are all my own. 

Time for Schoola

If you asked me to draw a perfect circle, without even lifting the pencil, I can already tell you that it would come out looking more like a square.

If you gave me a mound of clay and asked me to shape it into a mug, I can assure you it would be lopsided and certainly not something that would hold your coffee.

But I would try. And I would have fun doing it.

Because when I was a child, I had an amazing art teacher… a man who, when he saw me staring at my blank paper, paintbrush in hand, taught me that it wasn’t about the final product, but rather, it was about the process.

It isn’t about producing something that others view as “art.” It’s about exploring, creating, pushing through fear and taking risks.

Art class was just as valuable as math and reading and science. It stretched my brain and pushed me in important ways.

My daughter is blessed to attend a school with a lovely arts program, but so many kids are not that fortunate.

The educational benefits of an art program for kids are well proven,  yet, art classes aren’t included in most public school budgets.

That lack of funding hasn’t stopped parents at Yick Wo Elementary from ensuring that their school’s students have art class anyway, and Schoola is forming a community to help them do it.

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes and giving 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need.

So, how does it work and what am I asking you to do? Well, it’s amazingly simple and hugely fantastic!

  1. Request a bag from Schoola by clicking on this donation bag request link.
  2. Clean out your kids’ closets and gather up the gently used items they’ve outgrown and mail it back to Schoola in the prepaid bag.
  3. Schoola sells those items and $2 of every $5 earned goes directly to the school of your choice.
  4. As an added bonus, for every bag requested using this special in these small moments referral code, $1 goes to Yick Wo Elementary to help fund their art program. (Click on “donate to help”.)
  5. And what if you don’t have any clothes to donate? You can still help by shopping their amazing selection of kids’ clothes to help schools in need.

The amazing work that Schoola is doing isn’t limited to arts programs. They’re also working to provide all of the things that our children need that are often the first to go in budget cuts, including music classes, play structures and libraries.

Visit Schoola to learn more about how a single clothing drive in the 2102/2013 school year has now grown to a program that is 3000 schools strong!

Although I was compensated for participating in this campaign, as always the opinions expressed here are all my own. 

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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