Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Aug 29, 2017

7 Festivals In The Columbia Area This September That You Won't Want To Miss

There are so many events going on in the Midlands for the upcoming fall and I want to share some of the happenings going on this September.
DOKO FEST 2017

September 16, 2017
Presented By: Blythewood Lions Club
Location: Doko Meadows Park
Address: 171 Langford Road, Blythewood, SC 29016
Phone: (803) 315-0236
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Price: Free admission

39TH ANNUAL JUBILEE: FESTIVAL OF BLACK HISTORY & CULTURE

September 16, 2017
Location: Mann-Simons Site
Address: 1403 Richland St., Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-252-1770 x 23
Time: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Price: Free & Open to the public

44TH ANNUAL IRMO OKRA STRUT FESTIVAL

September 29, 2017
Recurrence: 0
Address: 7507 Eastview Dr, Irmo, SC 29063
Phone: 803-781-7050
Time: All Day
Price: Free admission

COLUMBIA'S GREEK FESTIVAL

September 14, 2017 - September 17, 2017
Recurrence: Recurring daily
Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Address: 1931 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 461-0248
Time: Thursday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM | Sunday: 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Price: Free admission

SODA CITY OKTOBERFEST

September 30, 2017
Location: Soda City Market
Address: 1400 & 1500 block of Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Price: Free admission

CITY ROOTS FALL KICK OFF FARMER'S MARKET!

September 14, 2017
Presented By: City Roots - Your In-Town Sustainable Farm
Location: City Roots - Your In-Town Sustainable Farm
Address: 1005 Airport Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29205
Phone: (803) 254-2302
Time: 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Price: Free admission

RIVER RAT OKTOBERFEST

September 9, 2017
Location: River Rat Brewery
Address: 1231 Shop Road, Columbia, SC 29201
Time: 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM

I hope if you live in the Columbia area that you can make it out to some of these events!
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Aug 28, 2017

Affect vs. Effect & 34 Other Common Confusions

I had to share this in the event that you are like me and sometimes make a mistake with some of these very commonly confused words. This is good and we can all use a refresher every now and again. Have a great week!
Affect vs. Effect & 34 Other Common Confusions (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net
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Aug 22, 2017

We Are Officially Back-To-School

School is officially back in session around these parts. William is entering his third year of home education. He is well prepared for 4th grade and so far he has picked up where he left off. I admit I did not really push him super hard to do school work all summer long. We both really needed a break and now we're ready to get back to learning. 


I have to adjust my schedule a little bit to accommodate his lessons, especially after having three months off. I enjoyed my non-schedule all summer long. It's back to business and I will be sure to update with William's progress and share any resources I come across that can help others.

Are your kids back to school yet? Wishing all parents and students a fabulous 2017-18 school year. Thanks for stopping by today!
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Aug 20, 2017

Does O'Keeffe's Foot Cream Really Work?

Have you ever seen a commercial for a product that is marketed in such a way that you really want to try it out for yourself? I have seen the commercials and online ads for O'Keeffe's foot cream for a couple years now and I've been so curious about if it actually works. O'Keeffe's is supposed to be for extremely dry, cracked feet so I wanted to see if it would help these overworked tootsies since I am constantly on my feet. I am almost always barefoot or in flip-flops or sandals, so I finally decided to give it a shot. I ordered it on Amazon a couple weeks ago (after adding it to my wishlist 2 months prior) and have been using it daily for about 9 days now. 

It comes in a small jar and I was expecting a super thick cream, but it's not like that. It is a bright white color and does not feel greasy or heavy and is completely odorless. It absorbs quickly and you can walk barefoot or put on shoes right after applying without feeling like you're slipping or sliding. I noticed a difference in the appearance of my feet as well as the feel after the first use. Even my daughters tried it and noticed instant improvement. My husband gives me a foot rub every night and he's amazed at how soft my feet feel. 


The product makes like a barrier around your skin that keeps it from drying out and it holds the moisture all day long. I'm used to applying lotion or cream up to three times daily, but only use this once a day. I don't know what took me so long to try it, but I am glad I did! The bottoms of my feet feel like I go and get a pedicure every day. It's awesome and I really do recommend it to anyone. You can find it here for under $10 and for an even better deal, you can get both the healthy feet and working hands cream combo below. It works out to less than $15. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get FREE shipping.

Seriously, if your feet are in need of some real help, you have to give O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet a try. This one goes on my top 5 beauty must-haves list. If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by today! 

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Aug 19, 2017

Luster Premium White's Summer of Smiles Sweepstakes & Giveaway

I wanted to share the Luster Premium White's Summer of Smiles Sweepstakes & Giveaway with you all. It is currently running and goes through until September 30, 2017.

Here's a little info about Luster Premium White products:

Daily Teeth Whitening Maintenance
Luster believes teeth whitening should be more effective, use safer ingredients and not cause tooth sensitivity. So that's exactly the kind of products they've created. They have carefully sourced the best ingredients to make each product as safe and effective as possible. These daily maintenance products are exactly what you need to whiten then maintain your bright, white smile. All of their toothpastes contain Fluoride for everyday oral health, so you do not need to use a separate cleanser and whitener. Luster products are all-in one whitening and cleaning solutions.


Sweepstakes: Win up to $4,000 in prizes!! The Sweepstakes consist of 10 unique drawings to award one  prize in each drawing. Entry in the Sweepstakes does not constitute entry into any other promotion, contest or sweepstakes. Enter at www.lustersummersmiles.com.


How to enter:
  • Once on the site, you will be presented the Sweepstakes calendar of prizes.
  • Click on an unlocked prize(s) and complete the entry form with all required information which may include: your full name, complete home address, mobile telephone number, age, and valid email address
  • Complete your entry by agreeing to the Official Rules. Once you submit your entry you will receive one (1) entry into the unlocked prize Sweepstakes drawing. NO entry is carried forward to any remaining unlocked prize Sweepstakes drawing (if any remain). To enter all unlocked prize Sweepstakes you must visit the Sweepstakes site and register each time a prize is unlocked from the Sweepstakes calendar. 

Giveaway: Win an additional $500 in prizes! Upload a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with any Luster product using the hashtag #LusterContest, and a caption of why you LOVE Luster!


How to enter:

  • You must submit an original photo of you smiling with a Luster product and in the caption telling the Judges “Why you LOVE Luster” along with the hashtag #LusterContest (“Eligible Entry”).
  • Your Eligible Photo and caption must comply with these Official Rules and may not contain any of the Prohibited Content set forth below.-Partial or incomplete/piecemeal submissions without the hashtag #LusterContest WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AS CONTEST ENTRIES and shall not be eligible for any Prize.-All submitted photos will be reviewed by the Sponsor for compliance prior to being judged. 
  • Alternate Means of Entry: If you do not have access to the Luster product you may artistically draw a Luster product and in the caption telling the judges “Why you LOVE Luster” along with the hashtag #LusterContest and upload to your Instagram or Twitter social media account.
  • Entries will be automatically populated to the Luster’s Summer of Smiles landing page at www.lustersummersmiles.com. All entries will be reviewed by the Sponsor prior to the judging. 
  • Limit: You may enter one (1) unique photo as often as you like.  

Good luck! 

Disclosure: I was provided with product samples in exchange for sharing this special sweepstakes/giveaway. 
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Aug 15, 2017

Be Last-Minute Guest Ready With A Bestway Airbed

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bestway and BraVoMark. All opinions are mine.

I am sure many of you have dealt with last-minute guests or pop-up trips that can stress you out. With the upcoming holiday season approaching in a few short months, many of you might be entertaining guests. Not everyone has an extra room for guests, but you don't want them to have to spend a fortune on a hotel either. One of the smartest items you can invest in is an airbed. It can be stored away in a closet while not in use and easily taken out at the last minute when needed. I'm not talking the $30 air mattress though. Remember that kind? We had one for years and it felt like you were sleeping on the floor because it would lose air throughout your slumber.

There is a great solution for keeping your air mattress inflated and comfortable at all times. The Fortech Queen Airbed with with an AlwayzAire Pump from Bestway is one of the best higher quality airbeds you can find. Here are some details:

What makes this airbed better than others? 

  • This queen size Fortech airbed measures 80in. x 60in. x 17in. (2.03m x 1.52m x 43cm). Includes built-in 110-120V- electric AlwayzAire pump (ETL approved) which continuously monitors and maintains air pressure. It inflates in just 150 seconds. 
  • It is made with strong puncture and scratch resistant material 
  • The pump has an easy, one click operation with 3 options for airbed firmness.
  • Once you choose your preferred firmness, the pump automatically engages to inflate bed silently as you sleep. 
  • Comes with a carrying back for travel and storage
  • It has raised edges to help prevent roll-offs
  • Great for indoor use, with canvas-feel fabric top, sides and bottom. 
  • Costs $139.00 plus tax. This is a small investment for something you will use for years to come.

Right now Bestway is having a big Facebook giveaway:


• Purchase an ALWAYZAIRE bed from Walmart.com or Walmart here 
• Take a photo of yourself using the bed or next to it. (Be fun and Wacky)
• Post your photo under the comment section of @BestwayUs Facebook page contest post to be entered to win a SaluSpa Miami (retailed at $369.99)
• Bestway will be picking 5 Winners September 15th

I want one of these airbeds especially since we travel often. I can see us bringing this along on our family road trips. It's perfect for if you have a larger living space where you can inflate it in no time. It will give you a sense of sleeping in the comfort of your own bed. Man, I wish we had this one years ago! Get all the details about the Bestway airbed here and be sure to enter their Facebook giveaway

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Aug 14, 2017

Summer Giveaway- Win $100 PayPal or Amazon

It's hard to believe that the summer is slowly coming to a close. We start school a little later this month and aren't ready quite yet. How about you? Are you and your kids fully prepared for back-to-school? I've teamed up with a group of amazing bloggers to bring you this last-minute summer giveaway. Just in time to put some extra cash in your pocket. Whether it's for school supplies, shoes, clothes, school fees or maybe to prepay on lunch accounts, I'm sure $100 can be a big help. Check the details below on how to enter and good luck! 


How to enter: There are 10 Instagram accounts. Follow one or all, but the more accounts you follow the more entries you’ll receive. If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts August 15 at midnight EST and ends August 31 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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10 Common Phrases & What You Can Use Instead

I thought I'd share this because I found it interesting. Enjoy!
  10 Common Phrases & What You Can Use Instead (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net
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Aug 13, 2017

Go Back To School With Mamma Chia (Giveaway)

It's officially back-to-school season and parents everywhere are scrambling around to get things in order for their families. Buying supplies, shoes, clothing, and backpacks are just the beginning. You have to think about making sure the kids (and YOU) have a nutritious breakfast each day so they can be ready for a full day of learning. Mornings can get really hectic and time seems to be non-existent.

One of the best things you can do to help ease the crazy mornings is to prepare in advance. Pick out a week's worth of outfits for the kids and have them hanging in the closet ready to go. Have the kids get their backpacks set out in a designated place along with their shoes so there's no last-minute searching. Involve the kids in making choices about lunchbox items. Eventually the kids will be old enough to do most things completely on their own (yay!)

Don't let being short on time take you away from eating in the morning. Mamma Chia makes a line of super nutritious foods and beverages that are all organic and convenient to grab and go. The Mamma Chia product line includes their Chia Squeeze pouches, granola, chia vitality and energy beverages, and of course chia seeds.

Chia seeds are very versatile and can be incorporated into salads, smoothies, and baked goods. They are filled with fiber, omega-3's, and protein. Chia seeds are a great way to sneak added nutrition into your everyday foods. Mamma Chia Granola Clusters is another delicious way to get your body fueled up for the day. You can enjoy it by the bowl with milk or yogurt, or plain as a snack. This is perfect for a lunch box or after school snack.


The Chia Squeeze Vitality Snack is a great solution for kids as a breakfast option. They are a blend of organic fruits and veggies along with chia. There's no added sugar, so that is a plus! These are perfect for the kids' lunch boxes and even for us moms.


My personal favorite is the organic vitality beverage. If chia seeds freak you out a bit, I recommend using a straw to drink this. It has such a great fruit flavor without being sweet. I like that it is lightly sweetened using organic agave nectar. This beverage is very satisfying and fills you up. It only contains 120 calories per bottle.


All Mamma Chia products are packed with those all important Omega-3's, fiber and are lower in calories when compared to many other "healthy" breakfast foods. I have found Mamma Chia items in most stores like Kroger, Whole Foods, Target, and Publix. You can even grab a coupon here while supplies last. Do you want to try Mamma Chia out for yourself? Enter our giveaway to win a prize pack filled with healthy and delicious Mamma Chia goodies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only and will end on August 31, 2017. Please follow all rules in the Rafflecopter widget and be sure to use a valid email. One winner will be selected and contacted via email to claim prize. Please be aware that Mom Files is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: Products and giveaway provided by Mamma Chia. All opinions are my own as always.
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Aug 7, 2017

8 Housewarming Gift Ideas Under $20

*This post contains affiliate links


If you are trying to figure what to give someone who is getting a new apartment or house, it can be a challenge. You don't always know a person's specific taste, color schemes or overall style. I like giving and receiving practical gifts that people will actually use. I have put together a list of great ideas that all cost under $20.

1. A cast iron skillet- I say it all the time that every person needs one of these in their kitchen. It's versatile and can be used to saute, fry, broil or bake just about anything savory or sweet. You can even include of of these silicone handle covers

2. Kitchen towels and dish cloths- You can go with neutral colors or even holiday-themed designs depending on what time of year you buy them. Anyone can use kitchen towels and I feel like you can't ever have enough of them. 
3. A baking sheet- If you are buying for someone who bakes and cooks often, this is a must have! My favorite one that I have 2 of is the commercial baker's half sheet size. It's perfect for baking cookies, pastries, fish, chicken, and roasting veggies. I cover mine with foil and parchment for less clean-up. 

4. An automatic soap dispenser- It can be used in either a bathroom or kitchen and is touch-free. 

5. Stemless wine glasses- These are a no-brainer for your wine-loving friends. They come in different colors, shapes and sizes. 

6. Wine cork holder- I have one of these and love it! It serves as a cute decoration for any living or dining area. Since they are affordable, you can even grab an inexpensive bottle of wine to go with it. 

7. Glass storage containers- These are a better alternative to the plastic ones and can be used as storage for leftovers or even to take lunch to work or school. 
8. A cutting board set- I love having a few different sized cutting boards for cutting specific items by group. One for meats, one for veggies, and one for fruit. 

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Aug 4, 2017

South Carolina Is The Hot Spot For The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

In a couple short weeks, school will resume around these parts. My middle girl will begin junior year at the University Of South Carolina, the husband will be in grad school working on his MBA, and the littlest one will start fourth grade in his third year being a home schooler. We are all so sad that the summer break is coming to an end. We are planning to have one last hurrah by having an Ismail Party of Five-Total Eclipse Party. Okay, okay, it's not as fancy as I'm making it sound. We will be here at the house waiting in anticipation of viewing the eclipse. It will be the perfect time for the five of us to hang out and witness what will be a historical event.

It turns out that Columbia, South Carolina is one of the top spots in the country where the view is slated to be at 100%! Our local news has estimated over 1 million people will make their way to our state to partake in seeing the eclipse. Hotels are sold out everywhere and they say traffic will be crazy all over. That's a great thing for South Carolina businesses, for sure. If you aren't sure if your area will be able to catch any of the action, you can check here by entering your zip code.

The most important thing we did to prepare for the eclipse was to first purchase eclipse safe glasses, which we did a month ago. Little William was listening to a news report in regards to viewing the eclipse safely and insisted we must have the proper eye-wear. Here are the ones we got. Lucky for us, they came in a pack of 5. Perfect for our family!
Since we purchased them early, they were very inexpensive. I have noticed a big rise in the cost all over. I guess people are recognizing how dangerous it can be to your eyes if you get too much exposure to the direct sun. Let's hope these glasses work because when you put them on, you can't see a thing! Of course William had to be the first to try them on. 


We are so excited to have the opportunity to view the total solar eclipse together. I hope that you live in an area so you can catch a glimpse, too. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that the weather will hold up! Will you be participating in this big event? 

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made gives me a little pocket change. 
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