Sunday, March 31, 2013

Top 10 Road Trip Travel Checklist + Make Your Spring Break Road Trips easier with @Britax new Pinnacle 90 or Frontier 90! @SafeConBritax #travel #springbreak #spon

Spring is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons! Spring represents renewal, re-birth, potential and you can sort of smell it in the air before it arrives. There are birds chirping outside the window, the clocks have sprung ahead and I am days away from my birthday. Since this week has been all about travel, I thought I'd continue on that theme today, some of you have probably already started the advent of your Spring travel by visiting with family today for Easter.

Planning for a road trip doesn't have to be daunting! But before you go down your checklist, you need to make sure the basics are in place and safety is of primary importance! Spring is the perfect time to have your car inspected, check the shocks, breaks and make sure your car is in shape first. You also need to account for the safety of your little ones and making sure you not only have a carseat, but that it is properly installed is crucial!

FRONTIER 90 Combination Harness-2-Booster Seat by BRITAX - offers leading Head Safety Technologies!

In case you missed it, we featured the newest carseats from BRITAX, the FRONTIER™ 90 and PINNACLE™ 90 and at the press event to announce the launch in New York City, they had vehicles on hand so we all could take a turn at installing the new carseats. I was surprised at just how simple, fast and easy the installation was, but was ven more impressed with seriously BRITAX takes child/infant safety. Getting a safe carseat installed and having your car inspected to check for it's readiness for a long road trip is a mission critical starting point, once that's in place you can then go down your checklist before letting that rubber hit the road.

PINNACLE 90 Combination Harness-2-Booster Seat by BRITAX - The Side Impact Cushion Technology makes this a winner!
Getting your vehicle inspected and making sure your carseat is properly installed is half the battle won for your Spring  Road Trips!

Road Trip Travel Checklist:

(1) Get your car inspected - a well planned road trip is to no avail if your vehicle is not up for the task!

(2) Make sure your carseats are properly installed - I can tell you that with the new BRITAX Frontier 90  (Combination Harness-2 Booster Seat) and Pinnacle 90 (Combination Harness-2 Booster Seat), installation is a breeze!

(3) GPS - You definitely don't want to get lost so you can go old school with actual Maps or hi tech with a GPS, but you definitely want to make sure you know where you are going and how to get there. (Just remember to allow yourself some room for last minute add-ons to your itinerary, remember butterflies it's about the journey, not just the destination!)

(4) Music - I wouldn't be 'The Official #TwitterPartyDJ' if my mind weren't always on Music and Tunes! The best parts of our lives can usually be accompanied by a song that instantly transports you back to that time. Make a road trip playlist that includes a little bit of something for everyone! And I personally also suggest letting everyone have their own portable players, so everyone has the chance to just zone out with their personal favorites for a little while.

(5) Camera - Chronicle your journey in pictures, the more candid and the more goofy, the better, but don't spend so much time behind the lens that you forget to enjoy yourself, and don't forget to ask someone to take a group photo, especially if you are usually the one to take all the pictures, because then you'll get home and find that you are not in any of the pictures!

(6) Cell Phone - For emergency use only! NOT for keeping up with work, enjoy your journey! But bringing one along in case of emergency is always a smart idea.

(7) Emergency Kit/First Aid Kit - You want to make sure you carry gauze, bandages, antibiotic cream, allergy and sinus medication, and all over the counter and prescription medications that all family members take. Be sure you have water, blankets, flashlight (there are flashlight apps for the ipod/ipad/iphone by the way), batteries, canned food, road flares, spare tire and a car jack!

(8) Budget - Plan for all your gas stops along the way, hotel expenses, entrance fees to parks, and bring along a Credit Card for emergencies!

(9) Clothing - Bring extra layers in anticipation of cooler nights!

(10) Footwear - Bring comfortable footwear, and bring all terrain or sport or hiking boots if mountains are part of your road trip journey!

Butterflies, where will the road take YOU this Spring?

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FTC Disclosure: The Britax Hispanic Digital and Social Media Outreach is in partnership with Mami Innovative Media, a communications and digital marketing company that pairs multicultural and Latino bloggers with influential brands and blogging campaigns. I am a blogger brand ambassador and Latina Advisory Board Member for Britax. This is a sponsored post and I am part of a long term campaign that does provide additional incentives for my participation. However all opinions are 100% my own. You can connect with BRITAX on Twitter and Facebook.  Our Disclosure Policy:

Friday, March 29, 2013

How I learned to make sharing #Travel #Photos easier with #Tripographer powered by @Marriott #spon @NicheMommy

With my birthday swiftly approaching, my case of 'wanderlust' is getting worse and worse! I love to travel, and to me the best souvenir of my travels are my photos, and since I have long since made the switch from 35mm to Digital, I tend to take TONS of photos. I love architecture and nature photos, and take more pictures of WHAT I see, only to get home and realize I'm not in many photos because I was so busy taking them.

I'm always looking for new ways to make the photo sharing process easier and more fun, and I just hit on something I thought I'd share! Note: This is still in Beta! So you are getting an opportunity to be 'in the know' before it blows up!

About Tripographer, powered by Marriott:

Tripographer is a new, fun and easy way to stylishly and dynamically share your trip, whether it was a much needed getaway, an unforgettable adventure, a family vacation or a business trip. Apply filters and edit your photos, create beautiful slideshows and build actual street-view tours and share them all on your favorite social networks!

My Experience with Tripographer:

I decided to try it out and started by creating a slideshow of my pictures to the Audobon Nature Institute Insectarium in New Orleans, Louisiana. When I hit the Niche Mommy Conference last year in it's inaugral year (by the way butterflies the conference is now called The Niche Parent Conference), I got to take some time to see the sites with other bloggers attending the conference, The Audobon Nature Institute brought some animals from their zoo straight to the conference! And they offered bloggers tickets to the Zoo, Insectarium and Aquarium, you know I couldn't pass that up, especially the insectarium because they had butterflies there!

I started creating a slideshow of my insectarium visit, see below:

How it works:

1) You can easily create an account with Facebook or you can create a profile quickly with your name, selecting a user name and password if you don't want to create it with Facebook.

2) To play with the cool features you need to upload some photos! And you have a variety of ways you can do that, upload from your computer, your webcam, Facebook, Flickr, or Instagram

3) Then comes the fun part, you can 'Treat a Photo' by uploading a photo, and then stylishly editing them, you can also provide a caption and share them on your favorite social networks. You can Create a Slideshow, which allows you to upload multiple photos and order them however you wish. or you can 'Build a Tour' which allows you to create a real street view that takes you to all your favorite destinations from your last adventure. You can also upload photos to go along with your landmarks with a caption AND audio narration!

4) Manage your projects: Just use your dashboard to manage your Tripographer Creations! See it's as easy one, two, three!

My Take:

I think this is a great way to share your travel photos. I know many people are not comfortable about how Facebook uses their info and images and don't tend to put too many there, so it's nice to have an alternative way to share that's as private or as public as YOU want it to be. I have only one small complaint, as I really love taking all my photos in hi-res, I wasn't able to upload all the photos I wanted into my first slideshow because they were simply too large. The size limit per photo is 2 mb, and I only had three files small enough to fit the bill which is why my slideshow is so short. I am hoping that they increase the file size limit per photo, once they do, I'll be a slideshow creating mega butterfly! I can actually spend hours editing, optimizing (and now that I'm blogging WATERMARKING) photos, so I greatly enjoyed finding out about Tripographer and I think it's pretty cool that it's being powered by Marriott! In fact I probably should have tried to find my photos from the last time I stayed at the Marriott in Cancun! Maybe I'll make that slideshow next!

Butterfly have you tried Tripographer yet? If so, please share your photos with us! If you posted the photos or slideshow on your own blogs, then feel free to comment here with the link so we can all check out your creative travel photos too!

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FTC Disclosure: This sponsored post was written in partnership with Niche Mommy Network & Conference. While this is a compensated post, all opinions are 100% my own. And I have greatly enjoyed my stays with Marriott and I do love Digital Photography as much as I love Travel!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Celebrating Easter with Hershey's, and you can too!

While church has always been an Easter Tradition in our family, my fondest 'after church' memories include dying Easter Eggs, then hunting for said colorful Eggs, and of course my Easter Basket (or as I remember it, multiple baskets! Grandparents RULE!)

Right: Little Ascending Butterfly!

Above: Me and my best friend dying Easter Eggs! Let's not discuss what year this was! (Special thanks to Mama Butterfly who gets the photo credit for taking this picture! And for letting me borrow it for this story!)

I don't know about you butterflies, but some things never change! I still love decorating the eggs, and I still love Easter Baskets! This year I'm not celebrating Easter alone, I'm celebrating it with Hershey's!

Hershey's let me customize my own Easter Basket virtually (how cool is that?) and then shortly after it arrived special delivery filled with the treats I had selected! And the basket is only half the fun, if you visit their super cool website you can Celebrate with Hershey's too!

Check out my cool Easter Basket:

Custom Easter Basket from Hershey's!

I took another shot just in case:

Hershey's Custom Easter Basket loaded with sweet treats!

There is something about an Easter Basket that just takes me instantly back to my childhood, all the great memories, me and my friends swapping out treats from each other's baskets, dying and decorating our own eggs, and sometimes being silly and putting two balloons on my head and pretending to be an Easter Bunny!

Hershey's Easter Basket De-Constructed!
My Basket Included:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Reese's Mini Reester Bunnies, each bunny is individually wrapped!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Reese's Peanut Butter Egg

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - York Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties, each piece specially wrapped in Easter Packaging

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses each wrapped in it's own pastel color

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ -and a Hershey's Snappy! An all Chocolate Easter Bunny that you can share by 'snapping' off a piece!

And I restrained myself from tearing all the treats open to take a few artistic shots:

It was almost too pretty to tear open!

I could not wait to finish snapping photos to tear into those delicious treats!

But the fun doesn't stop with the basket, on the Celebrate With Hershey's Website they have products, Basket Ideas & Crafts, Recipes, Fun Stuff (like a Happy Easter Screensaver for your Mac or PC), Videos, and a Hershey's Virtual Bunny Trail of Easter tips, memories, and stories from other bloggers across the blogosphere as well!

Happy Easter Butterflies! Bloggers, feel free to post with the link to your Wordless Wednesday photos too so we can hop over to your site and spread the comment love!

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FTC Disclosure: Hershey's provided Ascending Butterfly with one customized Easter Basket for editorial consideration, no monetary compensation has been received and all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Who won the Tiny Prints 100 Business Cards Giveaway, was it YOU? + #Giveaway + #PGmostloved Twitter Party!

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Betzy Carmona who won our Ascending Butterfly Win 100 Business Cards from Tiny Prints Giveaway! (her winning entry was #30!) Join me in congratulating her!

Our annual 'It's MY Birthday, but YOU Get the Gifts' promotions has begun! Don't forget to enter our first giveaway in the promotion:

Look for the next 2 giveaways coming soon and I hope you will join me tomorrow for the #PGmostloved Twitter Party Wednesday 3/27 at 3pm ET! I will be live tweeting with the She Speaks Team at a Special Event hosted by P&G Everyday! RSVP for the party HERE

**Please Note, Ascending Butterfly is not the host or co-host for this party, so please direct any questions to @SheSpeaksUp! Do NOT comment here with RSVP's as they won't be processed, you must use the RSVP link provided above to register for this party!**

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FTC Disclosure: This winner announcement is NOT sponsored or compensated. Giveaway sponsors for all giveaways are responsible for prize fulfillment. Ascending Butterfly and Giveaway Sponsors are NOT responsible for lost or mis-directed mail or prizes damaged in transit.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New BRITAX FRONTIER™90 and PINNACLE™90 combination carseats with ClickTight Installation System!

It is always so hard to keep great secrets from my butterflies, so I am glad that I can finally share about a fun event I attended last Wednesday (March 20th) where BRITAX launched the New FRONTIER™90 and PINNACLE™90 combination carseats with ClickTight Installation System!

I'm not yet a mom but I'm an Aunt and Godmother and while I love my nieces, nephews and godchildren I have always left installs and assembly to the parents when it comes to cribs, furniture, carseats and the like, in fact I have never installed a carseat myself, until last week that is!

CLICK! That’s the new sound of a secure installation.  That’s the sound of a parent’s peace of mind. That’s the sound of BRITAX’s new ClickTight technology car seat installation.

New BRITAX FRONTIER™90 and PINNACLE™90 combination seats feature the ClickTight Installation System that allows parents to achieve a safe and secure installation every time. With just three simple steps, ClickTight allows parents to easily install the new seats with the vehicle seat belt and eliminates the frustration of putting their weight in the seat or getting into the vehicle to install the car seat. 

Are you currently using the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) to secure the car seat? Were you aware that all vehicles have lower anchor weight limits? When your child's weight exceeds the weight limit, car seats should no longer be installed using the lower anchors! Instead, the car seat must be installed using the vehicle seat belt system, and the new BRITAX ClickTight installation system allows parents to do just that!

We got the chance to see a video about the new technology that was super cute that I wanted to share with you so you could get a sneak peek as well before these officially hit stores:

Isn't she adorable? The talking car seat featured in the video was at the launch event too! Here is the event in pictures:

Above: Signage that was a sneak peek of what was to come!

Above: When you ask bloggers to attend a super early event, smoothies are a great way to start!

Above: Gotta have eats!

Once we grabbed our smoothies and some eats it was time for the presentation!

While I did include the video above in this post, I wanted you to get a feel for the excitement at the Launch Event too!

Above: There is the talking carseat from the video!

Above: Showtime! These are the instructions for installing the carseat, literally it's one, two, three!

Above: There were two vehicle stations set up so we could all take turns installing the new BRITAX Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 carseats!

Above: After the 'pro' gives you the instructions, then it's your turn to install!

Above: Carseat Close up

Above: Carseat Close up (Isn't the Rose Print sweet?)

Above: Carseat Close up (What do you think of this pattern?)

Above: Carseat Close up, while it looks like it, this isn't the talking carseat!

Above: Gift Bag Station!

Above: Gift Bag Close Up!

I know after all that excitement you are thinking, 'Butterfly, I MUST Have that carseat in my life!, How do I get my hands on one?'  Well a little Britax Birdie told me that you have the chance to win one before they even hit stores!

WIN IT: I hope you watched the video carefully, because beginning Firday, March 29th, US-only residents will have a chance to enter to win a seat before they can buy it! Entrants will be required to answer a set of 'trivia' questions related to both the ClickTight promotional video as well as the 'little known truths' that support the need for this technology (like the LATCH anchor limitations, tight seat installs, and locking vehicle seat belts).  Thankfully I included all that above, so read this post carefully before you go enter. 15 winners will be selected at random from all eligible entrants by Monday, April 29th to receive a FRONTIER 90. Remember, this starts on Friday, March 29th, and you can enter at:

Another Win It: As you know I'm a BRITAX Latina Advisory Board and Hispanic Digital Outreach Member, and I just happen to know that giveaways will be hosted in April by some of the Latina Advisory Board Bloggers, and I will definitely keep you posted as details are revealed!

Butterflies, if you enter the contest on the Britax Click Tight page, don't forget to come back here and let us know that you did!

My Take:

The carseats are amazingly simple to install and since BOTH the FRONTIER 90 and PINNACLE 90 feature True Side Impact Protection that provides an extra layer of EPP foam to contain a child's head, neck and body and keep them aligned in the event of a crash what's NOT to love? The PINNACLE 90 also features energy-managing Side Impact Cushion Technology, which diverts crash forces away from a child and provides extra protection for the adjacent passenger.

These are definitely a thumbs up butterflies!

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FTC Disclosure: The Britax Hispanic Digital and Social Media Outreach is in partnership with Mami Innovative Media, a communications and digital marketing company that pairs multicultural and Latino bloggers with influential brands and blogging campaigns. I am a blogger brand ambassador and Latina Advisory Board Member for Britax and while this post is NOT sponsored and NO monetary compensation has been received for sharing this experience, I am part of a long term campaign that does provide additional incentives for my participation. However all opinions are 100% my own. You can connect with BRITAX on Twitter and Facebook.  Our Disclosure Policy:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Get your #makeup bag ready for Spring! Win the new @janeiredale PureGloss Lip Gloss and Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening #Mascara

Very slowly here in New York City I'm sensing signs of Spring, the little birds chirping outside the window, and families preparing for Easter. Like most, I wish Punxsutawney Phil has been a bit more accurate about Spring coming early, as we are actually expecting more snow this week which I am NOT looking forward to!

Since my birthday is in early April, I thought I'd host a fun giveaway countdown to my birthday called 'It's MY birthday but YOU get the gifts', and to get ourselves in a festive mood, why not start with a beauty giveaway?

A few years ago I read about using your birthday as your actual 'new year' and not the calendar new year, and I thought that was a fantastic idea! Your birthday is always a great time to take stock of where you've been, where you are, and where you WANT to be.

Back in late February, I shared with you about getting a sneak peek at fab new products for lashes and lips from Jane Iredale Cosmetics for Spring, in case you missed it, you can check it out HERE. And as promised I reached out to the team and arranged to get these fab goodies in your hands just in time for Spring. This way if you are anything like me and clear out your bag seasonally, you can get rid of that mascara of yours (remember the longer you keep it, the more likely it will clump on your lashes, or irritate your eyes), I can't stress enough how important it is to rotate your mascaras frequently whether you consider yourself to have sensitive eyes or not! And I also like to update my lip and eye shadow colors for the new season ahead!

This year I want to be a bit bolder and more dramatic with my makeup, and try out not so much just new trends, but explore which products bring out a bolder and more fun me. I have had so much fun playing with the new Jane Iredale Goodies I got to try out and wanted you to have some fun also!

About PureGloss Lip Gloss

I love that Jane is so innovative and decided to take a good thing and make it that much better! The New PureGloss touts many benefits including:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Organic Oils
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Moringa Butter
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Lotus Flower Wax
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Orange Peel Wax
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Blackberry Extracts
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Pomegranate Extracts
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - anti-oxidants
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Vitamin C
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Vitamin E
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - New improved flatter packaging
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - New improved longer wand so you get the most product from the tube with less waste

And with 18 flattering shades, much like a pringles, I challenge you to be able to settle on just one! You are going to want ALL of these shades ladies!

Longest Lash Lengthening and Thickening Mascara

Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara

Much like the PureGloss Lip Gloss, the Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara has a new improved flatter packaging and new improved longer wand so you get the most product from the tube with less waste!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - This is a Vegan/Gluten product
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Cruelty Free
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Formulated with a proprietary blend of seaweed lipids to condition, moisturize and protect lashes.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Reduces Splitting and Breaking
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Free of lacquers, shellac and petroleum
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Resistant to smearing and flaking

My Take:

I love that I can create a wide variety of looks with Jane's products, I can go from day to night with ease all the while knowing I am doing something GOOD for my skin! If you take a moment to read the product testimonials on their site, you'll see good reviews and reviews from users who weren't 100% satisfied, but the difference is, when Jane Iredale Cosmetics gets a less than glowing review, they really want to know WHY the product didn't work, and they actually go back to the lab and find ways to make their products better! Can we satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time, of course not, but it's nice to see a brand take user feedback so seriously that they keep re-formulating, and bringing new innovations to products that are already best-selling favorites. The newly re-formulated PureGloss Lip Gloss and the Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara is proof in the pudding that Jane is really reading your messages and taking your ideas into account. 

How great is it to finally have a product that you can get the most from the tube as possible? That idea benefits US more than it does the brand which is one of the things I think is so cool about it!

Get Social With It:

Don't forget that you will get extra credit in the giveaway for doing so!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - 'Like' Jane Iredale on Facebook
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Follow @janeiredale
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Become a pin friend by following Jane Iredale on Pinterest
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Want to see Jane Iredale's products in action? Follow Jane on YouTube!

Win It:

When I told my friends at Jane Iredale that it was my birthday and I wanted my readers to share in the gifts, they were more than happy to join in the fun! Win the PureGloss Lip Gloss shade and the Longest Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara in the shade of your choice (this is based on product availability at the time of the drawing so pick a few shades just in case!). Let Jane Iredale and Ascending Butterfly pimp those makeup bags for Spring!

Enter using the Rafflecopter Form below, as always, the first entry is easy peasy, and how much extra credit you do is up to you, but you have to be in it to win it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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FTC Disclosure: Jane Iredale provided us with the cosmetics featured for editorial consideration, and will be providing prizing for one winner. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Neither Ascending Butterfly nor contest sponsor will be held responsible for lost or mis-directed mail. See full Giveaway and Disclosure Policy HERE

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Who won the Ascending Butterfly Monthly Book Club Title for March? Is it YOU?

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Sandy V. who won our Ascending Butterfly Monthly Book Club Title for March: Little Angels: Simple Prayers for Everyday! (She was entrant #23!) Join me in congratulating Sandy!

This was our first childrens book, do you want to see us include more titles for children in our monthly book club?  or is the Book Club your escape so you'd like solely adult titles? Please sound off and let us know, we are always trying to improve upon our reviews and giveaways and bring you items we know for sure you are interested in! Next month we go back to an Adult book for the Book Club Feature!

{ENDING SOON}: Don't forget that the 100 Business Cards from Tiny Prints Giveaway ends SOON! So for those of you ramping up and getting yourself ready for Blogging Conferences this Spring, you are definitely going to need creative cards to help you stand out! Tiny Prints offers Custom Designed Cards for a very reasonable price, but what price is better than FREE? So go ahead and enter, you've got to be in it to win it!

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FTC Disclosure: This winner announcement is NOT sponsored or compensated. Giveaway sponsors for all giveaways are responsible for prize fulfillment. Ascending Butterfly and Giveaway Sponsors are NOT responsible for lost or mis-directed mail or prizes damaged in transit.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I want to be #Latina health leader for @Hispanicize 2013 #UHCLatino #Hispz13

Ascending Butterfly was established in 2009 to create a space online that I couldn't find, one that shared motivational messages with an emphasis on breathing affirmational meditations. I love reading quote of the day type posts, but realized shortly after reading them I'd forget them. I wanted to find a way to make quotes, motivations and positive life lessons memorable, and the breathing affirmations helped to bring those to life and sharing not just the motivation and the breathing affirmation, but how I applied them in my day to day life gave me a true 'mind, body and soul' approach to wellness and wellbeing.

About two years later, I wanted to get myself in better shape and began including healthy changes in lifestyle that included recipe substitutions, getting more active (even incorporating my Wii and Wii Fitness into my daily routine) and had actually dropped 3 dress sizes and 26 pounds. Our most popular recipe substitution posts based on your views:, and:, and:

Things were going very well, both body, mind, and soul as well as physically, until New Years Eve, December 31st of 2011 I was experiencing severe pains in my lower chest region and couldn't lift one of my arms at all without being in agonizing pain. The ambulance of course assumed heart attack, but after a battery of testing and two days in the E.R., a specialist that is a 35 year veteran in her field, diagnosed with me a lung mass that they all felt was end stage cancer that had already spread to my bones (which would explain the pain near my rib cage) and that I had maybe hours at best to get my affairs in order. I was told I might not even  get to ring 2012 in, nevertheless see it end, and be here alive and kicking now in 2013.

I shared my journey here every step of the way. As a non-smoker (I mean like never even tried it) who has always lived a reasonably healthy lifestyle, my family and I were confused, devasted and rightfully so, angry.  I knew I had only one choice and that was to cast aside fear and with total faith, fight with every ounce of strength I had. (This post leads back to the whole saga and links to posts that outline what I experienced in more detail, it's called 'Thank You + Not Quite the way I had in mind to lose more weight')

And fight I have, I spent 2012 in and out of THREE different leading New York City Hospitals meeting with specialist after specialist across a variety of areas and teams. Each one more baffled by my case than the one before. In fact, 2 hospitals still use me as a case study and every doctor, from experienced to intern knows my story.

Sometimes my over a year nightmare seems like a blur, a distant and faded memory and some days it all comes back to me like a freight train. Today was a 'freight train' day for me, today it all came back to me as I was riding the express bus back from the city home and passed the hospital I stayed at most recently. I also go back to that hospital every 6 months for a repeat catscan, in fact I just had one recently.

I think of all the pain, the exploratory surgeries, particularly the one I woke up during and literally felt everything, and the care at the different hospitals both the good and bad. It sometimes seems surreal. Until something reminds you and brings it all flooding back.

When I got home and saw a post on the Hispanic Marketing and Online Media Facebook Group that United Healthcare is running an essay contest looking for someone to be a Latino Health Leader at this year's Hispanicize Conference, I literally jumped out of my chair because I knew it would be perfect for me!

At age 5 I spent most of Kindegarten in hospitals while my mother served as caregiver to both my grand-mother and great-grandmother, (her mother and grand-mother) who were both battling Cancer, as well as my Dad, all who passed within 3 months of each other. My mother, 'Mama Butterfly' as we call her around here, battled cancer twice, and she was by my bed in the E.R. when that specialist told me I wouldn't ring in another year.

Yet here I am not only still standing, but thriving, and I know for a fact that the healthy changes I had been making in my lifestyle well before all this started are what kept me alive.

It took me awhile to get the courage to share my story, but as flowers arrived to the hospital and my emails and social media pages were overloaded with messages to get well soon, and other readers were brave enough to share their battles with Breast Cancer and other life and death medical scares so that I would know I am not alone, I decided it was time for me to do the same. My story is a pretty unique one, so my dear butterflies don't allow yourself to be fooled by mis-conceptions, even the person who doesn't smoke, did NOT grow up in a house where they were exposed to second-hand smoke and living a healthy lifestyle can still end up in a hospital bed fighting for their lives!

I know I would make a powerful voice as United Healthcare's Latina Health Leader at Hispanicize, I was already well aware of how small but impactful lifestyle changes could improve things for the better, but after spending a year fighting for my life, now more than ever I truly understand that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Check out this YouTube Segment called Hispanic Health on the Run:

There are mis-conceptions being brought to light in this video that not only affect the Hispanic Community but America at large! This nation and generation may very well be 'Super-Sizing' itself to death!

Oddly enough I had been invited to speak at Hispanicize this year on the topic of Lifestyle Blogging already, and somehow I saw this as a sign from the Universe that I really should challenge myself this year, and a sign I'm definitely meant to attend this conference! But with Medical Bills still very much being a huge battle for me to contend with, getting to Hispanicize is certainly going to take some help!

There is a quick and easy way to help support me as a nominee, it's as easy as copy and pasting this as a tweet:

I want @Tracy_Iglesias of @Ascending1 to be the #Latina health leader for @Hispanicize 2013 #UHCLatino #Hispz13

I think the Universe is telling me it's time to take my story from the behind the keyboard to in front of the public, and if it will motivate just one person to make the daily changes necessary to improve their habits and lifestyle then in my opinion it will be well worth it!

My path to well-being is ongoing, and I'm filled with gratitude because on this same day, one year to the date I was on my second hospital stay at a second hospital, being released in April just hours before my birthday. I have come such a long way from where I found myself just one year ago. And I tell you all the same thing, if I could overcome and triumph despite the obstacles I faced and still face, so can YOU Butterflies, seize every single day and every single opportunity that comes your way!

Latina Blogger

If you do tweet, please share the link to your tweet here as a comment!

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, no monetary compensation has been received by Ascending Butterfly. However this post is an essay entry to a contest that offers the winner a chance to attend the Hispanicize 2013 Conference as a sponsored guest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Croods + Questions and Answers with Actress Catherine Keener and Directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco!

Da Da Daaaa! By now I'm sure you've seen the super cute commercials for the upcoming movie The Croods.

About The Movie:

The Croods tells the story of the world's first family road trip. When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a comedy adventure into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. As if patriarch Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) didn't already have enough to handle, it goes from bad to worse when they encounter an imaginative nomad named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds.) With Guy's help the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive - each other.

The Cast:

Crug (The Dad) is voiced by Nicolas Cage
Ugga (The Mom) is voiced by Catherine Keener
Eep (Daughter) is voiced by Emma Stone
Gran (Grandmother, Ugga's Mom) is voiced by Cloris Leachman
Thunk (Son) is voiced by Clark Duke
Sandy (baby) is voiced by Randy Thom
Guy (The New Guy) is voiced by Ryan Reynolds
Belt (The Sloth) is voiced by Chris Sanders (III)

The Event:

As you know Mamarazzi screenings with The Moms are not your typical movie screenings, they are EVENTS! This screening was followed by a Questions and Answers Session with the films two directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco as well as Actress Catherine Keener the voice of Ugga who is the family matriarch in DreamWorks animated film The Croods.

You know me, I like to take you through the event via photos from begining to end so you can see everything I got to see! Before we got upstairs a very special mascot made his entry in the lobby and caused quite a bit of excitement, it was BELT!!! So when we got upstairs there he was so we could take pictures, and you know I love Mascot photos (as all my photos from most BlogHer Conferences are with the Mascots I find on the exhibitor floor!).

Left: Ascending Butterfly, Center: Belt Mascot from DreamWorks Pictures The Croods, Right: Mama Butterfly
My eyes were closed in the first photo above, so thankfully they got another one!

Now we're talking! DA DA DAAAAA!

And there was another cute photo opp waiting at the entrance to the auditorium:

I didn't dare sit on that little chair, so I snapped a picture of it!

And there was cute Crood branded Popcorn Bags at the ready for us too!

The screening was followed by a Questions and Answers Session led by Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein the dynamic duo behind The Moms, Catherine Keener the voice of Ugga, and directors Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco!

Below is a video with Questions and Answers that were asked prior to the audience Q&A but it opens with some of the pre-screening reception and don't blink because I'm in the beginning of this video posing for my picture with Mama Butterfly and Belt!

I can see why Actress Kristen Bell likes Sloths, Belt is kind of sweet and cuddly! Here are my photos from the Questions and Answers Session, thankfully it's accompanied by the video of the session as my shots weren't super clear. (This butterfly definitely needs a new camera!)

Left: Denise Albert from 'The Moms', Center: Actress Catherine Keener, to Catherine's Right  Director Chris Sanders, Far Right: Kirk DeMicco

Left: Catherine Keener (Voice of Ugga in DreamWorks Pictures The Croods), Center: Director Chris Sanders, Right: Director Kirk DeMicco

Left: Vincent DiCaro, Director of Public Affairs, National Fatherhood Initiative, Right: Denise Albert from 'The Moms'

Here is the Video of the Questions and Answers Session:

My Take:

The Croods is good family fun for ALL ages! While I did enjoy Oz The Great Powerful, that movie is definitely for older children and teens, while The Croods is good for all ages. It touches on so many different aspects of what being a family means, and the great lessons they learn along the way when they were forced to embrace change ready or not. Parents learning how to let their children grow and go, and the struggles that children go through when they want more freedom than they may necessarily be quite ready for.

The Croods hits theaters on March 22nd and I would definitely say it's a 'Ticket' if you are looking for a family friendly film that is fun for all ages!

Once you've had a chance to see it, come back here and let us know what you thought! And Bloggers feel free to link us to your Wordless Wednesday Posts here too!

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FTC Disclosure: Ascending Butterfly attended a Private Screening of DreamWorks Pictures The Croods, we were provided with snacks and a gift bag, however this is NOT a sponsored post and no monetary compensation has been received to share our screening experience or film review. Full disclosure policy: