Monday, September 30, 2013

Reducing Your Energy Costs during Energy Awareness Month in October with @BestBuy and ENERGY STAR®

#ad: This October Energy Awareness Month post is being sponsored and brought to you by Best Buy. Ascending Butterfly is part of the WOLF (Women's Leadership Forum) Blogging Program which means we are eligible to receive review items/products free of charge or at a reduced price. Compensation for this post has been provided in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card.

Energy Star Logo

As an apartment dweller I am always on the lookout for simple ways to keep my lifestyle green, and try to save money in the process. Sadly, most apartments in the City limit what changes you can make, and they also don't allow you to swap appliances until they break down, and even then they provide the replacement, and in all my years here none of the major supplied Kitchen appliances are ENERGY STAR® certified, which drives me nuts!

My electric charges are absolutely outrageous, and in all the ways I can possibly control them I do, I try make sure all the electronics that fall under my domain of control are ENERGY STAR® certified, I try to unplug devices I don't use and keeps lights off in rooms I am not in.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instituted Energy Awareness Month in 1992, as voluntary program to help businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through energy efficiency.

October is Energy Awareness Month making this a great time to upgrade to a new energy-efficient appliance to save money on home energy bills. If you are looking for a new TV, Computer, Washer/Dryer make sure to check that it is ENERGY STAR® certified, you will be doing something good for the environment, and good for you as well! Let's face it with the average home's annual energy bill coming in somewhere about $2,200 (and I'm sure mine is WAY higher than that!) you may want to join me in checking out how much money you can save with a new appliance by checking out Best Buy's ENERGY STAR® certified products  and find out more about how to 'Go Green. Save Green'.

Butterflies, don't leave MONEY on the table! Best Buy has a My Best Buy Rebate Finder under the 'Reward Zone' area of their site, that will automatically show you all the rebates that are available on your new appliance, you just plug in your product info and zip code, it's THAT EASY! There are thousands of utility-company rebates and federal and state tax credits that go un-redeemed, that's literally just leaving free money behind, don't forget to check for rebates for any new appliance you purchase! I'm proud to say I have been doing this for years, and the last air conditioner that I purchased from Best Buy had a great rebate, I always make sure to do this and try to research Rebate Options before I buy so I can go with the item with the best reviews that also has a rebate, double SCORE!

My Take:

With Best Buy offering over 2,300 different ENERGY STAR® certified products (both in-store and online), you can go green, save money, check for a rebate and reduce your annual energy costs all at the same time, what's NOT to love?

Share: What ENERGY STAR® Appliance will YOU be purchasing during Energy Awareness this October?

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FTC Disclosure: This is a compensated post in the form of Best Buy Gift Cards (Yes I'm a Gadget Geek and PROUD of it!), however, all opinions are 100% my own (and Energy Costs in New York City truly are outrageous!), I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

@SonyAnimation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 #Cloudy2 #Foodimals Fun!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 theatrical poster

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Earlier this summer I got to attend a sneak peek preview of Sony Pictures Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and I thought I'd share the photos I took that day! Oddly, this wasn't the full movie screening but a sneak peek of select scenes!

Foodimal Standee, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Sneak Preview Event at Sony Pictures
Foodimal Standee, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Sneak Preview Event at Sony Pictures

Character Standee of  Flint Lockwood, the Inventor, Voiced by Bill Hader
Character Standee of  Flint Lockwood, the Inventor, Voiced by Bill Hader

Director Cody Cameron of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 poses with Taco Standee!
Director Cody Cameron poses with Taco Standee!

Character Standee of Sam Sparks, Voiced by Anna Faris
Character Standee of Sam Sparks, Voiced by Anna Faris

Left: Director Kris Pearn, Right: Director Cody Cameron Sony Pictures Animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Left: Director Kris Pearn, Right: Director Cody Cameron Sony Pictures Animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Director Cody Cameron Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 poses with Taco Standee
Director Cody Cameron poses with Taco Standee!

Left: Mama Butterfly and Right: ME! Ascending Butterfly enjoying our Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Photo Booth Moment!
Left: Mama Butterfly and Right: ME! Ascending Butterfly enjoying our Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Photo Booth Moment!

What was your favorite food fantasy character from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2?

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 Active Giveaway:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Great giveaway ending soon for a VIP Experience on Smooth Jazz NY's final sail of the season, The Encore Cruise: Angela Bofill Experience, (Two Cruise Passes, Buffet Tickets and Drinks for two as well!) enter here:

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

@Influenster really hit the nail on the head with the #ParadiseVoxBox #Beauty, #Haircare + something for #feet too!

#ad: This is not a compensated campaign, however an Influenster #ParadiseVoxBox was sent to us for editorial consideration. Full Disclosure Below.

Influenster, #ParadiseVoxBox, Influenster Paradise Vox Box, Beauty, Haircare, Feet, Footcare, Lifestyle Blogger, Product Review
#ParadiseVoxBox from Influenster with products from Dr.Scholl's, Goody, Suave, Olay and NYC Color!

I have tried out some not so stellar subscriptions boxes lately, so bad in fact, that I just haven't had the same rush/thrill I usually get when a new one arrives. I know the normal reaction would be 'Yay! A box full of stuff!', but when you have to go back and write about it and realize that not as much of it worked for you as you originally thought it would, it gets harder to drum up the same enthusiasm you had when you first open it. For those boxes I opted to follow our parents age old advice about when you don't have something nice to say....(don't say anything at all.)

Thankfully Influenster saved the day with a box I could get jazzed about!

Contents of my #ParadiseVoxBox (in alpahabetical order):

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Goody TangleFix (Gentle Hair Detangler Brush)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - NYC - New York Color Sparkle Eye Dust Color in '882 Smokey Topaz'

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Olay Fresh Effects Shine, Shine Go Away! Shine Minimizing Cleanser

My Take:

This box knocked it out the park because absolutely everything was truly useful for me. Most people aren't quick to take the plunge with subscription services because they are always afraid the makeup will be some garish color they'd never wear, or they will get a ton of products they don't use. And I can understand that as I for one don't like when boxes come with self tanner as I have color and I don't need self tanner products. But with this box Influenster definitely hit a home run. We are now in fall and my high heel boots are coming out of the closet, and the Dr. Scholl's inserts have made all my favorite boots that much more comfortable. I already use Dr. Scholl's in my flats and sneakers and love that they know have insoles made for heels as well. I use them in my high heel shoes and now for fall will put them inside my boots with heels as well. SCORE!

I loved the gentle detangler brush as well from Goody, I am 'tender headed' and I hate getting my hair tugged at to detangle it, this makes it much easier to detangle my hair without the need to use extra product to do the job. I have fine, thin hair so I hate having to add a detangler product to my hair which weighs it down, so I am definitely loving this brush and haven't stopped using it since I got it! I'm going to run out and get these for my nieces and nephews because like me, they hate getting their wet hair detangled! I have a feeling they are going to love the Goody detangler brush and how gentle it is just as much as I do! SCORE!

The Olay Shine Minimizing Cleanser is just up my alley as I have oily skin, and usually have to use a mattifying product under my Foundation. I am using this with a cleansing brush and together they have been an amazing one-two punch for my face! (I will definitely share more about the brush soon, in fact you are going to have a chance to win it too so stay tuned!). SCORE!

The New York City Sparkle Dust is perfect for a night on the town, I do use a primer first and then apply this slightly wet for a more dramatic eye look. I will try to get a picture of just my face close up when I am wearing this so you can get an idea of how it works against my skin. I'm a beige/sand in many foundations and have hazel eyes. I don't do dramatic eyes too often, but when I do, I love this Smokey Topaz Color! SCORE!

Last but certainly not least was the Suave Professionals Moroccan Styling Oil. This styling oil definitely gives you that 'fresh out of the salon' feel AND smell. For my thin hair with most styling oils a very little always go a very long way with me, and this one is the same, I don't need to use much at all, especially if my hair is still damp. I also love to put it on my ends post styling for a little extra gloss/shine and especially on my bangs after I have flat ironed them. (My bangs are grown out right now, but I do plan to cut them again, so when I do I'll take a close up shot of them with a drop of this on it!). SCORE!

Everything in this box particular box was perfect for me, and the folks at Influenster have certainly set the bar high for the next box! I am so bummed I wasn't able to attend the twitter party they held to celebrate the #ParadiseVoxBox, because I certainly really loved this one! I wouldn't hesitate to fully recommend any of the products in this box!

Which of these products would you most like to try? or if you have tried all of them already, which is your particular favorite butterfly?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a paid campaign, no monetary compensation has been offered. Ascending Butterfly is a member of Influenster and Influenster boxes are randomly sent to members for editorial consideration and our honest opinons of the products. All opinions expressed herein are 100% my own. See our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for full information.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Win a VIP @SmoothJazzNY Angela Bofill Experience Concert Cruise with #dinner & drinks via @Ascending1 #Giveaway

#Sponsored: This giveaway has been sponsored by (see below for full disclosure):

I have been partnering with Smooth Jazz New York for a number of years now and it has become an annual tradition that I greatly look forward to! While it's fantastic in summer, it's the final sail that happens right after the beginning of Fall that is my favorite. It's always bitter sweet because I know the Boat Cruises are over for the season until next summer, but it also means a host of other fun events are on the way. 

I didn't get to take the final sail last year and most of you know why by now, so I am looking that much more forward to this year's final sail.

Angela Bofill
Angela Bofill

The Smooth Cruise season is coming to an end, and the last sail is: Smooth Cruise Encore: The Angela Bofill Experience!

Like me Angela is a Bronx Native and you may know her by her six albums that made the Top 40, (five of which made the Top 100 on the pop charts as well), her albums 'Angel of the Night' and 'Too Tough' made the top 10! With performances by Maysa and Kim Waters, this is going to be some sail folks!

Here is a picture of me and mama butterfly all smiles during our last sail this summer during the Spyro Gyra sail, if you missed my recap of that sail, you can check it out HERE:

Left: Tracy of Ascending Butterfly and Right: Mama Butterfly enjoying the smooth sounds of Spyro Gyra on the Smooth Jazz Cruise in New York City

My Take:

The Smooth Jazz Cruises are my favorite part of summer, and the final sail just gets me in the mood for Fall. Back in my recruiting days it was a favorite client gift. It is just a super relaxing evening with great music, food and people! I have met so many wonderful people throughout the years (I have actually been taking the sails well before my blogging days!)

Win It:

Our friends at Smooth Jazz New York want you to experience the same VIP experience I did! One lucky butterfly (and a guest) will win a pair of passes to the October 4th 2013, 9:30 Smooth Cruise Encore: The Angela Bofill Experience sail including dinner and drink tickets for two as well! This is a true New York Experience not to be missed! (Please do not enter if you cannot attend on 10/4 as this is a very fast turnaround and we won't have time to process a last minute cancellation)

Enter using the link to the Rafflecopter Widget below:

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FTC Disclosure: Smooth Jazz New York provided Ascending Butterfly with tickets to the upcoming Encore Sail for editorial consideration, all opinions are 100% my own, you may visit our full giveaway and disclosure page for complete policy information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Photos from The Art of the Score: #Film Week at the @nyphil - Hitchcock with an intermission sponsored by @FAGEUSA!

New York Philharmonic Logo

You know how much I love Suspense/Horror films and when our friends at FAGE invited us to attend 'The Art of The Score: Film Week at the New York Philharmonic - Hitchcock!' you know I couldn't possibly pass that up! Being based in New York City affords me a wealth of events to attend pretty much daily, but this has to be the most unique pairing and most interesting event I've attended lately! FAGE sponsored the show and they offered a tasting during intermission! Brilliant! I'd love to see more brands partner with New York Philharmonic to bring unique intermission experiences to an already iconic New York Institution!


Since it's Wordless Wednesday, without furthur ado here are my photos:

Avery Fisher Hall Home of the New York Philharmonic
Avery Fisher Hall Home of the New York Philharmonic

FAGE USA Signage for The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock! Intermission
Sign reads: Fage #1 Yogurt in Greece Presenting Sponsor of Hitchcock! The Art of the Score Film Week at the Philharmonic. Please join us for a tasting during intermission.

Table Display for FAGE USA intermission during The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock Event
Calm before the storm, the Fage table before intermission! :)

The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!
A mix of interactive on-screen clips from Alfred Hitchcock's most iconic films coupled with music from the New York Philharmonic, a night in New York City doesn't get much better than this!

Alec Baldwin emcee for The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!
Alec Baldwin was the emcee for the evening!

The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!, Fountain lit up at night, New York City
Nothing prettier than the fountain lit up at night!

The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!, Fountain lit up at night, New York City
Left: ME! Ascending Butterfly! and Right: Mama Butterfly!

The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!, Fountain lit up at night, New York City
Left: ME! Ascending Butterfly! and Right: Mama Butterfly! - Ready for our closeup!

The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic Hitchcock!, New York City

Full Moon New York City
It was a FULL MOON that night!

My Take:

This was a unique partnership and I am so glad I got the chance to attend. I am a big fan of suspense/thriller/horror genre and nothing is more iconic than the work of Alfred Hitchcock! And no matter how perfect your home theater set up may be, a suspense film being brought to life by the New York Philharmonic is an experience, not just entertainment!

And in case you missed our 2011 Healthify your summer with Fage recipe series, here are the links:

Recipe #1 FAGE Fried Chicken:

Recipe #2 FAGE Total Greek Yogurt Lemon Coleslaw:

Recipe #3 FAGE Macaroni and Cheese

Happy Wordless Wednesday, Bloggers feel free to post the link to your Wordless Wednesday post as a comment on this thread so we can visit you and check out your photos as well! (Sorry NO Giveaway Links please!)

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FTC Disclosure: Tickets to the Philharmonic were provided to Ascending Butterfly by FAGE USA for editorial consideration, however this did NOT influence our opinion. All opinions are 100% my own. We were not provided with any monetary compensation whatsoever to share our recap coverage!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I am a Ronald McDonald House Charities #Blogger Brand Ambassador - Check out my photos and recap of my #Chicago Immersion Experience! #RMHCVoices

Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo

I know things have been unusually quiet around here, to say I have had a lot to process would be an under-statement. This summer has been a bit of a blur, a flurry of events and activities and I had hoped September would bring a little stillness to what has been a chaotic past few months, but it didn't. It didn't slow down one bit. Latinista Fashion Week melded into Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City and I ducked out on the last half of Fashion Week in my hometown New York City this year for a very good cause.

I am a member of the Ronald McDonald Family Arches Community and awhile back they put out a call for the community members to apply to become a Blogger Brand Ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Out of a community of over 6,000 members, I was selected to be one of five Ambassadors. And while I am indeed proud of being selected, understand that this is a huge commitment. This is NOT a paid role, it is a voluntary mission to help support the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities and the families who seek their services. I thought long and hard before applying. Lately I haven't had time to breathe let alone think and I didn't think at first that I had room on my plate for one more commitment.

I posted a bit about it in last week's 'Weekly Moment of Gratitude', but I needed some time and distance from everything to really take it all in and put the entire experience in true perspective. I am also very much an incredibly visual person, and looking at all the pictures has also helped me to remember not just what I saw, but how the experiences made me feel.

The trip was equally exciting and emotionally exhausting. It wasn't easy to steel myself to walk back into a hospital. To walk into a room, to hear the sounds of the machines and smell that smell that is so distinctly 'hospital'. Seeing the children fighting for their lives, yet walking the halls (IV and all) with a nod, smile or hello. Families and parents that were emotionally spent yet took time to share a meal with us are moments I know I won't soon forget.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago walk through Photos, Lurie Hospital, Hyde Park House, Ronald McDonald, Butterfly Fractal
Photo Collage of Lurie Hospital Walk Through - These photos will be also posted on our Pinterest Page with captions!

Our visit started with a walk through of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, formerly Children's Memorial Hospital, it is a facility that provides superior pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology and research while offering super family-friendly design. Each floor has an 'animal theme' that is very child friendly, but also makes things a bit easier for the families to remember which floor offers which service. Even the elevators are not only numbered by floor, but by their animal theme and there are interactive buttons to press to keep the little ones entertained during the elevator ride too!

Fire Truck Cab, Chicago Fire Department, Pierce Manufacturing, Engine 98
Actual Fire Truck Cab donated to Lurie Hospital by Chicago Fire Department Engine Company 98 and Pierce Manufacturing

I loved that the decor of the hospital turned out to be a true community effort, with the massive whales in the lobby being donated by the local Aquarium and a real firetruck that the Chicago Fire Department convinced Pierce Manufacturing to donate. In 2009, Pierce Manufacturing donated a custom cab complete with child-friendly switches and games. And you really do see the children's eyes light up when they see it and the cute dalmation dog statues that complete the real fire department feel. The hospital is a true labor of love that took many donors and community partners to help make come to fruition.

View from one of the Sleep Rooms on 12th Floor of Lurie Hospital

And if you are wondering how the hospital ties in with Ronald McDonald House Charities, they operate nine Sleep Rooms on the 12th floor of the hospital near the Family Life Center. The complimentary Sleep Rooms whose bedding and decorations were donated by Denihan Hospitality (operators of the Mile North and James Hotels - the hotel the Ambassadors stayed in during their time in Chicago) are reserved for families of children in critical care who have been referred over by a Social Worker.

We followed our tour of Lurie with a walk over to the Downtown Ronald McDonald House on East Grand Avenue where we were greeted by J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities who shared about his own personal journey with McDonald's and how came to hold his current position as well as answering our questions about RMHC and it's connection to McDonalds. (One of the main takeaways for me was that the charities have McDonald's as one of its major contributors, but not it's SOLE contributor, it is the donations made by individuals in both money and time that go a long way to helping the charity help families stay together during such a critical and challenging time!).

J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez,  President & CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities

We also had the chance to have lunch in the Downtown House (Various Corporations donate meals to the houses) and we had the chance to not only have lunch in the Downtown House but to also interact with families who were having lunch as well. Families whose children are actually able to come down for lunch giving them the chance to interact with other families, and for the kids to know that there are other children who are experiencing the same challenges they are. I thought it was incredibly generous of House and the families to allow us to share in a meal with them!

During our tour of the House we passed one of the family rooms where a young girl was playing so beautifully on the Piano we had to stop and listen to her!

We decorated Sugar Cookies with the families staying at the Downtown House, of course I made a butterfly cookie!

Her family and others also joined us in decorating Sugar Cookies for the families to enjoy and I think this activity definitely brought out the little kid in us all. Of course I had to make a butterfly cookie, but I think the pretty butterfly fractal art I saw in the hallway during my tour of Lurie Hospital was still in my head. (The picture is in the Collage of photos at the top of this post, it was designed by a 20 year old patient.)

Thought this paratrooper light fixture in the toy room was pretty cool!

We also got the chance to meet Rick Wion, McDonald's US-Communications Director of Social Media who shared about his role as well as how the Ambassador's would also utilize Social Media in their roles, we even had an impromptu hashtag jam session and the hashtag #RMHCVoices was ultimately decided upon as the way we will share our posts and experiences during our year long journey on Twitter.

We had a brief moment to decompress and then change for dinner, and I think the emotion of the day didn't actually hit me until I had that moment to stop. It was such a non-stop day that in the brief moment of not being immersed in it I realized how emotionally tired I actually felt. While Lurie Hospital and RMHC downtown Chicago offer so much love and hope to the families, I couldn't help but really see the exhaustion behind the tired eyes of the families and the instant total recall I felt when being back inside a hospital again so soon after my own harrowing experiences.

We had a group dinner that night at Rosebud on Rush Restaurant where we shared great appetizers and wine, and I had that night's seafood special which was definitely delish!

Left: Clara L. Carrier, PR & Marketing Manager RMHC and Right: Nick Karavites, Restaurant Owner/Operator and founder of Rock The House annual event. Photo Credit: Melanie in the Middle Blog (I cropped myself out, but you can see me on her site in this photo!)

The next morning we had breakfast at a local McDonald's Franchise owned by Nick Karavites who spoke to us about "Rock the House", a charity event hosted annually in Chicago that is now in it's fourth year! I hope that all my butterflies in Chicago will help support this event! If you do attend, please tag us on facebook so we can see your great pictures!

Hyde Park Ronald McDonald House South Drexel Avenue in Chicago. Photo Credit: Melanie in the Middle Blog

After Breakfast we visited the Hyde Park Ronald McDonald House on South Drexel Avenue where in addition to a tour of the House we had the opportunity to help assemble Welcome Bags to distribute to the families. The Welcome Bags contained a great mix of items to help the families feel at home, keep the little ones entertained, and even some snacks to help them keep their energy up. And while we were there to help them, I thought it was super sweet of the House to give us a copy of their Recipes from the Heart Cookbook, proceeds from this book benefit four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Chicagoland area! I'd be happy to email anyone that would like to order the book a copy of the order form!

The picture of me in the collage with Ronald was taken at the Hyde Park House!

Flying home on 09/11 for me as a New Yorker was a bit of a scary idea, but thankfully I made it home safely. There was a lot to take in and I have decided to split some of the stuff I learned into different posts, and I will do a Wordless Wednesday next week with my pictures of the things I got to see during my downtime!

Ultimately the most important thing I took from the Houses I got to visit was that the dedicated staff and array of devoted volunteers work hard to make such an awful time for families a whole lot easier. The Houses do more than just 'keep the families together' and under the same roof, they work tirelessly to give the families a space that truly feels like home, so routines don't have to be more disrupted than they already are. Some families who have stayed at the Houses said you sometimes arrive there with nothing more than the clothes on your back (some families have experienced the fear of their child being transported by emergency helicopter to a hospital) and the Houses literally take care of every need they could possibly imagine so they don't have to worry.

I can only hope and pray that none of you have personally experienced the fear of not knowing, the fear of having a seriously or critically ill little one. Of not only having their life hang in the balance, but then wonder how you can keep your family in one place so you can keep track of everything and everyone. These Houses provide Love, Hope, Comfort and Care in an environment that is truly family-friendly. Can you put a price on Hope? on Love? on Comfort? or Care?

As part of my commitment I will be helping to volunteer at my local Ronald McDonald House and I of course will share that with you, and hopefully find ways to involve you and make you part of the experience as well. But there is a super simple way you can join me in helping, you can put your change from your next McDonald's purchase in that collection box by the register. It's money you won't miss anyway and it will provide a world of good for a family going through a very difficult and trying time in their lives!

I know seeing the Houses gives me a different perspective, but I just visited a local McDonald's over the weekend and noticed that people had thrown their receipts in the collection box instead of an actual donation and it really made me super mad! I was once told that the only explanation for hard times and struggles is to make us more empathetic and open-minded to the suffering of others. I come from a long line of 'givers' but my year seeing life from the perspective of a hospital bed has certainly made me more sympathetic and empathetic to those currently in the same situation.

I'm not even sure this post does justice to all that I've learned, but I hope you will all join me finding a way to support your local Ronald McDonald House Charities as well. There are so many ways to help, as an individual you can donate time or money or hopefully both, and if the organization you work for is looking for ways to give back you can point them in the direction of their local chapter!

Do you have experience with your local Ronald McDonald House Charities? Have you volunteered at your local House?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post. My RHMC Ambassadorship is a volunteer role. My trip to Chicago and hotel stay were provided for the immersion experience however this did NOT influence my opinions! All opinions are 100% my own. Ascending Butterfly appreciates those individuals and brands who give back. Please note that due to editorial and time constraints we cannot provide editorial space to each and every initiative that reaches out to us.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: I got attacked by balloons on the @MTA #Subway!

Oversized Bags of Black and White Balloons take over MTA New York City Subway Car

Bloggers, feel free to link us to your Wordless Wednesday Post as a link in the comment section so we can visit you too!

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. This is a random slice of life on a New York City Subway Train where two oversized bags of balloons took over the car and all we could see was the person's feet beneath the bags!  The next day I rode the train with a pitbull (the dog, not the famous singer) and last night I rode with a chihuahua dog in our car! (Neither were service dogs by the way!) These Balloons made me think of Times Square at New Years Eve - I love Black, White and Gold Balloons for New Years Eve, don't you?

Monday, September 16, 2013

@FabFitFun put a smile in my #MotivationMonday, Thanks @GiulianaRancic! Want to see what's in the box?

#ad: A FabFitFun Box was provided for Editorial Consideration however no monetary compensation has been received by Ascending Butterfly to share our experience.

I get to attend a lot of cool 'tweet ups' in New York City and I also get the chance to help host or co-host a ton of cool Twitter Parties, I guess me being "The Official #TwitterPartyDJ" it's no surprise, but I had the chance to attend a live tweet up last year with Giuliana Rancic in conjunction with the P&G #GIVEHope 'Do it for the Girls' campaign. If you missed that post, you can check it out HERE.

Meeting Giuliana in person and hearing her story inspired me because there is a history of Cancer in my family, to get my first ever Mammogram early. I remember one of the things that was discussed when I got the chance to meet her, and after having spent a year in the hospital myself, this really hit home, someone asked her what to give someone in the hospital or someone who is already at home but under-going treaments, she answered meals, house cleaning service, or an in home manicure and that resonated with me that's for sure. I don't know if this was already under development then, but Giuliana developed a subscription box service called FabFitFun where she curates a collection of great products spanning beauty, wellness, health, fitness and fashion to help you feel good from the inside out (which of course is very much our motto here at Ascending Butterfly!).

"It's the perfect way to kickstart your happy and get more from life every day!"

I received the August box a bit late in the month so with my travels and obligations I didn't actually get to start testing the products until September, but thankfully fab products are useful anytime!

What was in the box:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Ivory Mason Sunglasses - ARV $69
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Catalina Su Lip Gloss - ARV $14
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Purlisse Pur-Delicate Gentle Soy Milk Cleanser and Makeup Remover - ARV $36
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Evian Brumisateur Facial Spray - ARV $7.50
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Infinity Sun 'Glow on the Go' Sunless Tanning Spray - ARV $35
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - it Haircare Surf Spray (for beachless waves) - ARV $6.99
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Kind Bar - Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants - ARV $1.39 per bar
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Yes to Cucumbers Soothing hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes - ARV $5.99

My Take:

The best things about a subscription box is discovering a great new product, or a brand that is new to you, or a product new to you from a brand you already love. Treat yourself or better still get them as a special gift for someone you love. Especially when you have someone on your list who is hard to shop for, even the person who has everything wants to try something fun and new!

For me the standouts in this box was the Pur-lisse pur-delicate gently soy milk cleanser (because I test out so many products my skin can get sensitive when I bombard it with stuff back to back), this was gentle on my skin and it felt great afterwards. I tend to wear my hair straight so I didn't find myself reaching for the beachless waves too often, and of course I don't really need tan sprays as I have enough natural melanin of my own!  The facial spray was great, because in high heat and humidity misting myself like a plant was a great way to stay cool! And of course, I personally get can't enough lip gloss (I like to make sure I have a few in all my purses, desk drawers etc), and I also enjoyed the Soothing Towelette makeup removers from Yes to Cucumbers (I always advise keeping a pack in your purse, on super sunny days when makeup is running in your eyes these can certainly come in handy! And of course before or after the gym they are great to have on you!).

And you know just how much Ascending Butterfly loves brands that GIVE back, and Ivory Mason has a collection of glasses called BABY2BABY, for every pair sold they donate a pack of diapers! Baby2Baby .org supplies Los Angeles families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children up to age 12. By distributing new and gently used items to over 50 non-profit organizations including homeless and domestic violence shelters, Head Start programs and Hospitals. They serve over 50,000 children each year! You get stylish frames and you help a child in need, WIN/WIN in my book!

And Kind Bars offer up great snacks with ingredients you can pronounce all from a company with a commitment to social entrepreneurship and making the world 'kinder', one act at a time, the fact that the bar is delish too is a great bonus!

I provided URL's to all the brands above in the list of contents so you could get social with them as well, but I also wanted to point out that Kind Bars has a #kindawesome community where they discuss all things inspirational and motivational as well!

Get Social with FabFitFun:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - 'Like' FabFitFun on Facebook
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Follow @FabFitFun on Twitter
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Pin with FabFitFun on Pinterest
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Subscribe on YouTube
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Hang out with FabFitFun on Tumblr

I'm definitely looking forward to trying out my next box, and this would definitely be a thoughtful gift for someone you know who is in the hospital or home getting treatments, I know this would have put a smile on my face while I was in the hospital during most of 2012 that's for sure. (And remember some floors do not allow patients to have flowers and some patients also have food restrictions, but usually beauty products are not banned, just call ahead to be sure).

Which of these products would you most like to try? Which is your favorite subscription Beauty Box Service and why?

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FTC Disclosure: I received a FabFitFun August Subscription Box for Editorial Consideration, no monetary compensation has been received and all opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Moment of Gratitude: My newest #Blogger Brand Ambassadorship, Getting Home and Not Getting Shot and stay away from @Optimum Edition!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ My Newest Blogger Brand Ambassadorship! - I am a member of the Family Arches Community, (You do NOT have to be a blogger to join the community!) and they put out a call for members of the community to apply to become an RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) Brand Ambassador. The community is over 6,000 members strong and I was one of the bloggers selected to become an Ambassador! My fellow Ambassadors include: Brittany of The Domestic Geek Blog, Melanie from Melanie in the Middle, Meagan of Sunshine and Sippy Cups, and Kathy of Sparkles and a Stove. All of us have made a year long commitment to help support the efforts of Ronald McDonald House Charities and immerse ourselves in volunteer opportunities and fundraising activities for our local houses. We are NOT being compensated for our efforts, and I want to applaud my fellow Ambassadors for making such an incredible commitment of both time and resources to support this cause and help families who are experiencing the stress of having a child in the hospital stay together at such a daunting and emotionally draining moment. This is a labor of love for us all, and I promise to share about our immersion trip to Chicago. I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service, especially since I can empathize with what it feels like to spend a long period of time in the hospital! Touring the hospitals and the houses has a way of putting our own day to day petty problems into perspective that's for sure!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Making it home safe last night! - As a life long New Yorker, this is something I actually never take for granted, it's a dangerous City, but last night cops were chasing a perp and opened fire in a crowded public area, I was on the crosstown bus at the moment and we saw people running and screaming and had no idea what was happening. (After surviving 09/11 many of us on the bus assumed the worst). 2 innocent bystanders were not so lucky and were shot by the officers, not the criminal. And after getting off the crosstown bus to connect to an express bus that takes me home, which I just missed by a hair because the crosstown couldn't get through traffic, the weight of all the stress and pressure I've been under lately hit me, and when I finally got home at almost one in the morning in a City that boasts itself on it's fast and supposedly reliable public transportation, it was all it took to keep myself from just bursting into tears! When I saw the news and found out that two people were shot I thought a bullet could have just as easily hit the bus I was in as we were right in the thick of all the running and chaos. I am grateful I made it home, but am aware that two people didn't. Two people ended up in a hospital shot. Shot by the folks that our parents tell us to trust, a cop. This is a gritty city for sure and sometimes just making it home safely is a lot to be grateful for.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Lousy Service! - Sometimes bad people, places and things, help us appreciate the good ones even more. My Cable Company has tested every ounce of my patience this past month as the expensive high speed broadband internet I pay good money for hasn't been working. The tech made me stay home an entire day and NEVER showed, they didn't have the courtesy to call and I'm considering sending them a BILL for not showing. But their lack of professionalism has made me realize it's time to change providers. I should get what I pay for, and if they can't provide it, you can best believe I will find someone who will. When I have called them and contacted them via social media, their actual attitude is 'so we didn't show up, what do you want us to do about that, that's the past.' (the past is Friday by the way). I'd like (1) for the service I pay for to work, (2) when a tech makes an appointment he should keep it or call to promptly cancel 24 hours in advance and (3) I'd like an apology when you f*%k up. Simple as that. So those of you toying with having Optimum Online from Cablevision installed in your home, do yourself a favor and DON'T!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Events! - A very mixed bag of non-stop events that I will recap shortly.

This month is moving super fast and somehow October is almost here!

Stay tuned more great giveaways coming soon!

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 What are you GRATEFUL for this week Butterfly?  Is it a lesson learned, or a random act of kindness that you gave or received?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post.