Vacation Essentials That Fit Into Your Suitcase

cdn.crownmediadev Are you planning a summer weekend getaway and hate those extra baggage fees?  Here are great ideas that make for easy traveling! Whether you’re traveling on a plane and want to carry on just one bag or jumping in the car with the kids for some R&R, I have a few summer getaway products that are not only fun but can fit into your suitcase. Vacation Essentials That Fit Into Your Suitcase:

  1. LAZY BUNZ: They can be packed in a suitcase (laid flat) or make an easy airplane carry-on. They also fit nicely in most overhead storage areas as well as under a seat. Created by two guys, one a boater and the other a beach goer.  The Lazy Bunz water float was created for those who work hard and want to truly enjoy being lazy. They both got tired of using life jackets and cheap noodles, so they created a product that is:
  • Durable- last through the elements of sun, wind, water.
  • You can take them anywhere – Beach, River, Hotel Lazy River
  • Stores easily
  • Will hold any shape and size – all you do is sit on it like a chair for the water
  • The material is high quality foam and the unique design fits between the user’s legs, giving them a perfect floating water saddle in which to relax to their fullest potential.
  • Lazy Bunz also created the Lazy Bar, the perfect floating bar for those lazy bums that want to float with their favorite beverage or snack nearby.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t!
  • Lazy Bunz has quickly become one of the biggest floats on the market.
  • Colors available are Bahaman Blue, Kiwi Green, Caribbean Coral, and Ultra White. Bright Aussie Yellow, now Orange.

Lazy Bunz, $44.95,

  1. LAZY BAR: FLOATING TRAY: It’s a “must” if you like to float with your beverage or snack bowl nearby. Holds 8 drinks and the openings can accommodate beverages with insulated coozies or without. The center of the Lazy Bar is perfect for either a chip bowl or a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. While not as thick and buoyant as it’s big brother (the ultra lazy bar) its’ 2″ thickness and substantial overall size allow the Lazy Bar to be functional and economical. A grommet located on one side also allows the Lazy Bar to be tethered to the handle on the Lazy Bun for the ultimate in laziness. Easy to store too! Comes in Ultra white color with Bahaman blue print. Dimensions: 21″x 17″x2″.

Lazy Bar, $49.99,

  1. PACKABLE PAILS: Why spend your vacation buying beach toys at high prices when you can bring them with you! Packable Pails are square and look just like a traditional full size beach pail, but are collapsible in one quick easy motion and labeled a BRILLIANT invention for moms by moms. Ideal for collecting seashells, use in the backyard sandbox, use as bowls for snacks, reusable, and also award winning.

 Packable Pails, $14.99,

  1. TRAVELON SELF-SEAL DRY BAGS: The Self-Seal Dry Bags + from Travelon is the latest innovation in dry bags.   Its unique static seal closure ensures a water and airtight seal.  Use it 3 ways:  As a dry bag to keep your items dry; as a float bag; and as a compression bag.  Capacity:  8 liters.  Not only can you keep your clothing dry in the sealed bag, but you can also store wet bathing suits and items sealed tight so they don’t get everything else wet.  So all you do is put your folded clothing in here when you’re packing up, seal it, roll it, and it fits right into your bag without taking up space! Perfect for water sports, outdoor activities, and camping!

Self-Seal Dry Bag+, $22,

Kym’s Kitchen Shortcuts

Don’t be alarmed but I am in the kitchen showing you a few shortcuts to some tasty treats.  If you want to limit your time in the kitchen, here are a few edible shortcuts:

Quick fix for a meal on the go:

I call my quick fix meal on the go, the walking taco.  All you have to do is take a bag of chips. Fritos preferably, this serves as the “crunch” of the taco and then you add all of your ingredients.  You can shake it up or just take it with you and enjoy! Great for a sleep over, or even game night at the house. It’s quick, its easy, its lots of fun!

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Delicious snacks for you and your family:

Who doesn’t love “cookies & milk”? Well I’ve found a way to get two in one!  What you do is take your favorite cookie and crumple it up. Place it in the ice tray, then, you take your milk and pour it over the cookies. Throw it in the freezer and a little while later, TADA! You have a tasty treat.

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And for the adults, if you are craving an iced cold coffee, have I got the thing for you!  Pour coffee in an ice tray, pop it in the freezer and a little while later, viola you have coffee ice cubes, put it in your glass, let it melt and you have chilled perfection.

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Quick and easy cake decorating:

For those who want to decorate a cake, but don’t want to spend tons of money on buying one, I have a simple solution!  Take a plain store bought cake, or you can make one at home.  Take a cookie cutter, place it on your cake, take sprinkles…and you now have a fabulously decorated cake, half the time, half the mess, half the cost! Fabulous.

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I hope you enjoy these fun filled kitchen shortcuts!

My Truly Gorgeous Mother

kym“My mother is truly gorgeous because of the confidence she instilled in me. As a little girl born in the early 60’s she always told me that I could achieve ANYTHING I wanted to. Barbara Bankier, was a girl born in a tiny town in SCOTLAND whose father died when she was just 3 years old she didn’t have a lot of options as a woman but she was determined to instill in her only child, a sense of doing anything I wanted to do! I remember telling her as we sat in our small home in Detroit, Michigan that I wanted to be a television news reporter when I was just 12 years old. She turned to me without hesitation looked me in the eyes and said…”well then you WILL”.That is why my mom is gorgeous indeed.”

Reposted from:

Bliss Happens when you are with Kym Douglas

Kym is part of my weekly work life as a family member on Home and Family for Hallmark Channel. We rarely get to talk about our personal lives, so this was a great opportunity to sit down and talk about her life outside the show.

image-43260.jpgKym’s television persona is as the lovely and upbeat expert on beauty secrets of the stars. She’s written four books on the subject, the latest of which is Bliss Happens. Since publishing the book, Bliss has become Kym’s brand as she shows people how to feel better about themselves by adding a touch of elegance and beauty to their lives. And her message is clear. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to do it.

Kym is a beauty guru and lifestyle expert who appears on several television programs. She’s been a regular on The Ellen Degeneres Show, on Home and Family and The Doctors. She started her career as hard news reporter in Detroit before becoming a red carpet reporter. That’s where she met her future husband, soap opera star, Jerry Douglas. In short order, they fell in love and he whisked her off to Hollywood where they have been happily married for over 25 years.

So why did I want to include Kym in a show that is about rebuilding your life and getting past disasters in order to find prosperity? Quite simply, I wanted to lighten the mood. It’s easy to sink into negative mind space when talking about natural disasters, divorces, deaths, lost loves, financial woes and other tragedies. Yet part of the healing process is to move into positive mind space. It’s about gratitude, appreciation and, yes, bliss. Bliss happens when we make the most of what we have in order to get what makes us truly happy – and it all comes together. That’s what Kym shows her audience – how to make the most of what we have.

Kym is a person of faith who believes that bliss is a choice. In a poignant share, Kym reveals how she made the choice to believe in the possibility of a positive outcome when no one was giving her very much hope. If you have a situation in which the outcome is unclear, why dwell on the negative result when you have an equal possibility of the positive result – and the positive feels so much better?

I’d like you to meet Kym Douglas. She’s my next guests on Rebuilding Your Life: Moving from Disaster to Prosperity. The podcast is available iTunes at: as well as Stitcher:

You can learn more about Kym Douglas and her work on her or follow her @kymdouglas and like her at

Please listen in as we talk bliss with Kym Douglas.

To Your Success,


reposted from
Author: Susan Sherayko

Kym’s Kooking Klass


In today’s blog, I’m going to teach you step-by-step how to peel an orange like a genius, how to peel potatoes without a peeler, and how to peel a hard boiled egg without peeling, because we could all use tips and tricks while cooking in the kitchen!


How To Peel An Orange:

1. Cut both ends of the orange.

2. Cut straight into the skin of the orange and pull the orange apart like an accordion


How To Peel Potatoes Without A Peeler:

This works with all types of potatoes but today I’m using red small baby potatoes.

This will save you a lot of time when you plan on doing mashed potatoes or potato salad.

1. Boil water and score the potato (small cut)

2. Leave the potato in the boiling water for 15 minutes, make sure they are cooked through and tender

3. Place in ice water bath to shock the potato for one minute

4. Take out and peel


How To Peel A Hard Boiled Egg Without Peeling:

1. Boil water for about 12 minutes and boil egg

2. Place eggs in cold water and add 1tsp of baking soda (this raises the PH)

3. Tap both ends of the egg and take a bit of the shell off

4. Then hold the egg in your hand and blow

5. Egg comes right out


After reading these tips, you may ask yourself, “What if some of these tips don’t work?”  Sometimes you do see that happen.  I was going to show you how to open a beer bottle on your forearm but I just couldn’t and I think I would hurt myself.

For more tips and tricks in the kitchen be sure to check out Home and Family TV.


Kym’s Hair Hacks

Another day, another hair dilemma… until now!

Last week on Home & Family I showed you some of my tried and true hair hacks to keep your hair looking fantastic – these ideas might be a little off the beaten path but they’re worth trying when you’re having one of those hair days.


Bangs or no Bangs? That is the question…

But luckily for you it can be something you change your mind on whenever you want! With the following steps you can transform from no bangs to bangs without cutting!



Do you suffer from the serious problem of chronic flat hair syndrome? I have a fix that will give you great volume and curls.  You’ll need 8-10 soda cans for this hair hack – so start hunting for empty (clean!) cans now.



And lastly we all know that some days what you really need to make your look complete is the perfect ponytail. But we all know that every girl struggles with getting it just right – but luckily we have tools for that now! I truly believe that the vacuum was invented just for perfecting the ponytail, and this trick is perfect for Dad’s trying to get their daughters hair done in the morning!


No matter which hair hack you try this week – don’t forget to snap a picture and share it with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!


10455355_10152507291319105_6503543697673816365_nNo one wants to be known for having bad breath, but did you know that it’s an epidemic that affects more than 90 million Americans? I know that’s a staggering number but don’t worry. I did a little research and I discovered some great tips and tricks to help you detect if you have a problem with bad breath as well as, the best way gently tell someone else that they have bad breath using Breath Etiquette.  My wish is to help everyone find a simple cure to curb their stinky breath.

First,  let’s find out if you have bad breath. Most people think they can breath in to their hand and smell and that will give them an idea if they have stinky breath, but that’s actually a myth.  If you want to really know if you have bad breath try the spoon test.  Invert a teaspoon and use it to scrape the back of your tongue, don’t do it so hard you gag but enough to scrape your tongue.  If there’s a coating, sniff it.  It will likely smell bad if there’s a coating.  If you don’t have a spoon you can also test your breath using your wrist.  Simply lick the inside of your wrist and allow it to dry for a minute, if you have halitosis, sulfur salts will be transferred from your tongue to your skin.

Now that you’ve established if you have bad breath, you can help those close to you that suffer from bad breath. But how do you discuss this with them without offending anyone? What is Breath Etiquette? There are two friendly approaches, “The Sit Down” and “The Less Direct”.  With “The Sit Down” approach find a private setting to sit down with your friend and be direct. Begin the conversation by telling them that you believe there is something they would want to know and that you aren’t sure if they are aware of the problem.  If you aren’t comfortable discussing their bad breath so openly with them there is another option, “The Less Direct” approach which is what I would do. It’s a little more discreet. Take a breath mint because yum, they taste good, and then offer one to your friend or the person who has bad breath. If your friend or the person doesn’t accept it then it’s acceptable for you to offer a nudge by simply saying, “I really think you should.” Hopefully they’ll take the mint AND the hint!

So, what can you do to fix the dreaded bad breath problem?  Here are some simple fixes. First, do your best to avoid obvious foods that can cause bad breath such as onions, garlic, and fish. You will also want to consider avoiding less obvious items like chocolate, candy, and other sweets – the sugars in these items can help bacteria grow which will lead to bad breath.  In addition, try to avoid drinking things like coffee and soda; the compounds they release in to your blood stream can cause bad breath until all of it has left your body.  Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water because when your mouth is dry it becomes a breeding ground for offensive smelling bacteria.  Water is also beneficial because it contains oxygen, a natural enemy for stinky bacteria. Saliva also has oxygen, so chewing gum, which helps produce excess saliva, can help with bad breath. You may also want to consider snacking on crisp fruits and veggies like celery, carrots, or apples; chewing them produces more saliva in your mouth and the firm texture helps scrub away bacteria.

Lastly, I also recommend the Orabrush with Tongue Foam.  Your tongue is like a sponge, with 90% of bad breath coming from it.  The Orabrush bristles were designed to mimic a surgeons scrub brush.  The tongue scraper actually collects and removes the bacteria that can be generated from brushing your teeth which will also help to cure bad breath.

We are all faced with challenges each day. For some of us it’s bad breath. I hope my blog post helped you to understand that you are not alone. I am an optimist so I prefer to think there are no problems just ways to solve them which includes bad breath and following the rules of breath etiquette. If you have other solutions that you have found that work for bad breath I would love to hear about them! Please feel free to share them on my blog.

Have a safe, blessed, and beautiful July 4th holiday weekend everyone!

Beauty Alternatives for Youthful Skin

photo (52)Everyone wants to look and feel young as long as possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to go under the knife to do it. I have some great beauty alternatives to keep you looking youthful without the risk and cost of surgery.

Let me start at the beginning and talk about what is in the skin that makes it look so youthful and that changes as we age. It’s collagen. I am sure you have heard the word collagen before but few people know that it is the most abundant protein found in your body.  It is what forms connective tissues like tendons and ligaments and it’s also what gives youthful skin that smooth texture and resilience we all strive to keep over time.  Elastin is also a protein found in connective tissue and it provides its characteristic ability to bounce back to structures like skin and cartilage. When collagen and elastin begin to break down and deplete that’s when you begin to see the visible signs of aging in the form of sagging skin and wrinkles. Here’s the good news. By eating foods that will keep collagen and elastin production up, you can actually slow the tide of aging.

Over time everyone naturally lose collagen but with additional sun exposure and improper care of your skin that process is sped up. The best way to protect your collagen production is regular exercise, green or white teas, a diet rich in antioxidants, omega fatty acids and minerals.  But there are also some additional treatments and products you can use to help boost your protection against aging.

Using an “anti-wrinkle pillow” while you sleep, like the The Face Preserver Pillow is another great way to ensure youthful looking skin. You should also try sleeping on your back to avoid pulling your skin while you sleep which can also cause an increase of wrinkles to your face. I love The Skin Perfecter by Le Mieux is a DIY 4 in 1 anti-aging beauty tool.  It’s an amazing product that treats and improves lines and wrinkles, pores, uneven skin texture, and gives your complexion an all over more youthful appearance. I use mine everyday. When it comes to a great facial mask I recommend the Forever Flawless Diamond Infused Mask.  This mask stimulates skin cell renewal, it uses deep acting moisturizers to completely nourish and hydrate your skin while restoring elasticity and boosting collagen at the same time. Lastly, I recommend Soniclear. Keeping your face clean is important to maintain healthy skin. The Soniclear is the world’s first antimicorbial sonic facial brush, and it costs 30% less than other sonic brushes on the market.  I personally recommend adding avocado or gelatin to the brush because they stimulate gelatin, a protein that can help build up collagen in your skin.

Let’s face it. We all age and there will come a time for all of us to pass the torch. I think the most important thing for us to remember is to embrace our inner beauty first and then all the beauty that surrounds us like our friends and family. This is what will keep us young and ensure that we all age with grace.

Gifts for the Graduate

Life is full of big events and special moments in which to honor those we care about such as graduation. If you’re looking for the perfect graduation gift for someone in your life I have a few suggestions that I think you’ll really love.

graduationFirst, what graduate doesn’t need a suitcase or wouldn’t like to have their own personalized photo luggage? Right? It’s one of those gifts that’s fun, creates conversation, and that will come in handy for several years to come. The people at My Fly Bag have great luggage that you can customize with a photo of your graduates favorite pet, a childhood memory, or a family photo to make them feel at home wherever their travels take them. It’s also a sure way to spot your bag quickly and easily in the sea of often-chaotic bags as they come around the airport luggage carousel.  To receive 10% off and a FREE MyFlyTag luggage tag with the purchase of a My Fly Bag, enter coupon code “FAMILY” at check out.

Another practical and perfect gift that college students need before heading out their front door, is dorm room bedding! Most people don’t know this but dorm rooms usually have twin XL beds, which is not a standard mattress size so it makes finding sheets hard to come by.  Crane and Canopy sells a 2 in 1 top sheet and duvet cover to fit twin XL beds that come in a array of fun colors and patterns. The best part is Crane and Canopy sheet sets will save your students 80% the time in making their bed as compared to standard sheet sets allowing them more time to hit the books.

If you would rather give a meaningful gift that your graduate can wear, there is a company that makes jewelry that I love called POSH Mommy Jewelry (don’t worry it’s not just for moms). They have beautiful monogram necklaces, in gold or silver, with and without diamonds, so there is a price point to meet most everyone’s budget.  What I like most about Monogram jewelry is that it’s timeless and never goes out of style.

At the end of the day the greatest gift of all is in taking the time to honor your graduate for all they have worked so hard to accomplish.  From my family to yours, I wish graduates everywhere much love and success for the bright future that lies ahead. Now have fun and celebrate. You’ve earned it!

Breakup Survival Tips

We’ve all felt heart break after a relationship ends. It’s painful and difficult.  Being in love is an amazing feeling and gives you that kind of high that is addictive, but we all know from experience, that love doesn’t always last.  While you work your way through a pint (or two!) of rocky road ice cream, check out my breakup survival tips that will help you get over your break up and return to the dating scene.


  • Give Yourself Time To Heal. One thing I suggest to anyone going through a rough breakup is to give themselves time to wallow and be sad.  It doesn’t mean you have to rush through your breakup period, but it does mean you should move on eventually.  How long? I’ve heard of some people using a formula that is half the length of the total relationship, while others will choose one week for every month they were together.  No matter how long you choose to take, it’s important that you find a way to move on and learn from the relationship.
  • Keep Friends Close. It’s important to surround yourself with friends during a breakup.  You don’t have to go through it alone! Having friends that you can shed a tear, express your anger, or feel sorry for yourself with, is important to the healing process.  Friends can help pick you up out of a rut.  Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, get in the way of work, relationships and your overall health.  This means that you should try to talk to your friends and listen to what they have to say to you. Your friends are a great source of encouragement and an amazing self-esteem boost that can help you get back into the game.
  • Use A Journal. Keeping a journal is a helpful way to get your feelings out where you can read over them and learn something from not only the relationship, but also the breakup.  Growing is one of the most beneficial things to come out of a breakup, and having a journal that you can look back on to understand your journey is an invaluable resource. Remember no relationship is a failure if you learn something about yourself from it. Ultimately it will help you to grow and make wiser choices in the future.
  • Workout. Hitting the gym may not only be a great distraction after a break up, but it will also get your endorphins going. You can do something as simple as getting off the couch and taking a few trips up and down the stairs or you can join a gym and get fit! The release of these endorphins will help your brain to recover from the “cold turkey” difficulty of a breakup. This is also a great time to try something new, take up a new hobby, and make some new friends.

Eventually you’ll be ready to get out of the house, meet up with friends for some fun and laughter, and get back to living your life.  No matter what your style, whether it’s dinner for one at your favorite hot spot or a girls night out on the town with girlfriends do it with confidence and grace. It’s never easy, but if you stay the course I promise you will get through the storm and find a rainbow sooner than you think!