The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast

Best place to east at Universal?

Best place to eat at universal

Toothsome

One of the biggest topics when visiting City Walk is where to eat with little kids? The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is a little known gem at Universal’s City Walk on Orlando.

Perfect for children of all ages, this restaurant is whimsical with a feel of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There are steampunk clocks and confections galore.  If you are staying at a high end resort on site at Universal, you can use your hotel key to get premier fast seating which is great. You can  chose to only visit the store, visit just the milk shake counter (we’ll get to this in a moment) or stay for dinner.

When you first walk in, there is a store filled with truffles and macaroons. Beware as they are extremely expensive to the tune of $20 for a box of 6 tiny truffles and $24 for just 6 macaroons.

With that being said, we got both.  I found it with it for the experience for the kids and I can’t lie, myself too. Thet just looked so tempting and I couldn’t wait to try the hand made truffles. Just look at these displays of goodness…

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We chose the salted caramel, neapolitan, chocolate, caramel corn, and coconut macaroons.  I have to say they were just as good as they look.

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For the truffles, I can’t recall what flavors we choose but they look so pretty.  The box they come in is so cute too with a little bow.  I guess for three price they better come in a cute box… the one I tried wasn’t as great as I’d hoped.  If I can do it again, I’d skip getting the high priced truffles, thet weren’t worth it.

The place is known for their outrageous milk shakes.  For kids, this is a dream come true. Take a look at all of the options!

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I’m drooling just looking at the options on the menu again. And boy are they fantastic! Check out the birthday cake with a full piece of cake on top and the cookie jar shake with a cookie and bits of every best cookie!

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The rest of the menu is great too. It’s a fancy restaurant made fun. A little secret, it is actually cheaper than many of the other restaurant’s in the area, so way worth it in my opinion, especially if you have children. They have burgers, chicken tenders, salads, and many more.

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If you can request a specific seat, ask for upstairs by the window.  The view of city walk is great.

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Easy Weekday Cheeseburger Sliders

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I love to cook. Like, looooove it. It’s one of my favorite mental stimulations aside from shopping 😁. But many days, I want to throw something together quickly without it taking much thought.

Sometimes I’ll grab random on sale perishable items when food shopping and have to find creative ways to use them before they expire like a game lol.

I’ve been thinking of new recipes to make for my family and I was in love with a cheeseburger stuffed mushroom recipe I found years ago. I had a random bag of Hawaiian rolls on hand and decided to use that same recipe on these to make extra yummy super simple Cheeseburger Sliders minus the mushrooms (only because I didn’t have any, they’d probably be great tossed .on them too!).

So here is it.  Simple yet delectable and different enough to not just say “we’re having cheeseburgers for dinner”.

Grab a stick of cream cheese, a pound of chopped meat, some minced garlic, butter, mustard (we use frenches), ketchup, cheese, and Hawaiian rolls. Optional items: onions, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, bacon, pickles.

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the Hawaiian rolls in half all at once with a large knife. Set the bottom in a casserole dish.

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Brown the chopped meat and drain all of the grease, you definitely don’t want to ruin it by having greasy soggy bottom buns… use the minced garlic, garlic and onion powders, and Worcestershire sauce while cooking the beef to season as much as you’d like.

Mix the cooked meat with softened crean cheese, some mustard and ketchup. Then put on top of bottom layer.

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I like to add another little layer of mustard and ketchup before adding the onions.  I used red since that’s all i had on hand, but I prefer white onions for this.

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Then add the cheese.  I used white american, again because that’s all I had on hand when making this but I prefer sliced cheddar cheese. This would also be the time to add the bacon and mushrooms and pickles if you choose to. I just didn’t have them but they’d be really yummy.

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Carefully slide on the other side of the buns, the top, all on one piece and press down a little so it “sticks”to the mixture.

Melt 1 stick of butter, I use salted, and mix with minced garlic and some parsley if you’re feeling fancy.  Then spoon over the top buns to get a nice buttery top making sure to get some garlic on each bun.  This makes them like little garlic knots too without the knots!

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Then put into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  Watch out the tops don’t burn, check after 15.

Then you have ooey gooey mini cheesy burgers that are not your average cheeseburger but so simple you can whip them together any day! Great weekday meal.

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I love to add some fresh arugula to it before I eat it because arugula makes everything better!

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Sliders are so versatile and easy..

Next ill be trying the Hawaiian sub rolls and making cheese steak sliders!

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And I’ll definitely be trying this Bourbon BBQ manwich on some pulled pork sliders too!

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2017 NY Baby Show – Ticket Giveaway!!

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The 2017 New York Baby Show, on May 20 & 21 at Pier 94 in NYC will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country!

We didn’t get to attend last year unfortunately, but the year before, I had a blast. My kids were all behaved, so I think that helped a bit 😀.

You can expect to see a ton of vendors, amazing deals on baby/child products, and sneak peaks of items new to market… check out my previous year review of the NY Baby Show.

Now in its 7th year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families from New York and neighboring counties, seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. 

I am giving away tickets for you and your family to experience the show. I have just 10 tickets (family or individual) to give away, first come first serve. Family tickets cover up to 2 adults and 4 children per ticket!

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If you did not score a FREE ticket, make sure to use my 50% off code good on any ticket!

Normal ticket price is $30 per family (for 2 adults and up to 4 children), and $20 per individual.

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Hotels Tonight App w/ $25 off Coupon Code

Looking for that last Summer trip before school starts back up? Save $25 on your next hotel stay by booking on Hotel Tonight with coupon code CKJUSTFORMOMS. It’s a free app available for android and apple. JUST CLICK “apply promotion” in the app.

Want to get away but not sure where to go? Or do you need a last minute hotel? Lucky for you, the more last minute you book with Hotel Tonight, the more discount you’ll get!

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Booking a hotel? Use coupon code CKJUSTFORMOMS to get $25 off of your booking!

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Check out the hot places to go local to you and find the staycation you’ve been wanting!

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Happy travels!

Why I Hate that my Kids Play Pokémon GO

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Ok, well first off… The number one reason I hate that my kids play Pokémon GO is that they hijack my cell phone. MY cell phone. MY Pokémon GO, MY POKÉMON. I caught myself getting visibly upset the other day with my 8 year old when he told me that he changed the name of some of my Pokémon and I snapped. I didn’t mean to, and I felt really silly for it after, but c’mon, it’s my game.

This leads me to my next issue with this app… This is the FIRST THING that made my 8 year old get the idea in his head that HE NEEDS HIS OWN CELL PHONE. Really?! You need your own cell phone now? He has a Chromo tablet of his own, but unfortunately the Pokemon app doesn’t work on his tablet, so now it’s considered a piece of garbage and inferior to my cell phone that he needs to use every waking moment. Again, MY POKÉMON are being trained by 2 trainers. Isn’t it the same with animals, they should have one leader they respect aka the ALPHA? OK,OK, I’m just kidding with that, but he knows better now than to rename my Pokemon and he does help get my walking miles in to hatch my eggs.

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Another thing that tweaks my nerves is that I am the original Pokémon master. Throwback to the 1997/98 saga when it all started. My son walks around like a know it all because he learns everything about Pokémon through You Tube, and schools me when I forget the names. Son, do you know who you’re talking to? I may be a little rusty, but I still have my original binder complete with 1st editions and a holographic Gyarados… THIS was the original You Tube. My binder filled with trainers and organized by type.

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Lastly, it makes me feel OLD. MY Pokémon are now considered artifacts… Some sell on eBay for upwards of $1k for being that old (ok, maybe just the holographic 1st edition Charizard, but still..) I was a pro back in the mid 90’s and now it’s 20+ years later and I’m feeling nostalgic, and ..old(er).

Alright, I don’t HATE that he plays Pokémon, in fact, I am envious. Finding the joys as a child experiencing Pokémon for the first time. I love it that my kids are so into it. It reminds me of myself, a young Pokémon trainer. I still find myself getting giddy when I see a grayed out Pokemon on my radar and I’m trying to figure out what it might be. I love that he loves it as much as I do… He just better not rename my damn Pokémon! 😋 just kidding.

 

 

Drowning Does Not Look Like Drowning

Drowning Does Not Look Like Drowning

Help needed. Drowning man's hand in sea or ocean.

Help needed. Drowning man’s hand in sea or ocean.

Their signs were motionless and void of any struggling or screaming. They just simply passed out.
Via itsTactical regarding instinctive drowning responses

We think we know it all too well. The common signs of someone drowning, flailing around, screaming for help. The movies portray it as such a stressful situation for all involved, including onlookers cheering on lifeguards who are rushing to save victims. But what if I told you drowning is actually silent in most cases? That there is absolutely no muscle movement involved, and the victim will usually pass out underwater before anyone even realizes they’re under…

The sad fact is that the leading cause of death or severe injury in children ages 1-4 years old is drowning. And more then half of these drownings take place in plain site, while adults are present.

It scares me to death knowing that my almost 4 year old thinks he can “swim” and has said it many times. He thinks because I allow him to float in a life jacket at public aquatic centers that he can just dive in on his own. I’ve had the discussion with him so many times that he can never swim without mommy but I am still unsure if it is hitting home. I am sure I’m not alone. We want to empower our children to learn to swim, but at the same time, we need to make sure they know the dangers of the water and when it is safe.

My now 8 year old son had taken swim lessons when he was 5 and 6 years old because he had a slight fear of water. He overcame his fear of the water, but he didn’t catch on to the technique as well as I’d hoped. He’s on the short side, and not able to touch the bottom of standard 3ft deep pools without his nose still hitting the water, so it is still difficult for him.I let him swim with friends in a family members pool as long as he is wearing his tube so that he doesn’t go under. It is still clear in my mind that even with that tube securely around his waist, I took my eye off of him for just a moment, turned back around, and another child in the pool was screaming that he went under. My heart dropped and everything went silent. I couldn’t see my son in the above ground pool he was just swimming in with the other children, and there was a boat tube flipped upside down. Without thinking, I jumped down the flight of stairs and over the side of the 4ft pool in my sun dress.Heart pounding, I pulled my son up to get air. Luckily, there was another child in there who was aware my son had gone under, and I was able to act quickly. But I cannot stop thinking,  “what if he wasn’t there to yell to me”?

I didn’t hear my son go under the water. He didn’t flail, or come up screaming. In fact, he was trapped under a raft that was floating in the pool and his safety tube had flipped him upside down. I can’t stop thinking about what could have happened and what I have unfortunately seen happen to children of others. Luckily by son was okay. Shaken up, but he was okay and I think he learned a water safety lesson that day.

I just want for all others out there to realize that drowning is not always like the movies. That these water safety devices like tubes,rafts, and swimmies are never to replace adult supervision and to be aware of the REAL signs of drowning and what to do it if occurs. Make sure any other children going into a pool or body of water with others understand it’s their duty to alert others of anything in the pool such as another child going under.

Be aware, drowning doesn’t look like drowning.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD Review

2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD

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I had the opportunity this first week of April to check out the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL in Platinum Graphite thanks for DriveShop. I always love doing car reviews because seeing all of the different options available as they come out makes it really easy for me to choose a car that is right for my family. Sometimes you see a vehicle that looks really beautiful, but then you test drive it, and end up disappointed. Luckily, for anyone looking to get a Kia Sorento for their family, this is not one of the disappointments in my opinion.

Check out my initial reaction when I got the keys for the first time.

If you’ve seen any of my other vehicle reviews, you probably already know that my favorite part is the panoramic moon roof. It just adds so much life to the interior. I usually leave it open everyday to keep the inside feeling bright and big. There is nothing saying you need to keep your moon roof closed and have the car looking dark inside! I do the same with my personal car although there isn’t an awesome panoramic style moon roof in it.

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Do you see how bright it is in the car? Look at all of that natural lighting! You can do your own photo shoot in the car.

The interior in this model is black nappa leather trim and ivory. Immediately after getting into this car, I was in love with how luxurious it looks and feels inside. The seats were so soft and cozy and the front AND middle seats all offer the controlled heated seat option with the front also offering air conditioned seats which is lux-urious! The steering wheel has a heated option as well which is great.

 

You can tell the difference in lighting when the moon roof is closed. Do yourself a favor, keep it open!

The way this car drove was amazing. The 6 cylinders gave great pick up and the car drove smoothly and very comfortably. The new age systems inside were a little difficult to navigate as far as all of the options available, but I am sure if I had longer then 1 week with the vehicle an actually read the manual I’d have it all down to a science.

The back up camera in this model is very efficient. It took a little getting used to, but it has an ACTUAL camera view on the top of the car that allows you to not only see the back of your vehicle like most, but also the front and sides. It gives you multiple camera options too depending on where you want to look. The car monitors and beeps at you to let you know if anything is in your path.

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My one complaint with this car, and again, I did not read the manual, but I couldn’t figure it out if it is an actual option, is that I cannot control the rear heat/AC. The 3rd row has the option for the passenger to control the heat/AC back there which is great… but who usually sits in the 3rd row? Kids rights? I don’t want them controlling their own heating and cooling without me having the option to “fix” it while I am driving on the highway. I can foresee numerous fights ensuing over it which a parent is stuck listening to it without the option to fix it without stopping or pulling over. That is something that would bug me if I was the owner of this 3rd row SUV.

The trunk space is really, really tiny and it is expected with the compactness of this vehicle. But when I say small.. I mean really small. It barely fit an umbrella stroller in it when I took some friends for a play date to the local mall an utilized the 3rd row. But hey, take the good with the bad right? The inside was cozy and spacious even with the 3rd row up. Also, the trunk has a good amount of space when the 3rd row is down.

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For the price of this specific model with all of the options, I think it’s a little high for a KIA in particular with a price tag of $46k, but this is fully loaded. I say for a KIA because before these models recently, KIA was seen as a cheaply made vehicle at an affordable price. It isn’t the case anymore as they’ve stepped it up a lot, but the resale value is currently not great on a KIA at the moment. As far as the interior that I was so excited about, the nappa leather seats leave a little to be desired because although they look beautiful and I’d probably pay extra to have them, they seem like they’d rip or tear easily for like “pleather” instead of real leather which is thicker. Here is the window sticker of this exact model with all of the options I spoke about;

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19MPG avg is a little lower then I’d expect for a smaller SUV such as the Kia Sorento.

Here’s some more look into the details. Look at the gas and break, they look like straight out of a race car!

Overall, we had a great time with this car for the week. It proved to be able to take on a ny task we had for it, including BOYS! My son was trying to participate in the vlogging review of the car and he was able to stand straight up in the back which was cool for him.

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Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum – 007

Madam Tussauds’ Wax Museum is a popular attraction in NYC’s Time Square. I have yet to be to a wax museum but I always fall victim to believing that my friends who have gone actually met these famous people in real life. They look unbelievably life like, especially in photos. Wax Museum’s are fun for both adults and children alike and I cannot wait to bring my boys to Madame Tussauds’ this year.

Any 007 fans here? Well we have a treat for you!

On Tuesday, March 22nd, the Times Square attraction welcomed a travelling exhibition of not one, but SIX James Bond figures. Madame Tussauds’ 007 travelling set provides an opportunity for fans of the timeless franchise to interact with the figures of Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosna (additional figure details copied below, following my signature). Visitors must hurry to the attraction for their chance to join the 007 gang, as the set will head to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas this summer.

To help their visitors celebrate the Bonds, Madame Tussauds New York will offer a 50% off promotion off the price of admission for the duration of the figures’ stay in New York.  Poker chips will be handed out by the attraction’s staff on 42nd street and in Times Square– any visitor who asks for a chip and shows it at admissions, will receive their half-off ticket!

Figure Line up:

  • Sean Connery who played 007 in six EON films starting with Dr. No in 1962 is portrayed as he appeared in the 1963 movie From Russia With Love.

 

  • George Lazenby played Bond just once in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and is featured in a classic pose from the film.

 

  • Roger Moore played Bond seven times beginning with 1973’s Live and Let Die and is portrayed as he appeared in the 1977 movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

 

  • Timothy Dalton is featured as he appeared in the late 1980s in his two Bond appearances (The Living Daylights 1987 and Licence to Kill 1989).

 

  • Pierce Brosnan was 007 four times appearing first in 1995’s GoldenEye; he is featured as he appeared in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies.

 

  • Daniel Craig has portrayed Bond in four films, including the most recent release of Spectre. His figure portrays him as his 2012 Skyfall Bond.

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 FRIDAY.

*PHOTO CREDIT: Madame Tussauds

 

The attraction is going all-out for the arrival of James Bond: not only are the street, door and admissions teams wearing tuxedos, but visitors in the attraction can also purchase Bond’s favorite cocktail, “a medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred,” at two separate bars in the attraction.  Guests planning their visit ahead of time can pre-purchase a “007 package” on Madame Tussauds’ website, which will include a complimentary martini (or virgin martini) with the price of admission!

 

 

Review of the 2016 Mazda 6

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This past week I had the privilege of testing out the Mazda 6 Grand Touring from DriveShop. That gave me something else to be thankful for during the Thanksgiving week!

This beautiful deep red color I had is called “Soul Red”. I was never a big red car person. I mean, they’re nice, but I usually go for the black or beige colors. Wow. Wow is all I can say. I felt so luxurious and stylish driving around in this beautiful red car. I had so many compliments on it everywhere I went. It is for sure a show stopper.

Surprisingly affordable, the Starting MSRP for this model is $21,495. The navigation system and sirius satallite radio come standard in this vehicle at no extra charge which is a bonus!

Mileage is 28city/40 hwy which is what you’d expect from a sedan.12359812_10208066777047744_1874810296_o

The inside of this one is not far behind the luxury of the outside. In fact its right on par. Having a family of 4, and both kids being in car & booster seats, space is always a number one concern. That is the reason I went to a “mom mobile” aka an SUV sometime back. The Mazda 6 was shockingly roomy an fir us all with room to spare. The boys loved it an called it “The red car”. I thought my 3 year old was literally going to cry when I had to give it back! There was a small sunroof that made it feel that much more open and let some extra light in. It was cold an the heated seat feature got a lot of use! The interior color in this model is Black/Espresso. The black makes it easy to hide dirt generated from little boys! LOL!

Did I mention that the driver seat has a memory button that remembers just how you like your seat? Two of them to be exact. How convenient because I hate getting in the car after my husband has the seat pushed all the way back and I can’t reach the pedals! Pushing 1 or 2 lets the seat do all of the work to get it back to exactly how I like it, and quickly.

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The trunk space is another thing that shocked me. It fits almost as much as my Mazda CX-7 does and that’s an SUV. It isn’t too high, but the depth of it makes you actually have to step back and figure out how it goes back so far!

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The active driving display, or as I like to call it, the futuristic dashboard is one of the features that makes the Mazda 6 one of the top rated safety vehicles of 2015. It has something I haven’t seen before, which is the ability to tell you when you’re riding far enough away from the car in front of you. It’s funny because that is one of the things my husband always criticized about my driving. He says I tailgate the cars in front of me often… I don’t agree, but this feature sure helps me be mindful of how far back I should be to be at a safe distance. The other safety features are the back up camera, the blind spot alert on the side view mirrors, and the drifting lane alert. It’s a little hard to see in a photo because it’s through a glass, but here is the active driving display showing some of what I covered above.

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After having this vehicle for a week during the holidays, it really made me think about how I’d love to have this vehicle even though it is a sedan. I do miss it, as do my kids. It is certainly a contender in any of our choices for a sedan in the future if we decide to go that route. Mazda has outdone itself again!

The warranty it comes with is 36 month/36,000 miles bumper to bumper. 60 month/60,000 mile powertrain warrantly.

#ZoomZoom!

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A Touch of Dazzle – Spooky Spectacular Giveaway!

I have teamed up with A Touch of Dazzle to bring you this Halloween Locket Giveaway! This jewelry is so diverse and can be customized to your liking! Great for adults and children too!

Click the photo below to go to the entry page. Not just 1, but FIVE lucky winners will win!

CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO ENTER NOW!

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These are just some of the pieces that are available from A Touch of Dazzle;

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They also have pieces for Mom or Grandma;

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School, fashion, and even sweet 16!

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There are so many more including Maid of Honor, Baby Shower, & Anniversary. They also have single jewels that can be added to customize each locket. They come in necklaces, or even a key chain style. There are more jewelry options as well on their site like bracelets, an earrings.

But wait, there is MORE! Not only can you enter to win a Halloween themed locket w/necklace, you can also enter below to win a $10 E-Gift Card good towards any item in their shop. Click HERE TO ENTER to win the GIFT CARD!

Last but not least, just for being a reader of my blog, you can get 15% off any locket in their store A Touch of Dazzle use coupon code LOCKET15.

Purchase here!

http://www.atouchofdazzle.com/#_l_1j

Make sure you entered the Spooky Halloween Locket Giveaway at the top of the page as well!FIVE (5) Lucky winners will win!