Product of the Year Awards 2015 {GIVEAWAY}


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I had the pleasure of attending the Product of the Year Awards Gala, held at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. Product of the Year, is the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. Established 28 years ago, Product of the Year currently operates in 40 countries with the same purpose: Guide consumers to the best products in their market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation.

Edison Ballroom POYA

The following 30 winners were announced at this year’s 2015 Product of the Year Awards Gala with special guest NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager, along with Emmy-award winning TV personality and New York Times best-selling author Jill Martin. This year’s winners will have the edge for success as consumers will be able to best identify the most innovative products voted on by their fellow consumers:

Jenna Bush POYA 2015

      • Baby: Beech-Nut Naturals baby food
      • Convenience Meals: LiveGfree Gluten Free Pizza
      • Kids Novelty: Snackeez
      • Sensitivity Toothpaste: Sensodyne Complete
      • Female Grooming: Yes! by Finishing Touch™
      • Home Design: Stencil1 Repeat Pattern Wallpaper Stencil Kit
      • Laundry Detergent: Tide Ultra Stain Release
      • Snacks: Werther’s Original® Caramel Popcorn
      • Laundry Booster: Purex Crystals Aromatherapy
      • Interior Paint: Benjamin Moore® Natura® Waterborne Interior Paint
      • DIY: Insl-x® Garage Guard® Waterborne Epoxy Garage Floor Coating
      • Pet Care: Milk-Bone® Brushing Chews™
      • Personal Hygiene: Dial Greek Yogurt Body Wash
      • Pet Nutrition: Milo’s Kitchen® Grilled Burger Bites
      • Specialty Skin Treatment: Carmex Cold Sore Treatment
      • Body Comfort & Relief: Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray
      • Anti-Aging: Hada Labo Tokyo ™ Ultimate Anti-Aging Mask
      • Skin Care: Gold Bond Ultimate Rough & Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream
      • Enamel Care: Pronamel MultiAction
      • Soap: Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap
      • Men’s Grooming: Dial For Men Power Scrub
      • Hair Styling: Smooth N Shine Argan Power 10 Styling Gel
      • Tooth Whitening: LISTERINE® Healthy White™ Gentle Rinse
      • Overnight Protection: GoodNites Tru-Fit Underwear
      • Paper Products: Viva® Vantage* Paper Towels
      • Specialty Paint: Plutonium™ Ultra Supreme Professional Grade Aerosol Paint
      • Bladder Protection: Always Discreet
      • Feminine Care: Always Infinity
      • Candy: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
      • Sensitivity Pain Relief: Crest Sensi-Stop Strips

Product of the Year Awards

As a mom I was most excited to try out the Product of the Year Award winners of family friendly products.

The second my son saw the Snackeez he proclaimed, “A Snackeez!!!, That is what I had told you I wanted for my birthday, and did not get!” He then explained to me that you pour your favorite drink in the cup part, then add your favorite snacks to the snack holder. So I made him a smoothie for the drink compartment and added some Werther’s Original carmel popcorn (best tasting carmel corn ever, especially if you are a Werther’s fan) into the snack compartment. He loves his Snackeez like it is a cool new toy.

The baby gobbled up the Beech Nut baby food, just carrots, and she insisted on feeding it to herself. The modern jar style made it easy for her to hold, and I liked that Beech Nut baby food is real food for babies.

Beech Nut Baby Food

I had fun trying out the Hada Labo Tokyo Ultimate Anti-Aging Mask and my skin still feels softer and looks healthier two days later. While I was getting a 10-minute revitalizing facial, I ate the POY winner in the candy category. The new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups are so good, they are less dry and more chocolate than an original Butterfinger and can easily be shared because it comes in two pieces like a peanut butter cup.

Hada Labo Tokyo

The other family friendly items that I was excited to use are the Dial Greek Yogurt Body Wash, Smells amazing and is nice and thick, just like yogurt. Lastly the GoodNites Tru-Fit Underwear, my son wakes up dry 90% of the time now. He is fully trained throughout the day, however night time is our last step. He is a big boy for only being four, and is slowly outgrowing “pull-up” style overnight protection diapers. The GoodNites underwear is exactly the item I was looking for to try out on him next.

The best part is Product of the Year Awards is partnering with My Strange Family to giveaway winning products to one lucky reader.

(1) Bag full of all of this years Product of the Year award winning products!

To enter please leave a blog post comment- What award winning product are you most excited to try out if you win?

For additional entries please leave separate comments for each!

  1. Like My Strange Family on Facebook
  2. Follow Kristrange on Instagram
  3. Like Product of the Year on Facebook
  4. Follow POY_USA on Twitter
  5. Share post on Facebook or Tweet about the giveaway. Sample tweet:

“Enter to win a bag full of the 2015 @POY_USA award winning products #MyStrangePOY via @mystrangefam”

Product of the Year Giveaway

This giveaway is for US residents only and will run from today until midnight EST Tuesday February 24th 2015. Prize fulfillment will be sent out directly by Product of the Year.

I was not compensated for this post just provided with review items and giveaway items. All opinions are my own.

Little Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton


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This is such a wonderful book by Brandon Stanton, the famous photographer from HONY. Perfect for a sweet Valentine’s Day gift for your kid or NYC souvenir! It is not like the Humans of New York blog though, it is totally a book for kids with a sweet positive story being told. Both of my kids enjoy looking at the photos and they love seeing the other children’s faces. This book exposes them to real kids who all look very different, with the icon New York City as the backdrop. H was able to point out many of the places he recognizes throughout NYC, and even sounded out some of the easier words. A perfect keepsake book for any HONY lover with kids.

Little Humans HONY

Click links for more info on Little Humans or Brandon’s popular adult book Humans of New York.

Valentine’s Day cards


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I am a huge fan of those Valentine’s Day cards where the kid is photographed with their hand out like they are holding something, and then they actually have something, like a lollipop in their hand. So, I had all the supplies lollipops and all ready, when a letter came home from my sons school saying.

“On Friday, February 13th, children are invited to exchange Valentine’s Day cards in their classrooms. If you would like your child to participate, please send in cards that are only signed with your child’s name. PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS THEM. This makes it easier to distribute, as every child independently hands out his or her own Valentines. Also please remember to send cards only, and refrain from sending food (remember our friends with allergies) or pencils or toys. Homemade cards are great, and the children are delighted to receive them. The school will supply bags for the children to decorate and use to collect their cards. Please bring in 21 cards.”

Ok, so I had to scratch the lollies, but what am I going to have my son hold in his hand? After spending way too much time at the arts and crafts store, I found some cute little glow sticks with hearts on them. I know it says “no toys” but he needs to hold something right?

These Valentine’s Day cards are really easy to make, and if you have a HP photo printer at home they can be done in a snap.

First Take a photo of your kid with their arm up like they are holding something in their hand. Then Google image Valentine’s Day and pick a generic background or two to use.

valentines day card prep

Next I used the Superimpose app, I uploaded the Valentine’s Day heart image as the background and the photo of H holding his hand out as the foreground. Then using the mask feature I started to erase away the foreground to let the background heart image come through. The Superimpose app has twelve different masking tools, to get into all of the small spots.

valentine card using superimpose

Then using the HP photo paper that I received from Disney Parks and MomSelect, for my Disney Side party, I printed out 21 Valentine’s Day cards for my sons class. I picked out different themed backgrounds to mix it up some. Then used scissors to cut a slit above and below my sons hand to put the glow stick through.

Here are the final results, I hope they are a hit with his friends this Valentine’s Day. I know my son already loves them.

Kid holding somthing valentine card

Frame your online photos with Instantly Framed


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I love taking photos and posting them on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, but I also love seeing photos of my kids happy faces up on the walls in our house. Instantly Framed, a new iOS app that physically frames your photos from Instagram, Facebook, and your iPhone/iPad in three easy steps: Print. Frame. Ship. Instantly Framed makes it easy to preserve treasured photographs right from your device, ready to display straight from the box.

Instantly Framed My Strange Family

I used Diptic to create a collage of three photos.

On our last family trip to Mexico I took numerous photos of the kids with the beautiful blue background of the Cancun sky and water, and I was looking online for something more permanent to do with the photos. Literally a few days into our trip Instantly Framed reach out to me to see if I wanted to test out their new app and frame product, I was so excited because it was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

All of their frames are sized 12×12″ so the only choice I had to make was which photo to use, and if I wanted the photo in a 8×8″ square, a 6×6″ square, a 4×4″ square or a 4×6″ vertical or horizontal rectangle. I wanted to create an Instantly Framed frame for my husbands birthday so I let H pick out the final photo.

Instantly Framed was so easy to use, it was just hard picking the best photo

Instantly Framed Choices

Instantly Framed has a flat rate of $65 (including shipping) and is a great price point for an incredibly personalized product that is made to last. It includes an archival print on photo luster paper placed behind an acid-free mat in a 12×12” American-made, sustainably farmed walnut wood frame, and includes free 3-day shipping anywhere in the continental US. The frame was at our home the day we arrived back from Mexico! Super fast turn around time.

Our Instantly Framed frame was at our home, before we were even home from our vacation

InstantlyFramed final product

Perfect just in time for Valentines Day or upcoming Mothers Day. Using the Instantly Framed app was easy and I love the quality of the final product. I guess it is kinda a gift for me too, now to decide where to hang it on the wall. Use code STRANGEFAMILY10 for $10 off each order. For more info on Instantly Framed, check out their web page here.

I was provided with a Frame from Instantly Framed for review purposes, all opinions expressed on My Strange Family are always my own.

Snow day- Pillow fort, campfire and Pop Secret popcorn


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NYC was supposed to get hit with the BIGGEST blizzard of the century last night. Well, lets just say that did not happen. Yes, it snowed and it was cold, but it was not worthy of shutting down the whole city for a day. The plus side was that, today was a snow day, no school for my son, all of the shops were closed and very limited amount of cars on the road. So, with everything closed and the streets a muddy, snowy, mess, we decided to stay home.

We spent some time playing in the snow on our terrace, throwing snow balls and making snow angels. Once our fingers started to freeze off we headed back inside. For some hot coco and a Pop Secret popcorn snack.

My Strange Snow Angels

We had always talked about turning our playroom into a “Secret” fort made out of pillows and blankets for some time now, so I though why not today? On this forced stay at home “snow day” to build our creation once and for all. I had H collect all the blankets and pillows he could find throughout the house and make a big pile on our playroom floor to begin.

Snow Day Pillow Fort

While the pillow fort building was in process some yummy Pop Secret popcorn was popping away in the microwave. Pop Secret is a perfect snack companion on trips into the uncharted reaches of our imagination.

Pillow fort building time

Pop Secret Popcorn

Once the pillow fort was complete H was so proud of his “Secret” creation and spent hours playing inside and snacking on his popcorn for some Pop Secret family fun. Plus check out this cool campfire we made using wooden toy logs, tissue paper and a flashlight.

H's Secret Pillow Fort


If you want to create a fun fill “snow day” pillow fort and snack on some popcorn with your family, download a coupon for $1 off Pop Secret from their Facebook Page, along with a customizable flag to name and claim your pillow fort! You can share your own fort to the Pop Secret Facebook page to be eligible to receive a host of mystery prizes and rewards while supplies last.

This article is sponsored by Pop Secret

Commune by the Great Wall


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Before kids and marriage, we travelled to China for the first time. During our stay we spent a few days out at the Commune by the Great Wall and it was such an amazing, unique experience that I recommend it to anyone planning to spend a night or two out in the Chinese mountains. Staying in the mountains allows tons of extra time to explore the Great Wall without the crowds of tourists, and the Commune has their own private stretch of the Great Wall.

private section of Great Wall Commune

The Commune by the Great Wall is not a typically hotel. It is a collection of different Chinese and Asian architecture designed buildings, scattered through out the mountains. With a private section of the Great Wall sprawling in the backdrop of each house. Each building houses a few individual rooms, and shared main living, kitchen and outdoor space. We stayed in the Cantilever House (Architect: Antonio Ochoa), however during our stay in April 2007 we were the only ones staying in our huge house.

Canteliver House Commune by the Great Wall

By a zigzagging path behind the Canteliver House, you may climb to the private stretch of the Great Wall in about ten minutes. It is worth the steep walk because this section has been untouched, with overgrowth and hundreds of years of Chinese history surrounding it. The raw beauty of its original landscape intensifies the experience and we were the only people walking along the Great Wall as far as the eye could see in both directions.

Private Section of the Great Wall China Shuiguan Great Wall China

We also took a 10 minute walk outside of the Commune’s front gate to a small touristy spot of the Great Wall The Shuiguan (Water Pass). We were the only Westerners there, and my husband was asked to take over a dozen photos with the Asian tourists because he was so tall (instant celebrity). Walking this portion of the wall was steep and 80+ year old Chinese ladies were zooming past us! The Shuiguan section of the Great Wall is part of the military defensive system of the Badaling Great Wall. It is the eastern section of the Badaling Great Wall, and also the strongest and best preserved one.

Shuiguan (Water Pass) Great Wall

Mao jacket statue by Sui Jianguo

Mao jacket statue by Sui Jianguo

The Commune by the Great Wall is a little over an hour and a half outside of the hustle and bustle of Beijing, and 15 minutes from Badaling, the most popular Great Wall section. For more information about this hotel and and the architects involved check out their web page here.