Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday, My Darling Gracie!

Happy 1st birthday to my Gracie! From the moment I first laid eyes on you one year ago, I felt an indescribable love that I never knew existed. I love you with every inch of my being, and I am so blessed that you chose me to be your Mommy. You light up your dad’s and my lives more than you will ever know. You are the most happy, loving, kind, energetic, beautiful, strong, goofy, and charismatic person, and you radiate love and light to all those around you. I have loved watching you grow this past year and sharing your “firsts” with you, and I look forward to what this next year brings. I love you with all my heart, Monkey. I met you on June 30 last year, but the truth is, I’ve loved you my whole life. Happy 1st birthday my love<3


Thursday, March 3, 2016

2016 March For Marrow 5K Run & Walk

Almost four years ago, on March 13, 2012, my Mom lost her short 3-month battle with MDS (a very rare bone marrow failure disease affecting less than 1% of the US).  My Mom was my mentor, my idol, my confidant, and my best friend.  She was the kind of person who would drop everything to help a friend or a stranger in need.  She devoted her life to her family, her friends, and the community. 

Her passing shook our world, but following in my mom’s footsteps, I had to do something productive.  That was when I discovered the AA&MDS International Foundation, and more coincidentally, their annual fundraiser, March for Marrow 5K Run and Walk, that was to be held in our own city of Long Beach the following month!  I immediately became involved and spread the world to family and friends and the entire Long Beach community.  Within three weeks, Team Pat Reep had raised more than $20,000 for the Foundation and more than 50 people showed up to walk for Team Pat Reep.  Each year since, we have carried on the tradition of walking and running in memory of Mom, and have raised nearly $15,000 each year.

Three years ago I underwent a bone marrow biopsy, and I was diagnosed with Familial Platelet Disorder with a Predisposition to Myeloid Malignancy (it’s a mouthful, I know).  This means that I carry the rare gene that my mom and her mom had, that has a 45% chance of mutating and causing leukemia or MDS (don’t worry, I won’t let this happen to me :)).  We never knew my mom carried this gene until after she passed away, so lucky for me, we are way ahead of the curve.  I am being monitored on an ongoing basis at the USC Norris Cancer Center by the best team of MDS specialists in the nation, and my health couldn’t be better!

As you can see, this cause is very near and dear to my heart.  I experienced firsthand with my Mom how awful this disease is, and unfortunately because it is so rare and there is very little research, there is no cure.  It is my greatest wish to see progress in this field so that no one has to go through what my mom and family went through.  Please consider walking or running with us on Saturday, April 30th to raise awareness for MDS, or please consider donating even if it’s one dollar…every dollar counts towards finding a treatment and hopefully even a cure for MDS.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To make a donation, please click here, then choose “Support Me”.
To register for the walk/run, please click here.

My mom was the most kind, generous, loving, and giving woman I have ever known.  She was my best friend.  Everyone who knew her loved her.  She was a leader in the Long Beach community, and devoted much of her time to philanthropic work.  It’s my turn to give back.  Please consider joining me or supporting our cause in honor of my beloved mommy, Pat Reep.
The last picture we took together, 2012
On my wedding day, three months before she passed

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Vintage Honey Shop Review + Giveaway!

Before Gracie was born, I researched everything we would need from birth to her first birthday.  Upon my research and planning, one of the things I wanted to buy was a teething necklace.  I had heard great things about them; not only are they are good for teething, but also for baby to grab onto during feedings or when being worn.  Through Instagram, I stumbled upon a shop called The Vintage Honey Shop (henceforth TVHS) that sold handmade, natural, and adorable teething + nursing necklaces.  I purchased two of them, and liked them so much, I purchased another one at a later date.  I loved them!

Recently I was asked to review one of their necklaces, and they kindly gave me a new one to review.  My review below is based on ALL of my experiences with TVHS (including my own purchases and the one they provided), but the pictures are of the necklace they kindly gave me to review.  Even though they gave me this necklace, these opinions are my own and in no way were influenced by them.

TVHS necklaces are handmade and wrapped in beautiful fabric to match any style!  Here is a blurb from their “About” section on their website because it takes the words right out of my mouth:
Every necklace is handmade with massive amounts of love, hard work & dedication in creating the very best teething + nursing necklace on the market. The Vintage Honey Shop is all about making moms feel special, from the design of the necklace to the stunning packaging. Its more than a just a necklace, its about having something that makes new mamas feel pretty & knowing that they are wearing a handcrafted piece of jewelry that is safe, functional and stylish!

This statement couldn’t be more true.  You can tell each necklace is made with love and care from the packaging to the product.  When you open up your package, you see a delicate and shabby chic wrapping of tissue paper with a lace doily and tied with striped baker’s twine and a button with their signature bumble bee; it’s absolutely delightful.
The wrapping was so pretty I didn’t want to open it!  Once I did, the beautiful necklace was revealed.  It was the traditional teething necklace (no wooden teething ring attached) in a gorgeous green floral fabric.  The color is so vibrant, that my pictures don’t even do it justice.  I just love this color.

The necklace closure is a satin tie that is very easy to tie, yet secure around your neck when baby pulls on it.  After opening the package, I tied my green floral teething + nursing necklace around my neck and picked up Gracie.  She was immediately drawn to it and couldn’t stop playing with it.  She was grabbing at it, putting it in her mouth, and moving her arms up and down with excitement while still grasping it.

Playing with her new necklace worked up an appetite.  As I sat down to feed her, she continued holding on to it, and did so during her entire feeding.  She loves this necklace as much as I do.  Like I said, before the opportunity to review this fabulous green floral necklace, I had purchased a few on my own in both styles (the traditional necklace like the green floral one, and the teething ring necklace which includes a wooden teething ring).  Below is a picture of all my TVHS teething + nursing necklaces.
There are so many colors and patterns to choose from on their website.  Seriously, there is a necklace to fit any style!

Gracie and I are so thrilled with our TVHS necklaces that we are giving one away to one lucky reader!  To enter:
  1. Comment below with why you want one of these fabulous necklaces.
  2. *Bonus entry* follow me on instagram @sparklemags and comment here to let me know that you are following me on instagram.

Giveaway closes next Wednesday, January 20th at 12:00pm (noon) PST.  The winner will be announced here on the same day at 2:00pm PST.

***UPDATE 1/20:  THE WINNER OF THE VINTAGE HONEYSHOP NECKLACE IS REBECCA GAINEY!  Please email me at magsoneil (@) gmail (dot) com by Friday, 1/22 :)**

And for all my readers, here is a 15% off code to The Vintage Honey Shop:  VHSHARE.  Go check out their site and choose your own fabulous necklace(s) at an awesome discount!!