Joyfolie Review 2: BUYER BEWARE!!!!

I want to start off by saying, once upon a time; this company was a really great company that I LOOOOVVVED shopping with!  I even wrote a positive review Joyfolie Shoes Review!  If you scroll through my daughter’s IG page zizah_the_gymnast_diva, you’ll find her dolled up with an ABUNDANCE of pieces from this company.

I would say for about the past 2 years, I haven’t really shopped with this company.  This is mainly because my daughter is over the dress up stage, she is a competitive gymnast who spends the vast majority of her time in a leotard in the gym,  and when she does have down time, she is relaxing trying to be a normal kid. Whenever an occasion to dress up would arise, I still would typically get her stuff from here. Shoot, I even started getting some of the boots they sold for women for myself!

Hands down, they have unique styles that are absolutely stunning….they always have. However, over time as this company has grown, the quality has deteriorated. Jessica Hernandez (the owner), started off making everything by hand and selling on Etsy. You would get one-of-a-kind quality little girl shoes that were sure to receive several compliments. Not only that, because they were so rare, well made, and desired, the resale value was awesome! It truly was a win-win for moms all around. As the demand rose, she moved to having her products manufactured.  Things slowly started taking a turn for the worse. Buttons/jewels/flowers would fall off, sizes don’t correspond with their size chart, one wear and they are destroyed, and so forth. Despite these flaws, the customer service would always make it right some way somehow, which in my book was a fair trade.

Now over the past couple years of my hiatus from shopping, I have seen that during big sales they had a flood of angry customers due to shipping, lack of communication, issues with products and returns etc.  I just never dug deep into it, because I assumed customer service handled it as they’ve done in the past.

May 20th (this Sunday) my daughter has an award ceremony for gymnastics. One day out of the year she will get to dress up. I turned to Joyfolie as I have always done. There is a stunning Catrin “Red” dress online that my daughter and I both agreed was the one. Plus she already had red shoes from Joyfolie, that would match! I ordered a cute dress for myself as well. Before I ordered my daughter’s dress, I noticed it had a note “dress run big”. Seeing that, and knowing my child is small for her age, I contacted them, gave them her measurements, and ordered what was recommended by their staff.

Honey baby, let me tell you; that dress was NOTHING like pictured. The color was wrong, the size was wrong, and it was so cheap, it look like something from the dollar store. The dress I ordered for myself had a zipper that was sewn together. I spent 30 minutes fixing that, and then it just was not a great fit. Could just be me since I’m petite so I didn’t even complain about that one.

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“No big deal,” I say to myself. I’ll contact customer service and they’ll fix it. Boy was I wrong!!!!! As of today (started contacting them 5/2) I still have no credit, no product, and they have received their products last Friday. My daughter has no dress, and they could care LESS. They assured me they wanted to make this right, but really had NOTHING TO OFFER but an exchanged dress…which due to the manufacturing flaw of it running big, it would NEVER fit my daughter.  Not only that, it was like 4 shades lighter than the color, and totally didn’t match the shoes (I attribute this to the photographer’s editing use of saturation).

I have went back and forth with these people for TWO WEEKS trying to give them every opportunity to remedy their mistake. I explained the importance and time sensitivity of getting a replacement dress. I was even willing to exchange for something else (despite the fact I want nothing to do with them).  They were steadfast on offerinv me another cheap, punch (not red), too big dress. OR I could return them, wait for a credit, reorder something else, and pay $30 for expedited shipping!!!

I even went a step further and contacted the owner on her personal IG page (she’s traveling the world from stealing people’s money and making crappy products inspired by her travels….eyeroll). She basically took no ownership of her piss poor products or  the pitiful customer service AND BLOCKED ME!! At the end of the day, if you buy something from here, you BETTER be prepared to be stuck with it, or a store credit. Like I said, unless you pay full price, a refund is not an option. I suggest you throughly read their Return Policy After dealing with them and their customer service, you won’t even want the store credit! At the rate she’s going, she barking up a tree for a law suit or being out of business soon.

What I have come to learn is this; they know they are selling bullshit products, because their refund policy, is now a joke!! They don’t want to return your money, unless you pay full price! Due to the inflated prices and POORLY MADE products, NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS GOING TO PAY FULL PRICE!!! They know this and are always offering a promo code to keep your money. This was NEVER THE CASE IN THE PAST!! I didn’t even know they changed their return policy to this shady mess, until I started doing research! In my opinion, NO company who stands behind their product would have a policy such as theirs.

They are not even accredited with the BBB due to ALL NEGATIVE COMPLAINTS. Reviews of this company are barely a 2 out of 5 stars with BBB and other review sites.

As it stands, I had to dispute this through PayPal and I am awaiting a resolution.  I plan to sponsor this post 3 times the amount I lost dealing with them, so as many people can learn about this shady behind crooked company.  If you have an experience, good or bad, please leave a comment! Also share this so other people can at the minimal be warned when shopping with this company.

Thanks as always for hearing my rants!!!

My Biggest Challenge of Motherhood

As a nurse, but most importantly, as a parent, I have never been so frustrated in my life. I have two kids with ADHD who NEED medication to be at their best for school and day to day activities. Managing their healthcare has been one of the most difficult tasks I have faced yet as their mother.  

It truly amazes me, how those responsible for managing their care, treat their condition like it’s a common cold. It has been challenging to say the least, finding a doctor who can just actually LISTEN to what I’m telling them. It’s like I’m speaking to a brick wall. Let me give you the scenario:

Over the summer, my daughter was taking Daytrana. Which worked PERFECTLY in the summer when I could give it to her mid-day.  When school started up, I noticed her becoming more oppositional, not listening, not following directions, and most importantly her grades sliding. After speaking with her teacher, speaking with her, and having a full two days to physically observe her, I realized it was no longer working (duh). Once school started, I had began putting it on at 6:30-45. Four days of the week, her day is over at 8:30pm. Sooooo, that little patch effectiveness was LOOOONG GONE. 

I get this “aha!” moment and send a message, requesting suggestions for managing her ADHD better. I learn her PNP (pediatric nurse practitioner) is away on vacation and they rerouted my messages to one of the pediatricians. She recommended 2 patches a day. After talking to my pharmacy, insurance company and my physical observations of my child, I immediately let her know. I did not agree with this for the following reasons.

1. The patch ISNT WORKING!!

2. My insurance said they won’t cover it. 🙄

3. Even if they did after going through the prior authorization process, I would have to spend $180 a month on patches (her and my son are on it and having the same problem). 😳

Well let me tell you, this doctor comes back and tell me, that it is too difficult to handle my daughter medications through the phone/email and I’m just going to have to wait (3+weeks) for her FNP to come back and resolve it. 😡

You talking about someone FURIOUS?! I felt like she just washed her hands of her and just left her to suffer for the next several weeks in the meantime!  All she had to say was, “Could you please schedule an appointment so I can better understand the problems, to better help her?”

So we had Vyvanse 20mg that my daughter did not want to try, but out of desperation, she took it anyway. She came home and said she had a great day in school! The only problem, by the time she got to gymnastics, it was 💯 worn off! She was a mess in class, so much so, her coach put her out the gym because she could not focus!

Knowing her PNP is retiring in 2 months anyway, I go on and make the switch to a different office to get her a new provider and seen quicker. They bring us in the next day, everything seems to be cool. I had to explain everything to the medical student, who then relays it to the attending, and she comes back and offer her suggestions. She proposed we change her Vyvanse dose to 30mg. 😳🙄. I kindly remind her the 20mg is perfect. No side effects with desired outcomes, and it’s the afternoon that is the concern and problem. She then suggest leaving Vyvanse at 20mg and adding Adderal 5mg in the evening. (Finally) is what I’m saying in my head. 

So I get the medicine that day to give it to her to se if it’s effective for her afternoon activities. It worked briefly, but would’ve been worn off 2 hours before she was done with gymnastics. I give it the weekend, to see if it improves, and it didn’t. Call the office on Monday to report it’s not working and we are back at square A 😔. After talking to the nurse, who talks to the doctor, who then talks to me, who then talks to the doctor, who then talks to me 🙄, I’m told to wait a week to see if it works 😳.  I asked the nurse to have to doctor call me because, she’s not understanding what I’m saying. My daughter is not safe in gymnastics if she is unable to focus and pay attention. 24 hours later, nothing. 

So I did what we are not supposed to due and gave her 7.5mg in the afternoon ANYWAY, and guess what, IT WORKED. I mean, last I checked, it does not take a week for a stimulant medication to work. While we are playing this “waiting game”, my child is SUFFERING. I wonder if I told her, my daughter’s albuterol isn’t working and she can’t breath, would she tell me to wait a week. Or, the blood pressure pill still had her blood pressure 180/90, would they say wait another week. I mean WHY IS IT OK, that her mental health has to WAIT IT OUT, when there is a FIX?! Especially since the type of medication she takes is not a waiting game type of medication. It’s either going to be effective or not effective IMMEDIATELY. It don’t take a WEEK to figure that out. 

So here it is 6 days later…I’m curious to see how long it takes the doctor to do what should’ve been done on Monday?! 

Please share your stories so I’m not in this boat alone! 

Going to Belize?? Skip the Taxis and Rent a Car!

Last year my friends and I went to San Ignacio Belize on a flight deal and had a blast.  I loved that little area we were in! It was like someone made a resort and threw it in the heart of where the natives lived. It was everything! We had the best of both worlds, luxury, and authentic cultural experiences.

Our initial plan was to go to San Ignacio and then go to the Cayes for a day or two.  After a bit of research and native word of mouth, we learned without private transportation, that was an impossible task.

Public transportation is poor to say at best.  It requires water taxis, regular taxis, buses, maybe even a flight to travel around the country.  ALL are EXPENSIVE.  We vowed to go back, stay longer, and split our time between the two to experience it all.

Practically a year to date I found myself back in Belize. An executive decision was made to rent a car for travel and it was by FAR THE BEST DECISION EVER!!!

We were able to come and go as we pleased, allowing us to visit Belize City, Dangriga, Hopkins, Belmopan, San Ignacio, and hopped on over to Guatemala for the day!  It was nice to be able to venture out on our own safely, and unrestricted at any given time of the day.

The tour our resort offered to Guatemala was over $275 per person. It cost two of us about $150 including gas, country entry/exit fees, park entry fees, and fumigation fees to make the trip by renting a car.  A tour with the hotel to the Belize Zoo was $85 per person, and it only cost $15 per person for entry if you had your own transportation.  We came to the realization that these tours prices are based on gas.  Gas is about $4.50 per gallon in Belize, and travel between most places can take some time to get there.

Having our own car, also allowed us to save a great deal of money on food. Due to the fact we could drive to local restaurants, our meals were a fraction of the cost at the resort.  Dinner on average was $25 pp at the resort.  At a local restaurant, it may have been $20 or less for two, including drinks. Plus, the food was much more appetizing and filling.  We even saved money on alcoholic beverages! Went to “The Mall” and brought a whole bottle of wine for $10.  A glass at the resort was $8 easily.

When it was all said and done, we probably spent about $200 on gas.  Considering the various cities we visited (some twice), the fact we went to a whole different country, AND just went joy riding.  All and all, I definitely believe it was worth it.

For the BEST EXPERIENCE of an amazingly beautiful country, do yourself a favor and RENT A CAR!!!

Traveling to Cuba: 5 Tips No One Tells You!

When the embargo restrictions for travel to Cuba were lifted and televised, I knew instantaneously that I HAD TO GO!

A few months later, my childhood friend and I stumbled upon a flight deal, and my dream became a reality in December 2016.

I had all of these preconceived notions of what Cuba would look like, how the people would be, the food would taste, and so forth.  I am happy to report, that all those illusions and fantasies were SHATTERED after our taxi dropped us off from the airport. This experience leads me to

TIP #1: Confirm ALL PRICES UP FRONT. Write them down if you have to, and make sure if it is more than one person, the price established is for “ambos” both people.

Our taxi driver told us the ride would cost $25 to our hotel. Well they got lost, annoyed, and when we pulled up, my friend handed him $25, an I handed him $30 (not knowing she paid them already) and magically, our $25 price was per person.

We took the “L” on the chin, and dubbed it as our first mistake and learning experience.  Just any FYI, a taxi  from the airport to Old Havana area should not cost no more than 20-25 CUC PERIOD.

Being the brave individuals we are, we decided to “wing” our entire trip. Hotel accommodations included.  We wanted to stay at Hotel Ambos Mundos for at least one night (this is where Hemmingway resided and wrote some books).  After our taxi dropped us off, a guy with a cart was waiting with a bell cart to take our bags to the hotel.  He dropped us off and demanded 10 CUC per person for a 30 second walk!!!!

WELLLL we was hip to this game, took our bags, gave him a FIRM NO, and walked away!

We learned the hotel was totally booked, and we left to find an Air BNB aka Casa Particular.  A nice couple noticed us walking with our bags, and agreed to assist us with finding some where to stay.  We went to a few different places who all stated they were booked.  Finally we found a lovely place to stay a couple nights thanks to the couple’s assistance.  My friend and I decided we could take them out to dinner with us and pick up the tab.  We DID NOT TELL THEM THIS. We simply invited them to go eat with us.

They directed us to a restaurant that served a great deal of seafood.  They ordered lobster and shrimp platers with alcoholic drinks. Then they asked us, if they could have another drink. (Insert side eye emoji  here). My friend and I was utterly disgusted that, they had absolutely NO INTENTION on paying for their meal.  These lovely experiences leads me to

TIP #2: ALL acts of kindness come with a price tag: DO NOT  expect any native to do, say, or give you ANYTHING without a price tag.  My suggestions is to figure it out on your own, ask someone who is not from there, ask your hotel concierge or casa host for any assistance you may need.

TIP #3: The food there is extremely bland, due to importing issues they do not have many seasonings or spices.  Even butter for bread or your seafood appeared to be a rare commodity.  My friend told her friend who was traveling to Cuba a few days after us, to bring some hot sauce, seasoning salt, and adolbo.  She thought we were joking, but it was in all seriousness.

After our 2 nights in Havana, we were off to Trinidad.  I paid the host 80 CUC for my 70 CUC bill, but I told her to keep the change.  My friend gave her a 100 CUC bill and was given 20 CUC back for her 70 CUC bill.  Due to us rushing because our taxi was early, she didn’t realize the discrepancy in her change until we were on the road.  Again, we felt slighted and cheated, but gave her the benefit of the doubt, that she thought she was going to tip her as did I.

After one night in Trinidad, we really didn’t care for the place and went back to Havana.  Once back in Havana, we decided to take one of the Bike Taxi’s for a quick ride around the city.  The cost was 10 CUC for an hour.  After the hour was over, we gave him 20 CUC, and he attempted to put it in his pocket.  When we asked for change he played the “no change game”.

TIP #4: ALWAYS HAVE EXACT CHANGE. On several occasions, taxi drivers, casa host, restaurants, etc tried to keep our change.  It was amazing to watch them suddenly not understand English or SPANISH when it came to discussing change.

My last piece of advice for traveling to Cuba

TIP #5: Speak some of the language. In Havana, most natives don’t speak any English.  Expressing your needs and wants will be very difficult, and leave you very vulnerable to scams if you can’t understand what is going on.  I was thankful for the bit of Spanish I knew, because it truly saved us from getting scammed repeatedly! 

I have to admit, that most of these bad experiences only occurred in Havana.  I have more to say on my adventures in Cuba, so stay tuned!

 

5 Topics To Clear Before Posting To Social Media

This past week, I was married at the Justice of the Peace.  My now husband and I have been together for 5 years, and finally went downtown to make it legal.  I hadn’t told many people about our nuptials for the simple fact I was tired of them asking me, “When are y’all going to get married?”  I figured I’d just surprise them all the next time they asked me and say, “I’m already married.” I mean what difference does it make to anybody? Either way married or not, my life is going to go on as it is, and they would be none the wiser.

I’m not big with sharing my relationship with other people.  I’m very exclusive with what goes on, and especially the moves we are making. If I put anything on social media, it’s very generic, like happy birthday.  Otherwise, it’s a closed book to the public.

Eventually, when I was ready, I had planned to announce my nuptials on social media with a cute little personalized wooden “Mr & Mrs Frame”.frame

Well, the days before, and many days after (including now), I had been suffering with a summer cold.  I literally got married, and went home and went to sleep. I hadn’t spoken with anybody, and whoever I did speak with, if I wanted them to know I was getting married, they knew.

The next evening, I wake up from taking a nap due to being sick, and see I have a bunch of Facebook notifications.  I open my app, and there it is, a picture of us from our wedding day on social media with a bunch of congrats and “why didn’t you tell me”.

Did I mention this post was not from me…THE BRIDE. Or the GROOM?  I understood the post came from absolute love and excitement.  However, that did not change my feelings of robbery and being really upset.  My moment to announce my wedding to the world how I wanted, was snatched from me.

I was told by my husband, I should have told people not to post anything.  I honestly don’t feel like THAT is something I, THE BRIDE, should have to go around and personally say to people.

“Hey everyone, I’m getting married, please don’t post ME GETTING MARRIED BEFORE ME!  Ummm, nope. I don’t feel like this is something that needs to be said.  If it’s not on my timeline, then WHY THE HECK DO YOU FEEL IT SHOULD BE ON YOURS???

When people have great news or hear great news, the first place they go to share it, is social media.

If the great news you are sharing is YOUR NEWS, then go for it!  Who am I or anyone else to tell you what to do with YOUR NEWS.

HOWEVER, IF THE NEWS IS NOT YOUR NEWS, here are topics you should CLEAR WITH THE OTHER PARTY BEFORE POSTING.

  1. Pregnancy
  2. Engagements
  3. Weddings
  4. Birth of a Baby
  5. Picture of a New Baby 

These moments are once in a lifetime moments, that should go public only AFTER the person has publicly shared them.  If you are ever in doubt, follow their lead or ASK FIRST.  Reveals are really big now and days, and you can’t get that back once it’s out on social media.

Thank you RANT OVER.

 

CamelBeach Outdoor Water Park

Hey everyone!!!

In June,  my family and some extended family took a trip up to the Poconos and visited the CamelBeach Water Park.

My SIL as always, had EVERYTHANG (yes I meant to spell it like that), planned to the “T”.  I knew we were going to a water park, didn’t know which one until we pulled up.  I saw the name, and knew it from watching commercials.

Now everything on TV ALWAYS look better than what it really is in person, but this place was so fun, I had to do a review.

First off, she found a Groupon and we ended up paying only $32 per person (original price $42).  Beings as though there was 8 of us, that turned out to be $80 savings!!!!

DO:

  • Get there early-this way the lines are not as long and you get more bang for your buck. Like most water parks, this one opens later (at 10am) and close early (7pm).  You don’t want to spend your time waiting in long lines.
  • Pack lunch-there is a picnic area next to the water park.  The food was average amusement park prices (which is high), and that’s just another way to cut down cost.
  • Have your waterproof case for your phone to capture all of the fun you are sure to have.
  • Bring the entire family-they have rides and areas for even the smallest family member.

Remember:

  • Sunscreen/Hats-the park had limited shaded areas and a handful of umbrellas with the lawn chairs.  If you want an area under the umbrella, getting there early is imperative!

sunscreen

  • Water shoes-the ground was extremely hot and my duke refused to walk.

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  • Water Proof Phone Case-you should never leave home without this when visiting water parks!

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Must Ride:

  • The Lazy River-it’s a staple water park ride, but it gets you wet, and ready to take on everything else!

                 My personal video via GoPro

  • The Sandstorm-this is a great family slide ride, but if you have little ones under 42″ you will need a stand-by person.
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Picture from CamelBeach Website
  • The Vortex-this is a single rider slide and you must be at least 48″ to ride
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Picture from CamelBeach Website
  • Last but not least, the Kahuna Lagoon Wave Pool-another water park staple, but everyone can enjoy and the waves were awesome!!

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    CamelBeach Website

 

FUN FACT: In the winter the water park is filled with barrels and board to cover it with snow for skiing!!!

I really would have liked to try the indoor water park, but you have to be staying at the resort to enjoy.  Who knows, maybe next time we will stay at the resort!

 

Flying to Orlando: Must Pack

I will admit, I have not flown to every city in the good ol’ USA.  However, I have flown enough to know, one destination in particular is by far my least favorite.

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IF you are braving the air to this destination, you BETTER pack two essential items:

  1. Headphones
  2. Patience

Anything else you bring along is just extra.  Anything else you could ever want, need, or desire, you can buy when you get there.  However, if you want to make it there with your sanity intact, you better bring the two items above.

Why do I say Orlando is the worst flight? Here it is:

  1. There is a guarantee there will be kids…many kids on this flight, on their way to Disney World etc.  These kids will vary with temperaments from the most docile child to the tantrum throwing brat that you pray doesn’t sit next to you.

 

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I get this face ALL THE TIME with The Duke

 

My family and I just visited Orlando this past week for a baseball tournament.  I haven’t been here in 2 years, and forgot how dreadful this flight can be!

All other kids aside, I’d bet money my son was THE WORST ONE in the air.  I swear I wanted to pretend I was an annoyed passenger in the seat with strangers.  However he blew my cover with Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mom. Mommy….every chance he got!

This less than 2 hour flight feels like pure torture when you have a little one as ornery and active as mine. I genuinely would like to take the opportunity to apologize in advance to every and anyone who has to grace the air with my rambunctious son.  Again, if you see this face waiting to board a plane, check for your headphones, and patience before boarding (YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED).

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On another note, for parents with a child/ren like mine, here are things I pack to TRY and make the flight as smooth as possible

  • Ipad/Tablet with headphones- make sure you download their favorite shows BEFORE hand!
  • Snacks/Juice box
  • Blanket/Pillow
  • Portable Charger
  • Coloring Books/Crayons
  • The one toy your child simply can’t live without (my son’s is an etch-a-sketch)

In conclusion to my rant, I will leave all those flying with small children with this:  If you can get a late flight…things will be so much smoother, I promise!

Joyfolie Shoes Review!

I’ve always been the type of girl who wanted to stand out in the crowd, in a unique kind of way

When I had my daughter, I wanted the same for her. I was a bit bougie and didn’t want her to have the same wardrobe as everyone else.  When she was about 2, I remember googling, “unique shoes for little girls” and Joyfolie Website came up.  That’s when my shoe addiction for her began.

This lovely brand of shoes started off on Esty, with handmade soft sole shoes, and quickly grew so much, they needed to be manufactured to meet the demands of mamas like me.

I first started shopping right around when Jessica (the owner) began manufacturing. Some of my original favorites are: Kat, Amile, Zoe, and Sadie (in order below).

 

Everyone ADORES these shoes on my daughter. She is guaranteed to receive complements when wearing this brand of shoes.

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This boot is named Sasha

Things I like to make mention about these shoes are this:

  • They are moderately priced shoes, starting at about $48 and up.  Just this past summer flip-flops were released and they are just under $20.

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  • Lately, they have been having more sales, making the shoes a bit more affordable. In the past this was unheard of.  If you subscribe to their email list, you be the first to know about any sales or deals going on! Best times to check for special pricing is black Friday and end of the season.

 

  • In previous years, these shoes were so limited, they sold out VERY QUICKLY!! Facebook groups were created to allow mamas to sell their used shoes to other mamas wanting to have a taste of royalty (they are still around).  Lately, they are being produced in greater quantities, and the demand has gone done.

 

  • MOST SHOES/BOOTS are not for everyday wear.  If you are not fond of throwing money down the drain, letting your child wear these to school or out to play would not be best practice. Even the most gentle child will mess these shoes up.  I strongly feel, the earlier manufactured shoes hold up way better than subsequent releases. Some style take a licking better than others.  I try to avoid shoes with buttons, straps, gems/jewels, and bows).  I never had luck with them staying on.
  • Sizing can vary. I’ve noticed most open toe shoes run a half size big and closed toe shoes run true to size (tts), borderline half size small.
  • Materials used in the shoes vary. Some materials rub on the heel, and my daughter refuse to wear them.  This is not isolated to my child, other parents have complained about the same.  While other shoes, she will wear until the soles run down!  It really depends on how the shoe fits your child.
Loralie
This was an extremely popular shoe that killed my baby heels!
  • All shoes come with a matching hair piece. In the past, it felt more custom to the shoe. Recently, they are pretty standard and similar for every shoe.  I really loved how the bow matched the shoe, but still feel, it’s a pretty unique perk and special touch to an outfit either way!
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Stella Shoe
  • The last thing I would like to mention about this brand is the customer service.  It is absolutely ONE-OF-A-KIND (which means the world to me when I’m spending my money on anything)! I have had issues with purchases and shoes, and every time the staff (which is small) goes out of their way to fix the problem. They make me feel valued and appreciated as a customer.  This is one of the main reason I am so loyal.  If you ever have a problem, please just email them, they are very responsive and accommodating.

Over time, Joyfolie began making shoes for mamas, and has a growing clothing line for little girls. This addition did absolutely nothing for my pocketbook! Due to the fact I spend all my money on my daughter, I haven’t gathered much of a collection to review these items!  However stay tuned, the time will come!
Zizah Joyfolie

 

 

Costa Rica Esplendor Hotel Review

This past weekend was a girls trip to Costa Rica!!! We all decided on the Esplendor Hotel in Tamarindo, Costa Rica! On a scale of 1-10 I would give this place a 6.5, and here’s why:

Pros:

  • The view is AMAZING! When you pull up you are greeted with cool towels (so I heard…we did not get this royal treatment, but I’m sure it is the normal) a refreshing drink, and a breath-taking view of the infinity pool overlooking the ocean.

EsplendorThis literally is how it looked when we pulled up! (Unedited!)

  • The pool was awesome! We loved the infinity pool and the view we had to the ocean. The swim up bar was an added bonus!

 

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The pool from our room!
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  • It was very clean! I loved the fact the grounds were well maintained, the property was litter free, and the housekeepers were awesome with cleaning up after us messy ladies!!

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The lobby area
Things to consider:

  • Location.  This hotel has a spectacular view because it is situated HIGH (and I mean HIGH) up in altitude.  Walking down to the town isn’t bad per se…but walking back up was a nightmare.  We paid $5 a night to avoid the hill after one trip up.
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This was me motivating myself to walk down the hill one last time!
  • Transportation. The hotel does have a shuttle service, HOWEVER it ONLY runs every 30 minutes, with a 2 1/2 hour break around lunch and stops at 8pm.  The shuttle seats about 12-15 people and was always full leaving people to wait or walk.  Beings as though the ONE STOP to town (besides the beach house) is only a TWO MINUTE DRIVE (we timed it), they really should and NEED to run this van a bit more frequently.

 

  • Breakfast. I honestly can say they served THE SAME FOOD EVERY DAY WE WERE THERE! It was free and included, but after awhile, beans and rice, bacon, fruit, cereal, and toast was old.  For beverages, the options consisted of orange juice, milk, tea or coffee.  On the last day there, they ran out of eggs at 8am (they serve from 7-10am).

 

When it was all said and done, overall, we really enjoyed our stay.  We probably wouldn’t stay here again, just because we would like to try something new, and avoid $5 hill taxis.  We hope this lovely establishment take these suggestions into consideration to improve on an already awesome home away from home!

Competition Dance For Kids is a Money Leech

This past dance season, I was hoodwinked and bamboozled to allowing my daughter to participate on the competition team at her dance studio.

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I knew from a very brief dance experience that I wanted no parts in this whole ordeal.  So much so, I did not have her audition when the time came.  HOWEVER before the season got way, the team teacher sought my child out and convinced she and I to join.  My daughter was adamant she wanted to participate and I was adamant I did not.

I had 3 reason I did not want to join, and they are the same reasons I will not be joining unless she has this epiphany that dance if her calling.

  • Hair and Make-up…I don’t have time for that…I’m a ONE 2 pony-tail MAX kinda girl, and lip-gloss. I know nothing about faux mow-hawk and smoky eyes!

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  • The time-it is time consuming!!!! Between practice for the team, practice for the          MANDATORY DANCE CLASSES, tumbling class, and extra rehearsals…I KNEW I would never have air to breath.
  • THE MONEY!!!! The amount of money I spent on the BRIEF TASTE was alarming and I  knew it was only going to get worse…and it did.

 

You know this hobby is expensive when one mom say “Don’t do the math”. I was like, I do the math..I am math…and the math said, to JUMP SHIP!!!

Let me break it down for you on my expenses for a year to allow my child to dance for approximately 6  minutes 3 times….

From September to June Monthly expenses included:

  1. $182 for 4 dance classes- 2 team and 2 regular ballet, tap, and jazz (all mandatory)
  2. $58 for tumbling class…DESPITE THE FACT my child is by far the best tumbler in her age group and has 2 1/2 hours of gymnastics a week.
  3. $375 on costumes that were cheap as a dollar store costume..one came out the destroyed.
  4. Holiday Gift Exchange parties $50
  5. Accessories for costumes $150
  6. Makeup $35
  7. Bags and storage for costumes/make-up $150…some moms brought the Dream Duffle min $200 which looks like an oversized suitcase
  8. Team Fee $150
  9. Prop Fee $50
  10. Warm Up Suit $150…As I’m typing this out…I’m getting annoyed….
  11. Gifts for graduation $20
  12. Barbecue $30
  13. Dance Attire/Shoes $150 (always need tights and outgrow a shoe or two)
  14. Team Banquet $66
  15. Team End of the Year Event $90
  16. Competition Fees $294…and our last competition ended in a pure DISASTER of being put out the building during awards (still don’t know who won), having the building condemned, and the rest of the competition cancelled.

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I can promise you I left something out. This is what I can remember…I try to push the memory of spending so much on a 6 year old to the lost footage files of my memory.  Keep in mind, I have not included gas driving back and forth to these lovely places 3 times a week or food needing to be brought because we were always on the go.  I think the art of dance is beautiful, breath taking, and worth EVERY PENNY for someone who has a child who has a passion for the art.  My child did and does not.  She’s a gymnast at heart, and I only believe the teacher wanted her on the team because she is the only one who could tumble.  From here on out, we will be investing our money in her passion…gymnastics.  She will continue ballet and tap, and nothing more or nothing less.

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What are your experiences with competitive dance?? I like to hear other experiences to know I’m not crazy!!