Sunday, August 9, 2015

Warning! Essentially Erika Is Movin' On Up!

Essentially Erika is growing - and so will our website!

This little ol' blog I created is growing and I couldn't be more proud. As with anything, there have been growing pains during this process. For the past couple of weeks (more like months) I've been working on updating, transferring and designing a new home for Essentially Erika.

We've come to the point in our journey where we must take a brief break from posting and give it our full attention.

Thanks for your patience during this time. I can't wait to share our new space with you soon!

Essentially yours,


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Help Save The Planet with Arcadia Power!

Sometimes I feel no matter how many changes I make, I will never be able to "undo" or give back enough to erase my family's carbon footprint here on this beautiful planet
I'm passionate about raising my kids to respect their planet, it's our only home. Between recycling and composting, water conservation or planting trees, it's never really enough. I still feel guilty every time I drive my car around town, I beat myself up every day about not driving a Hybrid at the very least (soon I promise).

Dirty, polluting energy sources dominate the mix of energy supplying U.S. homes and businesses. In fact, the production of electricity is the main contributor to global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in America today. That's because monopoly utilities haven't provided consumers a choice.

In all this frustration I found Arcadia Power!

Arcadia Power is dedicated to changing the way America consumes energy. The first renewable energy company nationwide, with one mission in mind; to provide consumers clean alternative choices that the utility industry isn't currently offering. Over one billion energy bills go out every year in America, with no options on where or how that energy is created / replaced. Until now..

The customers impact is astounding. For every 10,331,108 Clean KwH, that's 5,838 of U.S. forests preserved.

How It Works:

You can take advantage of Arcadia Power whether you own a home or rent an apartment, as long as you pay an electricity bill. Your utility bill will NOT be affected, Arcadia will bill you separately. You simply sign up online and Arcadia Power links to your utility providers account to get an idea of how much you are consuming.

When you sign up for Wind Energy with Arcadia Power, you'll ensure that for every kWh of electricity you use, a kWh of clean energy is produced and put on the grid. You'll get the same reliable electricity from your local utility and a consolidated monthly statement. It's that simple!

  • Arcadia Power purchases 100% renewable energy from their partner wind farms.
  • You enjoy the same reliable electricity at home while doing your part to save the environment!


  • You can reduce your impact with 100% Wind Energy
  • You can measure your impact, analyze your usage, and see the projects your supporting via desktop or mobile.
  • Arcadia has partnered with some of your favorite brands. As part of their Rewards program, you will receive exclusive deals and benefits from some of your favorite sustainable brands; i.e., Honest Company, Conscious Box.

Arcadia Power Wind Energy is certified through Green-e Energy, the nation’s leading certification program for renewable energy, and meets the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions.

There is no equipment needed, all you have to do is sign up! How easy is that? For someone with very little time to devote to anything else, this comes as a major relief!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Quick & Creamy Mushroom Chicken Fettucine

This one's for the mushroom lovers out there!

My husband being one of them, this has become a staple dish in my home. Before stumbling upon this recipe, my go-to dish to satisfy his healthy mushroom addiction interests was the tried and true "Chicken Marsala."

Now that I've been able to incorporate this recipe into the mix, it keeps things interesting. Mushroom-wise of course. I'm not a fan, but even I love this simple dish. That's how I knew I needed to share it with you!

All You Need:

2 Roasted Chicken Breasts (I prefer Air Chilled, Organic)
8 oz Fettuccine
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb cremini mushrooms
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried dill
Himalayan Salt and fresh cracked ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half & half

Bring a pot of water to boil, cook pasta according to directions and drain.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute` garlic, mushrooms & onion. Stirring occasionally, until tender.
Things are starting to smell really good..
Stir in thyme and dill until fragrant, about one minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth, and cook, whisking constantly, until incororated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half and half until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in baby spinach and Parmesan until spinach wilts. If it's too thick, add more half and half as needed.

Stir in pasta and diced chicken, gently toss to combine.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

FabFitFun Summer Edition Box Review!


Summertime is all about letting loose. Schedules aren't quite as tight, curfews run a bit later. The laid back vibe of the season invites a carefree attitude. Which is why I was ecstatic to find out I was selected to review FabFitFun's Summer 2015 Edition box! 

Once upon a time in a land far far away, I had all the time in the world (pre-kids of course). I would browse the aisles looking for the latest and greatest in products as if it were a sport. You can afford to do that when you only have your own dinner routine/bedtime to worry about. Freedom can do wonders for your "trial and error" spirit. As a mom of two young boys however... that's another story for another time! Subscription boxes have become the latest craze, especially among moms who no longer subscribe to the motto: "Shopping Is My Cardio." These fun boxes make it feel like Christmas (in this case) seasonally when you unwrap all these goodies for you to try. It's a great way to discover new products and learn what you absolutely can no longer live without! I'm absolutely addicted to the fragrance oil in this box!

#FabFitFun boxes are all about keeping you fabulous while having fun and staying fit every season!
I'm addicted to this scent!

 I usually worry when ordering "grab bags" because it seems there aren't enough all natural options offered with most subscriptions. I love how this edition touched on keeping mind and body balanced. Unlike most subscription boxes, I was pleased to discover FabFitFun provided full sized beauty, fashion, fitness and lifestyle products.

They sure fit a lot into this box!
It came with a lovely Description Card listing each individual item, as well as the full retail price. Here’s a full list of what was in the FabFitFun Box – Summer 2015 Edition:
  • Everyday Wireless Speaker by FabFitFun - $30
  • FabFitFun x Cosmo Body Jump Rope - $14
  • Inkling Scents Sultry roll-on fragrance essential oil - $25
  • WREN Studio 14k rose gold necklace - $100
  • Hello Konjac Exfoliating Sponge - $12
  • Three month online subscription to - $38.85
  • Vaseline Aloe Spray Moisturizer - $7.99
  • GORGE"I'll Make You Look Amazing Daily Spray" - $25
  • TARTE Lipsurgence Lipgloss - $19
  • SCRATCH Nail Wraps - $12

The FabFitFun Speaker is perfect for poolside partying!
I can't wait to see what the Fall Edition has to offer! If you'd like to order in time for the next FabFitFun box you can register by visiting their website. Enter coupon code "ERIKA" for $10 off your first box! You can keep up with FabFitFun for all the latest on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
I received this product for free to review as part of a campaign with FabFitFun and Bloggin' Mamas. As always all opinions expressed are my own!
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for a full report on how and when I get to use all these goodies!

Essentially yours,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Simple Banana Bread Muffins!

There's a saying in my house, "If Mom's baking her Buttermilk Blueberry Banana Bread, then look out!" It doesn't always mean that I'm super stressed, or have given up, so I decided to bake the day away. Sometimes it just means Mom is frugal, and wasted fruits / veggies are not an option in this household! So I guess, yea you should still look out. Kidding, sort of.

So when I lay my eyes on spotty bananas, I know it's time to get to work! I actually get a little excited at this point, it means I get to indulge with a yummy homemade treat. Nothing beats the smell of banana bread when you walk in the door, it always gets a smile.

While I'm a fan of mixing fruits and nuts with my banana bread, I also enjoy the simplicity of plain ol' banana bread. I decided it would taste great as muffins for the boys to easily snack on or take on-the-go.
The darker the banana,
the sweeter the bread!


8 Tbsp of butter
1 Cup of Sugar or 1/2 cup of Truvia Baking Blend
1 Tsp of Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups of Flour
2 Eggs (beaten)
2 Insanely Ripe Bananas 

Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream softened butter and sugar, I use the lovely "Darla," my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I couldn't live without her. Yes, I named my mixer. Don't be all Judgy McJudgerson

Add eggs and mashed bananas, keep mixing. Combine Flour, baking soda with wet mixture and keep mixing until smooth. Add to muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Great in a lunchtime snack!

*Makes a dozen muffins

You can serve these warm or freeze for another day. Or you can serve warm with vanilla ice cream, just sayin..

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Refreshing Summertime Berry "Melon-ade" Cocktail

Summertime is for enjoying the great outdoors. Family BBQ's & and pool play dates. Each summer I try to find a new recipe for a refreshing beverage the adults can enjoy while sweating in the relentless hot Florida sun.

This year I decided to create my own recipe. Scouring Pinterest boards, I realized that most watermelon drinks were some variation of a mojito. I'm not a huge fan of rum personally, so I wasn't too thrilled with everything I'd found. Well, necessity is certainly the mother of invention because I have just concocted my new favorite drink on the planet!


16 oz of Lemonade, use your favorite!
1 cup of fresh cut Watermelon
1 1/2 cups of Ice
Your favorite Berry flavored Vodka to taste (we used about 10 oz)
Toss everything in the blender at once (vodka last), and blend to perfection!

It should come out with a slight slush factor with a little foam on top.

*You can easily omit the vodka for a "mock-tini," this is a very refreshing drink for all to enjoy!

Hope you love it as much as we do, it's our "go-to" summertime refreshment this year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Easy Peasy Summertime Egg Salad Recipe

Some days I draw a blank when it comes to creative lunch ideas. It seems there are only so many different kinds of salads, soups or sandwiches! I like to keep things fresh and exciting in hopes of introducing the boys to a wide range of flavors and encouraging them to try new tastes. My boys are excellent eaters, ask anyone around I don't have to beg them to eat their lunch. They also happen to be great about eating all of their greens, partly because whether they participated or not vegetables have always been a staple on our plates.

Today I realized I hadn't made one of the classic sandwiches I grew up loving in a long while. So simple, so easy, and full of protein! The timeless Egg Salad Sandwich is always a hit in our home, so I decided to share it with you! There are many different takes on this sandwich, they can get pretty fancy or elaborate. This isn't anything like that.
Summertime Lunch
This is my mom's old fashioned classic Egg Salad Sandwich, perfect for picky little eaters who are funny with different tastes or textures. The "No Muss, No Fuss" of Egg Salad Sandwiches, if you will.

All you will need:

About 6 Eggs, hard boiled and diced w/ yolk (this will last two days in the fridge)
1/2 a cup of your favorite Mayonnaise or Vegenaise
1 Tbsp of Mustard (spicy or honey - whichever you prefer)
A dash of Salt & Pepper (or not, I don't use any for the kid's batch)
1/2 tsp of relish (optional for all my pickle lovers)

Fold together in a bowl and enjoy on your favorite bread, I love Ciabatta!

Hope you enjoy this classic as much as we do!

What's your favorite go-to sandwich? Tell me all about it in the comments section below!

Follow me on Pinterest for more yummy recipe's!

Essentially yours,


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Playing-It-Cool at your Family Photo Shoot - Spotlight on Courtney Studios!


As a family we've tried all kinds of different photo shoots. We try to plan at least one a year in hopes of documenting our growth as a family and preserving lasting memories. Like a lot of other families, we hope to schedule these shoots around the holidays and add them to our annual holiday cards.
No Smiling Allowed
Photo courtesy of Courtney Ortiz Studios

Usually, this means suffering in the South Florida heat during the Fall and trying to coax sweaty toddlers to give you a smile. It's about as easy as bathing a cat! If you keep up with my blog, you know I'm not a fan of rewards. On these days, I'm usually not above bribes (hey, it's all about the 80/20 rule). Luckily, the contributors for Modern Boca Mom were invited to enjoy a photo session with the uber talented photographer, Courtney Ortiz.

Courtney, a mom of three and former elementary school teacher, has been a successful freelance photographer for the past eight years. Last year she opened up her own boutique studio in Hollywood Florida, this place is REALLY cool. An all white studio that works only in natural lighting is the perfect backdrop for capturing the colorful personalities of each family. It's no wonder Courtney has been named Best Family Photographer by South Florida Parenting two years in a row! The "cool" space provided a freedom we wouldn't have outdoors. Pair that with Courtney's incredible "teacher skills" and ability to get my boys to giggle, and we had a delicious recipe for a wonderful family experience.
Have Lego? Will Smile!
Photos Courtesy of: Courtney Ortiz Studios
Brotherly Love
 Photso Courtesy of: Courtney Ortiz Photography

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a pretty well documented obsession with vintage cameras. Stepping into Courtney's studio I was immediately welcomed with vintage cameras as far as the eye can see! This adorable space is nestled in the heart of the Art Deco district of Hollywood Beach. The neighborhood providing plenty of creative inspiration for our own impromptu photo shoot on the way to catch a bite to eat.
Remember that bribery I mentioned?
Thanks for the Lolly's Courtney!
In parenting the days may be long, but the years are short. Mom is always behind the camera it seems. It's rare I make it into any of the millions of pictures I take day to day, leaving it to the professionals guarantees I make it into the shot and I'm free to enjoy myself. This family shoot was the "coolest" thus far and we ALL enjoyed ourselves.

I'm grateful to Courtney Studios for this awesome experience, these photos will be treasured for years to come.

Courtney Studios offers a variety of different services / sessions to suit your needs. Her package pricing and lists of printing services are endless (her wrap-around canvas portraits are my favorite).

Christmas in July!

Courtney Studios is offering Holiday Mini-Sessions this July 21st, 22nd & 23rd!
Call (954) 367-6821 or contact to book a session.

Pre-School Portraits!

Yep, this one's getting framed..
Photo courtesy of Courtney Ortiz Studios
Essentially yours,


Disclosure: Essentially Erika was provided with complimentary services featured in this article. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Five Things Former New Yorker's Should NOT Do While Visiting New York

I Love New York.

There, I said it. It's no secret.

I will ALWAYS love this city of mine.. I've yet to come across another city where all of it's ex-pats cannot refer to themselves as an "Ex." Anywhere you go, you can ask a former New Yorker and they will proudly tell you they are still a "New Yawkah." They love it so much there are Meet Up groups devoted to this special breed.

If you've visited Gotham, then you understand the obsession with arguably one of the BEST cities in the world. If you've never been, first off... My condolences. Secondly, you are probably sick and tired of hearing about this melting pot and wish everyone from there would just go back already (don't worry, we want to).

However, upon my most recent visit to the Big Apple I had a different set of eyes. It being my first trip away from my boys it was especially tough (more on how to survive the first trip away later). I found myself wanting to do things I would have never done while living in "The City," that's what us "Queens girls" call Manhattan. So I decided to poke fun at it all and put together a list of the things we all should stop doing while visiting, before we get our New York card revoked!

Tip #1: Stop Looking Up

Yes the buildings are tall, that's why they are called "sky scrapers." No they haven't gotten taller since you left. Yes you are in the way, so stop bumping into people. They're trying to get to work ovah here! The easiest way to spot a tourist in Manhattan is to look for the people staring at all the tall structures, this is usually how they "lose" their wallet. Spoiler alert!

Tip #2: Do Not Ride The Subway
Don't set yourself up for disaster. Yes it's especially crowded, yes it's always been this crowded. Yes, there are new trains and no they haven't added more stops to your usual line. It has always been this hot. Chances are that is urine you smell. No that is not a dog on the tracks. Carrying a subway map with you is always a bad idea.

Tip # 3: Give Us Liberty, Give Us Freedom From... Selfies!
Let's spare the good folks of Facebook our Lady Liberty selfies shall we? Or the Empire State Building, or the Chrysler Buiding, or any other New York monument that every New York kid has seen year in and year out on classroom field trips.

Tip # 4: Reminisce From Afar
Try not to cram the entire NYC experience into a three day weekend. You know who you are, forcing all of your current NY friends to tag along on your tourist's adventure. Reliving every childhood memory. Skating in Central Park, sitting up top on the NY Sightseeing Bus, Gray's Papaya hot dogs AND a trip to Rockefeller Center for a little tree lighting anyone? Your friends still live there, they are not impressed. Do not drag them throughout every borough trying to regain a bit of your childhood (we're all a bit guilty of this one).

Tip #5: Don't Shop Til' You Drop
Try not to spend your 401k on the latest fashions at all the trendy hot spots. It's understandable you want to stock up while you can, "The City That Never Sleeps" is the fashion mecca of the world. A little restraint will keep you in the "green."

Bonus Tip:  Spare The State Envy
  Upon returning home there's no need to complain about everything NOT New York. You know, the humidity in October (thanks South Florida), scoff at the pizza (even in Chicago) and groan about the "service." Chances are they are not interested you were once able to get the best pastrami sandwich in the world at 2am, or the best haircut of your life. No need to torture everyone back at home, let's keep this wonderful city our little secret!

Until next time Empire City..

Essentially yours,


Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer's Best Grilling Tips and Recipe's! Stubb's Legendary BBQ Gift Pack Giveaway!

Now that the warmer weather is upon us, it’s prime time to get out and barbecue!

 Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q brand ambassador and grandson of founder C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield, offers a few tips and recipes he’s picked up over the years to make you the grilling hero of any barbecue, family gathering or even weeknight dinner. Stubb’s is the maker of authentic, premium, BBQ sauces, rubs and marinades and was founded by C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield in 1968.

Rocky Stubblefield Stubb didn’t just make barbecue, he made friends, serving up his slow-smoked brisket, cole slaw and beans, all with his wide, trademark smile at his restaurant in Lubbock, Texas. It was during this time that Stubb first began bottling his now famous sauces at the request of his friends.
Rocky’s Grilling Tips
Today, Stubb’s heritage lives on in his legendary sauces, marinades and rubs, continuing to make people feel good all over the world.
  • Use indirect cooking for larger meats (indirect is cooking away from the fire), and direct cooking for smaller meats (direct is cooking over the fire).
  • When marinating, beef chicken and pork can be marinated up to two days in a refrigerator. You should only marinate seafood for a few hours.
  • When using charcoal, allow coals to ash over before adding meat to the grill.
  • When cooking burgers, make a thumbprint in the middle of the patty before putting it on the grill. This will help the patty come out nice and flat (not puffy in the middle) and the meat will be cooked evenly throughout.
  • Soak vegetables in cold water before grilling – it keeps them from burning or drying out too fast.
  • For a juicier steak, let your meat rest for at least 10 minutes after it is done to allow the juices that were forced into the center of the meat when cooking to distribute throughout the steak.
  • Don’t cook ribs ‘til they are falling off the bone – ribs should be grilled until they begin to pull away from the bone, but you should be able to bite into and leave a bite mark as you eat it off the bone. Overcooked ribs become dried out and less flavorful – even a little bit mushy.
Clean grill after every use. You can use a ball of foil or an onion – just cut the onion in half, and while the grill is heating up, rubs the onion across it. The juices from the onion clean the grill and get it ready for use.

Now for the fun part! Head below for your chance to enter the giveaway below to win a personalized grilling set, Stubb’s branded spatula Stubb’s heavy duty, hand-carved cedar wood cutting board, Stubb’s hat, bag, T-shirt and $30 in Stubb’s coupons this fantastic set is worth $150! Perfect for making your Fourth of July celebration Legendary!! Giveaway is open to US Resident only and ends on 6/26 at 11:59pm EST.  
Disclosure:All opinions are 100% mine. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.. Open US only must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom.

Essentially yours,


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What I'm Reading: Gracefully Grayson Book Review

What if... Who you were on the inside was the opposite of who you were on the outside?

What if... Your secret was getting too heavy?

What would your story be?

Would you have the courage to be you?

It's been a while since I've posted about "What I'm Reading." I haven't stopped reading, just been pretty busy and haven't gotten around to writing book reviews for all of my favorites (there are so many).

Gracefully Grayson is one of those books that is hard to sum up in one word. If I had to, I suppose it would be COMPELLING.. No, EXHILARATING.. WaitBRAVE! After all, that's what it takes to live the life you want. I told you it wasn't going to be easy. 

This small miracle of a book is a coming of age tale about Grayson Sender, a sixth grader who grasps at your heart strings from the very first chapter.  The ups and downs, ins and outs of how "he"comes to know the girl on the inside. This book walks you through the discovery of self at one of the most crucial stages in life, middle school. Almost instantly, you feel as though you are seeing life through Grayson's eyes, but most of all through his soul.

Meet Ami Polonsky, debut author of this moving novel about identity, self esteem and friendship. Ami was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, where she now lives with her two children and husband. As a middle school teacher, she laid the groundwork for all of her characters from all of the books she'd read to her students over the years. The seeds were planted, like most seeds that have been nourished and cared for, there will be a harvest.

This story is tenderly and courageously told. Written simply and beautifully enough for middle school aged children to understand, yet deeply and gripping enough for any adult to grasp. Providing a different view into the life, mind, body and spirit of a person trapped by "gender." A deeper understanding of how one comes to know themselves, when the world so plainly sees something else. As humans we can all relate to feeling misunderstood, but perhaps none so deeply as those who feel that they were born into the wrong body. 

If ever there were a time for this book to come to harvest it was now. With all of the controversy surrounding public figures like Caitlyn Jenner coming forward and being honest about identity struggles, or the success and acknowledgement of television shows like Transparent on a major cable network like Showtime. Now is the time to have these conversations and create more awareness. Shame can only survive in the dark, only by bringing light to these subjects can we encourage acceptance and understanding instead of tolerance.

"Shame cannot survive being spoken... And being met with empathy."

Ami is becoming a part of that awareness by providing school presentations geared toward children ages 10-14 years old in which she facilitates a classroom discussion about her book and what is called Gender 101, discussing "What is gender, and how does the outside world shape our gender expression?" For more information about Ami Polonsky, her book, or to schedule a school presentation  and book signing you can visit her site HERE, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Essentially yours,


Monday, June 1, 2015

Summertime Fun - Awesome Park Ideas you CAN'T miss!

School's Out for Summer!

Well.. almost.

Click HERE for your list of Palm Beach Park's you simply should not miss this summer!

It's #NatureTrackers Approved!

Be on the look out for a collaboration with our good friend over at Hunting for Rubies this summer. 

Plenty of exploring and go-to locations with #CampMom!

Essentially yours,


Friday, May 29, 2015

Planning For Your Child's Future - Florida Prepaid College Board

All the planning in the world cannot prepare you for parenthood. Part of being a mom or dad is learning to "dance the dance" as they say. That tricky balance of knowing when to hold on and let go. Thinking ten steps ahead, only to learn you will eventually have to go with the flow. There are so few things that are guaranteed or absolute on this parenting journey. I find security in planning for the moments I can expect, while learning to ride the wave of the unknown. Part of that planning includes a college fund for my boys.

Growing up without a college savings plan in place for myself, there was no assurance I would get to attend the school of my choice, even if I was accepted. Part of this left me with an unsteady feeling that I hope to avoid with my children. It's driven me to want to start planning, and start it early. Growing up I watched  my mom work tirelessly to return to school and struggle with debt from school loans.

May 29 is National 529 day and Florida Prepaid is trying to increase awareness about college savings and the Florida 529 Savings Plan. Student loan debt has reached $1 trillion nationally. Today, many graduates are facing the workforce strapped down with thousands of dollars in debt.

What is Florida Prepaid?

Florida Prepaid is the largest, longest running and most successful prepaid program in the nation and we are here to help Florida families understand the importance of investing in education and make it is easy to do so. Florida Prepaid offers two types of savings options: Prepaid Plans and 529 savings plans. There are five different types of Prepaid Plans, and they can only be purchased during Open Enrollment (which usually runs from Oct.-Feb.).Every college savings plan opened with us represents an investment in a child’s future, and in our state. 

What is a 529 Savings Plan?
529 savings plans are named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code 26 U.S.C. § 529 and are designed to encourage saving for future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Many states offer 529 savings plan options, including Florida Prepaid. Florida 529 Savings Plan can compliment a Florida Prepaid Plan and provide a tax benefit on other college costs.

Money from a 529 plan can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for study at any accredited college, university or vocational school in the United States and at some foreign universities. The money can also be used for room and board, as long as the fund beneficiary is at least a half-time student. Off-campus housing costs are covered up to the allowance for room and board that the college includes in its cost of attendance for federal financial-aid purposes. Qualified education expenses do not include student loans and student loan interest. There is legislation currently going through Congress that will expand the qualified expenses.

The Florida 529 Savings Plan
The Florida 529 Savings Plan can be started at anytime and only requires a $25 initial deposit to open. Even if you can’t save for your child’s entire college education, starting something is always better than doing nothing. The funds in a Florida 529 Savings Plan can be used for any qualified higher educational expense, including tuition, room & board, textbooks, graduate school and much more. This gives you extreme flexibility to use the funds as you see fit, for whatever your child may need. And should those needs change during his/her college years, individuals are free to adjust as well.

The Florida 529 Savings Plan offers you the ultimate in flexibility. Simply choose from the investment options, then contribute as much and as often as you’d like to suit your budget and goals. Each investment option, such as our popular age-based option that automatically allocates contributions based on the age of the child, is independently run by professional investment managers. There are 11 investment options let you invest in any way you feel comfortable. From more aggressive to more conservative options, and with age-based and fully customized approaches, you have as much control as you want over how much you invest and where it’s invested. And as the years go by, you’re free to change contribution amounts and how they are allocated at any time. 

Click HERE to start planning for your child's future today!

Essentially yours,


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel & Theme Park - Where Imaginations Run Wild!


LEGOLAND Hotel Florida is open just in time for some summer fun! Read all about what they have to offer and check out some awesome photos of all things LEGO here on Modern Boca Mom.

Essentially yours,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Donate Stuff & Create Jobs - Enter to Win $100 Giveaway!

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Bloggin' Mamas. I was not financially compensated for sharing this information. Win a $100 Amazon Giftcard

Donate stuff. Create jobs.

There’s never a bad time to clear the clutter out of your home or garage or to do a wardrobe purge. When you donate your stuff to Goodwill, the revenue from the sale of your donations helps fund job training and placement opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages directly in your community. That’s cleaning with a purpose.
Goodwill in currently running the “Donate Stuff. Create Jobs” campaign. Thanks to the programs and support services made possible by donations of clothes and household items, more than 261,000 people earned jobs in 2013 – that’s one person finding a job every 27 seconds of every business day. So you’re literally donating your stuff AND helping to create jobs.

 Check out this quick PSA: You can even calculate how much your donation helps your local community by using Goodwill’s Donation Impact Calculator. Simply input the items you’re donating to calculate the number of hours of career counseling, on-the-job training, résumé preparation, financial planning classes, and other services you’ve helped provide someone facing challenges to finding employment.

We’ve all seen those shopping haul videos and photos on blogs and social media. In fact, several of my friends make them about their thrift shop finds from Goodwill.  But we would love to see a “Reverse Haul” video or photo that shares what you plan to donate instead using #DonateStuffCreateJobs.

Share a video or pictures of the items you plan to donate and use the donation impact calculator to let the world know how many hours of on-the-job training you could be creating with your used stuff – stuff that doesn’t help anyone when it’s stuffed in the back of your closet or under your bed.   

 Bloggin' Mamas is supporting the Ad Council in spreading the word about Goodwill®, by sponsoring this $100 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway. It runs 5/19/15 12:01am EST through 6/2/15 at 11:59pm EST, and is open to US residents 18+. ENTER BELOW! a Rafflecopter giveaway