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Thursday, March 23, 2017

5 Ways to Manage Pain at Work #StopPainNow [AD]

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #StopPainNow #CollectiveBias

Pain. Work. Management.  These are all part of life's little struggles and something that I deal with on a daily basis.  It is so important to have strategies to manage pain especially when you are a busy at work.

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As a kid I was active.  Very active and athletic.  I roller skated 3-5 times a week, I was a cheerleader with gymnastics added in there.  My body took a beating and although my coaches focused on form and conditioning to avoid injuries, there is only so much they can control, especially when you are throwing girls in the air and catching them.  In addition, to those early years, I started playing roller derby when I was 21 and at a highly competitive, hard-hitting and aggressive level.  It was some of the best years of my life, but again I was beating my body up, no matter how well I made sure to stretch and condition.  

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When I retired from competitive roller derby the husband and I settled down to start a family.  Little did I know, carrying two babies would do a number on my back and inflame the heck out of a bunch of old little injuries, creating a big pain in my life.  BIG.  So big that at one point I had to go to the doctors and be put on inflammatories, muscle relaxers and pain medications.  I could hardly walk some days and even laying down to sleep caused excruciating pain.  I was not able to function well enough to take quality care of my kids and I had to do something.  I began a regime and after 3 weeks the meds worked and I was able to go off them.  However, in an effort to avoid having to be on that much medication ever again, I decided to go for a more holistic approach to building up my strength and manage my pain. 

So I started to make some small changes, particularly to my work life, and those made a big difference.  I know that many people are in my same position and are looking to relieve that pain so I am sharing the 5 ways to manage your pain at work.  I focused on work because I am often the most abusive on my body there.  I can be sedentary or overly aggressive and even forgetful and those are so bad when you are someone with chronic pain. 

1. Create a 5 minute stretching routine.  For me my back and neck are my trouble spots.  I created a quick routine that anyone can do from their chair at work.  Check out those stretches below. 

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The stretch above really helps to open up my hips and lower back and is best accomplished in a chair with wheels so you can push your shoulders down to the ground and really feel the stretch in that lower hip/back area.

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Another favorite of mine is to cross one leg over and then bend over and touch the ground.

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To get that full mid-back stretch you can pull one knee up to your chest and hug it in for 30 seconds and then simply twist away from it as shown above to help release the muscle tension.

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The stretch above helps stretch both your back shoulder muscles and mid back.  Grasp one wrist and then sit down in your chair straight up, gently begin to sit forward and hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then return to sitting straight up.  Repeat this 5 times and then switch wrists.

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For my neck I like to cross one arm over my chest and then turn my head opposite of that.  Then I switch.  Finally I roll my neck out and that really helps.

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I am also a big fan of stretching out those tense shoulder muscles that I use all the time from typing at work.  Pulling one arm across and then behind gets those muscles nice and open, relieving pressure and pain.

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I hold each of these stretches for 20-30 seconds and then I am done.  It takes between 3 and 5 minutes to get my little stretching workout done and all from my chair at work. 

2. Stay Hydrated.  The best way to fight muscle fatigue is to flush the toxins out of your body and you do that by staying hydrated.  I have a 1000 mL water bottle that I fill up 3-4 times a day at work and drink.  This has honestly really helped to make my body feel less stiff.  I notice that on days that I forget to drink as much water I am in much more pain that if I just stay on top of my water intake.

3. Use Curamin® Stop Pain Now. I just do not function well on prescription medications.  They make me sleepy and very moody.  I also know that there are some great pain relief options on the market that are not addictive and do not cause those negative side-effects.  My choice is Curamin® dietary supplements. Curamin® is my choice because it is safe, effective, non-addictive and has been voted #1 for pain relief in the natural product industry.  

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I added this dietary supplement to my regular medication rotation and have been very happy with how my back and neck have been feeling since I began this 3 weeks ago.  I truly am not feeling as stiff and I can move around quickly without having to give my body a second to adjust to my new positions.

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The pills are a bit on the larger size, but I take my diabetes meds, antidepressant and vitamin D with it quickly once a day in the morning and it goes down easy with no side effects.  My tummy is not bothered by it and it does not have a bad after taste.  It is a great dietary supplement to add to my routine.

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You can find Curamin® Extra Strength 60 count, at fine health food stores nation wide.  I found mine at our local Natural Grocers.  You can check out this store locator to find a store near you!  When pain is the problem, Curamin® is the answer for you to Stop Pain Now!

4. Get Moving!  I am a person that can get stuck in a rut of sitting for my entire plan period at my desk and not moving around.  That is 2.5 hours a day of me not moving around and I definitely notice how I feel if I do not move in those hours.  I slouch, I tense up when I am typing, and I adjust a million times to avoid the pain.  I have found that if I stand up to type or if I work for 15 minutes and then move around for 10 and then sit and work and then move, that I feel much better and have more energy. 

5. Snack Healthy. Teachers are terrible about this.  We are always snacking, because we are always busy.  You have to make an effort to snack healthy and fuel your body with food that is going to fuel your muscles and help you to become stronger.  Select snacks that are high in protein and low in carbs.  I am a big fan of pistachios, deli meats and veggies.  

These five adjustments to my work routine have made a huge difference in how my body feels and have kept me off those prescription pain medications.  I feel better and I am a better mother, wife and teacher when I am not in pain.  

Try them out and let me know what you think!


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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Most Stunning (and Frugal) Beauty and the Beast Birthday Party! #OrientalTrading

Disclosure:  I was provided with a credit to order some items from Oriental Trading. However, I would have ordered the items regardless of a credit as we love Oriental Trading.

A couple weeks ago we celebrated our little princess with a 4th birthday roller skating party.  I will post more about that another time, but today I had to share with you the decorative aspects that I am in love with.

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I contacted Oriental Trading when my daughter decided on her birthday theme and ordered the plates, cutlery, doilies, napkins and table cloths.  I had a vision and hoped that I could pull it off and do it on a $100.00 budget.  I spent $75.00 of my budget on the items I listed above from the Oriental Trading company.

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We had our party at our families roller skating rink during a public session, as it could easily accommodate the 25 little guests and their families that we invited.  I had just 15 minutes to set up and had to have a very clear plan that was easy to put together in just a few moments.  I crafted most of the materials at home so that I just had to tape a few items down when we got there.

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I ordered a large roll of gold table cloth material to use for a couple elements to my party table design.  The first was the curtain type drape to the background and the second was the curtain drape on the table.  I laid these pieces out at home and tied small string around the areas I wanted to gather them at, and then when we got to the party we used double stick tape to adhere them to the table and the background. 

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For the main background I simply used a blue tablecloth, then I used my gold drapery to frame it. Next I added a rose vine and made the Be Our Guest banner and the Beauty and the Beast silhouettes with my actual Silhouette machine.  It really turned out great and made a wonderful background for our party. 

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One of the best scenes in the entire movie is the "Be Our Guest" musical number.  I wanted to create a table setting that was welcoming, elegant and really made our little guests feel royal.  I snagged the gold cutlery, red plates, napkins and doilies from Oriental Trading.  I had a grand idea to find disposable tea cups and decorate them to look like Chip, but I could not find ones that I liked at all, so instead, I just used plain white cups. 

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I rolled each cutlery setting in the napkin and then tied them with a small string.  To bring more Beauty and the Beast into each setting, I added a little rose which I found at our local dollar store in bunches.  The kids went crazy over these.  They loved that they had a pretty little place to sit and that everyone got their own rose!  It was adorable.

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I always love having balloons at my kids parties.  Mainly because they love them and keep them in their rooms for as long as possible.  I wanted to create a little centerpiece that served a couple purposes.  First, I wanted it to secure the balloons, and second, I wanted to put the tasty chocolate roses that I ordered from Oriental Trading in them as a little bouquet.  I found a glass jar at the local dollar store, some floral foam and ribbon.  I poked a hole through the center of the foam, threaded the balloon strings through it and hot glued the strings to the bottom of the foam.  Then I pushed the foam securely into the bottom of the glass jar and used a little hot glue to secure it to the jar.  I added some ribbon to the outside of the jar to cover up the foam and then just began placing the chocolate roses into the jar.  It was perfect and each guest got to take a rose for a little snack later. 

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I purchased a little set of Beauty and the Beast figurines from the Disney Store to add some character to our table and placed those throughout the setting as well.  However, my favorite item that I created was our enchanted roses.  These were a must have according to our princess and initially I was nervous trying to figure out how to pull this off.  After a trip to the local dollar store and craft store, those fears were gone and I was ready to create a couple enchanted roses to accentuate our table.

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I used a glass candle cup as the main glass dome.  Then I found the wooden bases and silk roses and create a quick and easy enchanted rose.  I cut the rose down, hot glued it to the wooden base.  Added a few rose petals to cover up the hot glue glob at the base of the rose and then hot glued the glass dome to the wooden base.  Then I had these glass knobs that I just hot glued to the top.  I love how they came out and will be using them in my Valentine's decor next year for sure!

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Overall, the entire table setting cost right under $100.00 and was a real show stopper.  It was truly easy to put together and thanks to Oriental Trading, it was also cost effective.  Our guests really had a great time and I cannot wait to share more details from the dress, to the cake, invites and entertainment!  It truly was a magical experience and we are so thankful to our friends and family that joined us. 

Make sure to check out all the party and holiday items that Oriental Trading has to offer on their website now!

What do you think of our Beauty and the Beast party?


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Cleaning Tips For a Deep Clean and a #StreakFreeShine #Ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StreakFreeShine #CollectiveBias


In three weeks our spring break begins and I start to clean the winter out of our home and get down into the nitty gritty surfaces that are only cleaned a few times a year.  I know many of you come here to learn tips and tricks to get through those areas quickly and so I am sharing my Spring Cleaning Tips for a Deep Clean and a #StreakFreeShine with Windex® Original Glass Cleaner.


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I keep a pretty tidy home, so when spring cleaning time hits, I tear my home apart cleaning every nook and cranny and ensuring that my home is sparkling.  Areas in my house that need the most attention are the glass surfaces, baseboards, appliances, blinds and our outdoor patio furniture.  I start in the kitchen, then the living room, the bathrooms and finally the bedrooms.  I grab my Windex® Original Glass Cleaner and paper towels and get to work.  I always stock up during King Soopers sales on Windex® cleaners.


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Cleaning should have been my middle name.  I seriously love this time of year.  It is a time of refresh and renewal and I always feel much better when my home is clean and rid of the dirt, junk and muggy feeling that winter brings. Starting in the Kitchen some of my major points of attack are the glass top oven, the inside and outside of the fridge, our sliding glass door and the baseboards.
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Before


Glass top ovens are awful to keep clean.  Windex® Original Glass Wipes are my go to item to get my oven sparkling.  I use 1-2 wipes and clean the top and the front of the oven and it sparkles without streaks beautifully.  Then I just run the self cleaning feature while we are out of the house and viola! Beautifully clean oven.


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After! So shiny you can see the reflection of everything.


Once I have the oven completed I always attack our fridge.  My kids love to get in and out of the fridge for snacks with sticky hands and to get water out of the door which then drips and spills and we have pretty hard water (even with a filter).  These messes along with everyday messes from typical use, make the fridge a quick target for me to tackle.


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Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner is my ideal cleaner to help remove those hard water stains from our fridge door water dispenser.  I spray this on the stains liberally, then place a paper towel over it and allow it to sit while I attack the other areas of the fridge.


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Easily one of my favorite cleaners when deep cleaning is the Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner.  It smells phenomenal and the clean is just what I am looking for to shine and disinfect my household.  I spray this all over the inside and outside of my fridge and just wipe clean.  It works amazingly. Just check out the before and afters of the inside of my fridge.
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Before

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After!
The shine cannot be beat!  No streaks, minimal effort and a disinfected, odor free fridge.  I spent all of 15 minutes cleaning the inside and outside of my fridge and that includes clearing out food.  One tip is to clean your fridge before you are due for groceries and also as you are going through your fridge, toss those old condiments and replace them with new.


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I also take on the baseboards, wipe down walls, the sliding glass door, window and cabinets using my various Windex® cleaners.  In total to deep clean my kitchen (starting with an already cleaned up kitchen) it takes me 1 hour.  Moving into the living room.  The areas that I absolutely have to clean are the big picture windows, the baseboards, the furniture and the carpet.  I always work top to bottom.  First I use the Windex® Original Glass Wipes to clean our big picture window.  


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I only do the inside of the windows and my husband takes care of the outside of the house.  I love the Windex® Original Glass Wipes because they are easy to grab and quick to use and little fuss. It is no wonder that Windex® Original is America’s #1 glass cleaner!  Moving from there I take the covers off our cushions and put those in the washer and then I tackle those baseboards.
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I pull everything away from the walls when I do this and then I run the vacuum cleaner along the carpet line.  Finally, I use the Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner and spray it on my baseboards and use a paper towel to wipe it down.  Lastly, my husband runs the carpet shampooer and then we put the room back together.  The living room takes about an hour from start to finish (not including carpet drying time) to deep clean.


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From there I move to the bathrooms.  We have 4 bathrooms.  One half bathroom, two full bathrooms with the shower/tub combo and fourth full bathroom with the shower and bathtub separated.  I clean bathrooms 2-3x a week and am constantly wiping down the normal surfaces.  What I do differently when I deep clean is that I make sure I get the mirrors, the baseboards and really scrub those tub and shower areas.


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I also go through all the drawers and cabinets and clear out old products and switch out toothbrushes too.  Bathrooms go quickly for me because they are pretty clean as it is.  I spend about 20-30 minutes doing the deep clean for each bathroom. Finally, I move to the bedrooms.  The bedrooms also include a good wipe down of the baseboards, windows and in addition, I decorate with photos and so this is the time of year that I also wipe the glass on various framed pictures in our rooms and hallways.


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Once the inside is finished, the husband and I tackle the outdoor spaces.  Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner is our cleaner of choice and does a great job cleaning and shining our patio furniture with no dull residue left behind.  


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Before


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After! Sparkling!


With that massive amount of information that I just shared with you, I thought it would be beneficial for me to share a printable checklist for you to reference and use!  You can download yours here!


Spring Cleaning Checklist.jpg


I cannot wait for spring cleaning to be in full effect in a few weeks.  I hope this post helps you find a bit of motivation and an easier starting point of areas to work on.  Please download the printable, grab your Windex® cleaning products and get to work! Don’t forget to check out Windex® on Facebook and Twitter


Tell me, what areas are you planning on tackling during spring cleaning?

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Friday, March 17, 2017

The number 1 Reason you MUST see #BeautyandtheBeast

Tuesday was the best day ever!  My family and I were invited to a prescreening of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and since that evening, I have been floating in the magic of the movie. 

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Beauty and the Beast was officially released in theaters everywhere today and already many theaters have sold out shows.  The anticipation leading up to the release of this movie and the amazing media coverage have made this movie a must see...and I completely agree!

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The animation and acting and sheer talent involved in creating this live action remake is incredible.  I think I was taken back from the extensive detail and pulled into the story even more than I expected because everything was so beautiful and detailed.

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The musical talents in the movie were fantastic.  Each actor put their own spin on the classics and some new songs were also introduced.  Although the performers put their own touch in the songs, there was still so much familiarity and beauty to their singing.  I was so impressed with Emma Watson's voice throughout the movie.  The Hermione Granger that I was so sure I could not get passed, disappeared as soon as she began to sing, and Belle emerged and encapsulated myself and the rest of the audience.

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I have to admit that I was not super excited at the changes of Cogsworth, Lumiere, Plumette, Mrs. Potts and Chip.  They were just so real and the softness of their cartoon characteristics that I loved from the animated feature were not there.  However, those feelings dissipated throughout the movie as you began to get more involved in their stories, personalities and the real emotion the actors placed into bringing these objects life.  By the end, I could not imagine them looking any different.  They just fit perfectly.

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However, the number one reason that you MUST see Beauty and the Beast is simple.  It is a classic. Boundaries are pushed, but the ultimate storyline that true beauty lies within is one that is so important to share with generations.  Honestly.  We need our current and future generations to see worth in themselves and to know that outer appearances are not what make a person, it is what is inside that we need to focus on.

Working in a high school I see kids judge each others outer appearances and other kids falling apart from the social media backlash that happens in this new world we live in and it is so disheartening that I can't just fix them all.  I can't just take away all their technology forever and make them spend time loving each other.  I can't make them see that in a few years, most of the drama that occurs in these four years wont even matter.  I can't give them self confidence.  All I can do is love my students, show them that getting through the struggles is what makes you stronger, tell them stories of how I came through similar situations and fight against bullying.

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I love that Beauty and the Beast focuses on love being stronger than hate and I truly feel that every single person needs to see this.  I find it ironic that people are protesting a movie so strong in values of building self-worth, seeing your inner beauty, overcoming challenges and loving others no matter their differences.  I personally love that Disney is continuing to push love, to address emotions, to raise questions with our children and to allow us as parents to rise above stereotypes and teach love, teach compassion and teach empathy.  The world needs more of that, regardless of beliefs.  

Dare to be different and embrace it.  Our differences make us human and Beauty and the Beast reinforces that.  Be Human.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Want a chance at $100? Enter here!

I know I have a ton of readers that join me from Twitter!  I am bringing some fun to you all and offering you a chance to win $100.00 in Amazon or PayPal cash!  What fun and it is super easy to enter.  Read below for more information.

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How to enter: There are 20 Twitter accounts to follow and each is worth one entry into the giveaway. Follow all 20 for 20 entries into this giveaway! If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts March 17 at midnight EST and ends March 31 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco@gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.

Good Luck!  I would love to see one of my readers snag this awesome prize!  Do NOT pass up a chance at free cash!



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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Most Beautiful Belle Dress EVER! #BeautyandtheBeast

This past weekend my daughter turned 4 and celebrated with a fantastic Beauty and the Beast themed birthday party.  She is always one to dress up and wears princess dresses wherever she can and when I found this Belle Tea Party Dress from Great Pretenders, I had to get it!

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I have partnered with Great Pretenders for the last year on various dress up items for both kids and have always adored the quality of their clothing.  When I found these matching princess dresses for my daughter and her doll, I had to have them.

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The dress quality is very good.  The seams are very strong and will not fall apart like those cheapie dresses that you find in stores.  The sizes run very true to the child's size.  Our daughter wears a 3T and some 4T and we ordered a 4-5 dress and only had to adjust the shoulder straps up a bit to make it fit her tiny self.  The material is also very soft and not itchy at all.

Belle Dress Up dress, Beauty and the Beast dress up dress for dolls, beauty and the beast dress up dress, belle dress up dress for dolls, Great Pretenders, #BeautyandtheBeast,

My daughter is in love with her doll's matching Belle Tea Party dress too.  These dresses are identical however the accessories that come with the doll, do not come with the child version of the Belle tea party dress.  My daughter loved the crown and the gold slippers for her doll nonetheless.  The colors are so vibrant and the tea length of the dress makes play time easy. 

Belle Dress Up dress, Beauty and the Beast dress up dress for dolls, beauty and the beast dress up dress, belle dress up dress for dolls, Great Pretenders, #BeautyandtheBeast,

I personally love all the little details on the dresses.  They are full of glitter and roses and trim and tulle that is just so beautiful.  The doll dress fits and 18-20 inch doll extremely well and probably would be slightly big on a 16 inch doll, but still look pretty good.

Belle Dress Up dress, Beauty and the Beast dress up dress for dolls, beauty and the beast dress up dress, belle dress up dress for dolls, Great Pretenders, #BeautyandtheBeast,
This face is a crack up!

When my daughter showed up to her birthday party dressed to the nines in this beautiful Belle Tea Party dress people were gushing over her.  We got so many compliments and questions about where we got such a stunning dress.  Our daughter was able to roller skate and run and play with all her little friends flawlessly in this dress and it still looked great by the end of the day.

Belle Dress Up dress, Beauty and the Beast dress up dress for dolls, beauty and the beast dress up dress, belle dress up dress for dolls, Great Pretenders, #BeautyandtheBeast,

Great Pretenders has a huge variety of dress up clothing for any occasion and for the quality, the prices just cannot be beat.  The attention to detail on every item we have ever received from them is incredible and we are so glad that they continue to work with us.  Please check them out on their website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!  They love when fans reach out. 

What do you think about this dress?

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