7 Things You Didn’t Know About Hulu Plus

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 2.33.23 PMTry 2 Weeks of Hulu Plus Free!

I’ll admit it: when my husband signed up for Hulu Plus, I was annoyed. I found the interface clunky, the commercials obnoxious, and the content lacking. I began to wonder why Hulu Plus was even a “thing” anymore. Didn’t people know about DVR’s and TiVo’s? Unlike Netflix, Hulu Plus‘s content is mostly television based (you won’t find many award-winning, attention-grabbing movies on Hulu Plus). Instead of writing Hulu Plus off completely, I asked myself, “Am I using this product wrong? What makes 6 million other people love Hulu Plus?” Then, I fell in love.

1. Hulu Plus is Nothing Like Netflix

This might seem like a very basic, silly thing to share, but it’s overwhelmingly accurate. Netflix has created thousands of micro genes unique to its platform in order to suggest the most relevant content in relation to your current likes and dislikes. Netflix’s software is so intuitive that it’s as if you don’t even have to think; you just obey Netflix and its suggestions. You are captive to suggested content. Hulu Plus, on the other hand, lets you be the boss. With superior search features and brilliantly organized content, Hulu Plus makes it easy to find your favorite shows and watch them on demand.

2. On Hulu Plus, You Can Search By Television Network

What does this mean? Well, if you love the Bravo Network, you can simply type “Bravo” into the search engine and find all your favorite Bravo shows on Hulu Plus. The same goes for any other network, like TLC, ABC, NBC, etc. It’s a great feature if you love specific channels.

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3. Hulu Plus Offers Original Content 

Yes, this is something Hulu Plus and Netflix have in common, but Hulu Plus‘s original content is much more quirky, like The Hotwives of Orlando. Its style is unique to Hulu Plus, and I kinda love it.

4. The Hulu Plus Queue

Save your shows for later by adding selections to the Hulu Plus queue. This way, you won’t have to search all over again.

5. Children’s Content on Hulu Plus is 100% Commercial Free

And the content is fantastic. Find favorite shows from your childhood, such as Fraggle Rock, Seasame Street, Barney, etc. and new, Hulu Plus original content like Jim Henson’s Doozers. Great for quickly distracting your toddler or school-aged child.

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6. Hulu Plus is Affordable

Let’s be honest: Hulu Plus is cheap compared to Netflix and other subscription services. For just $7.99 a month, you have access to an impressive library of network television shows that can be viewed from your home television, mobile devices, cell phones, gaming devices, and computers. If you’re not sure if Hulu Plus has what you want, try 2 weeks for free.

7. You’ll Forget What Life Was Like Pre-Hulu Plus

I’ve become so reliant on Hulu Plus for all of my yesteryear television needs that I’ve forgotten other people don’t have Hulu Plus. If you’ve ever wanted to rifle through Comedy Central’s library, see what the Real Housewives were like before Bravo blew up, or watch your favorite cancelled series, like I Wanna Marry Harry on Fox, in its entirety, then you need Hulu Plus. Yeah, it’s a “luxury,” but for $0.26 a day, it’s an affordable luxury. Give it a try! 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links in which the author may benefit from through discounts or compensation. This post is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with Hulu.com in any way. All opinions belong to the author and do not reflect the thoughts or feelings of Hulu.com or its parent company.

Autism in the Womb: Evidence of Autism Present in Fetal Brain During 2nd and 3rd Trimesters

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.34.40 PMA new study by the University of California at San Diego has found indications of autism in the womb. During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, researchers were able to isolate differences in the brain development of infants who went on to later be diagnosed with autism:

The area UCSD researchers homed in on is just a quarter of an inch in size. Ten of the autistic children showed the problem in the prefrontal cortex, which dictates communication and social skills.

The outer layer of babies’ brains form six layers at those stages of pregnancy, but the UCSD researchers found that in autistic children, that development is flawed, causing problems in the areas of the brain that control social skills and language.” Source: ‘Messy Patches in Brain Linked to Autism, Times of San Diego

What does this mean for autism research? 

First, we know that autism is something that begins in the womb. It’s not something that can be caused by outside influences after birth, such as vaccines or environmental issues.

Next, we can begin researching ways to prevent autism by intervening during pregnancy or even before conception.

Last, we know that, for now, autism is not something that a pregnant mother could have knowingly prevented. It’s not something that has a cause yet, which is great news because it means that as of right now, autism is not your fault. A shot didn’t do it. An accident didn’t do it. A medication didn’t cause it. It’s just one of those things that nature decides.

The hope from UCSD researchers is that “their work points to the second and third trimesters as a crucial time in the development of autism that may lead to preventative measures to prevent the disorder.”

I hope so, too.

4 Easy Tips To Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

JAS-04031-3Worried about those “tiger stripes” some moms brag about? There are so many lotions and potions that promise to help with skin elasticity during pregnancy, but there’s only one topical treatment that has been proven effective: Vitamin E. There’s nothing fancy or expensive about it. In fact, you can get Vitamin E oil from almost any grocery or drug store, and you can find more of the elasticizing vitamin in Vitamin E rich foods.

In order to have the best odds in the fight against stretch marks, do the following:

1. Use Vitamin E Oil

After a shower or a bath, coat yourself in Vitamin E. If you have the time, always put an extra layer of the good stuff on before bed. Your body will absorb it as you sleep.

2. Eat Vitamin E rich foods

Surprise! Foods that are rich in Vitamin E are also extremely healthy and great for your growing baby. Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, and avocados are some of the foods highest in Vitamin E content. They’re tasty, too!

3. Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink plenty of water. If you can’t stand the taste, add a lemon and some mint for a refreshing sip.

4. Stay active

Aim to take a 30-45 minute walk each day. Exercise is so good for your skin and your pregnancy.


Some people rave about cocoa butter and how it helped them avoid stretch marks. Cocoa butter contains Vitamin E as an active ingredient, which is why cocoa butter can be an effective tool in your battle against tiger stripes. Feel free to use a combination of Vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, or other Vitamin E based lotions. Do you have a favorite pregnancy potion? Share it with us!

10 things you don’t need to do while pregnant – Pregnancy Tips from a Postpartum Mom

betsyfinnToday’s guest post is by Betsy Finn. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two boys, and two cats (Betsy’s story). You can read more of her thoughts on life and creative musings at BPhotoArt.com. There, Betsy blogs about a hodgepodge of topics including fine art and portrait photography, parenting, capturing memories, and finding contentment in the journey of life. You can also find Betsy on Facebook,Twitter,Google+,Pinterest,and Instagram.

There are so many resources online for pregnant moms — and most focus on what you “need” to do while pregnant. For my first pregnancy, we “followed the rules” and did all the stuff that the pregnancy books recommend. My second? We didn’t. We did what what worked for our family. Here’s my list of 10 things you don’t need to do while pregnant, from a mom who’s been there and done that:

1. Don’t give in to the “prenatal” exercise fad.
My first pregnancy, I took prenatal yoga. With my second, I found a pilates class. Instead of gearing exercises towards the pregnant body, the pilates class focused on strengthening my core and adapting exercises, as needed, so that I could do them while pregnant. I wish I’d taken pilates sooner; working my core muscles throughout pregnancy made my changing physique much more manageable.

2. Don’t register for everything under the sun.
As parents-to-be, we thought that we were being reasonable about our baby registry. We didn’t put a lot of extras on the list, and kept it more to essentials. Despite our attempts to be minimalistic, as our first son grew I found myself donating numerous unneeded baby items that we had thought were essential. A baby wipe warmer? Sounds like a good idea, sure, but we never used it. Crib nightlight and music machine? Neat — until you realize it turns off abruptly and wakes up the baby.

3. Don’t forget to document your pregnancy with pictures.
With my first pregnancy, baby’s growth was well documented with snapshots, but for round two, I just wanted nice maternity portraits. I’m a photographer though, so maybe I’m biased on this one.

4. Don’t overpack for the hospital.
I don’t remember what we packed in our hospital back for the first time around. But the second time, I overpacked. What did we use from my extensive checklist? tennis balls for counter-pressure and an aromatherapy diffuser. That’s it. nothing more. One good suggestion I did find? Separate your things into “labor” and “postpartum” bags — and leave the second bag in the car..

5. Don’t try to learn everything about pregnancy.
Do yourself a favor and don’t read all those pregnancy books. I read them with my first pregnancy, but later realized you can get the important information from your doctor (or online).

6. Don’t put life on hold.
Sure, there are some things you can’t do while pregnant. No alcohol, no lunchmeat, no rare/raw meats… no raw sushi. But find a way to still enjoy your pregnant months (e.g. virgin daiquiris, cooked sushi).

7. Don’t be afraid to “pester” your doctor with questions or concerns.
That’s what your doctor is there for. After my first birth experience, I switched OB/GYNs, and my new one was much more receptive to my many questions.

8. Don’t scoff at hand-me-downs!
Brand new baby stuff is expensive…especially when you consider how little they get worn. Most used baby clothes are practically brand new. So, if you are offered hand-me-downs from a relative or friend — accept!

9. Don’t wait until you are pregnant to start getting healthy.
Between my first and second pregnancies, — a postpartum health issue required me to make some dietary changes (which led to weight loss and improved health). Being healthier before my second pregnancy allowed me to be more active towards the end of my second pregnancy.

10. Don’t be stubborn, accept help when needed!
I admit it. I like being independent. But when you’re pregnant, there are certain things you shouldn’t do: lifting heavy things and cat litter duty, for example I was reluctant to ask for help — it’s important to remember, you feel like more of an imposition than you actually are.

So, there you have it. Ten things you don’t need to do while pregnant. Those are my suggestions as a mom who’s been through it. Neither of my pregnancies and neither of my birth experiences were identical. There is no one size fits all approach to pregnancy, birth, or even life in general. You have to find what works for you and run with it. Take what works, and leave the rest.

Family Movie Night Popcorn with Perfect Pop App – Sponsored

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One of my favorite things to do as a child was go to the movies. I loved the big screen, the late nights, and, most importantly, the heavenly scent of movie theater popcorn. Now that I’m a stay at home mom, going out to the movies is easier said than done, but luckily I can compromise by satisfying my craving for amazing popcorn with Pop Secret popcorn‘s Movie Theater Butter variety.

Tonight was one of those nights were I just wanted a nice bag of popcorn and a great movie. It was a particularly dark and stormy night, and I worried about what every popcorn lover fears when making microwave popcorn: burned popcorn. Luckily, I discovered the Pop Secret Perfect Pop App and decided to give it a try.

The Perfect Pop App truly delivers. I used the “start” feature on the app once I began the microwave and stopped accordingly. As the name implies, my popcorn was popped perfectly - not a single piece of burned popcorn. It’s a popcorn enthusiast’s dream come true. Aside from the fact that the app works wonderfully, it’s also really pretty to look at. Here’s what the Perfect Pop App looks like:



Gorgeous, right?

Although my husband and I have both seen popcorn before, this was Clark’s first popcorn experience, and this is one of those scenarios where a picture speaks a thousand words.

Here’s Clark’s first bite:

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Obviously a winner, because he immediately grabs more:

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And there you have it, a recipe for popcorn success: 1 part Pop Secret popcorn + 1 part Perfect Pop App = 1 very happy toddler. Thanks, Pop Secret!

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Special thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring this post!

33 Things You’re Not Supposed To Eat During Pregnancy

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According to most lists, pregnant women can’t eat anything. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this list of what not to eat:

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Finding Balance: Advice From a L&D Nurse


Jennifer has twenty years experience in the nursing field. For the past 13 years she has loved being a labor and delivery nurse. A pastor’s wife and mother of three great kids, ages 7, 10 and 13, she enjoys spending time with her family, running and writing. Jennifer is originally from Bucks County, PA in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her husband’s ministry career has taken her family to Roanoke, VA and then to the Eastern Shore of MD where they currently reside. She recently started her own blog about her son’s experience in a groundbreaking clinical trial for peanut allergies. Read more of her work at http://peanutallergykiddos.blogspot.com/

Prepared childbirth is all about finding balance. I’m not talking about a meditation, inner peace, find your center type of balance. I’m referring to a being well informed without trying to plan every second of your labor balance.

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve seen women come to the hospital with all different levels of readiness.

There is the Type A, ” I have to know exactly what’s going on” mom who arrives with three childbirth books, five suitcases and a 40 page birth plan. Then there are the girls who show up with just the clothes on their back, a cell phone, and not a clue in the world about what’s about to take place.

Honestly, the best possible patient is somewhere in the middle! Know what to expect, but also be open and ready for the unexpected. With that in mind, here are a few things we’d like you to know before coming in.

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11 Things Every Mom Needs to Look Human Again

Having and raising a baby (or more than one) is exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be frumpy. Here are 11 essential items every mom needs to restore her confidence and charm. And, trust me, ladies, you need these, because you probably think you look okay, but really, you look like this.


1. Aveeno BB Cream

Instead of wasting your precious moments putting on makeup, trade your face time for “free time” by using this all-in-one moisturizer, sunscreen, and concealer. Aveeno BB Cream provides minimal coverage but delivers maximum results. It’s my personal favorite, whether I spend the day at the park or a night on the town.
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No Baby Shower? 5 Reasons You Should Still Create A Baby Registry

If you’re not planning to have a baby shower, or you’re on baby #2, #3 or beyond, you might decide against creating a baby registry. Your reasons are varied: it’s a waste of time, I already have everything I need, I don’t want people to feel obligated to buy the baby things, etc. All of those reasons are invalid, and here’s why:
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A Starbucks Guide for Pregnancy

latteEveryone loves their morning coffee or an afternoon latte, but are these things safe? If so, how much and what size? Don’t you wish you had a secret Starbucks formula to let you know which drinks contained an appropriate amount of caffeine? Well, ladies, there is. And I’m going to share the secret Starbucks code to knowing exactly how much caffeine is in your favorite iced or hot espresso-based beverage.

Let’s start with the hot lattes. If you’re ordering a vanilla or any other syrup flavored latte, the Starbucks secret is 1, 2, 3.

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