Attending the Peace Love Swap in Burbank

Last Thursday I attended the Peace Love Swap event in Burbank. For those who are not familiar with it, their mission at Peace Love Swap is to keep gently used baby, kid & maternity items out of landfills by providing communities with a place to meet, play  & swap their gently used items. Any clothing or items that are left will be donated to a local children’s charity.

I arrived at La La Land Indoor Playground in Burbank around 10:15am & dropped off my bag of clothes & children’s books.

La La Land Peace Love Swap

Each person received a raffle ticket & a name tag. If you were one of the first 25 people to purchase a ticket online to the event, then you received a goodie bag that contained wonderful products donated by companies such as Glam Natural, Waxelene, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Planet Inc. & many more!

Goodie Bag from Peace Love Swap
Goodie Bag from Peace Love Swap

There were several volunteers on-hand to help sort through the bags of items that people dropped off.

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Around 11am, they had a dance demonstration by Dancemama Fitness. This is a fun Mommy & Me dance fitness class based in North Hollywood. The moms & babies looked like they were having a blast!

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Dancemama Fitness of North Hollywood
Dancemama Fitness of North Hollywood

After the dance demo, they raffled off some cool prizes, like organic tees from Colette Kids & a free class from A Kitchen Story, where you could learn to create your own natural soaps & lotions. After the raffle it was time to swap!

Everyone lined up outside & was handed one paper bag to fill up with clothes. Everyone gets the same size bag so as to prevent people from bringing in larger bags & “overshopping.” If you brought in a large sized item, then you get first dips on one of the larger sized items.

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When you go inside, they have large rolling racks with the sizes labeled so that it’s easy to find what you are looking for.

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They had tons of infant/toddler clothing, which is great since a lot of moms were looking for those sizes. I was able to pick-up a few things for my daughter to use.

I have to give props to Noellyn Phillips, the organizer of the event. It can be chaotic during the Kids Clothing Swap & hosting one of these things is no easy task. She relies on some volunteers (who receive a goodie bag as well), but other than that, she does all of the work & she does it with a smile. I was amazed because honestly I would have been tired & a bit grumpy halfway through (the scene can be a bit like Christmas shopping on Black Friday), but she remained happy & upbeat the whole time.  :)

Noellyn Phillips - Swap Organizer
Noellyn Phillips – Swap Organizer

If you would like to attend a kids swap, you’re in luck! They are having one this June in Pasadena. Click here for more info.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to this event, as well as a goodie bag. Though a post was not required, I wanted to share my experience. All opinions are my own.

KT Tape Clinic at Fleet Feet Sports

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Last Friday I attended a KT Tape clinic at Fleet Feet Sports in Encino. If you follow my blog, then you probably already know that I am a big fan of KT Tape, having chronicled my usage of it here. However I wanted to meet with Dr. Kari Andrew, who was hosting the clinic, to make sure I was putting it on correctly & get additional tips. There’s only so much I can glean from skimming through the KT Tape website & watching the YouTube videos. Disclaimer: the tips & information that I blog about should in no way serve as professional advice. If you have a medical condition like plantar fasciitis or some sort of knee injury from running, then it is best to consult a physician before trying this at home. Ok, so now that we got that out of the way, back to the clinic!

Dr. Andrew passed out samples of KT tape strips to the half dozen people who were assembled in the back area of the retail store.

Dr. Kari Andrew
Dr. Kari Andrew

She explained that KT Tape is:

  • Heat activated: after it is applied to your skin, it takes 30-45 minutes to get activated
  • Lightweight
  • Latex free
  • Extremely breathable
  • Essentially waterproof: you can shower with it & it should last 1-3 days, depending on your skin type

There are some things you should do to prep the skin before applying the tape – clean the skin so that it is free from lotions and oils, as these things will hamper the effectiveness of the tape sticking to your skin. Some people take alcohol wipes & swab the area down, just to be sure that all of the oils are removed from the skin. I’ve heard folks in the running community talk about problems they have with getting KT Tape to stick. I’ve never had an issue with KT Tape, but they do sell a skin prep & adhesive spray (which I never knew about until I went to the clinic).

KT Tape Skin Prep + Adhesive Spray
KT Tape Skin Prep + Adhesive Spray

For guys who are applying it to their legs, you may want to shave the area so that the tape can stick effectively. Also if you forget to remove the hair, it will probably get pulled off when you peel off the tape! Yikes, can you say unexpected leg wax?!?

Once the skin is prepped, then Dr. Andrews explained to us how to apply the tape. It’s important to touch the tape as little as possible. The easiest way I found to get the backing off of the tape is by using the “tear technique.” Take one precut strip & make a tiny tear in the backing, about a half inch in. Then rip the backing off & apply the base flat, approximately 2” above or below the target tissue/muscle that requires treatment. Rub the base to activate the adhesive, but don’t stretch it yet!

Anchoring the Base
Anchoring the Base

You should never stretch or apply tension at the anchor points (the base or the end). The stretch goes in the middle of the strip, over the muscle or tissue that is in need of treatment. Dr. Andrews explained that you should never fully stretch it 100%, as that is too tight. The tape is designed for 55-60% stretch. It is better to not have enough tension than to have too much.

If you are applying the tape to your knee or foot (like in my situation), then make sure to bend it slightly when applying. This stops the tape from simply popping off when the joint is bent later on.

Applying KT Tape to Knee
Applying KT Tape to Knee

After several days the acrylic adhesive will have become quite strong, so be careful when removing the tape. Once I ripped it off quickly (thinking it would be like a band-aid) & my skin got irritated. Dr. Andrews advised to pull it off slowly & go in the direction of body hair. It’s best to apply tension between the skin & the tape, pushing the skin away from the tape rather than “pulling” the tape. Also, never ever pull the tape off in the shower! You might think it would be easier & that it would loosen it up, but it is actually worse since the skin is wet & the tape can actually rip the skin off. Ouch!

Lastly, she advised us to never use the tape on irritated skin or if you suffer from blood clots in your leg. As I had mentioned at the beginning of the post, if you have a medical condition or injury, seek professional medical help first before trying this at home.

KT Tape comes in a variety of colors. I personally like purple & pink, but that’s just me.  :)

KT Tape Pro

You can purchase KT Tape at any sporting goods store like Fleet Feet Sports, but I’ve even seen it at Big 5, Sports Chalet & online at Costco.

While we are on the subject of Fleet Feet Sports, the Encino location is hosting a Diva Night on April 16th.

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They will have free wine tastings, bra fittings, massages, shopping deals, raffle prizes, runway modeling & entertainment by comedian Andy Dugan!!!

This year’s vendors include:
Moving Comfort
ADIDAS
Addaday Massage
The Elbow Room
GU
Nathan
CLIF
and much much more!!!

For more info & to RSVP to this event, click over to their Facebook Event page. I am planning on attending & hope to see you there!

Disclosure: I attended a free KT Tape clinic at Fleet Feet Sports in Encino. Though a post was not required, I wanted to share my experience. The information provided in this post is for informational & educational purposes only. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health & before trying this at home. All opinions are my own.

Need Childcare? Spring Into Action with UrbanSitter

The following post is sponsored by UrbanSitter. All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you needed a babysitter ASAP & all of your resources were tapped out? Last month I found myself in that position. As most of you know, I had the amazing opportunity to chat with the cast of the Single Moms Club. The interviews took place on a Friday morning. The day before the junket, at around 1pm, I received a robocall from my daughter’s school stating that school was canceled on Friday due to an emergency plumbing situation. Aaack!!

With less than 24 hours notice, I had to scramble to get a sitter for my daughter. My parents were busy, so I turned to my “go to” resource – UrbanSitter. Using the UrbanSitter app on my iPad, I searched through & contacted 3 sitters with my job request. One sitter answered back within the hour & arrangements were made. I was able to go to my interview, my daughter got to sleep in & when I returned home 4.5 hours later at noon, she was happily playing with the sitter.

urbansitter_appMy daughter, as well as countless other children in the LA area, will be off on Spring Break soon. If you are one of the many moms out there who are in need of childcare help during this time, you may want to consider UrbanSitter. The steps are simple: sign into the UrbanSitter website using your Facebook account, create a parent profile, then with a few clicks of the mouse you’ve got a list of babysitters to choose from.

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The great thing about UrbanSitter is that you can look for sitters based on recommendations from friends and parenting networks such as your local YMCA or mommy group. UrbanSitter also has search functions so that you can find a sitter based on their rate, experience, education level , response time & other variables.

Do you live in the LA/San Fernando Valley area? If so, you are in luck! In conjunction with Urbansitter, we are happy to offer readers of Real Mom of SFV $15 off your first booking* on UrbanSitter. Simply enter code “REALMOM15″ on the My Account – Credits page.

Already an UrbanSitter member? Use code “REALMOM20″ and get 20% off one UrbanSitter fee (does not apply to babysitting fees).

*Subject to UrbanSitter, Inc.’s Terms of Service. First-time customers receive $15 credit to be used toward Sitter Introduction fee or Premium membership purchase. Returning customers receive 20% discount on one transaction fee (Sitter Introduction fee or Premium membership fee). Offers not valid for babysitting fees. Recipient must become a registered user of UrbanSitter with valid credit card on file to redeem offer. Restrictions include sitter availability and service to requested location (not all areas served). UrbanSitter reserves the right to modify these terms. Must redeem by 12/31/2014.

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Feel free to spring into action & use these codes for Spring vacation or any other time of the year that you need a sitter or nanny!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for UrbanSitter. Images courtesy of UrbanSitter. All opinions remain my own.

 

Peace Love Swap – Kids Clothing Swap in Burbank

Calling all San Fernando Valley & LA Moms! You won’t want to miss this Kids Clothing Swap happening at Lalaland Playground in Burbank on April 10th. It’s a great opportunity to get together with other moms to swap your baby, kids & maternity clothing.

There will be Easter treats for the kids & a FREE raffle with giveaways! They are giving away goodie bags to the first 25 people to purchase their ticket online.

Peace Love Swap is the only national organization that produces large scale, ongoing kids clothing swaps. After the swap, the organizers donate the leftovers to local charities & families in need.

See the invitation below for details.

Kids Clothing & Gear Swap

For more information & to RSVP for the event, click on over to the Spring Maternity & Kids Clothing and Gear Swap Facebook event page.

So do a little Spring cleaning & clean out those closets! Hope to see you there!

This Cali Girl Loves California Limited

The following post is sponsored by California Limited. All opinions are my own.

I’m a Cali girl, born & raised in the LA area. I love my home state, what with the great weather, tons of attractions & diverse cultures. Like the t-shirt says below, I truly believe that the West Coast is the best coast! Where else can you go from snowboarding in the mountains of Big Bear to playing volleyball on the beach in a matter of hours? Like Katy Perry said, “You could travel the world, but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast.” Amen sister!!

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As a busy mom who does a lot of volunteer work at my daughter’s school, my wardrobe consists mainly of comfy, casual clothes. I love shirts that are soft & relaxed, that I can wear with my jeans to a PTA meeting, as well as with my yoga pants to grab coffee with a friend after a workout. So when I heard about California Limited, an Orange County based business that prints cool & hip California slogans onto premium fabrics, I jumped at the chance to try out their products!

California Limited designs & prints their shirts in Orange County. What started out in Costa Mesa as a Facebook fan page has now evolved into an online business that showcases apparel for men & women, as well as accessories.

I recently wore this California Limited baseball tee while running errands around town. It’s soft & lightweight, perfect for wearing with jeans or even leggings!

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I liked the two shirts so much, that I’m thinking about going online & getting additional items. Perhaps I’ll get this blue Golden Wing shirt.

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I think this Golden State of Mind t-shirt would be perfect for my hubby!

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This California Girl necklace is really cute!

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This clothing line is perfect for those who love the California lifestyle, whether you’re a California native like myself or you hope to visit the Golden State one day. For more information on California Limited, visit their website at: http://www.calimited.com/

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for California Limited. I received sample products to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Happy Muppets Monday!

Muppets Most Wanted came out over the weekend. Did you take your kids to see it?

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity of a lifetime to meet the cast & producers of the film. You can read about my experience over on Surf and Sunshine, where I did a guest post. Here’s a photo of me in the press room waiting for the “big reveal” of the cast! I couldn’t wait to meet Kermit, Miss Piggy & Tina Fey!

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I was also fortunate to see an early screening of the movie. It was cute & entertaining with a ton of celebrity cameos. If you’re a Muppets fan, you’re going to really enjoy it! You can read my full review here.

Happy Monday everyone & have a great week!

My Day in the ‘Dena

Happy Friday!! Whew, it’s been a busy week. Between my daughter’s jog-a-thon at school last Friday, to working a kids expo over the weekend with my UrbanSitter team, plus an Irish Dance recital thrown in the mix…I’m so glad the weekend is almost here.

Yesterday I met up with a friend in Pasadena to take a class at Studio Metamorphosis. Melissa is a fitness blogger, Registered Dietitian & all around cool chick. You may remember that I ran the Hard Rock Cafe 5k with her last year. 

The soft opening for Studio Metamorphosis was this past Wednesday & to celebrate the occasion they were offering free classes for the week. Honestly when I stepped through those doors I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve done mat Pilates a few times, but doing Pilates on a Megaformer is a completely different animal!

StudioMetamorphosis

The Megaformer has bars, pulleys & straps. When I first looked at it I thought, is this machine going to torture me, lol! The 45 minute class kicked my butt. We did a lot of planking type exercises & rollouts on the machine, plus leg exercises & armwork. Jennifer Yates (owner & instructor) went around the room checking everyone’s form  & she made slight adjustments to my position & stance.

From a newbie experience, this is the type of class where one could easily be intimidated. I felt this way about TRX when I tried it for the first time. Half the battle for me is to understand how the equipment works & learning just to relax & go with the flow. I remember taking a Zumba class a couple of years ago. I have 2 left feet & about 20 minutes in I realized that this may not be the class for me. Despite that, I hung in there & basically pulled a “fake it til you make it” attitude to get me through the class.

They were still putting finishing touches in the various rooms so I didn’t take photos of the studio. The Pilates class at Studio Metamorphosis is one of those fitness classes where I have to take it a few times before I can really judge it. That’s what I did with TRX & now I love it, so who knows maybe that will happen with this one.  Time (& another session) will tell…

After class I went with Melissa to Urth Caffe for some good coffee & conversation.

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Speaking of Melissa, you’re going to want to check out her blog, The Valentine RD. Every Friday she features a different female blogger, which I was honored to be a part of last year. Her blog about fitness, 80′s pop culture & nutrition makes for a very interesting read.

So that was my day in the ‘Dena. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tell me: have you ever taken a class that you felt was out of your league? What did you do to stay focused & motivated? Sound off in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I took a free class that was open to the community. All opinions are my own.

The Single Moms Club – Movie Review

The Single Moms Club is a dramedy focusing on a group of single mothers, from different walks of life, who are brought together by an incident at their children’s school. It stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Nia Long, Cocoa Brown, Zulay Henao & Amy Smart. For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll remember that I interviewed the actresses last week. I was also fortunate to attend an early screening of the film with my friend, who is a single mother of two kids.

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Wendi McLendon-Covey plays a tightly wound executive who is lobbying for a much desired promotion at a publishing house, while at the same time raising her tween daughter as a single parent. Work life balance has no meaning for her. The film makes it a point to show her trying to juggle everything – work, motherhood & even her own love life (or lack thereof), but failing on all fronts.

Is it possible for women to have it all? When this question was posed to Wendi during last week’s interview, she had responded “You can have it all, but not all at the same time. If you had all of those things, could you service all of those things? I couldn’t! I’m just trying to get 6 hours of sleep in a night & say hello to my husband, Monday thru Friday. I really only see him on Saturdays & every other day of the week is preparing to go to work. So don’t feel bad if you don’t have it all cause nobody does & people who say they do are liars or in their 70′s.” Amen Wendi…preach!!  :)

Nia Long’s character is a journalist who is just trying to keep her “ish” together, while raising her 12 year old son. Here’s a fun fact (which I didn’t know until after the movie was over): the son in the movie is Nia’s son in real life! There is one particular scene between mother & son that had me tearing up. I won’t give it away, but once you see the movie, you’ll know exactly which one I am referring to.

Much of the comic relief in the movie is provided by Cocoa Brown’s character Lytia. The scenes between Cocoa & Terry Crews (who is desperately trying to woo her) had the audience laughing throughout the movie. Here is a clip of one such scene:

Zulay Henao plays Esperanza, a divorced mom trying to raise her strong-willed daughter. Esperanza finds herself at odds constantly with her ex-husband, played by Eddie Cibrian. I couldn’t help but wonder during some of those scenes if it was art imitating life for Eddie, but I digress…  ;)

Amy Smart’s character is a newly separated mom to three kids, struggling to find her way in this new chapter of her life. By leaning on the other women in the Single Moms Club, she learns to stand on her own feet.

I enjoyed the movie & found it entertaining. I think the film is something that all women (single, married, moms or otherwise) will find relatable & funny. The message of sisterhood rings so clear in the movie that after it was over, I couldn’t help but hum that Eurythmics song “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” on the drive home. No, that song isn’t in the movie, but it really should be!

The Single Moms Club opens in theaters Friday, March 14th.
Visit the official website
Like The Single Moms Club Movie on Facebook
Follow @Single Moms Club on Twitter #SingleMomsClub

Tell me: Are you planning on seeing this movie? If so, who are you bringing with you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Disclosure: I attended a media event for this film. Images used with permission from Lionsgate. All opinions are my own.

Jo Malone Trunk Show

Last week I attended a fun event at Blo Blow Dry Bar in Porter Ranch, where the guests were treated to a Jo Malone trunk show while sipping on drinks & light snacks. Representatives from Jo Malone were there to educate us on their fragrances.

Jo Malone Blo Blow Dry Bar

When I had heard about this free community event, I immediately RSVP’d! You see I’ve been a big fan of Jo Malone for years. There’s a Nordstrom near my home & whenever I am in the store, I would stop at the Jo Malone counter & spritz a little grapefruit cologne on my wrists. I just love the clean, crisp smell of citrus.

Usually I don’t wear a lot of perfume, especially heavy ones because I developed a sensitivity in college where I would get headaches or start to sneeze whenever I used them. However I am able to wear scented lotions without any issues, depending on the fragrance. Fortunately for me, I don’t have that reaction with ANY of the Jo Malone products – yay!

What I learned at the Jo Malone trunk show is that you can layer different fragrances to create your own signature scent. I personally loved the grapefruit combined with orange blossom. The combination of these two colognes creates a light fragrance of citrus & floral scents.

Jo Malone has a nice collection of colognes, body washes, lotions, crèmes, bath oils and candles in various scents.

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JoMalone Candle

After consulting with the fragrance gurus & trying on several products, I decided to make my purchase. Angela from Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks was on hand to take orders & I even got a special parting gift!

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Tell me: What scents do you look for in your perfume? Are you a citrus, fruity, spicy, musk or floral wearer?

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I received a gift with purchase while attending a free community event. All opinions are my own.

Chatting with the Cast of the Single Moms Club

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The Single Moms Club is a dramedy starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Nia Long, Cocoa Brown, Zulay Henao & Amy Smart. I attended an early screening last week & found it to be entertaining, with many funny & heartfelt moments.

When five struggling single moms put aside their differences to form a support group, they find inspiration and laughter in their new sisterhood, and help each other overcome the obstacles that stand in their way.

I recently got to sit down with the cast of The Single Moms Club & chat about motherhood, the importance of having a good support network & what it’s like working on a Tyler Perry film.

QUESTION: How did you identify with the character of this film being that you are not a mom?

Amy Smart: All my friends & family have kids now, so I have been around it. Maybe that’s enough for my character because she’s around it [but] she’s just not as involved in her kids’ lives. What I like is that she’s been so checked out & she’s forced to have to check back in & really get to know her kids on a much more intimate level.

Zulay Henao: In talking about this, I realized what I really loved about my part, my role in the movie, is that I enjoyed being a mother. It was fun. I was raised by a single mother, my father was around but my parents were divorced when I was 14. I was able to kind of go back to that time in my life & to really absorb what that was like to me as a child, like taking the child’s perspective, but then also really understanding all of my mother’s sacrifices. So it was really therapeutic for me, to be honest with you, being on set.

QUESTION: What’s it like working with Tyler Perry?

Amy Smart: It was amazing. Like it was so much fun to go down because he shoots everything in Atlanta. So we all went down to Atlanta & it was such a bonding experience.

Cocoa Brown: I’ve worked with him for three years on [the television show] For Better or Worse. He allows me to “do me” in the sense that he trusts my funny. It’s always a good comfort zone for me that I can come on there & I can bring the realness to the character. I don’t feel like I have to stay married to the script.

Wendi McLendon-Covey: Working with Tyler is really fun because he is very collaborative & he encourages you to improvise. I personally like doing ensemble comedy. So it was fun to get to bond with these women & watch them be hilarious.

Several of the film’s funniest scenes came from Cocoa Brown who became a single mother while shooting this movie. When asked how this impacted the filming of her role, Cocoa said “I began to use it. Once I was able to say ok, you know what, I’m not going to try to hide it, I’m just gonna let this pain come out in whatever way it does. It became organic for me in the course of the filming. It was healing…it was very healing.”

The film highlights how important it is to have a support network. Although Amy Smart doesn’t have kids yet, she does have a wonderful group of friends, stating “I have some incredible girlfriends in my life that I love so much & I feel like the female bonding network for me is super strong.”

When asked about her support system, Cocoa responded “I have a great village of just incredible men & they’re of all races & colors & backgrounds. They loved me & my son enough to swoop down & kind of fill that void when me & my husband separated & [ultimately] divorced. He has all of these uncles & they surround us with so much love.”

QUESTION: Did you have any aha moments while filming?

Cocoa Brown: One of the biggest breakthroughs for me that I learned while filming is that it’s ok to let my pain out & do it through my work. As a standup comic, people are so used to me being “on” & being funny & I got to actually just let that mask off & just be real.

I really enjoyed meeting these actresses, who were so open & honest with their experiences. The interview ended with a group photo of the cast with all of the mom bloggers who attended this media event.

Cast with Bloggers

I’ll have my complete review of this movie on the blog by the end of the week, so stay tuned! I will say this though – whether or not you’re a mother (single or otherwise), you’re going to want to grab your BFF & watch this movie about sisterhood.

The Single Moms Club opens in theaters on March 14, 2014.
Visit the official website
Like The Single Moms Club Movie on Facebook
Follow @SingleMomsClub on Twitter #SingleMomsClub

Disclosure: I attended a press event for this film. Images used with permission from Lionsgate. All opinions are my own.