Only PC Game

Freezing Avocados

We love avocados in our house…we eat them with Mexican dishes, make lots of guacamole and even use them as a substitute for mayo on sandwiches. I like to stock up when Kroger has them 10 for $10, but unfortunately, sometimes we don’t eat them fast enough.

On Pinterest (of course), I saw someone who froze their avocados. You cut them in half, take out the pit and wrap in saran wrap and then place in freezer bags. 

I’m not sure what I did wrong, but my avocados came out of the freezer brown and as I let them de-thaw, they got even browner 🙁 I think this is a great concept, but I’m not sure it’s possible…anyone else try freezing avocados? Any tips??

Easter Beauty Sale Round-Up (Wet n Wild, Stila, Pur, Glamglow, MAC and More)

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HSN Deal is Back: $20 off $40 + Free Shipping on LORAC, Benefit, Too Faced and More

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New Beauty Brands 21-Piece Spring Beauty Bag Offer (Info & Tips)

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LORAC Friends & Family Sale Now through 5/1 (Free Shipping)

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iPhone 8 Plus Reveal & Review

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Rear View – Indoors

I ordered my new gold iPhone 8 Plus on the 15th at 3 am and it arrived on the 22nd of September via UPS. Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to me! This is my 2nd smartphone and 2nd iPhone. I upgraded from the iPhone 5s in gold. I really enjoyed it for three years. It’s a great phone, but I wanted a better camera, more memory and a larger screen. My 1st impression of this phone:  “It’s pink!”. If you put it next to my gold 5s or any gold jewelry, it’s clearly rose gold on the trim and the apple logo and it’s pink on the back side. The back side looks like it’s either white with pink glass on top or pink with clear glass on top. The front is white with clear glass on top. I really wanted a rose gold one so much so that I was debating whether to order the iPhone 7 instead. So I’m really happy that it’s rose gold, but I feel bad for those that really wanted gold instead. The impression I got from the photos and Apple’s keynote was that it was yellow gold and that the back side was a metallic mirror finish. In person, only the Apple logo has a mirror metallic finish. I’ll be using it to check on my lipstick. It’s a bit heavier than I thought it would be, but it’s nice and thin and I love the rounded corners. I will be purchasing a case for it since the backside is so slippery. It slips off almost any surface, if you’re not really careful. So far I’ve noticed that it surfs the internet much faster than my 5s. The photos look more crisp and defined. Come back and check out my future blog posts, many of them will feature photos taken with my new phone. I felt the screen on my 5s was too small. I’m really enjoying the larger screen:


I’m at the age now that reading glasses are required often, but I don’t need them with this phone. I didn’t want the X model because it’s more expensive and there are only two colors to chose from. I also prefer having a home button with finger recognition rather than face recognition. There are so many similarities between the X and 8 that for me it’s just not worth the extra $200 or more. There are a lot of upgrades though between the 5s and the 8. I’m going from a 8 MP camera to a 12 MP camera. I was constantly running out of space with my 5s, so it’s nice to have plenty of space for lots of photos. I’m anxious to try out Apple pay, I’ve yet to find a store that offers it. I enjoy paying at Starbucks with their app, so this will be great for me. No more fishing in my handbag for my credit card. I also use my phone for store cards. I also look forward to wireless charging. I’ll be purchasing one from Apple as soon as it’s available next year since it’s large enough to charge three apple at once.


I am having issues transferring photos from my 2016 MacBook Pro to and from my new phone and many other issues with my Mac, so I had to take it Apple for service. Anyone ever taken any apple product in for service before? If so, what was your experience like? It took an hour and half just to get them to set it up for service. Even though I had an appointment, they made me wait forever and then I had to show them the issues. It was an unpleasant experience. I’m anxiously waiting to hear from them, it’s suppose to take three to five days. Apparently, that model has many issues, I definitely do not recommend it. Even the keyboard has issues. It’s the first Apple product that we’ve had issues with. I’m currently working on my old MacBook Air and I’m hoping it works long enough for my new computer to return. The screen sometimes doesn’t work and it has to be kept open at just the right angle to work. I think it’s the connection between the screen and the keyboard. Anyone else have that issue with the MacBook Air? Since it’s a 2011 model, I figured it would cost too much to make it worth repairing. They would have charged me a whopping $475.00 to repair my MacBook Pro, if it was no longer under warranty. 

Well that’s my first impression of my new iPhone 8 Plus. Did you buy one of the new models? I’d love to hear your review, comment below. I plan on keeping it for three years, if it works well for me. How often do you upgrade?

I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. 

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Yard House Restaurant Review – Raleigh, NC

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4208 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27609
(919) 881-2590

Exterior View

Interior Decor
Poke Nachos Appetizer – $12.75
1/2 Roasted Turkey Sub & Clam Chowder Soup – $9.95
Fish & Chips – $15.95


This is a review of a restaurant called Yard House located in the North Hills part of Raleigh, North Carolina. They are located in an office building and offer free garage parking. Perfect for a rainy day! Once you park your car, take the elevator to the lobby. You’ll find the entrance to the restaurant at the other side of the building.  It’s open everyday from 11 am until 11:30 pm except Friday and Saturday nights when they stay open until 1 am. I like how they don’t have a break between lunch and dinner, so we can have a late lunch or early dinner which we do frequently. They offer Happy Hour appetizers and pizza 50% off Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm and Sunday through Wednesday  from 10 pm to 11:30 pm, bargain! Currently their sanitation score is 96.5 which is very good. When we arrived we were immediately seated at a super sized booth. Their super sized booths could easily sit six or  possibly up to eight people!

The waiter arrived promptly and answered our questions about the menu since it was our first visit. We order our beverages which were brought out shortly thereafter. Five minutes after I ordered the Poke Nachos appetizer it was brought to the table. They are absolutely scrumptious and wonderfully spicy! You must give them a try, if you like poke and wontons! It’s my favorite item off the menu so far. They are described as “marinated raw ahi, avocado, cilantro, serranos, green onions, nori, sesame seeds, sweet soy, sriracha aioli, white truffle sauce and crispy wontons. After we enjoyed the appetizer, Hubby ordered half a Roasted Turkey Club Sandwich and a bowl of Clam Chowder. It’s described as “swiss, crushed avocado, bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayo and toasted sourdough.  I ordered the Fish & Chips with Truffle Fries. Our entrees arrived in about fifteen minutes. Hubby enjoyed his meal and was happily surprised it included thick pieces of turkey breast rather than the traditional thin sliced lunch meat. I would order it, if it included more slices of cheese. His meal was off the lunch menu which is discounted daily from 11 am to 5 pm. The two pieces of fish I was served had apparently stuck to each other during the frying process, so they were soggy on the sides that were touching each other. Before I got to the soggy part I could taste the beer in the beer batter and it was crunchy and tasty. It’s described as “beer battered white fish, fries, roasted jalapeño tarter and malt vinegar aioli. The truffle fries were tasty, but too greasy for me. It was a disappointing meal, but I may give the fish another try, I’ll just order a different side. The waiter was friendly and attentive and a manager checked on our table to ask if everything was ok.

We recommend Yard House! We have already returned to this restaurant twice and plan to return again soon. On our second visit, I ordered the lunch special with half a Margherita Pizza and a bowl of Organic Tomato Bisque. The pizza was a mini pizza on a wonderful puffy crust. The Margherita Pizza is described as “roasted roma tomatoes, roasted garlic, mozzarella and fresh basil”. I had not noticed that the description didn’t include any sauce. It was ok, but it was even tastier reheated at home the next day. I had taken some home since I couldn’t eat it all after having the Poke Nachos as an appetizer. The garlic was raw, it wasn’t roasted. The soup was served warm, I would have preferred it served hot. It’s a bit too much on the creamy side though tasty, I prefer tomato soup less creamy due to my stomach being sensitive to heavy cream. Hubby had the Pepper Jack Burger without the bun and a side of broccoli. He said it was enjoyable for a low carb meal, but on the light side. On our third visit, I had the Poke Nachos appetizer as my meal and Hubby had the Black Truffle Cheeseburger without the bun and a side of brussel sprouts. Hubby said the black truffle cheese on the burger was very tasty and they served him more brussel sprouts than he could eat. Without the bun, he would have preferred a larger burger. You may want to order an appetizer or dessert to share, if you have a big appetite. The Poke Nachos were very tasty all three times, but the third time there was a bit less poke and cilantro and the wontons were greasy. I also ordered a Four Cheese Pizza to go. When I went to reheat it for the next meal I noticed it wasn’t on the same wonderful crust as the Margherita Pizza. It was an extremely thin crust which I dislike. While I like the thickness of NY style crusts, I do not like cracker thin crust. That was really disappointing. I’m not sure if that was a fluke and not the normal crust they serve or different pizzas have different crusts. The descriptions do not indicate which crust types they use. I would order the Margherita Pizza again, but I’d ask the wait staff which crust they would be using first. I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the Four Cheese Pizza, so much so that I didn’t eat much of it.

Each visit the friendly wait staff was attentive, but sometimes they had to be reminded we needed drink refills when they were busy. They are quite busy on Saturdays, but they have lots of seating. They can accommodate large groups. In addition, they have some outdoor seating which looks comfortable. Plus, they have a ton of beers on tap, so this would be the perfect restaurant for a beer connoisseur. What’s your favorite restaurant in Raleigh?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs.
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Yard House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Birthday Party Eating Clean-Style


My kiddos birthdays are less than a month apart, so this year, to make it easier on our out-of-town family and friends, I decided to hold both parties on the same day, back-to-back. By the end of the weekend, I was totally exhausted, but it ended up being a great day! In keeping with the clean eating lifestyle we’ve adapted, I decided to make both parties as clean as possible.

For Gavin’s bday party, I did a barnyard theme and served Hen House Chicken Sandwiches, Dairy Barn Mac and Cheese, Garden Patch Veggies and Animal Feed Chips and Pretzels. Clever names huh? 🙂 For dessert, we had clean cupcakes with all-natural frosting. (Check out the recipe here. They were the same cupcakes I made for the mine and the hubby’s birthdays) Minus the pretzels and slider buns, everything was all-natural, clean and delicious 🙂 Check out all the recipes below:

Chicken Sandwiches
4 large cans of chunk chicken (double check the ingredients to make sure it’s just chicken and water, with no preservatives)
Equivalent of 2 cans of cream of chicken (see recipe here)
1 sleeve of crackers (saltine, tollhouse, etc) adding more if too runny

Mix everything together in crockpot and cook on low for 1-2 hours before serving.
Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1¾ cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie) (I found that Trader Joe’s has the best prices on organic, all-natural pasta…$1 for a pound!)

3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2½ cups 2% milk
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you have on hand


Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
Stir in the milk.
Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle on half the cheese.
Add the rest of the noodles.
Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. 

Veggie Tray
I just cut up fresh green and yellow peppers from our garden, carrots from our garden, celery and broccoli and served with hummus and all-natural ranch dressing. 

57th Home Chef Delivery Review & $30 Coupon

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Greek Panko Crusted Cod with Spicy Lemon Aioli


Ingredients


Chicken with Parmesan Fondue Cream with Celery, Apple & Smoked Almond Salad


Ingredients


Tortilla Chicken with Elote Style Acorn Squash


Ingredients


This is a review of our 57th delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Home Chef. This week we gave one recipe four out of five stars and two recipes three stars. Calories ranged from only 551 to 568 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranges from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty-seven minutes to one hour. I picked recipes that we could easily make low carb or were already low carb for Hubby’s current diet. Hubby skipped the apple and the squash to lower the carbs. My shipment comes to North Carolina from Georgia via FedEx and shipping is free. This order costs $59.70 for six servings and three recipes.

Greek Panko Crusted Cod with Spicy Lemon Aioli

This was our favorite recipe for the week which surprises me because cod doesn’t have a lot of flavor on it’s own, so they did a great job with this recipe. We gave it four out of five stars. To make it to five stars the pieces of cod would need to be larger, but 6 ounces each is a healthy portion. The ingredients were really fresh. The panko on the cod was really tasty and it didn’t require egg. It was simply made with panko, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil. The sauce was made with mayo, olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes and it was so yummy. I’m not normally a fan of feta cheese, but it was really good on the zucchini and red pepper. Calories on this one are only 568. Preparation time indicated on the recipe card is up to thirty-five minutes, but actual preparation time was fifty-five minutes. This one has only 22 grams of carbohydrates.

Chicken with Parmesan Fondue Cream with Celery, Apple & Smoked Almond Salad

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The chicken was moist and tender, but we didn’t care for the sauce. It was made with light cream instead of heavy cream so it wouldn’t thicken. It has only 551 calories, but a few more calories to have a tastier sauce would have been our preference. The bites of the side salad without the smoked almonds were really tasty. I think if they used a different nut or almonds that didn’t have that smoked flavor it would have been perfect. That smoke flavor mixed with apples was just too strong of a flavor and it overwhelmed the other flavors. The photo on the front of the recipe card shows the almonds whole and on the other side it instructs to chop the almonds contradicting itself. The dressing on the salad was very simple and easy to make yet so delicious and low in calories and fat. It’s made with seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. This recipe states up to thirty-five minutes preparation time, actual preparation time was forty-seven minutes. It was a healthy and filling portion. This one has only 23 grams of carbohydrates and Hubby skipped the apple to lower it even further. 

Tortilla Chicken with Elote Style Acorn Squash

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The chicken was the best part. It was tender and moist and the topping of tortilla strips, jalapeño pepper, and cheddar cheese were really good. I didn’t like the chipotle spice on the squash, it should have gone on the chicken instead. Hubby added some of our Mexican spices to the chicken and more cheese. It has only 554 calories and I know they didn’t give us much cheese to keep that count low, but a bit more cheese made it taste so much better. We didn’t care for the sauce, the lime added to the sour cream just made it too sour. The recipe card states it will take up to forty-five minutes to prepare, actual preparation time was one hour. This ones has 33 grams of carbohydrates and Hubby skipped the squash to lower it. 

It was a pretty good week of recipes, they were certainly low in carbs and calories which is great for both of us. Sometimes Home Chef has too many high calorie meals, so I’m glad to see that they are offering more low calorie meals. While we occasionally enjoy a higher calorie meal, we prefer to stick to low calorie meals that are healthier. I’m expecting another box from Home Chef on Thursday and I will be trying one of their new salads that offer already cooked chicken so that preparation time is only five minutes and there’s no cooking required. I like to have salad for lunch on weekdays since I don’t like cooking for one person, so this is perfect for me. Have you tried one of their five minute salads yet? If you haven’t tried Home Chef yet, what are you waiting for? Grab my $30 coupon below and order it today! You’ll love it as I do.

Bargain Alert:

Green Blender – $20 Off 
Hello Fresh Meal Kit – $40 Off
Home Chef Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads – $30 Off
Sun Basket Meal Kit – $35 Off
Terra’s Kitchen Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads, Soup, Drinks & Snacks – $40 Off

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(UPDATE: SOLD OUT) Today’s Ulta Beauty Break Will Sell Out Quickly

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QVC’s TSVs for March 2018

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values
DO NOT COPY

1st – Sterling Silver, Italian Silver Adjustable Bracelet 5.3 g, J354268, $29.96 available in 4 payments, choice of silver, rose or yellow and choice of byzantine, oval link, rope or diamond cut beads

2nd – Isaac Mizrahi, Stretch Print or Solid Ankle Pants, A302699, $39.96 available in 4 payments, choice of 3 solid colors & 3 prints

3rd – Vionic Orthotic Footwear, Adjustable Triple Strap Slide with 1 inch heel called Misa, A303026, $59.88 available in 4 payments & 6 colors

4th – iRobot Roomba, 891 WiFi Connect Robotic Vacuum, V35400, $399.96 available in 6 payments. FYI- other stores sell them for less, shop around, plus this one doesn’t come with 2 virtual walls. You need at least 2, if open concept home, you’ll need 3. Read my review.

5th – Josie Maran Cosmetics, Super Sized Argan Tanning Oil & Extender with Mit, A304532, $49.95 available in 5 payments, A/D & 3 scents

6th – Mr. Beams Set of Two 600 Lumen Dual Head Motion Sensor Security Lights, V35336, $49.95 available in 5 payments & 5 colors. I recommend going ahead and spending a bit more for much more security with the addition of video, alarm & voice, read my Ring Floodlight Cam review.

7th – Martha Stewart Food, 28 Piece Pastry Assortment, M57879, $59.94 available in 3 payments and A/D & 2 ship dates of 3/19 & 3/26. Shop with caution, her past food TSVs had bad reviews. I recommend Authentic Gourmet Croissants from France, read my review.

8th – 8 Greens, 40 Effervescent Drink Tables, A308586, $37.84 available in 5 payments and A/D 

9th – Joan Rivers Classics CollectionLightweight Denim Boyfriend Shirt with Fringe Hem, A302801, $44.96 available in 4 payments & choice of 5 denim washes

10th – It CosmeticsIt’s All About You Customers’ Favorites Collection, A302393, $59.96 available in 4 payments & 7 shades 

11th – Bliss Hammocks Premium Gravity Free Reclining Chair with Canopy, M55740, $79.98 available in 6 payments and 8 colors

12th – Spanx Cropped Look at Me Now Seamless Leggings, A288466, $44.98 available in 2 payments & 6 colors

13th – Calista StyleDryer Airbrush with Attachments & Towel, A304430, $59.96 available in 4 payments & 3 colors

14th – Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker with My K-Cup & 48 K-Cup Pods, K46762, $79.98 available in 4 payments & 4 colors

15th – Vince Camuto Perforated Leather Peep Toe Sandals named Dastana, A304453, $79.98 available in 4 payments and 6 colors

16th – Waterford & Connemara Marble 10″ Bowl with Marble Base, H213854, $199.90 available in 5 payments

17th – Peter Thomas Roth Super Size Retinol & FirmX Face & Eye Kit, A305575, $139.00 available in 5 payments & A/D

18th – Le Creuset 2.75 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven, K47064, $129.95 available in 5 payments & 10 colors

19th – Denim & Co, Classic Denim Distressed Ankle Jeans, $39.98 available in 3 colors & regular, petite & tall

20th – Bernini Pro Series 50′ Metal No Kink Hose with Aluminum Nozzle, $34.98 available in 3 payments & 4 colors

21st – Easy Solutions CPR Call Blocker with 6500 Number Blocking & Two Year Warranty, $49.96 available in 3 payments

22nd – Judith Ripka Verona Tripla Sterling Silver or 14K Clad Bracelet, $149.95 available in 5 payments

23rd – Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Cleansing System with LOGO prints & One Year of Brush Heads, $99.96 available in 6 payments & choice of 3 LOGO designs & 4 solids

24th – Dooney & Bourke Saffiano Leather Shoulder Bag, $229.92 available in 6 payments and 7 colors

25th – Ring Video Doorbell, HD Surveillance, Two Way Talk & Three Year Warranty, read my review, $159.95 available in 5 payments 

26th – Crepe Erase Home & Away Intensive Body Treatment, $89.00 available in 4 payments and 4 scents

27th – Philips Sonicare FlexCare Toothbrush, $89.97 available in 3 payments

28th – Scott Living Twelve Piece 100% HygroCotton Bath Towel Set, $49.96 available in 2 payments & 8 colors

29th – Clarks Cloudsteppers Wedge Sandals called Caddell Bright, $54.98 available in 4 payments & 5 colors

30th – Lisa Rinna Collection V-Neck Top with Chiffon Back Detail, $34.98 available in 3 payments & 5 colors

31st – Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum, $399.96 available in 6 payments & 3 colors

This is just the beginning of the list for March. This is what has been released so far. The brand list will be updated every Sunday. The preorder numbers will be updated as information is released much closer to the air dates, so be sure to check back. Rest assured I’m researching these TSVs multiple times a day to get them to you as fast as possible. In the meantime, check out the February list.

I’ve started asking for donations due to the extra daily research time involved in compiling these monthly lists since QVC has recently made it even more difficult and time consuming to locate the preorder item numbers. Thanks goes out to Nicole, Margaret & Kerri for their donations last month. I really appreciate your generosity and support. Thanks also goes out to Anne, Tanya, Lisa and Carolyn who sent me preorder information that they found. I really appreciate your assistance. Thank you so very much ladies! You’re the best! If you find preorder numbers I haven’t posted, please contact me by leaving a comment below, email me or message me on the Blue Skies for Me Please Facebook pageIf you would also like to donate, click on the donate button below. If you can’t contribute that way, there are also referral and affiliate links below that will help or click on the advertising on the right or simply share my blog with friends. 

 

You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. I’ve seen my preorder lists being copied and posted in Facebook groups lately and it’s really disrespectful to the time I’ve put into compiling the lists. One even took credit for the research while it was clear she simply copied my list word for word. Imagine my shock and disappointment. I really don’t understand how she can feel good about her actions. Then another changed it up a bit so it didn’t look so obvious it was an exact copy. Please show respect and only post links to my blog instead. If you see these copies, perhaps you can post a link to this blog under these posts to help out. Thanks goes out to those that have already shared a link. I really appreciate your support. I don’t have funds to advertise this blog, so if you haven’t already, please take a moment to share a link to this blog.


Bargain Alert: 


Bulu Box – vitamins, supplements & healthy snacks only $5.99 per box for life, code “DISCOVERY” or “BOX799”. *
California Wine Club – six bottles $59.99, only $9.99 a bottle including shipping. *
Hello Fresh – $40 off healthy meal kit, only $3.32 a serving, check out my 14 reviews. 
Home Chef – $30 off healthy meal kit, only $4.95 a serving, check out my 55 reviews. 
Julep – 12 full sized nail polishes for FREE, $168 value! Amazing deal! Check out my reviews. *
Love with Food – 25% off snack box with 10+ gluten free snacks only $1.87 each. *
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC.
Nature Box – healthy, delicious snacks, extra 30% off first 3 shipments. Code “THIRTY3”. *
Sun Basket – $50 Off 1st Two Orders, check out my 26 reviews. *
Terra’s Kitchen – $40 Off, check out my 3 reviews.
Top Secret Recipes – secret restaurant recipes, cookbooks and spices, use code “Steps15” for 15% off. *
UrthBox – healthy, delicious snacks, Buy One Get One Free or $10 off use code “PROMO10”. *
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New Sephora Favorites Sets, Value Sets, Rewards and Sale Items!

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NEW Sephora Favorites Summer Hair Saviors Set Now Online (And New Freebie Codes to Go with It)

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Josie Maran’s Argan Body Revitalization Collection from QVC – Product Review

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Argan Luxury Body Kit


This is a review of a set from Josie Maran sold on QVC called Argan Body Revitalization Collection. It’s item number is A301256 and it’s sold for 6 payments of $10.41 or a one time payment of $62.46. It has a retail value of $135.00. It’s still on sale, if you want one don’t wait too long because the price will go back up. When Josie was on air on the 4th, she discounted some sets so much so that they were good alternatives to the TSV. Now on to what was included in this set:
  1. Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream in Peppermint Bark, 4.6 fl. oz., retail value $40.00
  2. Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter in Peppermint Bark, 8 fl. oz., retail value $35.00
  3. Argan Color Stick in Plum Sugar, .55 oz., retail value $22.00
  4. Argan Sugar Balm Body Scrub in Peppermint Bark, 10 oz., retail value $38.00
The retail value for this collection is $135.00 just as stated by QVC. This is the reason I only purchase most cosmetics in sets since they are such a bargain. At the retail price I just wouldn’t be motivated to spend that much money. In this kit, the average price per item in the kit is only $15.61 which makes it affordable versus $33.75 per item retail. I was a little worried trying a new scent, Peppermint Bark, but I’m happy to report it smells delicious just like candy canes! Mind you the scent doesn’t last very long, it is aromatherapy during application. I really love this scent, it’s very refreshing and I hope she has it in another set soon. This set also comes in unscented and Vanilla Fig. Vanilla Fig is a very nice scent also and it’s very popular. I’ve found all of her vanilla scents to be pleasant. The hand cream is wonderful, it’s not too oily so that you can apply it and move on with your day without having to wait for it to sink in. Though my top favorite is from L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream. The Josie Maran body butter is my favorite of all the brands I’ve tried. It’s not too thin or too thick in it’s consistency. It does take a bit of time to sink in. I like to apply it before bed since it’s lovely aromatherapy. Body scrubs aren’t my favorite type of cosmetic, but they are necessary. Having thyroid disease, my skin cell turnover is very slow and I need something to speed it up. I’ve been putting off spending money on a body scrub, so this kit was perfect. Of all of the scrubs I’ve tried, this one is very nice. Typically I use salt scrubs and she stated it’s better to use sugar since it doesn’t dehydrate the skin. I’m not a fan of her color sticks, so I will be selling it or giving it away. It can be used both as a lip stick and a blush. I’m not very good at applying cream blushes, so I shy away from them. I just can’t get them to blend very well and so they aggravate me. Even though I’m not using that product it still makes this kit a bargain at $20.82 for the three products I will be using. The color stick is the least valuable item in the kit anyway. If I sell it, then it will be even less. I find this is the best time of year to purchase cosmetic sets from QVC since the pricing is lower. This is the time to stock up or find gifts for the ladies on your list.

If you missed out on the TSV, Josie Maran Super Size Anniversary Set, it’s available on wait list for $8.01 more which is only 10% more than the TSV price. It’s still a good value since it has a retail value of $261.00. Did you buy the TSV or any of the featured sets? I’d love to hear your review, please comment below. 

Check out what other QVC products I have reviewed at my Pinterest QVC Product Reviews Board. I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Help out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);



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Indiana Fruits and Veggie Harvest Calendar

I had mentioned that I took part in a healthy foods tour and information session at Whole Foods with a nutritionist and chef. One aspect of healthy eating she talked about was fruits and vegetables and eating locally and what’s in season. Her reasoning was more of an environmental one and less of a health one. Locally grown, in-season produce means less gas and less carbon footprint.

Honestly, there is too much else for me to think about, I don’t really consider the environmental impact when eating produce. I figure we’re eating good food, so that’s good enough for me! But, if that is something that interests you, check out this calendar from the Indiana state government. It shows what produce is in season in Indiana during any given month.

http://www.in.gov/isda/files/Harvest_Calander.pdf

Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 13 Deals are Live (PS: Sleek Makeup and More Now Online!)

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 11 Deals are Live (Info & Tips)

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Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review – December 2017

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Glam Straight – Play! December 2017


This is a review of the December Play! by Sephora box which is a monthly subscription for only $10 including shipping. The retail value of this box is $26.41. I think that’s the lowest retail value I have every received. It’s usually around $50. I received the following products in my December box:
  1. Drybar – Triple Sec 3 in 1, made in the USA, .35 oz, $2.16 retail value
  2. Atelier – Cologne, made in .05 fl. oz., made in France, $3.75 retail value
  3. Clinique – Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen in black, made in Japan, .01 oz., $3.00 retail value
  4. Dr. Jart+ – Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream, made in Korea, .17 fl. oz., $4.80 retail value
  5. Make Up Forever, Artist Rouge Lipstick in Hot Red, made in Italy, .04 oz., $7.33 retail value
  6. Smashbox – Cover Shot Eye Shadow Duo in Golden Hour, made in Italy, .05 oz., $5.37 retail value
I’m really shocked at how low the retail value is this month. I don’t wear red lipstick since I think it’s not flattering on my lips. Some women can really pull it off, but I’m not one of them. I received the Smashbox eye shadow duo in a Macy’s Beauty Box months ago. So two of the products I wont be using. The eyeshadow is ok though you have be careful or there will be fallout when applying. It takes longer to apply than the competition since it takes quite a bit for the color to show up on the eye. Smashbox hasn’t really impressed me with their products. I look forward to trying the Dr. Jart cream. It’s suppose to calm redness and irritation which is perfect for me. I have several other eyeliner samples I need to use first before trying Clinique’s. My favorite is from Kat Von D. I’m not a fan of the Atelier brand of perfumes. I wish they would stick to perfume samples that spray, this one is more difficult to apply and messy. It’s notes are clementine, mandarin, juniper berries, starting anise, Sichuan pepper, basil, vetiver, sandalwood and cypress. I’m smelling the mandarin, basil and the sandalwood the most. To me it smells woodsy with a hint of citrus yet they are saying it smells fruity, green and sweet. It’s ok, but not one I would purchase. I’ve also received the Drybar 3 in 1 previously. I’m not crazy about the ingredients, so it’s not something I would buy. I not thrilled by it, it doesn’t give my hair volume and I don’t like the overly strong powder scent. I prefer hair spray or styling cream for my fine hair.  Wen’s styling cream is my favorite.

If next month box isn’t better than this one, I’ll be cancelling. I’ll use the Dr. Jart+ cream and the eyeliner, but they are the only products that I like in this box. Was your December box as disappointing as mine was? If you haven’t subscribed yet, what are your reasons?

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – 4% cash back for online Sephora purchases! 
Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to see what I have received in my previous boxes. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. 

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Ajisai Japanese Fusion Restaurant Review – Raleigh, NC

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427 Woodburn Road
Raleigh, NC  27605
(919) 831-9907


Exterior View


Interior View


Salad with Ginger Dressing & Miso Soup

Harumaki


Sashimi Deluxe (16 Pieces) – $20.25

Chicken Tempura & Salmon Roll Lunch Bento Box – $11.00

This is a review of a Japanese restaurant located in Raleigh, North Carolina called Ajisai. We visited around 1:30 pm on a Saturday. It’s located in the Cameron Village Shopping Center. We had to drive around for about five minutes to find a parking space since parking is quite limited and it’s quite busy on Saturday afternoons. This restaurant is open from 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, they stay open an additional hour on Friday. Saturday they are open from 11:30 am until 11pm and Sunday they open from noon to 10 pm. Their sanitation score is 95.5 which is very good. We were immediately greeted and seated at a table for two. They have several booths and tables, but it’s quite small inside and there is a steady stream of customers. Customers that came in behind us had to wait for a table. It was a bit chilly near the door when the wind was blowing inside each time a customer opened the doors. This restaurant has a very nice atmosphere with lovely decor, but customers are a bit on the loud side so much so that I couldn’t hear the music.

Our friendly, prompt waitress introduced herself and was happy to answer our questions about the menu. I decided to have a Bento Box with a Salmon Roll and Chicken Tempura for $11.00, as shown above. Hubby decided to have the Sashimi Deluxe which offers sixteen pieces for $20.25 which breaks down to $1.27 a piece which is very reasonable. My diet soda was $2.25. I asked about their hot tea, but they only offer one type which is a rice tea which didn’t sound great to me, so I passed. They also serve alcoholic drinks from cocktails to beer, wine and sake which the majority of customers ordered. With the yelp app I was able to get free Harumaki and I was surprised to receive three spring rolls, it was a generous portion. The spring rolls weren’t greasy or overcooked and they were served hot. They were very tasty and they came with a delicious dipping sauce. I was surprised my Bento box came with a salad and soup. Most Japanese restaurants only offer one or the other. The soup was cool enough to eat right away. I would have liked it a bit warmer. It had bits of tofu, noodles, green onions and seaweed. It was tasty. The ginger salad dressing was delicious and so was the salad which was fresh and crisp. It included a tomato, shredded carrots and a cucumber slice. I snagged Hubby’s tomato from his salad since he’s on a low carb diet. My Chicken Tempura wasn’t greasy or over battered and even though it was only two pieces, they were large pieces. It also came with two slices of sweet potato and a piece of broccoli. The dipping sauce was pretty good. The white rice was perfectly cooked, it was sticky, hot and scrumptious. I’m not a fan of shumai, so I just sampled one and left the other one. The salmon rolls had absolutely delicious pieces of salmon in them with the perfect texture and flavor. They featured larger pieces of salmon than the competition. I asked for a side of eel sauce, I dipped them in that, yum. Hubby was making some crazy happy faces while eating his absolutely scrumptious sixteen pieces of sashimi. I was jealous and he wouldn’t share any. Next time I will order that for sure. The presentation is absolutely fabulous! It had a swan ice sculpture with a blue light shining behind it. The sashimi was sitting on twigs and chopped ice. It’s a feast for the eyes. Hubby loved every single piece of sashimi and appeared to be in heaven while eating it. The look on his face made me giggle. The lovely waitress was quite attentive especially since every table was filled with customers. We had to ask for drink refills and the check which we didn’t mind due to it being so busy. Our food was promptly brought out which we greatly appreciated, it makes for a pleasant dining experience. The salad and soup were brought out shortly after were ordered. The spring rolls were brought out nine minutes later. Four minutes later our entrees were brought out. Our dining experience took about an hour. Our total came to $36.26 with tax before tip which is lower than the competition. 

If you haven’t tried this Japanese restaurant yet, put it at the top of your list! This one is a must try! I highly recommend you visit this restaurant as soon as possible! This one is a winner with four and a half stars on yelp.

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, Facebook or Networked Blogs.
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Ajisai Japanese Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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The Weekly Drugstore Makeup Sales (New Ulta Freebie and More)

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Now through 5/7: 3X Points at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack & HauteLook + New 40% off Sale items with Free Shipping & 4 Free Samples

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24th Sun Basket Review & $40 Coupon

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Pork Chops with Mustard Apricot Sauce & Apple Celery Salad



Ingredients


Salmon with Cilantro Lime Sauce & Pear Cashew Salad


Ingredients


Sole with Oranges, Fennel & Purple Sweet Potato


Ingredients


This is a review of our 24th delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Sun Basket. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars and we gave two recipes four out of five stars. Calories ranged from 450 to 600. Preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranged from twenty to thirty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty-six to fifty-eight minutes.

Pork Chops with Mustard Apricot Sauce & Apple Celery Salad

We gave this recipe four out of five stars. The sauce for the pork chops was absolutely scrumptious and there was plenty of it. The mixture of dried apricots, vegetable broth, mustard and maple syrup is a wonderful combination. The pork was tender and well cooked without any dryness. The Apple Celery Salad was very tasty, but it need some spice, perhaps some sumac would be a good addition. The apple and celery were very fresh and crisp. This was a healthy portion that has only 550 calories yet it tastes like it has much more. The recipe states a preparation time of only twenty minutes, but it took Hubby forty-six minutes. The pork and sauce received five stars and the salad three stars for a result of four out of five stars rating.

Salmon with Cilantro Lime Sauce & Pear Cashew Salad

We gave this recipe five out of five stars. The salmon with the cilantro lime sauce was incredibly delicious. They have been really impressing us with their sauces lately! Cilantro, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and Thai chili make for a fabulous sauce. The Pear Cashew Salad was equally delicious and the dressing was awesome. The combination of celery, scallions, pear, cashews, coconut and cilantro is wonderful. The Asian pear was so tasty and crisp. The simple dressing made with just coconut vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper was finger licking good. I had the option of ordering it with halibut, but we prefer salmon. It has only 450 calories and it was a healthy portion. Preparation time indicated on the recipe card is twenty minutes yet it took Hubby fifty-one minutes to prepare. 

Sole with Oranges, Fennel & Purple Sweet Potato

Whenever I see a recipe that includes a purple sweet potato I order it since I absolutely love them. We gave this recipe four out of five stars. The breading made with healthy almond meal was light and tasty. The lemon caper sauce for the sole was super delicious. It’s made with lemon zest, parsley, capers, butter,  olive oil, salt and pepper. The mixture of orange, olives, purple sweet potato, fennel, olive oil, salt and pepper filled my mouth with a mixture of tart, sweet  and licorice flavor. The lemon was dried out, so we substituted the lemon from the pork chop recipe. Also, the sweet potato was a bit on the small side hence the drop to four stars from five. This one has 600 calories and it was a healthy portion. It took fifty-eight minutes to prepare and the recipe card states up to thirty-five minutes. We could have substituted halibut, but we prefer sole.

This week’s recipes were a delight. I really enjoy the unique creations they come up with and the healthy ingredients. I’m amazed at how low the calorie counts are yet there is so much flavor and the portions are filling. If you haven’t tried Sun Basket yet, you really owe it to yourself to sign up today for your first delivery. Snag the $40 coupon below and enjoy! Have fun in the kitchen again and look forward to exciting meals.

Be sure to check out my twenty-three other reviews of Sun Basket before you go. Simply look at my Sun Basket Pinterest Board, click on the photo of the dish you would like to read about and it will take you to that review. Don’t forget to enter my Blue Apron giveaway before you go.

Bargain Alert: 
Sun Basket – $40 off

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Sugar Body Scrub

Like I’ve mentioned before, I want to start exploring all-natural body products, so along with the lip balm, I made homemade sugar body scrub. The scrub was super easy…if you can stir two ingredients together you can make sugar scrub 🙂 Not only does the scrub work just as well as expensive store-bought brands, it was significantly less expensive. Here’s what I spent…

Kroger brand Turbinado sugar $3.50
Kroger brand baby oil $1.99
Essential oil $4 (but I only used 1/3 of the bottle so $1.33 worth approx.)
Jars $6

Total spent…$12.82 which made 6 jars, so $2.13/jar 
I could have probably made them even cheaper, but I went with the nicer glass jars since I was giving them as gifts. 

Here’s the recipe I adapted from Martha Stewart
Homemade Body Scrub
Body oil (I used baby oil, but you could use any kind of oil you want)
Epsom salt, sea salt, or organic cane sugar (I wanted a sugar scrub, so I used turbinado sugar)
12 oz. jar with cap
Lemon zest or 9-10 drops of your favorite flavor of essential oil

Combine 1 cup of body oil with 2 cups of Epsom or sea salts or organic cane sugar (depending on how fine a grain you like). Add lemon zest or essential oils for color and fragrance. Package in jars.

I’m Not Judging

I recently came across this blog, Rants from Mommyland, and I cannot get enough! It’s so funny and real-life and true and you just have to read it. Trust me, if you’re a mom, you’ll love it. Even if you’re not a mom, you’ll still find a lot of the posts hilarious. 

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the post Everyone is Losing Weight at Me. Not because I’m necessarily trying to lose weight, but because it made some great points about mom-petition, basically how moms try to outdo one another all.the.time. I still fall prey to the competitive line of thinking, but have gotten much better as my kids have gotten older. 

I hope this blog does not come off as judging or condescending. I don’t want to eat clean AT you, I just want to share my experiences. I don’t hate people who eat preservatives and I don’t believe this lifestyle is necessarily for everyone. I blog to keep myself accountable to my eating goals and because I love to write. If someone benefits from my musings, yay!

Dinner Plan to Eat Clean for a Week

Your Dinner Plan to Eat Clean for a Week 

Haven’t jumped into clean eating yet because you’re not sure where to start or you feel like you don’t have enough time to prepare clean meals? Check out Eating Well’s dinner plan for a week of clean eating meals. Along with meal plans and recipes, Eating Well offers clean eating tips, included convenience foods to help make meal prep easier. 

You can find the whole meal plan here.

26th Sun Basket Meal Kit Review & $40 Coupon

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Chicken Katsu with Gingered Bok Choy & Jade Rice


Ingredients


Italian Sausage & Kale Soup with Butternut Squash & Black Garlic


Ingredients


Turkey & Spinach Sliders with Sweet Potato Buns


This is a review of our 26th delivery from a weekly meal kit subscription box called Sun Basket. Calories ranged from 510 to 730 and preparation time  indicated on the recipe cards ranged from 20-45 minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from 45 minutes to over an hour.

Chicken Katsu with Gingered Bok Choy & Jade Rice

Hubby gave this recipe five out of five stars and I gave it three. Chicken Katsu is one of my favorite dishes, so I’m quite picky. I order it at our favorite Asian restaurant, Sushi Thai, quite frequently. I didn’t feel like the crust on the chicken was authentic. While the green color of the rice is appetizing, I don’t care for the flavor of jade rice. I also prefer the traditional dipping sauce rather than the spicy chile mayo they sent us. The bok choy was tasty. This recipe has 730 calories and preparation time stated is up to 40 minutes. Actual preparation time was over an hour. It was a healthy portion.

Italian Sausage & Kale Soup with Butternut Squash & Black Garlic

We purchased this recipe a year ago and since we gave it five out of five stars, I had to order it again. Again, we gave this recipe five stars. It’s so scrumptious and a lovely hot soup for the winter months. If you haven’t had black garlic before, you must give it a try, so tasty. At first it has a sweet taste and then tart, so yummy. This recipe has 660 calories and it states up to 45 minutes preparation time. Actual preparation time was 51 minutes. It was a very large portion with seconds for one person. This one is gluten free and paleo.

Turkey & Spinach Sliders with Sweet Potato Buns

We gave this one only two out of five stars. Unfortunately, we waited until the sixth day to prepare it and they recommend preparing dishes within 5 days. The cucumber and the lime went bad, so we were unable to include them. I wasn’t crazy about the combination of spinach, ground turkey and shallots. While the sweet potato used as a bun looked cute, I prefer to eat my sweet potato separately and it required a knife and fork unlike a bun. This recipe has 510 calories and it states preparation time will take up to 30 minutes. Actual preparation time was about 45 minutes. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the ingredients. This one is gluten free, low calorie and paleo.

While it wasn’t our favorite week of recipes, we enjoyed the unique recipes that Sun Basket has to offer and we were happy to have the opportunity to order one of our favorite five star recipes again. Have you tried Sun Basket yet? If not, click on the link below for $40 off your first box, bargain!

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $40 Off

Check out my Sun Basket Pinterest Board to see all the recipes we’ve made so far. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


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I Saw, I Pinned, I Conquered Part Four

This is a Pinterest project I’ve had pinned for over a year, and finally we had collected enough bits and pieces of old crayons. Whenever your kiddos break a crayon or you get down to the stubbies, save those pieces, peel off all the paper and put into silicon baking cups or molds. Put in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let harden. Out comes fun-shaped, very colorful crayons!

Green Chef 8th Delivery & Coupon for Four Free Organic Dinners

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Caraway Meatballs, Braised Fennel, Cabbage, Parsnip & Rosemary


Ingredients


Chicken Fajita Salad, Bell Pepper & Creminis with Cilantro Lime Dressing


Ingredients


Fennel Mustard Tuna, Cauliflower, Sauce Vierge, Kale & Pine Nuts


Ingredients


This is a review of a weekly organic meal kit called Green Chef. Each week they  offer the choice of the following menus: Keto, Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Omnivore and Carnivore. They also offer the Omnivore and Carnivore in a larger size for a family with enough for four rather than two. We chose Keto this week since Hubby has gone back on a low carb diet. All three meals we received are Keto, Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. For our eighth delivery, we gave one recipe four out of five stars and two recipes three out of five stars. The carbs ranged from 17 g to 27 g. A lot of customers have been complaining that the carbs are too high. Hopefully they are listening, but so far most recipes continue to be too high to be true Keto recipes. The calories ranged from 400 to 440 and preparation time listed range from thirty to thirty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from fifty-eight minutes to over an hour. 

Caraway Meatballs, Braised Fennel, Cabbage, Parsnip & Rosemary

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. Our main complaint was that it was too tart. The mixture of onion, garlic, celery, fennel, cabbage, parsnip, rosemary and caraway spiced apple cider vinegar was overly bitter since it included too many ingredients that are sour. The meatballs were tasty, but I would have liked more of them and much less of the cabbage and parsnip. This one has 27 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber and 9 grams of sugar. The calories are 420 with a listed preparation time of thirty-five minutes. The actual preparation time was fifty-eight minutes. This was a very filling portion with lots of vegetables left over that were thrown away since we found them too tart.

Chicken Fajita Salad, Bell Pepper & Creminis with Cilantro Lime Dressing

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. This would be better suited for a summer time recipe than in the fall. I’m ok with a cold lunch, but at dinnertime in the winter and fall I prefer a hot meal and seasonal vegetables. There wasn’t enough romaine lettuce nor enough of the cilantro lime dressing which is really important in a salad. The dressing was tasty, but a bit light on the cilantro and since it was such a small portion the flavor was diluted even further. The cuban spice blend on the chicken was delicious. I was disappointed that they sent us only part of the green, yellow and red peppers especially since this is one of the most expensive meal kits available. The competition sends the entire pepper and suggests we use the leftovers in an omelet or some other meal. It just appeared ungenerous to me. Also, we were sent  only part of the red onion. The competition sends the entire onion and suggests we use as much as we prefer. I don’t think vegetables are as fresh when they are cut up in advance, so I found it to be disappointing. This one has 17 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar and 440 calories. It states a preparation time of thirty-five minutes yet actual preparation time was over an hour. It was a healthy portion of food.

Fennel Mustard Tuna, Cauliflower, Sauce Vierge, Kale & Pine Nuts

I gave this recipe four out of five stars and Hubby gave it three stars. Hubby didn’t like the fennel mustard blend spice on the tuna. At first bite I agreed, but then it grew on me. The kale was not fresh and the shallots were dirty. We made this recipe the day it arrived, if we had waited an additional day the kale wouldn’t have be fresh enough to use. The tuna was very tender, but Hubby complained that it didn’t cut very well so he thought it was a lower quality than we have come to expect from Green Chef. It was a very filling meal yet it comes in at only 400 calories. It has 27 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar. Hubby skipped the tomatoes to lower the carb count. Their preparation time listed is thirty minutes while actual preparation time was over an hour.
It wasn’t the best week of recipes we have received from Green Chef, but for the most part the meals were enjoyable. Lately, their recipe offerings haven’t been as appetizing as they have been in the past. We were quite shocked to receive some produce that wasn’t fresh and overly dirty. That’s not what we’ve come to expect from Green Chef. Awhile ago they changed their website so that you couldn’t see the other category offerings in order to perhaps change your plan that week based on the recipe choices. They just changed it back to the way it was prior with a bit of a different layout but allowing you to see the other category’s recipes. They are now showing four weeks of recipes in advance whereas they were only showing two before. I’m more likely to order now that I can see all of the recipes again and four weeks worth. The prices are higher than most of the completion, but they do offer organic ingredients. They also prepare the sauces and dressings in advance for you. Costs per meal are as follows: Vegetarian $10.49, Omnivore  & Vegan $11.99, Carnivore & Gluten Free $13.49 and Paleo & Keto $14.99, Family Omnivore $11.99 and Family Carnivore $12.99. They also charge for delivery unlike the competition, an additional $9. If you use my coupon, you’ll get four free meals of your choice, so you’ll only be paying for two meals and shipping. 

Check out my Green Chef Pinterest Board to see the other recipes we have made. In addition, check out my reviews of Blue ApronGreen BlenderHello FreshHome ChefMarley SpoonPlated, Sun Basket and Terra’s KitchenDo you subscribe to any meal delivery services and which of the above recipes looks the tastiest to you? Don’t forget to enter my Blue Apron Meal Kit Giveaway before you go.

Bargain Alert: 

Green Chef – Four Free Meals

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off

Sun Basket – $35 Off

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Never Forget.

I was a freshman in college, my first full week of classes at Ohio University. I had just moved into the dorms a week earlier, leaving my family and friends behind, almost five hours from home. I got back from my Poli Sci class to my roommate watching it all unfold on TV. Honestly, beyond that, the only other things I remember is my mom calling me crying, wanting me to come home and my dad being suspiciously quiet on the phone that night. I remember prayer vigils that night and throughout the rest of the week and then everything went back to normal.

It wasn’t until many years later, after I had kids of my own that the full impact of 9/11 hit me. I remember two years ago, on the 10 year anniversary, pregnant with Gavin, teeter-tottering between agonizing over how I could bring another life into a horrible, broken world and touched by the humanness that shown through that awful day, the day after and in different moments since then. Every year, I grieve with those who lost loved ones, think about the survivors and pray for the true heroes…firefighters, police offices, soldiers. The ones who deserve our thanks every day of the year, not just on Patriots Day. 

I decided to start a new tradition this year. Liesl colored several pictures, very carefully wrote her name and asked me how to spell “thank you”. Seeing her childish scribbles spell out such a powerful message broke me. I wish we could all speak compliments, kind words and gratefulness from our heart so easily and without pretense. 

We took the pictures to our local fire station and told the firefighters thank you for their service today and always. They gave us a mini tour of the huge ladder truck and even let Liesl give the driver’s seat a go 🙂 I know a few colored pictures is not adequate enough thanks for all that firefighters, police officers and soldiers do for us, but I thought it was a great start to teach my children. I want to teach them that a horrific day in September changed our country and so many lives forever, but that despite the awfulness of it all, we came out stronger as a country, as a people. I want to teach them to love, to empathize, to be proud of our country and to stand up for what they believe. I want to teach them to give thanks freely, especially to those who truly deserve it. I want to teach them to keep their faith in our sovereign God. 

I want to teach them to never forget.

The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant Review – Durham, NC

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202 West NC Highway 54
Durham, NC  27713
(919) 544-6358
Exterior View (New Location)


Interior View


This is a review of a fondue restaurant called Melting Pot located in Durham, North Carolina. They recently moved from a location directly across from Southpoint Mall to the other side of the highway. It’s not really easy to find since our GPS took us the opposite side of the strip mall where it’s located. It’s on the left side of Kroger. We have been to their old location many times and we use to frequent the Raleigh location before the Durham location opened. Since it’s so expensive, we only go one to three times a year for our anniversary and our birthdays. Also, it’s difficult for my husband to sit still for a two to three hour dinner. I love leisurely four course dinners, so it’s a real delight for me! It will take a minimum of two hours for their three and four course meals. It can be done in about two hours, if you order as soon as the wait staff arrives and you ask for two more fondue forks per person during the main course. I recommend allowing yourself time for a three hour meal, so that you don’t have to rush. If you only have two hours, go with the three course meal instead and order right away. We frequent the Durham location the most since they have lunch hours whereas the Raleigh location is only open for dinner except during the holidays. The Durham location is open Monday through Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm. Saturday they are open from noon to 10 pm and Sunday they are open from noon to 9 pm. I highly recommend you make reservations for their dinner hours. You may be able to get a table during lunch without a reservation. We were seated right away when we arrived for our 2 pm reservation last month. We were also guests this year back in June at their old location.

We knew what we wanted, so we ordered right away. Often they change the menu, so you may want to look online to decide what you would like prior to arriving at the restaurant. They have private booths for two which are very cozy, and dimly lit. Also, they now have a section with a more open atmosphere with larger booths and natural light as shown above. If you want a private booth, be sure to ask for that when you make your reservation. That’s where we sat. I ordered the Land & Sea and Hubby ordered the French Quarter which both feature four courses. The four courses are cheese fondue, salad, meat & seafood and dessert. For the cheese fondue we usually choose the Fiesta which features aged cheddar, emmenthaler, lager beer, salsa and jalapeño. It’s served with bread, chips, apples, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower as shown below:


Fiesta Cheese Fondue

It’s so very tasty, a real treat. I like dipping the bread in it the most, followed by the chips. Be careful, when you get to the bottom it will be much hotter. I recommend keeping anything you didn’t eat for other servings. The apple is wonderful dipped in the chocolate for dessert. You can also eat the vegetables with your main course, cooking them if you prefer. 

The second course is salad. Hubby always orders the Caesar and I always order the House Salad with the house dressing. Their house dressing is scrumptious!  You can even purchase a bottle of it to take home. Their salads are always crisp and fresh. I recommend asking for a bit more salad dressing, they haven’t been using much of it lately or you could ask for it on the side. Here’s photos of our delicious salads with freshly ground pepper added:


Caesar Salad


House Salad with House Dressing

The third course is the most time consuming. You’ll be cooking your own meat and seafood. You’ll want to get out your phone or watch to time your cooking, so that you are sure it’s cooked properly. You’ll also need to chose what liquid you want to cook your food in. We always get the Bourguignonne since we love to fry the mushrooms and shrimp in batter.  Below you can see our uncooked meat and seafood:

Land & Sea – $39.95 (Four Courses)

The Land & Sea comes with filet mignon, pacific white shrimp and herb-crusted chicken. Sometimes I’ll skip the steak and order twice as much chicken since I absolutely love their curry sauce and it’s so scrumptious on the chicken. Below is the French Quarter which features cajun filet mignon, cajun pacific white shrimp, smoky andouille sausage and cajun chicken: 



French Quarter – $42.95 (Four Courses)

Hubby absolutely loves the spices they use and the sausage is a real treat. If you’re a first timer, the wait staff will instruct you on how long to cook your food and what all the dips and sauces are. You must ask them for instructions on how to stuff and fry the mushrooms, oh my gosh, it’s so delicious! Also, place the potatoes in the oil right away since they take the longest to cook. After three courses you will be very full and you may or may not want to go for the forth course. Sometimes we don’t order dessert since three courses is very filling. If you are only going a few times a year though, I recommend not skipping the forth course, just arrive very hungry. So then the forth course comes along and we usually chose the Flaming Turtle. It features milk chocolate, caramel and candied pecans. They light it on fire with alcohol for this special effect:


Flaming Turtle

It comes with a large selection or goodies to dip in the chocolate. As you can see below it comes with banana, pound cake, Rice Krispies Treats, strawberry, brownie, blondie, pineapple, toasted coconut covered marshmallows and cocoa covered marshmallows. In addition, they serve some cheesecake, if it’s a special occasion and you tell the wait staff at the beginning of your meal when they ask. Look at all the yumminess:

Dessert

Most people visiting the Melting Pot are celebrating a special occasion. This is what they served me for my birthday in September:


Happy Birthday

We had a belated Wedding Anniversary dinner in June since we were relocating back to an area that has Melting Pot restaurants and it was worth the wait. There aren’t that many locations across the country and it’s really our go to place to celebrate. Here’s the wonderful creation they presented to us during our Wedding Anniversary dinner:
Happy Anniversary

To our surprise, they generously presented us with champagne at the end of my birthday celebration meal:


Champagne with Strawberry

Everything was so very delicious and as always it was a wonderful experience. The wait staff is very attentive and friendly, they only hire the best. If you are planning on visiting soon, be sure to sign up now for their emails to receive notifications of when they are offering discounted meals. Make sure that you pick the location you prefer, since each restaurant has different specials. They also make announcements on their Facebook page. If you sign up for Club Fondue, they will send you a coupon via email for free dessert for your family birthdays and your anniversary. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my birthday coupon for a free box of six chocolate covered strawberries. I’ve had them before, they are very tasty. 

I highly recommend this restaurant chain and the Durham location. What’s your favorite splurge restaurant for special occasions? Before you go, be sure to check out my review of the Raleigh location.

I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board
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Melting Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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The Peter Thomas Roth Memorial Day Travel Size Sale Started Early (This is a Good One!)

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UPDATED: New Beauty Deal Round-Up (Friends & Family Sales and More)

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Julep’s Peyton Manicure

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Peyton by Julep


This is a review of a nail polish from Julep called Peyton. It’s a duo chrome nail polish that I received in my August Julep Subscription Box. Duo chrome polishes are my favorite type of nail polish. Julep describes Peyton as “violet dahlia duo chrome”. It’s part of the Wonder Maven collection and it’s considered a shimmer. The above photo was taken during sunset. This polish appears as a dark purple indoors and it comes alive outdoors. In direct sunlight it reflects a dark purple and as you move your hand in the light it changes to a rich brownish-purple, then to a reddish purple and then into a vibrant gold. The entire time all of the ultra fine glitter lights up and it’s so beautiful! It also has incredible reflection. It’s perfect for fall.

I applied one coat of Perfect Formula’s Manicure Booster, two coats of Peyton and one coat of Seche Vite Top Coat. I use Manicure Booster since it’s the best base coat I know of on the market today. It keeps the nail polish from chipping longer than any base coat I’ve found. I use the Seche Vite Top coat because it dries so quickly and has an incredible shine. I also think it helps keep the polish from chipping. I usually apply another coat of Seche Vite in a day or two to help it last longer. Peyton has a very good consistency and is opaque. I applied two coats. I’m on day three and I have no chips or tip wear even having done a lot of typing, dishes and dog washing. I’ll update this post when it starts to chip. Julep is one of my favorite brands of nail polish. Which brand is your favorite?
I have over eighty manicures featured on this blog. Check them all out on my Pinterest Manicure Board. When you see one you like, just click on the photo and it will take you to the matching blog post. I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you.

Update – I’m right handed so I had a bit of tip wear on the my right hand at day ten. The manicure didn’t chip until day sixteen and that was only on my right index finger. I applied a second coat of Seche Vite a few days after I painted my nails.


If you haven’t tried out Julep nail polish yet, give their subscription box a try today since you’ll receive a twelve piece nail polish collection for free, link below! 

Bargain Alert:  

Julep – Free 12 Piece Julep Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!


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Thanksgiving Decor

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Fall?? Another Pinterest inspired project and some more money saved! 

I love the look of the bunting-type banners, but they are pretty expensive if you buy them in Etsy. Instead, I made my own and it was super easy and super cheap. In Publisher (you could use Word too) pick a font you love, type out whatever words you want in about 200-250 size and print on colored paper. Cut around the letters in a triangle shape, paste on another colored sheet and cut around another larger triangle. Attach to a line of twine with wooden clothespins.

Juvia’s Place Sale on HauteLook is Live and LORAC Sale Ending Soon

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The Lipstick League Week of 5.16.17: What’s Your Current Obsession?

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Inspirational motorcycle trip stretched from Alaska through South America

For over a year Texas Rider News has followed the remarkable journey of a Texan man, Alex Chacon who just completed a 503 day motorcycle ride from Alaska to the southern tip South America this spring – and met several inspiring people along the way. (Modern Motorcycle Diaries: Man captures his 500 day trip across the Americas)

The 26-year-old completed his 82,459-mile journey in April, which he documented in a film “The Modern Motorcycle Diaries.”

The El Paso Texas resident told the Daily News he planned the trip for years before deciding to sell everything he owned – except for his Xbox — and hopped on his Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle and traveled down to South America.

“This had been a lifelong dream for years,” he said. “Enough dreaming can get you to a lot of places in life.”

Chacon started his journey from El Paso to South America and blogged along the way. But he said he ran out of money by the time he reached Peru. But then sponsors and people who were following his progress began making contributions so he could continue.

“I did a lot of couch surfing and I would sleep in peoples’ yards,” he said. “People would find me online and tell me to stay with them.”

He eventually rode back to North America and made it all the way to Alaska before turning around and heading back home to Texas.

The movie shows clips on his journey through various roadways including dirt, meadows, cliffs, water, sand, bridges populated with people and one very narrow rock wall.

He also shows some local communities he encountered in Latin America.

There were some cultural differences that struck Chacon — such as the treatment of the mentally ill. Chacon said in many communities people who had mental illnesses were shunned from their towns.

“A lot of them were scapegoated,” he said. “The people there just didn’t understand mental illness.”

The motorcycle enthusiast also began using his newfound fame to raise awareness for charities that helped impoverished children in the region. Chacon did not accept the donations himself so he doesn’t know how much he raised in total but said it should easily be thousands of dollars.

Chacon took his trip after graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in BioMedical Sciences. He plans to pursue a doctorate, but right now his dreams may be taking him to new places — he has plans for similar motorcycle trips in Africa and Asia.

The major things Chacon said he’ll remember is the people — especially the generosity of the children he met in Latin America.

“They were so happy and giving and generous,” he said. “Some of the poorest people I encountered were also the most generous.”

________________________________
Source: Daily News (Landau, 11/20)

Plated Meal Kit Giveaway – September 2017

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Plated has provided me with another box worth $72 to give away. Plated will send the winner one shipment that includes three recipes and the ingredients needed to make three meals for two people for a total of six servings. Above photo shows an example of one recipe. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Plated, provide me with their name and email address to give to Plated, provide Plated their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Plated and simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Plated box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to my account settings, scroll down to the bottom and chose “cancel subscription” or to skip future shipments select weekly menus and chose “skip week”. They ship to most of the US except Hawaii, Alaska and a few cities in TX including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo & Midland. Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesdays or Saturdays. Vegetarian meals are also offered.

Learn more about Plated by visiting my Plated Pinterest Board. Click on the photos that interest you and it will take you to my matching blog post which provides a review of that recipe. Be sure to check out my reviews of Blue ApronGreen BlenderGreen ChefHello FreshHome ChefMarley SpoonPlated, Sun Basket and Terra’s Kitchen

Bargain Alert: 
Boxed – $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 off, click here.
Julep – Free 12 Piece Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50 

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If You Missed the Sephora VIB Sale You May Want to Jump on This (Hurry! Ends Today, 4/29)

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Canned Sweet Banana Peppers

I recently gotten into canning, somewhat of a lost art. My grandma used to can all the time and my cousins and I loved helping her. I especially loved the canned strawberry jam. Nothing better than homemade, sugary goodness 🙂

One of the reasons I wanted a garden was to be able to have lots of veggies for canning and boy did I get what I wanted! My banana peppers are growing like crazy, so I’ve canned several pints. We love sweet banana peppers on salads, fajitas, cheesesteaks and other recipes calling for peppers. 

Here’s my recipe:

Canned Banana Peppers
From Food.com

1/2 lb banana pepper, seeded and sliced crossways into rings
Pickling Juice
2 cups white vinegar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Directions:
Sterilize 2- 1/2 pint jars.
Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil.
Place peppers in the 1/2 pint jars.
Pour on the hot pickling juice and bring liquid to within 1/2″ of the top.
Be sure the edge of the jar has no juice on it.
Place lids and screw on bands finger-tip tight.
Seal jar and leave for 2 weeks.**.
**This is an heirloom recipe that uses a method no longer recommended by the USDA/NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation). Current guidelines recommend processing in a boiling water bath at least 10 minutes at sea level to 1000 feet in elevation (more time at higher elevations) and left to cool, upright and undisturbed, on a cloth-protected counter for 24 hours. Check for seal; if the jar hasn’t sealed, either re-process the jars within the 24 hours or refrigerate and use first.

Sephora Formula X Nail Polishes (Multiple Shades & Collections) Back in Stock for $2 Each

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Ring Bomb Party Review

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In October, I discovered a fun company called Ring Bomb Party. They offer rings for $17.95 and $24.99. Shipping is $3.99 for US customers and $14.99 for everyone else. You can order as many rings as you want and you’ll pay the same shipping charge. The rings are inside a bath fizzy that they dissolve live on Facebook. The $17.95 rings have a retail value of $25 to $500. The $24.99 rings have a retail value of $50 to $500 and those are called unicorn parties. They come in sizes 6 to 10. The unicorn parties have one unicorn ring per size. The unicorn rings are worth over $100 and are usually sterling silver. Simply order on their website and show up for the live reveal of your ring on the day you pick or watch the recording. Parties sell out fast and are often posted at the end of the live shows for the next day. You chose the size and the rest is a surprise. They are revealed at 1 pm ET Monday through Friday. The parties last about two to two and a half hours and an average of forty rings are revealed. Most of the time they are hosted by Anfernee. He is fun to watch and you may find yourself either addicted to buying the rings and/or addicted to attending his parties. A lot of people say he sounds like Eddie Murphy and many compliment his charming and entertaining personality. After watching many of his parties, you may find yourself singing his often repeated phrases such as “Ring Party dot com” or “That’s a pretty ring, girl!”. I use to have QVC on the tv in the background to keep me company, but now I have his live videos on instead. He’s always so friendly, happy and entertaining even when he’s not feeling well. Check out the video where my ring was revealed at about one hour and six minutes. I purchased a unicorn party ring and it’s retail value is $72. It’s rhodium plated with a morganite stone surrounded by white topaz stones. This setting also comes in pink topaz. They are both very pretty. I have to say these rings are prettier in person. Have another look at my ring in different light:


Pretty, eh?! They have lots of different rings which are mostly rhodium plated  or sterling silver with an occasional rose gold plated ring. The most common gemstones offered are ruby, amethyst, pink topaz, morganite, peridot, emerald, white topaz, blue topaz, aquamarine and sapphire. Every few months they have new designs. I received mine in the mail ten days after it was revealed live and it was shipped via USPS. They’ll send you the tracking number via email once it’s shipped. Have you purchased a ring from Ring Bomb Party yet? If so, I’d love to hear which one you received, please comment below. If not, are you tempted to purchase one?

This business was started in December 2016 by a young lady named Lillian Coleman right before she was diagnosed with cancer. I’m happy to report she is cancer free now. Her sister, Bella, is co-owner. Bella’s boyfriend and his friend, Anfernee came on board to help out. They are located in Montgomery, Alabama. They have been doing this for a little over a year now and have sold over 30,000 rings! Plus, they have over 60,000 followers on Facebook. After so much success they decided to allow others to start their own Ring Bomb Party business. The ones I watch are the following:

  1. Danielle aka Glam Bomb Boss. Parties on weeknights and some weekends. Next Glam Box party is March 12th at 8 pm ET
  2. Jackie aka Georgia Charm. Parties on weeknights, next Ring Bomb Party is March 13th at 7:30 pm ET
  3. Lisa aka East Coast Jewels. Parties on weeknights and some weekends. Next party has not been announced yet, keep an eye on her Facebook page.

These hostesses started out with Glam Box which is the sister company to Ring Bomb Party. They sell boutique style jewelry live on Facebook for only $8.00 plus $4.99 shipping and handling. No matter how many pieces of jewelry you purchase, it’s only $4.99 to ship. They offer necklaces, bracelets and earrings with an occasional one size fits all ring. In addition, they have started offering leggings. They show on average one hundred pieces of jewelry during each party which takes about two to three hours. Often they offer prizes, discounts and other offers. Those parties tend to run the longest. They show a number next to the piece of jewelry after it’s presentation and the person who comments first with that number gets to purchase that piece of jewelry. Payments are made via PayPal. I have purchased jewelry from all three hostesses and I recommend their parties. Stay tuned for my review of Glam Box.

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Sacrilège: A Kawasaki Z1000ST Of Biblical Proportions


Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size

Ed Turner is one of Europe’s most extreme custom workshops. Owner Karl Renoult has a very clear and unapologetic vision: he builds each bike with “the sole purpose of giving it character and attitude.”This is Karl’s most outré creation yet, a Kawasaki Z1000ST heavy on biblical references and christened Ezechiel 21, ‘The Sword.’

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


The Z1000ST is interesting enough in its own right—35 years ago, it was Kawasaki’s first shaft-drive motorcycle, and pumped out a solid 93 horses. But it was also a little staid. And that’s like a red rag to a bull for Karl.The project was commissioned by Grégoire, a man counting his blessings after surviving the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“He decided that his dreams had to be achieved in his lifetime,” says Karl. “After two or three phone calls, we had the outline of the project.”Grégoire wanted a machine with a powerful-looking frame, a springer front end, and beautiful finishes. The Z1000ST was chosen, largely for its powerful engine—this allowed Karl to devote most of the budget (“not crazy, but comfortable”) to the design.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


The chassis took shape rapidly, with a sleeker profile at the back. But Karl resisted the temptation to mess too much with the stock wheels: “I find them pretty cool when polished and adapted to the CBR forks.”The Honda forks have been ‘emptied and springerized’ using custom dampers built by Shaft Racing. It’s a most unusual setup; the suspension duties have been moved from the fork springs to the shock nestling between the yokes.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“For this step, I admit I used some sketches—and even some math,” says Karl. “Not my habit!”“But as usual, surrounded by my mates Joe, Mikael and Gael, we tinkered with this thing and it works pretty well.”

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


Other cues come from the American vintage drag scene. Notably the proportions of the tires: an Avon 5.25/5.50 17-inch car tire at the rear, and a 3.25 18-inch Speedmaster Mk II rib tire at the front.Everything else is kept to the minimum—specifically, a tank that does not exceed five liters in capacity, and a microscopic brake light and flashers under the custom saddle, masterfully crafted by Red’s Leather.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


“Restricted by the wallet, we were unable to satisfy all our pretensions for the preparation of the engine,” Karl says. “We had to play another card…”It was time for divine intervention, so Karl chose a few lines of Ezekiel 21 from the Old Testament to decorate the tank. “A rather creepy passage which speaks of a sword sharpened and polished—and a God who, for once, seems really pissed off and ready to fight.”

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


To complete The Sword, Karl called in extra manpower from the Breton artisans at Stick Your Cycles. They helped fabricated the bars and the stainless steel exhaust, and refinished the engine cases in green.After several months of work, the Kawasaki was finally ready to hit the autoroute.

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size


Karl handed it over with a message to his client: “Greg, you run faster than bullets. Now let’s see what you can do behind the handlebars.”Amen to that.
Ed Turner | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Francois Richer

Enigmatic French builder Ed Turner reworks the Kawasaki Z1000ST, with outrageous results.

Full Size

First read on bikeexif.com/

Update

I just wanted to let you know that I’m unexpectedly taking a break from blogging for the next few days. My mom was admitted to the hospital today and as I write this, we are still not sure exactly what’s going on. That’s about all I can tell you right now. I will update you again in a few days if I feel that I need more time away from the blog. Until then, I would be grateful if you could send positive thoughts our way. It’s been a rough year, with my dad just recently in the hospital (he’s doing much better, by the way) so I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your patience and support. 

Love, 
G.

Ipsy Subscription Box Review – December 2017

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Ipsy – December 2017


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Ipsy that costs only $10 per month including shipping. Each month they send five deluxe samples customized based on your profile. This month the retail value of my box is $52.60. For the month of December I received the following products:
  1. Pūrlisse – Two Sheet Masks in Coconut & Rice and Green Tea & Ginger, made in Korea, .74 oz., $16.00 retail value
  2. Pixi by Petra – Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament, made in the UK,  1.5 g, $3.60 retail value
  3. Ofra – Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in the color Ipsy Unzipped, made in the USA, 6 g, $20.00 retail value 
  4. Smashbox – Always on Gel Liner in Fishnet, made in Germany, .02 oz, $9.00 retail value 
  5. First Aid Beauty – Face Cleanser, made in the USA, 1 oz, $4.00 retail value
I love sheet masks since they are so easy remove with no rinsing required. I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator until use. They have such a cooling effect when chilled. I didn’t find this one very moisturizing though my skin is very dry right now. It was very relaxing though. My current favorite sheet mask is from TonyMoly. I purchase them from Macy’s since they have free shipping and they go on sale frequently. I haven’t had a chance to try out the Pixi eyeshadow yet. I just bought some Too Faced eyeshadow palettes since I was able to get them at 50% off and they were on my wish list. So I’m trying those out first. The Ofra lipstick goes on a with a bit of a satin look that takes a while to turn matte. It mostly stays on during eating, but there is some smudging and it does need a touch up. It is difficult to fully remove. I tried an oil cleanser and it still had some left over. It’s a dark berry color which is nice for fall and winter. When I rub my lips together it feels dry. Since I have a habit of rubbing my lips together, the lipstick being really dry is a deal breaker. Also, I can’t stand smudging. I prefer Kat Von D’s and Julep’s matte lipsticks. I’ve used Smashbox liner before and it’s pretty good, just not my favorite. My favorite is from Mally. I have also received a First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser sample in another subscription box. I wasn’t thrilled with it, it’s just ok. My favorite face cleanser is Josie Maran’s.

My favorite product in this box is the sheet mask. My least favorite is the lipstick  since it feels dry on the lips. If you are a subscriber what your favorite product this month?  If you are not a subscriber, why not?
Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Ofra – 30% off “IPSY30”
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years and check out November’s Ipsy. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


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Our Latest Bounty

Sorry for the short post today…been a busy week and we have an even busier weekend ahead. Just a quick shot of our latest harvest from the garden. Stay tuned for some recipes made with our bountiful harvest!

Happy Labor Day!

Needed: Summer Reading Recommendations

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QVC’s Mr. Christmas Set of Four Mini Nostalgic Tree Ornaments Review

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Nighttime Look


Daytime Look


How I Display Them


This is a review of a set of four mini nostalgic tree ornaments from QVC made by Mr. Christmas. The order number is H211624 and they were offered for $34.78 when I ordered them, the price has increased to $38.28 plus shipping since the lower price was for their Christmas in July celebration. My price per tree after tax and shipping comes to only $10.77, bargain! They aired in July, but I didn’t notice them until I searched online and they had sold out and gone on waitlist. I ordered on July 31st and I lucked out going on wait list since the white set shipped on August 12th. I’m also on wait list for the green set. I originally wanted the green set, but I thought I’d improve my odds of getting at least one set if I ordered both colors. I’m actually very impressed with the white set and not unhappy that I didn’t get the green set instead. They have more of a decorative look without screaming Christmas and I suspect that the lights reflect better against the white rather than the green. I placed two double A batteries in each tree right away and I turned them to the on position. I’m in love with them! Once it started getting dark, I removed the batteries and put them back in and then set the switch to timer instead of on. They have come on at 8 pm every night since then and they stay on until midnight for a total of four hours. I find them so comforting and beautiful. I will reset the timer when sunset starts earlier in the fall. I have them on our mantle in our living room. I have two on one side and two on the other side with a recent Luminara candle TSV in the middle of each set of two trees. Our mantle has two shelves, so the light from the trees reflect on the shelf above them. They reflect more light, if they are on a shelf rather than a coffee table. They have LED lights, so they do not get warm or hot. They have a red ribbon attached to the star to hang them, but they have a nice flat bottom to sit them on any shelf or table. The ribbon is removable, but I just haven’t bothered to remove it. I highly recommend ordering them, the waitlist wasn’t very long and Christmas is still 123 away, so you have time. They would also make wonderful gifts individually and the set comes with four adorable little Christmas gift bags to do just that. I can’t part with them though, they remind me of my childhood. Back in the 70’s women would go to a crafting class and make these by hand. My neighbor’s mother made one in green, so these trees remind me of that time in my life. These are a remake of those such Christmas decorations. I’m not waiting until Christmas to enjoy them. They have a lovely glow of colored lights just perfect for the living room while we watch tv in the evening. They would also be perfect on your bedside tables, coffee table or even your dining table. I love them so much, I’m not cancelling my other wait list order since I would use the second set in the bedroom on the end tables or on our dining room table. They would make a cute night light in a child’s bedroom. Just set the timer for their bedtime instead of sunset. 

QVC also offers a large version of these trees, but it’s a plug in which limits where you can place it. It’s item number H211560 and it’s also on waitlist. It’s 17″ tall and it costs $49.96. It would look awesome sitting next to two of the mini trees which are 5 1/4″ tall in either white or green. Perhaps they will restock these again prior to Christmas. I know they offered similar trees as a TSV a while ago, but the reviews weren’t very good. These seem to be an improved version based on the reviews I’ve read. One year host David had an entire show devoted to nostalgic Christmas decor. I wish he would do that again. Did you buy anything during QVC’s Christmas in July shows? Who else is starting decorating for Christmas early this year? Last couple of years we were relocated and I was homesick, so I wasn’t really into decorating, so now that we are back I’m totally into decorating. Do you decorate more when you are happy?

Bargain Alert:

Use Mr. Rebates for 3% cash back while shopping online @ QVC.

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Mr. Dumpling Restaurant Review – Apex, NC

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5470 Apex Peakway
Olive Chapel Village
Apex, NC  27502
(919) 387-7709


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Sweet & Sour Chicken – $9.95


Stir Fried Lamb Cumin – $15.95


This is a review of a new Asian restaurant located in Apex, North Carolina called Mr. Dumplings. It opened eight weeks ago in the Olive Chapel Village shopping center located next to the hospital. They are open from 11 am until 3pm and reopen at 4:30 and they close at 9:30 pm. On Friday night they reopen at 5:30 pm instead of 4:30 pm. They are closed on Tuesdays. We visited yesterday, Saturday night around 5 pm. We were immediately greeted by a friendly waitress and seated at a table. They were already very busy with carry out orders, but we appeared to be the 2nd customers for dining in. Shortly after we arrived a lot more customers arrived. The interior decor is lovely with many tables and some booths that seat up to six people. The atmosphere is calm and peaceful with latest hits music playing.

I ordered the Sweet & Sour Chicken and a Diet Coke. I noticed on the table a list of Wine & Beer they offer which I had not seen on the menu. Hubby ordered the Lamb Cumin hoping that it would be low carb. He also ordered hot tea, but I didn’t see that beverage on the menu either. It landed up being Jasmine tea and he enjoyed it. The tea and soda were $1.50 each. Since we were visiting in the evening, the dinner prices were in effect. My Sweet & Sour Chicken was $9.95, but at lunch it’s only $6.50 and it includes soup and an egg roll, bargain! Our food arrived very quickly which was about eight minutes. I was happy to see my dish wasn’t swimming in sauce. It had just the right amount of sauce on the bottom of the plate with the chicken, red onion and green peppers, red peppers and pineapple on top. The sauce was perfect, best ever. It wasn’t syrupy, it was thin, light and scrumptious. It also came with a very large bowl of white rice. I was also happy to see that there were sizable pieces of chicken inside the breading. Too many Chinese restaurants have too much breading and very little chicken. The breading was nice and crisp without being greasy. I wish there had been a bit more more onion and green pepper, but all in all it was the best Sweet & Sour Chicken I’ve had. I’m craving it as I write this post! The white rice was also perfectly cooked. I can’t wait to return and have it again though I’ll try to push myself to try something else, perhaps the Cashew Chicken or the Lamb & Carrot Dumplings. If you have been, do you have any suggestions on what to try next? Hubby’s Stir Fried Lamb had a ton of red chili peppers on it! He always complains that when he orders “hot” dishes that they aren’t hot enough, so this was fun to watch him eat. This may be the hottest dish he’s had in a long time. He loved it and plans to order it again soon. I had a few bites and it was very tasty lamb. First you taste the lamb and then the spice hits your taste buds. 

We really enjoyed our first dining experience at this new restaurant and we can’t wait to return. The Asian waitress was really friendly, kind and attentive. They had one person just tending to taking the orders to the kitchen and brining out all the dishes to the customers. He was very efficient. Also, one lady was making dumplings which you could watch, if you sat at the bar. If we lived closer, we would definitely be weekly carry out customers. I highly recommend you give this restaurant a try soon and we plan to visit often.

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Follow this blog via TwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, Facebook or Networked BlogsPlease share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


Mr. Dumpling  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Nordstrom is Price-Matching Macy’s Sale (Free Shipping & Samples)

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Body Butter

Along with lip balm and body scrub, I also made some homemade body butter. Seriously, this was ridiculously easy. You take coconut oil, add it to your mixer, and just let it whip into a luscious, creamy mixture. Add in several drops of essential oils if you want a scent other than coconut and put into jars. Really, that’s it! 

You only have to use a little on your body to go a long way too. I used too much and it ended up feeling too greasy. 

What I spent:
Coconut Oil — $6.97
Essential Oil — $3.99 (I only used about 1/3 so $1.33)
Jars — $7.00 

Total cost — $15.30 or $1.53 per jar

QVC’s TSVs for December 2017


Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values

1st – Cuddl Duds Fleece Wear Stretch Novelty Pajama Set, Regular A303721 or Petite A303723, $26.98 available in 2 payments and 3 patterns

2nd – Philosophy Illuminate with Grace Four Piece Fragrance Layering Kit, A306785 or A/D A306833, $78.00 available in 6 payments and 5 scents
2nd – QVC2 Big Deal Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker, E231521 $79.96 available in 5 payments & 2 colors

3rd – Amazon Fire 10″ HD Tablet, 32 GB, Custom Case & App Vouchers, E231405, $119.95 available 5 payments and 3 colors

4th – Vionic Orthotic Adjustable Strap Slippers, A303720, $49.98 available in 4 payments, choice of 3 colors and 2 patterns

5th – Blink XT Two Pack Wire Free HD Indoor/Outdoor Security Cameras with Night Vision, E231045, $179.95 available in 5 payments

6th – Le Creuset Heritage 4.5 Quart Cast Iron Chef’s Oven with Trivet, K46771, $199.98 available in 6 payments and 4 colors

7th – Berkshire Blankets Set of Two 60″ x 70″ Super Soft Fluffy Throws, H214404, $25.98 available in 3 payments, choice of 8 different sets of colors

8th – Nest Fragrances Luxury EDP & Body Cream Layering Kit, A302984, A/D available, $59.20 available in 4 payments. I recommend this brand! So glad they are sprays and not rollerballs! Owned by Harry Slatkin’s wife, Laura. $5.92 per item, bargain!

9th – Canon Rebel T6 18 MP DSLR Wi-Fi Camera, E231525, $449.96 available in 6 payments and 3 colors

10th – Keurig K55 Coffee Maker with My K-Cup, 43 K-Cups & Water Filters, K46642, $69.96 available in 5 payments and only 3 colors

11th – My Pillow Set of Two Premium Pillows with Supima Cotton, H214217, $69  Standard or $79 King available in 6 payments, choice of firm, medium or one of each

12th – Dennis Basso Zip Front Faux Fur Coat with Hood, A300760, $139.80 available in 5 payments, choice of three colors and two patterns

13th – Halo Powerpatch Portable Charger with Charging Cables, E231122, $26.96 available in 5 payments, choice of two colors and six patterns

14th – Lamo Water & Stain Resistant Suede Boots Juniper, A303730, $49.98 available in 4 payments and 6 colors, not available for preorder yet

15th- Calista Perfector Pro Grip Heated Round Brush, A299022, $79.95 available in 5 payments and 3 colors

16th – Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Lite Island Wrap, A301874, $69.98 available in 5 payments, comes in 5 colors

17th – Samsung Set of Two Level U Wireless Headphones, E231240, $69.98 available in 4 payments & 4 colors

18th – Emjoi Tilting eRase 60 Disc Precision Hair Remover, A298330, $49.80 available in 3 payments & 5 colors

19th – Atari Flashback Portable Deluxe Handheld with 70 Games, E231061, $45.96 available in 5 payments

20th – Northern Nights 800 TC Wrinkle Defense Cotton Sheet Set, H213111, $89.96 available in 4 payments & 7 colors 

21st – Hairdo Choice of Three Wigs, A301643, $84.00 available in 4 payments and 3 colors

22nd – Judith Ripka Bezel Set Diamonique Tennis Bracelet, Sterling J352380 or 14K Clad J352381, $99.95 available in 5 payments & 3 sizes

23rd – Dyson V7 Absolute Pro Cordfree Vacuum with Tools, V35455, $299.98 available in 6 payments and 3 colors

24th – Joan Rivers Signature Ankle Pants with Front Seam Detail, Regular A304977 or Petite A304979, $39.96 available in 3 payments and 5 colors

25th – Merry Christmas, no TSV

26th – Isaac Mizrahi Suede Motorcycle Jacket with Printed Lining, A293552, $89.95 available in 5 payments & 6 colors

27th – Denim & Co Long Sleeve Zip Front High Low Hem Knit Jacket, A303731, $29.76 available in 3 payments and 6 colors

28th – Skechers Relaxed Fit Suede Slip On Shoes, A305225, $46.38 available in 4 payments and 6 colors 

29th – Duraflame Infragen Stove Heater with 3D Flame & Remote Control, V35009, $149.95 available in 6 payments and 6 colors

30th – Perricone MD The Best of Perricone Three Piece Skin Care Collection, A300453, $149.95 available in 5 payments & Auto Delivery

31st – Fitnation Recumbent Flex Bike with Echelon App Experience, F13099, $199.95 available in 5 payments & 5 colors

Note that several of the TSVs listed above aren’t available for preorder yet. Keep checking back, lately QVC has been slow to add them to the website. It may take them a few more days. I will update this list as more TSV information is released. Remember that the prices and the number of easy pays could change on the date the TSVs air. If you preorder and the price goes down, be sure to call or email customer service for a refund of the difference. Sometimes they even cancel a TSV, so buy now if you want it. They may also rearrange the schedule, so if you are waiting until the TSVs airs to purchase it, keep an eye on this list in case the air date changes. The preorder item numbers are usually different from the item numbers on the date they air therefore preorder links may not work on the air date. Please refer to QVC’s website for order information on the day they air. Sometimes preorder quantities sell out, but rest assured they will have more on the air date. Be sure to keep an eye on Mr. Rebates’ cash back offers, lately they have been offering a higher percentage of cash back. Also, keep an eye on QVC’s website for 6 easy pays or free shipping on everything or specific departments. They have been offering it lately either for the day or for just a few hours. They will not be on air selling products live between 4 pm Christmas Eve and 8 am the 26th. In the past, they have shown behind the scenes footage, host interviews and video of hosts baking at home or in the studio with their children.

So which TSVs are tempting you this December? I’m tempted by the Nest TSV though I’m not a fan of rollerballs, I prefer sprays. Nest is owned by Harry Slatkin’s wife and I love the scents she’s come up with. My favorite is Dahlia & Vines. I may be tempted by the Smart Home & Dennis Basso TSVs, but I need more information. I’m surprised the Keurig TSV isn’t airing until December 10th. Normally they air it so it can be shipped in time for Thanksgiving. I’m also surprised it’s only available in three colors and that one of the colors isn’t the popular cinnamon color which is what I’ve ordered in the past. It’s at a great price though, I think it’s the lowest price they have ever offered for the full sized Keurig. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah. I, for one, can’t wait to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. It’s my favorite part of the holiday season. I’m grateful to you for supporting my blog, thank you my friend.
You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway for a Blue Apron meal kit. I just started a Facebook page for this blog, please follow.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $35 Off
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

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Two New Sephora Favorites Sets (UPDATE: New Drunk Elephant Deluxe Freebie Code)

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Giveaway – Blue Apron Meal Kit Worth $59.94

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Blue Apron, provide me with their name and email address to give to Blue Apron, provide Blue Apron their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Blue Apron & simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Blue Apron box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to account info, then chose “manage”  & then “cancel” or to skip future shipments select delivery schedule and chose “skip”. Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. 


This giveaway is only for those that have never subscribed to Blue Apron before.  Please do not enter if you don’t intend to redeem the free box! Note you will have to give Blue Apron your credit card number to redeem. It’s easy to skip and cancel online, if you don’t wish to remain a subscriber after your free box. It’s a limited time offer, so you’ll need to redeem in a timely manner. I have reviewed twenty-two Blue Apron deliveries, so be sure to check those out before you leave. Start with my 24th delivery. Then check out my Blue Apron Pinterest Board, click on the photo of the recipe that you fancy to see the matching blog post.  Also, check out my Home Chef reviews starting with my 58th delivery. In addition, check out my Hello Fresh reviews starting with my 15th delivery and my Sun Basket reviews starting with 26th delivery.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $35 Off

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Saving Green Birthday Parties

For my kiddos birthday parties, I utilized some awesome decor ideas I had found on Pinterest and online that saved me some green. 
I used inexpensive cardstock, scrapbook paper and ribbon and twine to make birthday banners. I printed out the letters on my computer and cut them out to save even more money, but you could find cheap chip letters at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Check out the tutorial here.
For Liesl’s party, I created a pretty, girly background with three plastic tablecloths. (Here’s that tutorial) I also made my own tissue paper pom poms. (Tutorial here) 
For the table and other decor, I ended up choosing themes where I had a lot of the toys/props I could use. For Gavin’s barnyard party, I used all his tractors, farm animals, etc. For Liesl’s My Little Pony party, we pulled out all her ponies to use as table decor. 
 All in all, both parties turned out great. Clean food and green saving decor made for happy guests, very happy birthday boy and girl and a happy Momma 🙂

QVC’s Harry Slatkin Ceramic Fruit Basket Candle TSV Review

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HomeWorx by Harry Slatkin Ceramic Fruit Basket with Two 9 oz. Candles



This is a review of QVC’s Today’s Special Value (TSV) for April 5th. I just received it today and I must say it’s nicer in person. I like the retro feel it has, so while I had planed to have self control and not purchase it, I caved when I saw the presentation. Until now, I have resisted buying any of Harry’s candles since his return last year. Since this TSV seemed like a pretty good deal and I love his ceramic creations, I decided to give this one a try. It’s TSV price was $36.96 with free shipping. The current price is only $3 more, but shipping is $5.50. This TSV includes the ceramic fruit basket which is matte and a top which is a choice of apples, peaches, blueberries or strawberries. The apple top is very shiny and it has eleven hand painted apples and it’s quite heavy. It also includes two 9 oz. candles in ceramic bases the same color as the basket. I chose the apple one since our main living area is decorated in burgundy and yellow. If my decision was based on only scent, I would have chosen the blueberry since Harry’s blueberry candles were one of my favorites when they were sold at Bath & Body Works. I also enjoy his apple candles, so it was an easy decision. Shortly after I lit the candle I could smell the apple. It smells like a red apple just as you slice it. The candle is described as “crisp green apples and tart red apples along with black cherries come together with a hint of sugarcane and maple”. It doesn’t have that complex combination scent that I have come to expect from Harry. I would have liked a bit of spice added to it. I don’t smell the cherry, sugar or maple. It’s quite slow to melt, I’m at over an hour now and it hasn’t reached the edges completely yet. The scent comes and goes and hasn’t filled the room. The figural is adorable and it makes for a lovely decoration for my coffee table. I have a very large coffee table, so I find large pieces look best on it and this piece is quite large. Each candle is suppose to have a burn time of twenty hours. I have returned now after two hours burn time to tell you that it has a bit of sweetness to it now, it’s not just tart anymore. It has a tiny amount of wax in the corners that hasn’t melted yet. This one is available on auto delivery and it includes just one more shipment in October which is a basket with little pumpkins and it has a fall pumpkin scent.

I’m so happy that Harry had a more affordable TSV this time and offered free shipping. I hope that he will consider that again for the next TSV. While I’m a bit disappointed in the candle’s scent, I adore the ceramic basket with apples. It’s a nice pick me up while we wait for spring to arrive again and hopefully stay awhile before the long summer. One day it’s in the 50’s and the next it’s almost 80 degrees, we’ve been riding the North Carolina weather roller coaster lately.  It even snowed last Sunday in the early morning hours. I’ve never seen snow here in April before. We’ve also had way too many rainy days. What do you do for a pick me up?

Bargain Alert:

Use Mr. Rebates for cash back while shopping online @ QVC.

PS – there are refills, H214483, it’s a set of two for $25.20 plus $5.50 shipping which makes it only $6.26 less than the TSV. Would have been nice if he had offered the refills in a less expensive container than ceramic.  

Before you go, check out my QVC Product Reviews Pinterest Board and my TSV list for April. I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, Facebook, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Help out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);



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Silk Road Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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1207 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC  27511
(919) 460-6288



Exterior View


Interior Decor


Dim Sum Shrimp Dumplings – $4.95


Bang Bang Shrimp – $7.99


Three Piece Roasted Lamb Leg – $18.99


This is a review of a new Asian restaurant called Silk Road located in Cary, North Carolina. They have only been open a few weeks. They are located in the Kildaire Plaza Shopping Center in a space that has been many different restaurants over the years. It’s next to Advance Auto Parts. There is plenty of free parking. Silk Road is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 am until 9:30 pm except between 3 pm and 4:30 pm. They are closed on Mondays. Saturday and Sunday they are open from 11 am until 9:30 pm. I’m always searching for new Asian restaurants to try and since I heard they offer Dim Sum I put them at the top of my list. We visited last Saturday around 2:30 pm. They had quite a few customers for what is normally a slow time for restaurants. When we arrived we were immediately greeted by a friendly Asian hostess who sat us at a booth.

Shortly after, a friendly Asian waiter gave us both the lunch and dinner menus to chose from and took our drink orders. We both ordered Jasmine Tea and a waitress brought out a metal teapot and two small cups. The tea arrived hot and it was very good! Within a couple of minutes one of the ladies brought by one of the carts with lots of offerings. She opened the lids and showed us the different entrees she had to offer. That cart didn’t have anything we planned on ordering. The next cart that arrived had the Dim Sum Shrimp Dumplings I wanted to try. They had a nice amount of shrimp in them, they were tasty and the wrapper had a lovely texture. At only $4.95 for four large dumplings, it’s a bargain. They are quite filling! Then a waiter came by with dessert offerings which we passed on. He was happy to answer my questions about them. Then our waiter came by to take our orders. Hubby ordered the Roasted Lamb Legs and I ordered the Bang Bang Shrimp. My Bang Bang Shrimp was brought out quite quickly, but Hubby’s entree took much longer to come out and it was barely warm once it arrived. The Bang Bang Shrimp was very hot and delicious. It was a very large portion which could easily make for a large appetizer for two people or an entree for one. The batter was wonderfully crisp and the sauce was scrumptious. It came on a bed of iceberg lettuce and I was shocked they bought out a huge bowl of rice with it. It was way more rice than I could eat. It was about two portions. At only $7.99 it’s a great price. Hubby’s Roasted Lamb Legs had all the lamb pulled off the bones and it was laying on top. It had some type of spices on it which were yummy. Again, it was another dish that had a very large portion. Hubby took home half of it. They offer carry out boxes for your leftovers. He was disappointed that it took so long to be brought to the table and it was barely warm. Now this dish isn’t inexpensive coming in at $18.99, mind you lamb is expensive. They also offer an even larger portion. I recommend the three piece for two people to share with perhaps an appetizer or spring roll unless you want leftovers. 

Everything we ordered had large portions, so keep that in mind so that you don’t order too much food. It seems that some of the staff needs a bit more time and experience to get things organized and work better as a team. They still don’t have a proper sign nor have they removed the sign of the previous restaurant, so keep that in mind when you are looking for it. It’s a very large space they have rented. When we were there, they were only using the front half. They need a few more decorations on the walls and some music. The atmosphere is very casual and it has almost a cafeteria feeling. I recommend you give this restaurant a try keeping these facts in mind. There aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area that sell Dim Sum, so I recommend giving that a try while you are there. I’m anxious to return and try another type of Dim Sum and perhaps the Sweet & Sour Chicken. They only keep soy sauce on the table, so you will need to ask for duck sauce, sriracha or any other condiment you would like. It would be great if they would set up a condiment station where customers could pick what they would like or have more condiment offerings on the tables. This restaurant has a lot of potential and I’m hoping this one will be the one that finally succeeds at this location where so many before them have failed. What’s your favorite Asian restaurant in the Triangle?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Follow this blog via TwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, Facebook or Networked BlogsPlease share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

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Silk Road Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Ipsy Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Unzipped – February 2018 Ipsy


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Ipsy for only $10 per month including shipping. The retail value of my February bag is whopping $56.42. Included in my February bag were the following products:
  1. Seraphine Botanicals – Lychee +Gold Blush, Healthy Glow Rose Gold Blush, formulated in the UK & packaging made in China, .11 oz. full size, $14.00 retail value
  2. IT Cosmetics – Bye Bye Under Eye Waterproof Concealer, made in China,  .11 fl. oz., $9.42 retail value
  3. Estate Cosmetics – Dew Me Baked Highlighter Powder in Afterglow, .1 oz. full size, $10.00 retail value
  4. Kloraine – Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, made in France, 1 oz., $10 retail value
  5. F.A.R.A.H. Brushes Angled Contour Brush 30F, made in China, full size, $13.00 retail value
Three of the items are full size and the retail value this month is amazing! What a wonderful bargain! Seraphine Botanicals is a brand I was also introduced to in this month’s Boxy Charm. I love their packaging, the boxes they come in are very pretty. This blush is made with ginger, lychee, mangosteen and chamomile extracts. It’s vegan, GMO freee, gluten free and cruelty free. It has a very pretty peachy pink color with a hint of gold which can seen with movement. It goes on a bit light which I prefer. It’s easier for me to add more blush rather than trying to remove some. It has a screw top lid. I’m always happy to receive a product from IT Cosmetics and I have received this sample before and have some product left, so I’ll be placing this one in my stash. It goes on really heavy, so use the tiniest amount possible. I applied it first with my finger and then found it necessary to use a foundation brush to blend it. It has medium to heavy coverage. I’d say medium for those with dark circles. For me it’s heavy coverage since I just have puffiness, not dark circles. It doesn’t appear to make my wrinkles any more noticeable which is nice and hard to find in a concealer when you are over 35 to 40. I’m not going to try the Estate Cosmetics Highlighter because I just got an entire highlighter palette from Boxy Charm which also has a purple one. That will be going in my blog sale box to be sold when I finally get around to doing a blog sale again. I’ve received the Kloraine Dry Shampoo before and I love that brand, they have the best shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair. I like the dry shampoo, I’m just not crazy about spraying alcohol on my sensitive scalp. I use it on those days when the hair near my scalp starts to appear oily. It definitely gets rid of some of the oil which is very important when you have fine, straight hair since it’s so noticeable. The F.A.R.A.H. brush picks up quite a bit of blush and it applies well. I’d give it an average rating, it’s certainly not as good of a quality as IT Cosmetics’ brushes are. It’s soft and it does the job. I like to have several blush brushes in use, so that I don’t have to wash one just to apply a different color, so this brush will be perfect for that.

I’m a happy camper this month. Ipsy treated me well and I just applied some reward points for a F.A.R.A.H. foundation brush which will be sent for free in my March Ipsy bag. If you haven’t tried Ipsy before, I dare you to sign up and give it a try for at least one month. It’s fun and it’s a nice, inexpensive treat to look forward to receiving each month. I recommend spending some time on your profile to make sure you don’t receive products you don’t want. If you are a subscriber, what your favorite product this month? I can’t pick just one this month, my favorites are the blush, brush and the concealer.

Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years and check out January’s, December’s & November’s Ipsy. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

  


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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 12 Deals are Live (Info, Tips and What I’m Buying)

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Oven-Roasted Garlic Parm Broccoli

My family really likes veggies, but we seem to eat the same ones prepared the same way every week. Broccoli is a family favorite, but I was getting tired of just steaming it, so I tried something new. I roasted it in the over with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese. Just take the broccoli heads (I used fresh, but frozen would work fine too) and mix with some olive oil and a couple teaspoons garlic salt. Spread on a cookie sheet and add shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. We added a little extra Parmesan cheese when they came out of the oven too 🙂 Seriously, we could not stop eating the broccoli! It was like candy!!! The olive oil and garlic salt gave the broccoli a delicious crusty, caramelized outside and the parm cheese an extra kick of saltiness. So good!!!

Texas Gold

As I mentioned before, we’ve become the go-to dessert bringers for small group, which is fine with me, because I keep finding amazing looking recipes on Pinterest I want to try 😉 This past weekend, I made Texas Gold aka Chess Squares aka Gooey Butter Cake. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious!! A cross between yellow cake and cheesecake, it was ooey, gooey, sweet, buttery and just yummy. Super easy to make too! Only 5 ingredients!!

Texas Gold  
From Kevin and Amanda 

1 box yellow cake mix (use organic or your own to make it clean)
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 and spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray. Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg to a soft dough. Press into the bottom of the pan. Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 mins. Pour on top of crust. Bake at 300 for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown.

Chuy’s Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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1035 Parkside Main Street
Cary, NC  27519
(919) 388-7455


Exterior View


This is a review for a Tex-Mex restaurant called Chuy’s located in Cary, North Carolina. It’s a franchise that has two locations in the Triangle. We visited the Raleigh location three years ago. While that experience wasn’t the best, we decided to give this new location a chance even though the reviews are only three out of five stars. Take exit 66B off NC-540, it’s only about a mile off the highway. We arrived at 3 pm on a Saturday and we were immediately greeted and seated at a booth. There weren’t many customers at that time.

The friendly waitress took our drink orders and shortly thereafter brought out warm chips and salsa. I asked for the Creamy Jalapeño dip since she didn’t bring it out. I remembered really loving the flavor when we visited the Raleigh location. The chips were overly salted and since I’m on a low salt diet, Hubby asked the waitress for some that weren’t so salty. I was surprised she came out shortly after the request and bought out freshly made chips that were definitely less salty. Their chips, salsa and Creamy Jalapeño Dip are so crave worthy! The chips are so thin and crisp and are always brought out warm. The salsa is deliciously spicy and chunky. The Creamy Jalapeño Dip tastes like ranch dip with some spices added, it’s so yummy! You must ask for some, if the wait staff doesn’t bring you some. 


Chips, Creamy Jalapeño Dip & Salsa

I ordered The King’s Punch which took seven minutes to arrive. It tasted like it was only made with fruit juice and we doubt it had any alcohol in it. Hubby had a sip since he’s better at figuring out if it has any alcohol in it. For almost $10 it was extremely disappointing. Thankfully, they removed it from our bill when we brought it to their attention. It was also quite a small drink for that price tag. It’s suppose to have two types of rum, grenadine, pineapple, lime and orange juice. It mostly tasted like pineapple juice and it wasn’t the same color as shown on the menu. 

The King’s Punch – $9.59

Twenty-three minutes after we ordered our main entrees came out. It seemed like a long wait especially since they had so few customers. During that wait we had a view of the table next to us that hadn’t been cleared, shown below. The  customers had left prior to our arrival and yet the staff waited half an hour to finally clean it up. 

Hubby ordered The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. It comes with one beef Tex-Mex enchilada, one cheese ranchero enchilada, one chicken tomatillo enchilada, one ground sirloin crispy taco and homemade tostada chips dipped in chile  con queso. Hubby wasn’t crazy about it and wouldn’t recommend ordering it. The chicken was dried out and the flavors were not enjoyable. The two chips dipped in Chile con queso were soggy by the time they arrived at the table. It would be so much better if they served the dip on the side so that you could dip it yourself. Also, it would be more appetizing and that would solve the soggy issue.



The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo – $11.79


The Elvis Presley Ground Sirloin Taco & Chips

I ordered the Chicken Fajitas. The menu says that the chicken is marinated for twenty-four hours, but to me it tasted like the spices were missing. I have a hard time believing it was marinated at all. It was very bland. Thankfully, the vegetables weren’t overcooked which is very common in Mexican restaurants. Neither of us liked the flavor of the refried beans. The toppings for my fajitas were fresh and very tasty. 


Chicken Fajitas – $13.99


Fajitas Toppings


I agree with other reviewers that this restaurant deserves only three out of five stars. If only everything tasted as delicious as the chips, dip and salsa, we would visit several times a month. One expects lots of spicy flavors from a Mexican restaurant and for some reason they are missing in many dishes even though the menu indicates that they use lots of spices. It’s really disappointing because it’s a lovely festive atmosphere with so much potential. If only Chi-Chi’s would return, oh how I miss that Mexican franchise! Franchises are so disappointing these days, so many of them were so fantastic prior to the mid 90’s. Why have they declined for so long!

What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant in the Triangle? Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs.

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Chuy's Tex Mex  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Spotted: New CoverGirl 2017 Products for Lips, Face and Eyes (New Too Faced Melted Dupe?)

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Honda Motorcycle Supercross Arlington Texas – Barcia Scores a Podium Finish in Texas

Nearly 54,500 fans filled AT&T Stadium—home of the Dallas Cowboys—Saturday night in Arlington, TX to watch not only the seventh round of the Supercross series, but also the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX class. It was an exciting night for Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia who landed on the podium with a solid third-place finish.

450 Class

Barcia had a strong showing all day, finishing fourth overall in timed qualifying practice and battling his way to a second-place finish in his heat race. In the main event, Barcia didn’t get the greatest jump off the line but was able to slip to the inside of the first turn and come out in the top five. By the conclusion of the opening lap, Barcia had moved into third. At one point in the 20-lap race he was briefly passed, but countered back to reclaim third position.

“It was a good night of racing. Obviously I always want to win but third is great for me, especially since I haven’t had the best results so far,” explained Barcia. “Mentally this season has been a challenge so it feels really awesome to be back up on the podium. I wish I rode in the main how I did in the heat race. I felt really solid and think I could have caught James [Stewart] if there were a few more laps, but in the main I got pretty tight towards the end and was just trying not to make any mistakes. I am really looking forward to next weekend. I love Atlanta. It’s kind of like a home race for me, so I have a lot of friends and family coming, which is exciting. Hopefully I can get on the podium again.”

Team Manager Dan Betley said, “Tonight was a good night for the team. Justin rode strong all day and was up front and competitive in the main event, which is where he belongs. I think this gives us a lot of momentum heading into next week, so hopefully we can build off it and get another podium.”

After hurting his hand two weeks ago in Anaheim, it was uncertain if Muscle Milk-backed GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn would even be able to compete this weekend. The Texas native proved otherwise by putting in an impressive effort, duplicating his best finish of the season in Oakland with another eighth-place.

“It’s been two weeks off the bike for me, which is a long time in the middle of a season,” said Hahn. “I took last week off because my hand just wasn’t ready and I wasn’t even sure if I could ride tonight. Two weeks without riding a dirt bike and then come in here and have the same finish I had in Oakland was pretty good considering the cards I’ve been dealt.”

Teammate Eli Tomac missed transferring to the main event by one position in his heat race, forcing him to the semi-qualifying round. Following a fifth in the semi, he moved to the main event where he finished 11th.

250 Class

This weekend also showcased round one of the Eastern Regional 250 Supercross class with Muscle Milk sponsored-GEICO Honda’s Blake Wharton, Justin Bogle and Matt Bisceglia taking the stage.

It was a tough start to the night for Bogle, who was forced to transfer into the main event via the Last Chance Qualifier. In the main, he put together a noteworthy ride to finish fifth. “My heat race was horrible, probably one of the worst races I have ever had,” said Bogle.”I just rode so much better in the LCQ, got that win, and that lifted me up mentally. I ended up kind of having another bad start in the main, but I knew the lines I wanted to ride and I ended up in the top five, which was my goal at the start of the race.”

Wharton struggled in the main event, going down in the slippery first turn and again in a corner later in the race. He was able to remount his CRF250R and finish seventh. Bisceglia looked strong throughout practice but like his teammates, he too had some troubles during the evening. Despite going down in his heat race, Bisceglia was able to recover and still score a transfer spot into the main event. Unfortunately he lost his rear brake on the opening lap and had to ride the entire main event without it.

The Focus: Yoshimura RS-9 Exhaust System

As a sponsor and supplier of cutting-edge four-stroke exhaust systems to the Honda racing team, Yoshimura® spends countless hours each year developing race bike exhaust systems and building products for consumers. As the largest motorcycle-aftermarket exhaust manufacturer in the world, the company has been building four-stroke exhaust systems since 1954. Since moving to the dual-exhaust system on the 2013 CRF450R, Team Honda Muscle Milk has used the Yosh RS-9 and switches between the Carbon Muffler for Supercross and the Titanium Muffler for Motocross. The uniquely sculpted Carbon Fiber end-caps feature a Tunable Insert System to fine-tune power delivery to rider preferences.

___________________________________
Source: 3D CarShows (Ferreira, 2/17)

Clean Eating 12 Days of Christmas – Whiskey/Bourbon Bottle Soap Dispenser

Remember my earlier post about how hard it is to find gifts for the men in our families? This is another solution to that dilemma 🙂 My father-in-law LOVES bourbon but has pretty much everything bourbon related already (at least everything we can afford ;). 

I saw on Etsy a bourbon bottle soap dispenser that I thought he would love and actually use. However, I didn’t want to spend $40 on it, so I made my own. It was super easy…I took an empty bourbon bottle (I used one of his Maker’s Mark ones he actually filled and sealed), washed it out good and filled with soap. For the dispenser part, go to the dollar store and find a $1 soap dispenser that’s as tall or as nearly as tall as the bottle so that the straw reaches to the bottom of the bourbon bottle. Screw the dispenser and straw part onto the bourbon bottle and voila! Instant kitschy, fun and unique soap dispenser! I’m also going green and saving green by recycling and old bottle and only spending $1 on the dispenser.

Bath & Body Works January 2018 Haul – Spring Comes Early!

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Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candles – Pink Bubblegum, Raspberry Peach Macaron, Honey Cinnamon Crumb Cake, Lavender Marshmallow & Lemon Drops


Bath & Body Works started selling spring candles in December, how crazy is that?! They are suppose to set up the stores for spring on January 21st, but they are already selling some of the candles online and in some stores early. This Sweet Shop Collection hit the shelves in 2014 in limited supply and has finally returned. Back in 2014, the Lavender Marshmallow candle was sold on eBay for multiple times it’s retail price! Does it smell so good it’s worth paying an insane price for it? The answer is no. Some people go crazy when they can’t buy something when it’s in limited supply, case in point beanie babies. As soon as the Sweet Collection went on sale on the 24th of December, I placed my order. I only paid $6.67 a candle. Included in that haul were the following:

Pink Bubblegum

It’s described as pink sugar cane, juicy watermelon and a hint of vanilla. This one smells like you are in a candy store. It smells just like pink bubblegum which seems like a strange smell to have in your house. I didn’t sense any watermelon scent at all. I like it for a fun change, but it’s not worth stocking up on. I think this one would be a perfect gift for a teenager along with a bag of bubble gum or for someone who chews bubble gum frequently. It has a throw of about 8 out of 10. You might want to keep it in a large room otherwise you’ll be extinguishing it because it will become overwhelming in a small room. Seven customers rated it online for an average of 3.9 stars out of 5.

Raspberry Peach Macaron

This candle is described as a blend of ripe raspberries, juicy peach and almond cream. I find this one to be very tart and certainly not ripe. It smells like a mix of unripened peaches and raspberries. I don’t smell any almond. If you are a fan of food scents, but you don’t like the sweet ones, this one is for you. I’m not much of a fan and wont return, but I wont repurchase it. This one has a throw of about 7.5 out of 10. You’ll be extinguishing this one in a small room quite quickly, because the tartness will become overwhelming. Out of twenty-six customers it gets an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Honey Cinnamon Crumb Cake

It’s described as fresh soft cake, honey and a hint of cinnamon. This one is so weak I should really return it. I smell just a hint of bland cake with little if any sweetness. I don’t smell any honey or cinnamon. It has a throw of about 2 out of 10. This is the most disappointing one out of my haul. I do not recommend this one unless you are able to find a strong one. Sometimes some batches turn out stronger than others. This is as disappointing as their last banana bread one that I returned and I rarely return candles. Four customers gave it an average rating of 3.5 stars.
Lavender Marshmallow

Described as a mouthwatering, unexpected blend of lavender and marshmallow. This one smells like a slightly sweet lavender to me, I really don’t smell marshmallow. If you don’t like the true lavender oil scent, you may like this one since the sweetness tones down that earthy lavender scent just enough without it being overwhelmingly sweet. It has a throw of about 7 out of 10. While it is lovely, I don’t think you need more than a couple of these. I really don’t understand why people paid so much for this one on the secondary market other than the need to have something that is hard to find. It’s not that impressive to me. Out of thirteen customers, it receives an average rating of 4.5 stars.
Lemon Drops

It’s described as a mouth puckering mixture of sweet and tart which is a blend of lemon zest, sugar and a hint of vanilla. I really didn’t smell any vanilla, so I’m surprised to read that in the description. This one isn’t anywhere near as good as Tea & Lemon aka London. London is my favorite candle and this one at times almost smells like a lemon cleaner especially the longer you burn it. I don’t recommend this one, stick to London! Even Limoncello is better than this one. It has a throw of about 7 out of 10. Out of three customers rating it, it gets 3.7 stars.
Also included in the Sweet Shop Collection is Pineapple Creampuff. I’m not a fan of the smell of pineapple, so I skipped that one. In conclusion, if you fancy any of these scents, make sure you purchase them soon. They will sell out and I haven’t heard if they will be restocking them. I recommend skipping Lemon Drops and Honey Cinnamon Crumb Cake. Also, skip Raspberry Peach Macaron unless you love tart food scents. Buy one Pink Bubblegum for fun and buy a couple of the Lavender Marshmallow candles, if you love lavender scents. These candles are on sale currently for $11.25 and they have a retail value of $22.50. Make sure you use Mr. Rebates and a coupon! What’s your favorite Bath & Body Works candle?

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Flat Belly Diet – Grilled Oregano Chicken

Pretty good dish except the chicken was hard to grill because of the olive oil and vinegar. It really flared up and got kind of burnt. Still good flavor though!

Right before I started cooking, I realized I didn’t have oregano on hand like I thought I did. Crap, it’s the main ingredient of the dish and recipe namesake. A quick Google search led me to this great chart that gives you substitutes for different herbs and spices. I substituted thyme and I think it turned out just fine!
Grilled Oregano (or Thyme!) Chicken

Adapted from Prevention.com

6 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves (if you’re using dried, use half the amount)
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

Place the chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a mallet or heavy pan, pound to 3/4″ thickness.
In a plastic resealable food storage bag, combine the oregano, scallions, vinegar, oil, pepper, and salt. Add the chicken, seal, and turn to coat. Chill for 2 hours.
Lightly coat a grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the grill to medium for indirect heat. (If using a charcoal grill, position the coals on one half of the grill. If using a gas grill, heat one side to high, the other to low.)
Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken on the hottest section of the grill. Cook for 6 minutes, turning once. Move the chicken to the cooler section of the grill and cook for 6 minutes more, turning once, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F.

QVC’s Authentic Gourmet Butter Croissants Review

Croissants from France


Shipped in a Styrofoam Box with Dry Ice


This is a review of croissants offered by QVC from a company called Authentic Gourmet. They are made in France and shipped to your doorstep. I have been buying them for several years. They have had many different types over the years including whole wheat, lemon filled, raspberry filled and chocolate filled. They offer three sizes mini, classic and large. Currently they are only offering the regular and chocolate filled. Here’s your choices of the regular croissant:
  1. 20 Large for $39.00, M56345 or A/D M57119, 2.64 lbs., $1.95 each 
  2. 25 Large for $49.00, M51595, 3.3 lbs., $1.96 each 
  3. 30 Classic for $39.84, M55864, 2.76 lbs., $1.38 each 
  4. 40 Large for $59.00, M56367, 5.28 lbs., $1.47 each
  5. 48 Large for $66.00, M54348, 6.3 lbs., $1.37 each
  6. 50 Large for $64.00, M51596, 6.6 lbs., $1.28 each
  7. 60 Large for $79.00, M56369, 7.92 lbs., $1.31 each
  8. 65 Classic for $65.34, M54578, 5.73 lbs., $1.00 each
The pricing and sizes can be confusing, just look at all the choices! Note that shipping is free. I have calculated the number of croissants versus the weight to figure out which ones are the largest to help you out. Also, I calculated the price per croissant. Number three and number eight on the list are the medium sized croissants called classic. The rest are the largest size which are good for making sandwiches. When I first ordered them they were all large enough to make into sandwiches. Then they started sending smaller ones that weren’t big enough to make into sandwiches, but not small enough to be mini. The ones I purchased that are shown in the above photo are number one on the list, considered to be the largest size. I do not recommend ordering them when your weather is warm or hot. Stick to the cool and cold months of the year to have them shipped. If you have them shipped during the warm or hot months of the year they will arrive with the dry ice melted and the croissants will be partially defrosted and stuck together in one huge clump. QVC will refund your money, but no one wants to be disappointed and it’s such a waste. As soon as they arrive I recommend that you remove them from the bag and place them neatly stacked in a freezer ziplock bag. Then place them in the freezer as quickly as possible. The plastic bag they ship them in isn’t very sturdy and too large.

To cook them simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the croissants on a baking sheet with either parchment paper or foil. Rub the side of a stick of butter on the foil and then place the frozen croissant on top. Note above what the top side of the frozen croissant looks like. The bottom side has the end piece of the dough, you’ll want to make sure that is resting on the baking sheet to ensure that the croissant puffs up to it’s full potential. Once the oven is preheated, place it in the oven and cook for 25-27 minutes. Do not open the door during the cooking process. I use a KitchenAid Countertop Convection Oven that was a QVC TSV and preheat it for three minutes. There’s no need to use a regular sized oven unless you are cooking a lot of them at once. You’ll want to make only as many as you plan to eat right away since they are best served warm. I recommend adding just a bit of KerryGold Irish Butter and some French preserves from Bonne Maman. They can both be found at Costco. If you are going to make it into a sandwich, you’ll want to let it cool a bit before cutting it in half. Be sure to use a bread knife so that the croissant doesn’t fall apart when cutting it. If you try to cut it prior to it cooling it will lose it’s puffiness and it’s more likely to fall apart. Don’t think only lunch sandwiches with deli meat, remember egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches are also a delight. 

If you have been as fortunate as myself and have had the joy of eating a croissant in France, you’ll know what I mean when I say the French make them taste so much better. You’ll also know that their chocolate croissants are much less sweet than the American version and that they use less chocolate. For those of you who have only had American chocolate croissants, don’t expect that super sweet candy like flavor. These have more of a hint of chocolate that is light on the sugar. 

I highly recommend you give these delightfully scrumptious croissants a try soon! There is nothing like a freshly baked croissant right out of the oven made by the French! I’m sure you’ll be be telling me “merci beaucoup” for the recommendation after giving these a taste. Bon Appétit! 

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Spicy Swai

I’m very lucky that everyone in my family, even the kiddos, love fish. It’s so good for you and can be prepared in so many different ways. Last night, I made Spicy Swai. Usually, we buy tilapia (we do the frozen because it’s just as good and cheaper), but Kroger had swai on sale for $1.99 for a 10-ounce bag. The swai tastes just like tilapia (light, flaky and a great option for those who don’t like fish that much, because it’s a very mild fish), but is usually a lot cheaper. 

For the Spicy Swai, I just took the frozen fish, put in a oven-safe dish, seasoned with salt and pepper and then added half a can of Rotel and several squirts of fresh lime and lemon juice. Broil for 10-15 minutes until fish is white, opaque and flaky. I served mine with sauteed zucchini and onions from the garden.

Yuri Japanese Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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1361 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC  27511
(919) 481-0068


Exterior View


Interior View


Sashimi Sampler Appetizer – $10.95


Mixed Tempura Appetizer – $7.95


Dr. Atkins Roll – $12.95


Cherry Blossom Roll – $12.95


This is a review of a Japanese restaurant located in Cary, North Carolina called Yuri. They are open on Saturdays from noon until 10 pm, we visited around 1:30 pm. To check out the rest of their hours and their menu, visit their website. The restaurant was a bit more than half full when we arrived. Their sanitation score is 97 which is very good. I was immediately greeted by a waitress and seated at a booth. Hubby was trying to find a parking spot without ice. Since Trader Joe’s is a couple doors down the parking lot is very full and it takes a bit of time to find a parking space. Unfortunately, they didn’t do a good job at removing the snow which turned into ice in the shady parts of the lot.

The friendly waiter immediately greeted me prior to my husband’s arrival, so I asked him to come back later when my husband arrived. Since we were waiting a long time for the waiter to return, Hubby flagged him down. I ordered the Mixed Tempura Appetizer and the Cherry Blossom Roll. Hubby ordered the Sashimi Sampler and the Dr. Atkins Roll. Hubby was very happy to see they have six sushi rolls without rice since he’s on a low carb diet. Our appetizers arrived quite quickly followed by our entrees in only seven minutes. We weren’t done eating the appetizers. I wish he had waited until we finished our first course. I found it very annoying and we had to shuffle plates around to make room on the table. Hubby loved the sashimi which is thicker than the competition. He also enjoyed the Dr. Atkins roll which has extra large pieces. He said he would order both again. My Mixed Tempura came with two pieces of shrimp and some vegetables which were zucchini, green beans, onion, sweet potato and broccoli. There was too much batter on the shrimp. I could barely taste the shrimp, so I pulled off some of the batter. The dipping sauce was very good. The Cherry Blossom Roll is described as salmon on top of a California Roll, but the roll just had crab meat (not the usual imitation crab), avocado and spicy mayo with no cucumber sticks. I wasn’t crazy about it, I wouldn’t order it again. I also wasn’t crazy about the prices which totaled up to $51.20 before tip. I should have ordered the Bento Box which was much less expensive, but I found the Bento Box choices on the menu very confusing. Hubby couldn’t order the Bento Box since there aren’t low carb choices. The waiter had to be flagged down to order, to get a drink refill and to get the check. There were only two waiters, so maybe someone didn’t show up or this is the norm. While the decor was ok, I didn’t find it to be a peaceful environment having to call the waiter for everything, and having customers all around us coughing. Really people, stay home if you are sick! Thankfully, we didn’t catch their colds. Hubby says he would return, but I don’t think I will. He may take co-workers there for lunch since he loves the low carb menu and since they make the sushi quickly. What’s your favorite sushi restaurant in the Triangle?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Follow this blog via TwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, Facebook or Networked BlogsPlease share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet
Yuri Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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2010 Victory Motorcycles First Look Preview

2010 Victory Motorcycles First Look Preview

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2010 Victory Motorcycles First Look Preview

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Lip Balm

I love chapstick and since I want to explore more all-natural and clean beauty products, I thought I’d start with my own lip balm. Plus, I wanted to use these as cute little Christmas gifts for my girlfriends. I did a lot of research and the process of making your own lip balm is super easy.

I found it hard to track down all the ingredients in one place though. Thankfully, I found several online retailers that make it easy buy selling kits. The kit I bought (here) had everything I needed and so when I went to make them, it took me less than 10 minutes. You get to choose your flavor and they include the lip balm base (a mixture of beeswax and other oils) and the pots or tubes. You melt the base, add in the flavor and put in your pots or tubes. Let harden and add cute labels if you want. That’s it!! 

How easy is that? And it’s clean clean clean!!

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Fall is in the air! YAY!! Time to break out the stick to your ribs, comfort food recipes 🙂 Chicken noodle soup is a favorite comfort food of mine, so I was excited to find an easy recipe that looked really good. It turned out great!!! It was a super easy recipe and so good! It makes a ton, so you’ll have the extras to freeze for lunches or another dinner. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from adorkablerecipes.blogspot.com

5 cups chicken broth (or bouillon) (use homemade to keep it clean)
2 cups carrots, sliced thin
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp pepper
2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (rotisserie chicken would be awesome in this!)
1 cup dry egg noodles (look for an all-natural egg noodles to keep it clean)

Mix all ingredients except the noodles into the crock pot. Keep chicken breast whole (or use pre-cooked, cut up or shredded chicken) and cut up or shred before adding in noodles during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Cook on high 4 hours, then turn to low until ready to serve.

Macy’s Beauty Box 5th Shipment – December 2017

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Macy’s December Beauty Box

This is a review of Macy’s monthly cosmetic subscription box called Macy’s Beauty Box. It costs $15 a month and it comes with a $5 coupon to be used on their website or in the store for beauty products. The approximate retail value of this month’s box is $63.14 not including the cosmetic bag. Included in this month’s box were the following products:
  1. Chanel – La Crème Main Hand Cream, made in France, .17 fl. oz., $5.00 retail value
  2. Peter Thomas Roth – Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream, made in the USA, .25 fl. oz., $8.12 retail value
  3. Nudestix – Intense Matte Lip & Cheek Pencil in the color Belle, made in Germany, .088 oz. $21.12 retail value
  4. Estée Lauder – Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix, made in the USA, .17 fl. oz., $23.46 retail value
  5. Tory Burch – Eau de Parfum, made in the USA, .05 fl. oz., $2.82 retail value
  6. Mac – Liptensity Lipstick in the colors Doe, Smoked Almond & Mulling Spices, made in the USA, .015 oz., $2.62 retail value
  7. $5 Coupon, expires January 31st 2018
Usually they send five deluxe samples and a perfume sample, but this month they only sent four which is disappointing and it’s causing me to hit the cancel button. I looked on the website to verify they didn’t forget a sample in my box. Out of complete disbelief they would only send four deluxe samples, I counted them over and over again! They advertise on their website “five deluxe samples and a bonus”. They sent a tiny little lipstick single use sample instead, but that’s not a deluxe travel size, so I don’t count that. One has to have a lipstick brush to apply them. I haven’t used mine in a while, so I’ll have to search for it. They should have provided a brush or sent us a mini lipstick! Not to mention this one costs $5 more than the competition. I hope customers complain or cancel and Macy’s gets the message. I had to google how to cancel since Macy’s makes it difficult to find the cancel button, here’s the link if you want to cancel. They have a cut off date of the 10th and since my box arrived on the 15th they are forcing me into receiving another box, not cool. I deleted my credit card from my account, so they wont be able to force me into paying for another box. I was going to cancel last month, but I thought I’d give it one more month, sending one less sample was the last straw for me. If you are a subscriber, how do you feel about them shorting us one sample and sending a sample you can’t use without owning or purchasing a lipstick brush? Also, the retail value of their boxes is lower than the competition yet it costs more. I don’t know how they will survive unless they either up the retail value or lower the cost. The subscription box market is very competitive and subscribers will cancel if they are unhappy. The only extra they have going for them is perhaps a higher quality cosmetic bag, but subscribers don’t include that in their estimated retail value of their boxes. One can only use so many cosmetic bags after all! The other thing I haven’t enjoyed about this box is that they have been sending samples I have received in other subscription boxes long ago. They haven’t been providing samples for new products while the competition often does. For instance, the Peter Thomas Roth Cloud Cream was sent nine months ago in the Play! by Sephora April 2017 Box shortly after it’s release. It’s so much nicer to receive a sample when the new product comes out in case you want to try it, but are not a fan of trying and returning if you don’t like the product. This is the entire point of these cosmetic subscription boxes to try before you buy. But if you are waiting months after the product came out, it really loses it’s value. I for one rarely return things, so I’m very careful about my purchases and I research prior.

On to the products, starting with the Chanel Hand Cream. Wow, this is a tiny sample! Only .17 oz, seriously Macy’s, that’s just crazy. The full size is only 1.7 oz and costs $50. That’s is a crazy price tag! One should be filthy rich to spend that amount on a hand cream. It has a bit of a gel consistency rather than a cream. This $5 sample is only going to give me a couple of uses since there is so little product in the tube. It doesn’t even have the Chanel scent! It has a unpleasant plastic powdery scent. The only good thing I can say about it is that it does moisture well, but at a cost of about $2.50 per use, I’ll stick with my favorite L’Occitane 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream. The Chanel one gives a matte finish, that’s the first time I’ve experience a matte finish in a hand cream, I had to look at the bottle again to verify it was a hand cream and not a face cream. Why would I want a matte look on my hands?! It feels just like you applied body powder to your hand. It’s great that it’s not sticky, but I prefer a more moisturized appearance. They should make it for the face instead. It would be perfect for that, it feels similar to a gel primer. I really like the Peter Thomas Roth Cloud Cream. It has a gel consistency that is quick and easy to apply, perfect for when you are in a rush yet it leaves the skin feeling well moisturized.  It’s also great in warmer weather because it has a cooling feel. At $52 a jar, I wont be purchasing it, but if it comes in a discounted set I would definitely consider it. The Estée Lauder Night Repair Eye Treatment looks like a light  weight cream, but it goes on like a gel and it has a bit of cooling to it. It’s a bit on the oily side, so be careful to use as little as you can, it takes the tiniest amount. This one has hyaluronic acid in it which I hear is great at reducing wrinkles. This one is a pretty good sized sample for an eye cream. I could get quite a few uses out of it and be able to determine if it works at reduce fine lines over time. I’ve enjoyed Estée Lauder products in the past and I’m happy to receive another sample from this brand. I’m enjoying the scent of the Tory Burch perfume. It’s notes are neroli, grapefruit, cassis, bergamot, peony, tuberose, jasmine, vetiver and sandalwood. I recently received a deluxe sample size for free from Sephora. While I will enjoy the samples, it’s not a perfume I would purchase in the full size. I wont be able to try the lipsticks until I find my lipstick brush. I’m not really a fan of the colors they sent. Doe is too nude & will look washed out on my fair skin. Smoked Almond is too dark of a brown and Mulling Spices is too red for me. I’m so disappointed they didn’t send a mini lipstick instead of the one time use samples. I’ll give them a try at home since I wont be able to reapply them. The full size version of Nudestix comes with a sharpener. I’m shocked that this sample is 88% of the full sized one since it’s so small. I’ve never heard of this brand before and I’m not a fan of the crayon type of lipsticks. Having to sharpen it is just a pain and I prefer traditional lipstick containers that are pretty. It feels moisturizing and soft on the lips and it’s easy to apply. The color Belle on my lips appears as a brown mixed with a brick red color with a hint of peach. I like it and it’s going right into my handbag. The cosmetic bag is really pretty and has a quality zipper on it. It would have be fun, if they had sent something holiday themed. Would have been perfect to give a makeup gift in. At the very least it should have been a winter design instead of a summer one. Ipsy is sending out a very pretty winter one.

Well there you have it my review of Macy’s 5th shipment. I’d love to know how many subscribers they have lost lately. While they came in at the highest retail value so far, it’s not enough to keep me as a subscriber. They also have no personalization, so everyone receives the same samples. I have signed up for Boxy Charm and I’m on their wait list. I’m going to give that one a try and stick with Ipsy & Sephora for now. Bye, Macy’s Beauty Box. It was a fun ride, but it’s time to say goodbye until you make changes. 

Check out my reviews of the previous Macy’s Beauty Boxes:
November 2017 $38.21 retail value
October 2017 $55.97 retail value
September 2017 $31.84 retail value
August 2017 $35.36 retail value

Also, check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to compare it to Macy’s Beauty Box. In addition, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Plus, don’t forget to enter my current giveaway before you leave. 

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates -6% Cash Back from Macy’s
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Made-from-Scratch Cornbread

Don’t get me wrong…I love Jiffy Cornbread Mix just as much as the next person. I, however, do not  like the extra preservatives included in each blue box. So, I decided to experiment and make my own cornbread from scratch. I amazingly had all the ingredients I needed, so I threw these together easily and quickly. 

They turned out great! If it tells you anything, my husband called them cornbread brownies because they were so sweet and delicious 🙂

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
From All Recipes.com  
1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I like the taste of Chicken Cordon Bleu but it’s pretty time consuming to make. This casserole is easy and tastes just like the real thing. Plus, this would make a great freezer meal or meal to take to someone who’s ill or just had a baby.


Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1 whole Cooked Chicken, Bones Removed, Meat Diced Or Shredded (Rotisserie chicken is Excellent, Should Be 5-6 Cups Of Chicken)
½ pounds Very Thinly Sliced Deli-style Honey Ham, Rough Chopped
¼ pounds Thin Sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
FOR THE SAUCE:
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
3-¼ cups Milk (I Used Whole Milk)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1-½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
¼ teaspoons White Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside. Put cooked shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.

For the sauce:

Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and top has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Etched Glasses

The men in our family are extremely hard to buy for when it comes to Christmas, birthday or any types of gifts. If they want something, they typically just get it for themselves. One thing I can always count on them liking is bourbon or beer, but really you can only only buy so much bourbon and beer every year (I’m sure the men are disagreeing with me now!). 

Thankfully, I came across a method for etching your own glasses and I thought it would be awesome to etch a bourbon decanter and glasses for my husband’s brother. He’s getting married this summer, so I thought these would be a great addition to their new home. I liked how they came out so much that we did some for another friend and some for ourselves. 

The process is pretty straightforward. Buy etching cream from a craft store. Decide what type of letter or design you want etched. For my T’s, I got a scrapbook letter T that was the size and font I liked. Instead of putting the T on the glass, I cut out the outline of the T (the part you would normally throw away) and applied to the glasses. Etch over the sticker, let dry and remove the sticker. Easy peasy! You could also tape off whatever letter or design you want if you’re more artistically-inclined.

You can find the full instructions on etching glasses Thistlewood Farms, who I got the idea from. I originally wanted to do the circle with the letter inside they do, but found it much too time-consuming for my purposes. I couldn’t find the right type of circle stickers and didn’t want to tape off a circle on the glass.

The Weekly Drugstore Makeup Sales (New Ulta Freebies and More)

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Ulta Update: Dose of Colors Now Online, UD Basquiat Sale, New Multipliers, 50% off Clinique Sets & Deluxe Freebie with ANY Purchase is Still Working

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Crockpot Beef and Noodles

I love comfort food, especially when the weather turns colder. My mom used to make the best beef and noodles when we were younger and I was craving it the other day. I searched for a clean recipe that could also be done in the crockpot (to make my life easier!) and found this one I adapted a bit.
It was delicious! So comforting and warm and yummy. It also makes a lot, so I have a whole other meal in the freezer.  
Crockpot Beef and Noodles
Adapted from Kristi’s Recipe Box

2 lbs. stew meat (or any type of beef roast you have on hand, cut into 2″ chunks)

2 (14.5 oz.) cans beef broth (I used my homemade chicken stock…choose a homemade or organic broth to keep it clean)

2 cups water

1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning

1 T. minced garlic

1/2 t. onion powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

16 oz. pkg. egg noodles (look for an organic or all-natural egg noodle…I found mine from an Amish store 🙂
Place stew meat in crockpot and cover with beef broth and water. Add in Italian seasoning, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours. (With beef in the crockpot, I always opt for the lower and slower) During last 30-45 minutes of cooking, add in egg noodles.

QVC’s TSVs for January 2018

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values

1st – Skechers Gowalk Suede & Faux Fur Boots, A295826, $39.98 available in 2 payments & 5 colors

2nd – Dooney & Bourke Pebble Leather Aubrey Satchel with Accessories, A286844, $199.00 available in 5 payments & 6 colors

3rd – Jewelry Clearance Sterling Silver Gemstone Pavé Ring, J348439, $44.95 available in 5 payments & 5 colors

4th – Fitbit Alta HR Activity Tracker with Additional Band, E231742, $119.96 available in 4 payments & 5 colors

5th – Dermaflash 2.0 Facial Exfoliation Device with Extra Edges, A300773, $149.88 available in 4 payments & 2 colors

6th – Vionic Footwear Brinley Water Resistant Suede Lace Up Sneaker, A301860, $83.96 available in 4 payments & 5 colors

7th – Nutrisystem Fast Five Marie’s Jump Start Four Week Plan, A304626, $199.98 available in vegetarian option and auto delivery

8th – Hot in Hollywood by Laurie Felt Silky Denim Pull On Ankle Skinny Jeans, A301117, $49.86 available in 4 shades of blue or colored denim A301508 in black or white

9th – House to Home by Valerie 24″ Spring Raspberry Rose & Magnolia Wreath, H213721, $39.96 available in 2 payments & auto delivery. Additional shipments in March, August & October. I posted photos of all four wreaths on Facebook.

10th – Farmer Jon’s Popcorn Twenty-five 3.5 oz. Virtually Hulless Popcorn Assortment, A296840, $27.96 choice of 5 flavors & A/D available every 60 days M57764

11th – Dyson Pure Hot & Cool 3 in 1 Air Purifier Heater & Fan, V35435, $329.95 available in 5 payments & 3 colors

12th – Breezies Intimates Collection, Seamless Comfort T-Shirt Bra, A296840, $26.00 choice of underwire or without & 5 colors

13th – It Cosmetics, New Year New Confidence in Your Skin 5 Piece Collection, A30722, $79.96 available in 4 payments & 7 shades, A/D A309849 every 90 days for 3 years, only 1st shipment includes the brush, after 1st shipment price drops to $69.54

14th – HP 24″ Touch All in One PC Intel Core, E231511, $699.96 or $749.96 with MS Office 365 available in 6 payments & 4 colors

15th – Isaac Mizrahi, Essentials Pima Cotton 3/4 Sleeve Top, A300290, $28.76 available in 6 colors

16th  – Sure Fit Triple Protection Furniture Cover, H213619, $42 Chair, $69 Loveseat, $79 Sofa, comes in 5 colors

17th – Cooks Essentials Five Tier Deluxe Folding Storage Rack, K46509, $89.96 available in 4 payments & 7 colors

18th – Earth Brands Leather Bungee Slip On Sandals Aloha, A301901, $69.90 available in 4 payments & 6 colors

19th – Supersmile Super Size Extra White Teeth Whitening System, A302395, $54.96 available in 3 payment & A/D

20th – Shark Flex Upright with DuoClean Vacuum & Accessories, V35288, $199.95 available in 5 payments & 5 colors

21st – Oster Digital Connection French Door Oven & Recipe Book, K46602, $129.95 available in 5 payments and 4 colors  

22nd – Peace Love World Cowl Neck Hoodie with Affirmation, A30116, $49.98 available in 3 payments & 5 colors

23rd – Dr. Denese Super Size Anti-aging Four Piece Collection, A305213, $129.00 available in 4 payments and A/D

24th – California Gold Rush 14 K Italian Gold Round Box Chain, J353314, $179.95-$399.95, 5 length choices from 16″-36″, available in 5 payments and 2 colors

25th – Susan Graver Rayon Nylon Cold Shoulder Mock Neck Sweater, A297155, $44.96 available in 5 colors

26th – BECCA Cosmetics Ultimate Perfection Complexion Five Piece Kit, A301077, $59.96 available in 4 payments & 8 shades

27th – Total Gym FIT Signature Series with Attachments & 8 DVDs, F12949, $699.96 available in 6 payments & 2 colors

28th – Serta Perfect Sleeper Hotel Signature Dual Pillow Top Mattress Set, H214501, $799.00-$1099.00 available in 6 payments & 6 sizes

29th – Women with Control Flounce Sleeve Top with Slim Ankle Pants, A301915, $49.98, comes in 5 colors and choice of Regular, Petite & Tall

30th – Cottage Farms Three Piece Tropical Paradise Hardy Hibiscus Collection, M52683, $37.48 

31st – Cooks Essentials 3.4 Quart Digital Air Fryer, K46611, $69.96 available in 6 payments & 8 colors

I’m sure lots of customers are happy to see that Dyson, Fitbit & It Cosmetics will be having a TSV soon. Unfortunately, QVC has been slower and slower with releasing their TSV preorder information over the past year. As soon as January TSV information starts rolling in, I’ll be updating the above list. Which brands are you most excited about? I’ll be curious to see what Valerie Parhill, Vionic & It Cosmetics have to offer, but I’m officially on a spending freeze. I’ve been very busy updating the December TSV list multiple times a week, so be sure you are checking it for newly posted TSV links. Sometimes I post on my blog’s Facebook page that I have updated them. Often I don’t have the time to do so, so it’s best that you just check it regularly for updates. I’ve also been posting some bargains that I’ve been finding that I thought would interest you on the Facebook page.

As you can imagine researching these TSVs daily and updating these TSVs multiple times a week is very time consuming. So please show your support for this blog by using my referral links below or donate. No amount is too small, any amount would be greatly appreciated!


You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway for a Plated meal kit worth $72. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all my blog readers! May 2018 be your best year yet full of peace, love, joy, wealth and free of health issues. Thank you for your support this year and I hope you plan to visit frequently next year.


Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $40 Off
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

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Home Chef 58th Delivery Review & $30 Coupon

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Roasted Salmon with Ginger Scallion Sauce & Charred Green Beans


Ingredients


Apple Cherry Chicken Salad 

Ingredients


This is a review of our 58th delivery from a weekly meal kit subscription box called Home Chef. This week we skipped making the third recipe because we were both sick with pneumonia. I gave both recipes three out of five stars. Calories were only 502 and 409. Preparation time was thirty-six minutes and twenty minutes. The Roasted Salmon recipe costs $9.95 a serving and the Apple Cherry Chicken Salad costs $7.99.

Roasted Salmon with Ginger Scallion Sauce & Charred Green Beans

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. They had minced the ginger for us which wasn’t a good idea, it looked quite unappetizing once it arrived here. The scallions weren’t in good shape, so you don’t see the scallions in the photo. The teriyaki glaze was very tasty, but a bit too sweet for our taste. The salmon was delicious and the green beans cooked with olive oil and ginger were yummy. This recipe only has 502 calories and it was a healthy portion. Preparation time indicated on the recipe card was thirty to forty minutes. Actual preparation time was thirty-six minutes. 

Apple Cherry Chicken Salad 

I was really excited to see that Home Chef started offering salads with already cooked chicken to cut down on preparation time. They make the perfect lunch except for the fact that I didn’t not enjoy the taste nor the texture of the chicken. I looked at the ingredients and they added sugar to the chicken, what?! As soon as I read that I cancelled all my future salad orders that offer that chicken. I’m so disappointed. Also, they sent me two bags of dried cherries instead of one bag of almonds and one bag of cherries. I gave this recipe three out of five stars. It was a very large portion and it comes in at only 409 calories. It took me twenty minutes to prepare while the recipe states five to ten minutes. I’m particularly fussy when it comes to cleaning produce, so it takes me more time.

It wasn’t our favorite week of recipes, but when you order so many times it’s bound to happen occasionally, so I wont hesitate to order again. I’ll just be skipping the already cooked chicken salads. For prepared salads, I recommend Terra’s Kitchen, they are so delicious and healthy. If you haven’t given Home Chef a try yet, click on the coupon link below and order a shipment today! Having ordered 58 boxes from them, you can guess that I certainly recommend Home Chef.

Bargain Alert:
Gobble Meal Kits – Two free meals
Hello Fresh Meal Kits – $40 Off
Home Chef Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads – $30 Off
Sun Basket Meal Kits – $35 Off
Terra’s Kitchen Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads, Soup, Drinks & Snacks – $40 Off

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Facebook. Be a pal and share this post with friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Christmas Sangria

Side note…I’m working on moving my blog over to WordPress and getting my own domain name (woohoo!!). I’ll continue to publish here for awhile, but please change your bookmarks to http://www.eatingcleanandsavinggreen.com

:) 


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a good cocktail right? 🙂 This one is really easy and really good. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and let the flavors meld together even more. 

Christmas Sangria
2 bottles of dry white wine
half 2 liter of Sprite (use Zevia to keep it totally clean)
half bottle of cranberry juice

Mix well and add in whole cranberries or cherries for garnish.

Gobble Meal Kit Review – Free Meals for You!

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Chicken & Waffles with Sautéed Spinach


Ingredients

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Tataki with Kohlrabi Noodles & Ponzu Dressing


Ingredients


Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup


Ingredients


Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


This is a review of our 1st delivery from a weekly food subscription meal kit called Gobble. Meals cost $11.95 per serving and shipping is free. There are eight meals to chose from plus two cookie types, three soups, garlic bread and Mac and Cheese. Two soups are currently $5.95 a serving and the third one is $4.50. Cookies are $1.95 per serving, garlic bread $2.95 per serving and Mac & Cheese is $5.95 per serving. I ordered two meal kits and two servings of soup and I received two free cookies. I gave all three meals four out of five stars. The recipe cards are 5″ X 8 1/2″ on card stock paper and in color with photographs. Hubby said the instructions were concise and easy to follow. The packaging is similar to that of Blue Apron’s with the silver bubble wrap bag that everything is sealed into with a couple of ice packs. Preparation time indicated the recipe cards ranged from ten to fifteen minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from ten to forty-eight minutes. Calories ranged from 340-970. I don’t have the calorie count on the cookies.

Chicken & Waffles with Sautéed Spinach

If you haven’t had chicken & waffles yet, you must find a restaurant that serves them or make them yourself. While it might seem like a strange combination, it’s a real treat! I bet you’ll love it as much as we do. This recipe has 970 calories, like I said it’s a treat, but worth it since it’s so tasty. I gave it four out of five stars. It needed more maple syrup. Also, I wasn’t crazy about the maple butter, I prefer honey butter. The waffles were just a bit too sweet for me, I could really taste the sugar. I didn’t care for the side dish of the spinach. I normally love spinach, but it needed some garlic and spices instead of just salt & pepper. The chicken was tasty with the panko breading on it. It took forty-eight minutes to prepare while the recipe indicates only fifteen minutes. All of the ingredients were in great shape and it was a filling meal.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Tataki with Kohlrabi Noodles & Ponzu Dressing

Hubby & I fell in love with this dish, it was so scrumptious! We gave it four out of five stars. To hit five stars, I would have liked some more salad greens and I would have preferred non dyed ginger and zucchini noodles instead of Kohlrabi. It was also a bit on the light side, more of the noodles and greens would have made it more filling. All of the ingredients arrived in great shape. This recipe only has 540 calories. Preparation time indicated on the recipe card is fifteen minutes. It actually took thirty-seven minutes to prepare. If I saw this recipe offered soon I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase it again. 

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

This recipe is already prepared, all I had to do is warm it up in about ten minutes in a pot and then squeeze some fresh lime over it. It comes in a plastic bag in which they suggest you lay it in a pot of boiling water for eight to ten minutes. I prefer not to cook in plastic due to the chemicals that are released from plastic when it is heated up. So Hubby warmed it up for me in the pot without the bag or water. It was really delicious and I give it four out of five stars. To hit five stars it would have had to be more chunky. Some of the mushrooms were full size, but most of the chicken had fallen apart and wasn’t in little cubes anymore. Also, in the photo it showed fresh cilantro and green onions tossed on top. I would have liked to have been sent some separate from the soup to dress the soup myself and have the same appetizing presentation as shown on the recipe card. This one has 340 calories per serving, but since I wasn’t eating anything else and it was dinnertime I ate both servings to be full. Perhaps if I made a mini loaf of bread to go with it I would have been able to stop at one serving. It was so delicious that I decided to forgo the bread and eat all of the scrumptious soup. While it didn’t taste spicy, my lips were tingling after I was done. It would have been nice to have a bit more spice, but I know the average customer doesn’t like as much spice as I do, so it’s ok. I would definitely order this one again, yum!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a nice surprise to receive two free cookies with our 1st order. The cookie dough came in the form of two balls. The recipe says to cook them for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. I cooked them for fifteen minutes. The were a bit on the crisp side and the second one that I ate the next day was completely crisp. I’m picky about the chocolate used in my chocolate chip cookies. Since I rarely endulge in cookies, I prefer to bake with Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips and Irish Butter. If I’m going to treat myself, I want extremely high quality ingredients and a strong flavor. I also find that cookies taste better having been cooked right after the cookie dough is prepared. If you wait to cook them, they just don’t taste as good.
While I’m always nervous trying a new meal kit, I’m happy to report that it was an enjoyable week of recipes. I would recommend this company and I plan to order another week of recipes soon. I really like how the cooking times are less than the competition and that I can order some already prepared foods for times when I don’t have the time or energy to prepare them from scratch. Has anyone tried their Mac & Cheese, garlic bread or any of their other soups? Looks yummy, I’m tempted. What’s your favorite meal kit subscription company? If you would like to give this one a try, be sure to snag my coupon  below which gives you a discount of 33%.

Bargain Alert:

Gobble – 33% off your 1st box
Green Chef – Four Free Meals
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $35 Off

Be sure to check out my other meal kit subscription reviews before you go! I have reviewed eight Green Chef boxes, fourteen Hello Fresh boxes, fifty-five Home Chef and twenty-two Sun Basket boxes. I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Please share this post via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

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Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review – November 2017

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Survival of the Chillest


This is a review of the November Play! by Sephora subscription box. It’s a monthly subscription for only $10 a month including shipping and handling. There are several different boxes being sent out based on customers’ profiles. This one is box #957 and it has a retail value of $58.57. Bargain! In the November box I received the following cosmetic samples:
  1. Moroccan Oil – Moroccanoil Treatment, made in Israel, .34 fl. oz., $6.80 retail value
  2. Origins – Clear Improvement, made in the USA, 1 fl. oz., $10 retail value
  3. Marc Jacobs – Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara, made in Italy, .17 oz., $11.33 retail value
  4. Caudalie – Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum, made in France, .33 fl. oz., $16.17 retail value
  5. Burberry – My Burberry Blush eau de Perfum, made in France, .06 fl. oz., $3.37 retail value
  6. Sephora – Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Perfect Nude, made in Switzerland, .1 oz, $10.90 retail value
I’ve used the Moroccanoil Treatment before and I loved it. I received a full size bottle of it in one of my subscription boxes a long time ago. That bottle lasted a very long time and once it was all gone I wanted to buy another bottle, but it’s so pricey so I didn’t. So I’m very happy to receive a deluxe sample of it. Just a little bit of it goes a long way. I like to use it after my shower on wet shampooed hair and air dry. My hairdresser said it’s not healthy for the hair though. It really helps to detangle long hair when brushing throughout it when it’s wet. I’ve also received a sample of Origins Clear Improvement mask before. I really like it, so that’s another sample I’m happy to receive and it’s a large sample at 1 oz. I look forward to trying the Marc Jaobs Mascara. I’m always happy to receive a sample from the Caudalie brand. I’m never been disappointed by any of the Caudalie samples I’ve received over the years. I’ve never tried any Burberry products before, so I’m happy to receive this sample also. This perfume has a floral scent with top notes of pomegranate and lemon. It has middle notes of geranium, apple and rose petal. It’s base notes are jasmine and wisteria. I mostly smell the apple, followed by lemon and a mix of flowers. It’s a refreshing scent that I like, but not enough to purchase at $90 a bottle. The last item in the box is the Lip Gel made by the Sephora brand. I usually find quality products from Sephora. This lip gel is glossy yet not sticky, but it doesn’t change my lip color much. It’s not opaque and it’s very nude. I’d prefer a color that is different from my own lip color, this is too similar. 

My favorite item in this box is the Moroccanoil. If you received a box from Sephora this month, which item was your favorite? If not, which subscription box is your favorite?

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – 4% cash back for online Sephora purchases! 
Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to see what I have received in my previous boxes. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. 

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New Beauty Deals for Your Monday (Sephora, MAC, The Body Shop, Tarte, Lancome, and More)

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PORSCHE CUSTOM MOTORCYCLE Motorcycles Wallpaper 16727537 Fanpop

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2012 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle Insurance Information

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New 2008 Yamaha XV1900 Raider custom cruiser motorcycle MCN

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 7 Deals are Live (Info, Tips and New Code)

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Merry Christmas to You and Yours!!

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Boxy Charm Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Galaxy Glow – February Boxy Charm 2018


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Boxy Charm. Each month they send around five full sized products for $21 including shipping. Usually just one of the five product’s retail value is equal to the price of the box, so it’s like receiving the rest for free. It’s quite the bargain. The retail value is usually over $100 and this month the retail value is $142.98. Included in the February box were the following products:
  1. Naked Cosmetics – Holographic Highlighter Collection, made in the USA, $39.99 retail value
  2. Seraphine Botanicals – Sugar + Lemon Moisturizing Lip Buffer, formulated in the UK & packaging made in China, .51 fl. oz., $24.00 retail value
  3. Cover FX – Shimmer Veil, made in Intaly, .14 fl. oz., $28.00 retail value
  4. Vintage Cosmetics – Smokey Eye Pencil in jet black, made in China, .04 oz., $21.00 retail value
  5. Crown Pro – Trio Brush Set, made in China, $29.99 retail value
I’m not pleased with so many of the products this month being made in China. It’s a deal breaker for me, so I cancelled after trying this subscription box for two months. I gave the Naked Cosmetics Highlighters a try. They are very pigmented, so be sure to use a light hand. I found blending a lot helped it look better. They are fun, but I don’t think I would wear any of the six colors in a business environment. The Seraphine Botanicals Lip Buffer smells like lemon hard candy, it’s very pleasant. It’s very oily and it has some sugar crystals for exfoliating. It says it also has avocado, apricot, jojoba oils, shea & coca butter. I would recommend using it prior to washing your face since it takes a bit of face wash to remove the oil after exfoliating. While it did moisturize, it didn’t remove a large piece of dead skin on my lips. I think this would be best used on a regular basis rather than only when you desperately need it like I do after having pneumonia for two weeks. I like it and will use it, but for $24 it’s not something I would purchase. The Cover FX Shimmer Veil is fun. I think it’s best for evening use and I would recommend using a base of a pink eye shadow since it’s not completely opaque. It felt a bit sticky shortly after application, but after some time it felt like a normal eye shadow. Try to not get it on your eyelashes because I managed to and it was irritating. I’m going to skip giving the Vintage Cosmetics Eye Pencil a try, it’s going straight to my blog sale box. My eyes are so sensitive, I have to be careful, so I usually stick to liquid eye liners. Eye pencils tend to tug at the skin and irritate. I really like the Crown Pro brushes, they aren’t of the highest quality, but I’ll be using them. They are soft and I like the pretty pink tips. 

My favorite item in this month’s box is the brush set. 2nd place goes to the lip buffer. What was your favorite item? If you haven’t subscribed yet, what’s keeping you from giving this subscription box a try? Check out what I received in my January Boxy Charm Box.

Spoiler Alert – the March box will include Pür Twelve Piece Eye Shadow Palette, Vintage Cosmetic Company Three Piece Smokey Eye Brush Set and Pretty Vulgar Powder Blush, plus two other items yet to be revealed.

Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

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Banana Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

Because girls weekend was in Columbus, I went a night early to spend some extra time with Kathy, Joe and sweet Sebastian. On Saturday morning, Joe made me a delicious smoothie after my run that totally hit the spot. It had just the right amount of sweetness and the oats really made it filling. I could only eat about half of it. 

Joe said he also tried with chocolate chips but found it to be a bit too chunky and chewy for a smoothie. I might try mini chocolate chips to see if that helps. A little cocoa powder or peanut butter would be good too.

Thanks Joe for the great breakfast recipe! Every time I have one, I’ll be thinking of you 😉

Banana Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
Courtesy of The Joseph Wilson

2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk

Add everything to the blender or a glass if you’re using an immersion or hand blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Spotted: NEW Sephora Favorites Sets (Sephora and Sephora inside JCPenney Exclusives)

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Plated Meal Kit Giveaway

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Plated has provided me with another box worth $72 to give away. Plated will send the winner one shipment that includes three recipes and the ingredients needed to make three meals for two people for a total of six servings. Above photo shows an example of one recipe. Enter via Rafflecopter:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Plated, provide me with their name and email address to give to Plated, provide Plated their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Plated and simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Plated box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to my account settings, scroll down to the bottom and chose “cancel subscription” or to skip future shipments select weekly menus and chose “skip week”. They ship to most of the US except Hawaii, Alaska and a few cities in TX including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo & Midland. Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesdays or Saturdays. Vegetarian meals are also offered.

Learn more about Plated by visiting my Plated Pinterest Board. Click on the photos that interest you and it will take you to my matching blog post which provides a review of that recipe. Be sure to check out my reviews of Blue ApronGreen BlenderGreen ChefHello FreshHome ChefMarley SpoonPlated, Sun Basket and Terra’s Kitchen

Bargain Alert: 
Boxed – $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 off, click here.
Julep – Free 12 Piece Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50 

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10 Things Every Motorcycle Owner Needs to Know About Insurance

Texas is a highway haven for motorcyclists. From hugging the Gulf Coast through salty Galveston, where the Port Bolivar ferry puts bikers at the head of the line for a fast de-boarding, to the gut wrenching twisties outside of Lajitas along the Rio Grande, and from a Hill Country jaunt after a Bandera breakfast to an afternoon cruise among the wind-blown arroyos past Amarillo. Life is good on a motorcycle taking on a Texas road. Even better when you’ve got effective insurance coverage at an affordable price.

Before you saddle up for your next Texas tour, make sure you’ve reviewed these nine motorcycle insurance tips.

Choose your coverage carefully

Just as with your automobile insurance, you’ll find differing levels of motorcycle coverage. Depending on how valuable your ride is, you may opt for plain-vanilla basic coverage or full-coverage, including comprehensive and liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Which is ironic when you realize that most damage occurs to you and your bike — not what you hit. But most states require at least a minimal amount of liability insurance.

The more you ride, the more you save

Experienced riders earn lower rates with some insurance companies, so the longer you ride, the lower your premium will be.

Remember the upgrades

Most motorcycle insurance will cover the basics, but if you’ve bolted on some extensive and expensive options, be sure to price additional accessory coverage.

Consider a mileage cap

In many cases, the fewer miles you ride in a year, the lower your premium will be. Kelley Blue Book, the vehicle appraisal service, estimates annual mileage is about 3,000 miles for sportbikes between 600-900 c.c., while touring bikes accrue an average of about twice that: 5,000 to 6,000 miles a year. Your insurance agent may grant a lower premium for a mileage cap on coverage.

Consider paying annual premiums

You can save a few bucks by paying your premium annually, rather than semi-annually, quarterly or monthly.

Garage your bike

Keeping your motorcycle locked up and in a secure garage can lower your insurance costs, too.

Consider a cruiser rather than a crotch rocket

Riding a twistie-gripping sportsbike rather than a laid-back cruiser will hike your insurance rates. Sure, on a cruiser you sacrifice some style and performance but you are likely to pay less for insurance – as well as for speeding tickets.

Join a riding club

Believe it or not, some insurance companies will give you a premium discount simply for being a member of an approved riding club. Manufacturers often sponsor riders groups and can be a good source for insurance discounts, too.

Advanced riding courses earn discounts

Taking a safety course, such as those offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, can earn you a break on your insurance. A clickable map on the MSF website lists locations of nearby learning events, but if you don’t see one available in your area you can sponsor one of your own. Anyone can order the materials and teach the course.

Let’s ride!

Owning a home can also reduce your cycle coverage cost. And, like automobile insurance, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Plus, most providers will offer you additional discounts for insuring your home, car, bike and boat with them.

____________________
Source: Neighbors Go, Plano (01/16)

Suzanne Somers Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Suzanne Selects Subscription Box – 1st Shipment


I recently found out that Suzanne Somers was starting a subscription box during one of her Facebook live videos. She revealed what would be in the first box and since it’s a bargain, I decided to purchase it. I had not purchased any of her cosmetics before because of the high prices. Each box costs $39.99, but I used a $5 coupon* (“Starter5”) and Mr. Rebates for 5% back, so the final price is only $33.25. That makes each item only cost $8.31! Each box has a retail value of at least $125.00 saving at least 68%. This box has a retail value of $149.96. Bargain! Included in this box were the following products:
  1. Targeted Night Cream, 1 oz., $49.99 retail value
  2. Liquid Oxygen Therapy Facial Serum, 1 oz., $54.99 retail value
  3. Ageless Serum, 1 oz., $34.99 retail value
  4. Lip Balm, .15 oz., $9.99 retail value
You can sign up for a shipment monthly, every two months or every three months. You can also pause your subscription. While she revealed the contents of the 1st box, I believe future boxes will be a surprise. Perhaps she will give a sneak peek on her Facebook page. I really appreciate that her products are organic and toxic free. Her cosmetics feature no synthetic fragrances, no animal testing and no chemical emulsifiers. They are made in the USA and are gluten free.  

I tried out the lip balm first and I love it. It has a nice thick texture, so it really coats the lips and makes them feel really soft and moisturized right away. The moisture comes from shea butter, tacuma and argan oil. I also like the light scent of orange and vanilla. Then I tried the Liquid Oxygen Therapy. I’ve tried a similar one from another brand and loved it, so I was anxious to try her version. It feels good on the skin and makes it feel moisturized. It’s a gel consistency and it sinks into the skin quickly. It’s suppose to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. After that, I tried the Ageless Serum. This one is to help with elasticity and reduce sagging. It also has a gel consistency, goes on quickly and it’s moisturizing. This one is her best seller. The last product I applied to my face was the Targeted Night Cream. It’s a lightweight cream that takes a little more time to skin in, but still quite quickly. I’ve used the entire system a couple of days now and my skin which tends to lean towards dry is already noticeably more moisturized. I haven’t had results that quickly from other brands. I’m impressed with the products especially since this time of year is when my skin is at it driest. I will continue to use them to see what happens over time and update this post.

Have you tried any of her cosmetics before? I would love to hear your review, please comment below. I’d also like to hear your review, if you purchase any of the upcoming boxes since I wont be able to afford to order it every month. If you are not aware, Suzanne use to sell her line of products on HSN, then she moved to Evine and now she’s on QVC. She’s currently selling some vitamins, chocolate bars, protein shakes and her latest book. She’s currently working on adding her jewelry line soon, so stay tuned. I use to buy lots of her jewelry when she was on QVC with Coleen and I miss those shows, they were so much fun. Anyone else watch way back then? Remember the pajama parties? So funny! I still get compliments on her jewelry and it has stood up to the test of time.

Bargain Alert:

Suzanne Somers 25% off cosmetics this week only, code “MAKEUP25” *
Suzanne Somers10% off entire purchase, code “Suzanne10” *
Suzanne Somers$5 off, code “Starter5” *
Mr. Rebatescash back online purchases, 5% back for Suzanne Somers

*Affiliate Link

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Don’t forget to follow this blog via Facebook, so you don’t miss any of my future posts.

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Top Ten Posts of 2013

Happy New Year y’all! Before I look forward to 2014, I wanted to take a quick look back at 2013 and the top ten posts of the year. Will you take a stroll down memory lane with me? 🙂


10. 100 Cleanest Packaged Foods Awards
9. Santa Fe Chicken
8. Banana Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
7. Girls Weekend
6. Almost Guacamole and Cheese Queso
5. Crock Pot Beef and Noodles
4. Zucchini Pizza Crust
3. Flat Belly Diet 4-Day Anti-Bloat Cleanse
2. Texas Gold
1. Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

What was your favorite post of the year?

Bath & Body Works Winter Candle Haul – September 2017

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Winter, Campfire Donut & Fresh Balsam Three Wick Candles


Today Bath & Body Works added some of their winter line of candles for sale online and they are available in stores. They weren’t suppose to show up until the end of October, so it’s quite the surprise. They are on sale 2 for $24 and if you use a 20% off coupon then they will only cost $9.60 each. That’s $14.90 off the original price of $24.50. Bargain! This year the labels have a camping theme and the glass is frosted. The lids are antique copper with embossed pine trees and stars. The following winter candles are for sale now:
  1. Winter – orange & fir needle essential oils & notes of clove, returning favorite
  2. Campfire Donut – powdered sugar, glazed donut & cedarwood essential oil, new addition
  3. Fresh Balsam – pine, cedarwood & eucalyptus essential oil, returning favorite
  4. Frosted Cranberry – iced cranberries and orange essential oil, returning
  5. Hot Cocoa & Cream – milk chocolate, steamed milk & nutmeg essential oil, returning favorite
  6. Spiced Apple Toddy – cinnamon & clove essential oils and notes of apple brandy, returning
  7. Flannel – orange peel & patchouli essential oils and notes of soft musk, returning
1-3 are shown in the photo above. I always purchase Winter & Fresh Balsam every year, they are two of my favorites and must haves. I like to buy a few extra and burn them year round. Nothing like being sick of the hot & humid summer and burning a Fresh Balsam candle and escaping to a cooler mindset. Fresh Balsam is a lovely substitute for the scent of a live Christmas tree. Winter is a lovely, calming scent enjoyed year round, but a must have for winter. Campfire donut is a cross between their Cinnamon Sugared Donut which I absolutely love and the scent of bread baking. I’m not smelling any cedarwood. This one may be a big seller since Cinnamon Sugared Donut was, so stock up if you love it. I’m not a fan of Frosted Cranberry, it smells like a summer scent to me. Hot Cocoa & Cream is a must have! It smells just like a cup of hot cocoa, love it! That one tends to sell out, so stock up early. Spiced Apple Toddy is nice, just not a big fan of that one. Flannel is very masculine, if you enjoy musk then that one is for you. I’m not a fan of musk, so I don’t purchase that one. Later they will be offering some candles in metallic finishes. For a sneak peek, click here.

So are you ready to purchase your winter candles early this year? I’m afraid that they will sell out early since they are releasing them so early. Makes me a bit worried since I don’t really want to stock up this early. Which ones are your favorites? I’m hoping they come back with Holiday or something like it, it smells like a cinnamon candle from the 70’s. Love that one, it’s my number one favorite. Marshmallow Fireside is also a favorite, but the fall version just doesn’t seem as good as last year’s winter version. We’ve been enjoying my stash of Evergreen candles from last year, another favorite of ours. It smells even better than Fresh Balsam, but really both are must haves for me. They are perfect for when you are sick of summer and want to dream of the holidays and cooler weather. 

If you purchase something soon, they will give you a coupon booklet with photos of the upcoming winter line and the following coupons:

Bargain Alert:
  • Now 20% off – online code FALL4FALL, store coupon here.
  • Now until November 12th – Free item of your choice up to $13.50 with $10 purchase, FA175634
  • November 13th until December 24th – $10 off $30, FA175635
  • December 4th until 24th – Free aromatherapy item with aromatherapy purchase, FA175637

The other coupon in the booklet has a unique one time use code for a free bath fizzy with any body care purchase. 


Feel free to browse around my blog before you leave. Check out my Bath & Body Works Pinterest Board for links to my other blog posts featuring Bath & Body Works products. Also, you are invited to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs

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(UPDATED) Mid-Week Beauty Deal Round-Up

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92′ BMW R100GS Sidecar ‘Avventura’ – OCGarage


Written by Martin Hodgson.
Head south-east out of Italy’s motorcycle capital of Bologna on the E45 towards the Adriatic Sea and eventually you arrive in Ravenna where you are transported back in time and you haven’t even had to reach 88mph. This was the capital of the Western Roman Empire, it’s where Julius Caesar gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon and you don’t have to look far to see a Basilica decorated with the world’s most incredible mosaics. But Ravenna is also home to a small workshop that takes you back to a time when great craftsman and artists worked from their small studios to create pieces that would remain on the lips of admirers for centuries to come; this is the home of Oscar Tasso’s OCGarage. It is here that he has created his latest masterpiece, from the very best materials in the world, a 1992 BMW R100GS with sidecar, it’s the incredible AVVENTURA!

Even in his teenage years Oscar had one definitive goal, to make his passion his career; he worked on engines and then started with cars but his ultimate aim was to build one off custom motorcycles. With an unrelenting passion and tireless work ethic he progressed further in the motorcycle industry, building race bikes and becoming a deft hand at suspension tuning. Now for the last two decades, all the motorcycles Oscar creates have a name and story to tell. “They are the emotion of a moment in life made tangible, moulded in beauty and filled with essence.” Once each is completed they will never be replicated, what is left over is destroyed and their beating heart comes alive “it is right at this moment that technology stops being cold, carries the soul, changes name and becomes ART.” Every OCGarage motorcycle is special, but it’s hard to imagine anything as good as this chariot fit for a King.

When the 1992 GS came to market it couldn’t have looked more like a Paris-Dakar machine for the road, so it’s fair to say Oscar had his work cut out in crafting one into a suitable steed for the project. Stripped of all its plastics, absolutely every part that was to be reused has been rebuilt, overhauled and brought back to brand new condition. The engine has been treated to a complete rebuild, new seals, bearings and gaskets were thrown at it and with the engines renowned reliability it’s fair to say it won’t need doing again for decades. To give it a more vintage look the valve covers have been replaced with items from an early R series and the entire engine casing refurbished. To extract some more power a pair of modified carbs from an R100rs were fitted and a NOS airbox installed. Then the exhaust manifolds and Y pipe were made out of stainless that run all the way back to a “German origin E2 approved muffler specifically for the R100GS”

But that engine would spend a great deal of time on the bench in a corner of the small workshop while the GS was overhauled to become a three-wheeled machine. The frame was stripped of absolutely everything, ground smooth and given a new subframe to compliment the look Oscar was going for. New mounts were added that swing the custom rear fender that was lovingly sculpted by hand to follow the contours of the rear and provide a more vintage look. Bolted to each side is a motocross number plate that while somewhat hidden in body matching paint is a subtle nod to the bikes racing pedigree. While atop the new fender Oscar fabricated custom baggage wracks as well as a simple numberplate holder and brackets for the lighting assembly. The fuel tank is the standard ’92 unit that has been body worked beyond belief, there is no filler or bondo here and Oscar has replaced the badges with his own company’s logo in timber and a one off fuel cap.
But the timber work really gets serious over on the sidecar, “The surfaces are covered with sheets of precious mahogany” that gives the sides the look of an oversized Stradivarius. The aluminium bodywork that compliments the wood is just as impressive with each sheet arrow straight and forming the most perfect lines; which were not drawn up, simply envisioned and then created. The framing is designed to match that of the BMW’s and sweeps around the side and with an unbroken line comes up past the body that it supports to create a grab handle in front of the passenger. They ride in style being protected from the wind with a small shield that is affixed to the body with marine grade bracketry. The same high end brackets are used throughout, along with fixtures and fittings you would normally find on a yacht valued in the millions. More Mahogany is used to create the rear hatch that provides ample room for a gentleman to store more than enough for a picnic fit for a Queen.
Her Majesty steps into her carriage on a beautiful timber piece that sits in front of the sidecars wheel and waiting to cushion her body is more incredible craftsmanship. The throne, ok I’ll call it a seat, is generously padded before Oscar laid the finest premium grade leather over the top featuring a double stitched diamond pattern in a non-degrading marine material. The sides also feature Mahogany panelling while on the floor and stretching up under the body work is Jaguar X-Type carpet for the most plush of finishes. Should the lady need to write while on the move or use an old map to navigate the door features a tailored leather cover with three pockets for a pen, pencil and sextant. Of course with the GS capable of traversing all sorts of roads a large mudguard was fabricated that provides generous coverage to the sidecars tyre and features a matching leather mudflap. That leather was also used on the beautifully upholstered seat on the bike itself with the same material used to create the small rear luggage and there is a sailing rope thrown in for good measure.
To ensure all this comfort could be enjoyed Oscar spent a huge amount of time getting the suspension just right, but it starts with the wheel and tyre combination. All three wheel hubs are constructed from 6082 aircraft grade aviation alloy that result in hidden spokes and the ability to run modern tubeless rubber, in this case from Dunlop. The bikes rear suspension has been upgraded with a fully adjustable Ohlins mono-shock mounted to a revised position on the swingarm with the adjuster mounted to the side of the bike. The front of course is not at all how the BMW left the factory, now sporting a Ural like leading link combination. Twin coil-over shocks provide the dampening and are also adjustable with a steering dampener affixed to the main chassis also joining the party and proving pretty handy in a cross wind. The front brake is a combination of a single drilled rotor and lever arm supported caliper, while up on the front fender is a yachting cleat and rope for docking.
The buggy itself is also sprung for a plush ride and is attached with rose-mounts that allow for fine tuning of the overall combination. Should a night time ride be required the lighting has been well appointed while remaining unobtrusive to the styling. A classic round headlight sits at the front of the BMW and a second item in the forward step of the side car. There are taillights on both bike and buggy, as well as a full array of indicators all-round, with a bullet shaped item neatly hugging the sidecars fender. The final task before everything was reassembled for the final time was to have all the bodywork sprayed in an aluminium effect paint job that gives an incredibly realistic impression of the alloy without the worry of corrosion or discolouration. Words cannot describe the finished result, simply feast with your own eyes, and for Oscar “It was an intense creative process, where many lives and many passions have crossed. It was a pleasure to design and then build AVVENTURA…. now let’s move on!” Because while his client now has an incredible piece of motorcycle art to call his own, Oscar has more creative passion to unleash!

First published by www.pipeburn.com

QVC’s Ring Floodlight Cam TSV Review

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Ring Floodlight Cam

This is a review of Ring’s Floodlight Cam that was a Today’s Special Value (TSV) at QVC on the 24th of October. It normally sells for $249.00, but the TSV price dropped to $219.95, a $29.05 savings. Currently it’s selling for $239.92 on QVC’s website. It also came with a three year warranty instead of a one year warranty. In addition, it comes with a lifetime theft warranty, if stolen they will replace it. It has screws that can only be removed with a special tool that comes with all of Ring’s security cameras. We purchased the Ring Video Doorbell earlier in the year when it was a TSV, see my review for more information. We loved it so much that we were anxious to purchase the Floodlight version, but the price made us put it on the back burner waiting for a lower price. So as soon as I saw it was available to order as a TSV, I ordered it. Not to mention the five easy payments make it budget friendly. 

I’m in love with it! It has solved several problems that we’ve had for years now. The garage area of our house is a blind spot. I either have to open the garage door to see what’s going on or go upstairs and look out two different rooms’ windows. Now I am delighted that I can see all the way down our one hundred foot driveway and see all that is going on from home or while out on the town! The information online doesn’t really explain how much the camera will show and there wasn’t any indication that one could move the camera to point in other directions. Even during the on air presentation, this information wasn’t given. So I was thrilled to see that the camera is adjustable which is so important when you have a side load garage. Looking straight out from our garage wouldn’t have worked for us. As you can see in the photo below, Hubby turned the camera so we could see all the way down our driveway, awesome!

View from Camera
It gives a fisheye view, so some things are a bit distorted. For instance, on the left side there is a parking spot, but in the camera view shown above it looks much smaller than it really is. It also makes the driveway appear shorter than it really is. Without the fisheye view we wouldn’t be able to see all the way down our driveway. The nighttime view is also awesome, it’s night vision is fantastic. 

The only issue we have with they system is that our wi-fi is located on the other side of the house on the 2nd floor, so we don’t have the best connection all of the time. Even so, it works pretty good. Our plan is to move the wi-fi closer to the center of the house or get a wi-fi booster. Anyone have any recommendations on a booster?

Installation is easy, if you have some experience with electrical connections.  It only took about fifteen minutes for Hubby to install it including the adjustments to the camera to make sure it was showing the area we wanted to see. Make sure you turn off the power to that light fixture prior to starting the installation. If you are inexperienced, but not too nervous about it, give it a try on your own with the instructions that come with the system and online. If that doesn’t work, you could always call an electrican or a friend or family member with experience. I will miss our old light fixture since it was attractive, but security is more important than looks. It comes in black or white, I chose the white color since our trim on the house is white.

The Ring app is easy to use, you can see photos of it in the App Store. When a person or animal steps inside the camera’s view it sends a ring tone and a notification on your phone. If you click on that, it will take you to the app and open up the live camera view. If the app gives you false alarms, all you need to do is reduce the area that sets the alarm off. For instance, we had to bring the alarm area a bit off the street because cars that were going by were setting it off. We have learned that a cat comes by our house everyday at 8:30 to 9:30 pm. It will also go off, if a squirrel is walking by. But it hasn’t gone off because of moving trees or any other false alarms like that. Once the alarm goes off the app will start recording and it stores the video on your app. To keep those videos, you’ll need to pay $3 a month or $30 a year. If you have more than two devices, get the plan that is $100 a year for multiple devices. They just came out with a security system that I would have bought if we hadn’t just signed up with another company. You’ll need those videos, if something happens and you need to submit the evidence to the police. You can also share videos with other Ring Security Camera owners in your area. Plus, something cute might appear like a bird sitting on the doorbell looking at the camera. Here’s our nightly visting cat:


Nightime View
You can also control the lights by turning them on and off on the app from anywhere. Forgot to turn on the lights and you’re in Hawaii enjoying the sunshine? No problem, open the app on your phone and turn them on, voila! Awesome! It also has the ability in the settings to set it to come on and off automatically at the times you specify. I went online and looked up the sunrise and sunset times and used them. I wish it had settings to go on automatically when the sun sets and off when the sun rises, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a light sensor. I’ll have to adjust the times it turns on and off seasonally and when the time changes twice a year. 

It also has an alarm, so if you see someone that looks like they are about to commit a crime, you’ll want to turn on the alarm. Having recently had criminals in our neighborhood breaking into cars, this gives us some power. Hubby tried it out and it is very loud. You can also talk to the person standing in your driveway and you can hear what’s going on. So you have the option to tell the person to get off of your property. That alone will probably scare the crap out of them not expecting to hear a voice and no one standing there. The alarm comes with a sticker that says “do not switch off” to put on your light switch since you may need to be reminded not to turn off the system. Just remember to turn on and off the lights with the app instead.

I highly recommend this product for the security of you and your family and the peace of mind it gives. Now you can instantly see what’s going on in your driveway without risk. You may even see wildlife that you don’t normally see. It gives you the ability to know when someone visits your home, whether it be the delivery person or service personnel. You’ll know when they were there and for how long. Now that’s powerful. Now what are you waiting for? Get yours today, you won’t regret it!

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Fudge

My hubby loves fudge, so I always include it in my Christmas cookie baking especially since I’ve found this amazingly simple and easy recipe. Remember, I’m a lazy baker? 🙂 I love this recipe because you can add just about anything you want…marshmallows, extra chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, etc.

Easy Fudge
From Busy Cooks

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, if desired


Place chips and milk in microwave safe bowl. (You can use just the one package of semisweet chocolate chips, or add the milk chocolate chips for a fudge that is slightly sweeter and creamier.)

Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Microwave, stirring at 1 minutes intervals, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in butter and cream until combined.

Pour into greased 8″ square pan and cool. You can also melt the chips and milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat.

You can add just about anything to this easy recipe. Stir in a cup of chopped nuts, add a cup of marshmallows after the cooking time is done, stir in chopped dried fruit or some white chocolate chips. Have fun with the recipe!

Pesto Cheese Tarts


My in-laws celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary earlier this month and this past weekend, all their kiddos and significant others threw them a party. It was a wine tasting party where everyone brought an appetizer and wine to pair with it. I made pesto tarts, an incredibly easy, yet super elegant appetizer. I paired the pesto tarts with Paper Moon Harvest Blend sweet red wine. 


Shout out to a fellow Bobcat! Paper Moon is the winery we visited on our getaway earlier this summer. We went to Ohio University with the owner, Adam. You should check them out at papermoonvineyards.com and buy some of their yummy wine 😉

Pesto Cheese Tarts Recipe
2/3 cup chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons prepared pesto
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package (1.9 ounces) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
Directions
In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheeses, pesto and pepper. Spoon heaping teaspoonfuls into tart shells. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 15 appetizers.

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The Lipstick League – Week of 5.23.17

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QVC’s TSVs for April 2018

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values

DO NOT COPY


April

1st – Susan Graver Printed Liquid Knit 8 Gore Pull On Skort, $39.92 available in 4 payments & choice of 6 prints

2nd – Wen by Chaz Dean Cleanse & Replenish Kit, $58.00 available in 4 payments & 6 colors


3rd – Martha Stewart Skylands Set of Four Landscape Solar Lights, $49.98 available in 3 payments & 3 colors


4th – Affinity Diamond Jewelry Diamond Cluster Stud Earrings, 1/2 carat $399.96 or 1 carat $799.96 available in 6 payments, white or yellow 14K Gold


5th – Harry Slatkin Ceramic Fruit Basket with Two 9 oz. Candles, $36.96 with free s/h available in 4 payments & 4 scents, A/D in October is a Pumpkin Basket, Refills 9 oz. 2 for $25.40 available in 4 payments

6th – G.I.L.I Jetsetter Short Sleeve Side Slit Dress, $49.92 available in 3 payments & 5 patterns plus black & petite

7th – Perricone MD Power of Neuropeptides Face & Neck Duo, $179.00 available in 5 payments & A/D, plus free s/h handling day for anything, check your wish list now!


8th – Serta Perfect Sleeper Hotel Excursion Pillowtop Mattress Set, $799.00-$1129.00 Twin-King size available in 6 payments


9th – Microderm MD Microdermabrasion System, $129.95 available in 5 payments 


10th – My Pillow Set of Two Standard/Queen Premium Pillows or King, $67.98 or $77.98, available in 4 payments & 3 choices of firmness 

11th – Nutrisystem Fast Five Marie’s Summer Shake Up Four Week Plan, $219.98, A/D & Vegetarian option available

12th – Wagner Flexio Paint Sprayer with Detail Finish Nozzle & Spray Shield, $99.96 available in 4 payments


13th – Dennis Basso Caviar Crepe Tunic with Lace Trimmed Sleeves, $49.90 available in 3 payments and 6 colors


14th – Skechers Suede Pee Toe Sling Back Wedges named Stylin, $42.40 available in 4 payments & 6 colors

15th – Traeger Heartland Grill & Smoker, $599.94 available in 6 payments and 4 colors


16th – Isaac Mizrahi Elbow Sleeve Peplum Flounce Knit Top, $27.92 available in 4 payments & 7 colors

17th – Laura Geller Glow Your Own Way, $44.00 available in 2 payments & 7 shades


18th – Valerie Bertinelli wines from Vintage Wine Estates, $41.00 for 3 bottles or $125.00 for 12 bottles, available in 4 payments, A/D, 2 ship dates & 4 flavors


19th – Honora Ming Cultured Pearl Strand Necklace with a rose 18K plated sterling silver snap closure, 16″-30″, $399.98-$779.98 available in 6 payments

20th – Denim & Co Beach Pull On Wide Leg Knit Pants, $27.32, available in regular & tall, petite is not available for preorder yet, choice of 2 colors and 3 prints

21st – Philosophy

22nd – Arlo by Netgear Pro Two Pack Indoor/Outdoor HD Surveillance Cameras, $299.94 available in 6 payments

23rd – Alegria Footwear

24th – Patio & Garden

25th – Lock & Lock Storage

26th – Carole Hochman Heavenly Soft Sleepwear

27th – Cosmoprof North America Beauty Fair Finds

28th – Amazon Echo

29th – Dyson

30th – Women with Control Attitudes by Renee

May

1st – Peter Thomas Roth
2nd – Chair Gym Total Body Workout
3rd – Imperial Gold
4th – LOGO by Lori Goldstein
5th – Earth Brands Footwear
6th – HP Computer
7th – Denim & Co
8th – Organized Options
9th – Copper Chef
10th – Quacker Factory
11th – bareMinerals
12th – Simply Lines
13th – Clarks

Now that the February list is complete, I’m starting this new post for April. The 23rd through the 29th will be added on April 1st, this Sunday. So far the only one that has been revealed for April is the Wen TSV, but it wont be available to preorder until a few days prior to the air date. Click on the link above to see the video where Chaz reveals the TSV. The list will be updated between daily and three days as I find the order numbers, so be sure to check back often for updates. I will post update alerts on this blog’s Facebook page as time allows, so be sure to follow and like the page. The TSV info is currently being released on average three days prior to the TSV’s air date. Which brand are you looking forward to the most? I’m looking forward to seeing the Harry Slatkin TSV, but it will probably be out of my price range as it has been before. Bath & Body Works candles are so much more affordable. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Dennis Basso has to offer. This time of year, in the past, it’s been a light weight jacket which is all we need for most cold days here in the south. One year I loved his TSV jacket so much I bought it in two colors, one at the TSV price and one on clearance. I’d love to hear what you bought in February, please comment below.

Thanks goes to Christina, Katherine, Lynn, Nicole, Patty, Sari, Sharon, Tanya and Vanessa for providing some of the TSV preorder numbers for the last month. QVC has made it so much more difficult to locate these numbers, so I really appreciate these sweet ladies who help me out! Thank you! If you find a preorder number that I haven’t listed yet, please email me, post a comment or contact me on this blog’s Facebook page. Thanks also goes to those that donated recently to help this blog continue. Thank you goes to Joleen, Michele, Tina and Vanessa for your generous and much appreciated donations. Your donations warm my heart and give me inspiration to continue doing the daily research required to keep the TSV lists continually updated. Thanks also goes to those who used my referral and affiliate links or clicked on the advertising. I really appreciate your support and kindness! If you would also like to donate, click on the Paypal donate button below. If you can’t contribute that way, there are also referral and affiliate links below that will help or click on the advertising on the right or simply share my blog with friends. 

 

You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. People continue to disrespect my wishes and copy and paste my list in groups online without giving credit or a link. I have spoken to some of them and one apologized while another deleted me from her group. Readers tell me she still copies my lists. It amazes me how people can’t simply acknowledge where they got the information in support. Women are suppose to support each other! It’s a shame they can’t find any kindness in their heart or at least not commit plagiarism. So if you are reading this Jessica H., Korris or Debbie S. go away, you are not welcome here. Shame on you for not giving credit where credit is due. I know karma will be knocking on your door very soon.

Bargain Alert: 

Green Blender $10 off 1st Box, check out my 14 reviews. Code “GBSAVE10”
Hello Fresh – $40 off healthy meal kit, only $3.32 a serving, check out my 14 reviews. 
Home Chef – $30 off healthy meal kit, only $4.95 a serving, check out my 55 reviews. 
Julep – 12 full sized nail polishes for FREE, $168 value! Amazing deal! Check out my reviews. *
Love with Food – 25% off snack box with 10+ gluten free snacks only $1.87 each. *
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC.
Nature Box – healthy, delicious snacks, extra 30% off first 3 shipments. Code “THIRTY3”. *
Sun Basket – $50 Off 1st Two Orders, check out my 26 reviews. *
Terra’s Kitchen – $40 Off, check out my 3 reviews.
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Blue Skies for Me Please

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Monterrey Chicken

I first tried this recipe before going clean and it’s becoming a family favorite. It’s so simple, yet super delicious. Since the Rotel is pretty spicy, I leave some of the chicken without it for the kids. Paired with zucchini and onions from our garden, this made for a super fresh and super yummy meal!
 

MONTEREY CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce (we use Montgomery Inn…if you wanted to keep it 100% clean, use homemade)
1/4 c. real bacon bits
1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added)
sliced green onions
pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper. Grill chicken until no long pink and place on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon bar-b-que sauce, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/4 c. tomatoes, green onions and one tablespoon of bacon bits. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

QVC’s KitchenAid TSV Preview & Review – September 2017

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KitchenAid Countertop Convection Oven

This is a review of QVC’s Today’s Special Value (TSV) that will air on the 24th of this month. You can preorder it now with item number K46355. It’s offered for $99.96 or 5 monthly payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling of $7.50. It comes in black, cobalt blue, silver and gloss cinnamon. After North Carolina tax and shipping, my purchase price was $114.95. I ordered on the 16th of August and it said “advance order” with an estimated delivery date of September 28th. It shipped on the 19th of August instead. Since it shipped from California instead of the east coast it took longer than most of my orders, so it arrived on the 25th. It’s currently indicating that it’s in stock. I purchased the cinnamon color since the rest of my KitchenAid appliances are that color along with some other appliances. We have an open concept home and our paint color in the dining room is burgundy and in the kitchen it’s yellow, so I really like having the appliances match closely to our burgundy walls. We were disappointed to see that the only cinnamon painted surface on the oven is the front of the toaster, the rest is silver. Months ago our old toaster oven started burning since there was a hole on one of the elements. Thankfully, Hubby was able to put out the fire. I was sleeping at the time, so I didn’t witness it. But that’s just a reminder to us all that you need to supervise any appliance when it’s in use. I’ve been really missing our toaster oven since we live in the south and the majority of the months it’s hot and turning on the large oven heats up the kitchen. Then the air conditioning has to work harder which costs more money. We were in the process of relocating back to our other house, so I put off buying a replacement toaster oven since it would be just another item to pack and move. When I heard that QVC was having a toaster oven as a TSV and it was in that hard to find cinnamon color I preordered it right away. Not to mention the price of $99.96 is pretty good for a toaster oven and really good for a large toaster oven. This one will allow you to cook much larger dishes than your traditional toaster oven. I’ve really been enjoying that aspect of it. I home cook for our four dogs, so this is prefect for cooking their chicken and fish without the dread of turning on the regular oven and heating up the house. My first impression was the noise of the timer was annoying. I do not like that sound! I figured out that you don’t have to use the timer to turn the oven on and that I don’t hear it if I’m in the living room. If I’m remaining in the kitchen I use my regular oven’s timer instead. It’s the same sound those little hand crank timers make. The first thing I cooked in the oven were croissants. They baked perfectly on the included pizza pan with foil:



They baked evenly which my twelve year old oven tends to over cook the bottoms. The pie pan measures 12″ on the top edge, but the bottom is only about 11″. You may have to trim your pizza’s edge or flip the pan over and place the pizza on the bottom. Hubby had taken time off work shorty after it arrived, so he was using it more than I was at first. He found it took a bit of trial and error to get the right setting for toasting bread. I also baked a tray of frozen Stouffers Grandma’s Chicken & Vegetable on the rectangular tray that comes with the oven.  It takes eighty-five minutes to cook and it’s still hot here in the south, so I really didn’t want to use my regular oven! After about seventy-five minutes it was turning the top too dark, so I turned it down 375° to 350° and cooked it an additional seven minutes. It turned out pretty good. The oven also comes with a rack for broiling, two oven racks and a crumb tray for the bottom of the oven. The crumb tray isn’t an exact fit, so some crumbs land on the left and right sides. There are two oven racks, but if you flip them over then you have four different shelf levels. The lowest level accommodates an entire chicken! The oven also has a slow cook function I have yet to learn about. I’ll be watching the presentation on the 24th to learn more. It comes with a little instruction booklet, but I prefer video instructions. 

In conclusion, at first I was ready to ship this oven back to QVC since I found the timer’s noise annoying and it takes up more space on the counter than your standard toaster oven. Hubby also wanted to send it back for that reason and because he was having issues figuring out which setting to use when toasting bread. Then after baking and toasting over a couple of weeks, I found that I am appreciating that I can cook larger items in it so it’s more useful. The low price and the cinnamon color are two other reasons we are keeping it. If you have limited counter space and you’re not planning on using it for larger items, I’d say it’s not for you. If you want to use it for most of your baking and toasting and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, I’d say go ahead and purchase it. So what do you think, are you going to purchase this one or did you find a different toaster oven you like better?

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – cash back for online shopping.

Check out my list of QVC’s TSVs for September and my Pinterest QVC TSV Board . I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked BlogsBe a pal and share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking their boxes here: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);



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56th Home Chef Delivery Review & $30 Free Food

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Hot Honey Salmon with Thyme Roasted Zucchini & Tomatoes

Ingredients


Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Water Chestnuts & Sesame Dipping Sauce


Ingredients


Butter Basted Pork Chop with Roasted Carrots & Spinach


Ingredients
This is a review of our 56th shipment from a weekly food subscription box called Home Chef. We gave two recipes five out of five stars and one recipe three stars. The calories ranged from 526 to 605 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards was twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time was thirty-nine minutes to an hour. 

Hot Honey Salmon with Thyme Roasted Zucchini & Tomatoes

Hubby gave this recipe five out of five stars and I gave it four. The salmon was definitely five stars, so incredibly scrumptious. Such a simple topping of honey, red pepper flakes and butter and yet it was so delicious. Also, the cooking technique of searing the salmon and then baking it made it so flaky, moist and tender. Thyme and green onions were a nice addition to the zucchini and tomatoes. It only has 526 calories and it’s suppose to take up to 35 minutes to prepare. Actual preparation time was 45 minutes. It was a healthy portion.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Water Chestnuts & Sesame Dipping 

I’ve lost count on how many times we have ordered this five star recipe. It’s always scrumptious and it’s a large, filling portion yet it only has 565 calories. The recipe card says it will take up to 35 minutes to prepare. Actual preparation time was 39 minutes. If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you must order it next time they offer it. It’s the perfect combination of quality ingredients to make the best Thai Lettuce Wraps.

Butter Basted Pork Chop with Roasted Carrots & Spinach

This week’s box arrived one day late and since Hubby was out of town I had to prepare this one. I’m not a great chef, I’m a good baker. So I’m not experienced at cooking pork chops. I followed the directions, but the pork chops were overcooked, dry and tough. I didn’t care for the sauce either. I should have just skipped the sauce and mixed the thyme with the butter as a topping instead. The side of vegetables made with shallots, carrots, garlic and spinach were really tasty and the cooking directions worked out perfectly. I’m sure if Hubby had cooked the chops, they would have been very tasty. So it’s difficult to rate, I give it three out of five stars. If the pork chops were cooked properly, I’d give it four stars. This recipe has 605 calories and the recipe card states up to 45 minutes preparation time. Actual preparation time was one hour, but mind you I’m an inexperienced cook. It was a healthy portion. At first it looked like too many carrots, but they shrunk a bit during baking.
It was another enjoyable week of recipes even though FedEx delayed the shipment a day. Home Chef has 11 dinner recipes, 1 smoothie, 1 fruit basket and 1 lunch to chose from each week. If you haven’t given this meal kit a try yet, snag the coupon below, chose your shipment week, pick your recipes and await the excitement and fun to be delivered to your doorstep shortly. Having ordered 56 boxes so far, I obviously recommend Home Chef! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll help you out.
Bargain Alert:

Hello Fresh Meal Kit – $40 off
Home Chef Meal Kit – $30 off
Sun Basket Meal Kit – $35 off

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GIVEAWAY – $59.94 Blue Apron Meal Kit

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a Rafflecopter giveawayThe winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Blue Apron, provide me with their name and email address to give to Blue Apron, provide Blue Apron their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Blue Apron & simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Blue Apron box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to account info, then chose “manage”  & then “cancel” or to skip future shipments select delivery schedule and chose “skip”. Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. 

This giveaway is only for those that have never subscribed to Blue Apron before. Please do not enter if you don’t intend to redeem the free box! It’s a limited time offer, so you’ll need to redeem in a timely manner. I have reviewed twenty-two Blue Apron deliveries, so be sure to check those out before you leave. Start with my 22nd delivery. Then check out my Blue Apron Pinterest Board, click on the photo of the recipe that you fancy to see the matching blog post.  Also, check out my Home Chef reviews starting with my 55th delivery. In addition, check out my Hello Fresh reviews starting with my 14th delivery.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $35 Off

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Nordstrom is Price-Matching the Kiehl’s Friends & Family Sale (Free Shipping + Samples Plus My Personal Recs)

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(UPDATED) Hot Deals Available Now and Coming VERY Soon

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Have a Seat – Updating Two Chairs

The hubs and I recently took on two different DIY chair projects.

I had found an old antique bankers chair at a garage sale for $10. We sanded it down and repainted it a glossy black to give it an updated, Pottery Barn look. We’re planning on reselling it and hopefully making a pretty hefty profit. Pottery Barn sells theirs for over $200, so we’re hoping just to get $100 and make a $90 profit. Not bad for a couple hours’ work!

For the second project, I had been wanting an armchair for our bedroom. My mom found me a cheap, old and ugly chair that had great bones, and we repainted and reupholstered it in a much better color and pattern 🙂 We ended up doing the chair for about $50…$35 for the chair, $10 for the fabric and $5 for the paint.

Eating My Way Through Athens

The hubs and I took a trip back in time last weekend and returned to Ohio University, our alma mater, for Homecoming. Besides having an amazing time reminiscing and being with our best friends, we ate ourselves silly, indulging in some of our campus favorites. Albeit, this wasn’t the best weekend for eating clean, but it was sooo worth it!

Some of the highlights:

Goodfella’s Pizza–at $2 a slice, it’s the perfect snack food and tastes even better the later at night it is, especially after a “few” drinks 🙂

 

Bagel Street Deli–best sandwich ever IMHO. My favorite is the Chixadelic, which is chix salad, provolone, cukes, sprouts and honey mustard on an everything bagel, toasted in a paninni press until ooey-gooey perfection. 












Insomnia cookies–new to campus, so I never had the chance to enjoy this goodness. And they were.pure.goodness.


Hot Peter Thomas Roth Deals at Macy’s (Free Shipping & Samples)

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24 Days of Deals from Julep

 

The countdown to Christmas is on and Julep has 24 days of deals to unwrap! Discover sweet new surprises, treats & gift ideas for the next 24 days. Let the magic begin! See what’s new today. 

Day 1: 

Stars of the Show, Best Sellers 3-Piece Set, $54 retail value for only $16*. All products are full-size. Shipping is free for Mavens.
Set includes:

  • Take a Breather Oxygen Nail Treatment in Sheer Pink 0.27 fl oz, 8 mL, $18.00 retail value
  • When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Blackest Black, Matte Carbon Black 0.04 oz, 1.2 g, $16 retail value
  • It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mouse in Ooh La La, Sepia Taupe Matte 0.14 oz, 4.1 g, $20.00 retail value

I have reviewed the Oxygen Nail Treatment in Sheer Pink before when it was included in the QVC’s Julep TSV. I highly recommend it especially for when you are in a rush and you want a quick manicure. Check out my manicure using it:

It’s very forgiving, so you can apply it very quickly. It’s perfect for in between your favorite nail colors. Sometimes your nails chip at an inconvenient time and you don’t have much time to polish your nails, but you want to protect them. I always try to keep my nails painted to protect them and this is perfect for the times when I’m too tired or too busy to take much time to paint my nails. You can paint your nails as quickly as a you can apply a top coat because it’s not opaque. Just two coats and you have the perfect French manicure. It’s also perfect for those whose profession restricts nail colors or perfect for a job interview or wedding.

I just happened to order the same shade of Matte Lip Mouse offered in this set! Out of all the colors that’s the one I picked. This Whipped Matte Lip Mouse is on Oprah’s Favorite Things List for 2017, so I was anxious to give it a try. It has a smooth feeling full of moisture yet it’s matte! Not an easy combination to find. This Ooh La La color is the perfect dusty pink for fall and winter.

This set is the perfect combination of classic looks from the nails to the eyes and lips and for only $16.00, bargain! That works out to only $5.33 per product when the retail value runs from $16-20 each!

I have over eighty manicures featured on this blog. Check them all out on my Pinterest Manicure Board. You’ll notice a lot of Julep polishes since they are in my top two. When you see one you like, just click on the photo and it will take you to the matching blog post. I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you.

Bargain Alert:

Julep – Not a Maven? Join today & receive a Free 12 Piece Julep Nail Polish Collection! $168 value! 


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The Lipstick League – Week of 4.11.17

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Happy Anniversary!

My hubby and I celebrated 8 years of marriage this week! It’s so funny to look back because it was only eight years ago, but we looked like babies back then 🙂 
We celebrated by seeing Mumford and Sons in concert on Monday night….AHHMAZING!!! Made my list of top three concerts of all time.


On our anniversary, we made a yummy steak dinner at home complete with creamed spinach, cheesy mushrooms and Paper Moon wine.
 
Here’s to many more blessed years!

Forever 21 to Open Stand-Alone Beauty Stores

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Weekend Beauty Deal Round-Up & Reminders (In-Store Beauty Event at Target on Sunday and More)

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No More Cream of Preservatives!

I’ve found so many awesome looking recipes that I’ve not tried because they call for cream of whatever soup, which is pretty much cream of preservative soup. Thankfully, I’ve found an awesome clean, all-natural and even gluten-free solution. It’s so easy to put together, store in the pantry and throw together whenever you need a can of cream of chicken, mushroom or celery. 

Soup or Sauce (SOS) Mix
From One Good Thing By Jillee

2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon (regular or low sodium)
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a re-closeable plastic bag, mixing well. Equal to 9 (10.5 oz) cans of cream soup. Store in closed plastic bag or air-tight container until ready to use. It does not have to be refrigerated.
 
To substitute for 1 can of cream soup:
Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of cold water. Whisk until well blended. Cook and stir on stove top or in microwave until thickened. Add thickened mixture to casseroles as you would a can of soup.

Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Cutout Cookies

Don’t forget…I’m working on moving my blog over to WordPress and getting my own domain name (woohoo!!). I’ll continue to publish here for 2 more days, but please change your bookmarks to http://www.eatingcleanandsavinggreen.com
 

These are your typical Christmas cutout cookies but clean and all-natural. Bonus, this basic recipe also makes 5 other types of recipes. That’s my type of baking…make one dough get six different cookies. Efficiency at it’s best 🙂


Christmas Cutout Cookies
Adapted from Canadian Family
 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. Using a half portion of chilled dough, roll out on a lightly floured surface to ¼” thickness.
3. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Transfer to parchment-covered sheet pan.
4. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until lightly golden.
5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to decorate with sprinkles, icing and candy.

Dough
This recipe makes enough for two batches of cookies, so we suggest that you always divide the dough in half and wrap each separately.

• 2 cups flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• pinch ground nutmeg
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine first four ingredients in a bowl.
2. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3. Mix in half the dry ingredients, then add what is remaining.
4. Divide dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap until ready to use.

For the icing…
Start with 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons milk in your mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar and more milk until you reach a frosting consistency. 

Feta-Stuffed Chicken

This one was all the hubby again, he took the original recipe and adapted it based on what we had in the house. It turned out to be a wonderful chicken dish with lots of great flavors (I love the way the feta melts on the grill with the cream cheese). It was super juicy too!

Feta-Stuffed Chicken
Adapted from Skinny Mom

Cheese Mixture
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2oz. fat-free cream cheese
couple tablespoons finely chopped red onion
dash of garlic powder, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 pounds total)

In a small bowl combine feta cheese and cream cheese; set aside. Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff pockets with the cheese mixture. Secure openings with wooden toothpicks. Grill until cooked through and no longer pink.

Chocolate Mayo Cake

Also part of the 35th Anniversary celebration, Matt and I made a three-layer chocolate mayonnaise cake with strawberry filling and meringue frosting. We also made mini chocolate mayo cupcakes with coral and jade white chocolate frosting (the colors of the party) and white-chocolate dipped strawberries. I know, we’re nuts! But, minus the back of the cake falling right before the party because of the ridiculous high temps, it was an overall success. We made a beautiful looking, super yummy cake and transported it all the way to Northern KY! I also managed to keep everything pretty clean too!

 

The chocolate mayo cake is a Thompson family favorite, made with, yes, you guessed it, mayonnaise. The mayo replaces the oil in the cake mix and makes for a super moist and super yummy cake. I don’t like chocolate cake, but I eat this one!
Chocolate Mayo Cake
1 box (16.5 oz.) chocolate cake mix (use an organic cake mix or scratch-made mix to keep it clean)
1 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (Hellmann’s is all-natural)
1 cup water
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
Beat cake mix, Hellmann’s, water and eggs 30 seconds in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed. Beat on medium speed, scraping sides occasionally, 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely. Sprinkle, if desired, with confectioners sugar or fill and frost. 

We doubled the recipe and made three round cakes and used the leftover batter for the mini cupcakes. For the strawberry filling, take 2 1/2 cups of strawberries cut into pieces, 1 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 3/4 cup of sugar and cook over a stovetop, stirring until the strawberries dissolve into a gel filling. Let cool completely before putting in between the layers of cake. Assemble the cake and apply the frosting carefully, so you don’t knock the layers off. Keep the cake in the fridge or a cool place because the frosting will melt in hot temps, as we sadly learned! For the cupcakes, I melted white chocolate and just dipped the tops into the melted chocolate.

Meringue Frosting
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost the cake of your choice.

Momma’s Day Out at the Salon All-Natural Style

Yes, I know this is a blog about clean EATING, but as I’ve learned lately, it’s not just about what you put in your mouth, it’s about what you put on your body as well. Anything we put on our body, from cosmetics to lotions to hair care, can be absorbed through the skin and affect us just as if we ate it. For example, if you’re trying to eat gluten-free, check your lotions because many include gluten (yes really!) and every time you slather some on, your introducing gluten into your system.

So, on that note, I’ve decided to explore all-natural and clean beauty and health care products. If you have any suggestions on all-natural products you love, please let me know!
 
I decided to start my health and beauty product search at the salon. I was overdue for a hair cut and color and found a salon in Carmel (Tricology Salon) that uses all organic products, from the hair color to the products. From their website…”The Trichology Design Team is committed to the most advanced natural, organic, safe and effective hair and beauty products.” So I made an appointment with Alex and set out for a day of (overdue) pampering. 

The experience was great! The salon is super clean, spa-like and relaxing and I loved all the different products Alex used. They all smelled great and made my hair look like a million bucks. Alex also did an amazing job on my cut and color. The highlights were the best I’ve ever had and my cut is so flattering. Plus, she offered me lots of tips and tricks for doing my hair at home as she was going along. She really listened to what I wanted and I am over-the-moon over my new look. I also appreciated that all the products were natural and safe, and they were still able to give me the look I want.

 

Holy Watermelon Batman!

Liesl is so proud of the watermelon she grew! Look how huge it is…almost half the height of Liesl!! And it tastes delicious too! Yay gardening 🙂

23rd Sun Basket Review & $40 Off Coupon

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Sole Almondine with Roasted Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes


Ingredients


Shrimp Skewers with Salsa Verde & Mandarin Jicama Salad


Ingredients


Roasted Sausages & Winter Vegetables with Romesco


Ingredients


This is a review of a weekly meal kit subscription box called Sun Basket. One box with three meal kits for two people costs $71.94 and includes free shipping. Each serving costs $11.99. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars and two recipes three stars. Calories ranged from 440 to 590 and preparation times listed ranged from twenty to forty minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from to thirty-seven minutes to one hour.

Sole Almondine with Roasted Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I gave this recipe three out of five stars. I love sole, but it was in need of some spice and there were too many almond slices. The broccoli had sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and Urfa Chile flakes on top and Hubby really enjoyed it. I’m not much of a fan of broccoli, but Hubby loves it so I order it for him. The lemon was baked and it’s amazing how baking it makes it so easy to get the juice out when you squeeze it. So that’s a great trick, if you don’t have a lemon squeezer tool. This was one of two recipes this week that were so easy to cook, just put it all on a baking sheet and bake. It was a healthy portion of food and I shared lots of broccoli without the tomato with our dogs. It has only 440 calories and the recipe states up to thirty minutes preparation time. Actual preparation time was fifty-four minutes.

Shrimp Skewers with Salsa Verde & Mandarin Jicama Salad

Hubby & I both gave this recipe five out of five stars. It was amazingly delicious. If you haven’t had jicama before, you owe it to yourself to buy some and give it a taste. It’s so delicious and it has a wonderful crispness and crunch. Just add a bit of mandarins, scallions, pumpkins seeds, olive oil and sumac and you have a wonderful salad. The skewers make it easy to flip the shrimp when cooking, another great trick. The salsa verde was fabulous on top of the shrimp. Who knew cilantro, cumin, olive oil, lime juice and mint go so well together. This recipe has only 540 calories and the recipe states it will take up to thirty minutes to prepare. Actual preparation time was thirty-seven minutes. It was a light meal, I ate both portions of the jicama salad since Hubby is on a low carb diet and I was still hungry after just one portion.
Roasted Sausages & Winter Vegetables with Romesco

Hubby & I both love Italian sausage, so whenever I see a recipe that includes some I purchase it. We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The sausage was scrumptious, but the vegetable side dish and sauce were just ok. The combination of Brussels sprouts and cabbage was just too much, one or the other would have been better. The bites that had a lot of the spice tasted much better. It simply wasn’t enough spice for such a large portion of vegetables. Plus, we would have preferred two pieces of sausage per person instead of just one. This recipe has only 590 calories and the recipe states it takes up to forty minutes to prepare. Actual preparation time was an hour, but twenty-five minutes of it was break time while it baked. We loved how you just place everything on a baking sheet and bake it, so easy.

It’s funny how you guess which recipe will be your favorite and which ones actually turn out to be your favorite. If they offer the Shrimp Skewers recipe again, I’ll be sure to order it. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  All of the ingredients arrived in great shape. What’s your favorite meal kit subscription? If you haven’t tried this one before, I highly recommend you give it a try. At $31.94 for six meals, it’s a bargain, snag my coupon below and have a box sent to you soon! Taking some time off for Christmas? That would be a perfect time to try out this meal kit service at your leisure. 

Be sure to check out my twenty-two other reviews of Sun Basket before you go. Simply look at my Sun Basket Pinterest Board, click on the photo of the dish you would like to read about and it will take you to that review. Stay tuned for my next giveaway.

Bargain Alert: 
Sun Basket – $40 off

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Chinese Lantern Festival 2017 – Cary, NC

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Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Parkway
Cary, NC  27511
(919) 462-2025
Entrance to the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival 


This is a review of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival for the 2017-2018 season. We visited on Saturday the 30th of December at 7:30 pm. The festival started on November 24th and it ends on January 14th 2018. It opens at 6 pm and they close at 10 pm. Once you turn on to Regency Parkway, you’ll find the free parking lots on the left side once you past the Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Tickets cost $15.00 per adult. Children two years and under and free and children ages three to seventeen are $10.00. Discounts for seniors, college students and military are only offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday, if it doesn’t fall on a holiday. They are closed on Mondays. You can purchase tickets at the entrance or online for an extra charge. It took us twenty-one minutes total which included waiting in line, purchasing tickets and getting through security to make it inside the festival. We didn’t want to pay the extra charge to purchase tickets online in order to skip the line. There was also a line for cash transactions, but it didn’t seem to be moving any faster than the credit card line. Once past security, here’s what you’ll see:


Entrance Filled with Lanterns

Once past the walkway of lanterns it opens up and you can see many more decorations and the stage. Grab a brochure since it explains the decorations and it has a map showing where they all are. It can be a bit confusing without a map. The food cafe on the right called Cobblestone Courtyard was closed. Only the Crescent Cafe was open and it’s located near the stage. To get there walk to the left and to the rear. They only had one window open and there wasn’t a long line. Their menu is quite limited though. Next to the stage on the right was one Asian food truck. There weren’t a lot of food choices, so I recommend having something to eat prior to your arrival. Here’s the beautiful swan decorations we saw first:


Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view. We walked to the right and down a slight hill. We came across these lovely displays:






Once you are at the bottom of the hill you will come to the stage where they have acts at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. I recommend showing up about five to ten minutes early to be able to stand in the front row. We were able to catch a bit of the 7:30 pm show. Then we continued to walk around and headed towards the animated dragon. If you are facing the stage with the ticket office behind you, you’ll find the dragon on your right side. Here’s two videos showing him spitting water, 2nd one is close up:



The dragon attracted most of the attention from guests, so I’d say he was the star of the show. Here’s some photos:


As you continue along the sidewalk, you’ll find these adorable pandas:



and some cute squirrels:


We walked back towards the amphitheater and found this lovely tunnel that connects to the Crescent Deck area:

Also located there is another animated decoration:




We returned to the amphitheater ten minutes prior to the 8:30 pm show, so that we were in the front standing row for a better view. The shows last for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. Here are some videos of the performances we saw:



After the show we left. To exit go back up the hill towards the ticket office and walk to the left side of the building where it says restrooms and walk past the restrooms to the exit. The indoor restrooms are closed and they have a couple of porta potties nearby. 

It was an enjoyable evening activity which took an hour and half. There are some gas heaters located near the stage and the Crescent Deck dining area. Unless you are standing right next to it you wont feel any heat, so I advise that you dress warmly. Long coats, scarfs, boots and gloves would be advisable. Allow for one hour, if you already have your ticket upon arrival and aren’t going to eat there. Allow for an hour and a half, if you are going to be waiting in line to purchase a ticket and already ate. Allow for additional time, if you plan to eat on location, but be aware there is a limited selection of food and beverages. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Triangle? Have you been to this festival? If so, please comment below. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Another Asian activity that is coming up is Shen Yun. Stay tuned for my review, in the meantime be sure to check out my restaurant reviews for the triangle. Visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board to see them all. Click on the one that interests you and it will take you to the matching blog review.

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Zucchini Pizza Crust



I had pinned a recipe for cauliflower pizza crusts, but had put off trying it because I’m not a big cooked cauliflower fan. Then I found this recipe for zucchini pizza crusts and since I like zucchini and I froze a ton from our garden this summer, I opted to try this one instead. 

Honestly, I was very leery that it wouldn’t turn out (as was the hubby), but it was super good! You could taste the zucchini, but only a little bit and it gave a similar consistency to a thin crust pizza. Plus, with lots of sauce and cheese, the kids won’t be any wiser 😉 Definitely a keeper; I love that it’s a great low-carb and veggie-full way to eat pizza. 


Zucchini Pizza Crusts
4 cups zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
1 teaspoon  oregano or Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

Microwave zucchini on high for 6 minutes, let cool and then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Mix the zucchini, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, oregano, salt and pepper. Press the mixture onto a baking mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. 

Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Ipsy Subscription Box Review – March 2018

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Create – Ipsy March 2018


This is a review of a monthly subscription box called Ipsy for only $10 a month including shipping and handling. This month’s theme is create. They sent us markers to color our bag. Check out hash tag “ipsycreate” to see member’s creations. It appears they sent out various colors of markers. The retail value of my March bag is $64.88. I think that’s the highest value I’ve ever received. Bargain! The following products were sent:
  1. Tarte Cosmetics – Sex Kitten Eyeliner, made in China, .1 g, $10.00 retail value
  2. Steve Laurant Beauty – Lip Oil in Orchard, made in China, 3.2 g, $18.00 retail value
  3. Royal & Langnickel – Mōda Prismatic Ombre Fan Brush, $5.00 retail value
  4. Goldfaden MD – Facial Detox Mask, made in the USA, .68 oz, $26.00 retail value
  5. Veneffect Skin Care – Pore Minimizing Cleanser, made in the USA, .5 fl. oz. $5.88 retail value
I was shocked to receive my bag yesterday since I usually don’t receive my bag until after the 15th and I haven’t received a shipping notification. Perhaps it was because I redeemed some points for a free brush which they send with the monthly bags. Unfortunately, they didn’t send the brush instead they send two sheet masks. I emailed them and they replied within hours even though the confirmation email said they would take twenty-four to forty-eight hours to get back to me. They said they would be sending a replacement that would ship in five to seven days. I’ll update you on that next month, hopefully I’ll receive it by then.

The only brand I recognize this month is Tarte. I think it’s the smallest eyeliner sample I’ve ever received. I thought it would be liquid, but instead it’s a creamy pencil that twists up. The full sized version comes with a smudger on the other end and it must be wider. This one is so narrow and short, it’s not easy to use. I’m not a fan of waterproof eyeliner since it’s so hard to remove. I was excited about the lip oil until I read the ingredients and saw mineral oil listed and that it’s made in China. Mineral oil isn’t good for the skin, so I’ll pass on trying it. I love the fan brush. It’s so pretty and the bristles are soft. It has less bristles than higher end brushes though. Suggested uses for a fan brush are fanning away fallout from eyeshadow, applying highlighter or bronzer. I think I’ll use this one for fallout. Lately, it seems like I get so much fall out. The detox mask is for acne prone skin, so that’s a miss. I have dry skin with no acne. I’ll give it a try though since it says it minimizes the appearance of pores. Off to try it now. I’m back after trying it. It smells like Vicks Vapor Rub and it’s quite a strong scent. I don’t care for that scent in a mask. After it’s on a bit, it starts to have a cooling sensation. It dries in about ten minutes. After I rinsed it off, it appears to have calmed my skin and reduced some of the redness. My skin feels smooth and soft similar to after I’ve used an exfoilant. I’m happy with the results. Never heard of a pore minimizing cleanser, I’m going to use it now since I just ran out of cleanser. I’m back from giving it a try. It’s easy to rinse off which I prefer, so I can get the job done quickly. It doesn’t lather up which is also good and it appears it toned down some of the redness. As far as pore minimizing, I’m sure that will take several uses. I think it’s a cucumber scent, I can’t quite figure it out. So far I like it, I’ll keep using it and see if it continues to help with redness and make a change in my pores. Sample sizes are perfect for use in the shower since they take up so little space.

My favorite product this month is the fan brush. My least favorite is the lip oil due to the ingredients. I really wish they would send more brands that are high end and available at Sephora and Ulta. That’s why Play! by Sephora is my current favorite cosmetic subscription box. Which one is your favorite? 

Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years and check out February’s, January’s, December’s & November’s Ipsy. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);



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A Quick List of Some Great Ways to Use the Macy’s Beauty Discount (Free Shipping)

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Turkey Hill All-Natural Ice Cream

We love ice cream in our house. Our first choice is Graeter’s, which is all-natural and oh-so-delicious. If you’re not familiar with Graeter’s, it’s a Cincinnati brand ice cream made in small batches using the French Pot method. You can buy pints at Kroger and Marsh here in Indy, fortunately for my tastebuds, unfortunately for my waistline 😉

Anyway, I had a coupon for a $1 off Turkey Hill All-Natural Ice Cream and decided to give it a try last week when Kroger had it on sale. I got plain old vanilla and it was really good! Nice flavor and only five ingredients. I added on my all-natural peanut butter and some chocolate chips and made a yummy sundae 🙂 While Graeter’s is still number one, this is a great second choice. 

*Turkey Hill is not reimbursing me for my opinion of their yummy ice cream.


QVC’s TSVs for December 2017 Sneak Peek


I now have a Facebook Page for my blog. I have posted a sneak peek of the Today’s Special Values for December there until I have enough information to post here. So check it out and please help out by liking the page. I put off having a Facebook page because I don’t have the funds to advertise. Since subscribers have been asking for one I decided to do it for them. After clicking “like” make sure you click on “following” and turn on notifications. Facebook has a tendency to not show pages’ updates on timelines unless the page owner spends money, so you’ll need to make sure you set it up to be notified. That’s the main reason I didn’t want a Facebook page and they have already been spamming me to spend money on advertising just as I suspected. Three times in just the first couple of hours!

Other places you can get Blue Skies for Me Please blog updates from are:
Google +
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter
As soon as QVC releases the monthly TSV preorder information, I will post it on this blog, so stay tuned. Unfortunately, they haven’t been releasing the information on time lately. In the meantime, you can check out some of the recent QVC products I have reviewed:

Josie Maran’s Argan Body Revitalization Collection
Julep TSV – Super Size Oxygen Nail Treatment Kit 
Kitchen Aid TSV – Countertop Convection Oven
Luminara TSV – Set of Three Glass Blown Ornaments with Flameless Candles 
Luminara TSV Auto Delivery 2nd Shipment of Ornaments
Mr. Christmas Set of Four Mini Nostalgic Tree Ornaments
Ring Floodlight Cam TSV
Ring Video Doorbell TSV
What’s your favorite recent purchase from QVC? Bargain Alert: Mr. Rebates is currently offering 4% cash back for QVC online purchases today! So if there is a big ticket item you have been eyeing, this is the time to order. I recommend Today’s Special Value, the Philips Sonicare Toothbrush. I have been using one since I was a teenager. It definitely cuts down on brushing time and cavities. My teeth don’t feel clean without it. I’ve always purchased the less expensive model, but this one is 55% off, so I purchased it. They last a long time and you can purchase replacement toothbrush heads at Costco. 

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Potato-Crusted Pork Chops

This meal was all my hubby, so I don’t have a whole lot of input 🙂 He said the recipe was pretty involved prep-wise, but the chops turned out great. Very flavorful and moist, they almost tasted like the famous Indiana pork tenderloin.
Potato-Crusted Pork Chops
Adapted from Rachael Ray Mag


3 eggs
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 pounds baking potatoes
1 pound boneless pork loin, sliced into 4 cutlets pounded 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup vegetable oil


In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. In a second bowl, mix the flour with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Using a box grater or a food processor with a shredding disk, shred the potatoes. working in four batches, wrap the potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible; transfer to a large bowl. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
 

Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in the flour, shake off excess, dip in the egg, then press the shredded potato onto both sides of the cutlet to coat. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
 

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Fry 2 cutlets, turning once, until the potatoes are crispy and brown, about 8 minutes. Drain the cutlets on paper towels and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 cutlets.
 

Glass Maltese Ornament from Macy’s Holiday Lane

Macy’s Maltese Dog Ornament – Christmas 2017


I interrupt your day to put a smile on your face by presenting some extreme cuteness and adorableness to you, see above! Oh my, doesn’t he or she just melt your heart?! I’m always on the hunt for anything Maltese, so when I did a search on Macys.com I found this little cutie and he immediately went into my cart and I proceeded to check out and purchase him. I’ll call him male since out of the six Maltese dogs I’ve had in my life, only one was a female, so I tend to think of dogs as male. Look at that smile on his face and those adorable eyes looking off to the side. I love that when my dogs look at me from the side, it shows the outline of their adorable eyes. My Leo does that a lot and he looks at me with so much love and he smiles at me a lot. I call him my sunshine bear. I digress, back to this precious ornament. He’s larger than I would have imagined. He’s about double the size of an average ornament. The website says he’s 5 1/4 inches. You don’t even have to put him on the tree, he stands on his own and looks so wonderful on my coffee table. That’s where he went as soon as I took him out of the shipping box. Macy’s packed him perfectly, so no damage. Some of the sequins fell off, but that’s to be expected. None of the sequins have fallen off since he arrived. He has some wonderfully reflective glitter and a metallic finish. The white is a bit pearlized. In dim light he shines the most. I’m in love with him. Today he is selling for only $8.49 with the “score” coupon. I purchased him for $4 more, so when his price went down I called customer service and they gave me a $4 credit. His web number is 4803239. He’s part of the Holiday Pet Collection. The other offerings are a English Bulldog, a French Bulldog, a Poodle, a Dachshund, a Beagle, a yellow Lab and the famous Grumpy Cat.

What’s your favorite breed? My favorite is Maltese. What breeds have you had the pleasure of being part of your family? I have had two West Highland White Terriers, one Scottish Terrier, two Shih-Tzus and six Maltese. I currently reside with two elderly Shih-Tzus, Isabella and Harvey, who are fourteen. Our Maltese Teddy died a year ago of a deadly autoimmune blood disease. Leo, a Maltese, is my baby, he’s nine. We recently added Jack, a Maltese, to our family. Maltese dogs are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. The four of them keep me quite busy since they are all demanding and I do the grooming. Hubby helps with the bathing. 

I sure am hoping you have a Merry Christmas. If you haven’t already, check out my Pinterest Make Me Happy Board. This is a board I look at to cheer me up and this little Maltese ornament will be added there. What cheers you up or makes you smile when you are down? Don’t forget to enter my latest giveaway and follow and like my Facebook page before you go.

Bargain Alert:

Macy’s – “score” for 20% off, add any beauty item to get free shipping, recommend $3 TonyMoly Mask.
Mr. Rebates – 5% cash back from Macy’s

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I Saw, I Pinned, I Conquered, Part Two

When we finished our basement, my one requirement was a really nice laundry room. If my washer and dryer have to be in the basement, I want them to be in a nice room. I also wanted my laundry room to serve as a craft/wrapping room too, so I was on the lookout for storage to go in it. Everything I found that was new was pretty expensive, so, of course, I turned to Pinterest and found tons of refinished pieces. 
The dressing table was free from a friend of a friend (thanks Sarah and Amy!). After a good sanding, several coats of gray paint, new knobs and inexpensive scrapbook paper inside the windows on the drawers, it went from plain to pizzazz!. 

I also wanted some cute wall decor that wouldn’t cost a lot, and found that someone on Pinterest had taken plain canvases and wrapped them in fabric. Instead of canvases, I found the canvas frames at Michael’s for cheap (around $2-3 per frame) and covered in fabric (found in the discount bin for $1.99 a yard). Voila! Instant wall art for just a few dollars. 

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55th Home Chef Review

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Blue Cheese & Green Onion Crusted Bone In Pork Chop with Green Bean & Heirloom Tomatoes Almondine


Ingredients


BBQ Chicken Cornbread Pie with Sour Cream & Jalapeño


Ingredients


Hickory Season Salmon with Everything Bagel Roasted Cauliflower


This is a review of our 55th delivery from a food subscription box called Home Chef. One week of six servings with three recipes, costs $59.70 including shipping. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe four stars and one recipe one star. The calories ranged from 612 to 853. Preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranged from twenty-five minutes to fifty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty-five to fifty-six minutes.

Blue Cheese & Green Onion Crusted Bone In Pork Chop with Green Bean & Heirloom Tomatoes Almondine 

Hubby & I both gave this recipe four out of five stars. I’m not a big fan of blue cheese, but combined with green onions and pepper it was quite delicious. I’m also not a big fan of green beans, but combined with butter, tomatoes, toasted almonds, salt and pepper. It’s a simply recipe yet so yummy. This recipe has 612 calories and the recipe indicates that preparation time will range from thirty to forty minutes. Actual preparation time was forty-five to fifty-six minutes.

BBQ Chicken Cornbread Pie with Sour Cream & Jalapeño

I gave this recipe one star, Hubby decided to go on a low carb diet so he skipped all the high carbohydrate ingredients in this one. I was not surprised that I didn’t like it because I had ordered it for Hubby since this would be something he would love, but not I. I’m not a fan of BBQ. The cornbread part of the recipe was yucky. It didn’t turn out like it should have and I don’t know what went wrong. I pulled most of it off and ate the rest of the ingredients. This recipe has 853 calories and the recipe card says it will take forty-five to fifty-five minutes to prepare. Actual preparation time was fifty-six minutes.

Hickory Season Salmon with Everything Bagel Roasted Cauliflower
Hubby gave this recipe five out five stars and I gave it four stars. We were out of practice since we took a bit of a break from meal kits, so we forgot to take a photo of the ingredients of this recipe. Without that, I don’t have a time stamp to tell me how long this recipe actually took to prepare. The recipe card indicates twenty-five to thirty-five minutes. I remember it took longer than that, but I’m not sure how much longer exactly, perhaps ten minutes. We both love salmon, cauliflower and the everything bagel seasoning, so this recipe was a good bet for us. It was really tasty. Hubby is more of a fan of hickory smoke than I, hence the deduction of one star in my rating. The vinaigrette was scrumptious. The combination of garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper was a wonderful addition to the dish. This recipe has 618 calories. 
It was a pretty good week of recipes. Their pork chops and salmon are usually a good choice. If you haven’t given Home Chef a try, snag the coupon below and just do it! You’ll have fun! They have plenty of recipes to chose from unlike some of the competition. If you are still not sure and can’t take the leap and order it, take a look at the 54 other boxes of Home Chef I have reviewed on this blog! Check out my Home Chef Pinterest Board to see all of the recipes we’ve made so far. What’s your favorite meal kit subscription box?

Bargain Alert:

Hello Fresh Meal Kit – $40 off
Home Chef Meal Kit – $30 off
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Sun Basket Meal Kit – $35 off
Walmart Grocery – $10 off (Order online & delivered to your car)

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ZenFish Poké Bar Restaurant Review – Durham, NC

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810 9th Street
Suite 126
Durham, NC  27705
(919) 937-9966


Exterior View


Interior View


Your Protein Selections 


More Choices


Toppings 


Large Poke Bowl with Zucchini Noodles & Avocado – $15.45


Large Poke Bowl with Zucchini Noodles – $14.45


Homebucha Bluebird – $5.00


This is a review for a Poké restaurant called ZenFish located in Durham, North Carolina. They are located on the lower level of what looks like a condo building.  They are open daily from 11 am to 9 pm. We visited on a Sunday around 2:30 pm. It’s a very small restaurant with limited seating, so if you are visiting during the lunch or dinner rush you may need to ask for carry out. There is one table in the center that has eight stools and one table that has four stools. Also, there is a wood bar counter along the windows with stools. Outside there are a few tables. We were greeted by two very friendly ladies at the Poké bar. 

There are several Poké bowls to chose from, if you don’t want to come up with your own creation. I love choosing what goes in my bowl and so does Hubby, so we came up with our own combinations. They have two sizes to chose from and we both chose the large which includes five scoops of protein. For the base your choices are: white rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles or organic salad. Another option is to have a wrap with white rice and seaweed. Hubby & I both chose zucchini noodles which are an additional $1. You have the following to chose from: ahi tuna, salmon, crawfish, sweet potato, house tuna, spicy tuna, scallop, shrimp, tofu or crab. The raw choices are ahi tuna, salmon, house tuna, spicy tuna and scallop. I chose mostly salmon with some ahi tuna. Hubby chose ahi tuna, two scoops salmon, spicy tuna and crawfish. Next you chose your toppings, the offerings are: seaweed salad, crabmeat, sweet onion, green onion, micro greens, masago, ginger, edamame, cucumber, radish, mango, avocado and jalapeño. Avocado is an additional $1. I chose green onion, micro greens, masago, cucumber and jalapeño. Hubby chose green onion, micro greens, masago, cucumber, jalapeño and avocado. Then you select a sauce from the following: house sauce, spicy sauce, sriracha aioli, honey wasabi aioli, truffle ponzu, eel sauce or miso ginger. I chose eel sauce and Hubby chose Sriracha aioli. At this point they will mix the sauce in with all the ingredients you have chosen so far except the base. Lastly, chose from a crunchy topping of: garlic chips, onion crunch, roasted seaweed, wonton crips, furikake, wasabi peas, aleppo flakes and roasted sesame seeds. I chose wonton crips, furikake and sesame seeds. I also chose carrots which aren’t on the menu. Hubby chose to skip the crunchy toppings. A regular sized bowl is $10.95 and a large is $13.45. Avocado and zucchini noodles both cost a dollar extra. Hubby ordered water to drink which is self serve. I ordered a kombucha drink for $5 in the flavor Bluebird from a company called Homebucha made in Durham. It has an incredible flavor of blueberry with the zing of ginger. My mouth was on fire for quite some time after I was done drinking it. It’s made of: live kombucha, green & black tea, cane sugar, culture, juiced ginger, and blueberry juice. While it’s expensive, I really enjoyed it’s flavor immensely. I highly recommend you give it a try!

We sat down at one of the indoor tables and enjoyed our selections. Oh me oh my, it’s so scrumptiously delicious! Yum, yum in the tum tum! It was a large enough portion to last for many hours and it’s a nutritional boost. You need to get yourself over to this restaurant and enjoy a poké bowl as soon as humanly possible! I wish we lived closer, if so, we would frequent this restaurant. It’s an hour drive for us, but it’s worth it and we enjoyed the lovely fall foliage along the way. The only negatives are the prices and the lack of indoor tables. What’s your favorite healthy restaurant in the Triangle?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Kindly share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


ZenFish Poké Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Flat Belly Diet – Guilt-Free Fries

Guilt-Free Fries


1 large sweet potato and 1 large russet baking potato (1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a bowl, toss together the potatoes, oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Halfway through, turn the fries over and continue baking.
Remove the fries from the oven and place them on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt.

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Flat Belly Diet – Balsamic Flank Steak

Now this is what a “diet” should taste like! This meal was sooooo yummy! The recipe calls for the meat to marinade for a minimum of one hour, but I highly recommend marinading it at least overnight, if not 24 hours. Flank steak is a tougher cut of the meet and the longer you can let it sit in the marinade, the more tender and better flavored it will turn out. I served the steak with guilt-free fries (see tomorrow’s post for that recipe!) and a simple ranch chopped salad from Dole.
Basic Balsamic Flank Steak

1 whole flank steak (1 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Poke the meat with a fork to help the marinade penetrate. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large resealable bag. Drop the steak into the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. 

Preheat a grill to medium for direct heat. Remove the meat from the bag, reserving the marinade. Grill the meat for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F for medium rare. In a small saucepan, boil the reserved marinade for 5 minutes. 


Slice the meat diagonally across the grain in thin slices and drizzle with the marinade. Divide evenly onto 4 plates.

21st Blue Apron Meal Kit Review

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Spicy Korean Chicken Bao with Green Bean & Tomato Salad


Ingredients


Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po’ Boys with Tomato & Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


This is a review of our 21st delivery from a food subscription box called Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a weekly food subscription box that costs $59.94 for 2 servings of 3 recipes. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe three stars and one recipe two stars. Calories ranged from 560 to 750 and preparation listed on the recipe cards ranged from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time was from fifty-two minutes to over an hour.

Spicy Korean Chicken Bao with Green Bean & Tomato Salad

Hubby and I both gave this recipe five out of five stars. This meal was scrumptious. It was the first time we had tried steam buns and they are comfort food for sure yet this recipe has only 560 calories. The charm tomatoes were a nice change from your typical tomato. I prefer the flavor of these over cherry tomatoes. The sauces on the chicken were delicious and the gochujang was particularly yummy. It took an hour to prepare. This was a healthy portion that was filling.

Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po’ Boys with Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Last time we made a shrimp po’ boy recipe it was five stars, so we were really looking forward to this one. I gave this recipe three out of five stars and Hubby gave it only two stars. It was a very disappointing recipe. The shrimp was in desperate need of some cajun spice and the rémoulade made with corn, pickle relish, mustard and vinegar wasn’t a good match for the shrimp & sandwich rolls. The side salad was yummy. It was simply made with cucumber, tomatoes, chives, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. It took fifty-two minutes to prepare. This recipe has 740 calories and it was filling.

Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad

We put off making this recipe since it was our least favorite of the three. Out of all the meal kits, Blue Apron offers the least amount of recipes so sometimes you get stuck with a recipe you’re not that crazy about making. I had a hard time rating this recipe. I couldn’t decide between two or three stars out of five. The meat was dry and tough so that’s what’s pulling it down to two stars the most. Also, the dried figs after being rehydrated were strangely crunchy. I really disliked that texture even though it was tasty when added to the rice. The Afghan spice blend added to the rice was delicious. It took over an hour to prepare and yet it says it will only take up to thirty-five minutes. I really wish they were more accurate with their preparation times. The meat was screaming for a sauce. I think that instead of a side salad of cucumber, labneh cheese, mint and vinegar that it should have been blended until smooth and poured over the meat. It tasted very similar to tzatziki sauce, so it would have improved the flavor of the meat. This one has 750 calories and it was a healthy portion.

This week was a mixed bag of recipes with one that we absolutely loved, one that was ok and one that was very disappointing. We are grateful that all the ingredients arrived in good shape and now we know we love Chinese steam buns. Now I’m on the hunt for a local restaurant that offers them. Have you tried Blue Apron yet? If so, how has the service been for you? If not, why? I’ll have another Blue Apron giveaway soon, so be sure to check back.

Bargain Alert:

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22nd Blue Apron Meal Kit Review

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Salmon & Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Sweet Peppers, Bok Choy & Furikake

Ingredients


Fontina Cheeseburgers with Cilantro & Tomato Salad


Ingredients


Seared Chicken & Creamy Eggplant with Charred Green Beans & Fried Oregano


Ingredients


This is a review of our 22nd delivery from a food subscription box called Blue Apron. This week all three recipes received three out of five stars. The calories ranged from 610 to 820. Preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranged from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from thirty-seven minutes to over an hour.

Salmon & Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Sweet Peppers, Bok Choy & Furikake

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. We normally love bok choy, perhaps it wasn’t fresh enough or the cooking process reduced it’s flavor. While the furikake spice was tasty, it just wasn’t spicy enough for us. The sweet peppers were also not fresh and some parts had to be cut off since they went bad. The fresh udon noodles were the best part of the meal. Looking at the ingredient list it should have been a winner for us, just goes to show you how important fresh ingredients are. It was a large portion and it comes in at 690 calories. It took thirty-seven minutes to prepare. The recipe card states up to thirty-five minutes preparation time, so this one was accurate estimate. 

Fontina Cheeseburgers with Cilantro & Tomato Salad

Who doesn’t love a burger yet this one only received three out of five stars. The burger was the best part of the meal, but it was a bit on the small side. The fontina cheese was delicious along with the mayo and the soft, fresh potato bun. I skipped the pickled shallots since I can’t stomach pickled food. The side salad was a miss. I wish they had sent us charm tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes which tend to be tart. The recipe card indicated we could receive either type. The cilantro was in bad shape, so without it the recipe lacked some flavor. This recipe has 610 calories. It took over an hour to prepare while the recipe card states only up to thirty-five minutes preparation time.

Seared Chicken & Creamy Eggplant

This recipe is from the tv show Master Chef on Fox. We really haven’t been impressed by any of the Master Chef recipes which is so surprising. I gave this recipe three out of five stars and Hubby gave it only two stars. We enjoyed the side of basmati rice and the addition of golden raisins was surprisingly delicious. The side of eggplant was sour. Hubby thinks the eggplant we received was too small for the amount of greek yogurt we received and that perhaps that caused it to be too sour. Also, part of the eggplant has to be cut off since it went bad. The green beans also had some bad parts. The chicken had very little flavor, it was in desperate need of some spice. This one has 820 calories which seems really high. It was a healthy portion. It took fifty-five minutes to prepare and the recipe card states up to forty-five minutes.

This wasn’t our favorite week of recipes and several ingredients weren’t fresh, so all in all it was a disappointing week. Hopefully, the next week we order will be better. What’s your favorite food subscription box? Stay tuned, I’ll be having another Blue Apron meal kit giveaway soon.

Bargain Alert:

Boxed – $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 off, click here.
Julep – Free 12 Piece Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50 
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Garlic Marinated Pork

I usually adapt most of the recipes I use based on what ingredients I have on hand or my prep time. This one I followed to a tee, except I marinated mine overnight, giving it even more flavor! Be careful not to overcook the pork and dry it out.

Served with mashed potatoes and green beans, this was a delicious winter meal.

Pork Tenderloins
From Foodie Sisters
 

1 package of pork tenderloins (2 tenderloins total about 2-2.5lbs)
4 garlic cloves, quartered/sliced/slivered
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon country dijon mustard
4 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or Herbs de Provence
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take tenderloins out of package. Rinse and pat dry. Spray a 9×13 baking dish and place tenderloins inside. Use a paring knife and poke holes on the top side of the tenderloins, about an inch deep. Place a garlic piece into each hole. Make the marinade next. In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together everything except for olive oil. Then slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.
Pour marinade over tenderloins. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, basting once halfway through cooking process. Once removed from the oven, let pork rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before cutting in.

More Pinterest Projects

Love the burlap rosettes

I love Fall…love love love love it! I love decorating for Fall more than I love decorating for Christmas. The cooling temps, cozy sweaters, my favorite blue jeans, football (Go Ohio! Go Bengals!), pumpkin patches, hay rides, corn mazes…I just love all of it. 

My Fall wreath was looking a little tired and old, so I perused Pinterest looking for something else I could do. I came across a lot of burlap (I also love me some burlap!) and felt rosettes. I decided to come up with my own version. I think it turned out pretty stinkin’ cute! I love the subtle Fall colors, the rusticness of the burlap and twigs and sweetness of the rosettes. You can find the tutorial on the rosettes here and how to make a burlap bow here.

The door from the garage into the house enters into my office. I was super sick of how disgusting the white door got from us going in and out all the time, so I decided to paint the door with chalkboard paint. Now the kids can draw all over it and it’s also a metal door, so they can hang pictures and artwork up on it too. No more nasty fingerprints and black marks!!

Freezing Green Beans

Another harvest from our garden…lots and lots of green beans! Instead of canning, I decided to freeze them. I blanched them for 1-2 minutes, then immediately put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. After draining well, I put the green beans in a freezer ziplock bag and put in the freezer to enjoy all winter long 🙂 Easy peasy!

Flat-Belly Diet – Cheesy Spinach Ziti

As I’ve mentioned before, the hubs and I did the Flat-Belly Diet 4-day cleanse several weeks ago. And while I’m not diving into the diet hardcore, I’ve picked out several recipes from the Flat-Belly Diet book to try and share with you. The basic gist of the diet is to eat four 400-calorie meals and include at least one MUFA (monounsaturated fat) in each meal. For example, the MUFA for this meal is the EVOO. I like the idea of incorporating a MUFA in each meal, which we do for most meals anyway!

Anyway, the cheesy spinach ziti was just okay. It came out a little dry but still had good flavor.

Cheesy Spinach Ziti
1/4 cup whole wheat penne
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons shredded italian four-cheese blend
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons onions, sliced
1/2 cup newman’s own marinara pasta sauce (I left out the marinara but prob should have used it to make the dish less dry)


Cook the pasta according to package directions, then toss with all remaining ingredients.

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Leather Clad Custom – Yamaha SR400 Cafe Racer


The Japanese custom motorcycle scene is arguably one of the most influential and progressive in the world. Japanese workshops like Cherry’s Company, Brat Style, Custom Works Zon and Ritmo Sereno have inspired builders around the world and have even been commissioned by motorcycle manufacturers to modify their newest models. Unfortunately in the past it has been difficult to get in touch with Japan’s home builders and enthusiasts, but all that’s slowly changing thanks to social media.
I recently stumbled across the Instagram profile of Cyu-G and his Yamaha SR400 cafe racer. Despite a language barrier we managed to communicate enough to put together the following interview to share the story of how his cafe racer came to be…



ROTCR: Let’s start by you telling us a bit about yourself and your history with bikes.

CYU-G: I live in Nagoya, Japan, I am 49 years old and have been riding for 33 years. Some of the bikes I have owned in the past are Kawasaki Z400FX, Suzuki RG250, Honda CT110 etc. When I customise them I usually get secondhand parts from auctions or shops and I build my bikes in my home garage when I have days off work.

I’m also into British vintage leather jackets and I repair and customise leather wear. In fact the blue Lewis Leathers I wear in these photos were originally a one piece race suit that I split to make a separate jacket. My skills are self taught with both leather and motorcycles.



What was the idea behind the build of this bike and how long did it take to complete?

As I collect and customise vintage leather wear I thought that a cafe racer styled motorcycle would suit these leathers. So I built this cafe racer using a 1994 Yamaha SR400. It took me about 2 years to custom like this and I did all myself apart from the silencers, which were modified by Motor Rock in Nagoya.



What custom work did you perform to transform the bike into a cafe racer?

I replaced almost everything, apart from the frame, engine and wheels. The fairing is a secondhand MINANI item, which I restored and mounted to the frame, using modified brackets from a different fairing. I also fabricated the mounting system for the instruments.

The long alloy petrol tank was hand formed from Aluminium and I made the petrol tank retaining strap using the buckle from a vintage British leather jacket as a fastener. The alloy seat was originally from an unfinished Harley Davidson project which I bought a while ago and customised by myself. The original subframe was shortened, and a new one constructed that also holds the tail light, indicators and fender.



The battery and electrical system are hidden under the alloy seat. The seat base was moulded from FPR and then upholstered by myself in real leather. I spent a lot of time designing my ideal cafe racer, and also in making the many brackets that hold it all together. A portion of the exhaust pipe was cut off and extended using a 20cm section of pipe, which is angled at 15 degrees to kick up the muffler.

I designed the bike more for style than outright performance. However, the engine was still mildly tuned thanks to a racing carburettor and the modified exhaust. The front drum brake was also changed to a disc brake setup, and the front and rear suspension were updated.



What do you like most about the finished bike?

The way the lines of the classic fairing and its rectangular headlight flow into the streamlined alloy petrol tank. I’m also really fond of the matching aluminium alloy petrol tank and seat, with my hand made leather seat upholstery. The Silver finish on everything looks great with leatherwear of any colour.

It’s the perfect bike to combine my two passions.



Build sheet:

  • Faring:  MINAMI
  • Petrol Tank: Stinky
  • Alloy Seat: One off custom
  • Handlebars: TOMMASELLI
  • Front Brake:  320mm Disc, with Brembo 4 Piston Calliper & Nissin (Active) Master Cylinder
  • Rear Suspension:  OHLINS
  • Silencer:  Peyton Place (Customised by MOTOR ROCK)
  • Carburettor: Yoshimura FCR39 MJN
  • Fenders:  Peyton Place
  • Speedo and Tachometer:  DAYTONA

CYU-G YAMADA

Photo by Keiichiro Netsuke 
Special thanks to Leather Girl HIROKO
First read on returnofthecaferacers.com

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Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken with Avocado Ranch Sauce

This recipe was a little labor intensive, but was really good. I especially loved the avocado ranch sauce! I’m going to try the sauce as a dressing on a taco salad.

You could make it lower carb by leaving out the chips and just using the cheese, mayo and spices on the chicken. Next time I think I’ll double the recipe and freeze the extras…two meals for one prep time! 🙂 


Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken with Avocado Ranch
Adapted from Bacon, Butter, Cheese and Garlic

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One 12-ounce bag tortilla chips
4 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1 C mayonnaise
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T cumin
1/2 T chili powder
2 teaspoons lime juice


FOR THE SAUCE:

1 C mayo

1/2 C milk

1 C sour cream
1/4 C all-natural ranch dressing

1 T garlic powder

1 T onion powder

1 teaspoon lime juice
2 avocados

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put about half of the bag of chips into the food processor and blend.  You should have 2-3 C crushed chips. (Reserve the rest of the bag in case you don’t have enough.)  Mix the shredded cheese and the crushed chips together.

Whisk together the mayo, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and lime juice.  Dredge the chicken breasts into the mayo and then into the chip mixture, pressing down to make sure it’s all coated.  (Here’s where you may need to grind extra chips for coating if you run out.)  When all the chicken is coated, put it in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through and the chips are crispy.

Blend the sauce ingredients together in a food processor and serve over the chicken.

2nd Gobble Delivery Review & Free Dinner Kit Coupon

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Bistro Salmon en Papillote with Asparagus & Béarnaise


Ingredients


Country Captain Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice


Ingredients


Baked Conchiglie Mac & Cheese


Ingredients


Shepherd’s Pie & Mixed Greens Salad


Ingredients


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Ingredients


This is a review of a weekly meal kit subscription box from a company called Gobble. Dinner meals are $11.95 per serving, cookies are $1.95 per serving, soup is $5.95 per serving and Mac & Cheese is $5.95 per serving. This week I gave one recipe five out of five stars, two recipes four stars, one recipe three and a half stars and two recipe three stars. I reviewed the Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup in our previous shipment and I gave it four stars, so I wont be repeating the review.

Bistro Salmon en Papillote with Asparagus & Béarnaise

Wow, this meal was incredible! I gave this recipe five out of five stars and Hubby gave it four stars. The sauce was sent already made, so that was one less step for us to do. It was so scrumptious! My stomach is very sensitive to sauces made with cream, so I’m happy to report that this one wasn’t too heavy. Hubby put it on everything and it tasted awesome on both vegetables and the salmon. I wish they provided the ingredient list for the sauce, so we could make it on our own. Baking salmon in parchment paper makes it so moist and tender. They sent us two parchment pouches to bake them in along with the lemon. The asparagus and potatoes were also delicious. At first glance it looked like it might not be a large enough portion, but it landed up being a generous and filling portion. This one has only 560 calories and it took Hubby forty-five minutes to prepare.

Country Captain Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice

I gave this recipe four out of five stars. I would have given it five stars, if the chicken had not been precooked and it was a larger portion. We were surprised that the chicken had already been seasoned and cooked. We’d prefer to cook it ourselves, but it does save time. Previously, they did not send anything precooked, so it was quite the surprise. The curry sauce was premade and very tasty and it reminded me of my mother’s version though Gobble’s was very mild in spice. It would have been much better made with a hotter spice. The rice was also precooked and yet it had the perfect texture and it was very tasty. There wasn’t much to do since so much of it was already cooked and it just needed warming up. That’s perfect for those that are in a rush and don’t have the time or energy for making it from scratch. This one has 1040 calories which seems high. They didn’t provide an ingredient list for the country captain sauce, so I’m guessing they added something to it that raised the calorie count. Normally, chicken curry wouldn’t be so high in calories. It was a very large portion, very filling and it took Hubby only thirty-five minutes to prepare.

Baked Conchiglie Mac & Cheese

I gave this recipe three out of five stars. It really needs some mustard powder & garlic salt. It was just too bland for me, the sauce was a bit on the sour side and I didn’t like the breadcrumb topping. I really enjoyed the fresh pasta though, it’s texture is so much better. It was a pleasant surprise to receive fresh pasta. It’s listed as a side, but I served it as the main dish for lunch and it was an extra large portion for two. As a side, it would be enough for four. I found it needed longer than the five minutes suggested to brown the breadcrumbs in the oven. They don’t list the calorie count for this recipe, but as we all know this is a high calorie dish which is for a cheat meal. It took me thirty-two minutes to prepare.

Shepherd’s Pie & Mixed Greens Salad
I gave this recipe three out of five stars, though note that I am very picky when it comes to Shepherd’s Pie since my Mum made it regularly. There was too much sauce on the ground beef and I was shocked that the beef was already cooked and the mashed potatoes already prepared. I really prefer freshly cooked or frozen. This is in between which is great, if you want to save time, but don’t want to eat frozen entrees. If you want to make a really simple and quick Shepherd’s Pie, place cooked ground beef at the bottom of a baking pan, slices of tomato on top and then mashed potatoes on top of that, add salt & pepper and brown in the oven. A very simple recipe, yet scrumptious. The salad only offered gem lettuce and red wine vinaigrette, so I added sunflower seeds, shredded Mexican cheese, red onion, salt and pepper. There was only enough dressing for one person, but it was tasty. Maybe they forgot to send a second packet of dressing. This one has 730 calories and it was a very large portion. I ate about one quarter of the Shepherd’s Pie, it could easily feed four unless you skip the salad. The gem lettuce was nice and crisp even on the fifth day after it arrived. I found that it needed twice as long in the oven than the recipe stated to brown the potatoes, so it took me fifty-two minutes to prepare.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I gave these cookies three out of five stars. I’m not a fan of overly sweetened cookies, but these tasted like diet cookies to me almost like granola rather than a cookie. If you like Whole Foods’ cookies, you’ll love these. When I treat myself I want something deliciously sweet since I rarely eat anything with sugar in it. If I wanted granola then I would have that instead. They don’t list the calorie count for this one. They are large cookies and a very generous portion. They suggest two cookies per serving when really one is enough. I had to cook them longer than the recipe suggested. 

While we absolutely loved the salmon recipe this week, there were some recipes that missed the mark for us. I really wish I had known that they started precooking some the ingredients prior to ordering them. Last time I ordered, nothing was precooked, so it was an unpleasant surprise for us. It definitely saved us on preparation time and it would be perfect for those that don’t order meal kits due to the time required. This would be a great alternative to frozen prepared meals. If you subscribe to this box, have you received lots of precooked ingredients or is this something new they are trying? The portions were large to extra large and some could have been shared with two adults and a couple of children easily or lots of leftovers which brings down the cost and calories. If you want to give this meal kit delivery service a try, click on the link below to grab the discount on your first box. If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below. Which food subscription box is your favorite? 

Bargain Alert: 
Gobble Meal Kits, Soup, Cookies, Bread, Cocktail Mixes – Two free meals
Hello Fresh Meal Kits – $40 Off
Home Chef Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads – $30 Off

Sun Basket Meal Kits – $50 Off 1st Two Boxes *
Terra’s Kitchen Meal Kits, Smoothies & Prepared Salads, Soup, Drinks & Snacks – $40 Off

*Affiliate Link

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3rd Terra’s Kitchen Delivery Review & $40 Coupon

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Berry Balsamic Salad – $7.99


Berry Balsamic Salad Box


Red Grapes, Brie & Cheddar Cheese Snack Box – $5.99


Greek Salad – $7.99


Greek Salad Box


Organic Züpa Noma Superfood Soups – $6.49 each


Hummus with Multigrain Pita, Carrot & Celery Sticks – $5.99


Revolution Lunch Bundle Sundipper – $5.49


This is a review of a weekly food subscription service called Terra’s Kitchen. I had not ordered in quite some time, so they emailed me a $20 coupon which convinced me to order again especially since they had some new offerings that peaked my interest. This is my 3rd delivery and this time I went with their new salads, soups and snacks rather than the meal kits. We were already receiving a meal kit from Home Chef for dinners that week anyway. I really like to eat salads for lunch, so I wanted to order a salad for each weekday. Unfortunately, they only offer delivery to my location on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If they offered delivery earlier in the week then I could order five salads. I do not enjoy cooking for one person, so I prefer salads and sandwiches when dining alone. I paid $57.34. They have a minimum purchase  of $72 to place an order for the week, so my order total was $72.39 before the discount and since my total after discount was under $72 I had to pay $4.95 for shipping. Shipping is free for orders of $72 and more. They have a new three day detox shipment which that I wanted to order, but it’s too expensive for me. The soup I ordered is in that shipment. At first glance one might think the prices are a bit high, but my cost per serving for this shipment was only $4.25 a serving prior to my discount. 

Berry Balsamic Salad

Included in this salad are the following:  baby spinach, blackberries, blueberries, goat cheese, pecan pieces, sliced scallions and Lighthouse Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. The box looked a bit small to me, but as soon as I unpacked it and placed it on a full sized dinner plate it looked much larger. They really packed it in the box tight. I like that it has a use by date on it since it gives me more confidence of food safety plus I place items in the refrigerator in order of use by date. I wish the other food subscription companies would do that. I received my order on the 25th, so this product allowed me four days to eat it. While the dressing had an unappetizing brown color, it was very tasty and it was a generous 2 fl. oz. portion. I really enjoyed the combination of ingredients and everything was fresh. The goat cheese was wonderfully creamy. I would definitely purchase it again. This one has 400 calories and it was healthy portion. 
Red Grapes, Brie & Cheddar Cheese Snack Box

I’m usually not a big fan of brie, but the consistency of this one was fabulous. I wish I knew which brand they send. The cheddar cheese was ok, just not my favorite which isn’t a surprise because I’m really picky about cheddar since I eat it more than any other cheese. The red grapes were extra large, very fresh and tasty. Oh, how I wish I had ordered more than one of these boxes, it was that good! Yummy! This snack has 423 calories and it was a generous portion. I imagine you could use it as a lunch also.

Greek Salad

This salad includes the following: leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, feta cheese and organic lemon garlic dressing. I found this salad a bit disappointing since it only had two small pieces of red onion and two small pieces of cucumber. I had a red onion in the fridge, so I added more. I love lots of onion in my salad especially a Greek salad. It had too much feta cheese for me since I’m not a big fan of that type of cheese. Everything was fresh except a little piece of lettuce that way laying under the feta cheese. The dressing was so very tasty. It was a delicious salad and it was a healthy portion. It has only 394 calories.
Organic Züpa Noma Superfood Soups

These come in two packs, but I’m only showing one of each in the photo above. I purchased all three flavors that they had available since they are not available in local stores for purchase. I ordered Tomato Gazpacho, Carrot Coconut Lime and Cucumber Avocado. Tomato Gazpacho ingredients are tomato, water, red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, lime juice, red onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, sea salt and turmeric. It only has 100 calories per serving. If you haven’t tried Gazpacho before, I highly recommend you give it a try. I became a big fan when I went on the Tracy Anderson diet. This is the perfect soup for on the go since it tastes good cold. I recommend this flavor as a substitute lunch. This one is a bit on the spicy side and it’s delicious. All of these soups are for drinking cold, but you have the option of pouring the soup in a bowl and warming it up in the microwave for forty seconds. Carrot Coconut Lime ingredients are filtered water, carrot, apple, coconut milk, lime juice, yam, ginger, olive oil, shallot, lemongrass, turmeric, coriander, sea salt, cumin and black pepper. It has 150 calories per serving. I recommend warming this one up, since it has a bit of a thick consistency. It tastes quite good. I first taste the carrot, then yam followed by ginger and spices. The Cucumber Avocado ingredients are cucumber, water, apple, avocado, lemon juice, Swiss chard, pumpkin seed, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper and spirulina. This one makes a great green smoothie substitute. It’s a bit on the sour side. It has 110 calories. All ingredients are organic and each bottle has two servings. Four servings costs $12.98 which is $3.24 a serving. If I’m only having soup for lunch I’ll eat two servings. These have a use by date of February 26th, so I have a month to drink them. The bottle says to drink it within fourteen days of opening it, I can’t imagine keeping it more than a couple days. That seems like too long of a time. I found out you can order these soups directly from the manufacturer! Snag my $10 coupon for your first order!

Hummus with Multigrain Pita, Carrot & Celery Sticks

Included in this snack are eight celery sticks, seven carrot sticks, hummus and a ton of multigrain pita chips. It has only 210 calories which is shocking since it’s such a large portion that I couldn’t only eat half of it at one sitting. I’m not a big fan of celery dipped in hummus, I prefer peanut butter. The carrot sticks were good in the hummus and so were the pita chips. It was immediately filling even only eating half of it. The pita chips were a bit too hard for my liking. I prefer the Stacy’s brand. It has a use by date of the 29th which gave me five days to eat it.

Revolution Lunch Bundle Sundipper

I ordered the Decker version of this lunch bundle and received the Sundipper one instead. Since the Sundipper one has two items made with soy, I wont be eating those. I try to avoid anything with soy in it because soy turns into estrogen in the body. I emailed them about the mistake and they gave me a store credit for the cost of the product, $5.49. This one has a use by date of March 9th, so I have plenty of time to eat it.

It was a very enjoyable shipment and I enjoyed trying the new soups, snacks and salads they have to offer. I was very happy to have two salads already prepared for me and I was delighted by their flavors. I can’t skip meals due to an auto immune disease, IBS, but I usually want to skip lunch and snacks so I have to force myself to eat. Having these waiting in the refrigerator really helped a lot. The soup selection in my local stores is quite limited and I’ve become bored of the brands and flavors I have to chose from, so I was very happy to have something new, organic and very nutritional. If you have healthy foods already prepared and waiting for you, you’re less likely to skip meals which slows your metabolism or eat something on the run which tends to be unhealthy. I really look forward to trying some of their other prepared snacks and salads. Of course, they also have many meal kits to chose from some of which I have reviewed previously. Check out my review of our 1st delivery and 2nd delivery before you go. Have you tried any of their new selections? I’d love to hear your review, so comment below. If you haven’t given Terra’s Kitchen a try, why not? If you are thinking about it, make sure you snag my $40 coupon below by clicking on the link. Enjoy!

Bargain Alert:

Terra’s Kitchen$40 Off 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $40 Off
Züpa Noma Soup – $10 Off


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Play! by Sephora Subscription Box – October 2017

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Complexion Companions


This is a review of the October Play! by Sephora subscription box. This one only costs $10 including shipping and this month’s box has a retail value of $45.40.  Bargain! There are several different boxes that are sent out based on customers’ profiles. Included in my October box are the following products:
  1. Laura Mercier – Transluscent Powder, made in the USA ?? , .12 oz, $4.56 retail value
  2. Chanel – Gabrielle Chanel, made in France ?? , .05 fl. oz., $3.08 retail value
  3. Make Up For Ever – Ultra HD Skin Booster, made in France ??, .15 fl. oz., $15.37 retail value
  4. Cover FX – Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight, made in Italy ?? , .095 fl. oz., $7.98 retail value
  5. Becca – First Light Filter Face Primer, made in the USA ?? , .2 fl. oz., $7.60 retail value
  6. Make Up For Ever – Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation R230, made in France ??, .16 fl. oz., $6.81 retail value 
I wish they had sent me the correct shade of foundation especially since I’ve heard such great things about this foundation and I haven’t tired it before. R230, Ivory isn’t the lightest shade they have. It’s the sixth lightest shade and I need the lightest. It sinks into the skin very quickly, dries quickly and has a matte appearance which I really like. Sadly, it does appear to highlight fine lines. I love Chanel fragrances and haven’t tried Gabrielle before. Due to my allergies acting up today, I’m not able to smell it so well. It is a strong scent when you first put it on and then it very subtle. It smells like a powdery floral scent to me. It has notes of jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose and ylang-ylang. It’s nice, but I prefer the original Chanel perfume. Not so sure if I can pull off a metallic highlighter that Cover FX provides. It blends well, but you can still see a metallic shine. The description says it provides a soft, silver glow. It looks like rose gold to me. This sample size will last a very long time since it only takes the smallest amount. The Make Up For Ever Skin Booster is suppose to moisturize, smooth the appearance of fine lines and prep the skin for makeup. It doesn’t dry as quickly as other brands and it leaves the skin tacky. I think I’ll stick with the brands Julep and Laura Gellar instead. I don’t like products that leave the skin feeling sticky. The Becca Face Primer dries quickly and feels a bit moisturizing without feeling sticky. It doesn’t leave as smooth as a finish as other brands do. The Laura Mercier Translucent Powder goes on easily and leaves a matte finish. I like that this one offers a light skin tone color rather than a white color. I find they look more natural. I’ll be using this one for sure. It’s similar to the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, but it appears you don’t need to use as much product.

My favorite thing in this box would be the Make Up For Ever Foundation, if it had been in the correct shade. So, my next favorite is Laura Mercier’s Translucent Powder. What types of samples would you prefer to receive in your box? What I would like to receive each month is a lipstick, foundation that matches my skin tone, mascara, a newly released product and a moisturizer in each box. I’ve received so many primers over the years, I really don’t care for yet another sample. Receiving three face primers in one box isn’t the variety I was looking for. If you received a box from Sephora this month, what’s your favorite sample?   While this wasn’t my favorite Sephora box so far, I will enjoy playing with the samples. If you haven’t subscribed, what’s your reason for not subscribing?

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – 4% cash back for online Sephora purchases! 
Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to see what I have received in my previous boxes. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. 

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Ipsy Subscription Box Review – November 2017

Ipsy – November 2017


Recently I noticed that Ipsy has stepped up their game giving subscribers more high end brands, so I decided to subscribe again after a four year break. I looked it up and I was shocked it had been that long, but as I age I’ve noticed that time goes by so much faster. After signing up, I changed my profile in hopes of not receiving items that I don’t want. I really like to receive eye shadow, blush and lipstick. I prefer not to receive hair care products or nail polish because I’m particularly picky and I’m very loyal to my favorite brands, Wen, Julep & OPI. I definitely do not want bronzers or self tanners since they don’t look natural on my fair skin. My profile changes seemed to help since I managed to receive blush, eye shadow and lip gloss, so I’m happy. What I’m not happy about is that the teaser email they sent me to lure me into resubscribing showed five products I would enjoy receiving yet I only received one of them, the Tarte blush. Only two of the five products I received are brands that I like and recognize. Ipsy has a habit of sending products from new brands that can only be purchased online. As shown above, included in my November bag were the following products:
  1. Tarte – Deluxe Amazonian Clay Twelve Hour Blush in Quirky, made in China, .05 oz., $7.25 retail value
  2. Naked Cosmetics – Mother Nature #06, .05 oz., $14.99 retail value
  3. The White Company – White Lavender Body Lotion, 1.7 oz, $4.00 retail value
  4. Manna Kadar – Lip Locked Gloss Stain in the color All of Me, .052 fl. oz., $7.34 retail value
  5. It Cosmetics – Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream in Fair, made in Korea, .135 oz, $4.75 retail value
The approximate retail value of all five samples is $38.33 not including the cosmetic bag. Since I only paid $10 including shipping it’s a pretty good value, but not as high as I’ve seen other customers receive lately. They send out several different bags of samples based on customers’ profiles, so values vary each month. 

I’ve purchased Tarte blush before and while they offer pretty colors, I find I have to be careful to dab very lightly with my brush or I’ll have way too much blush on my brush. It’s a bit unforgiving since it goes on heavy, so I find it’s too fussy for me. I prefer to add more color rather than take away or be so light in my application. While I like it, I tend to grab a different brand from my drawer when I’m in a rush. The eye shadow from Naked Cosmetics is a loose powder. It has a brownish red appearance with fine green glitter. It looks like a duo chrome since it’s changing color as you move. When I blend it out it has more of a reddish brown color with some green glitter. I like it better unblended, so I’m going to try applying it wet for a more bold look. Compared to Bare Essentials loose powder eyeshadows, it’s more chunky and not as finely milled. That’s why I’m more comfortable applying it wet to reduce fall out. The White Company body lotion smells really good. It has scents of lavender, neroli, lemon, basil and vetiver. I smell lemon first followed by the lavender and then basil. I’ve never heard of this brand before yet it’s pricey. It’s based in the United Kingdom with only one store in the US which is located in New Jersey. I’ve also never heard of the brand Manna Kadar. Their lip stain in the color All of Me is a lovely opaque pink color. It feels quite moisturizing on the lips. It wasn’t much of a stain on my lips since it came off when I ate. I’ve purchased It Cosmetics’ foundation in a QVC Today’s Special Value previously. While I like it and it gives pretty good coverage, it’s not my favorite. For me it takes longer to blend in evenly than other brands. Also, it doesn’t feel as natural on my skin as other brands. My current favorite is Josie Maran’s latest foundation offered on QVC in a recent TSV.

While my November bag has some pretty good offerings, I’m guessing I won’t remain a subscriber very long. I’ll know better after I receive my December bag. Wish me luck! My biggest issue is the brands I don’t recognize which aren’t available for purchase in stores. If you received a bag from Ipsy this month, how many samples were you happy with? If you haven’t subscribed, what’s keeping you from giving it a try?

Bargain Alert:

It Cosmetics – 25% off, code “ITFRIEND17” ends 11/18
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Manna Kadar – 20% off, code “IPSY2017” 
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 
Naked Cosmetics – 30% off, code “IPSY30”

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. I just started a Facebook page for this blog.

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Inexpensive Subway Art


I’ve always been a little afraid of wall art for my home. Aside from family pictures, I never know what to hang up on the walls. Plus, seems like most wall hangings, especially the ones I love, are expensive. Thank you Pinterest, once again, for showing me the light and giving me ideas for some money saving DIY wall art. The first wall art I tackled was the phonetic alphabet for G’s room. His room is all aviation and airplanes and so when I saw the Pinterest one (on the left) I knew I wanted something similar. The secret to making this DIY subway art affordable is using Staples’ option for engineering prints. At $1.99 for a 2×3 print, it’s a steal. Mind you, the engineering prints only come in black and white, but that’s perfect for the subway art look. 

For the airplane and phonetic alphabet, I found a black outline of an old looking airplane on Google, copy and pasted it into Publisher and then added the words in white on top of it. Whatever design or wording you do, make the background black and the wording white. Save as a JPG file, upload to Staples and order an engineering print. I then cut out the airplane (because the background of it was white, I wanted grey) and used double-sided tape to adhere to a piece of grey poster board. The frame was $5.99 from Goodwill (I sanded down the ugly brown and spray painted black). Cut the poster board to size to fit the frame, add to the frame and there you have it. Instant subway art for under $10. 

The second piece is subway art using lyrics to one of my favorite Mumford and Sons’ songs, “After the Storm.” I did the basically the same thing; in Publisher, I created a document with a black background and overlaid it with the words in white. I played with the fonts, changing them up line by line to give it that full subway art look. I saved it as a JPEG, uploaded to Staples and ordered as an engineering print. I then took a piece of plywood, cut to the size of the print (in my case 2×3) and painted the edges of the plywood black. I then used mod podge to adhere the print to the wood and also added two layers of modge podge on top of the print. I took a fine sand paper and very lightly sanded over the whole thing to give it a rustic, vintage look. With the print, mod podge and plywood, this one cost under $10 as well.


You can find full directions on DIY subway art at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar.

Boxy Charm Subscription Box Review – January 2018

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Boxy Charm – Rock 2018


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Boxy Charm. It costs $21 a month including shipping and they send at least five full sized cosmetics with a retail value over $100. This is my first month and I received the following products:
  1. Crown Pro – Glam Metals Palette, made in China, retail value $25.00
  2. Pür – Bronze & Brighten Cheek Palette, made in Taiwan, retail value $34.00
  3. It Cosmetics – Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe, made in Korea, retail value $24.00
  4. Girlactik – Matte Lip Paint in Demure, made in the USA, retail value $23.00
  5. Dr. Brandt – Pores No More Luminizer Primer, made in the USA, retail value $38.00
The retail value for this month’s box is $144.00! That’s quite the bargain! Basically, you’re paying less than the cost of one of the products and getting the rest for free! I see why it’s so popular. They have a beauty profile for customers to fill out, but there are only two versions each month. This month the second box’s only difference was a different brand of lipstick, everything else was the same.

I was most anxious to try out the brow pencil since I love the It Cosmetics brand, so I tried that out first. It’s suppose to work for lots of shades of brows. I was quite skeptical since I have dark blonde eyebrows. To my surprise this actually works on my brows, it looks pretty good and it can be done fairly quickly. It’s not a product I would have bought on my own due to it’s price unless it was in a set which makes it discounted. I’ve heard of Pür before and thought of them as a good brand from the US, so I’m surprised this cheek palette is made in Taiwan. I searched their website for info and they say their products are made in the US “unless otherwise noted”. Their website also says they are cruelty free. It’s a nice sturdy palette with a mirror and quite a bit of product, it should last a long time. I like the quilted design on top and I like coral, peachy blushes on my fair skin tone. I’m anxious to give it a try this weekend. I’ve received a sample of Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Primer before and I liked it. It has a light skin tone color than blends out clear. It’s moisturizing which is good especially during the winter months. I’m happy to have the full sized version and I’ll enjoy using it. It’s another product I wouldn’t purchase due to it’s high price tag. That’s what’s so good about these subscription boxes, it’s such a bargain. I wont be using two of the products, Glam Metals Palette & Girlactik Lip Paint. I will sell or trade the Glam Metals Palette and I tried the lip paint and it was horrible. The lip paint has the worst applicator I’ve ever tried, it’s not soft and it wont allow a for a crisp line. It has a goopy consistency and it’s an ugly dark brown color that looks horrible on fair skin. It’s much darker on the lips than in the bottle. It’s the worst lipstick I’ve ever tried. I don’t use cosmetics that are made in China since they have very low standards when it comes to cosmetics. It would give me too much anxiety to use the eyeshadows even though the eyeshadow colors look so pretty and are really tempting me. Recently Claire’s recalled some made in China cosmetics that have asbestos in them, so scary! Do Chinese cosmetics made you nervous? I’m going to start up my blog sale again soon since I’m getting quite a collection of cosmetics that I wont be using.

Spoiler alert, Boxy Charm has already revealed two of the five products in next month’s box: CoverFX’s new eyeshadow Shimmer Veil in Amethyst & a three piece Crown brush set. Sounds great, so why don’t you subscribe today! Do you peek and find out what’s coming in your subscription boxes or do you have self control and prefer it to be a surprise when it arrives? I don’t have self control, I seek out spoilers.

Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 

If you are a subscriber what your favorite product this month? If you are not a subscriber, what’s keeping from you giving it a try? Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);



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Dang you Rachael Ray!

Excuse my language (earmuffs children) but damn you Rachel Ray and your EVOO (that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those of you living under a rock). Your perky cooking banter and cleverly named dishes made with, cooked in and saturated with EVOO had us fooled. Yes, EVOO is a super food and really good for you, but only depending on how you use it.


An recent article on Fox News debunked several myths about olive oil, including that you should use EVOO for all types of cooking. Not true…EVOO is great for dressings, marinades and in baking, but using it for sauteing, frying, grilling or roasting can be dangerous. Between a temperature of 375 and 405 degrees, EVOO starts emitting dangerous toxins and loses its antioxidant properties. Who knew, right?? Instead of EVOO, consider using regular olive oil for any high heat cooking and save the EVOO for dressings and marinades. (You can read the rest of myths at the Fox News article here)

Instead of olive oil, you could also try coconut oil. Coconut oil raises good cholesterol, boosts the immune system and stimulates metabolism. It’s great in stir-frys  and other high heat cooking because it has a high smoke point. Use it in baked goods and frosting as a substitute for veggie or canola oil. Unless you really like the taste of coconut, be sure to buy the refined coconut oil. I made the mistake of buying regular and boy could I taste the coconut in everything I cooked it in! It does make a nice oil to cook with though. Be aware that it’s not actually an oil, but a semisolid that will melt when heated.

Want some more options? Check out this Fitness Magazine article on Healthy Cooking Oils.

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How to park your bike securely

Because having your motorcycle nicked is about twice as likely as your car being half-inched – and such thefts often occur in temporary parking locations. Of course there’s no guarantee that your bike won’t be stolen – if a professional thief wants your bike he’ll probably get it. But combining as many security measures as reasonably and practically possible can prevent your bike being targeted.

What do I need?

An assortment of measures that collectively secure your bike effectively. It’s easy to recommend using 15 locks but its neither realistic nor going to guarantee security. But a disc lock, U-lock in situ at your regular parking place, a well-chosen parking spot, some security marking and some labels/stickers which make it obvious how your bike has been secured should do the trick.

What about alarms?

Some like ’em, some don’t but every little helps. We’ve not gone into them in depth here as there are so many different types and should be fitted by experts rather than DIY. If you’ve got one, use it and ensure that it’s obvious that an alarm is fitted – this may deter any opportunist thieves from having a go.

Anything else?

You’d be amazed how many bikers neglect to use the main security device – the steering lock – most bikes come with. Do it. Just make sure you don’t leave it in ‘park’ mode (activating the parking light) by accident and drain the battery.

1. U-lock carrier – Safety first! Whichever type of lock you go for make sure you carry them on your bike correctly and safely. Many modern machines have U-lock compartments under the seat. If not, special carriers can be fitted, sometimes behind the number plate, as above.

2. Disc lock bag – Ditto chains and disc locks. Don’t put them in a rucksack. They should either be packed carefully into a pannier (ensuring you balance the weight on the other side) or in special bags which attach to the pillion seat.

3. Motorcycle parking bay – Picking your parking spot is one of the biggest factors in whether your bike becomes another crime statistic. The best places are where it’s busy and with secure poles or railings to lock your bike to. Council bike parks can be located via local council websites. By varying your spot, you’ll prevent thieves ‘casing’ your bike.

4. Lock around a post – Lock your machine to something solid – like a lamp post – as tightly as possible to make it harder for a thief to insert a scaffold pole or similar to lever off the lock. If you regularly park in the same place, leave your lock attached to a post. But remember, parking on a pavement is likely to land you a parking fine.

5. Park it somewhere visible – Parking in winter or at night requires extra vigilance so make sure your machine is left in a well-lit area where it is busy and/or overlooked. If your bike is in constant view and visible it’s much more likely to be left alone. If it’s hidden in the dark it can be tampered with.

6. Disc lock snug to caliper – Fit the lock through the disc snug to the caliper (so that if you forget to remove it before trying to wheel the bike forward it won’t move). Other tips to avoid riding off with the disc lock in place include using a disc lock warning cable and putting a reminder sticker on your top yoke.

7. Chains, it’s preferable to use the lock to secure your machine to an immoveable object. In addition they should be used to make the bike immobile in its own right. Fitting snugly through the rear wheel and swingarm is ideal. Team it up with a disc lock at the front.
8. Brake lever lock – One type of lock often overlooked, but which is almost as portable as a disc lock and can be a good supplement to other security devices, is the brake lever lock, which clamps the front brake lever fully on. Just try riding off with that on…

9. Smartwater – A security marking system based on what they call a ‘forensic fingerprint’ – basically a solution containing minute particles marked with a unique code. The solution, while being virtually invisible to the naked eye, glows under UV light and is practically impossible to remove. A handy way to prove a bike is yours.

10. Ultraviolet pen – Another cheap and quick way of protecting your bike is to mark all the main body panels, commonly with the bike’s registration number or your postcode, with ink only visible under ultraviolet light – although this is only a deterrent if your bike is labelled as being security marked.

11. Datatag – The most commonly used and respected electronic security marking system. Involves both security etching components and inserting scannable microchips into your bike, whose details are then logged on to a central database. Reckon on around £60 for a kit.

12. Security stickers – It sounds obvious but the biggest deterrent is making it obvious to potential thieves that your bike is fitted with various security devices – stickers saying ‘Warning – alarmed’ are a good thing, even if an alarm or suchlike isn’t actually fitted.

___________________________________________
Source: Motorcycle News (11/30, AP)

Macy’s Beauty Box – 2nd Shipment – September 2017

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Beauty Passport


This is a review of a new cosmetic subscription box brought to you by Macy’s for $15 per month. This is their second shipment and included in it were the following products:
  1. Ahava – Purifying Mud Mask, .86 fl. oz., made in Israel, $8.85 retail value
  2. Laura Mercier – Foundation Primer, .5 fl. oz., $11.17 retail value
  3. Vince Camuto – Ciao Perfume, .05 fl. oz., $1.25 retail value
  4. Dermablend – Loose Setting Powder, .18 oz., made in USA, $4.86 retail value
  5. Clinique – Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, .21 oz., made in the UK, $4.81 retail value
  6. Burt’s Bees – Hand Salve, .3 oz., made in the USA, $.90 retail value
  7. Coupon – $5 off a beauty purchase at Macy’s, expires October 31st
  8. Cosmetic Bag
The retail value of this month’s box is $31.84, not including the cosmetic bag. Last month’s box was $35.36, so I’m guessing their goal is to send boxes with a value around $30 to $35. Last month I was hoping they would step it up, but I’m losing hope now. Sephora has been sending boxes of much higher value, closer to $50. I was quite shocked to see a drug store sample from the brand Burt’s Bees. Sephora never sends drug store brands and their box is $5 cheaper. How do you feel about the value of the Macy’s Beauty Boxes?

I’ve received a sample of Dermablend’s Setting Powder before and I wasn’t crazy about it. Some people love it, but I prefer Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil. I don’t like really thick hand creams, because they are really difficult to apply and this one has wax in it which is something I don’t think belongs in a cosmetic. It is definitely not a product I would purchase and I’m not a fan of the brand. I’ve also received a sample of the Laura Mercier primer before. I’m not crazy about this primer, I much prefer Julep’s or Laura Geller’s. I’m always happy to receive a sample from Clinique, so I will enjoying using this moisturizer. I also enjoy receiving masks, so I look forward to trying this one. My favorite purifying mask is from a brand called Wei. My favorite type of mask lately are the paper sheet ones. The perfume smells nice, but it’s not very strong. It has key notes of Mandarin, pink grapefruit, wild strawberry, blackberry, rose, peony, muguet, honeysuckle, pink jasmine, passionflower, amber, cashmere, amaro liquor, sandalwood and patchouli. After spraying it on, I first smell the fruit followed by the florals. It’s not a perfume I would buy since it’s very weak and very expensive coming in at $85. My favorite perfume is Angel from Mugler. While it’s also very expensive, it takes very little since it’s a very strong scent and it lasts a long time. 

I was hoping for some lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation or blush. Since I’ve already tried two of these samples before and one is a drug store brand, this box is especially disappointing. Macy’s isn’t sending any new products which is what Sephora tries to do often. I’m always anxious to try new products to see if I like them enough to buy the full size version. I’m going to wait until the 3rd box to decide whether or not to cancel this subscription. I’m leaning towards cancelling it and if I wasn’t a blogger, I’d be cancelling today. If you subscribe, are you cancelling or are you happy with your box? Did you receive the same products? If you haven’t subscribed yet, are you tempted to purchase it?

Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to compare it to Macy’s Beauty Box. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway. 

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I Saw, I Pinned, I Conquered, Part Three

I love having pictures of family and friends all around the house, but I was starting to run out spots to put frames on shelves and such. Several years ago, we went to the Indianapolis Home Show and the showcase home had a beautiful photo gallery going up the staircase. I especially loved the groupings of four and five picture frames together and had seen them in stores, but knew they were pretty expensive. So, we took $1 and $2 Goodwill and garage sale picture frames, glued them together, repainted all one color and added a hook to hang. Some of the frames we kept their original color. Instant and cheap photo collages! I’ve started to intersperse other single picture frames among the large groupings to create a photo gallery down the stairway.

Last year, my hubby built a pergola over our back patio. I’ve always loved all the different mason jar lighting and chandeliers that are all over Pinterest, but again, to buy them, they are pretty expensive. Instead, we made our own from a $9 wine barrel ring, 4 mason jars we found from the Lakeside Collection (found here) that had the hooks and lights already in them and were only $5 a piece, 4 hooks and some black chain.Instant lighting charm 🙂

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Ring Bomb Party Review – Part 2

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This is my second review of a fun company called Ring Bomb Party. I ordered a ring back in January that I already reviewed. I ordered another one this month. They only cost $17.95 plus $3.99 shipping in the US and $14.99 to all other countries. Last time I ordered a unicorn ring which is a bit more coming in at $24.99. I explained unicorn parties in my last post, so read about that next. The regular party rings have a value of $25 to $500 and they come in sizes 6 to 10.  The rings are a surprise and revealed live on Facebook by fizzing a fizz bomb in water which contains the ring. The foil package is then opened and the host shows the ring through a macro lens, so you can see it up close. To participate in one of the parties, simply order your ring on their website for the day that you would like. Their corporate host, Anfernee has weekday parties starting at 1 pm ET which end around 3 pm to 4 pm. Forty rings are revealed at each party. They will show a list of the people that ordered and the order in which the reveals will happen just as the party begins. His parties will end by May since Ring Bomb Party has started offering an opportunity for others to start their own business and reveal rings in their home just as Anfernee does at their corporate office. Some of the new hosts have already started having parties including Anfernee’s Mom. Their parties tend to be in the evenings. These are my favorities:
  1. Danielle aka Glam Bomb Boss. Her next party is on Saturday, April 7th at 9 pm ET.
  2. Jackie aka Georgia Charm. Her next party is tonight, Monday, April 2nd at 7:30 pm ET.
  3. Lisa aka East Coast Jewels. Her next party will be announced soon, stay tuned.
  4. Wanda – aka Grandma Dimples. Her next party is on Thursday, April 5th at 6 pm ET.
Let’s get back to my ring. The live videos are kept on Facebook, so if you can’t attend the live reveal, you can watch it later. Mine was revealed by Anfernee around 1:54-1:57, check out the video. My 2nd ring has a retail value of $28 and it features white topaz and it’s rhodium plated. It has been named the cupcake ring by Anfernee. See the photo below to see why. Notice that when you look at it from the side, the bottom has ridges like a paper cupcake holder and then the small white topaz stones that line the edge of the ring look like little dollops of frosting and the large white topaz in the center looks like a candy or more frosting:



It has a lot of detail and it’s a really pretty ring. It’s a bit smaller in person than I thought it would be, but that makes it look like it’s perhaps diamonds and a much more expensive ring than it really is. It’s very reflective, especially in sunlight as shown in my pictures. I put off writing this review since we’ve had so few sunny days in which I could take a good picture. Even today the sun was off and on and it was quite tricky and time consuming getting a picture to really show off it’s reflection. Here’s another look at it from the front:


I’m very happy with it and I’ve worn it many times since it arrived. Now it’s time for you to have some fun too. Pick one of the parties that you would like to attend by clicking on the links above and purchase your first ring and join in the fun! Let me know which ring was revealed for you! I’ve watched many live reveals, so if you describe it, I will most likely know which of the rings you are talking about. Which reminds me to tell you, if you don’t have the funds to purchase one now, you’ll have fun watching the live parties also. So check one out soon, it’s fun! Stay tuned for Part 3 after I decide when to purchase another one. I must warn you, they are very addictive. Also, keep an eye out for my review of their sister company, Glam Box Live, coming soon.

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Reese’s Cup Cookies

For as much as I love sweets and sugar, you would think I would love all kinds of Christmas cookies. Oddly, though I don’t like many of the traditional ones (cutout cookies, thumbprints, Russian tea cakes, etc.). So, when it comes time to bake for Christmas, I opt for the less traditional cookies that I’ll actually eat. 
I’m also not much of a baker (I hate following recipes!) so usually I take as many shortcuts as possible (buying store bought cookie dough, using premade ingredients). This year, however, with my clean eating, I decided to make everything as clean as possible, even it meant taking a few extra steps. With my two helpers, it ended up being a great time and we had lots of fun! (Even though one of my helpers…ahem, G….ate half the Reese’s Cups :P)

The first cookies we made are my all-time favorites…Reese’s Cup Cookies. In the past, I would just buy store-bought peanut butter cookie dough and then add the Reese’s Cups, but this year I made the peanut butter dough from scratch so it’s all clean. Unfortunately, Reese’s Cups aren’t totally clean, but I’m invoking the 80/20 rule here because they’re my favorite 🙂
These are so easy….make the peanut butter cookie dough. Roll into balls and put into well-greased mini muffin tins. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes. As soon as you get the cookies out, press a Reese’s Cup into each one and put the whole tin into the fridge, otherwise the Reese’s will melt all over from the hot cookie and make a mess. Once they’ve hardened in the fridge, take out of the tins. Here’s the recipe for the peanut butter cookies I used:


Peanut Butter Cookies 

From Creations by Kara

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars till creamy. Beat in eggs. Stir in dry ingredients.



24th Blue Apron Meal Kit Review


Togarashi Chicken Lettuce Cups with Orange & Radish


Ingredients


Top Chef Ginger Marinated Grassfed Steaks with Stir Fried Vegetables & Jasmine Rice


Ingredients


Mexican Spiced Barramundi with Kale, Sweet Potato & Avocado Salad


Ingredients



This is a review of a weekly meal kit subscription box called Blue Apron. This week we gave two recipes four out of five stars and one three stars. Calories ranged from 540 to 770 and preparation time indicated was thirty-five to fifty minutes. Actual preparation time was forty-five minutes to over an hour.

Togarashi Chicken Lettuce Cups with Orange & Radish

I usually love Togarashi spice, but this one was very bland. We gave this recipe only three out of five stars. The butter lettuce was in poor condition. There was too much watermelon radish and carrots. I would have liked a bit more lime juice. The orange was surprisingly tasty with the chicken. It was a very filling portion with leftovers. I’m not a fan of the mushrooms in this dish. This recipe has only 540 calories which is surprising because it was a large portion. The recipe card says it will take up to forty-five minutes to prepare, but this one took Hubby over an hour.

Top Chef Ginger Marinated Grassfed Steaks with Stir Fried Vegetables & Jasmine Rice

I watched Top Chef to see what the winning dish would be and it looked tasty, so I ordered it. Though his dish didn’t have a side, it was only the steak. I absolutely love grass-fed meat, it tastes so much better. Don’t believe it? Buy one of each and cook them, you will immediately notice the smell when cooking is much different and the taste. Do a blind taste test and you’ll see! This steak was so tasty and quite tender and the sauce was scrumptious. I usually don’t enjoy sauces made with sugar, but this one was devine. I just wish it had been a larger portion with more sauce. One of the sauces ingredients leaked during shipping. The side dish made with bok choy and mushrooms wasn’t that great. I gave this recipe four out of five stars, but the steak and sauce get five! Hubby gave it five stars. I usually don’t order steak from meal kits since they tend to be on the tough side, but when I saw it was grass fed I had to give it a try and I’m glad I did. This one has 740 calories and it took almost an hour to prepare.  The recipe card states up to fifty minutes.

Mexican Spiced Barramundi with Kale, Sweet Potato & Avocado Salad

We gave this recipe four out of five stars. Whenever they offer Barramundi fillets I order them since they are so delicious. The avocado was very small, but it was ripe enough for use. The side salad of kale and sweet potatoes was surprising tasty. The yummy dressing was made with clementine juice, zest, olive oil, garlic paste and jalapeño. The recipe card states that it will take up to fifty minute to prepare and it took Hubby forty-five minutes.

It was a pretty good week of recipes. What food subscription box did you enjoy this week? Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway and check out my Pinterest Subscription Box Board and Pinterest Blue Apron Board.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $40 Off

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Beef Fajitas and Pico de Gallo Straight from the Garden


While I don’t have a new recipe to share with you, I just had to brag on my garden a bit. The other night we had a meal that was nearly all from our garden. I made beef fajitas, using the grain-fed organic beef we have and onions and yellow peppers from our garden. I paired them with freshly made pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, jalapeno from the garden with some store-bought garlic and lime juice). In the fajitas, I used my homemade taco/fajita seasoning, found here.

Not only was everything delicious, it was fun to eat something we’ve produced on our own (and I didn’t have to pay for!)

Sante Fe Chicken

I’ve been complaining lately about my crockpot chicken dishes turning out dry and bland. I finally found a crockpot chicken recipe that wasn’t dry or bland…yay! I’m not sure if it didn’t turn out dry because there was plenty of liquid for it to cook in or what. At any rate, Santa Fe Chicken is a keeper! It’s very versatile as well and can be eaten in a number of ways.

Santa Fe Chicken

From Skinny Taste
24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth (or homemade broth to keep it all-natural)
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt to taste 


Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top.

Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste. Serve over rice or tortillas and your favorite toppings. We ate ours with tortilla chips, salsa verde, sour cream and shredded cheese.

What’s Your Thing Chicken Wing?

I love chicken wings almost as much as I love pizza. I found raw chicken wings on sale at Kroger the other week and so I decided to make our own at home. 

My favorite chicken wings are the garlic Parmesan and chipolte BBQ dust from Buffalo Wild Wings and so I looked up a copycat recipes online. I could only find the garlic parm recipe, so that’s what I went with. I didn’t want to fry the wings to keep somewhat healthy and so I also found a recipe for baked chicken wings that are just as crispy at their fried counterparts. 

They turned out so good!! Almost exactly like BW3s and a little better for you since they were baked 🙂 Though it sounded really weird, the boiling the wings did make them nice and crispy in the oven. 

BW3s Parmesan Garlic Chicken Wings
Adapted from Fifteen Spatulas and Epic Porportions

Parmesan Garlic

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

– See more at: http://www.epicportions.com/2009/02/25/buffalo-wild-wings-recipes/#sthash.U2dZZeQO.dpuf


1 to 2 lbs chicken wings

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

armesan Garlic

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

– See more at: http://www.epicportions.com/2009/02/25/buffalo-wild-wings-recipes/#sthash.U2dZZeQO.dpuf


Heat up a big pot of boiling water. Season the water like you would for cooking pasta.
 

Boil the chicken wings for 7-8 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack so the excess water can drain off. 

Let them drip dry a little bit, then dry them well with a paper towel.
 

Season the chicken wings lightly with salt (though if you salted the boiling water enough, it won’t need much, if any). Place the chicken wings directly on a sheet pan. Bake the chicken wings for 30 minutes on one side, then flip the wings and bake for another 10 minutes on the other side.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl, add the cooked chicken wings and coat well. Serve immediately. 

armesan Garlic

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

– See more at: http://www.epicportions.com/2009/02/25/buffalo-wild-wings-recipes/#sthash.U2dZZeQO.dpuf


Girls Weekend!



This past weekend I met my best girl friends in Columbus, Ohio for a weekend away. I’ve known these wonderful ladies for 12 years (since freshman year at OU!) and I am so blessed that we’ve not only maintained our friendship after college, but grown closer over the years.

They indulged me and let me take pictures of my food throughout the weekend and boy did we eat some amazing things! I did not take pictures of everything, however; since it was girls weekend, we indulged in some not so clean food items (*cough* Cheetos *cough**cough* peanut butter M&Ms…you get the picture 😉 

Some of the food highlights:

We ate at Piada (think an Italian Chipolte) and I had my first piada, which is basically an Italian wrap and popular street food in Italy. It was really tasty! I had Italian sausage, Alfredo sauce, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and spinach. Very filling, very fresh and very good!


For dinner, we ate at Cooper’s Hawk Winery, where I indulged in the Sweet Wine flight (an amazing deal by the way…8 tastes for only $7! And they were generous pours). For my meal, I had the Caesar Pesto Chopped Salad and Thai Chicken flatbread. The food and wine were amazing, the service not so much.

$72 Plated Meal Kit Giveaway – October 2017

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Plated has provided me with another box worth $72 to give away. Plated will send the winner one shipment that includes three recipes and the ingredients needed to make three meals for two people for a total of six servings. Above photo shows an example of one recipe. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Plated, provide me with their name and email address to give to Plated, provide Plated their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Plated and simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Plated box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to my account settings, scroll down to the bottom and chose “cancel subscription” or to skip future shipments select weekly menus and chose “skip week”. They ship to most of the US except Hawaii, Alaska and a few cities in TX including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo & Midland. Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesdays or Saturdays. Vegetarian meals are also offered.

Learn more about Plated by visiting my Plated Pinterest Board. Click on the photos that interest you and it will take you to my matching blog post which provides a review of that recipe. Be sure to check out my reviews of Blue ApronGreen BlenderGreen ChefHello FreshHome ChefMarley SpoonPlated, Sun Basket and Terra’s Kitchen

Bargain Alert: 
Boxed – $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 off, click here.
Julep – Free 12 Piece Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50 

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Have a PEACEful Day!


Whole Foods Grand Opening – West Cary, NC

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5055 Arco Street
Cary, NC  27519
(984) 228-0300

Exterior View
The long awaited West Cary Whole Foods had their Grand Opening today, November 7th, 2017. It’s located in the Alston Town Center. To get there from the south (Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina), take NC-540 and use exit 66a, then turn right. Drive on NC-55 for half a mile and it will be on your right. There is parking lot in the front of the building and on the right side. The entrance to the market is on the far left. The popular La Farm Bakery has opened a second restaurant in this Whole Foods store. If you are going to La Farm, it’s entrance is on the far right on the side the building. 

The photos below take you around the store from the front entrance:


Entering the Store

Once inside, on the left you will find the Juice Bar and on the right the Floral Department and then the Produce Department: 


Produce Department

Notice all the fresh produce that’s fully stocked. Then walking to the rear of the store you’ll find the Seafood Department. It smelled delicious, I’m guessing they just cooked some shrimp with some Chesapeake Bay Seasoning for a customer. The seafood looked fresh and yummy:


Seafood Department

Then walking to the right of the store you will arrive at the Meat Department. It looked appetizing and there were many choices:


Meat Department

 Walking further to the right along the backside of the store, you’ll come to Growler Station. This is where you can step up to the bar and have a craft beer. Then either step up to the table to take a beer break or go along your way and continue shopping. 


Growler Station

Walk a little further and you’ll land up in the Cheese & Wine Department. Then turn right and walk towards the front of the store to find the Hot Bar, Salad Bar, Prepared Foods, Deli and freshly cooked pizza:


Hot Bar, Salad Bar, Prepared Foods, Deli & Pizza

Walking further towards the front of the store you’ll find the Whole Foods Bakery and gelato. On the right side of the Whole Foods Bakery you’ll find the La Farm Bakery and their offerings:


Bakery

At the front of the store, look back and you’ll see this view of the La Farm Bakery where they bake their breads daily:


Bakery

Turn facing the front of the store again and on your right you’ll find the cash registers which includes four convenient express checkouts. Turn left and you’ll find the La Farm Bakery Cafe:

La Farm Bakery

There are quite a few tables which include thirty seats, so you have the option to eat your La Farm food there. There are also thirty outdoor seats to choose from or you can get it to go. They offer baked goods, coffee, sandwiches, salads, soup and more. Check out their other location’s menu. The regular Whole Foods dining area is in front of the cash registers at the front of the building. If you want to eat outside, walk through the exterior doors in the cafe, turn right and then right again and you’ll find the covered outdoor seating area:


View of La Farm Cafe from Exterior

La Farm Outdoor Seating Area 

The Cosmetic Department is located in the front center of the market. There are frozen food cases on the rear wall and some next to the Wine Department. It looked like they had all hands on deck today, there was no shortage of employees ready to assist customers. I was asked several times if I needed assistance and I was greeted by each department that I visited. All the employees seemed to be happy and they were very friendly. It was an enjoyable visit. I’m so happy to finally have another Whole Foods Market in the area. I’m not a big fan of the other Cary location. Even though they did a bit of remodeling, I don’t think they did enough. They really need a full remodel. I also find that they don’t carry some items that other locations have and often things are out of stock. Sometimes I take the long drive to the Raleigh location just to get those items. I’m happy to report that this new location in West Cary has those items. The shelves are fully stocked and ready for you. So what are you waiting for? Ready, set, go!

Are you going to make this your go to location or will you continue to shop at another location? This will be the location we visit the most. In the Alston Town Center there is a pet shop I recommend, Pet People. They have the highest quality brands of dog food and treats. I already dined at one of the restaurants there, so check out my review of No 1 Pho before you go. There is also a Moe’s Southwest Grill, Built Custom Burgers and a Penn Station East Coast Subs to chose from. If you head to the other side of NC-540, you’ll find another shopping center, Parkside Town Commons, with more restaurants. I’ve reviewed Chuy’s Tex Mex Restaurant and Menchies Frozen Yogurt so far. What’s your favorite restaurant in that area?
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Have a PEACEful Day!

New Ulta Deal Round-Up (One Day Only Deals and More)

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QVC’s TSVs for November 2017

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values



1st – Ecolution Set of Three 3 Qt Microwave Popcorn Poppers, K46614, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, comes in 9 colors

2nd – Marc Fisher Calf Leather Tall Shaft Boots, Medium A301455 or Wide A301456, $124.80 or 5 payments of $24.96, comes in 5 colors

4th – Josie Maran Super Size Anniversary Collection, A300866, $79.95 available in 5 payments, comes in 3 scents

5th – Vitamix 7500 64 oz. 16 in 1 Variable Speed Blender with Dry Container, K46637, $399.96 available in 6 payments, comes in 8 colors

6th – Cuddl Duds Double Plush Velour Leggings, A301862, $18.98 available in 3 payments, comes in 5 colors

7th – Santa’s Best 137 Function LED Smart Green or Flocked Pine Tree, H212889, $219.00-$569.00 available in 6 payments, choice of 5′, 6.5′, 7.5′ or 9′

8th – KitchenAid 5 Quart 325 Watt Tilt Head Stand Mixer with Flex Edge Beater, K46639, $259.98 available in 6 payments, comes in 13 colors. FYI – Costco is offering a 6 Quart Professional Bowl Lift Stand Mixer for only $249.99 until the 22nd, $80 off. Amazing deal!

11th – It Cosmetics It’s Your Top Five Superstars & More Six Piece Collection, A301863 or A/D A304002, $59.94 available in 3 payments, comes in 7 shades, comes with a Heavenly Luxe Complexion Foundation Globe Brush, Bye Bye Pores Pressed Illumination, Je Ne Sais Quoi Awakening Hydrating Lip Treatment in Rose, Full Coverage SPF CC+ Cream Illumination 1.08 fl. oz., Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil, Superhero Volumizing Mascara

12th – Mrs. Prindables Ten Large Apples with 3D Character Boxes, Ship Nov 27th M55395 A/D M55889 or Ship Dec 4th M55936 A/D M55890 or Ship Dec 11th M55637 A/D M55891 or Ship Dec 18th M55398 A/D M55892, $49.98 available in 6 payments, 2nd shipment is a spring holiday assortment in March ’18, Dec 4th not available yet

13th – Clarisonic Mia 1 Sonic Cleansing System, A298983, $78.96 available in 6 payments and 6 colors

14th – Luminara Flameless Candles Four Piece Vintage Glitter Pillar Candles with Remotes, H213475, 5″ for $89.96 or 7″ for $99.96 available in 5 payments and 6 colors

15th – Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Toothbrush, V35104, $99.96 available in 6 payments and 5 colors

16th – Earth Origins Water Repellent Suede Ankle Boots Tate, A301865, $66.12 available in 4 payments, comes in 5 colors

17th – First Aid Beauty Super Size Ultra Home & Away Kit, A303951 or A/D A303946, $42.00 available in 3 payments, comes in 5 scents

18th – Dooney & Bourke Pebble Leather Hobo Handbag, A301867, $229.92 available in 5 payments, comes in 7 colors

19th – Amazon Echo Show with Smart Plug, Music & Audible Books Offers, E231445, $179.94 available in 6 payments and 2 colors

20th – Anybody Lounger Cozy Knit Novelty Print, Petite A301869 or Regular A301868 or Tall A301870, $39.98 available in 2 payments, comes in 5 colors

21st – Berkshire Fair Isle Velvet Soft Reverse to Sherpa Blanket, $23-34 available in 3 payments, Twin H213717 or Full H213718 or Queen H213719 or King H213720, comes in 6 colors, moved up from air date of the 30th

22nd – NFL Reversible Hoodie Jacket in Team Colors, A295840, $49.98 available in 5 payments

23rd – Lisa Rinna Collection Cowl Neck Tunic with Front Seam, A301872 or Petite A301873 $49.96 available in 4 payments, comes in 5 colors 

24th – Bose Wave Music System with CD Slot & Dual Alarm, E231175, $299.95, available in 6 payments and 2 colors

25th – Ring Video Doorbell 2 HD Monitoring with Chime Pro & 3 Year Warranty, E231300, $159.95 available in 5 payments, read my review.

26th – HP Touch Laptop Core i5 8 GB RAM 2TB HD with Backlit Keyboard & MS Office 365, 15″ E231201 or 17″ E231228, $599.94 or $699.94 available in 6 payments and 7 colors

27th – Beats Solo 2 Luxe Edition Headphones, E231485, $99.96 available in 5 payments and 4 colors

28th – Wen Set of Three 32 oz. Cleansing Conditioners, A303667 or A/D A304018, $79.90 available in 6 payments, comes in Classic, Seasonal (Winter Vanilla Mint, Winter Red Currant & Winter White Citrus) or Rice

29th – Primula Avalanche Set of Four 20 oz Tumblers with Gift Boxes, K46641, $29.98, comes in basic, brights or metallics

30th – HoMedics 3D Shiatzu Massage Chair, V35110, $89.95 available in 5 payments
30th – QVC2 Big Deal Denim & Co Mock Neck Cable Knit Tunic Sweater, A299375 or Petite A299377, $32.64 available in 2 payments & 5 colors

Black Friday Weekend

AnyBody – Loungewear V-Neck Swing Top, A286932, $29.98 available in 5 payments and 11 colors

Honora – Cultered Pearl Set of Five 8 mm Boxed Stainless Steel Stud Earrings, J329794, $29.96 available in 5 payments, classic or fashion colors

Luminara – Windsor Lantern with Pedestal & Flameless Candle, H210886, $34.00-$59.00 available in 5 payments & 5 colors, 17″-21″

Skechers – GoWalk Suede Faux Fur Boots, A280515, $49.98 available in 5 payments, comes in 7 colors

Weekly Special Value

Ends 12/3 – Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Twinkle Lighting Palette, A286914, $36.33 available in 5 payments

December

16th – Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Lite Island Wrap, A301874, $69.98 available in 5 payments, comes in 5 colors

FYI – items that say they are “sold out” haven’t been entered into the system yet. They should show up in a few days. Closer to the air date they may actually sell out their preorder quantity, but there will be plenty on the day they air unless they cancel the TSV. Preorder easy payments may change the day they air, either no easy pay or more or less payments. Shipping charges may also change. If they offer free s/h on the day they air and you preordered without free s/h, be sure to call customer service and get a refund.

So what do you think, what will you be preordering? Any brands you were hoping for that haven’t offered a TSV yet? There is usually a Keurig in November, so stay tuned for that. As soon as I have information on the other TSVs, I’ll update this post. So be sure to check back regularly for updates. Looks like a repeat for the Barefoot Dreams TSV. Already have two of those, so I’ll skip that one. Highly recommend it! It does leave little balls of lint on chairs with rough fabric. It’s annoying, but it’s so soft and cozy, I look past it. Not crazy about the scent selection for Wen. Classic is boring to me now. For seasonal, I’d prefer just Winter Mint, but it’s a super value at $26.64 a bottle! Normally each one is around $50 each. Anyone try Winter Red Currant & Winter White Citrus? I have to be careful which scents I chose since some are too oily. FYI – his super sized gallons are currently for sale. What do you think of the It Cosmetics TSV? I was hoping it would include one of their new moisturizers or cleansers. I had a Vitamix, but after replacing a part it leaks oil. Went with Blendtec and it’s so much better. You just put the lid on and push the button. The Vitamix one makes you use a tamper and you have to use it to press on the ingredients during blending. Also, when you have a warranty issue customer service isn’t polite or kind. I had a really bad experience. Blentec can be found at Costco. Those velour leggings sure do look comfy. Too bad they don’t have them in petite sizes. I’m anxious to find out what Josie Maran will be offering. Hopefully it will include some new products. Just curious, are you spending more or less money this holiday season? For us, it will be less though my new iPhone 8 is my birthday and Christmas gift, so I guess I’ll have to say more. For a laugh check out the $220 PieCaken Cheesecake offered by Junior’s. I was shocked when I had QVC on in the background while working online and saw it come up. Seriously, $220 for a cheesecake?! What in the world was QVC and Junior’s thinking. I wouldn’t even buy that if I was a millionaire! It doesn’t even look appetizing. I like my cheesecake and pies separate.


Other interesting TSVs that information hasn’t been provided for yet:

3rd – Susan Graver
4th – Josie Maran, updated above 
13th – Clarisonic, updated above
14th – Luminara Flameless Candles, updated above
22nd – NFL, updated above
Black Friday Weekend, updated above

Not a TSV, but worth checking out, Mally Disney’s Frozen Seven Piece Collection, $49.98 available in 3 payments and 2 options: Elsa or Anna. EDD December 19th.

Please show your support for this blog by checking out the following referral offers for companies I highly recommend:

Hello Fresh Meal Kit – $40 off
Home Chef Meal Kit – $30 off
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Sun Basket Meal Kit – $35 off


Thank you to those that have used my referral links, I really appreciate your support. Also, thanks to the those that leave comments and help out other shoppers with reviews and answering questions. You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my monthly meal kit giveaways.  I just started a Facebook page for this blog, please follow.


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Have a PEACEful Day!

Greek Tortellini Salad

First a story…when I was pregnant with Liesl, we went out to eat with Matt’s coworkers to a really excellent Greek restaurant. The food was very authentic and super delicious. Unfortunately for me, I was 8 weeks preggers and super sick and the Greek food (damn you flaming cheese!) sent me over-the-edge sick. For a long time, I could not even think about Greek food, see someone cooking it on TV or drive by a Greek restaurant without wanting to vomit. 

Slowly, I’m starting to enjoy Greek food again and recently tried Greek tortellini salad. It was so good and super easy to make. This would be a great dish to take to a picnic or dinner party because you make it ahead and you serve it cold. 

Greek Tortellini Salad
From Two Peas and Their Pod

1 (20 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, pit removed and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Drain the tortellini and rinse with cold water.
2. Place the tortellini in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, and feta cheese.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until salad is well coated. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator.
Note-this salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Chocolate croissants aka my husband knows the way to my heart


Several weekends ago, I not only got a weekend away with my girlfriends, but I came home to two happy (and alive) kids, a pretty clean house and chocolate croissants, my all-time favorite pastry. These were not only super delicious, they were clean and all-natural too!

Quick story about my love for croissants…when I was in my first trimester pregnant with Liesl, we went on a company trip to St. Thomas. Unfortunately, I was sicker than a dog and sustained myself on chocolate croissants alone. No lie.

Anyway, I LOVE them! I recently bought Matt his dream kitchen tool, a KitchenAid mixer and he used it to make these delectable treats. He said they weren’t too difficult to make, but did take a long time to prepare. Just don’t get overwhelmed by the length of the recipe; the author gives VERY detailed instructions!

If you ever want me to love you forever (or want to try them for yourselves 😉 here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Croissants
from Baking Illustrated

Dough
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups cold whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Butter Square
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)  
To make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk 2 3/4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients and turn to the mixer to low, beating until the dough comes together in a rough ball, about 4 minutes.
 

Add the pieces of butter and continue kneading until the butter is completely incorporated, about 5-6 minutes. The dough will still be sticky, but should form a rough ball and mostly clear the sides of the bowl (if you make bread regularly, this dough will be more sticky than you’re used to and won’t clear the sides of the bowl as fully as a typical yeast bread). If it’s too sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap.
 
Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
 

To make the butter square: Place the pieces of butter on your work surface and sprinkle the flour over the top of them.
 

Use a bench scraper to smear the butter/flour mixture back and forth against the work surface.
 

Continue until the mixture is uniform and smooth. Gather in a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 7-inch square.
 

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
 

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into an 11-inch square, lifting and turning as you go to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center of the dough.

Lift each of the four corners of the dough up and over the butter square.
 

It’s fine if they don’t meet exactly, just pinch them together to seal completely.

Use your rolling pin to gently tap the dough, starting in the center and going outward, until square gets larger and the butter begins to soften slightly. Roll the dough into a 14-inch square, flouring your work surface and rolling pin as necessary to ensure the dough isn’t sticking. (no idea why I chose to roll it diagonally over my parchment…)
 
Fold one side of the dough to the center and then bring the other side up and over it – basically, you’re folding the dough like you would a business letter. This is also called a “turn” of the dough.
 

Complete a second turn by folding the top half of the dough down to the center and then bringing the bottom up and over it.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Repeat the process above (roll into a 14-inch square and fold like a business letter twice) to complete 2 more turns of the dough. Again, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
 
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a 20-inch square (flour as necessary to make sure it’s not sticking). Cut the dough into 4 equal 10-inch squares.
 

Cut each of those squares into 3 rectangles (about 10 x 3 1/4-inches each) – you should have a total of 12 rectangles.
 

Add about 1 tablespoon (about 1/2-oz) of chopped chocolate to the center of each rectangle.
 

Fold the top of the rectangle over the chocolate and down to the center, then lift the bottom up and over it (again, we’re folding it like it’s a business letter).
 

Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, seam-side down. Try to keep the croissants horizontal as you move them so the chocolate doesn’t spill out the sides. Also, you can see on mine I have a little flap sticking out the side – that flap will get bigger as the croissants rise and puff so you can try to hide it under the croissant a little better than I did to avoid that.

Loosely cover the croissant with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until they’re puffy (they won’t necessarily double in size). While they’re rising, preheat oven to 400 F with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
 
Brush the croissants with the egg wash then bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the croissants cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. They’re best warm, but will keep for a few days at room temperature if tightly wrapped. I zapped mine for 15-ish seconds in the microwave on the 2nd day to enjoy it warm.

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New Brammo Empulse Electric Motorcycle Unveiled

New Brammo Empulse Electric Motorcycle Unveiled

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HOT New Ulta Freebies (One is Free with ANY Order) and Gorgeous Hair Event Day 15 Deals are Live

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It’s Back! Multi-Retailer $5 MAC Littles Sale (Recommendations)

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Almond Chicken Dijon

This is another recipe that has been in the rotation for a long time that I was pleased to realize was clean without any modifications. This is a great dish to make for someone who just had a baby or needs a meal, because it freezes and reheats really well. I like to make mine with green beans and then add in some of the extra sliced almonds in with the green beans before I serve them. Really ties the meal together!

Almond Chicken Dijon
4 chicken breasts pounded down to about 1 inch thick (frozen or fresh)
Equal parts dijon mustard and Helman’s mayo (for 4 chicken breasts, I use about 2 tablespoons of each)
1/2 cup to 1 cup of sliced almonds

Put chicken in oven-safe dish and season with salt and pepper. Mix together mustard and mayo and spread over the chicken. Sprinkle almonds over chicken and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. That’s it! Super easy and super yummy!

Flat Belly Diet – Ginger Soy Chicken

This was another good recipe that was easy to do. You just have to be sure to plan ahead for the marinade. It’s pretty easy to adapt to what you have on hand too, as you can see from the recipe changes I made. I didn’t do it this time, but the next time I make this, I think I’ll double the marinade and set half of it aside to stir-fry some veggies in to go along with the chicken. 
Ginger Soy Chicken
Adapted from Prevention.com
1/4 C reduced sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp miso paste (I left this out because I didn’t have it on hand)
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp toasted sesame oil (I used EVOO)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (3-4 lb) (I used chicken breast and leg pieces)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine soy sauce, ginger, honey, miso, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in shallow baking dish or large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, turn to coat, cover, and chill at least 2 hours.
Heat grill to medium for indirect heat. If using charcoal grill, position coals on one half of grill. If using gas grill, heat one side to high, the other to low. Lightly oil grill grates.
Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Season chicken with salt.
Grill chicken 10 minutes over hottest section of grill, turning once. Move to cooler section of grill and cook 10 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F

QVC’s TSVs for October 2017

Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values


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3rd – iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Connect Robotic Vacuum, V35244, $329.94 or 6 payments of $54.99, check out my review of Roomba here.

4th – KitchenAid Five Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, K46716, $36.12 or 2 payments of $18.06, comes in 8 colors

5th – Ultrafine Silver Polished Chain, 16″ J351576 for $29.00 or 18″ J351579 for $32.00 or 20″ J351580 for $34.00 or 24″ J351582 for $39.00 or 36″ J351583 for $59.00, available in 5 payments and choice of rope, wheat, flat bead or margherita  

6th – Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with Two Living Proof Products & Travel Bag, A301646, $399.00 or 6 payments of $66.50, comes in 3 colors

7th – HP 15.6″-17.3″ Touch Laptop, E231234, $429.96-$529.96, available in 6 payments and 7 colors

8th – Cook’s Essentials 5.3 Qt Digital Air Fryer with Ten Presets, K46619, $89.92 or 5 payments of $17.98, comes in 8 colors

9th – Susan Graver Solid or Printed Stretch Peachskin  bomber jacket, A301462, $59.40 or 5 payments of $11.88, 5 pattern/color choices

10th – Bethlehem Lights Estate Pre-lit Green or Flocked Collection, H212555, $39.96, choice of wreath, garland or tree & choice of multi or clear lights

11th – California Innovations Set of Six Insulated Totes with Gift Bags, K46612, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, 4 pattern/color choices

12th – Dennis Basso 68″ x 60″ Oversized Sculpted Faux Fur Throw, H213626, $44.94 or 3 payments of $14.98, comes in 7 colors, check out my reviews here and here.

13th – bareMinerals Deluxe Holiday Collection, A302273 or A/D A302892 (new radiance and lip shades in March 2018, only 2 shipments), $62.94 or 3 payments of $20.98, comes in 8 shades 

14th – Skechers Go Walk Suede & Faux Fur Boots, A301464, $58.80 or 5 payments of $11.76, comes 7 colors

15th – Amazon Fire 7″ Tablets with Custom Cases, E231020, comes in a set of 2 for $89.95 or a set of 4 for $149.95, available in 6 payments and 4 colors

16th- Cuddl Duds Fleecewear Stretch Hood Cardigan, A301459, $24.98 or 2 payments of $12.49, comes in 4 colors and 3 patterns

17th – Affinity 98 Facet Diamond Band Ring, J352055, $1199.00 available in 6 payments, comes in yellow or white 14K gold

18th – Martha Stewart 4.25 lb Turkey Breast with Herb Butter & Two 2 lb Sides, M55839, $99.95 available in 5 payments, A/D available and 2 additional ship dates of 11/13 and 12/11, choice of 6 different sides combos

19th – Malden Mills Polar Fleece Sheet Set with Extra Pillow Cases, Twin H213620 for $25.00 or Twin XL H213621 for $25.00 or Full H213622 for $28.00 or Queen H213623 for $34.00 or King H213624 for $40.00 or California King H213625 for $40.00, available in 3 payments and 6 colors

20th – Peter Thomas Roth 6.7 oz Mega Size Retinol PM, A277742 or A/D, $114.00 available in 6 payments

21st – Halo Bolt ACDC Portable Charger & Car Jumper with AC Outlet, E230549, $99.96 available in 5 payments and 8 colors, check out my review

22nd – Copper Chef Ten Piece Cerami-Tech Non-Stick Cookware Set, K47078 $79.98 available in 6 payments

23rd – Isaac Mizrahi Two Ply Cashmere V-Neck Tunic Sweater, A301460, $129.80, available in 6 payments, comes in 5 colors

24th – Ring Floodlight Security Camera Wide Angle HD Two Way Talk with 3 Year Warranty, E231400, $219.95 available in 5 payments, comes in black or white. I ordered it, check out my review! In the meantime, check out my review of the Ring Video Doorbell. FYI – next month they come out with their home security system.

25th – Amazon Fire TV Stick with Music Offer & Alexa Voice Remote, E231466, $39.98 available in 2 payments

26th – Clarks Cloud Steppers Wedge Ankle Boots, A301454, $72.80 or 5 payments of $14.56, comes in 5 colors

27th – Lug RFID Convertible Crossbody Bag, F12881, $39.96, comes in 7 colors

28th – Duraflame 28″ Electric Lantern with Infrared Heat, V35256, $89.95 or 5 payments of $17.99, comes in 6 colors

30th – NuFace Trinity Microcurrent Facial Toning Device, A297401, $299.94 available in 6 payments and 3 colors

31st – Lay/N/Go Set of Two 21″ Cosmo Plus Storage & Travel Bags, V35257, $29.96 or 2 payments of $14.98, comes in 5 patterns 

November 

1st – Ecolution Set of Three 3 Qt Microwave Popcorn Poppers, K46614, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, comes in 9 colors

2nd – Marc Fisher Calf Leather Tall Shaft Boots, Medium A301455 or Wide A301456, $124.80 or 5 payments of $24.96, comes in 5 colors

Inquiring minds want to know what is tempting you this month? I really want another Dennis Basso blanket or two or three, they are so addictive. Unfortunately, I already have too much bareMinerals original foundation to justify buying anymore, so I sadly have to pass on the TSV. One container lasts so long! Maybe Sephora will have a bareMinerals set closer to Christmas that I fancy more. The Duraflame Lantern is interesting. Anyone want to leave a review below? Wouldn’t it make anything that it sits on too hot? It looks too small to warm a room. I was tempted by the microwave popcorn popper. I watched the video and read the reviews and now I’m not quite sure since one time she made it there were so many unpopped kernels. The worst reviews said they either didn’t pop or burnt. Does anyone have a review to share on this popper? The reviews on Amazon are better and it’s currently $16.66 each. Other interesting upcoming TSVs are:

3rd – iRobot Roomba, updated above
4th – KitchenAid Anniversary, updated above
6th – Dyson Hair Dryer, updated above
10th – Bethlehem Lights Seasonal Lighting, updated above
18th – Martha Stewart Gourmet Food, updated above
20th – Peter Thomas Roth, updated above
22nd – Copper Chef, updated above
24th – NuFace Anti-aging Innovations moved to 10/30, 24th changed to Ring, updated above
25th – Atari Flashback 8 HD changed to Amazon Fire Stick, updated above
27th – Lug Travel & Handbags, updated above
28th – Shark moved to 29th, changed to Duraflame shown above
30th – Kristofer Buckle, changed to NuFace

I will update these as soon as preorder information is released. Please show your support for this blog by checking out the following referral offers for companies I recommend:

Boxed – $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 off, click here.
Julep – Free 12 Piece Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Mr. Rebates – $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.

Sun Basket – $35 off, click here.
Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50 


Thank you to those that have used my referral links, I really appreciate your support. Also, thanks to the those that leave comments and help out other shoppers with reviews and answering questions. You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my monthly giveaways. 

I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Help out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


Have a PEACEful Day!

Biker Churches Lead Outlaws to God

TEXARKANA, Texas – Members of outlaw motorcycle gangs are coming together throughout the Bible Belt where bikers who once thrived on sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and even a life of crime are now looking for calmness of Bible study and prayer meetings.

“Churches like this gather misfits,” Matthew Butler, who became the church’s pastor in 2010 after working in its music ministry, told Aljazeera America on Sunday, December 1.

“Without a church like this, there would be hundreds of people with nowhere else to go. We are literally reaching into the darkness.”

Dressed in jeans, leather jackets, biker boots and T-shirts, men and women scene in the churches’ pews was unfamiliar.

Being part of outlaw motorcycle gangs, which make up about 1 percent of motorcycle riders in the United States, those bikers used to have clubs with names like the Hells Angels and Banditos.

They are not recognized by the 235,000-member American Motorcycle Association because of their criminal activities.

Yet, in the Bible Belt, and across the US, the Biker-Friendly Church Network lists nearly 100 churches where helmets are welcomed on Sunday mornings.

Unlike traditional churches, they aren’t recognized within religious denominations, but rather focus on evangelism and discipleship – witnessing and training in the Bible.

Recently, several groups with names like the Iron Apostles, Soldiers for Jesus and Hallelujah Riders gathered in Kilgore, Texas, for fellowship and prayer at Living Word Church, whose pastor donated the space to bikers.

Motorcycles with Jesus stickers lined the churchyard, and tales from the road were shared in between preaching and barbecue.

“This is just a place where we wouldn’t be judged and looked down on,” said Russell Stewart, a deacon of a church at Texarkana, a town that straddles the Arkansas-Texas state line, and one of its founding members.

“At other churches, the way we dress, we would be judged. We are all just here to worship the Lord.”

New Life

The new churches offered a new hope of life for bikers, who were outlaws one day.

“All the men in my life were teaching me how to rob, steal, do dope and sell dope,” said David Vanbuskirk, a preacher for Bikers for Christ, adding he is the last person anyone expected to spread the Gospel.

“They had a lack of concern for life. I didn’t want my sons to be raised like that, and I don’t Leading a criminal life for years, he started preaching to change lives.

“I don’t have an education, and I’m rough around the edges,” Vanbuskirk said.

“But I preach with conviction around my heart. The Lord speaks to you in the hum of the motor.”

Keith Cannon, who attends Kilgore church, has also found a new life after abandoning crime.

Nearly nine years ago, Cannon was living in a homeless shelter.

He was arrested in 2004 for possession of drugs, and a year later arrested again on a drug and weapons charge “We were some twisted people before we got saved,” said Cannon, whose father was a missionary.

“You can ride your bike the same, but now you love Jesus.”

The United States is home to a Muslim minority of between six to eight million.

Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.

In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called “Isa”. He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).

As for his crucifixion, Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but was lifted up to heaven.

Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth before the end of time to restore peace and order, fight the Anti-Christ (Al-Masih Al-Dajjal) and bring victory for truth and righteousness.

The true followers of Jesus will prevail over those who deny him, misrepresent him and reject him.

____________________________________________
Source: Onislam (AP, 12/02)

Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Buckeye Bark

This is my last post here…from now on, head over to www.eatingcleanandsavinggreen.com!

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to baking. Here’s a prime example…I love buckeyes and always make them every Christmas. However, I HATE all the ball rolling and dipping involved, so this year, I opted to make Buckeye Bark. Let me tell you, it was so much easier and I think even better than regular buckeyes. A much more even chocolate to peanut butter ratio 😉 

Buckeye Bark
From Live Sigma Kappa

2-1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating
1 (16.3 oz) jar creamy peanut butter
2 c Confectioners’ sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt half of the chocolate candy coating according to the package directions, then spread over parchment paper or a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Spread to a large rectangle, but not too thin – approximately 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness. Place in freezer to firm up.

In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter, Confectioners’ sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Remove first chocolate layer from the freezer and spread the peanut butter mixture over the top. Return to the freezer and melt the remaining chocolate candy coating. Once that is melted, spread it over the top of the peanut butter layer and freeze until set.

Break up the bark into small pieces using a butcher knife. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.

Creamy Mustard Chicken

This recipe is an older one I’ve had in my collection for awhile. I only had to make a few adjustments to make it clean and all-natural. This would work great for a dinner party because it appeals to a lot of tastes, is easy to prepare and looks great when served. 

Creamy Mustard Chicken

Adapted From Eating Well

4 thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (use corn starch to make it gluten-free)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped (I used a regular onion)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and coat both sides of the chicken, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in mustard, 2 tablespoons sage and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce.

Nordstrom Spring 2017 Mascara Madness Event this Saturday, May 27 (Details and Tips!)

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas – Signs

Side note…I’m working on moving my blog over to WordPress and getting my own domain name (woohoo!!). I’ll continue to publish here for awhile, but please change your bookmarks to www.eatingcleanandsavinggreen.com 🙂
 
I made my dad and my mother-in-law each a sign with a cute phrase. You can buy them on Etsy and other places, but to save some money I made my own. I was inspired by Just Imagine.


They took inexpensive wood plaques from a craft store, painted them fun colors and mod podged a picture on it. I did basically the same thing I did with my subway art. I found precut decorative wood plaques at Michaels and painted them black. Then I took the phase I wanted to use and in Publisher created a document with a black background and white letters in a fun font. I printed it out on plain old copy paper, cut it to match the size and shape of the plaque and mod podged in onto the plaque. I added two more layers of mod podge on top to seal the deal. Add a frame hanger on the back and that’s it!

Flat Belly Diet – Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Another super easy and super yummy meal. The salsa, which I adapted a bit, reminded me a lot of the Almost Guacamole I made earlier in the year (check it out here!). While Liesl picked out the onions, both kids cleaned their plates, so I call that a successful dinner 🙂 The MUFA in this meal is the avocado.


Lime-Marinated Chicken with Salsa

Adapted from Prevention Magazine 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 med tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 C chopped sweet onion, such as vidalia (I used a red onion because it’s what I had on hand and I like the bite of the red onion)
1/2 C chopped cilantro

Put chicken into large zip top plastic bag.
In small bowl, whisk lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt. Transfer 2 tablespoons of lime marinade to medium glass bowl for the salsa, and cover with plastic wrap. Pour remaining marinade over chicken and squeeze bag to coat. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour.
Coat grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Preheat grill (to medium high) or broiler. Grill or broil marinated chicken 6 1/2 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160ºF and juices run clear.
While chicken cooks, add tomatoes, avocado, onion and cilantro to bowl with reserved marinade. Gently toss to mix, and season to taste with salt.
To serve, place chicken onto 4 plates and top each with 3/4 cup salsa.

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken

Another crockpot chicken recipe, another disappointment. I’m just not loving how the chicken turns out in the crockpot…dry, flavorless and bland. Any suggestions on cooking chicken in the crockpot??

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken
Adapted from Keepn Up With J


– 4-5 frozen chicken breasts
– 2 small yellow squash
– 1 medium zucchini
– 1 medium purple onion

– 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of a medium/large crock pot. Slice all of your veggies – squash, zucchini, onion – and throw into the crock pot over your chicken. Add Worcestershire sauce and Balsamic vinegar. Cook on High for 4 hours. Keep heated on Warm until ready to serve. You can shred or leave your chicken whole

MAC Flash Sale at Ulta is Live

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Zucchini!!!!


Last week we harvested our first pickings of zucchini and they were HUGE! This picture doesn’t give you a great idea how big they were, but they were over a foot long and several inches around AND there were four of them ready to pick! I made my zucchini augratin (recipe here) and still had over 3/4 of one of them left. Needless to say, I needed to figure out something to do with all that zucchini. After a little Pinterest search, I decided to freeze the extras to have this fall and winter.
 
All you do is cut the zucchini however you will be using them (I cut into slices for augratin and half moon chunks for stir-frys). Blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes then immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Spread out on cookie sheets and put in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to ziploc freezer bags and enjoy all Fall and Winter long 🙂

No 1 Pho Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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5025 Arco Street
Cary, NC  27519
(919) 297-2975


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Pho Tai – $12.00


Sides


Hu Tieu My Tho Kho – $13.00


Side of Broth


This is a review of a new Vietnamese Pho restaurant located in Cary, North Carolina called No 1 Pho. It’s located in a new shopping center that includes the new West Cary Whole Foods which will open on November 7th. It’s been a long wait since the opening was delayed. To get to the restaurant, take exit 66a off 540. It’s not far from the exit. They are open everyday except Wednesday. Their hours are from 11 am until 9 pm, except on Sunday when they close an hour earlier. The interior decor is lovely. They only have tables, no booths. Their current sanitation score is 95, which is very good. We arrived around 2:30 pm and there were only a couple of customers. We were immediately greeted by a friendly Asian woman who I guess is one of the owners. She seated us at a table right away and she was our waitress.

We ordered right away since we were starving. Our food arrived in about ten minutes. I ordered the Hu Tieu My Tho Kho which is described as “pork soup separate, clear noodle with shrimp, ground pork, sliced pork and quail eggs in house special sauce”. It’s suppose to be served with bean sprouts, lettuce and lemon, but mine was not. I was shocked to only see three shrimp and a few slices of pork. Not to mention the missing quail eggs and the missing side of bean sprouts, lettuce and lemon. So disappoint set in as soon as I dug in. I expected more for a $13.00 lunch! There were tons of noddles that appeared to be soaked in the house special sauce which was tasty, but I didn’t want to fill up on only noodles. The side of broth was scrumptious and I was offered more when I finished. It wasn’t a very filling meal which would have been ok if the price wasn’t so high. The bit of shrimp and pork that I was served were tasty. Hubby ordered the Pho Tai which is described as “rice noodle beef soup with fresh eye of round”. It comes with a side of beans sprouts, basil leaves and lemon. It came with lime instead of lemon and jalapeño was added. Hubby also ordered fresh lemonade for $4 which he received one refill. Seems pricey to us for lemonade. He said it was tasty. We also ordered some summer rolls as an appetizer, but they never showed up. When we asked the waitress she said she forgot to put in the order, so perhaps she should write down orders instead of trying to memorize them. 

We had high expectations for this new restaurant, but it fell short. Perhaps if the prices were a bit lower or the proteins were supplied in a larger quantity we would change our mind. Overall, it’s tasty, but not very filling and we felt it was not a good value. We may try it again since we will be shopping at the new Whole Foods frequently and it’s so close by. I recommend stopping at the pet store in that shopping center. They have high end pet food and treats and excellent customer service. What’s your favorite restaurant in Cary? Are you as happy as I am that the area finally has another Whole Foods?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs.
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No 1 Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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QVC’s Luminara TSV – Auto Delivery 2nd Shipment

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Set of Three Blown Glass Ornaments with Luminara Flameless Candles


I just received my auto delivery shipment of QVC’s July 16th Today Special Value (TSV), shown above. This time the glass is shaped like a pumpkin and the wreath and bow have autumn colors. It’s really pretty in person. I’ll be able to use this set year round since our living room is decorated in fall colors. I find decorating in warm colors makes the room feel warm, cozy, colorful and comforting.

The first shipment is still available for purchase in champagne, icy blue and pearl for $42.74, which is only $3.98 more than the TSV price. Lately QVC has been offering TSVs that don’t sell out for only a few dollars more than the TSV price. So if you missed out on it and are having buyer’s regret, snag a set before they are gone. Check out my review of the pearl set. You may be able to find this harvest set later, if too many auto delivery orders are cancelled. Sometimes QVC sells auto delivery shipments separately online. It would have been nice if they had offered wreaths for each season as a add on.  

Bargain Alert:

Use Mr. Rebates for 1-3% cash back while shopping online @ QVC.

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 14 Deals are Live (Tips & Reminders)

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Review: Pacifica Island Vanilla & Indian Coconut Nectar Perfumed Hair & Body Mists

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 18 Deals are Live (Plus: New Hot Buys and Don’t Forget Your It’s A 10 Freebie!)

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Sephora VIB Sale: My Personal Recommendations & Wish List (Nothing Over $25)

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23rd Blue Apron Meal Kit Review

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Korean Beef Steam Buns with Sweet Potato Tempura & Spicy Mayonnaise


Ingredients


Barramundi & Herbed Couscous with Honeynut Squash & Spiced Labneh


Ingredients


Tuscan Style Pork Chops with Roasted Potato & Salsa Verde


Ingredients


This is a review of our 23rd delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Blue Apron. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe three stars and one recipe two stars. Calories ranged from 510 to 720 and preparation times ranged from twenty-five to fifty-five minutes as indicated on the recipe cards. Actual preparation time ranged from to fifty-six minutes to over an hour.

Korean Beef Steam Buns with Sweet Potato Tempura & Spicy Mayonnaise

This one looks the most appetizing of the three recipes. We had a similar recipe from Blue Apron before and it’s was truly scrumptious. Unfortunately, this one included sliced beef and it was very tough and chewy, so I landed up giving this one only two out of five stars. Gouchuiang is red, but when mixed with mayo it turns orange, quite surprising. One would think it would turn pink, so it much have some yellow in it. The spicy mayo was very tasty and simply made with gouchuiang and mayo. The sweet potato needed more panko. This recipe has 720 calories and it was a healthy portion. It took fifty-eight minutes to prepare, only a couple minutes more than the recipe indicated. 

Barramundi & Herbed Couscous with Honeynut Squash & Spiced Labneh

I gave this recipe five out five stars and Hubby gave it four stars. The barramundi is very tasty especially with the sauce made with labneh cheese, dukkah spice blend, lemon juice and garlic paste. The addition of spinach, golden raisins, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper to the couscous was scrumptious! The golden raisins were a sweet treat. There was a lot of couscous, so it was a large portion and very filling. The squash on my plate shown above only represents half my portion, the rest wouldn’t fit on the plate. It was deliciously sweet and filling. This one has 690 calories and it took fifty-six minutes to prepare, but the recipe said only up to forty minutes.

Tuscan Style Pork Chops with Roasted Potato & Salsa Verde

Hubby gave this recipe three out of five stars and I gave it two stars. It was not very memorable. The side of kale mixed with vinegar, garlic paste and red pepper flakes was very tart. I disliked it so much so that I didn’t eat it all. The pork chops were dry and the Tuscan spice blend wasn’t strong enough perhaps it was stale or we weren’t supplied enough of it. The way they suggested to cook the potato made it very dry. The red wine vinegar wasn’t a good addition to the salsa verde also made with capers, parsley, garlic paste and olive oil. This recipe only has 510 calories and it took over an hour to prepare. The recipe card says it will take only up to thirty-five minutes.

Except for the Barramundi recipe, it was a disappointing week of recipes. My next meal kit review will be our 21st Plated delivery, so stay tuned. Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway and check out my Pinterest Subscription Box Board and Pinterest Blue Apron Board.

Bargain Alert: 

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Some More Fall Crafts Courtesy of Pinterest

While everyone else has seemed to move onto Christmas, I’m still enjoying Fall and decided to try some autumn-themed decorations I had seen on Pinterest.

The first was a pumpkin made out of mason jar or canning jar rings. I had about a dozen left over from canning this summer, so had to buy another box. You can find them for around $3 for a dozen at Wal-Mart, a dollar store, Kroger, etc. 

Lay all the rings out on a piece of cardboard or paper and spray paint with inexpensive orange spray paint (avoid the day-glo orange though!). Flip them over after they dry and paint the other side. Let dry completely, then put them all on a string (all facing the same direction) and tie the string in a knot, arranging the rings into a circle/pumpkin shape. You’ll have to tie a pretty tight knot for it to keep its shape. You can do any number of things for the stem and leaf….I opted to use rolled up burlap and a green ribbon. I’ve also seen them done with a stick and green felt, string, etc.

Since I had the orange spray paint out already, my second project was another pumpkin, this time made from wine corks. Pull out 25 wine corks, spray paint orange (one side at a time) and glue together in a pumpkin shape using hot glue. Start with four, then five, then six, then five, then four. Again, for the stem and leaf you could do about anything, I used burlap and ribbon.

Target June 2017 Beauty Boxes are Live

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Memorial Day 2017 Beauty Sale Round-Up (Last Update: 9:25PM Pacific on 5/27)

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 20 Deals are Live (Plus: Blog Update, What I’m Buying, New Benefit Value Set and Don’t Forget Your It’s A 10 Freebie!)

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My 200th Post!! And Win a Gift Card!

I cannot believe this is my 200th post! The year has flown by and I’m so thankful to have you on my clean eating journey! I’m looking forward to even more clean eating and saving green fun in 2014, including exploring clean beauty and cleaning products and trying a whole bunch of new recipes. 

To celebrate and because I’m in the holiday spirit, I’m giving away a gift card to Regal Cinemas. If you’ve liked my Facebook page here, you’re already entered to win 🙂 If you’d like a chance to win, please head over and like me please! Once I receive 50 likes, I’ll draw a random winner, so tell all your friends too!

Homemade Seasoning Salt

I don’t use a lot of seasoning salt when cooking, but when I found this recipe for homemade seasoning salt, I thought it would be a good seasoning to have on hand. 

And, of course, after I mixed some up, I had to try it out, so I used it on some of our grain-fed, all-natural beef. It tastes just like the seasoning salt from the store, minus all the preservatives. Yummy!

The recipe makes a lot, so it’s a great value too!




Homemade Seasoning Salt
From Budget Savvy Diva

1/3 cup table salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix altogether and store in an airtight bag or spice jar. 

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15th Hello Fresh Meal Kit Review & $40 Coupon

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Tuscan Sausage & Pepper Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Parmesan


Ingredients


Creamy Shrimp Bruschetta with Monterey Jack Cheese on Baguette Toasts


Ingredients


This is a review of our 15th delivery from a weekly meal kit subscription box called Hello Fresh. This week we gave both recipes three out of five stars and we skipped making the 3rd recipe, Pork Wonton Money Bags, since we didn’t make it within the five day deadline and we didn’t think the pork was still good. Calories were 520 and 890 and preparation times stated on the recipe cards is thirty minutes and forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time was fifty-five minutes and over an hour.

Tuscan Sausage & Pepper Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Parmesan

While it looks tasty in picture above, we only gave this recipe three out of five stars. The sausage came in links which required removing it from the casing to crumble it. We would have preferred it ground without the casing. It was suppose to be sweet Italian sausage, but it wasn’t very tasty at all and we normally love Italian sausage. It really lacked flavor. Our biggest complaint was there wasn’t enough sauce and it lacked spiciness. They gave us chicken stock, spices and whole peeled tomatoes. We would have preferred marinara sauce. The spice was suppose to be hot, but it was not. Also, there was very little parmesan cheese. It was a disappointing meal. Calories were 890 which seems high and it was a large portion. Preparation time stated up forty-five minutes, but it actually took over an hour.
Creamy Shrimp Bruschetta with Monterey Jack Cheese on Baguette Toasts

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. This one really needed some spice to liven it up. The instructions were flawed since the bread didn’t stay crisp, it was soggy. The topping shouldn’t have been placed on top of the bread until it was ready to be served or at least not as long as they indicated. The other problem is the topping was too wet, it included too much cream cheese. It was tasty, but the cream cheese upset my stomach. I’m not sure if it was because it was in the top of the box during shipping too far away from the ice block or it was just my sensitive stomach acting up due to too much cream cheese. 

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
Home Chef – $30 Off
Sun Basket – $40 Off

It wasn’t a great week of recipes. They sure looked good on the recipe cards, so it was really disappointing. Hello Fresh is currently at the bottom of my list for favorite meal kits. Sun Basket, Home Chef & Blue Apron are my current favorites. Also, Plated, Gobble and Green Chef beat Hello Fresh. What’s your favorite subscription box? I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs. Please share this post via Twitter and Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

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14th Hello Fresh Meal Kit Review & $30 Coupon

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Lobster Ravioli with Tomatoes & Tarragon Cream Sauce


Ingredients

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sausage & Orange Wedges


Ingredients


Blackened Fish Tacos with Caramelized Pineapple & Red Cabbage Slaw


Ingredients


This is a review of our 14th delivery from a food subscription box called Hello Fresh. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe four stars and one recipe three stars. Calories ranged from 530 to 770 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranged from thirty minutes to thirty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from thirty-three to forty-six minutes. 

Lobster Ravioli with Tomatoes & Tarragon Cream Sauce

When I saw they were offering Lobster Ravioli I just had to order a box for that week! I love ravioli and lobster ravioli is hard to find in my area. Not only does this meal kit offer lobster, but also shrimp, yum! We gave this recipe five out of five stars. It was scrumptious! Definitely a crave worthy recipe! The sauce made with tarragon, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper was delicious. It was a healthy portion that was filling. It has 620 calories and preparation time indicated is thirty-five minutes. Actual preparation time was thirty-three minutes. If they offer this recipe again, I’ll be sure to order it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sausage & Orange Wedges

We gave the sausage five stars and the pancakes three stars for a rating of four stars out of five. The photo above doesn’t show the actual sausage we were sent because the eggs were bad, so we just ate the sausage that night. Later we bought some replacement eggs and Hubby made the pancakes and added some Publix ground sausage. The sausage they sent was so tasty. We weren’t crazy about the addition of ricotta cheese to the pancakes. It was just a bit odd and it made the pancakes heavy instead of fluffy. We made lemon pancakes before and we prefer them without ricotta cheese, but instead fresh blueberries, so much tastier. Really surprising that this recipe comes in at only 530 calories and yet it was very filling. Preparation time on the recipe cards states thirty-five minutes. 

Blackened Fish Tacos with Caramelized Pineapple & Red Cabbage Slaw

I love fish tacos, so I had to order this recipe. We gave it only three stars though. It needed some more cajun spice and more pineapple. I like how the recipe caramelized the pineapple so it was a sweeter flavor and less tart. This way it didn’t overwhelm the other flavors in the taco. It was a healthy portion at it came in at 770 calories. Preparation time indicated is thirty minutes while actual preparation time was forty-six minutes.

We really enjoyed this week of recipes from Hello Fresh and only one item went bad during shipping. Unfortunately, they place the eggs at the top of the box far from the ice packs. All of the meal kit companies I’ve purchased from do the same. Fortunately, eggs are very inexpensive to replace. I’m sure they will give me a store credit for them when I send an email as they have done so in the past. We also enjoyed that the actual cooking times were quite low compared to the competition. Have you given Hello Fresh a try yet? If so, what has your experience been like? If not, what’s keeping you from giving this service a try? Snag my coupon below for $30 off your first box and give it a try today! The coupon would make your first box cost only $39 including shipping and handling. Skipping future week’s boxes is easy to do right on their website.

Bargain Alert:

Hello Fresh – $30 off
Home Chef – $30 Coupon, click here. 
Mr. Rebates – Cash Back for Online Shopping, click here.
Vitacost – $10 off 1st order
Walmart Grocery – $10 off $50
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Have a PEACEful Day!



My Trip to Albuquerque

Hello blogsphere! Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few days but I spent a long weekend with my parents visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Albuquerque. Thanks Kyle and Kensie for a wonderful visit and tour of Albuquerque! 🙂

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I’ve never been to New Mexico (or anyone of the nearby states) before, so it was great to see the southwest United States. It was very beautiful and so different from Indiana. We saw Old Town Albuquerque, took a trip on the tramway to Sandia Peak and of course, ate our way across the town. Here’s a recap of some of the wonderful, mostly clean (and some not-so-clean) meals I enjoyed….

I enjoyed a Sweet Roll from The Frontier…Travel Channel fans might recall that Adam Richman visited The Frontier and helped make these delicious sweet rolls on Man vs. Food Nation Albuquerque. You can see that episode here. 

Hamburger from Chama River Brewery. 

The best chicken salad I’ve ever had (yes, even better than Eddie’s Corner Cafe!). Walnut Chicken Salad in a tomato basil wrap at the Cheese and Coffee Cafe in Old Town. 

Chocolate milkshake from the Route 66 Malt Shop.

One night we took a break from eating out and had our own cookout with balsamic chicken, bruchetta, sweet corn and grilled veggies. 



The best Mexican food I’ve ever had at El Pinto (and the largest restaurant I’ve ever been in!). I branched out and tried the calabacitas burrito. Quick culinary lesson…calabicitas is a Mexican side dish of zucchini, summer squash, onions and sometimes peppers. In short, in my burrito doused in green chili sauce, it was AMAZING! Their chips and salsa were some of the best I’ve ever had too. The white sangria wasn’t bad either 😉

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Happy Halloween!

You know how I always talk about the 80/20 rule? Well, today is one of those days were I fit firmly in the 20 percent 🙂 I cannot say no to a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup (or several!). I hope you all enjoy your Halloween and get lots of yummy treats. Then it’s back to eating clean tomorrow!

Happy Halloween from Doc McStuffins and her dragon, Stuffy!

Macy’s Beauty Box 3rd Shipment – October 2017

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October 2017


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Macy’s for $15 a month. The retail value of the October box is $55.97 not including the $5 coupon and cosmetic bag. Bargain! Included in the 3rd shipment were the following products:
  1. StriVectin – Multi-action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel, made in the USA, .35 fl. oz, $12.14 retail value
  2. Elizabeth Arden – Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, made in the USA, .17 fl. oz., $11.39 retail value
  3. Smashbox – Photo Finish Foundation Primer, made in the USA, .25 fl. oz., $9.00 retail value
  4. Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium eau de parfum, made in France, .04 fl. oz., $2.27 retail value 
  5. Lancôme – Énergie de Vie Water Infused Moisturizing Cream, made in the USA, .5 oz., $16.17 retail value
  6. Origins – Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, made in USA, .5 fl. oz., $5.00 retail value
  7. $5 Coupon – $5 off a product from Macy’s Beauty Dept.
This month they sent all skin care product samples except for the perfume. It’s disappointing there isn’t even one makeup product. Though the retail value is much better this month, so I’m happy about that. I really like the Lancôme brand. The moisturizer they sent is pretty good so far. It sinks into the skin quickly and it leaves the skin feeling less dry. The Elizabeth Arden Renewal Booster can be used prior to a moisturizer. I’ll be trying that tonight. I’ve received the Smashbox’s Primer sample so many times in subscription boxes. I prefer Laura Geller’s or Julep’s Primer. Black Opium smells yummy. It has notes of coffee and vanilla bean with jasmine. I like it a lot. It reminds me of Jessica Simpson’s Fancy. I look forward to trying the StriVectin sample also. I’ve received a sample of Origins Charcoal Mask before and I’ve purchased one in a Sephora set. I really recommend it, it works really well. It is a bit messy getting it off though, so I like to use it just prior to my shower. I used my previous Macy’s coupons on a Five Piece TonyMoly Mask Set. It’s on sale, I used a coupon and Mr. Rebates, so it was a real bargain. I’m really into sheet masks lately. They are great for relaxing. I keep them in the refrigerator so they cool my face and aid in the relaxation process while resting on the bed. Give it a try! You may find you it aids in falling asleep. It’s worked for this insomniac. 

I noticed they are showing all the products for the November bag already and it looks really good. Plus, they are giving us a $10 coupon instead of $5, yippee! Spoil Alert – the products for November are: perfume sample Gabrielle from Chanel, Mac Makeup Primer, Lancôme Mascara Primer, Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara, Beauty Blender Blotterazzi Pro and Tarte Matte Lip Paint. I’m looking forward to that bag! The cosmetic bag is a sparkly black bag, it looks pretty. Have you subscribed to Macy’s Beauty Box yet? If not, what’s keeping you from taking the plunge? If you received a box this month, what did you think about the product samples they sent? Check out what I received in my Macy’s September Beauty Box.

Also, check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to compare it to Macy’s Beauty Box. In addition, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Plus, don’t forget to enter my current giveaway before you leave. 

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates -5% Cash Back from Macy’s
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Have a PEACEful Day!


Transforming Old Windows

I love love love the look of old windows reused for other purposes. I had found a cheap window at a junk sale for $15. I wanted to add one of our wedding pics behind it and use it as artwork for the wall behind our bed in our bedroom. 
For the photo, I measured the inside of the window and then uploaded and ordered a custom size large print. I think mine ended up being almost 16×20 and I found that at that time, Walgreens had the best prices on large custom prints (the 16×20 was around $5 with coupons). Do a quick Google search before you order to find any coupon codes or photo deals. 
Just take the photo and secure to the back of the window frame. Add frame hangers so you can hang up on the wall. Voila! Old window into new artwork!

World’s Best Chicken

Another day, another Pinterest recipe. It was really good but I don’t know if it was the World’s Best Chicken as the name suggests. (I just kept picturing Buddy the Elf bursting into my kitchen to congratulate me on making the world’s best chicken 🙂 It is really easy to make and would make a great meal to take to someone, as well as good freezer meal. It will stay in our recipe repertoire as Really Good Chicken 😉


The World’s Best Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Rosemary

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 greased baking dish. Season with salt & lots of pepper. Pour mustard mixture over chicken. Make sure each breast is coated. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. There will be extra sauce in the pan, which you can elect to toss out or use for extra flavoring. Season with chopped rosemary. To make this in the slow cooker, combine all ingredients and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Canned Pasta Sauce

We planted three different types of tomatoes in our garden–roma, cherry and Better Boy–and we have a bounty of all of them. There are only so many recipes and foods that we use cherry tomatoes for, so I decided to make pasta sauce from them. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just kind of made it up as I went. I took chopped garlic and onion and sauteed in a big stock pot. I then took the cherry tomatoes (after removing the stems and washing them) and just threw them in the pot, added some salt, pepper and dried oregano and let it all cook down. After cooking for 20 minutes or so, I took a potato masher and mashed it all up into more of a sauce, let cook another 10 minutes and then canned the sauce.

Not only was this recipe low maintenance (no cutting or chopping!), it was delicious 🙂 The sauce turns out a little thinner than typical pasta sauce, more like a marinara sauce, so if you like it thicker, add some tomato paste while cooking. We used the sauce as a pizza sauce too, which ended up great!

Accurate Description – Kawasaki Vulcan Cafe Racer



The Vulcan S ABS Café is Kawasaki’s “learner approved” cruiser. It’s styling is typical of all cruisers that follow in Harley’s footsteps with its laid back riding position, wide handlebars and over inflated bodywork (in my humble opinion). However, at it’s heart is an engine that uses the same configuration as some of the first motorcycles to ever be used for Cafe Racer conversions, a parallel twin. Granted the liquid cooled, Kawasaki 650 may not have the same aesthetic appeal as a pre-unit Bonneville, but to a romanticist the Vulcan engine is, in a roundabout way, a hommage to the legend. At least that’s how Mário of MRS Oficina felt about it when he was given the opportunity to customise one himself.



The project began when Mário was approached by Kawasaki France to undertake a commissioned project in 2015. They had recently released the ‘Vulcan S ABS Café’ and wanted to see what Mário could make of it. Knowing that Kawasaki’s claim to have been influenced by cafe racer styling when designing the Vulcan S was a bit of a stretch, he decided to follow their lead and build a bike worthy of the cafe racer moniker.



Despite being the lightest of the bunch in Kawasaki’s cruiser range, the Vulcan S is no feather weight tipping the scales at a hefty 498 pounds (226kg). Mário was going to have to shed some serious pounds from the Kwaka if it was ever going to perform to his expectations. The weight reduction regime began by discarding the bikes fuel tank, seat and fenders. This was followed by the removal of the rear half of the frame, the cast wheels and any components that complimented the cruiser configuration such as the handlebars and forward control footpegs.



Stance was the next challenge to overcome. The Vulcan needed a less slouched, more aggressive posture if it was to have the geometry of a cafe racer. This required raising the rear significantly using a single, custom made shock absorber from Ohlins and modifying the swingarm to suit. The triple trees were then slid 20mm lower on the fork tubes and stiffer springs installed for optimum handling. A set of classically styled, laced rims with slick rubber donated by Pirelli were then bolted in place.


Mário wasted no time discarding the Vulcan’s highly adjustable riding system, which Kawasaki had no doubt spent millions developing. In it’s place he installed a single piece tank and tail that floats above the rear wheel and mounted the quintessential cafe racer control configuration of clip on bars and rear set footpegs. To continue to enhance the cafe styling the triangle headlight was also replaced with a yellow lensed Bates style unit, colour matched to the new bodywork and Ohlins shock reservoir. A slimmer custom front fender was also bolted in place for everyday riding practicality.



Reverse megaphone mufflers were the obvious choice for the exhaust system, mounting 2 of them using a custom made pair of stainless steel headers. Finishing touches were then mounted such as the cross stitched leather seat, the matching white faced Motogadget dials, Beringer brake reservoir assembly, Monza style filler cap and frame mounted, custom made indicators. 



Being a Kawasaki the obvious colour choice was always going to be green and Mário has smashed it out of the ballpark with a two toned, metallic scheme. Amazingly this entire build was packed into 4 short months leading up to the 2015 ‘Salon de la Moto Paris’ where punters were lining up to place their deposits. Alas, much like Kawasaki Italy’s 40th anniversary Z1000 from 2013, this bike will remain a one off, but here’s hoping this won’t be the last time we see the green team commission a build of this calibre.



MRS Oficina
Photography by Antoine Sayn

first read on returnofthecaferacers.com/


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Homemade Ice Cream


Last weekend, we had dinner with some good friends and for dessert we made homemade ice cream in an ice cream ball (you can find them here). It was this super cute kit where you just added in ice and salt into one chamber and the milk, cream and vanilla into another. You then let the kiddos go nuts rolling it around and shaking it up. About 20 minutes later, voila, you have homemade (and all-natural!) ice cream!! The kids loved making it and it was super yummy. It’s a great idea for camping, traveling or just for fun.

Nordstrom Mascara Madness Event is Live (Important Tips and Reminders!)

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Large Update to Memorial Day Beauty Sale Round-Up (PUR Mystery Bags Are Back and More!)

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The Lipstick League – Week of 4.18.17 (To Depot or Not to Depot: That is the Question!)

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Top Ten Eating Clean and Saving Green Gifts for Christmas

With Christmas only weeks away, (mostly) everyone is getting into the gift-giving spirit. Personally, I love giving gifts. It’s the love language I use when showing someone they mean a lot to me and I enjoy the whole process of coming up with an idea, searching far and wide for that gift and seeing the recipient’s face when they open it up.

Whether you’ve been done Christmas shopping since August or have yet to start, I’m here to help! I’ve come up with the Top Ten Eating Clean and Saving Green gifts for your holiday season. These gifts help you eat clean, save you some green and some even do both!

1. Spa Day — For that special lady (or even guy!) in your life, consider giving them a day of pampering to a spa or salon that specializes in all-natural and organic products.

2. Subway Art — Easy and inexpensive, a piece of unique subway art fits all sizes and is a great personalized gift for that special someone. Choose the recipient’s favorite song lyrics, poem, Bible verse or quote.

3. Recipe Book — Compile a list of your favorite Eating Clean recipes to give away to family and friends. You could create a book yourself, or use a helpful site, like Shutterfly or Bookemon, which does all the work for you!

4. Old Window Photo — Another great personalized gift, especially for a newly married couple, family with kids or parents and grandparents. Again, the possibilities are endless for personalization. 

5. Kitchen Tools — Every cook needs the proper tools, so consider giving several smaller, handy kitchen items or purchasing a bigger piece of kitchen equipment. Some of my favorites and must-haves…cheese grater, mandolin, spice rack, crock pot, bread machine

6. Stock the Pantry Gift Basket — I’ve made all kinds of pantry staples in the last year. Put together a gift basket to stock the pantry of a friend or neighbor. Some to include…brownie mix, cooking spray, chicken stock, pasta sauce, soup or sauce mix,  seasoning salt.

7. Magazine Subscription — I especially love giving magazine subscriptions because it’s a gift that lasts all year! Some of my favorites for clean eating and saving green…All You, Eating Clean

8. Homemade Crayons — For the kid, or the kid-at-heart. 🙂 Also make a great stocking stuffer.

9. Ice Cream Ball — Another great gift for kids or families. Fun for all and who doesn’t love ice cream?

10. Gift Cards — Consider giving gift cards to clean and all-natural stores and restaurants like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Seasons 52, Aveda, etc.

Ipsy Subscription Box Review – January 2018

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Ipsy – January 2018
This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Ipsy. It only costs $10 a month including shipping and they send out five deluxe samples per month based on your beauty profile. The retail value of this month’s bag is $37.06. Included in my January bag were the following products:
  1. Dermelect – Microfacial Exfoliating Masque, made in the USA, .5 fl. oz., $7.03 retail value
  2. The Balm – Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter, made in the USA, .04 oz., $3.20 retail value
  3. Kokie Cosmetics – Kissable Liquid Lipstick in Mad About Mauve, made in P.R. China, .24 fl. oz., $6.00
  4. SLMissGlam – Mermaid Glam Tapered Highlight Brush L36, $13.33 retail value
  5. Lué by Jean Seo – Balance Hydrating & Calming Serum, made in the USA, .5 fl. oz., $7.50 retail value
I’m most excited about the Highlight Brush which I’ve seen others receive in previous boxes. I love the pink glitter handle with the two pink stones and the pretty pink bristles. I’ve never heard of this brand before, but the bristles are soft, so I’ll enjoy using it. I’m always happy to receive something from the brand The Balm. This one is a highlighter which can be used with the brush they sent. I’ve never heard of Kokie Cosmetics either and I’m not crazy about their liquid lipstick. It’s a very dark reddish brown which isn’t flattering on my fair skin. The consistency is ok, but it’s not a brand I would purchase especially since it’s made in China and they have very low standards for cosmetics. Yet another brand that I haven’t heard of before is Lué. The ingredients are questionable, I’m pretty sure they aren’t healthy ingredients. Another brand I haven’t heard of before is Dermelect. It’s really quite expensive, has anyone heard of this brand before or seen it in stores? This masque is suppose to remove oils and I have dry skin, so I’m not happy they sent it to me. If it wasn’t for the pretty brush and the highlighter they sent, I would be very unhappy about this bag. The reason I unsubscribed four years ago was because they kept sending low quality brands I’m not familiar with. When I saw that recently they were sending higher quality brands I decided to subscribe again. So imagine my disappointment when this bag has three out of five brands I haven’t heard of before. My last bag had only one brand I had not heard of. I’m going to have to start up my blog sale again, if I’m going to continuing subscribing to Ipsy. There are too many items I wont be using and I don’t want them to go to waste.
Bargain Alert:
Julep – 12 Free Nail Polishes
Mr. Rebates – cash back for online purchases 

If you are a subscriber what your favorite product this month? If you are not a subscriber, what’s keeping from you giving it a try? Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years and check out December’s & November’s Ipsy. Share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking the boxes:  Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


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Have a PEACEful Day!



How to U-Turn a Motorcycle

It may look easy, but a smoothly executed u-turn on a motorcycle is more challenging than you might guess.

How do you perform a u-turn that looks effortless? Consider these tips and practice them in the safety of an empty parking lot, and you’ll find yourself more easily turning your bike around on the street:

It’s All in the Eyes

The old adage “You’ll go where you’re looking” holds especially true when it comes to u-turns. That said, don’t look down, and keep your line of vision going through the turn, constantly focusing your eyes ahead, where you want to go, rather than towards the pavement below.

Ride Within the Friction Zone

The friction zone is the area where your clutch is slipping enough to transmit some, but not all power from the engine to the rear wheel. Don’t try to u-turn in neutral, and don’t do with a gear fully engaged, either; riding within the friction zone will give you more control over the bike through the throttle, which helps modulate the motorcycles’s lean angle through subtle adjustments.

Drag the Rear Brake

Avoid using the front brakes during u-turns, as the forks are more sensitive to diving at low speeds. Gentle dragging of the rear brake creates stability, enabling better control while you’re maneuvering your bike through the turn.

Keep Your Weight Mass Centralized

There’s a natural tendency to stick your leg out when you turn (making it ready to break a fall), but your motorcycle will be more manageable when peripheral mass (ie, you!) is closer to the bike. Keep your feet on the pegs; if necessary, you might be helped by putting some weight on the outside peg, in a similar but more subtle way than you would while riding offroad.

Practice Turning Both Ways

For whatever reason, most people find it much easier to make tight left turns than right turns. To develop a more balanced u-turn skill set, practice doing figure 8s in an empty parking lot. The drill will build your muscle memory for both sides of your body. Similarly, try riding in a wide circle and narrowing your path so you’re forming an ever-narrowing spiral; once you can’t turn any more tightly, exit and try it again the other way. Remember to keep looking where you want to go, especially when you’re changing directions.

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Source: About (Wasef, 1/19)

Flat Belly Diet 4-Day Anti-Bloat Cleanse

Before I started the whole journey to eating clean, I did a 10-day Advocare Cleanse to clear out my system, so to speak. It did wonderful things for my energy levels and helped get my mindset into eating clean. Well, nine months later, I decided I needed another push of the reset button. I’ve been doing really well overall, but summer has been hard for overeating and not choosing good foods. So, I am doing another cleanse, but this time I am doing the Flat Belly Diet 4-day Anti-Bloat Cleanse.

I am not a fan of diets at all because I think they set you up for eating unrealistically and while you may have success at the beginning, it usually fades pretty quickly. I’m more for lifestyle changes that you can adopt for the rest of your life. I came across the Flat Belly Diet and was skeptical at first, but after reading through the book, I decided to try the cleanse and then adopt some of the diet. The diet is basically a 1600-calorie Mediterranean diet that includes a MUFA (monounsaturated fat) in every meal. You can read more about it here and here.

I’ll talk more about the diet as I go along, but I wanted to tell you all about the cleanse. I definitely felt less bloated afterwards, but pretty hungry each day. I definitely did not consume enough calories for my 14k training and bonked on one of my runs. Overall, it was a great way to reset my appetite and I did lose a few pounds. I will continue to drink the Sassy Water because was very refreshing and suppressed my appetite.

Here’s what was on the menu for each day (plus my modifications). I took some creative liberties and swapped out some of the sides and changed them between days:

Day 1
Breakfast
1 c unsweetened cornflakes
1 c skim milk
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (I did not eat this…gross)
1/2 c raw or roasted sunflower seeds
1 glass sassy water

Lunch
4 oz turkey
1 light string cheese
1 pt fresh grape tomatoes
glass of sassy water

Smoothie: 1 c skim milk,1 c frozen blueberries blended then add 1 Tbsp cold pressed organic flaxseed oil (This can be eaten as a mid-morning, mid-afternoon or after dinner snack…whenever you need the pick-me-up)

Dinner
1 c fresh/frozen cooked green beans
4 oz grilled/cooked tilapia
1/2 c roasted red potatoes drizzled with 1 tsp olive oil.

Day 2
Breakfast
1 c Rice Krisipies
1 c skim milk
1/4 c sunflower seeds
4 oz pineapple tidbits canned in juice (left this out…not a pineapple fan either)
glass of sassy water

Lunch
3 oz light tuna in water (I did turkey every day b/c I don’t like tuna)
1 c steamed baby carrots (I used raw, regular carrots…too much sugar in the baby ones)
1 light string cheese
Sassy water

Smoothie: 1 c skim milk, 4 oz canned pineapple tidbits in juice in blender, stir in 1 tbsp flax oil

Dinner
1 c fresh crimini (bella) mushrooms sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil
3 oz grilled chicken breast
1/2 c brown rice
Sassy water

Day 3
Breakfast
Same as Day 1 except for 2 Tbsp raisins instead of applesauce

Lunch
Same as Day 1

Smoothie: use 1 c frozen peaches w/ 2 tsp flax oil

Dinner
Same as day 1 except for 3oz baked turkey cutlet instead of fish. (I did chicken again)

Day 4
Breakfast
1 pkg instant cream of wheat
1 c skim milk
1/4 c sunflower seed
2 dried plums

Lunch
Same as Day 1

Smoothie use 1 c frozen strawberries/2 tsp flax oil

Dinner
1 c fresh/frozen yellow squash sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil
3 oz grilled chicken breast
1/2 c brown rice
Sassy water

During 4 days you also must avoid coffee, any soft drink, sweeteners, salt, excess carbs, bulky raw food, gassy foods, gum, fried foods, spicy foods.

The Sassy Water Recipe

2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves.
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.
Drink the entire pitcher by the end of each day.

Beef Stroganoff

I have a confession to make.
I love Hamburger Helper.
I know. Shocking. Mrs. Clean Eating loves preservative-filled fake dinner. I’ve loved it for a long time though, ever since college when I would make it all.the.time. Ask my college roommate, Rachael 🙂 I am particularly drawn to the Beef Stroganoff. I don’t know what is it about that ground beef, noodly, creamy goodness that gets me every time.
Anyway, since going clean, HH has not made an appearance in our household. Luckily, I had an old recipe for Easy Beef Stroganoff tucked away and decided to give it the old college try. While it didn’t measure up to HH to me, it was still good and easy, just like the name says. Plus, it was all-natural and clean. My kiddos gobbled it up. 
I used all-natural, homemade egg noodles I found at a local meat market. My grandma has a recipe for homemade egg noodles as well, so maybe I’ll get brave and try those too. We used the grain-fed beef for the meat, which was also really good and super tender. With this recipe, be sure not to overcook the meat, just cook until barely pink. Otherwise, it gets too tough.

Easy Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from Real Simple

12 ounces egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups fresh mushrooms
1 8-ounce container all-natural sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In 2 batches, cook the steak until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and bell pepper (if desired); cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and beef and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and steak sauce and stir the mixture into the beef and mushrooms. Serve over the noodles.

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

This was a cozy and comforting dish that was easy to prepare. It was a little bland, but I think adding an extra clove or two of garlic, as well as some more parm cheese would fix that. You could easily double the recipe and freeze the extras. 

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo
Adapted from Life is a Strawberry

2 and 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. flour
1 cup milk 

1 package frozen spinach, defrosted, water wrung out and chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish

Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute or until onions are translucent. Add flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute. Add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps from the roux. When lumps are worked out, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes. Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat. Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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