SanDisk Ultra SDHC card video Erin Manning

Tips on How To Take Better Baby Photos

I have a new grandson on the way this year. I will be shooting loads of photos of him so I want to make sure that every one is safely stored until I download them to my computer. I trust SanDisk memory cards for that job. I take hundreds of photographs each week and the SanDisk Ultra SDHC card has never let me down.

Baby Photography Tips Video

In this video, photographer, author and educator Erin Manning provides her Top 3 Tips for capturing better baby photos. Erin gives you advice on setting the scene and getting close to the baby for those perfect images, as well as using a SanDisk Ultra SDHC card to make sure she never misses a shot. I have some precious moments to capture!!!

 

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for SanDisk. I received a product sample to thank me for participating. All opinions, ideas and photos are my own.

SanDisk Ultra SDHC card video Erin Manning

Southern Sunrise Birthday Breakfast #SeductiveTables

My Seductive Table for Two ~ Happy Birthday HIMself #SeductiveTables

Shhhhhh. Don’t tell, but I am creating a romantic tablescape inspired by Moll Anderson’s new book, Seductive Tables For Two: Tablescapes, Picnics, and Recipes That Inspire Romance. The minute I saw this beautifully crafted book, I knew the way I thought about laying a table would be forever changed. {I even interviewed Moll here.} The book is filled with beautiful ways to tell someone how special they are to you. HIMself is pretty special indeed. He puts up with my wild imagination. He suffers through weekly trips to thrift stores and estate sales. And he has not had a bite of warm food since I started sharing recipes on this blog. You know all the photos steal the time from the food!!!

Southern Sunrise Birthday Breakfast #SeductiveTables

I love entertaining at home. I really want to make this year’s birthday extraordinary since HIMself was in the hospital on his birthday last year. While we were ‘downsizing’ he broke his ankle so badly it required surgery. He was a trooper; did all his therapy and didn’t complain too much. As you can see below, he never lost his appetite!

HIMself in cast

Planning a Seductive Tablescape

Seductive Tables For Two inspired what I call my Southern Sunrise Birthday Breakfast tribute to HIMself. “It’s not about the size of the table; it’s about what you put on it,” gave me permission to do it my way. A Savory Sunrise moment in time for us to cherish for years to come. To keep it intimate and cozy, I chose to set the coffee table in our living room and use large, silk floor pillows as seating.

Seductive Tables Book Page

Entertaining at home is one of the pleasures of life for me. Planning, creating, cooking…I enjoy it all. HIMself loves to eat; so we make a great food blogging team. I look for any opportunity to bring out some of my vast collection of china, glassware, flatware, table coverings and serving pieces. I am thrilled by the concept of using cherished items to set a mood or “create a surprise,” as Moll says, to create a sensory experience. Ah yes…an experience for all the senses.

Gathering Special Things for #SeductiveTables

Lifestyle and romance expert Moll leads the reader through a wonderland of breathtaking ideas for entertaining the one you love. This book fires my creative juices and ignites my imagination. I had thoughts flowing from my pencil so fast I could hardly keep up. The Savory Sunrise section helped me create a casual, beachy atmosphere with a very southern breakfast.

Savory Southern Sunrise Table  #SeductiveTables

The book gives you all the hows and the whys of this special form of entertaining. You can’t help but be inspired to set a special table for the two of you sometime soon. You can order Seductive Tables For Two: Tablescapes, Picnics, and Recipes That Inspire Romance from Barnes and Noble online. See my ordering experience in photos here.

A Southern Sunrise Birthday Breakfast

I found this beautiful signed print for HIMself at an estate sale. It set the mood and created the color scheme for his celebratory breakfast. The atmosphere is casual, beachy and very southern (France).

Inspiration Piece for #SeductiveTables

Here is my new magazine Flair. It is a recap of the entire breakfast project. It gives you all the ‘decadent details’ of how I decorated the room and created the tablescape, plus all the delicious recipes. Please tell me how you like the magazine in the comments below. I am so anxious to hear from you!!!

You can see from the smile on his face that he enjoyed the experience.

HIMself enjoying his day #SeductiveTables

You can catch Moll Anderson every Saturday at 5:00 pm EST on her radio show on XM Talk 16. She is on Access Hollywood today, February 7. Find the time in your area here. Her website always has new and exciting ideas. You can also connect with Moll via Twitter and Facebook.

See my exciting, in-depth interview with Moll here.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #cbias #SocialFabric #SeductiveTables All opinions, ideas and photos are my own.
Moll Anderson casual

Moll Anderson Chats with Me About “Seductive Tables For Two”

Lifestyle and romance expert, Moll Anderson, chats with me about her newest book, Seductive Tables For Two: Tablescapes, Picnics, and Recipes That Inspire Romance. The minute I saw this beautifully crafted book, I knew the way I thought about laying a table would be forever changed.

Seductive Tables Book

Moll leads the reader through a wonderland of breathtaking ideas for entertaining the one you love. From a Sensual Sea Escape to a Red Hot Valentine…this book fires my creative juices and ignites my imagination. I had thoughts flowing from my pencil so fast I could hardly keep up. The Savory Sunrise section helped me create a casual, beachy atmosphere with a very southern breakfast for HIMself last weekend.

Seductive Tables Book Page

The book gives you the hows and the whys of this special form of entertaining. You may be perfectly comfortable hosting a crowd of people, yet be out of your element entertaining your spouse. Not any more. You can’t help but be inspired to set a special table for the two of you sometime soon.

Savory Sunrise Table

Seductive Tables For Two is filled with beautiful ways to tell someone how special they are to you. Moll shares her thoughts with me in this lovely interview…

Seductive Tablescape

My Interview with Moll Anderson

Moll Anderson casual

Rebecca: I love your book, “Seductive Tables for Two.” How did the concept for the book come about?

Moll: I decided several years ago at the age of 45 that when I found my perfect mate and was finally in a happy, healthy and very romantic relationship that I wanted everyone to experience what that’s all about. I knew that I needed to share my secrets! My past, my choices in life and all that I went through has brought me to a place of gratefulness and a belief that I went through it all so that I could help other people. People get bound and stuck in the past and I was for many years, but then I heard a great saying by Gary Zukav. Gary said “ Give up the belief that the past could be any different than it was.” It blew my mind and it was totally freeing for me and was a statement that catapulted me to let go of my hurt, take responsibility for my own happiness and to simply LIVE! My relationships that did not work were part of my journey of growth, love and forgiveness. Believe it or not forgiving others was simple; forgiving myself was the part that got freed with Gary’s statement. So I decided to start writing and my first book was “Change Your Home Change Your Life” it was a peek into my life and the brand I was about to build. For “The Seductive Home” and for this book “Seductive Tables For Two” I knew that I needed to start in a way that could speak to our cry for romance in our relationships. I haven’t told my whole story yet and I will some day, but in the meantime I want to inspire people to live in the moment and experience true romance.

Rebecca: You talk about entertaining your partner with stylish, whimsical and seductive tablescapes. Why are table-scapes so important.

Moll: A seductive table for two is the easiest way to get two people sitting across from each other, face to face and communicating. When you put the energy into making your table special, especially when you present a theme like an exotic location (even though its right in your own backyard or bedroom) it helps to transport you out of the norm of everyday life stresses.

My five must haves for creating a sensory-scaped, romantic tablescape are color, lighting, music, flowers and fabric. These essential elements all possess important but different characteristics to bring your table together.

Color—a marvelous form of energy—has an amazing impact on the human psyche. Did you know that each color has an energy specific to it? Consider hues for your tablescapes that naturally draw your attention and evoke the sensual response you are searching for.

Lighting- A flip of the switch or the strike of a match changes the mood of every setting. But more than that, mood lighting is a natural phenomenon. An overcast day, a romantic sunset, or a brilliant, mysterious full moon—lighting affects us on a primal level. We are innately programmed to be moved by light, so use this easy tool to create the perfect atmosphere for your table for two.

Music-Set the atmosphere thermostat to fit the mood you desire in any space you want. In many ways, music is the most versatile lifestyle accessory. So, decorate your table with sound. Not only can music ripple through a room with incredible power, but it can also bring a new spark to your relationship.

Flowers-These extraordinarily versatile table accessories come in a variety of colors, sizes, and scents, perfect for a wide range of settings. It’s been proven that women automatically feel more romantic when in the presence of these wonderful blooms.

Fabric-One of the most telling elements in a space is fabric. It adds texture and a wealth of personality. Linens can add that bit of pizzazz to spice up your table from the color to texture to the details; there are so many choices! One of the few design elements geared to the sense of touch, fabric welcomes you with comfort.

Rebecca: You write about making the table special by hiding away little surprises. Surprise me with a few please.

Moll: Who doesn’t love surprises? I don’t care how old we get, there’s nothing better than someone taking the time to put thought into little gifts or handwritten notes that touch your heart. They don’t have to cost a lot of money! Incorporating them into the tablescape is a great way to have a scavenger hunt for the senses. For women, men can place anything from jewelry to love notes in pretty jeweled frames. If she collects something like glass figurines or antique pins, the figurines can stand alone, or be added to florals, and the pins can be used on the napkins. For men, cufflinks, small photos framed, favorite cigars or rocks glasses with their favorite drink can be incorporated. Truthfully, the whole table is a special gift.

Rebecca: The book contains loads of helpful tips for composing seductive tables. Can you share some?

Moll: In “Seductive Tables For Two,’ I include all the table setting basics, from choosing your china and stemware to instructions for setting your table, creating centerpieces and much more. But the book is about inspiring readers to think beyond the basics of tablescaping and adding their own personalized and unexpected touches. Each chapter has helpful sidebars offering some ideas to inspire your own unique tables for two.

Here are just a few:

  • Look for unexpected treasures to anchor the center of your table-lamps, statues, picture frames or even a beautiful tray.
  • Use scarves you love and wear for table toppers.
  • Antique blankets, throws and bedspreads can make great looking tablecloths.
  • Try coffee tables as an option anytime you simply don’t have a table or desire a bohemian vibe. Just make sure to add large pillows to sit on.
  • Use trays in place of a table and take your seduction anywhere from breakfast in bed to a romantic dinner by the fire.
  • Add seasonal edibles to your arrangements- bright red peppers bring a splash of color to a fiesta, and farmers’ market finds of carrots and radishes add a dash of fun to a spring or Easter celebration.
  •  Bring your travel destinations and favorite flavors to your table theme.
  • Add a touch or whimsy to your tablescapes and celebrations. Fun, whimsical, and even unexpected accents to your gatherings will help you get in touch with your playful side. For example, try bringing on the spring and summer fun with brightly colored kites, confetti, hanging lanterns, or paper umbrellas.
  • Be inspired by what you have. Take a scavenger hunt around your home for inspiration and don’t be afraid to mix and match pieces.

Rebecca: You believe in a sensory tablescapes experience. Please explain your vision.

Moll: When you create a “Seductive Home” or “Seductive Table For Two” you want all the senses to come alive; what you touch, what you see, what you hear, the scent in the air, and the taste of the food and drink. When all those things come into play, it’s a full sensory-scape experience.

Moll Anderson in doorway

Rebecca: You talk about the energy of color. That fascinates me. Tell me more.

Moll: If you walk into your closet you can see what color dominates your style, and that usually tells you what is the most natural color for your base and your comfort zone. Mine believe it or not is black! I also love red and orange.

Black, is power, sophistication, dramatic, elegant, mysterious, and glamorous. Black while comforting and protective is also mysterious, evoking a sense of potential and possibility.

Red, is a color of physical energy, warmth, love, sex, passion and stimulation. Red encourages action and confidence and evokes emotions that stir the blood.

Orange is invigorating, playful, spontaneous, flamboyant, pleasure seeking, exuberant and joyful. Orange is a terrific anti-depressant, a stimulant of the sexual organs and has shown to have only positive effects on your emotional state.

When you learn about color it’s amazing what adding it to your home and life will do!

Rebecca: Oh the flowers in this book are to die for…why do you use so many blooms?

Moll: Don’t underestimate the power of the flower; it captures the senses in a most unique way. I love flowers! I am drawn to them and have always used them in every home I ever done for a client. I even taught them how to recreate the arrangements for each room. They truly are a sensory delight. In fact scientific research has proved that women feel more romantic just being around flowers. So men, if you want to get your lady in the mood surround her with her favorite blooms and she will blossom.

Flower arrangements don’t always need to be abundant; sometimes a simple stem of a rose or orchid is enough to capture the senses.

When you are using flowers for your table, just remember that florals for a room can be fabulously fragrant, but your table needs to be a less fragrant scent of floral because you don’t want it competing with the meal.

Rebecca:  There is something beautiful about breaking bread together. Tell us about some of the delicious recipes in the book.

Moll: All of the recipes in my book are truly quick and easy. Saving time in the kitchen means there is more time for creating romance. My Everyday to Gourmet section has ideas for creating delicious meals from store bought basics. The recipes for two are divided into sections of mornings, afternoons, and evenings.  Each section includes beverages and luscious  cocktails. There are appetizers, desserts and night caps, so no time of time of day is left out. I want readers to think about creating their seductive rendezvous any time of day.

Rebecca: I really love the seductive spices. How do these work?

Moll: The word aphrodisiac comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. The truest form of an aphrodisiac creates desire. Romance isn’t just about the food you eat at dinner; it’s really about creating an environment that allows your mind to let go and be receptive to being seduced. While some food components allegedly increase libido for desire by their shape or appearance; others have certain chemicals that contribute to your sensual well-being.

In any case aphrodisiacs are a fun excuse for you and your partner to experiment with food! I tend to like things hot and spicy so I include a list of spices that just might spice up your life.

Cayenne Pepper-A basic for the seductive kitchen, cayenne stimulates circulation and its effects mimic the physiological response the body has during sex.

Cardamom-Cooked with meats, ground for cookies, steeped with tea, or simmered with rice, cardamom fills the kitchen with a scent like no other.

Chili Peppers-Fresh or dried, these are indispensible for imparting the maximum flavor to meals.

Chipotle-This dark pepper spice adds a rich, smoky flavor that will kick up any dish without too much heat.

Ginger-Fresh and grated or dried and ground, this globally-beloved spice heats up baked goods, meats, even ice cream, and stimulates circulation.

Rebecca: Do you have a favorite setting for two?

Moll: Location, location, location—. The scenes for romance are everywhere; you just need to know how and where to find them. Truthfully for my husband and me it is everywhere we are: at home, on the road, in the car, even in the air. We have learned to seize the moment wherever we are, even if that means just stopping and sharing a cup of coffee together.

Rebecca: Can anybody can do this? Is this book for men also?

Moll: Absolutely! I have heard from a lot of men who love the book and love being inspired to do their own version of the table for two. Men also know that it can be super simple. And for men, cooking isn’t always necessary.

They can save time by picking up carryout at a favorite restaurant. All they need to do is focus on the presentation. Presentation is everything, but creating a romantic atmosphere does not need to be time consuming or expensive. They can create the mood for seduction with music -a play list of romantic music or their most memorable songs as a couple will set the tone. Setting the atmosphere with lighting is as simple as adding some candles, or votives throughout their space. The last must-have is flowers picked up at a local market. Music, lighting and flowers will all set the tone for romance. Remember the thought that he is taking the time in the first place is so fabulous!

Moll Anderson logo

Rebecca: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Moll: Yes, anytime you create a “Seductive Table For Two” you create it from your heart for that special someone you love! That makes it, at that moment, the most important table you will ever create. We don’t know how much time we have on this earth, we never know when it will be the last time we ever see each other, and we need to be kind, loving, forgiving and seductive always to the one you love.

You can catch Moll Anderson every Saturday at 5:00 pm EST on her radio show on XM Talk 16. She also has upcoming appearance on Access Hollywood. Her website always has new and exciting ideas. You can also connect with Moll via Twitter and Facebook.

See my sumptuous Southern Sunrise Birthday Breakfast for HIMself here.

Puppy Bowl Party Table Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Puppy Bowl Party-Gumbo and More #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Big game Sunday means Puppy Bowl for me!!! TEE HEE!!

It is Big Game Sunday in NOLA! Loads of excitement and loads of delicious food. However, in this house we watch The Puppy Bowl. In honor of the Louisiana setting of that other game, I am cooking up some very special treats with Better Tasting Silk® Soy Milk. (You know I have a lactose problem and always use a milk alternative.) So the Gumbo will have a creamy twist and the dessert will have no dairy whatsoever!!! I can enjoy all I want…within reason of course.

Puppy Bowl Party Table Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Puppy Bowl Chalkboard Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Embracing the Better Tasting Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

February is Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month! I am sure have have heard me bemoan the fact that I am lactose intolerant. It started a few years ago and now I rarely indulge in the dairy products I love. I fully embraced Silk as my drink of choice in 2008. It has by far the best taste of any of the milk substitutes as far as I am concerned. And the Silk Pure Almond and Pure Coconut are just ‘pure’ delicious. ;} When I went to pick some up at Walmart I saw that Silk had improved the taste since I bought my last carton. So I put it to a test as I just happened to have a carton of the older version. And they are right…it does taste even better. I have included some really interesting facts about Silk products and the brand’s Honest to Goodness™ promise below the recipes…it might just be time to #rethinkwhatyoudrink!

Better Tasting Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Gumbo is on…

I started cooking early on Puppy Bowl day. The Seafood Gumbo goes into the Ninja Slow Cooker for that slow food flavor; and the Custard Tarts need to chill. And I love to cook Cajun with all that spicy, creamy goodness. Lush and rib-stickin’!  Here is the invitation and the menu:

Puppy-Bowl-Invite Puppy-Bowl-Menu

The Party

Party Table Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink Chance Welcomes Guests Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink
Guests eat Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink Creamy Seafood Gumbo Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Creamy Seafood Gumbo over CousCous

Creamy Seafood Gumbo Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Don’t let the list of ingredients stop you from making my delicious version of gumbo. To save time, I bought canned ingredients at Walmart. Really, the prep time is just chopping the onions and garlic and sauteing them. The rest is magic in the Ninja Cooking System or Slow Cooker. NOTE: I usually use fresh seafood because I live in the shrimp capital, but I wanted to make this an easy and fast gumbo. You can substitute ANY fresh seafood if you like!

Ingredients

ingredients Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Olive Oil to coat saute pan
3 large green onions, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced medium
3 T butter
3 T all purpose flour
2 Cups Silk Soy Milk (Original)
1 Cup white wine, plus 1/4 C to deglaze the saute pan
1 can chicken broth
2 T Worchestershire sauce
1 large can of tomatoes
1 t Liquid crab boil
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 t file powder
1 can of oysters, reserve oyster water
1 can crab meat, reserve crab water
1 can chicken
1 14 oz. bag 100-150 count frozen shrimp, thawed
Pearl Cous Cous, cooked

The Roux: In Ninja, set to stovetop (high) and melt butter. Reduce heat to medium, slowly whisk in flour, stirring well to blend. Let this bubble for about five minutes, stirring often. This is the secret of a good roux. The flour has to become one with the butter. It should be a warm brown color. Whisk in the 2 cups of Silk. Stir until thickened about 5-7 minutes. It should be like gravy…no lumps.  Stir in the wine, the broth and the oyster and crab water. Add Worchestershire sauce, spices, tomatoes and crab boil. Cover and let simmer while prepping onions and garlic. I will share the secrets of making the roux tomorrow.

Coat saute pan with olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft. I like a lot of texture in my gumbo, so I slice the green onions. You can chop if you like though. Gumbo is about being creative. When soft, add 1/4 C wine to them to deglaze the pan. Add to the roux mixture. Cover and slow cook (medium) for 3 and a half hours.

Add seafood to the broth and cook for half an hour on high. You can cook on a lower temp if you want it to take longer. Serve with pearl cous cous and crusty French bread.

Seafood Gumbo over Cous Cous Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Creamy Seafood Gumbo Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

Custard Tarts

Custard Tart Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

I love to make these quick snacks. Once I found Silk, I could actually start enjoying them again. I love what the Silk Almond Milk adds to the French Vanilla pudding. I bet you will too.

Ready made small Graham Cracker Crusts
2 box pudding mix (I used French Vanilla)
2 C Silk Soy Milk (I used )
Fresh berries

Make pudding according to package directions substituting Silk Soy Milk for the regular milk. Pour into individual tart crusts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add fruit on top. For HIMself, I put a dallop of Lemon Curd on top before I add the fruit. Enjoy!

The Party is Over Creamy Seafood Gumbo Silk® Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink

You can continue the @LoveMySilk Party…There is a #rethinkwhatyoudrink Twitter Party on February 15th at 1pm EST. Try to attend New Silk Lattes! Prizes!! RSVP: http://bit.ly/XDlUER

Silk History, Promise and Facts

What you might not know is that Silk has been around since 1978. Originally thought of as a ‘health food’ but soon became America’s #1 Soymilk brand. Why? Silk Pure Almond is an excellent source of natural antioxidants, and each serving contains 50% more calcium than a glass of dairy milk! Silk products are 100% Lactose & Dairy free, and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat.It is fairly low in calories and works on cereal, in a latte and also cooks and bakes to perfection. I like the fact that they are responsibly produced! And I especially love their Honest to Goodness™ promise…

Responsibly Produced

Whether you’re sold on Silk because of the benefits of plant-based nutrition or you just love the taste, our products still reflect the same Promise that got us started in the first place: Begin with plant-based ingredients that are grown responsibly, and keep them as close to nature as we can. -from the Silk website

No artificial color & flavor

  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • No high-fructose corn syrup
  • Dairy-free
  • Non-GMO ingredients (Not genetically modified)
  • Responsibly produced

The story behind Silk’s sweetness
Non-GMO food info

Other places to socialize with Silk:

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and WhiteWave #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.
Sketch of media pier, desk, lamp in #MomCave La-z-boy

The Great #MomCave Makeover Vision Board

Manifesting My Dreams

La-Z-Boy #MomCave Online Inspiration Mission

Design Board #MomCave La-z-boy

I am dreaming again. I have declared 2013 as a year for me to find BALANCE! A major part of that will be taking care of ME!!! 2012 was a good year. I started a new job, traveled a lot for this magazine and loved every minute. But all work and very little play left this girl a little off kilter. I am determined to enjoy this one wild wonderful life to the fullest while being blessed by doing what I love!

So that brings me back to the dreaming. I saw a beautiful La-Z-Boy ad in a recent magazine. I loved the colors! I had no idea that La-Z-Boy offered anything other than recliners and reclining sofas. But I was intrigued enough to visit the La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries Online Catalog, I was amazed. This is not your Grandparents recliner!

The iconic brand is celebrating their 85th anniversary in a BIG way. Everyone knows the La-Z-Boy name. But did you know they also offer a full range of furniture and decor items…and so many choices of colors and patterns? There are actually more than 900 covers for the soft furnishings, in both fabric and leather, to use on more than 250 different furniture frames. WOW! This visual girl was on fire with inspiration.

Dreamboard, Vision Board, Pinterest

I moved last year into a tiny villa. Downsizing it’s called…but I have discovered that there is really no space to call my own. Someplace to dream, create or meditate. When I want to bring something into my life, I create a collection of images, words and colors which reflect my vision. It is called a Vision Board or Dreamboard. More often than not, I find these visions manifesting in my life. It is a valuable tool that helps me to gain clarity on what I really want as I play with it.

My Vision Board #MomCave

I have another, fairly new, visioning tool that I am fascinated with today – Pinterest. I call it my digital dreamboard. It is my place for tucking away inspiration as I find it while browsing the Internet. I have 80 (dream) Boards, some 2400 Pins and almost 1800 followers. I created this lovely Pinterest dream board for my La-Z-Boy #MomCave makeover. Click on the image below to visit my board and find inspiration of your own. Proceed with caution though…Pinterest is captivating and you may find yourself there for hours working on your own dreams! Have fun!!!

Pinterest-#MomCave-board

The Great #MomCave Makeover

My La-Z-Boy online Furniture Galleries explorations inspired me to makeover (well…at least establish order) to the place I spend most of my time…my master bedroom/home office. I am a writer, blogger, digital/photographic artist and graphic designer. All of the beautiful creations I produce are done in a little 7′ by 13′ area of my bedroom. I am almost embarrassed to show you where I work…but here it is…

Look at bed area

Okay, I know. It is cluttered, mismatched and disorderly. And that collapsing plastic storage unit with drawers that refuse to close…let’s just say I fight it every day!!! My organized friends will shutter at the nonsense they find in this photo. And I have several excuses cop-outs justifications reasons ways to whitewash rationalizations for the chaos….none of which matter at this moment because I am working on remedying it for this post!!! So give me a minute please…

See The Vision?

Design Board #MomCave La-z-boy

So there it is…my vision board above and my ideas set forth in sketches below of how it will look when the budget permits a full-blown makeover. A little bit French…a little bit beachy with a retro twist! Funny how a little inspiration can go a looooooooong way!!!

Sketch of media pier, desk, lamp in #MomCave La-z-boy

Sketch of Chair, ottoman, chest, lamp in #MomCave La-z-boy

My Dream Furnishings from La-Z-Boy

The La-Z-Boy website rocks. I love how you can browse the furniture pieces, change the cover option and see it right there on your screen. I also love how you can download a PDF of the room inspirations to see just what each piece is in the photograph – a shopping list to put in your dream book!!! I am believing that I can earn enough this year to place each of these pieces in my #MomCave… (See descriptions below the images) Meanwhile a girl can dream can’t she?

MY

MOM

CAVE

PICKS

top row…l-r:

Arden Stationary Occasional Chair Man I love this La-Z-Boy chair. Are you wild for wingbacks? Then the Arden occasional chair was made for you. A sculpted silhouette with curvaceous lines punctuated by antique brass nailheads, Arden keeps it current by taking classic club styling in a fresh new direction. Available in four wood finish options and select designer fabrics.

The Cover Fabric Color: Hemlock (J103325)

Arden Ottoman A sculpted silhouette with curvaceous lines punctuated by antique brass nailheads, the Arden ottoman keeps it current while taking classic club styling in a fresh new direction. Available in four wood finish options and select designer fabrics. Matching occasional chair also available.

middle row…l-r:

Hidden Treasures Drawer Chest This is my favorite piece. I really do dream about it! Casual elegance at its best! This three drawer chest offers a felt lined top drawer, and beautiful silver pulls. The farm house blue weathered painted finish is heavily distressed with worn edges. It’s the perfect understated punch of color for any room setting.

Glass Disc Lamp

bottom row…l-r:

FLAIR – OPTIC AREA RUG

Le Fiacre Artwork In-Store Availability Only

Mercantile Media Pier Base & Top Inspired by turn of the century commercial fixtures, the Mercantile collection is an array of combined elements drawn from nostalgia filled environments such as early 19th Century hardware stores, libraries, and local groceries. Crafted from flat sliced cherry, maple veneers and select hard woods, Mercantile offers a warm and time-worn look in a whiskey finish with labeled drawer pulls.

I really like The Brooke Review area of the La-Z-Boy website. There are tips, healthy recipes and even the cute BlaBla toys they use on TV ads!!! For those who need more inspiration and guidance, La-Z-Boy stores offer free In-Home Design Assistance from professionals experienced at helping turn design dreams into reality. La-Z-Boy designers will also visit your home to help you with your design project and advise on styles that will fit comfortably into your home and budget. SCORE! Visit La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries website and Online Catalog to begin dreaming of a #MomCave of your own.

The La-Z-Boy Pinterest Contest

Join in the fun La-Z-Boy Pinterest Contest from January 28 until February 11. You can win $5000 from La-Z-Boy to create your own vision of a Dream Mom Cave.  Click that image below for more details.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries. #MomCave #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.
shoes ready-to-fitness-walk #CookClassico

New Year, New Me Healthy Recipe w/Classico Tomatoes #CookClassico

New Year, New He/Me/Us Plan

HIMself and I have declared 2013 as a year to become more able-bodied, active, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, full of life, hale, hardy, healthful, physically fit, restored, rosy-cheeked, safe and sound, trim…bottom line: in fine fettle, in good shape, fit, healthy and whole. We are committed to doing all things that favorably affect or promote a healthful physical state. That includes reducing stress and clutter, more exercise, yoga, meditation and eating less red meat and more fruit and veggies. We even bought new shoes for fitness walking!!!

shoes ready-to-fitness-walk #CookClassico

My Main Ingredient is Always Freshness

Classico Healthy Lunch #CookClassico

When I cook, I always look for fresh ingredients. I have some new toys with which to accomplish the healthy eating part of our plan. A VitaMix and a Ninja Cooking System are shining brightly on the kitchen counter. I will put the VitaMix to good use today for our fresh and healthy main dish using two new favorites – Classico Whole Peeled Pear Tomatoes with Fresh Basil and Classico Heavy Tomato Puree. Heinz Classico canned tomatoes ( #CookClassico ) are 100% all-natural and always packed fresh with no preservatives. That is impressive! Just look at the open cans below to understand why you want to cook with them….

classico-tomatoes-in-cans #CookClassico I cook with canned tomatoes quite often. We stopped by Walmart and found Classico canned tomatoes in four varieties.

  • Classico Heavy Tomato Puree
  • Classico Crushed Tomatoes
  • Classico Whole Peeled Pear Tomatoes with Fresh Basil
  • Classico Tomato Sauce

Classico Healthy Lunch ingredients #CookClassico

I picked up my canned tomatoes, panko, cornmeal, couscous, fresh veggies, basil and a loaf of French bread for our healthy main dish recipes – Classico Unfried Ungreen Tomatoes with Classico Homemade Ketchup, Classico Crab Stew Over CousCous and Crusty French Bread. Here are my original, lightened-up, nutritious recipes…enjoy.

Classico Unfried Ungreen Tomatoes with Classico Ketchup

Classico Unfried Ungreen Tomatoes #CookClassico

Fried Green Tomatoes are a main dish in the South. Trust me!! We love them. But I wanted to create a version that was more healthy and not so greasy. So I substitute egg whites for whole eggs, panko crumbs for flour to lighten the coating and olive oil for shortening. I bake instead of fry…thus I remove several calories. I so wanted green tomatoes for this project, but alas…no green tomatoes were available. So I had to substitute red tomatoes…but they were yummy regardless.

2 Green (red) Tomatoes, Sliced
1/2 C Panko Crumbs
1/4 C Cornmeal
2 Egg Whites
2 T Water
2 T Olive Oil

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place olive oil in iron skillet and heat on medium-high while coating tomatoes. Whisk egg whites and water until blended. On a plate combine panko and cornmeal. (You can add salt and pepper to this mixture, if desired.)

mixed panko crumbs and cornmeal #CookClassico coated tomatoes in skillet #CookClassico

Dip sliced tomatoes into the egg white mixture, coating both sides and then into the panko mixture. Place in pre-heated skillet and then place in oven. Bake and heat through about 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with Quick Homemade Ketchup below.

skillet in oven #CookClassico

Classico {Homemade} Ketchup

Classico ketchup #CookClassico

My grandmother-in-law used to make the best tasting ketchup every fall. She would slave, and I do mean slave, over a food mill and hot stove all day. By the time the tomatoes cooked, they had reduced in size considerably. It was awesome and everyone was given their own tiny jar to enjoy. We took bets on who could make it last the longest…I tried to do that, but never won because I so loved it.

When I first opened Classico Heavy Tomato Puree, I thought of MaMaw’s ketchup. I was thrilled by the thick consistency and the taste. Here is a mock version that satisfies my taste buds and does not take hours to make. I think MaMaw would be proud of my creativity.

Classico ketchup ingredients #CookClassico

1 Can Classico Heavy Tomato Puree
5 T ground cloves (you can use more or less to taste)
1/2 C Turbinado Raw Sugar

Stir all ingredients until well blended. Cook over low heat for 2 hours until deep reddish brown. The longer you simmer, the thicker it becomes. Add a dallop on top of tomatoes or provide a small dish for dippers. Place remainder in jars for other meals. It gets better with age.

Classico Crab Stew Over CousCous

I didn’t have to spend hours blanching and peeling tomatoes to make my favorite soups and stews when I discovered the Classico Whole Peeled Pear Tomatoes with Fresh Basil. The taste is amazing and the basil really shines through. I knew immediately that it would be an exceptional way to christen my new VitaMix. The results were better that I could imagine. So easy, so fun, so light and so tasty. I will serve it cold during the summer months. Enjoy with a glass of your favorite white wine.

Vitamix #CookClassico

1 Can Classico Whole Peeled Pear Tomatoes with Fresh Basil
Fresh Basil to taste
1/2 tsp. Raw Sugar
Chopped Squash (whatever variety you have on hand)
Green Onions (any veggies you have on hand)
Olive Oil to sweat onions
Lump Crabmeat (I used a can)
Pearl CousCous

Cook the Chopped onions in a little olive oil until transparent. Add canned tomatoes, sugar and cooked onions to Vitamix. Blend as directed for soups, about 5 minutes and 45 seconds. The soup will be hot!!! YEAH!!! You can eat it right now as a thick, hearty soup…but I want to add veggies and make a stew. While the Vitamix works its magic, blanch the veggies in a little water in the same pan you cooked onions. When the Vitamix is done, add the veggies and crab meat.

Chopped Ingredients #CookClassico veggies-and-crab-in-vitamix #CookClassico

Blend all ingredients for 5-15 seconds in VitaMix. I like mine with some texture, so I don’t blend until smooth. If using a blender, blend until the desired consistency and then heat on stove top for 20 minutes.

Crusty French Bread

Cut bread #CookClassico

Sliced French Bread
2 T Olive Oil

Slice the French Bread on the bias. Spread both sides with  olive oil. Place in panini grill or George Foreman for 2 minutes until toasted. Serve immediately.

Classico Healthy Lunch #CookClassico

I am sure I will be using  Heinz Classico canned tomatoes often in our new healthy lifestyle eating plan. Especially since my schedule did not allow me to can tomatoes this year. ;{ I hope you will try these special Classico canned tomatoes as they are as close to home canned as a store bought version can be. And that’s a good thing!!!

Check out the Classico Canned Tomatoes Website for more ideas and recipes.

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Classico #cbias #SocialFabric #CookClassico  All ideas, opinions, recipes and photos are 100% my own.

Unilever brands I buy

Giving Back & Recycling This Holiday Season! My Sustainable Living Plan #BetterTogether

Last week I shared My Mission to Stop Hunger in America and about Unilever’s Cross Off Hunger initiative to donate two million meals to families in need. Unilever is involved with Feeding America (as part of their sustainable living goal to help one billion people improve their health and well-being). I shared how the Face of Hunger in America has changed and my plans to help this holiday season. I am giving back to my community and recycling to create unique gifts. I hope to make a difference and I hope you will too!!!

Visit Feeding America Campaign and http://www.makinglifebetter.com
Connect with Unilever on Facebook and Twitter.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Unilever #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions and experiences are my own.
starbucks-blond-blend #DeliciousPairings

Last Minute Gifts, Starbucks Holiday Blend and Cinnamon Rolls #DeliciousPairings

I have a bunch of last minute gifts to gather. I head to my local Walmart to see what strikes my fancy. I stumbled upon the delicious pairings signage of Starbucks® coffees with pastries from The Bakery at Walmart. Yes, this will do nicely!!! There are special displays with ideas for serving the three different blends – blonde, medium and dark! But I am not after these delicious coffees…I am after the exciting Holiday Blend I have heard so much about!!!

starbucks-blond-blend #DeliciousPairings starbucks-medium-blend #DeliciousPairings starbucks-dark-blend #DeliciousPairings

starbucks #DeliciousPairings display

It is a happy adventure finding just the right pairing of Starbucks coffee and a sweet bakery treat. What will I choose? HIMself would like to try everything in the bakery. I am a tad more picky!

Starbucks Display #DeliciousPairings

I found the object of my desire – the Starbucks Holiday Blend – in the coffee aisle!!! How cute is that bag? It will make a great Christmas present for those coffee loving friends and for those last minute gifts for service providers. I bought a few extra bags for gift giving!!! Starbucks Holiday Blend #DeliciousPairings

Holiday Blend
 I treated myself to a pan of the delicious cream cheese frosted Cinnamon Rolls for my #DeliciousPairings. They also have Cinnamon Rolls with White Icing. I bought a couple of extra cartons of them to give also!!! This pairing of Starbucks Holiday Blend and a sweet treat is a great gift idea for those special people in your life who you don’t know well enough to give a big gift, but you want to honor them.

Cinnamon rolls display  #DeliciousPairings

One of the first people I am going to give a Starbucks and cinnamon roll surprise to is my UPS driver. He works really hard for me!!! He did a happy dance when I gave him the package. I think this is going to be a fun gift giving experience. Let me show you my tricks for wrapping a beautiful gift…but first I want to taste the coffee.

UPS delivery man #Deliciouspairings

While I was wrapping my last minute gifts, I brewed a pot of coffee to enjoy with my cinnamon roll. HIMself did the same…but he didn’t participate in the wrapping ritual. The Starbucks Holiday Blend is simply delicious. It is a full-bodied, rich and spicy blend with many intriguing layers that pair perfectly with a warm cinnamon roll. YUMMMMM

Sir Chancelot is patiently awaiting his bite as HIMself enjoys his pairing! We both feel that the cinnamon flavor is really enhanced by the spicy flavors of the coffee. HIMself said he enjoyed both the coffee and the cinnamon rolls better together. “I taste a spiciness in the coffee that makes the cinnamon flavor stronger,” he says. We usually treat ourselves to Starbucks in their shops. But purchasing Starbucks coffee to brew at home exceeded all our expectations. Now that I know how awesome it is, I will brew Starbucks at home more often for sure.

As you can see, wrapping gifts is quite the process. It is actually a craft day for me. I enjoyed my coffee and cinnamon roll on a break. And I thoroughly agree with HIMself, the coffee brings out a rich cinnamon flavor in the rolls. We will have this treat often during the holidays.

REP wrps gifts & enjoys starbucks #DeliciousPairings

Meanwhile, back to the wrapping. I love to wrap presents…and I love to unwrap presents. My mother used to say she would wrap a pair of shoes in two boxes because I loved opening the boxes. I think it was the surprise aspect of it. Truth be told, I just love to be surprised!!! For the wrapping I make bows and special ornaments to decorate the boxes. I try to match each box to the recipient’s taste and likes. And beautifully and thoughtfully decorated with love for each person.

gift-Starbucks-Holiday-Blend

This year I am wrapping my holiday gifts with natural elements and beachy items. I tied a sand dollar onto a sprig of holly with festive colored yarn and fibers.The coffee bag is so beautiful, I wanted to feature it. I love that little golden bird on the package.

Designer Tip: You can go into your yard and gather twigs and spray paint them gold or silver and use them as package adornments. Magnolia leaves are always beautiful. Pine and fir sprigs are beautiful and smell great too. Just take a walk around your yard and neighborhood and see what you can use. I love this look and it is so inexpensive to make.

wrapping-close

Look for this special display in The Bakery for Starbucks Delicious Pairings and Cinnamon Rolls. I loved this pairing so much I encourage you to be on the lookout for it in your local Walmart store. DELICIOUS INDEED!!!

starbucks #DeliciousPairings sign

PS – Did I mention we loved the Holiday Blend with cinnamon rolls? We liked them so much we brought them along on our holiday road trip to see our granddaughter in Virginia. We stopped in North Carolina and brewed a pot of steamy Starbucks Holiday Blend in our hotel room…to enjoy while I finish this blog post!!!

brewing Starbucks in hotel room

HIMself enjoys his cup and roll while I take a picture…Sir Chance wants his bite…and so do I!!!

starbucks cin roll in hotel

Happy Holidays!!!

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions, ideas and photos are my own.
dinner with the twins

Wet Ones Sticky Situations Facebook Contest

As a mother of four, we have had some really sticky situations through the years. Mom Central and Wet Ones® has launched a Sticky Situations Facebook Contest asking Moms to share their sticky situations and their best helpful, funny or creative tips on how to get out of those sticky situations. Submit your ideas for the opportunity to be included in an e-book distributed by Wet Ones Hand Wipes in 2013. Now through December 28 you can share your ‘stickiest’ situations and have a chance to win an iPad Mini (valued at $300) or one of 3 prize packs of 4 tickets to Six Flags! Way cool!!!

Sticky-situation-banner_-final

iPad-mini prize 6-flags prize

 

My twin boys have been in more sticky situations than I could even imagine…and I have a vivid imagination. The best was when what I call Spaghetti Wars. I captured these images of our sticky situation:

dinner with the twins

My Two Fun Tips for Dealing with Sticky Situations

  1. Spray your kids with Pam. Well, not really, but you can carry a stain remover stick with you.
  2. Put your kids in a bubble. A bubble would be nice but perhaps a little unsafe as they could roll away from you. So instead you could put them in plastic trash bags with holes cut out for head and arms in sticky times.
  3. Let them be kids. The sticky situations will become the fondest of your treasured memories some day!

Mike & Matt same highchair

I just entered with the above tips and photos. Go…enter now. The Wet Ones Sticky Situations Contest ends December 28th, so click here, or on the cute Wet Ones picture below, and enter as soon as possible. I know you have some sticky time to share. Her is the link is you need to copy and paste: https://www.facebook.com/momcentral/app_248884015238315

wet-ones-sticky-situations

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting  for Wet Ones. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.”
The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea punch #AmericasTea

Starting a New HolidayTradition ~ St. Nicholas Tea #AmericasTea

Cozy & Warm Holiday Entertaining

One of my favorite things to do is welcome friends and neighbors into my home over the holidays. This holiday season I transformed my great room into a sparkling tea house. It is a cozy and casual space that beckons my guests to relax and unwind with their favorite beverage ~ tea.

The St. Nicholas Tea Table Hero #AmericasTea

This year I am starting a new tradition, a St. Nicholas Tea in honor of Father Christmas. A tea must be an unusual gathering for the holidays because I could not find any mention of one…even on Pinterest!!! So, I guess I am the first…I love being an innovator!

Heirlooms, old and new, on the sideboard. Delicious smells wafting through the house. A well collected table set for guests. Food for a high tea worthy of the Ritz. See the festivities in this lovely magazine I am creating for the occasion. It is full of sparkly decorating ideas and yummy recipes so you can recreate your own. It is my gift to my guests and to you. Enjoy!

Magazine coming soon please check back

The St. Nicholas Tea

The St. Nicholas Tea Hero #AmericasTea

Tea is the perfect beverage for the holidays. It is a warm, comforting and soothing hot or cold beverage. It is great as a drink, but it is also an awesome ingredient in many of my holiday goodies. I choose to serve Bigelow Tea { #AmericasTea } because they make two of my favorite teas and they offer a wide variety of flavors…something for everyone. It stays fresh inside the individual foil pouches that look so lovely on my sparkling table.

The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea Table Hero #AmericasTea

Most of all, I love Bigelow Tea because of their story and the deep family history of the brand.

Bigelow Tea is a family company that has tried to do the right thing for both the planet, the community, and our employees since my grandmother founded the company back in 1945. Learn about our initiatives to benefit the environment, community, and encourage employees to contribute.

The St. Nicholas Tea Table guest #AmericasTea

Taking tea is a soothing personal ritual for me each day. I use the time to gather my thoughts, daydream or leaf through the pages of a fave French magazine. I have a tall, cool glass of Bigelow Plantation Mint in the morning after my walk. In the afternoon, I usually have a warm cup of Bigelow Constant Comment with a macaroon or scone. So I am excited to share one of my favorite indulgences with friends this year.  I have written previously about my love of #AmericasTea here and here.

Creating a Cozy, Collective Charm

I call the tiny Villa Rebecca my Well Collected Home for a reason. I am a consummate collector of previously loved objects. I surround myself with them. Most of my home is furnished with these well used pieces. They make me smile and celebrate the history of each as I use them. Although HIMself would tell it differently, I prefer to think of myself as a curator. Here are some of my favorite vignettes created with heirlooms old and new, family and found.

The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea table #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow table #AmericasTea
The St. Nicholas Bigelow blue table #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow blue table #AmericasTea
The St. Nicholas Bigelow light #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow chalkboard #AmericasTea

Setting the Tea Table

Sparkle and shine is what I am trying to achieve with this table. Silvers and aquas speak of the nearby ocean. Shining silver and reflective mercury glass are the stars. White poinsettias and paper whites along with plenty of white roses and magnolia leaves bring add a feeling of freshness to the tables. A sea shell, starfish or sand dollar peek out here and there. Candles create warmth and shine.

The St. Nicholas Bigelow food table #AmericasTea

The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea ham biscuits #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea scones #AmericasTea
The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea macarons #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow table #AmericasTea
The St. Nicholas Bigelow berries #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas Bigelow cookies #AmericasTea

 Preparing the Tea Fare

Of course, well-prepared tea is the star of the day. See the magazine for how to make a good pot of tea. Steamy hot in beautiful antique cups, the tea is tasty and beautiful. Bigelow makes it possible for everyone to have their favorite.

The St. Nicholas food Table #AmericasTea

I offer both savory and sweet delights to accompany the tea. Scones, ham biscuits, cucumber sandwiches, beef wellington bites, crab cakes, macaroons, cookies and petit fours are served with Lemon Curd and Mock Devonshire Cream. Many of the recipes have tea added as an ingredient which brings the flavors to life. A shining red tea punch served in martini glasses adds flair. Most of the food was prepared in the days before the party so I could relax and enjoy my guests. See all of the recipes in the magazine.

The St. Nicholas Bigelow Tea punch #AmericasTea

Recipe for St. Nicholas Tea Punch

Ingredients
10 Raspberry Tea Bags brewed in 4 Cups water
1 litre Ginger Ale
1 bottle Sparkling Grape Juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Top with fresh or frozen whole raspberries.

The Party

Guests gathered and mingled throughout the late afternoon. Each enjoyed their favorite tea as they chatted and ate. I invited some new neighbors and some old friends to the tea. I love to bring people together who don’t know each other very well. By the end of the afternoon everyone knew each other better, the new neighbors felt welcomed and the food was almost gone.

The St. Nicholas guests food Table #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas guests #AmericasTea
The St. Nicholas guest pouring #AmericasTea The St. Nicholas guests Bigelow gifts #AmericasTea

I surprised each of my guests with a beautifully wrapped box of Bigelow tea as a take-home gift. Hopefully, they will enjoy the moments we shared as they sip their tea at home.

The Party ended quietly. Everyone said it was an amazing and relaxing experience amidst the hustle of the season.

the room after the tea #AmericasTea

HIMself relaxes after the party while Sir Chancelot steals a nibble from a plate!!! Naughty boy!!!

the room after the tea #AmericasTea

I shopped at Walmart for the Bigelow tea products seen above. See my shopping trip here.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and hoping that you might create a new tradition with a St. Nicholas Tea.

Find Bigelow Tea #AmericasTea Everywhere…

Bigelow Tea website: https://www.bigelowtea.com/
Bigelow Tea Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bigelowtea
Bigelow Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigelowtea
Bigelow Tea Community: http://community.bigelowtea.com
Bigelow Blog: http://www.bigelowteablog.com/

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Bigelow Tea #CBias #SocialFabric #AmericasTea All opinions, ideas and photos are my own.
Dear Kate coupon code

This Outdoor Girl Loves Her Dear Kate Undies {Coupon}

I am an outdoor kind of girl!!! I am still climbing trees like a monkey at my (somewhere over 50) age!!! I live between the ocean and the marsh on a tiny island in Florida. I am always outside doing something. I need my clothing to move with me as I play and especially when I get into sticky situations. I also need high performance underthings just in case…

REP in oak

Dear Kate Leak-Resistant Underthings

Dear Kate has solved the ‘Oops Moment’ problem many of us have. You know what I am talking about…that sudden wet feeling and need to escape quickly! Or a sneeze or a hearty laugh…you get the picture! Well Dear Kate has that little issue covered and offers a peace-of-mind guarantee. Lucky me…I was one of the first to try them…they are really cute and oh so comfortable!!!

Dear Kate undies

Dear Kate Technology

So I am thrilled to help introduce Dear Kate: revolutionary, leak-resistant underthings for women. The brilliance is in the fabric. Dear Kate’s founder utilized her chemical engineering background to create the patent-pending fabric lining each pair of underwear. Comprised of two luxurious microfiber layers and a thin, breathable outer layer, this is revolutionary fabric to the rescue.

See these undies at work below…go ahead: it’s a quick video and will change your life!!! I promise.

Flip through the Dear Kate look book (below) to view all the styles you will love. See the Leading Lady bikini or highrise in lavender (mini lining), the Friday Night Fabulous thong (full lining), and the Miss Moxie bodysuit (mini lining). There is something for every woman! Click on the book to see the entire collection.

Dear-Kate-Look-Book

Dear-Kate-styles

I even have a sweet $10 coupon code for your to order your very first pair…try them, you’ll love them!!

Dear Kate coupon code

Just enter “cre8tive” at checkout to receive $10 off their purchase, now through December 31. Visit www.dearkates.com and get your new undies before Christmas!!! Click the coupon to visit the online shop.

Here I am, up a tree, in my Dear Kates!!! Looking all happy and comfy!!! {HIMself says I look cute!}

REP in Dear Kate undies

 

cross off hunger

Cross Off Hunger During the Holidays w/Unilever #BetterTogether

My Mission to Stop Hunger in America

I am fortunate today. I have a home, some money in the bank and plenty of good food. Not all Americans are so blessed. I was not always so blessed. Most of you know that I am passionate about, and dedicated to, solving the hunger crisis in our country. I write often about helping your local food bank and how the need is rising all the time.

The Face of Hunger in America has Changed

The face of hunger in America has changed
We are in the midst of a crisis. 1 in 6 Americans is fighting hunger today! Children go to school hungry. Seniors go to sleep hungry. Hardworking Americans who have lost their jobs go without meals every day. People your know, perhaps neighbors and/or family members, could be suffering in silence at this moment. I urge all of my readers to educate themselves and become involved this holiday season in helping Cross off Hunger. You can be part of this initiative. You can make a difference. I will tell you how.

In the United States, more than one out of five children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 16.7 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life. In 2009, the top five states with the highest rate of food insecure children under 18 are the District of Columbia, Oregon, Arizona, Arkansas, & Texas. 20% or more of the child population in 40 states and D.C. lived in food insecure households in 2009. -Feeding America

The Cross Off Hunger Initiative from Unilever #BetterTogether

Let me introduce you to Unilever, their family of brands, and the Cross Off Hunger initiative to donate two million meals to families in need. Unilever is involved with Feeding America (as part of their sustainable living goal to help one billion people improve their health and well-being).

Unilever

You Unilever may not have heard of Unilever, but you probably have many of their products in your home today. On any given day, two billion people use Unilever products to look good, feel good and get more out of life. Unilever has more than 400 brands of food, health and wellbeing products that touch many people’s lives in many different ways.

Their portfolio ranges from nutritionally balanced foods to indulgent ice creams, affordable soaps, luxurious shampoos and everyday household care products. They produce brands you know and trust including Skippy, Knorr, Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Axe, Hellmann’s, Q-Tips, Bryers, Country Crock, Degree, Popsicle, Ragu, Bertolli, St. Ives, Slim Fast, Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Pond’s, Lipton and Suave.

What I love most about Unilever is their social mission; they walk the talk with a responsible business plan.

Since Unilever was established in the 1890s, brands with a social mission have been at the core of our business, and now corporate responsibility underpins our strategy. In 2010 we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – a set of targets designed to help us deliver our objective of growing our business while minimizing our impact on the environment.

Cross Off Hunger

The Unilever Cross Off Hunger Campaign is in partnership with Feeding America to change hunger. The Unilever family of brands plan to donate two million meals to families in need. Their Sustainable Living Goal is dedicated to:

  1. Improving Health and Well Being (Health, hygiene and improved nutrition)
  2. Reducing Environmental Impact (Greenhouse gases, water and waste)
  3. Enhancing Livelihoods  (sustainable sources and better livelihoods)

Unilever Making Life Better Feeding America Cross Off Hunger #BetterTogether

Feeding America(R), the nation’s largest organization dedicated to fighting domestic hunger through a network of food banks. Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Feeding America’s mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. $1=8meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks. Unilever will donate $250,000. The monetary equivalent of a minimum of 2 million meals will be donated.

Unilever Making Life Better Feeding America Cross Off Hunger #BetterTogether You can  be a part of the Cross Off Hunger Campaign simply by educating yourself and your family about hunger and the critical needs of food banks (it’s not just food!). Please visit MakingLifeBetter to learn about the hunger crisis and the role that Food Banks play in helping feed America’s hungry. You can take a Hunger I.Q. test, tour a food bank, find out what food banks really need and locate a food bank you can help in your area.

Buy and Give

Unilever is committed to donating more than two million meals to families in need with Feeding America and every item on your shopping list counts. Show your support by adding Unilever brands to your cart next time you shop. Together we can help to Cross Off Hunger.

You can help by using your favorite Unilever products in your own sustainable living routine. When I visit my grocery store this month, I am committed to buying Unilever products and donating them to my local food bank. Our local Publix makes this easy as you can create bags and leave them there. The store makes sure your donations get to the local food bank. I will be sharing one of my shopping trips next week. Tell me your plans for giving back this holiday season!

Visit Feeding America Campaign
Learn more by connecting with Unilever on Facebook and Twitter.

You are invited to join the Unilever Twitter Party Nov 15, 12-1 EST
Hashtag: #BetterTogether

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Unilever #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions and experiences are my own.
download-speed-test

Preparing for Cold & Flu Season with Kleenex® Brand Tissues

Kleenex® Brand Tissues Softness Worth Sharing

I love Kleenex!! I keep a box in every room in the house, and travel packs in the car. As a child, I remember my Mother giving me my own box when I was sick. I would color all over the box with my crayons. As an artist, I have very fond memories of Kleenex.

Kleenex #SharetheSoft

We are always prepared for sniffles in this house. This year we stocked up on our cold season supplies and joined the Kleenex Brand Tissues Softness Worth Sharing promotion at Walmart. #SharetheSoft You can see HIMself is really happy in the picture below. See why and enjoy our five store shopping adventure here.

VUDU Kleenex Walmart #SharetheSoft

Here’s the scoop…you purchase the Kleenex Tissues 4 pack featuring a $4.00 voucher for Vudu.com. Then you sign up for Vudu and redeem your voucher at www.walmart.com/kleenex. Easy peasy! It took only a few minutes and I was ready to stream movies.

VUDU Kleenex #SharetheSoft

VUDU is the Ultimate HD Movie Streaming Service to your internet-connected TV, Blu-ray player, PS3, Xbox 360® or computer. It has the hottest new releases available in HD same day as DVD. You pay for only what you watch. No subscriptions. No late fees.

Vudu Walmart Kleenex #SharetheSoft

Prevention is Top Priority in Our House

Cold and Flu Season is here. We are stocking up on Kleenex and Cough Cold Flu Prep supplies to prepare for it. I am a BIG believer in prevention and we rarely have colds and/or flu. I always get a flu shot…the first part of our winter wellness plan. We also start every day with an Emergen- C cocktail with a healthy breakfast. Then we take the dog for a long walk.

Emergen C Kleenex #SharetheSoft

We also drink plenty of water, and eat fresh foods including veggies and fruits. That is pretty easy here in Florida as there is a farmer’s market we can walk to from our house. Santa brought us a VitaMix for juicing, so we plan to add that to the prevention plan this year!!

I keep saline nasal spray and zinc lozenges on hand. Just in case the sniffles show up, I have DayQuil and NyQuil as our go to meds.

Taking Care – Laughter is the Best Medicine

How do you comfort or entertain members of your family when they’re sick? When HIMself is feeling sick, I make a large pot of chicken soup for him…just like his mother used to do. Then I tuck him up on the couch and let him watch TV. This year he can take full advantage of VUDU HD Movie Streaming. I imagine it would also be a great way to keep children entertained while they are sick. This was the first movie we watched from VUDU!!!

VUDU Kleenex #SharetheSoft

We needed that box of Kleenex because we had tears of laughter during some of the scenes from this movie. Laughter always makes us feel better!!!

It was an awesome experience streaming movies. We had never done it before. We like the convenience and the movie was in HD…that was awesome too. I really liked that VUDU provided a quick Internet speed test to check if we could stream.

download-speed-test

Visit these sites online:
Kleenex at Walmart
Kleenex on Facebook

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Kleenex® Brand Tissues. #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.

 

Give the Gift of Wine from California Wine Club

It’s almost time to have all your gifts wrapped and under the tree this year. I love to surprise those I love with a good bottle of wine. It is even better to give them a gift that will bring bottles of wine to their doorstep each month. California Wine Club has created an easy, fun and unique way to keep giving – a California Wine Adventure.

I have been enjoying my own California Wine Adventure this fall. Two bottles of wine arrive beautifully packaged each month. This month we tasted Daniel Gehrs Wines – a 2011 Chenin Blanc and a 2009 Merlot. Last month I shared my CWC wines at special little dinner party with friends.

California WIne Club cosy dinner with wine

It is a great way to introduce your giftees (or yourself) to California handcrafted wines that can’t be found in local stores. The club has been recommended by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, Redbook, and Inc. Magazine. It has been America’s most trusted wine club since 1990.

“Every wine we feature comes from a real working artisan winery and is backed by our 100% guarantee!”

bp196

Since 1990, club owners Bruce and Pam Boring have traveled California’s wine country searching out limited-production wines from small, family-owned wineries. These wineries are dedicated to the art of making fine wine.

Gift Options from California Wine Club

What I like is you can send as many months as you like from one to twelve. You save the more months you give. You also have choices of a bottle of all white, all red or one of each. You can fit your gift to the giftee’s taste! That’s a real plus!!!

CWC has four delicious clubs to choose from:

CWC has wine selections and wine gifts to suit all tastes and all budgets. To learn more click any of the following links:

Premier Club- The most popular club!

Premier Club Holiday Gifts

Signature Series – For collectors and connoisseurs!

Signature Series Holiday Gifts

International Selections – From small “mom & pop” wineries around the world.

International Selections Holiday Gifts

 Aged Cabernet Series – Napa’s most prestigious Cabernets aged 8 – 12 years.

Aged Cabernet Series Holiday Gifts

Ground Shipping Deadline is next Wednesday, December 12th. Any orders placed after Dec 12 incur expedited air charges for Christmas deliveries.

Now It’s Your Turn – Enter the CWC Giveaway

The California Wine Club is having a giveaway for 52 winners at the end of November and another 52 winners in December!

You could win:

  • One of four Amazing Three Month Wine Club memberships!
  • One of 50 Red Tulip Music Wine Country CD’s!
  • One of  Fifty Two Bottle Wine Totes!

Enter The California Wine Club Giveaway by clicking here Blogger Palooza Giveaway

justthefacts

For more information about CA Wine Club:

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Ideas and opinions are strictly my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

 

 

 

lotions-at-walmart #HolidayGuide

Keeping My Skin Hydrated During the Winter Months #HolidayGuide

Nivea Daily Lotion – Keeping Moisturized During the Holidays

My skin is really dry this time of year…especially my feet. Sandy toes are a regular thing in my house. You see, I walk on the beach almost every day…barefooted! Lucky me…yes indeed, I am blessed to do what others only dream of. But there are a few downsides to living in paradise – hurricanes, humidity and rough, dry feet.

Footprints in sand #HolidayGuide Foot in ocean splashing #HolidayGuide

I use lotions and potions to keep my feet soft and sandal ready during the holiday season. (Yes, sandals are appropriate attire in Florida year round!) It is important to take care of your skin…the largest organ of the body!!! I learned about moisturizing from a beautiful French woman when I was just 16. I listened, and most people say I don’t look my age. I am loving the Essentially Enriched Nivea Daily Lotion for very dry, rough skin. It keeps my skin hydrated, youthful and glowing.

Nivea Daily Lotion #HolidayGuide

Lotion is a daily requirement when you spend a lot of time outdoors…that would be me. Nivea is helping me keep that just pedicured look for my holiday events. I keep it on my nightstand and hydrate just before bed each night! It has a rich nourishing formula that dramatically reduces dryness and improves skin condition over time. It has Hydra IQ Technology with Natural Sea Minerals and Almond Oil! It goes on creamy and absorbs into my skin without leaving it sticky or greasy! I love that the most. It also has a great, clean fragrance. My whole body feels exquisitely soft after I apply it!!! I sleep like a baby!

Rubbing-Nivea-into-feet #HolidayGuide

Party Blu Prints Holiday e-Gift Guide

I read about Nivea, and other great products, in the beautiful Holiday e-Gift Guide designed by Party BluPrints. The #HolidayGuide is loaded with great ideas for gifts this season. Nivea is one of my stocking stuffers this year. I am also planning to make Nivea gift baskets for some special people to pamper themselves and keep that holiday glow long after the first of the year!!!

Party Bluprints #HolidayGuide Nivea Daily Lotion is available at Walmart. They have a large selection of Nivea lotions for every skin type and need. Nivea even has a line of lotions for men!!! On my shopping day several Nivea lotions were on rollback… SCORE! I was able to stock up for holiday gifts because every person on my list is getting a bottle this year!!! Yes, all the boys and the girls…men and women…everyone needs to take care of their skin in winter!

Nivea-on-rollback #HolidayGuide lotions-at-walmart #HolidayGuide

Obviously, everybody loves Nivea lotion. While I was writing this I caught HIMself, red handed, sneaking into his stocking for his bottle of Nivea for Men…Santa…HIMself has been naughty!!!

HIMself-in-his-stocking-after-Nivea-for-Men

Here is the Nivea page from the Holiday e-Gift Guide by Party BluPrints. Just click on the image below to view the entire Holiday gift guide for some great ideas for holiday shopping.

Party Bluprints Nivea page #HolidayGuide

 

Don’t you wish you were here with me?

My feet at the beach #HolidayGuide

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Nivea. #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.
California WIne Club cosy dinner with wine

The Holidays with California Wine Club

California Wine Club

I received my new wine shipment from the California Wine Club recently. Last year I won a three month membership and enjoyed every bottle. This year the wines are just as good, if not better. I received two bottles from the Robledo Family Winery in the Lake Country of California – 2008 “Seven Brothers” Lake Country Sauvignon Blanc and 2009 “Seven Brothers” Napa Valley Tempranillo.

California WIne Club wines

The Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of honeysuckle and mango with notes of green tea, citrus and lemongrass on the palate. It goes well with seafood, ahi tuna and oysters as well as light salads and ceviche. The Tempranillo is ruby red with heavy aromas of blackberry, cranberry, cinnamon and toasted oak. It produces a long, rich finish! It pairs well with grilled steaks and even pizza!

California WIne Club cosy dinner with wine

The website has loads of information on the wines…

An Adventure in Wine Tasting

Oh what an awesome adventure it would be…exploring all the California wineries dedicated to the art of making fine wine. Taking a leisurely  journey from Napa and Sonoma to the less-explored wine regions like Santa Barbara, Monterey, the Sierra Foothills and beyond. Only problem – I just don’t have the time for a road trip at the moment. So I appreciate that fact that Club owners Bruce and Pam Boring travel California’s wine country searching for limited-production wines from small, family-owned wineries. More than three-quarters of California’s 3,500+ wineries are small, boutique, mom-and-pop operations whose wines never travel beyond their local markets and private customer lists. It’s a tough job I imagine…but somebody has to do it!!

My Own Monthly Wine Tasting Adventure

Wine exceptional..travel optional.  HIMself and I have a lot of travel on the east coast planned in November and December. So when we opened our October shipment, we decided to have a quiet family night in with pizza and wine. It has been cool in Florida since Hurricane Sandy brushed by…so a cozy night in sounded just right.

Whether for yourself or a gift, CWC membership is an adventure in wine tasting that will not be experienced anywhere else. Membership costs nothing, you can cancel anytime, and every wine is 100% guaranteed.

 What are the benefits of becoming a member?

  • Discovering smaller, award-winning wineries whose wines are not typically found in local stores or wine shops. Click here to read about recently featured wineries and the families behind their award-winning wines!
  • A fun and easy way to learn about wine and California’s wine scene with our informative and beautiful 12-page, full color newsletter, Uncorked.
  • Convenient, “to your door” delivery.
  • No more guessing, no hassle and no more bad wine.
  • Your wines can be delivered monthly, every other month or even quarterly.
  • No bulk, closeout or private label wines… ever!
  • Three and four bottle shipments are available, and we’ll pay the extra cost of shipping.
  • Winery Direct means no distributor, no middleman and the best choice of wine at the lowest possible price.
  • Savings of up to 50% off normal retail when you reorder your favorites.
  • Experienced wine consultants to assist you with your wine choices and questions.
  • Wine Country Travel Experts…let us help you plan your next wine country getaway.

California Wine Club Options

CWC is recommended by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, Redbook, Inc. Magazine and others! This holiday season you can give a California Wine Adventure to friends, family or yourself! The California Wine Club is a different kind of wine of the month club. They only feature handcrafted award-winning wines from real working, artisan wineries. It is a difference you’ll taste with your first shipment! It is an awesome gift.

Holiday Gifts  For Yourself  Send an All-Occasion Gift Now

 With four wine of the month clubs to choose from, CWC has a wine adventure to suit everyone. To learn more about each option, click any of the following:

Now It’s Your Turn – Enter the CWC Giveaway

The California Wine Club is having a giveaway for 52 winners at the end of November and another 52 winners in December!

You could win:

  • One of four Amazing Three Month Wine Club memberships!
  • One of 50 Red Tulip Music Wine Country CD’s!
  • One of  Fifty Two Bottle Wine Totes!

Enter The California Wine Club Giveaway by  Clicking Here!

Follow @cawineclub and @boringwineguy on Twitter

Become a fan of The California Wine Club and The Boring Wine Guy on Facebook

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

 

IFBC Ninja Cooking System lunch

Ninja Cooking System Test Run ~ YUMMMMMM

You know that I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in August. IFBC was an amazing time to connect with other foodies, eat gourmet meals and connect with food vendors. Ninja sponsored a yummy lunch on Saturday, shared a lovely presentation by Stephanie O’Dea, the A Year of Slow Cooking blogger. And each of the two-hundred participants was gifted the new Ninja Cooking System. How awesome is that?

IFBC Ninja Cooking System lunch

The New Ninja® Cooking System!

I could not wait to get my hands on this all in one cooking machine. It is a revolutionary way to prepare delicious meals faster, easier and healthier! That is the busy Mom blogger’s dream for sure!!! How does it do this? It uses the same advanced steam technology as the finest restaurants to help you prepare meals up to 50% faster!! SCORE!!!

Ninja Cooking System

The Ninja allows you to do multiple functions…it is not just a slow cooker. You can roast meats, prepare one dish meals and {this is the feature that sold me} bake cakes and cupcakes!!! I am smitten indeed!!! To learn all about it download this PDF with all the information.

My Inaugural Ninja Cooking System Meal

Ninja cooking system inaugural dinner

I was so busy for the first few days after the package arrived that I didn’t have time to shop for ingredients. I knew I wanted to make a roast with carrots and potatoes. HIMself was beside himself (pun) waiting for the meal. So I let him go to the store to buy the groceries… (nail biting time). To my surprise he did a great job although the roast was a little large for the two of us!!!

Roasting in the Ninja Cooking System

So HIMself got busy chopping veggies as I seared the roast.

Ninja cooking system chopped veggies Ninja cooking system searing the roast

After searing, I added wine, water, spices (thyme and sage) and some olive oil.

Ninja cooking system spices

I dropped in the veggies and placed the roast on top. Set the timer and done!!! It took six hours to roast this awesome meal. No opening the lid and checking or basting. Set it and forget it!!

Ninja cooking system timer

Then I went to work writing and editing a magazine. HIMself was sanding some pieces of furniture we are refinishing for gifts this Christmas. In no time, dinner was cooked to perfection and plated!!

Ninja cooking system inaugural dinner

Baking in the Ninja Cooking System

Now if that roast is not enough for you to want to try this Ninja…perhaps this will encourage you…

Baking cupcakes in the Ninja Cooking System

Yes, I steam baked these cupcakes in the Ninja Cooking System. I will be creating and sharing many dinners in the future made in this delightful cooker. I especially love that I can cook without heating up the house here in Florida!!! That seals the deal. I love my Ninja!!!

You can find some serious recipes on their website along with some great accessories. I am hoping Santa will bring me the carrying bag and hot pads. There is also a great video library and customer reviews.

I was given this incredible Ninja Cooking System by Ninja Euro Pro. All the photos, ideas and opinions are my own.
My Beaded Royalty bracelet

My Beaded Royalty Mommy Bracelet ~ A Perfect Christmas Gift

I recently heard about the heartwarming Mommy Bracelets created by Alicia Staz of Beaded Royalty. The sterling silver beaded bracelets are a beautiful tribute to mothers. Each is handcrafted and meant as a special reminder of your children when you are not near them. They are the perfect gift for your Mother or your daughters-in-law, or any special woman in your life!!

My Beaded Royalty bracelet

One look at the piece and you can see the craftsmanship that went into it. Alicia studied the art of beading and has perfected the methods necessary to make heirloom quality pieces. See her Handmade Sterling Jewelry blog for more about her process and her art. She offers an awesome Guarantee letting you know she stands behind her work. She says, “You will only get the best when you buy from Beaded Royalty.”

My Beaded Royalty bracelet with cards

What I love most is that the Mommy Bracelets can be designed to match a Child Bracelet. I intend to buy a matching set for my sweet baby girl and I. Or how about a set for Grandmother, Mother and child? The possibilities are endless with the unique and one of a kind creations.

Family Birthstone Necklace Beaded Royalty also offers other handmade jewelry. The Family Jewelry line is inspiring and touching. The personalized necklaces and bracelets come in a variety of patterns. Wouldn’t that make a great gift for a family reunion? The Cancer Awareness Bracelets are a special way to remember someone close to you who has cancer.  What better way to show your support for your loved ones than to wear a beaded Cancer Awareness Bracelet?

Beaded Royalty is one of the top companies to offer a Custom Scripture Bracelet. There are several styles and colors to choose from. I especially love the Fruit of the Spirit bracelet.

If you would like to make your own jewelry, beaded Royalty also sells sterling silver beads and charms. I love these beach charms.

Just visit the website to learn more about the jewelry line. You can also read Alicia’s story. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook too.
This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a Beaded Royalty jewelry item for the purpose of this review.

The Art of the Handwritten Note and Ideal Stamps from Stamp Xpress

I love to send and receive handwritten notes. Don’t you? Even if it is just a quick “I love you” to my children, I believe it is the highest form of love and respect I can give to the recipient of my notes. It means a lot to me to preserve this special form of communication in this day of e-mail and texts. When you look through your snail mail each day, don’t you gravitate to a hand-addressed letter first? I certainly do.

writing a note

I moved this year, and none of the bizillion address labels we have work any more. Geesh!! I am researching custom rubber stamps. Of course I know all about crafting rubber stamps, but I am not so up on the kind of stamps you use to add your address to things. I found StampXpress.com offers a large collection of rubber stamps that will solve my dilemma.

I found that they offer a large collection of rubber stamps, custom self inking stamps, date stamps, address stamps, notary stamps and more. I am thinking I want an Ideal Stamps custom self inking stamp because I can design my own custom self inking stamp right there in the StampXpress online store. Ideal Stamps are available in a bunch of colors – Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Light Green, Light Blue, Brown and Pink.  They also offer free shipping on orders over $10! That is awesome indeed.

I kind of like the round one for my crafting and artwork. I think it would be a good way to add a special mark on my work. I can also use the regular straight line personalized Ideal rubber stamp for addressing my envelopes, postcards and thank you notes. Since these stamps are self-inking, I won’t need messy stamp pads and ink. I also like the embossers…how cool is it to emboss envelopes?

Ideal Stamps is known for making high quality rubber stamps and stamping products. It seems simple to choose the size and shape I need and then begin the customization process.

Do you still write letters by hand? Are you an e-mail or a text person? Let me know if you like to write letters and your thoughts on the subject. I would love to know.

This sponsored post was made possible by SheHeard. I have been compensated for my time and work on this campaign, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Mic-choices

My New Bluetooth Apple Magic Mouse #cbias

Oh No!!! My wireless mouse stopped working a few weeks ago. I have been putting off getting a new one because The Apple Store is in Jacksonville…some 24 miles away and a world away from my tiny island life. But using my old USB mouse was slowing me down big time…and I can’t afford to lose time…I am a busy girl. So when I was asked to participate in a Computer Mouse shopping experience, I did a happy dance right beside my desk. WOO HOO!!!

my new Apple Magic Mouse at work

I loaded HIMself into the car for a little road trip. We usually make it an entire day when we brave the traffic and head into the city. I love to visit thrift shops, bookstores, crafts shops and restaurants. HIMself not so much…but he’s a good sport most times if I feed him. So off we went with the goal of obtaining a new wireless mouse to make my life easier.

We arrived at the store shortly after it opened and it was already buzzing with activity. People were at all the tables, playing with the new iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and iMacs. The St. John’s Towne Center store is almost always like this. Most people have a good humor as they wait because there is so much to see and do!!!

inside the Apple Store

I was directed to the back of the store to find the mice/mouse. I realized that I had several choices. I ruled out the trackpad immediately. I hate to use that on my laptop…UGHHHH!!! One of my goals is to free up a USB port…so the bluetooth, wireless Magic Mouse was the one that captured my Boomer Geek Girl heart. $69…worth every penny.

Apple mouse options

While looking for the mouse, I noticed several selections of microphones. I have two online radio shows and am starting a TV show…so I need a really good mic. I decided I needed to hear about the mics. So I signed up to speak to an Apple rep…I should have done that when I walked in. He sent me to the computer table to wait my turn…and that’s when I fell in deep covetous love with the the new to me, 27″ iMac. I have placed this at the top of my Christmas wish list!!! Santa, please…I have been a really good girl this year!!!

A new Mac for the artist in me

my first Apple computerA new Mac for the artist in me!!! Powerful visual marketing! I have been using Macs since the mid 80s. Yes, my first computer screen was a little bigger than today’s smart phones and smaller than most tablets. I have also been using PCs since the 80s…I even remember those large floppy disks about the size of an record album…and it really was floppy!!! Oh I guess I am really dating myself…but that is how I obtained the ‘Boomer Geek Girl‘ nickname!!! I have been on personal computers since the start. And I love them with all techie toys.

I was able to play with the Magic Mouse while I waited for Bradley. Now this guy knows his stuff. We chatted about design, Macs, Quark, Adobe Creative Suite, and operating systems for about 30 minutes…HIMself was getting a little impatient!!! I learned that there is a new iMac coming next month…so I decided to wait to buy the newest model. He rang up my mouse…posed for a picture for this post and we left with my new toy. I can’t wait to get home to play!!!

Brad and HIMself with my Magic Mouse

When I got to the car my e-mail receipt was waiting for me. Such an easy shopping experience. Now I had to feed the big guy, so we went to Ted’s Montana Grill for bison burgers. YUMMM

e-mail receipt from Apple

Back home, I synched the Magic Mouse quickly. It took less than two minutes. Mac’s are so easy to use!!!

Synching the Apple Magic Mouse

Doesn’t it look so sleek and modern? It fits in my hand perfectly and saves me a bunch of time, especially scrolling. OH YEAH…I am smitten.

Apple Magic Mouse on my desk

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.