Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Country Crock Review and Giveaway

I've been a fan of Country Crock buttery spread for many years now.  That round tub of love is always a permanent staple in my fridge.  The spread is perfect for slathering on toast, grilled cheese, biscuits and rolls, and much more.  Let Country Crock make you smile by making your favorite toasted sandwiches taste fantastic!

Country Crock buttery spread has 70% less saturated fat than butter and 30% more fewer calories.  The spread contains 30 calories per serving and comes in many different types.  This is a guilt free spread that will liven up your foods.  You can feel guilt free and enjoy it too, which is the best part. What I love most about Country Crock is that there are so many uses for the spread, why not experiment with a new way today? How about using it in a casserole dish that will become a crowd pleasing meal? Whatever way you use Country Crock, I can guarantee you will enjoy it.

I was recently asked to become a member of the Country Crock Casserole Club.  I love all those C's! I of course accepted the buttery honor. 

The kit included a box of pasta, bread crumbs, a casserole dish, and a recipe card to help you create your own Country Crock masterpiece.  The first thing that I thought of when I saw the pasta and bread crumbs was to add in sausage and broccoli and make it sort of an Italian casserole bake.  The great thing about casseroles is that they are perfect for when you're busy, or after a long day of work.  Just prep the quick ingredients, bake, and you have a delicious meal in no time.

I cooked my pasta, drained it, and set it aside.  Then I mixed 4 table spoons of Country Crock into it.  After that, I cooked my sausage and broccoli and set them aside.  I combined the broccoli, pasta, and sausage together and poured them into the provided casserole dish.  The next step was to sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.  I added bread crumbs on top after to give it a nice crunchy topping.  I popped the casserole and baked it at 325 for about 27 minutes.  It came out looking like something sent by head casserole god.  It smelled so amazing! It was bubbly, cheesy, and everything you could ask for in a casserole.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to make my own recipe, rather than just following a recipe card.  It was fun to create something new that I've never made before.  I advise you to try this recipe too, you'll fall in love with it just like I did.

I'll be debuting more Country Crock posts in the next coming months. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stella and Dot Review

Jewelry is something that is loved by most every woman.  Of course each person has their individual style, but they always know what type of jewelry they love best.  My personal style consists of large dangly earrings, chunky bracelets, and big cocktail rings.  Stella and Dot caters to every women's jewelry preference, leaving a smile on their face and a fuller jewelry box.

Stella and Dot offers some of the most gorgeous jewelry I've ever laid my eyes on. Their boutique style jewelry is available exclusively though in-home trunk shows by independent stylists, and online.  Their one of a kind collections are designed by celebrated New York designers and featured in Lucky and InStyle Magazine, as well as on the wrists and necklines of today's hottest celebrities.  The jewelry comes in so many different styles and colors.  Whether you like dainty and delicate, chunky or loud, or anything in between, Stella and Dot has you covered.  Their rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets will surely receive you many compliments. 

Lately I've been on the look out for new earrings. I feel like I'm wearing the same pairs a lot and I'd like to switch it up and try something new.  When I was presented with the opportunity to review Stella and Dot jewelry, you can bet I took the offer.  I was sent the most stunning pair of Serenity Stone Drops in Aqua.  I could not believe how beautiful these earrings were!

These hand-cut aqua glass teardrops are set in a shiny hammered brass bezel with silver plating.  These will certainly make any outfit pop!

As soon as I saw these earrings, I fell in love.  I absolutely had to have them.  I love the large aqua stone paired with the silver plating.  It's such a beautiful combination.  The color of the stone is like nothing I've ever seen before.  The color is just gorgeous.  It sparkles in the light too.  The earrings are comfortable to wear and easy to put in and take off.  They seem made well too and won't easily break.  I've worn them twice and already received compliments on them at work.  The large stone really compliments anything you wear.  If you want a large pop of color, pair these beauties with black.  I am so glad that I own these and I can't wait to wear them more in the next coming weeks!

If you're looking for a fabulous present for any jewelry lover, Stella and Dot is waiting for you to type their website into your search bar.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Stella and Dot for the complimentary earrings in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are solely mine. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ATG Stores Review

My favorite way to shop is online.  I love the convenience of shopping in my pajamas anytime of day or night.  Nobody will judge how I look if I'm not having a good hair day either.   My favorite shopping sites are the ones that combine many different products all in one site for ultimate convenience.  One stop shopping is my kind of game. When's the last time you bought yourself something online that you love?

ATG Stores offers the guaranteed best selection of home furnishings, lighting, furniture, tools, flooring, decor, beauty, bed & bath, and so much more.  I can promise that anything you could possibly be looking for or want is available.  Have you been looking for a new lamp for your night stand, or maybe a new piece of art for your guest room? Why not purchase them from ATG? Don't forget to pick up a new dog bed for your precious pooch either! I spent a good 45 minutes browsing each category and making a mental note of things I wanted.  I most enjoyed my time in the kitchen and small appliance section.  I like that there were a lot of unique items that were manufactured just for ATG.   My credit card started crying on more than one occasion when it heard what I wanted to buy.

When I was told I could review items from the site, I was looking forward to the opportunity.  The hardest thing would be only picking the item limit I was allowed.  What do you do when you like everything? Narrowing down items is not my strong suit.  After browsing the site, I decided on the Rachael Ray orange oval platter and the KitchenAid gourmet bakeware cake pan.  I chose both of these items because I could definitely see myself using each on a regular basis.

Color makes everything brighter and more cheerful.  This platter will add a pop of color to any table and help pull together a modern and sophisticated style that makes entertaining exciting and enjoyable. 

I absolutely love this Rachel Ray platter.  The bright orange color is bold and vibrant and looks fabulous on a coffee table or kitchen table.  It comes in a range of different colors to match your style and taste.  The flared edge is fun and modern.  The easy to hold handles make serving a breeze.

Since the platter surface is so wide it would be ideal for serving many different appetizers on.  How about pigs in a blanket, spanakopita, stuffed mushrooms, cheese and crackers, and so much more.  A great benefit of this platter is that it can go directly from the oven to the table.  It is oven safe up to 500 degrees and also dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe as well.

I'm very satisfied with this platter and have used it a few times now to serve guests.  I always receive many compliments on it and people are surprised when I tell them it's from Rachael Ray.  The product is durable, sturdy, and made well. I also like how it's easy to store in a kitchen cabinet too.  I look forward to using this anytime I entertain in the future.

Can't you just imagine creating the most scrumptious baked treats ever in this pan? How about cheesecake brownies and cookie bars? Maybe a delicious chocolate and peanut butter cake? There are so many possibilities of what you could make.  Don't forget to save me a piece though! :)

Since I use brownie pans so regularly, my pans tend to get old looking very fast.  I've never owned any KitchenAid bakeware before.  Since I am such a fan of their appliances, the thought of bakeware intrigued me.

I chose this cake pan because its design and structure resist warping and the warm silver color of the pan promotes even baking.  A big plus of this pan is that the non stick that lines it means your goodies lift off easily and leave little to clean up.  I also like the wide grips of the pan that make it easy to handle.  I will solely be using this pan as a brownie pan and not a cake pan. 

There's nothing like using a brand new baking pan for the first time.  It's so clean and perfect! I made cheesecake brownies in the pan and they turned out wonderful.  They cooked evenly and fast and they lifted out of the pan with ease.  It's truly a pleasure when your baked goods don't stick to the bottom of the pan. The pan is constructed well and built to last, not to mention it's beautiful!

I am very happy with the baking pan and I will be using it anytime I want to whip up some fabulous brownies.  All of this talk of brownies is making me want to make some right now!

If you're looking for fabulous website to make your shopping experience more enjoyable, please turn to ATG Stores.

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary gift card in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are strictly mine.  

Looking for great coupon deals?

Check out Retail Me Not.  There's always a promo code to bring you savings on your favorite websites!
Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekend Blog Hop!

Welcome to Lovin' The Weekend Blog Hops with your co-hosts:
Karen from Tots and Me, Rena from An Ordinary Housewife and Angie from Snack Cups and Smiles.

Thank you to every one who has stopped by, whether this is your first visit or you have been a faithful ongoing participant! 

We would love for you to stop by each of the co-hosts and follow us, then feel free to add your links to any or all of the following linkies.

 We also randomly choose a Featured host each week from the Lovin' The Readers linky. This week we are featuring Sammi from Sammi's Blog of Life.

Here's what she has to say:
"My blog is Sammi's Blog Of Life.  I started it in 2009 and am coming up in my four year anniversary in December.  I am not a mom so I have an edge over other mom bloggers as I am not one myself.  I love to interact with my readers and make sure they have a great experience at my blog.  My favorite products to review are housewares, fashion, and electronics. I started blogging because of my love for consumer products."

Don't forget to link up to the Lovin' the Readers Hop if you would like a chance to be a Featured host next week. Please comment with a way to contact you, especially if there is not an obvious way mentioned on your blog. We would love to include a little write up about you and your blog in the next week's Lovin' The Weekend Blog Hop post, including a link to your blog. And you will get to include the linky codes on your blog. Sound fun? We're looking forward to getting to know our readers better.

Here's how this blog hop works. We would appreciate it if you would follow Tots and Me, An Ordinary Housewife and Snack Cups and Smiles. And please don't forget to visit our Featured Host. If you no longer have GFC please follow in some other way. After that there are three different linkies you can link to. Whichever one you choose to link to, please grab that button and share it on your blog (the codes are on Tot's and Me's sidebar). We'd love it if you could tweet or in some other way share about this blog hop, the more people who know about it, the more potential visitors and new followers of your blog. We'd love to meet some new friends this weekend.  

Some people are more interested in just increasing their numbers, while others really want people who appreciate their blog and want to keep up with their posts. So, there are two separate blog hop linkies. 

The third linky is for you to link up your giveaways.

If you are interested in increasing the number of followers to your blog via GFC, Linky Followers, email, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ link up here. We will follow you back if you follow us (just note which one you are linking to):

Tots and Me

If you are interested in gaining followers to your blog who will read and comment and truly find an interest in your blog, link up here:

Tots and Me

If you have family friendly giveaways to link up, here's your spot. Please make sure to include an end date for your giveaway.

Tots and Me

We are so glad you stopped by. Please leave a comment if you link up and we will be sure to stop by and follow back.

Don't forget to check out my "Blog Hops" page for other great blog hops!!

Sonic Giveaway

Sonic is one of those restaurants that I don't visit often, but when I do I'm in absolute heaven.  I love the thick Texas toast, the fabulous sweet shakes, and the crispy fries.  The burgers and chicken sandwiches are very tasty too.  If you're in need of delicious comfort food, Sonic is the perfect place for you.  You'll leave with a smile!

Sonic is an American drive-in fast food restaurant chain.  The fun part about the restaurant is that the employees bring your food right to your car on roller skates!  This is one of my favorite parts about visiting the establishment. I love the nod back to the days of the 1950's and 60's when there were many drive in fast food places.  How does delighting your taste buds with burgers piled high with toppings like chili and bacon sound? Maybe crispy chicken strips and sandwiches or a hot dog in a pretzel bun would be more up your alley.

You can't forget to order sides such as onion rings, tots, fries, or mozzarella sticks to round out your meal either.  Of course you must finish off your meal with one of the 25 shakes Sonic has available. How about oreo, chocolate covered banana, or peanut butter cookie? This certainly sounds like a meal fit for a king! I'm drooling just thinking about a meal at Sonic.

I'm sure Sonic is a summertime staple for most of you.  To help you get your summer in full swing, Sonic is awarding one lucky prize winner a Sonic prize pack featuring a $15 gift card, sunglasses, a beach ball, beach towel, and beach bag.  All you need to do is stop at Sonic before heading out for a day of fun in the sun at the beach!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Simply 7 Snacks Giveaway

Most people love to snack.  Crackers, cookies, chips and pretzels are just some of our favorite snacks.  I'm guilty of snacking but I try to control the bad habit.  We all know what healthier snacks we should eat, but let's face it it's hard to avoid a bag of chips sometimes! If you're going to indulge in something salty, why not try to enjoy something with less fat, calories, and unnatural ingredients? Simply 7 is here to delight your taste buds.

Simply 7 Snacks is passionate about making all natural products that provide one of a kind snacking experience for the health conscious consumer.  There are three categories of chips with many various flavors produced by Simply 7.  The categories and flavors offered are pomegranate chips (sea salt, black cheddar, and white cheddar), hummus chips (sea salt, spicy chili pepper, tomato basil, and roasted red pepper) lentil (sea salt, bruschetta, creamy dill, lentil jalapeno). I know you may be thinking chips made from hummus and lentil and pomegranates? That sounds crazy! Trust me you'll love the crunchy goodness. 

These chips are the perfect snack because they have no trans fat or cholesterol, no artificial colors or flavors, and no additives or preservatives. The chips are gluten free and made from all natural recipes.  You can feel good knowing you're indulging in a guilt free snack.  Throw a bag into your desk drawer or put some chips into your child's lunch box.  Make sure you hide your favorite flavor from others, it will be good before you know it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Steakhouse Elite Review and Giveaway

When it comes to meat, I tend to eat the light variety and do my best to stay away from red meat.  I'm a big fan of lean chicken breast, turkey, fish, etc.  Every now and again I love to indulge in a fantastic burger or juicy piece of steak.  When I do satisfy my cravings, I want to make sure the meat is worth it.  If you're indulging in a piece of heavenly steak make sure to serve it with a baked potato or mashed potatoes. Steakhouse Elite knows all about quality meats.

Steakhouse Elite is a company formed by Evan Wexler and Ty Freeborn.  They created American Kobe- style beef for sale in their hot dogs, burgers, and ground beef products.  The best part is that they can be found in local grocery stores! Steakhouse Elite products come from only US-raised beef and are never frozen.  Kobe crafted beef is the perfect formulation of American Kobe-style beef and traditional beef to produce products rich in flavor and ideal in texture.  Kobe-style beef is widely known for its velvety texture and buttery flavor.  I can guarantee that you'll instantly notice a difference between a regular beef burger and a Kobe-style burger.  Why not serve Steakhouse Elite to your guests at your next BBQ? They will be on a bus with a one way ticket to flavor town!

I was generously sent a fabulous package of meats.  I received a package of ground beef, a package of hot dogs, and a package of burger patties. I was in meat heaven! 

I decided to try the burgers first since they appealed to me most.  What I first noticed about these patties is that they were much larger and denser than normal beef patties.  I figured that would mean double the taste and flavor! I seasoned them and cooked them on my indoor grill. 

Look at those big patties sizzling and cooking away!  The grill marks are so beautiful they bring a tear to my eye.  I wish you could smell them in this picture, they smelled out of this world!

The burgers were very tasty, not to mention very large!  I did notice a taste in flavor between the Kobe beef style burgers and regular ground beef. I'm used to regular beef burgers.  The Kobe beef style had a much richer taste and I definitely noticed the velvety buttery flavor.  I absolutely loved it! The meat was soft and tender and melt in your mouth wonderful. The provolone cheese on my burger really complimented the meat and added some extra cheesy goodness.  I served sweet potato fries on the side which rounded out the meal nicely.  

I have not yet tried the hot dogs or the ground beef, but I have big plans for them.  I look forward to serving the hot dogs with baked beans and corn on the cob.  I think I'll take the ground beef and turn it into meatballs for spaghetti! I can smell them cooking now. Both of these food ideas sound fabulous and I'm hungry now just thinking about them.

If you're looking for meat that will make your taste buds sing, look no further than Steakhouse Elite.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kohl's Review

One of my favorite things about summer are the BBQ's.  The fabulously juicy burgers piled high with cheese and toppings, the warm and sweet corn on the cob, the pasta salad brimming with flavor, and of course the sweet, fresh watermelon.  Wash it all down with a glass of ice cold lemonade and you've got yourself a star of a BBQ.

Kohl's is your one stop shop for women, men, and children's clothing.  Kohl's also features accessories, housewares, shoes and much more.  Every time I go in there, I always come out with something I love.  Need a new outfit for your upcoming dinner party, or maybe your husband needs a new pair of dress pants for work?  No problem,  Kohl's has you covered.  They have the latest fashions at unbeatable prices. The clothes are made well and very durable.   Since grilling season is in full swing, they have everything you need there to make your next BBQ a hit.  Look for plates, cups, napkins, servingware, BBQ tools, and so much more.  Please consider Kohl's for any of your upcoming BBQ and summer needs.

As everyone knows, I love to cook.  What I don't love about cooking is that you have to cook certain things one at a time, especially if you're having people over.  When this happens, the food that's cooked first gets cold and then the food you cooked most recently is hot.  It's a pain to have to reheat everything so all of the food is warm at the same time.  With a grill, you can cook multiple things at once eliminating the hassle of half cold food.

Kohl's was kind enough to send me a Food Network Reversible Electric Grill and Griddle. This combines the best of both worlds.  You have a grill on one side, and a griddle on the other! How much better can it get? 

Look at this large grilling surface! You could fit many porkchops or pieces of chicken on there along with steak or hamburgers too.  Why not grill some kebabs or asparagus too? The list of grilling options is endless.  I am hungry just thinking about it.  The reversible griddle is perfect for making large batches of bacon, french toast, eggs, or even pancakes.

If you have a large family, this griddle will be your savior.  Make meals for the whole family in half the time.  Since at the moment it's just my fiance and I, I don't have to whip up meals for many people yet.  I still have to cook for an always hungry man with a big appetite and myself though.  I used the grill for the first time last night.  I had some burgers that I decided to cook.

The grill is very easy to use and operate for the first time.  I greased it and set the temperature to about 300 degrees. It heated up fully in a matter of seconds. There was no waiting time, you're ready to cook instantly!  I seasoned my burgers and set them on the grill.  They cooked and sizzled fast.  The grilling surface cooks evenly and thoroughly very quickly.  

Look at those beautiful grill marks.  There's even room for another burger in the middle, that's how large the cooking surface is! The burgers were done very fast.  They came out perfectly cooked and juicy.  I like how all of the burgers were done at the same time and I didn't have to cook one burger at a time.  That really makes my life easier.

Since most people think grilled food is only a summertime option, it's not.  With the indoor electric grill you can make grilled food all year round.  If you're craving grilled chicken or steak in the dead of winter with snow on ground, it's still possible!  Fire up the grill and satisfy your cravings.  You can even grill fruit to put into a frozen yogurt parfait if you wish.  I look forward to grilling some steaks very soon. Clean-up is a breeze because everything goes straight into the dishwasher. 

The griddle part of the unit works just as well.  I recently used it to cook eggs and pancakes for breakfast Saturday morning.  The food cooked quickly and evenly and was done in no time.  My pancakes were golden brown and beautiful.  My eggs were fluffy, delicious, and the perfect hue of yellow.

I am very impressed with this unit and can see myself using it all the time. It will quickly become my new favorite appliance in the kitchen.   The options are endless as to what you can prepare on it.  If you're looking for a faster way to prepare food for your family, I highly recommend this product.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Kohl's for providing me with the complimentary indoor electric grill/griddle.  All thoughts are solely mine.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The heatwave is gone!

We've been having 90 degree+ temps since last Monday.  I was very happy when I went outside this morning to discover that it was much cooler and tolerable.  Is the weather better by you?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lou Malnati's Review and Giveaway

Americans alone have a love affair with pizza.  Did you know that the average number of slices that an American eats per year is 46? Three billion pizza's are sold in the US each year too.  I looked up these statistics from a recent June 2013 survey online.  How can you go wrong with lots of flavorful cheese, hearty marinara sauce, and hand tossed dough that is baked to perfection?  I'm picky with food and enjoy minimal toppings.  I am happiest with a plain cheese, sausage, or pepperoni pizza.  Pizza is one of those foods that everyone gathers around and devours.

Lou Malnati's offers authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza by mail anywhere in the USA.  Lou's has a been a Chicago favorite for years, but is gaining national attention for being featured on shows like Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Pizza Wars, Food Wars, and many others.  You can select either a 2, 4 or 6 pizza pack.  You have your choice of toppings like pepperoni, sausage, veggie, or spinach.  There is also a gluten free crust available for anyone with gluten intolerance to enjoy.  The pizza's are hand made from scratch and shipped frozen for guaranteed freshness.  They can be ready to be gobbled up after 40-45 min of baking.  Pizza sent to a lucky recipient from Lou's would be the ultimate gift for any foodie.  

I had previously tried deep dish pizza, but not from Lou Malnati's.  I was generously sent a two pizza pack consisting of sausage and pepperoni.  Those are my absolute two favorite toppings.  I read rave reviews online of the company and I was very excited to sample the pizza.  Soon after, a large box showed up at my door.  It was certainly a gift from the pizza gods.  It showed up at the perfect time since I was planning on making the sausage one for dinner that night.  I popped it into the oven for about 40 minutes and this was the end result.

It is perfectly acceptable to drool at this picture.  The pizza comes in a foil pan that you bake it in.  Look at that hearty tomato sauce along with the gooey cheese and the big pieces of sausage.  Underneath the heavenly layer is a rich deep dish crush that will transport you to another world.  It's pure pizza perfection! 

What I immediately noticed from this pizza is that it's prepared differently from normal pizza.  You have a large layer of sauce in the center that is not evenly distributed throughout.  I was intrigued by that because it's not like the typical pizza that I'm used to.  I cut the pizza into four large slices and took one.  Each pizza is 9" and serves two adults.  

This is the big kahuna of pizza! This was a very dense slice.  The pizza was cooked perfectly to perfection. The vine-ripened tomato sauce was warm and thick, the cheese wonderfully gooey and melty, and the sausage plump and juicy.  The crust was deep and dense.  I took my first bite and I instantly knew what everyone was talking about.  It was love at first sight, and at first bite.  The crust was buttery, rich, and flaky.  The flavor of the sauce tasted slow cooked for hours.  The mozzarella cheese was heavenly.  I loved everything about this pizza and was blown away by how incredible it was.  I haven't had a piece of pizza this good in a long time.  I think I need to move to Chicago so I can enjoy it on a regular basis! Since the pizza was very heavy, I only wanted to eat one slice. 

I look forward to trying the pepperoni one soon, I bet it will be just as delicious as the sausage.  I walked by the freezer last night and I heard the pizza tempting and taunting me to eat it.  I told it to settle down and be quiet! I will enjoy it soon enough.

Why not make someone's day and ship them the gift of Lou Malnati's? They will love you for a lifetime for it. 

Rougois Review

Watches serve two purposes.  Not only are they there to alert you of the time, but they are also a fashionable piece of jewelry and style.  Whether you like a simple gold watch or a large-faced in your face piece of bling, there are many styles of watches out there to suit your needs. Whatever watch you choose, make sure it gets you to places on time! :)

Rougois strives to create stylish and timeless watches with a firm commitment to individuality.  Their product line features many combinations of men's and women's ceramic watches in different styles and colors.  Each watch is a work of art on its own and certainly a conversation starter.  A Rougois watch makes the perfect gift for anyone.

I've been searching for a new watch for a while now.  I've gone to different department stores and surveyed my options, but I walk away not loving anything I saw.  I'm not a simple woman, I like style and personality in everything I wear.  I certainly wasn't looking for a dainty and delicate watch.  When I came across Rougois, I knew the watch gods had answered my timey prayer. 

Rougois was kind enough to send me the women's high tech black ceramic watch with genuine diamonds. This was just the watch I was looking for and I was very excited for its arrival! 
Isn't this watch stunning? It features the quality of materials such as the high tech ceramic and Swiss movement with the unique design that are constantly produced by this innovative watch maker. This model features a beautiful white and silver dial with 36 genuine diamonds around the face of the watch. 

I absolutely love this watch.  I received it yesterday and I'm already wearing it everywhere I go.  The silver and white are beautifully paired together.  I love the diamonds on the perimeter of the face.  They really add a lot of pizazz and style.  I love the hint of bling so the diamonds are right up my alley.  The large face is actually what drew me to the watch when I first saw it.  The time is easy to read and I really like the silver numbers inside the face. 

The watch is comfortable to wear and fits me well. I can tell it is constructed very well.  The only thing I wish was different was that the band was silver, instead of white.  I feel that the white makes make it a more seasonal watch, rather than a piece you can wear year round.  This piece is perfect from a transition of work to play. 

I'm very excited to now own this watch and I look forward to wearing it all the time.  It's definitely going to be a staple piece in my jewelry armoire.  If you're looking for a new watch, Rougois has quite a few you'd like.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Rougois for providing me with this complimentary watch in exchange for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Miss Nini's Review

I'm up for dessert any time of day, morning, noon, or night.  My favorite desserts are those freshly baked out of the oven, made with tons of love, and bursting with sweet flavor.  You can always find me in my kitchen baking cupcakes, brownies, or cookies.  Baked goods are comforting and always put a smile on any one's face. Miss Nini's knows that the key to a person's heart is through dessert.

Miss Nini's is a small-town Iowa bakery that delivers gourmet cakes to your door.  Many cakes are available to delight your taste buds such as coffee cake, red velvet cake, or cheesecake, just to name a few.  Each cake is made to order from delicious award-winning recipes.  The cakes are fresh and just beautiful! They look like a bakery delivered them to your house moments before.  Delight your friends or family when you serve a cake at your next party from Miss Nini's.  Any cake makes a great present too.  Who wouldn't love to receive a fabulous cake in the mail?

I was lucky enough to receive a streusel walnut sour cream coffee cake for review from Miss Nini's.  Streusel and walnuts? Sign me up!

Look at this beauty!  This picture is taken from Miss Nini's Facebook page.  It captures the beautiful golden color of the cake along with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts.  I have extra forks if you'd like to sample the cake yourself.  Just don't hurt your computer screen too much.  

As soon as I opened the cake box, I was hit by a wave of cinnamon and brown sugar that took over my senses.  The cake was gorgeous and begging to be eaten.  I cut myself a small piece and admired the inside of the cake which had ribbons of cinnamon and brown sugar.  There were large pieces of walnuts scattered throughout.

Even though coffee cake is best served with coffee, I prefer tea with my sweets.  I poured myself a cup of tea and prepared to get down to business.  The business of eating that is.  My fork made its first incision into the circular treat and I knew there was no turning back now.  The cake was absolutely heavenly and I prided myself on choosing the perfect midday snack.  The crunchy walnuts paired with the brown sugar and cinnamon were out of this world.  The cake itself was light, moist, and perfectly fluffy.  In no time I devoured my piece.  I looked sadly down at my plate wishing there was more left.  The cake was truly awesome and I had to control myself from serving myself another piece.

The cake is now gone and my heart is heavy as I write this.  I have a void in my life that can only be filled with Miss Nini's cakes.  One day I hope to try her red velvet cake, it looks incredible.

If you have a sweet tooth that can only be satisfied with cakes, Miss Nini's is ready to help you place your order!

*DISCLOSURE* I received a Miss Nini's walnut sour cream coffee cake for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  This opportunity was made possible by Mom Spark Media.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Etching Expressions Review and Giveaway

I'm a sucker for sentimental gifts and cards.  The gifts that mean the most to me are the ones that people went out of their way to have handmade or customized for me.  It shows me that people really care and want to give a memorable gift, that makes me very happy.  I save those gifts and cards forever and treasure them. Etching Expressions knows all about a memorable gift experience.

Etching Expressions offers wine bottles with engraved or etched personalization for custom wine gifts.  You are able to create custom wine labels as well. You can choose up to 4 lines of custom text under an image of your choice.  Select from wine options like champagne, chardonnay, merlot, or cabernet.  A bottle from Etching Expressions makes the perfect present for a wine connoisseur, not to mention the ideal gift for a new baby, graduation, birthday, housewarming party, anniversary, and so many more events.  It's truly ideal for any occasion. This is one special gift that the recipient will treasure for a lifetime.  

Since I'm getting married on August 31st, I wanted something special to commemorate the important day. A bottle of champagne from Etching Expressions would be the perfect keepsake.  I was sent a custom bottle of champagne that displayed mine and my fiance's names on it, along with personalized text on the bottom.  I didn't tell them what I wanted written ahead of time, I asked them to surprise me. I loved the message they wrote!

Each custom wine bottle is a stunning piece of art.  Hand-engraved and painted by skilled artisans, this gift will surely be treasured for a life time.  As you can see, the bottle says Jay and Sammi written in a beautiful script.  Underneath it states: To a lifetime of love and happiness, August 31, 2013.  

The bottle is so beautiful, not to mention such a creative concept.  I'll be bringing this for our wedding weekend next month. My fiance and I will celebrate and drink it together. It will surely be a highlight for our special day.  He hasn't seen the bottle yet, so it'll be a surprise that he will absolutely love! I'm a big fan of champagne, so I'm looking forward to drinking it.  I want to save the bottle and store it in a hutch or china cabinet as a momento of our wedding.  

Please keep Etching Expressions in mind for any future wine gifts you'll be giving.  The recipient will absolutely love it and be touched you thought of them in a special way.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

T-Fal Review and Giveaway

I have an unhealthy obsession with all kitchen items.  It doesn't matter if it's a muffin pan, a blender, or a spatula, I love everything equally.  I had more fun than most when creating my wedding registry months ago. Seeing all of the kitchen items on my list made my eyes light up like the fourth of July!  I was truly like a kid in a candy store. I enjoy cooking and always am on the look out for the newest and hottest kitchen appliances.  I've owned T-Fal items for years and I recommend them for their quality results.

T-Fal is a manufacturer of non-stick cookware, small kitchen appliances, and housewares.  Their pots and pans are my favorite brand and the only brand I trust in my kitchen. If you're looking for small small kitchen appliances, they offer toasters, deep fryers, electric kettles, pressure cookers and more.  T-Fal makes high quality irons as well.  Whatever you need to furnish your new home with, T-Fal is there for you.

Like everyone in the world, I enjoy some unhealthy foods from time to time.  I'm not a lover of fried foods, but I do love french fries.  Who doesn't? What I don't love is that they are not good for you and also cooked in a vat of oil.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could enjoy some of your favorite fried foods but made with only one tablespoon of oil? The T-Fal ActiFry is up for the challenge of cooking delicious foods made with much less fat and calories!

This unique multi-cooker needs only one spoonful of the oil of your choice to make two pounds of tasty French fries using a continual motion stirring paddle. The fryer can also be used to cook a wide range of other recipes including fried veggies, fried chicken, and more.  A recipe book is included to get your fried food cookin' on. 

I had heard of the ActiFry for a few years now and had always wanted to try it.  When I received the opportunity to review one, I was very excited.  I loved the sleek black and silver color pattern. I watched a couple of videos online of the product in use, and I also read the recipe book.  I wanted to make sure I knew how to use the ActiFry beforehand. The first thing that I wanted to make was potato chips with the potatoes that needed to be used up.  I sliced the potatoes thinly with my mandoline.  I seasoned them with a small amount of garlic powder and seasoned salt. I poured one tablespoon of olive oil on top of the chips in the unit.  I wasn't sure if my chips would cook with such a small amount of oil.  Would they be ok? Will they burn? I had to trust T-fal for making a product that would live up to its promise.  The unit was user friendly and easy to use.  I closed the lid, set the timer, and walked away.

Not long after that, the machine alerted me that the chips were done.  They looked so beautiful in the machine! None of them were burnt but all perfectly crispy and golden brown.  The seasoning was sprinkled evenly throughout each chip.  The chips had a fabulous crunch and wonderful flavor.  I was shocked that I made a batch of chips with just ONE tablespoon of oil!  The only thing that I didn't love about this machine was the bulky large size of it.  Luckily I have spacious cabinets in my kitchen and they can hold the unit easily.  If you have a small kitchen make sure you have some extra storage for the unit.

This unit would be perfect for making buffalo wings or popcorn shrimp for party appetizers, not to mention so many more yummy foods. Wow your guests with appetizers made with half the fat and calories!  I can't wait to check out the recipe book and make more yummy things from it.

Foster Grant Giveaway

Sunglasses are the perfect accessory all year round.  No matter if it's hot or cold out, they will keep you looking stylish.  The great thing about sunglasses is that they come in so many different styles, shapes, and colors.  Whether you're looking for a pair of aviator style, or the large and in charge sunglasses, Foster Grant has many pairs just waiting for you to try out!

Foster Grant sunglasses are designed in the latest styles to meet your fashion needs.  The sunglasses are made of lightweight, durable materials that provide quality and value.  Every pair of Foster Grant sunglasses are equipped with MaxiBlock 100% UVA-UVB lens protection.  Not only are sunglasses available but driving glasses, reading glasses, and polarized glasses are offered among many other styles. If you're looking for a new pair of glasses or sunglasses, Foster Grant is your glasses headquarters!

I've owned many pairs of sunglasses over the years since I tend to lose mine.  I once lost a pair of Dior sunglasses in the subway in New York City in 2008.  That was not one of my finer moments.  I seem to be able to lose expensive sunglasses much easier than an average priced pair.  I enjoy owning a few different pairs that I can wear in rotation, rather than just owning one pair.

Here are a few pairs of Foster Grant sunglasses that I love. This also helps to show you the variety of styles available. 

One lucky winner will win a pair of glasses of their choice from Foster Grant.  The hardest pair will be deciding which pair to choose!