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

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Nighttime Look


Daytime Look


How I Display Them


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

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

Bargain Alert:

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

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Freezing Green Beans

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

Homemade Seasoning Salt

I don’t use a lot of seasoning salt when cooking, but when I found this recipe for homemade seasoning salt, I thought it would be a good seasoning to have on hand. 

And, of course, after I mixed some up, I had to try it out, so I used it on some of our grain-fed, all-natural beef. It tastes just like the seasoning salt from the store, minus all the preservatives. Yummy!

The recipe makes a lot, so it’s a great value too!




Homemade Seasoning Salt
From Budget Savvy Diva

1/3 cup table salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix altogether and store in an airtight bag or spice jar. 

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box – October 2017

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Complexion Companions


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

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

Bargain Alert:

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

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QVC’s KitchenAid TSV Preview & Review – September 2017

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KitchenAid Countertop Convection Oven

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



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

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

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – cash back for online shopping.

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



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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Etched Glasses

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

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

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

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

QVC’s Mr. Christmas Mini Nostalgic Tree Ornaments Review – Part 2

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Mr. Christmas Set of Four Mini Nostalgic Tree Ornaments


This is a review of four nostalgic tree ornaments from a company called Mr. Christmas that are available from QVC. Their item number is H211624 and they are currently offering them for $38.78 or two payments of $19.39. That’s only $9.69 each, bargain! I was able to order them for four dollars less back in July during their Christmas in July sale. They are available in green as shown above or white, but they are on waitlist since they are sold out again. I originally wanted the green set because it reminds me of the one my neighbor had in the 70’s. I just wanted to make sure I received at least one of the colors, so I went on wait list for both colors. The white set arrived in August and the green set finally arrived in November. I fell in love with the white set even though it wasn’t my first choice, they have less of a Christmasy look, so I’ve had them on display since August. While wait list tried my patience, it was worth the wait. I have already reviewed the white set, so be sure to check those out also. I have been using both sets since they arrived. The lights are very bright. They take two double A batteries, but they don’t last as long as I would have thought. They last for about two months on the timer mode. The timer is for four hours. Since the sun sets so early now and four hours isn’t enough I have my white set come on at sunset and then three hours later I have my green set turn on, that way I have seven hours of light. I have the white set displayed on my mantle, two on each side. The green set is on my large coffee table, two on each side with candles in between. They also make a wonderful nite light on your bed side table. They can also be hung on the tree with the red ribbon that comes attached. I just lay the red ribbon behind it and as you can see above they are well hidden. In the photo above the stars at the top look washed out in the photo, they appear yellow in person just as their reflection in the granite shows. They are much brighter than you would imagine for such a small decoration. I love these adorable little trees and I highly recommend them. What’s your favorite Christmas decoration that you recently purchased?

Bargain Alert:

Use Mr. Rebates for 4% cash back while shopping online @ QVC.

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Whole Foods Grand Opening – West Cary, NC

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

Exterior View
The long awaited West Cary Whole Foods had their Grand Opening today, November 7th, 2017. It’s located in the Alston Town Center. To get there from the south (Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina), take NC-540 and use exit 66a, then turn right. Drive on NC-55 for half a mile and it will be on your right. There is parking lot in the front of the building and on the right side. The entrance to the market is on the far left. The popular La Farm Bakery has opened a second restaurant in this Whole Foods store. If you are going to La Farm, it’s entrance is on the far right on the side the building. 

The photos below take you around the store from the front entrance:


Entering the Store

Once inside, on the left you will find the Juice Bar and on the right the Floral Department and then the Produce Department: 


Produce Department

Notice all the fresh produce that’s fully stocked. Then walking to the rear of the store you’ll find the Seafood Department. It smelled delicious, I’m guessing they just cooked some shrimp with some Chesapeake Bay Seasoning for a customer. The seafood looked fresh and yummy:


Seafood Department

Then walking to the right of the store you will arrive at the Meat Department. It looked appetizing and there were many choices:


Meat Department

 Walking further to the right along the backside of the store, you’ll come to Growler Station. This is where you can step up to the bar and have a craft beer. Then either step up to the table to take a beer break or go along your way and continue shopping. 


Growler Station

Walk a little further and you’ll land up in the Cheese & Wine Department. Then turn right and walk towards the front of the store to find the Hot Bar, Salad Bar, Prepared Foods, Deli and freshly cooked pizza:


Hot Bar, Salad Bar, Prepared Foods, Deli & Pizza

Walking further towards the front of the store you’ll find the Whole Foods Bakery and gelato. On the right side of the Whole Foods Bakery you’ll find the La Farm Bakery and their offerings:


Bakery

At the front of the store, look back and you’ll see this view of the La Farm Bakery where they bake their breads daily:


Bakery

Turn facing the front of the store again and on your right you’ll find the cash registers which includes four convenient express checkouts. Turn left and you’ll find the La Farm Bakery Cafe:

La Farm Bakery

There are quite a few tables which include thirty seats, so you have the option to eat your La Farm food there. There are also thirty outdoor seats to choose from or you can get it to go. They offer baked goods, coffee, sandwiches, salads, soup and more. Check out their other location’s menu. The regular Whole Foods dining area is in front of the cash registers at the front of the building. If you want to eat outside, walk through the exterior doors in the cafe, turn right and then right again and you’ll find the covered outdoor seating area:


View of La Farm Cafe from Exterior

La Farm Outdoor Seating Area 

The Cosmetic Department is located in the front center of the market. There are frozen food cases on the rear wall and some next to the Wine Department. It looked like they had all hands on deck today, there was no shortage of employees ready to assist customers. I was asked several times if I needed assistance and I was greeted by each department that I visited. All the employees seemed to be happy and they were very friendly. It was an enjoyable visit. I’m so happy to finally have another Whole Foods Market in the area. I’m not a big fan of the other Cary location. Even though they did a bit of remodeling, I don’t think they did enough. They really need a full remodel. I also find that they don’t carry some items that other locations have and often things are out of stock. Sometimes I take the long drive to the Raleigh location just to get those items. I’m happy to report that this new location in West Cary has those items. The shelves are fully stocked and ready for you. So what are you waiting for? Ready, set, go!

Are you going to make this your go to location or will you continue to shop at another location? This will be the location we visit the most. In the Alston Town Center there is a pet shop I recommend, Pet People. They have the highest quality brands of dog food and treats. I already dined at one of the restaurants there, so check out my review of No 1 Pho before you go. There is also a Moe’s Southwest Grill, Built Custom Burgers and a Penn Station East Coast Subs to chose from. If you head to the other side of NC-540, you’ll find another shopping center, Parkside Town Commons, with more restaurants. I’ve reviewed Chuy’s Tex Mex Restaurant and Menchies Frozen Yogurt so far. What’s your favorite restaurant in that area?
I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardKindly share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);
Whole Foods Market  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Goji Bistro Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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100 Maynard Crossing Court
Cary, NC  27513
(919) 466-8888
Exterior View


Interior View


Hot & Sour Soup


Salad


Sweet & Sour Chicken – $8.50


Broccoli Stir Fry – $7.95


This is a review for an Asian restaurant called Goji Bistro located in Cary, North Carolina. They are located off North West Maynard Road. They are open daily from 11 am until 9 pm except on Friday and Saturday night when they stay open an additional hour. They are one of the few Asian restaurants in the area that doesn’t close between lunch and dinner. I couldn’t find their sanction score when I was there, so I looked it up online and it’s 95, which is very good. I visited with my guest on a Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 pm. They had only two other sets of customers, so this is a good time to visit if you prefer a quiet atmosphere. The decor is lovely. They have lots of tables and a bar. We were greeted by a very friendly Asian lady and seated at a table right away.

The waitress showed up to greet us within one minute. I ordered the Sweet & Sour Chicken off the lunch menu. It comes with your choice of soup or salad. I chose Hot & Sour Soup. My guest chose Broccoli Stir Fry without the rice and a salad with ranch dressing on the side. Within a couple of minutes our salad and soup were brought out. The Sweet & Sour Soup was served very warm, but not hot so I was able to eat it as soon as it arrived. It was delicious and I was given a generous amount of wontons which were very tasty. My guest enjoyed the mixed green salad which was very fresh. In only six minutes our entrees arrived. It arrived very hot, so I had to nibble at it until it cooled. The first bite of the chicken batter was crispy, but the rest had become soft since it was sitting in the sauce longer. The green & red peppers were cooked just enough so that they remained crisp which I prefer. I would have liked a bit more onion. The dish was very enjoyable. I also like how they didn’t use too much sauce, just enough to coat the chicken and vegetables. My guest enjoyed the meal, but found the skirt steak a bit tough. They were very generous with the broccoli. The waitress was friendly and attentive and offered a Diet Coke to go which was kind.

If you are the mood for Chinese food, but want a lovely atmosphere to eat it in rather than take out, I recommend you give this restaurant a try. They also offer take out. It was a peaceful, inexpensive and delicious meal. The bill for this visit was only $20.51 before tip. That includes two entrees, soup or salad and one soda! My soda was $2.50. What’s your favorite Asian restaurant in the Triangle?

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


Goji Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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QVC’s TSVs for October 2017

Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values


(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));2nd – G.I.L.I. Leather Crossbody Bag with Removable Pouch, A301458, $69.98 or 4 payments of $17.49, comes in 4 colors

3rd – iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Connect Robotic Vacuum, V35244, $329.94 or 6 payments of $54.99, check out my review of Roomba here.

4th – KitchenAid Five Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer, K46716, $36.12 or 2 payments of $18.06, comes in 8 colors

5th – Ultrafine Silver Polished Chain, 16″ J351576 for $29.00 or 18″ J351579 for $32.00 or 20″ J351580 for $34.00 or 24″ J351582 for $39.00 or 36″ J351583 for $59.00, available in 5 payments and choice of rope, wheat, flat bead or margherita  

6th – Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with Two Living Proof Products & Travel Bag, A301646, $399.00 or 6 payments of $66.50, comes in 3 colors

7th – HP 15.6″-17.3″ Touch Laptop, E231234, $429.96-$529.96, available in 6 payments and 7 colors

8th – Cook’s Essentials 5.3 Qt Digital Air Fryer with Ten Presets, K46619, $89.92 or 5 payments of $17.98, comes in 8 colors

9th – Susan Graver Solid or Printed Stretch Peachskin  bomber jacket, A301462, $59.40 or 5 payments of $11.88, 5 pattern/color choices

10th – Bethlehem Lights Estate Pre-lit Green or Flocked Collection, H212555, $39.96, choice of wreath, garland or tree & choice of multi or clear lights

11th – California Innovations Set of Six Insulated Totes with Gift Bags, K46612, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, 4 pattern/color choices

12th – Dennis Basso 68″ x 60″ Oversized Sculpted Faux Fur Throw, H213626, $44.94 or 3 payments of $14.98, comes in 7 colors, check out my reviews here and here.

13th – bareMinerals Deluxe Holiday Collection, A302273 or A/D A302892 (new radiance and lip shades in March 2018, only 2 shipments), $62.94 or 3 payments of $20.98, comes in 8 shades 

14th – Skechers Go Walk Suede & Faux Fur Boots, A301464, $58.80 or 5 payments of $11.76, comes 7 colors

15th – Amazon Fire 7″ Tablets with Custom Cases, E231020, comes in a set of 2 for $89.95 or a set of 4 for $149.95, available in 6 payments and 4 colors

16th- Cuddl Duds Fleecewear Stretch Hood Cardigan, A301459, $24.98 or 2 payments of $12.49, comes in 4 colors and 3 patterns

17th – Affinity 98 Facet Diamond Band Ring, J352055, $1199.00 available in 6 payments, comes in yellow or white 14K gold

18th – Martha Stewart 4.25 lb Turkey Breast with Herb Butter & Two 2 lb Sides, M55839, $99.95 available in 5 payments, A/D available and 2 additional ship dates of 11/13 and 12/11, choice of 6 different sides combos

19th – Malden Mills Polar Fleece Sheet Set with Extra Pillow Cases, Twin H213620 for $25.00 or Twin XL H213621 for $25.00 or Full H213622 for $28.00 or Queen H213623 for $34.00 or King H213624 for $40.00 or California King H213625 for $40.00, available in 3 payments and 6 colors

20th – Peter Thomas Roth 6.7 oz Mega Size Retinol PM, A277742 or A/D, $114.00 available in 6 payments

21st – Halo Bolt ACDC Portable Charger & Car Jumper with AC Outlet, E230549, $99.96 available in 5 payments and 8 colors, check out my review

22nd – Copper Chef Ten Piece Cerami-Tech Non-Stick Cookware Set, K47078 $79.98 available in 6 payments

23rd – Isaac Mizrahi Two Ply Cashmere V-Neck Tunic Sweater, A301460, $129.80, available in 6 payments, comes in 5 colors

24th – Ring Floodlight Security Camera Wide Angle HD Two Way Talk with 3 Year Warranty, E231400, $219.95 available in 5 payments, comes in black or white. I ordered it, check out my review! In the meantime, check out my review of the Ring Video Doorbell. FYI – next month they come out with their home security system.

25th – Amazon Fire TV Stick with Music Offer & Alexa Voice Remote, E231466, $39.98 available in 2 payments

26th – Clarks Cloud Steppers Wedge Ankle Boots, A301454, $72.80 or 5 payments of $14.56, comes in 5 colors

27th – Lug RFID Convertible Crossbody Bag, F12881, $39.96, comes in 7 colors

28th – Duraflame 28″ Electric Lantern with Infrared Heat, V35256, $89.95 or 5 payments of $17.99, comes in 6 colors

30th – NuFace Trinity Microcurrent Facial Toning Device, A297401, $299.94 available in 6 payments and 3 colors

31st – Lay/N/Go Set of Two 21″ Cosmo Plus Storage & Travel Bags, V35257, $29.96 or 2 payments of $14.98, comes in 5 patterns 

November 

1st – Ecolution Set of Three 3 Qt Microwave Popcorn Poppers, K46614, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, comes in 9 colors

2nd – Marc Fisher Calf Leather Tall Shaft Boots, Medium A301455 or Wide A301456, $124.80 or 5 payments of $24.96, comes in 5 colors

Inquiring minds want to know what is tempting you this month? I really want another Dennis Basso blanket or two or three, they are so addictive. Unfortunately, I already have too much bareMinerals original foundation to justify buying anymore, so I sadly have to pass on the TSV. One container lasts so long! Maybe Sephora will have a bareMinerals set closer to Christmas that I fancy more. The Duraflame Lantern is interesting. Anyone want to leave a review below? Wouldn’t it make anything that it sits on too hot? It looks too small to warm a room. I was tempted by the microwave popcorn popper. I watched the video and read the reviews and now I’m not quite sure since one time she made it there were so many unpopped kernels. The worst reviews said they either didn’t pop or burnt. Does anyone have a review to share on this popper? The reviews on Amazon are better and it’s currently $16.66 each. Other interesting upcoming TSVs are:

3rd – iRobot Roomba, updated above
4th – KitchenAid Anniversary, updated above
6th – Dyson Hair Dryer, updated above
10th – Bethlehem Lights Seasonal Lighting, updated above
18th – Martha Stewart Gourmet Food, updated above
20th – Peter Thomas Roth, updated above
22nd – Copper Chef, updated above
24th – NuFace Anti-aging Innovations moved to 10/30, 24th changed to Ring, updated above
25th – Atari Flashback 8 HD changed to Amazon Fire Stick, updated above
27th – Lug Travel & Handbags, updated above
28th – Shark moved to 29th, changed to Duraflame shown above
30th – Kristofer Buckle, changed to NuFace

I will update these as soon as preorder information is released. Please show your support for this blog by checking out the following referral offers for companies I recommend:

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

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


Thank you to those that have used my referral links, I really appreciate your support. Also, thanks to the those that leave comments and help out other shoppers with reviews and answering questions. You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my monthly giveaways. 

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I Saw, I Pinned, I Conquered, Part Two

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

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

Red Robin Restaurant Review – Apex, NC

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1431 Beaver Creek Commons Drive
Apex, NC  27502
(919) 363-8599
Exterior View


Interior View


Guacamole Bacon Burger & Fries – $10.99

Crispy Chicken Tender Salad – $10.49


This is a review of a restaurant called Red Robin located in Apex, North Carolina.  It’s a franchise with several locations in the area. There is also one in Cary, Garner, Raleigh, Durham, Wake Forest and Fayetteville. The Apex location is open from 11 am until 10 pm everyday except Friday and Saturday when they stay open one hour longer. We visited around 3:30 pm on a Sunday and it wasn’t busy as you can see in the interior photo above. Their sanitation score is currently 96.5, but you would guess it was much lower looking at the table in the interior photo showing the mess left behind by a family. That table sat there like that for a long time before it was cleaned up. One person came by and started to clean and left, then another person did the same and then finally the 2nd person showed up to finish the job. It was an extremely unappetizing view. We were greeted as soon as we entered the building and seated at a booth.

After a few minutes the waiter came over and asked for our drink orders. Then our drinks were delivered and we ordered. Hubby ordered the Guacamole Bacon Burger and I ordered the Crispy Chicken Tender Salad. About ten minutes later our entrees were delivered. I was shocked to see how small Hubby’s burger was and how few toppings were served. We had not been to a Red Robin for three years due to relocation and no locations nearby. We had frequented this location when we lived here before. Their burgers were always huge and impressive! Hubby’s burger is described as “guac, bacon, Swiss, tomatoes, lettuce, onion and mayo”. There was a tiny amount of guacamole on the burger unlike the photos they have on their website. Compare my photo with theirs and you’ll see why Hubby was so disappointed. They use to look like the website three years ago and they were very filling. This looked like a kid sized burger and there weren’t nearly as many fries as they normally serve. They offer bottomless fries and the wait staff is suppose to bring out more fries if desired. I was also shocked to see how little fried chicken was on my salad. Take a look at their photo and then my above. It was a least half of what I used to be served. Also, the egg was sliced incredibly thin and there were only a couple slices on my salad, not even a 1/3 of an egg and the slices weren’t intact. The salad had mostly iceberg lettuce and it was a thin layer. I asked the waiter which dressings they offer and ordered the Baja Ranch dressing and was told it was a spicy ranch. It’s not listed on the online menu. The only thing close to it is called Salsa Ranch. It was so watery I asked for some Thousand Island instead. It had very little flavor as if water was added to it because they were running out. The best part of the salad was the chicken tenders which were crunchy and tasty, but I wasn’t served enough for it to be filling. It’s described as “your favorite finger food tossed with hard boiled eggs, hardwood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and cheddar over mixed greens. Served with garlic toast and choice of dressing”. The garlic toast was cold and the chicken was just warm, not hot. I was really disappointed especially at the price of $10.49. I can get a better tasting and more filling salad at Chick-fil-A for less. 

This restaurant caters to children offering balloons, crayons and paper, so it can be quite noisy with lots of screaming children. You’ll also have the unappetizing view of food all over the floor since the staff and parents don’t pick it up as shown above. The interior decor use to be bright and cheerful, now the walls are pained a unappetizing dark grey and they have most of the blinds closed. It’s such a shame because we use to enjoy frequenting this restaurant particularly this location. The Cary location always smells like they are burning the burgers, so we stopped going to that location years ago. 

The waiter was overly attentive to the point of being annoying. For instance, asking if everything was ok when all we had were soft drinks and we were waiting for our food. He visited our table too often and lingered. He even asked “how’s it going ladies” and then apologized saying that five times prior the customers sitting at our booth were all ladies. He also went on a long speech about how to fill out the survey to rate his performance. He was disrespectful of our time. I also don’t like how you have to pay for your order at the table now. I notified the waiter that we would be using my free Happy Birthday Burger Coupon and he failed to wish me a Happy Birthday. This is one franchise we will be taking off our list and will not be returning. While the ratings for this franchise are only three out of five stars, we thought since previously we had decent experiences we would give it a try only to realize how accurate those ratings are. It’s such a shame, because Hubby use to love to go there for their burgers. I also loved their Fish & Chips, the Croissant Sandwich and we both loved their chocolate milkshake. Now it seems to keep profits up they are making the portions smaller and increasing the prices. It’s now nothing more than a fast food joint without the fast service or the decent prices. At least at fast food restaurants they keep the floor and tables clean.

I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board
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Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Beef Stroganoff

I have a confession to make.
I love Hamburger Helper.
I know. Shocking. Mrs. Clean Eating loves preservative-filled fake dinner. I’ve loved it for a long time though, ever since college when I would make it all.the.time. Ask my college roommate, Rachael 🙂 I am particularly drawn to the Beef Stroganoff. I don’t know what is it about that ground beef, noodly, creamy goodness that gets me every time.
Anyway, since going clean, HH has not made an appearance in our household. Luckily, I had an old recipe for Easy Beef Stroganoff tucked away and decided to give it the old college try. While it didn’t measure up to HH to me, it was still good and easy, just like the name says. Plus, it was all-natural and clean. My kiddos gobbled it up. 
I used all-natural, homemade egg noodles I found at a local meat market. My grandma has a recipe for homemade egg noodles as well, so maybe I’ll get brave and try those too. We used the grain-fed beef for the meat, which was also really good and super tender. With this recipe, be sure not to overcook the meat, just cook until barely pink. Otherwise, it gets too tough.

Easy Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from Real Simple

12 ounces egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups fresh mushrooms
1 8-ounce container all-natural sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In 2 batches, cook the steak until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and bell pepper (if desired); cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and beef and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and steak sauce and stir the mixture into the beef and mushrooms. Serve over the noodles.

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Review: Pacifica Island Vanilla & Indian Coconut Nectar Perfumed Hair & Body Mists

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Yard House Restaurant Review – Raleigh, NC

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

Exterior View

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beef Fajitas and Pico de Gallo Straight from the Garden


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

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

Gobble Meal Kit Review – Free Meals for You!

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Chicken & Waffles with Sautéed Spinach


Ingredients

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Tataki with Kohlrabi Noodles & Ponzu Dressing


Ingredients


Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup


Ingredients


Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


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

Chicken & Waffles with Sautéed Spinach

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

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Tataki with Kohlrabi Noodles & Ponzu Dressing

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

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

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

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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

Bargain Alert:

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

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

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Doherty’s Irish Pub Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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1979 High House Road
Cary, NC  27519
(919) 388-9930


Exterior View


Interior View


Fish & Chips – $15.00


The Mullingar – $13.00


This is a review for an Irish Pub called Doherty’s located in Cary, North Carolina. They are in the same shopping center as the new Asian market, H Mart. They are open from 11 am until midnight Monday through Friday. Saturday they are open until 2 am and Sunday they open early at 9 am. Their health inspection score is currently 94.5, which is good. We visited on a Saturday at 5 pm. 

We were immediately greeted by a hostess who seated us at a table. I thought for sure we had arrived early enough to get a booth, but all the booths were shockingly filled already except the one for more than four people. Apparently, they didn’t want to seat two people there. The ceiling is filled with fans which have recessed lights behind them that cast a flashing light on the tables due to the movement of the fan which made me nauseous. My husband asked the hostess if they could turn the fan off, so it would stop making a flashing light. Instead she escorted us to the back of the restaurant where there were no fans though I could still see the flashing lights at the nearby booths. This is the point that we should have left, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. This is the section they play darts and it’s behind the register. It feels like you are in the second class section. The timid waitress came by after a significant wait and took our order. When asking questions about the entrees on the menu, she was unsure of many of her answers. Instead of telling us she would ask management for the answers and be right back, she just said she wasn’t sure or didn’t know. I ordered the Fish & Chips which are described as “light & flakey whitefish batter fried & served with hand cut fries, haricot vert, tarter sauce and malt vinegar”. The waitress said she thought it might be pollock. Everything was served lukewarm except the fish which was hot. They must have prepared all of the food except the fish in advance since the food came out so quickly, there is no way it had time to cool off in such a short amount of time. The overcooked fries were greasy enough to upset my stomach immediately, so I had to stop eating them. The green beans tasted pretty good, but it’s a shame they weren’t served hot or warm. Traditionally, Fish & Chips are served with mushy peas not green beans. The tarter sauce was just ordinary. The fish batter didn’t have much flavor, I was expecting beer batter since it’s an Irish bar! I’ve had better tasting fried fish at the fast food restaurants Long John Silvers and Captain D’s. Having British parents and having eaten Fish & Chips in the UK, I’m certainly a good judge of this entree. If you are ever in England, you must try Fish & Chips there, they are so intensely scrumptious! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The Doherty’s Fish & Chips were a huge disappointment especially at the price tag of $15.00! Hubby ordered the Mullingar which is described as “Guinness braised brisket laced with fresh mushrooms, caramelized onions and topped with creamy horseradish sauce”. The menu also states that it comes with a traditional Irish potato pancake, potato croquettes and haricot vert (green beans). When the brisket arrived I was shocked at how disgusting it looked, see photo above. There are certainly no fresh mushrooms and I have never seen brisket that awful color. It looks like they put the meat in a food processor! What in the world did they do to it? Brisket is suppose to have a pink color to it and not processed. My husband who’s on a low carb diet asked to skip the potato pancake and croquettes yet the waitress brought them to the table. The presentation was appalling. All of his food was brought to the table lukewarm. The waitress later came by asking if we liked it and she clearly doesn’t know how to read body language because we were extremely disappointed. She even went so far as to ask if we wanted a to go box which I found so irritating. She just didn’t get it. Someone who didn’t introduce himself, who I’m guessing must have been the manager, asked if we liked the food also. Wow, he doesn’t know how to read body language either or he just didn’t want to deal with complaints. Most of the time we don’t voice our complaints, we just don’t return to the restaurant. The only time I complain is when I’m sent a survey by email or if there is a comment card brought with the check. I really dislike it when management doesn’t introduce themselves, he just looked like a guy off the street since he wasn’t in any type of uniform. The wait staff was wearing all black, but he was not. He didn’t have a smile for us either. It was very dark in the restaurant and the decor is worn and outdated and the chairs uncomfortable. Start with an overall unwelcoming and uncomfortable experience, add the nauseating light and appearance of the brisket and it adds up to one of the worst restaurant experiences I remember in a long time. Needless to say we will not return and I recommend you skip this restaurant. Sometimes it’s unenjoyable being a food blogger and after this experience we took a break from trying new restaurants and stuck with our favorite restaurants.  While I dislike having to write bad reviews and I have put off writing this one, readers have come to expect my honesty, so here it is.

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



Doherty's Irish Pub & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Eating My Way Through Athens

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

Some of the highlights:

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

 

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












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


21st Plated Meal Kit Delivery Review


Sausage Stuffed Portobellos with Ricotta


Ingredients


Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes & Dill Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


Waldorf Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons


Ingredients


This is a review of our 21st delivery from Plated which is a weekly meal kit subscription box. This box of recipes and ingredients costs $71.70 including shipping and handling. It breaks down to $11.95 a serving. This week we gave two recipes five out of five stars and one recipe four stars. It was an absolutely scrumptious set of three recipes! This is what I’ve come to expect from Plated, but lately they haven’t been as good, so I’m thrilled they stepped up their game again and impressed up once again. Just thinking about these recipes is making me hungry. Calories ranged from 630 to 850 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards is forty to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation was forty-five minutes to over an hour.

Sausage Stuffed Portobellos with Ricotta

We gave this recipe five out of five stars. Oh my, it was so fabulously delicious. Look at the ingredients in the photo above, the mushrooms are huge! Even the side argula salad was yummy. The filling for the mushroom is made with sausage, white wine, ricotta, cream cheese, parmesan and parsley with parmesan sprinkled on top & balsamic glaze drizzled on top. So very yummy! The side salad is made with arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was very tasty also. The dressing was a lovely addition. This one took forty-five minutes to prepare and the recipe says it will take forty-five minutes, a rare time that the recipe card was correct in it’s estimate. This one has only 630 calories and it’s a healthy and filling recipe.

Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes & Dill Cucumber Salad

Since I have Swedish heritage and I love Swedish Meatballs, I just had to order this recipe, in fact it’s what made me order this week. I guess I’m a bit picky, cause this recipe wasn’t the best. There was too much onion in the meatballs and the sauce. The gravy was tasty, but the meatballs needed some spice, some nutmeg would have helped. The red skinned mashed potatoes were very tasty. The side cucumber salad was a bit tart and seemed out of place like it should have been sitting next to a Greek dish not a Swedish one. I gave it four out of five stars, but it’s leaning a bit to the three stars side. This one took over an hour to prepare while the recipe card states only forty minutes. It has 840 calories.

Waldorf Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

I love a really good salad when I have the time to eat it and this one looked really tasty. We gave this recipe five out of five stars, it was delightful. I’m not a fan of hard croutons. I always pick them off my salad, so I was intrigued by one that uses soft cornbread instead. It was really tasty and a lovely addition to the salad. The combination of romaine lettuce, apple, cornbread, red grapes, celery, tarragon, chives, walnuts and chicken was wonderful. The dressing made with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, chives, salt and pepper was tasty and so much better than store bought dressing that usually has some horrible ingredients in it that aren’t healthy. It was a good sized salad that was filling and this one comes in at 850 calories. Preparation time was over an hour while the recipe states up to forty minutes. Mind you we take our time cleaning produce.
It was a wonderful week of recipes that were scrumptious. I would order more often from them if they weren’t one of the most expensive meal kits. We are expecting a meal kit from Green Chef next, so stay tuned for that review. Be sure to check out the rest of the recipes I reviewed via my Pinterest Plated Subscription Box Board. Who do you order meal kits from the most? If you haven’t tried one yet, why?

Bargain Alert: 

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

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STEAMPUNK’D: URBAN MOTOR’S JAWA SPRINT MOTORCYCLE


Glemseck 101 is just around the corner. Set in southern German town of Leonberg, it’s a two-wheeled celebration of gasoline and good taste.
It also attracts some of the most outrageous customs on the planet. We’ve seen everything from turbocharged boxers to fire-breathing Yamaha XJRs. But a 350cc Jawa with a steampunk vibe? Now das ist different.

This is what Berlin-based Urban Motor have built for their entry into Glemseck’s inaugural Essenza sprint.
Sixteen teams will compete—a mixed bag of manufacturers and custom builders. The bikes are limited to two cylinders and a 1200cc maximum.

But it’s as much about style as it is about speed. A panel of judges—and a public vote—will determine the best-designed bike, to be crowned alongside the fastest.
No prizes for guessing which category Urban Motor are gunning for. With a whopping 18 horsepower on tap, this little 1964 Jawa 350 will be racing against 21st century machinery like the BMW R nineT and Triumph Thruxton R.

Shop boss Peter Dannenberg’s hardly fazed: “Those who sprint slowly are seen longer!”
We love the elegant minimalism at play here, which belies the inordinate amount of work that went into the build. Everything wrapped around the Jawa’s two-stroke mill is—quite obviously—completely custom-made.

“If essence is the key, then we want to do it right,” says Peter. “We want to make a statement.”
Urban Motor tossed all but the engine, before building a whole new chassis from steel tubing. The design of the alloy bodywork was a collaboration with Marven Diehl of KRT Framework, who fashioned the metal himself.


Marven was also responsible for the Jawa’s quirky front suspension design, with its integrated handlebars. And no, we don’t know how it works.
Everything’s book-ended by two skinny, 23” alloy SM Pro rims. A solitary drum brake (at the back) handles the stopping duties.

On the engine side, Urban Motor have installed a Jikov carb, and fabricated a pair of short, graceful exhausts. With no need for lights or turn signals, the wiring’s been stripped down to the bare essentials.
The Jawa now weighs a svelte 90kg, with finishes as tasteful as its silhouette. Sven van den Brandt handled the only paint on the project: a touch of matte gold on the forks and swingarm.

The grips are wrapped in leather from Red Wing, and the seat was made to spec by C. Benda. There are some smaller details to digest too: from the exposed throttle assembly, to the direct-mount rear sets.
Urban Motor have given their build an appropriately quirky name: ‘EASY (…like Sunday morning).’


“We are not dogmatic about competitions and rules,” explains Peter. “We like to see the big picture and enjoy divergence with humor, fun and the winking of an eye.”

Will it win the races? Probably not, but you can bet it’ll win hearts.
Urban Motor | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Tim Adler | Essenza [In German]
 first published by www.bikeexif.com

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 4 Deals are Live (PS: I’m Back!)

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Flat Belly Diet 4-Day Anti-Bloat Cleanse

Before I started the whole journey to eating clean, I did a 10-day Advocare Cleanse to clear out my system, so to speak. It did wonderful things for my energy levels and helped get my mindset into eating clean. Well, nine months later, I decided I needed another push of the reset button. I’ve been doing really well overall, but summer has been hard for overeating and not choosing good foods. So, I am doing another cleanse, but this time I am doing the Flat Belly Diet 4-day Anti-Bloat Cleanse.

I am not a fan of diets at all because I think they set you up for eating unrealistically and while you may have success at the beginning, it usually fades pretty quickly. I’m more for lifestyle changes that you can adopt for the rest of your life. I came across the Flat Belly Diet and was skeptical at first, but after reading through the book, I decided to try the cleanse and then adopt some of the diet. The diet is basically a 1600-calorie Mediterranean diet that includes a MUFA (monounsaturated fat) in every meal. You can read more about it here and here.

I’ll talk more about the diet as I go along, but I wanted to tell you all about the cleanse. I definitely felt less bloated afterwards, but pretty hungry each day. I definitely did not consume enough calories for my 14k training and bonked on one of my runs. Overall, it was a great way to reset my appetite and I did lose a few pounds. I will continue to drink the Sassy Water because was very refreshing and suppressed my appetite.

Here’s what was on the menu for each day (plus my modifications). I took some creative liberties and swapped out some of the sides and changed them between days:

Day 1
Breakfast
1 c unsweetened cornflakes
1 c skim milk
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (I did not eat this…gross)
1/2 c raw or roasted sunflower seeds
1 glass sassy water

Lunch
4 oz turkey
1 light string cheese
1 pt fresh grape tomatoes
glass of sassy water

Smoothie: 1 c skim milk,1 c frozen blueberries blended then add 1 Tbsp cold pressed organic flaxseed oil (This can be eaten as a mid-morning, mid-afternoon or after dinner snack…whenever you need the pick-me-up)

Dinner
1 c fresh/frozen cooked green beans
4 oz grilled/cooked tilapia
1/2 c roasted red potatoes drizzled with 1 tsp olive oil.

Day 2
Breakfast
1 c Rice Krisipies
1 c skim milk
1/4 c sunflower seeds
4 oz pineapple tidbits canned in juice (left this out…not a pineapple fan either)
glass of sassy water

Lunch
3 oz light tuna in water (I did turkey every day b/c I don’t like tuna)
1 c steamed baby carrots (I used raw, regular carrots…too much sugar in the baby ones)
1 light string cheese
Sassy water

Smoothie: 1 c skim milk, 4 oz canned pineapple tidbits in juice in blender, stir in 1 tbsp flax oil

Dinner
1 c fresh crimini (bella) mushrooms sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil
3 oz grilled chicken breast
1/2 c brown rice
Sassy water

Day 3
Breakfast
Same as Day 1 except for 2 Tbsp raisins instead of applesauce

Lunch
Same as Day 1

Smoothie: use 1 c frozen peaches w/ 2 tsp flax oil

Dinner
Same as day 1 except for 3oz baked turkey cutlet instead of fish. (I did chicken again)

Day 4
Breakfast
1 pkg instant cream of wheat
1 c skim milk
1/4 c sunflower seed
2 dried plums

Lunch
Same as Day 1

Smoothie use 1 c frozen strawberries/2 tsp flax oil

Dinner
1 c fresh/frozen yellow squash sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil
3 oz grilled chicken breast
1/2 c brown rice
Sassy water

During 4 days you also must avoid coffee, any soft drink, sweeteners, salt, excess carbs, bulky raw food, gassy foods, gum, fried foods, spicy foods.

The Sassy Water Recipe

2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves.
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.
Drink the entire pitcher by the end of each day.

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Body Butter

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

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

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

Total cost — $15.30 or $1.53 per jar

24 Days of Deals from Julep

 

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

Day 1: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bargain Alert:

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Never Forget.

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

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

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

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

I want to teach them to never forget.

World’s Best Chicken

Another day, another Pinterest recipe. It was really good but I don’t know if it was the World’s Best Chicken as the name suggests. (I just kept picturing Buddy the Elf bursting into my kitchen to congratulate me on making the world’s best chicken 🙂 It is really easy to make and would make a great meal to take to someone, as well as good freezer meal. It will stay in our recipe repertoire as Really Good Chicken 😉


The World’s Best Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Rosemary

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 greased baking dish. Season with salt & lots of pepper. Pour mustard mixture over chicken. Make sure each breast is coated. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. There will be extra sauce in the pan, which you can elect to toss out or use for extra flavoring. Season with chopped rosemary. To make this in the slow cooker, combine all ingredients and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Garlic Marinated Pork

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

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

Pork Tenderloins
From Foodie Sisters
 

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


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

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review – March 2018

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Festival of Beauty

This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Sephora for only $10 including shipping. The retail value of my box is $35.35. Included in this month’s box were the following products:
  1. Bobby Brown – Illuminating Moisture Bomb, made in Belgium, .17 fl. oz., $11.56 retail value
  2. Amika – Nourishing Hair Mask, made in Israel, .7 fl. oz., $2.30 retail value
  3. Stila – Stay All Day Eyeliner in black, made in Japan, .008 fl. oz., $11.00 retail value
  4. IGK – Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm, made in the USA, .5 fl. oz., $2.90 retail value
  5. SuperGoop – Defense Refresh Setting Mist, made in the USA, .5 fl. oz., $4.11 retail value
  6. Korres – Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser, made in Greece, .68 fl. oz., $3.48 retail value
I think I may have received the Stila eyeliner previously. It has a nice fine point, but I’m not a fan of waterproof eyeliners. As most other subscribers are, I’m a bit tired of receiving black eyeliner in my subscription boxes. I’ll give the hair mask a try tonight. It’s suppose to repair damaged hair. Usually I don’t need to use a hair mask because Wen’s cleansing conditioner is so moisturizing. I’m a little confused by the Illuminating Moisture Bomb. It says to use as a moisturizer before applying makeup or after applying skin care. It doesn’t say it’s a primer, but why would I apply two kinds of moisturizer. I’m a bit tired of cosmetic companies coming up with more steps to do. The ratings are pretty good. I’ll try it tomorrow and see how it responds to my makeup. The Korres cleanser is suppose to reduce redness. I enjoy receiving cleansers in my subscription boxes. They are the perfect size for use in the shower. The Hydrating Hair Balm is suppose to reduce frizziness which isn’t a problem I have with my straight hair. It says it can be used on wet or dry hair. This one uses coconut oil to smooth the hair. I’m not a fan of finishing sprays, it’s just another step that I don’t tend to make time for. I really don’t like the idea of using one that has SPF. Too many products have SPF now. I only need one product that has SPF, layering them is just crazy and spraying it near my eyes is even crazier. I’m not a fan of the SuperGoop brand. 

Most of this month’s samples are free of paraben and sulfates which is nice. I’m happy to see more companies offer products that don’t include those dangerous ingredients. I’ve received twenty-three of these Sephora boxes. The retail value I have received has ranged from $26.41 to $58.57. The last three boxes were under $30, so I’m glad to see this one is over $30, coming in at $35.35. I was wondering if that was the direction Sephora was going in. There is so much competition, so that is really not a good idea. A lot of customers are complaining lately that they aren’t happy with their boxes. This month, nothing really excites me in this box, so I am contemplating cancelling. I would have liked to see more makeup and not another eye liner. What’s you favorite cosmetic subscription box?

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates – 4% cash back for online Sephora purchases! 
Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to see what I have received in my previous twenty-two boxes. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Don’t forget to follow this blog via Facebook so you don’t miss any of my future posts.

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Zucchini Pizza Crust



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

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


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

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

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

Suzanne Somers Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Suzanne Selects Subscription Box – 1st Shipment


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

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

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

Bargain Alert:

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

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

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Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken with Avocado Ranch Sauce

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

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


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

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


FOR THE SAUCE:

1 C mayo

1/2 C milk

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

1 T garlic powder

1 T onion powder

1 teaspoon lime juice
2 avocados

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

Flat Belly Diet – Chicken Roulade

This is another recipe from the Flat Belly Diet that was delish! The kids even chowed down! It would also make a great dinner party dish. It looks pretty plated up, yet is so easy! One serving equals under 400 calories, so it not only looks good and tastes good, it’s good for you!

Chicken Roulade
Adapted from Prevention.com

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

1 package frozen spinach
4 chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), trimmed 

In a medium nonstick skillet, combine the tomato, onion, 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon water. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onion sizzles. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring once, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add in spinach and parm cheese and let simmer on low.
While you prepare the spinach mixture, grill the chicken until done. Serve the grilled chicken breasts with the spinach mixture on top, sprinkled with more parm cheese if you like.
 


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Inspirational motorcycle trip stretched from Alaska through South America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

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

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

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

Banana Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
Courtesy of The Joseph Wilson

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

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

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Saving Green Birthday Parties

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

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92′ BMW R100GS Sidecar ‘Avventura’ – OCGarage


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

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

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

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

First published by www.pipeburn.com

I Saw, I Pinned, I Conquered, Part Three

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

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

Repurposing Old Windows, Part Deux

Found another huge window that I wasn’t sure what I would use it for since it was so big, but it was only $5 so I couldn’t resist. After bringing it home and having it sit in my garage for several weeks, I decided I would use to dress up my fireplace mantel. Previously, I just had the star hanging up on the wall, but I think adding the star behind it gives the mantel more dimension and interest. Plus, I think it looks rustic and Americana and super cute 🙂 When hanging old windows, especially large ones, be sure to use drywall anchors and heavy duty picture frame hooks.

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

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Berry Balsamic Salad – $7.99


Berry Balsamic Salad Box


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


Greek Salad – $7.99


Greek Salad Box


Organic Züpa Noma Superfood Soups – $6.49 each


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


Revolution Lunch Bundle Sundipper – $5.49


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

Berry Balsamic Salad

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

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

Greek Salad

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

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

Hummus with Multigrain Pita, Carrot & Celery Sticks

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

Revolution Lunch Bundle Sundipper

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

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

Bargain Alert:

Terra’s Kitchen$40 Off 

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


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$72 Plated Meal Kit Giveaway – October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 6 Deals are Live (Tips, New Makeup Deals and What I’m Buying)

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The Lipstick League – Week of 4.11.17

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Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 9 Deals are Live (Tips & Reminders!)

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QUICK TIPS: PRETEND YOU ARE INVISIBLE

If you ride a motorcycle, you know that out on the road you might as well be transparent, because car drivers often look right past you. They might notice the car or truck behind you, but you, in all your “narrowness,” may not register in the visual cortex of even the most alert drivers.

Sadly, drivers might behave this way even when they’re not distracted by their cell phone, GPS, satellite radio, or other form of in-car infotainment. So how do you compensate for being “invisible” to drivers?

Be as conspicuous as possible. Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet. Always have your headlight on, and use your high beam or an aftermarket headlight modulator during the day (where allowed).

Take an approved rider training course. Learn how to maneuver your motorcycle in normal and emergency situations, and practice braking and swerving maneuvers often. Also understand that safe riding depends as much on the mental skills of awareness and judgment as it does on the physical skill of maneuvering the machine; respond early to possible hazards instead of having to react instantly to an emergency.

Take an approved rider training course. Learn how to maneuver your motorcycle in normal and emergency situations, and practice braking and swerving maneuvers often. Also understand that safe riding depends as much on the mental skills of awareness and judgment as it does on the physical skill of maneuvering the machine; respond early to possible hazards instead of having to react instantly to an emergency.

CAR DRIVERS ONLY SEE WHAT THEY EXPECT TO SEE, AND MOST DON’T EXPECT YOU TO BE PART OF THE TRAFFIC MIX. RIDE WITH THE RIGHT SKILLS, STRATEGIES, AND ATTITUDE. BE SEEN – BE SAFE.

That’s why an oncoming car driver might turn left in front of you at an intersection.
That’s also why a driver in the next lane, even if they turn and look in your direction before changing lanes, might veer into your lane.

Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation

23rd Sun Basket Review & $40 Off Coupon

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Sole Almondine with Roasted Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes


Ingredients


Shrimp Skewers with Salsa Verde & Mandarin Jicama Salad


Ingredients


Roasted Sausages & Winter Vegetables with Romesco


Ingredients


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

Sole Almondine with Roasted Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes

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

Shrimp Skewers with Salsa Verde & Mandarin Jicama Salad

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

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

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

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

Bargain Alert: 
Sun Basket – $40 off

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New Sale Items at Macy’s (Extra 10% off + Free Shipping + Sample)

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Coming Soon to Ulta: Dose of Colors and Wet n Wild

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Unboxing: Target May 2017 Beauty Box

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Julep’s Peyton Manicure

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Peyton by Julep


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

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

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


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

Bargain Alert:  

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


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16th Hello Fresh Meal Kit Review & $40 Coupon

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Melty Mozzarella Burger with Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Greens on Ciabatta


Ingredients

Wasabi Zinger Salmon over Jasmine Rice & Green Beans


Ingredients


Maple Glazed Pork Chops with a Sweet Potato Mash & Garlicky Green Beans


Ingredients


This is a review of our 16th delivery from a weekly meal kit subscription box called Hello Fresh. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars and the other two recipes three stars. Preparation time indicated on the recipe cards for all three recipes is thirty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from thirty-eight to fifty-three minutes. Calories ranged from 640 to 750.

Melty Mozzarella Burger with Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Greens on Ciabatta

I gave this recipe three out of five stars. It was a bit on the bland side. Hubby added some spiced paprika to the burger to improve it. He likes cooked onions on his burger, but I prefer uncooked red onions. The ground beef isn’t shown in the ingredient photo because it leaked during shipping and we had to throw it out since it turned brown. I let them know via email and they credited my account for this meal. The salad dressing was too sour for my taste and it was strange adding tomato paste to the balsamic vinegar. This recipe has 750 calories and it took thirty-eight minutes to prepare. 

Wasabi Zinger Salmon over Jasmine Rice & Green Beans
Hubby & I gave this recipe five out of five stars, it was absolutely scrumptious. The wasabi crema made with lime zest, lime juice, wasabi paste, sour cream, salt and pepper was incredibly delicious. So simple yet so tasty especially on top of the salmon! You must give it a try. The veggie stock added to the jasmine rice was yummy and jasmine rice is my favorite. The only thing was they wanted us to the cook the green beans in the microwave which we aren’t a fan of, so hubby cooked them on the stove. This one has 700 calories and it took Hubby fifty-three minutes to prepare.

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with a Sweet Potato Mash & Garlicky Green Beans
We gave this recipe three out of five stars. The maple sauce was tasty, just not my favorite that I have tried so far on top of pork chops. I’m not a fan of the cinnamon and pecans added to the sweet potatoes, it tasted too much like sweet potato pie. I prefer just butter. We weren’t real crazy about the garlic on the green beans, but they were tasty. This was a simple recipe, we would have liked a bit more excitement. It has 640 calories and it took forty minutes to prepare.

We are going to use the recipe for the wasabi crema again soon, it’s so tasty and it really livens up the salmon. No need to have a boring meal with salmon ever since it’s so easy and quick to make. We’ve found so many good sauce and dressing recipes over the years from the meal kits we have tried. Check out all the recipes we have made so far on my Hello Fresh Pinterest Board. Have you given Hello Fresh a try yet? If not, click on the link below to save $40 off your first box. Enjoy!

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh – $40 off
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Some More Fall Crafts Courtesy of Pinterest

While everyone else has seemed to move onto Christmas, I’m still enjoying Fall and decided to try some autumn-themed decorations I had seen on Pinterest.

The first was a pumpkin made out of mason jar or canning jar rings. I had about a dozen left over from canning this summer, so had to buy another box. You can find them for around $3 for a dozen at Wal-Mart, a dollar store, Kroger, etc. 

Lay all the rings out on a piece of cardboard or paper and spray paint with inexpensive orange spray paint (avoid the day-glo orange though!). Flip them over after they dry and paint the other side. Let dry completely, then put them all on a string (all facing the same direction) and tie the string in a knot, arranging the rings into a circle/pumpkin shape. You’ll have to tie a pretty tight knot for it to keep its shape. You can do any number of things for the stem and leaf….I opted to use rolled up burlap and a green ribbon. I’ve also seen them done with a stick and green felt, string, etc.

Since I had the orange spray paint out already, my second project was another pumpkin, this time made from wine corks. Pull out 25 wine corks, spray paint orange (one side at a time) and glue together in a pumpkin shape using hot glue. Start with four, then five, then six, then five, then four. Again, for the stem and leaf you could do about anything, I used burlap and ribbon.

Large Update to Memorial Day Beauty Sale Round-Up (PUR Mystery Bags Are Back and More!)

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iPhone 8 Plus Reveal & Review

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Rear View – Indoors

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


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


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

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

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

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Sushiōki Restaurant Review – Durham, NC

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4900 NC Highway 55
Suite 510
Durham, NC  27713
(919) 405-7121


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Reel Alaskan Meal – $14.25


Close Up


This is a review of a new Asian restaurant that opened up about two weeks ago in Durham, North Carolina called Sushiōki. They are located in the Park West Crossing Shopping Center on the right side. They are open from 11 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and they are closed on Sundays. I visited today, Tuesday, around 3 pm. I was the only customer at that time. I was greeted at the register immediately and I ordered the Reel Alaskan Meal without the pickled onion and pickled daikon since I can’t eat anything pickled. I made it a meal and chose the wasabi chips and a Diet Pepsi. The other chip choices are original, BBQ and cinnamon and sugar. Their menu is very simple, there are only seven sushi rolls to chose from. They are wrapped, so they can be eaten just like a sandwich. It’s like a giant sushi roll cut in half. These are the seven choices:
  1. Southern Sushi – hickory smoked pork BBQ, creamy slaw, pork rinds and gochujang sauce for $9.75
  2. Bull City Bulgogi – Korean beef BBQ, kimchi slaw, picked daikon and boom sauce for $9.75
  3. Titan Tempur – tempura shrimp, butter lettuce, pickled cucumber, shredded carrots and sweet chili Thai sauce for $10.75
  4. Reel Alaskan – spicy sriracha marinated salmon, butter lettuce, tobiko, pickled red onion and pickled daikon for $11.75
  5. RD Yoo – Poké marinated tuna, butter lettuce, picked red onion, cucumber and cucumber wasabi sauce for $10.75
  6. Oh My Gahshi – twice fried chicken thighs, butter lettuce, pickled cucumbers, kimchi slaw and gochujang sauce for $8.75
  7. Veggie Bender – exotic mushroom blend, butter lettuce, charred cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled red onion and green onion jam for $8.75
Any of them can be placed in a bowl over rice or greens instead, if you don’t want it make into a wrap. Rice chips cost $1.75, soft drinks or tea are $1.75, a kids meal is $5.75 and you can make it a meal by adding chips and drink for $2.50. The kids meal is fried chicken thighs, rice, toasted seaweed and a juice box. Drinks are self serve.

My order was made right away and it took only five minutes to be delivered to my table. I wasn’t sure I would like the wasabi chips, but they were awesome! They are like wonton crisps, but much thiner and sprinkled with seasoning. They are very lightly seasoned, so don’t be afraid that they will be too spicy for you. I absolutely love them, yum! They aren’t greasy at all and perfectly crisp. The wrap was full of salmon so much so that almost every bite had some salmon which was my concern before giving it a try. I didn’t find it spicy, it had a light amount of sriracha. The rice was perfectly cooked and tasty. It was so delicious that I was sad when I had my last bite. I would like to return to try some other versions, perhaps I’ll try the tuna one next and I’ll order an extra side of chips since they are so tasty.

I really enjoyed my meal and on my way out the young man came out from the back to say goodbye. He was very friendly and made my visit that much more enjoyable. I recommend that you give this fast food Asian restaurant a try very soon. What’s your favorite Asian restaurant in the area?

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


Sushiōki  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Christmas Sangria

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

:) 


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

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

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

21st Blue Apron Meal Kit Review

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Spicy Korean Chicken Bao with Green Bean & Tomato Salad


Ingredients


Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po’ Boys with Tomato & Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


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

Spicy Korean Chicken Bao with Green Bean & Tomato Salad

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

Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po’ Boys with Tomato & Cucumber Salad

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

Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad

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

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

Bargain Alert:

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

Vitacost – $10 Off, click here.
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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale $10 Credit Offer is Back and LORAC & Leaders Now on HauteLook

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Monterrey Chicken

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

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

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

Chuy’s Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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


Exterior View


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

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


Chips, Creamy Jalapeño Dip & Salsa

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

The King’s Punch – $9.59

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

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



The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo – $11.79


The Elvis Presley Ground Sirloin Taco & Chips

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


Chicken Fajitas – $13.99


Fajitas Toppings


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

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

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Chuy's Tex Mex  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Buckeye Bark

This is my last post here…from now on, head over to www.eatingcleanandsavinggreen.com!

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to baking. Here’s a prime example…I love buckeyes and always make them every Christmas. However, I HATE all the ball rolling and dipping involved, so this year, I opted to make Buckeye Bark. Let me tell you, it was so much easier and I think even better than regular buckeyes. A much more even chocolate to peanut butter ratio 😉 

Buckeye Bark
From Live Sigma Kappa

2-1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating
1 (16.3 oz) jar creamy peanut butter
2 c Confectioners’ sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt half of the chocolate candy coating according to the package directions, then spread over parchment paper or a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Spread to a large rectangle, but not too thin – approximately 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness. Place in freezer to firm up.

In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter, Confectioners’ sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Remove first chocolate layer from the freezer and spread the peanut butter mixture over the top. Return to the freezer and melt the remaining chocolate candy coating. Once that is melted, spread it over the top of the peanut butter layer and freeze until set.

Break up the bark into small pieces using a butcher knife. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.

GIVEAWAY – $59.94 Blue Apron Meal Kit

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

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

Bargain Alert: 

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

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Happy Halloween!

You know how I always talk about the 80/20 rule? Well, today is one of those days were I fit firmly in the 20 percent 🙂 I cannot say no to a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup (or several!). I hope you all enjoy your Halloween and get lots of yummy treats. Then it’s back to eating clean tomorrow!

Happy Halloween from Doc McStuffins and her dragon, Stuffy!

Is this BOGOFREE Clarisonic Brush Head Deal New?

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10 Things Every Motorcycle Owner Needs to Know About Insurance

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

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

Choose your coverage carefully

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

The more you ride, the more you save

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

Remember the upgrades

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

Consider a mileage cap

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

Consider paying annual premiums

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

Garage your bike

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

Consider a cruiser rather than a crotch rocket

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

Join a riding club

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

Advanced riding courses earn discounts

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

Let’s ride!

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

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

Memorial Day 2017 Beauty Sale Round-Up (Last Update: 9:25PM Pacific on 5/27)

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Target May 2017 Beauty Box is Live

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Tickets For 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix Of The Americas Go On Sale December 5

Tickets for 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas on sale Thursday, Dec. 5 New in 2014: Free motorcycle parking for early birds, single-day tickets available, reduced parking prices, kids 12 and under receive free general admission to MotoGP

AUSTIN, Texas  – Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the motorcycle enthusiast in your life? Circuit of The Americas™ (COTA) has the answer, as tickets for the 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at COTA go on sale Thursday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. CT online at www.circuitoftheamericas.com/and at www.ticketmaster.com. COTA will host the first of only two MotoGP contests in the United States next year and welcome the best motorcycle riders in the world to Austin April 11-13.

COTA’s 2014 MotoGP event features many new fan-friendly options, including FREE motorcycle parking for fans that purchase their tickets by Dec. 31, 2013; Three-day weekend passes and single-day ticket options for fans; A new dry camping option for fans who want to stay close to the circuit all weekend; and Kids 12 and under receive FREE general admission with a ticketed adult.

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Single-day general admission tickets start at $39 for Friday’s practice sessions, and single-day reserved seats start at $59. Three-day weekend passes start at $89 for general admission or $139 for reserved seats. Three-day dry camping passes are available for $150 per space.

MotoGP Ticket and Parking Prices – Circuit of The Americas – April 11-13, 2014

Seating Type, Single-day Ticket/Person, Three-day Weekend Pass/Person

General Admission, $39 to $59, $89

Reserved Seat, $59 to $109, $139 to $199

Kids 12 and under, FREE GA with ticketed adult, FREE GA with ticketed adult

Dry Camping Space (20’x20’), N/A, $150/camping space

Parking Type, Single-day Parking/Vehicle, Three-day Weekend Parking/Vehicle

Cars, $20, $45

Motorcycles*, $10, $20

*NOTE: Motorcycle parking is free for fans that purchased their MotoGP tickets by Dec. 31, 2013.

MotoGP, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, consists of 19 races in 14 countries on five continents with pan-global television coverage. The world’s most skilled riders, including current U.S. riders Colin Edwards of Texas, 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden from Kentucky and reigning World Champion and winner of the 2013 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas Marc Marquez, compete with cutting-edge, prototype motorcycle technology produced by Ducati, Yamaha and Honda, as well manufacturers supporting the new Open class. The series traditionally holds three races, including Moto2 and Moto3 competitions, during each event for various classes of motorcycles based on engine size. Fans watched MotoGP’s new phenom, Marc Marquez, sweep the three U.S. races in 2013, including COTA’s inaugural event, and will be eager to see if he returns to the winners’ podium in Texas next year.

“The on-track action at this year’s MotoGP Championship race at COTA was incredible, and our mission for 2014 is to elevate the fan experience at the track and in downtown Austin,” COTA Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Geoff Moore said. “Our team will be throwing an even bigger party at the track next year, with a larger entertainment portfolio of live music, interactive displays, games and fan activities. We’re also planning a downtown Fan Zone that will give visitors and residents lots to see and do throughout the weekend.”

“Making our MotoGP race one of the must-attend sports and entertainment events of the season is a priority, and we’ve enhanced our customer offerings to ensure that happens,” COTA President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Dial noted. “We’ve added single-day tickets to the mix for 2014, giving fans greater flexibility, and we’ve reduced on-site parking prices to enhance the value and make it easier for fans to access the circuit. In addition, we’re offering free general admission to kids ages 12 and under to make it more affordable for families to attend the races.

“With the holidays just around the corner, tickets to the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas make a great gift for the motorsports fans in your household, and next year’s event will be the perfect opportunity for an entire family to spend a weekend at Circuit of The Americas.”

For individuals, groups and companies looking to experience the MotoGP race weekend in a special way, Circuit of The Americas™ Official program, Circuit of The Americas Experiences , is offering racing enthusiasts a turn-key elevated race weekend experience to the Circuit’s 2014 MotoGP event.

________________________________________________
Source: RoadRacingWorld (AP,11/26)

Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Fudge

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

Easy Fudge
From Busy Cooks

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


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

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

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

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

Almond Chicken Dijon

This is another recipe that has been in the rotation for a long time that I was pleased to realize was clean without any modifications. This is a great dish to make for someone who just had a baby or needs a meal, because it freezes and reheats really well. I like to make mine with green beans and then add in some of the extra sliced almonds in with the green beans before I serve them. Really ties the meal together!

Almond Chicken Dijon
4 chicken breasts pounded down to about 1 inch thick (frozen or fresh)
Equal parts dijon mustard and Helman’s mayo (for 4 chicken breasts, I use about 2 tablespoons of each)
1/2 cup to 1 cup of sliced almonds

Put chicken in oven-safe dish and season with salt and pepper. Mix together mustard and mayo and spread over the chicken. Sprinkle almonds over chicken and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. That’s it! Super easy and super yummy!

QVC’s TSVs for November 2017

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values



1st – Ecolution Set of Three 3 Qt Microwave Popcorn Poppers, K46614, $29.98 or 2 payments of $14.99, comes in 9 colors

2nd – Marc Fisher Calf Leather Tall Shaft Boots, Medium A301455 or Wide A301456, $124.80 or 5 payments of $24.96, comes in 5 colors

4th – Josie Maran Super Size Anniversary Collection, A300866, $79.95 available in 5 payments, comes in 3 scents

5th – Vitamix 7500 64 oz. 16 in 1 Variable Speed Blender with Dry Container, K46637, $399.96 available in 6 payments, comes in 8 colors

6th – Cuddl Duds Double Plush Velour Leggings, A301862, $18.98 available in 3 payments, comes in 5 colors

7th – Santa’s Best 137 Function LED Smart Green or Flocked Pine Tree, H212889, $219.00-$569.00 available in 6 payments, choice of 5′, 6.5′, 7.5′ or 9′

8th – KitchenAid 5 Quart 325 Watt Tilt Head Stand Mixer with Flex Edge Beater, K46639, $259.98 available in 6 payments, comes in 13 colors. FYI – Costco is offering a 6 Quart Professional Bowl Lift Stand Mixer for only $249.99 until the 22nd, $80 off. Amazing deal!

11th – It Cosmetics It’s Your Top Five Superstars & More Six Piece Collection, A301863 or A/D A304002, $59.94 available in 3 payments, comes in 7 shades, comes with a Heavenly Luxe Complexion Foundation Globe Brush, Bye Bye Pores Pressed Illumination, Je Ne Sais Quoi Awakening Hydrating Lip Treatment in Rose, Full Coverage SPF CC+ Cream Illumination 1.08 fl. oz., Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil, Superhero Volumizing Mascara

12th – Mrs. Prindables Ten Large Apples with 3D Character Boxes, Ship Nov 27th M55395 A/D M55889 or Ship Dec 4th M55936 A/D M55890 or Ship Dec 11th M55637 A/D M55891 or Ship Dec 18th M55398 A/D M55892, $49.98 available in 6 payments, 2nd shipment is a spring holiday assortment in March ’18, Dec 4th not available yet

13th – Clarisonic Mia 1 Sonic Cleansing System, A298983, $78.96 available in 6 payments and 6 colors

14th – Luminara Flameless Candles Four Piece Vintage Glitter Pillar Candles with Remotes, H213475, 5″ for $89.96 or 7″ for $99.96 available in 5 payments and 6 colors

15th – Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Toothbrush, V35104, $99.96 available in 6 payments and 5 colors

16th – Earth Origins Water Repellent Suede Ankle Boots Tate, A301865, $66.12 available in 4 payments, comes in 5 colors

17th – First Aid Beauty Super Size Ultra Home & Away Kit, A303951 or A/D A303946, $42.00 available in 3 payments, comes in 5 scents

18th – Dooney & Bourke Pebble Leather Hobo Handbag, A301867, $229.92 available in 5 payments, comes in 7 colors

19th – Amazon Echo Show with Smart Plug, Music & Audible Books Offers, E231445, $179.94 available in 6 payments and 2 colors

20th – Anybody Lounger Cozy Knit Novelty Print, Petite A301869 or Regular A301868 or Tall A301870, $39.98 available in 2 payments, comes in 5 colors

21st – Berkshire Fair Isle Velvet Soft Reverse to Sherpa Blanket, $23-34 available in 3 payments, Twin H213717 or Full H213718 or Queen H213719 or King H213720, comes in 6 colors, moved up from air date of the 30th

22nd – NFL Reversible Hoodie Jacket in Team Colors, A295840, $49.98 available in 5 payments

23rd – Lisa Rinna Collection Cowl Neck Tunic with Front Seam, A301872 or Petite A301873 $49.96 available in 4 payments, comes in 5 colors 

24th – Bose Wave Music System with CD Slot & Dual Alarm, E231175, $299.95, available in 6 payments and 2 colors

25th – Ring Video Doorbell 2 HD Monitoring with Chime Pro & 3 Year Warranty, E231300, $159.95 available in 5 payments, read my review.

26th – HP Touch Laptop Core i5 8 GB RAM 2TB HD with Backlit Keyboard & MS Office 365, 15″ E231201 or 17″ E231228, $599.94 or $699.94 available in 6 payments and 7 colors

27th – Beats Solo 2 Luxe Edition Headphones, E231485, $99.96 available in 5 payments and 4 colors

28th – Wen Set of Three 32 oz. Cleansing Conditioners, A303667 or A/D A304018, $79.90 available in 6 payments, comes in Classic, Seasonal (Winter Vanilla Mint, Winter Red Currant & Winter White Citrus) or Rice

29th – Primula Avalanche Set of Four 20 oz Tumblers with Gift Boxes, K46641, $29.98, comes in basic, brights or metallics

30th – HoMedics 3D Shiatzu Massage Chair, V35110, $89.95 available in 5 payments
30th – QVC2 Big Deal Denim & Co Mock Neck Cable Knit Tunic Sweater, A299375 or Petite A299377, $32.64 available in 2 payments & 5 colors

Black Friday Weekend

AnyBody – Loungewear V-Neck Swing Top, A286932, $29.98 available in 5 payments and 11 colors

Honora – Cultered Pearl Set of Five 8 mm Boxed Stainless Steel Stud Earrings, J329794, $29.96 available in 5 payments, classic or fashion colors

Luminara – Windsor Lantern with Pedestal & Flameless Candle, H210886, $34.00-$59.00 available in 5 payments & 5 colors, 17″-21″

Skechers – GoWalk Suede Faux Fur Boots, A280515, $49.98 available in 5 payments, comes in 7 colors

Weekly Special Value

Ends 12/3 – Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Twinkle Lighting Palette, A286914, $36.33 available in 5 payments

December

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

FYI – items that say they are “sold out” haven’t been entered into the system yet. They should show up in a few days. Closer to the air date they may actually sell out their preorder quantity, but there will be plenty on the day they air unless they cancel the TSV. Preorder easy payments may change the day they air, either no easy pay or more or less payments. Shipping charges may also change. If they offer free s/h on the day they air and you preordered without free s/h, be sure to call customer service and get a refund.

So what do you think, what will you be preordering? Any brands you were hoping for that haven’t offered a TSV yet? There is usually a Keurig in November, so stay tuned for that. As soon as I have information on the other TSVs, I’ll update this post. So be sure to check back regularly for updates. Looks like a repeat for the Barefoot Dreams TSV. Already have two of those, so I’ll skip that one. Highly recommend it! It does leave little balls of lint on chairs with rough fabric. It’s annoying, but it’s so soft and cozy, I look past it. Not crazy about the scent selection for Wen. Classic is boring to me now. For seasonal, I’d prefer just Winter Mint, but it’s a super value at $26.64 a bottle! Normally each one is around $50 each. Anyone try Winter Red Currant & Winter White Citrus? I have to be careful which scents I chose since some are too oily. FYI – his super sized gallons are currently for sale. What do you think of the It Cosmetics TSV? I was hoping it would include one of their new moisturizers or cleansers. I had a Vitamix, but after replacing a part it leaks oil. Went with Blendtec and it’s so much better. You just put the lid on and push the button. The Vitamix one makes you use a tamper and you have to use it to press on the ingredients during blending. Also, when you have a warranty issue customer service isn’t polite or kind. I had a really bad experience. Blentec can be found at Costco. Those velour leggings sure do look comfy. Too bad they don’t have them in petite sizes. I’m anxious to find out what Josie Maran will be offering. Hopefully it will include some new products. Just curious, are you spending more or less money this holiday season? For us, it will be less though my new iPhone 8 is my birthday and Christmas gift, so I guess I’ll have to say more. For a laugh check out the $220 PieCaken Cheesecake offered by Junior’s. I was shocked when I had QVC on in the background while working online and saw it come up. Seriously, $220 for a cheesecake?! What in the world was QVC and Junior’s thinking. I wouldn’t even buy that if I was a millionaire! It doesn’t even look appetizing. I like my cheesecake and pies separate.


Other interesting TSVs that information hasn’t been provided for yet:

3rd – Susan Graver
4th – Josie Maran, updated above 
13th – Clarisonic, updated above
14th – Luminara Flameless Candles, updated above
22nd – NFL, updated above
Black Friday Weekend, updated above

Not a TSV, but worth checking out, Mally Disney’s Frozen Seven Piece Collection, $49.98 available in 3 payments and 2 options: Elsa or Anna. EDD December 19th.

Please show your support for this blog by checking out the following referral offers for companies I highly recommend:

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

Sun Basket Meal Kit – $35 off


Thank you to those that have used my referral links, I really appreciate your support. Also, thanks to the those that leave comments and help out other shoppers with reviews and answering questions. You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don’t forget to enter my monthly meal kit giveaways.  I just started a Facebook page for this blog, please follow.


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Have a PEACEful Day!

Nordstrom is Price-Matching Macy’s Sale (Free Shipping & Samples)

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Sugar Body Scrub

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

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

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

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

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

Silk Road Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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



Exterior View


Interior Decor


Dim Sum Shrimp Dumplings – $4.95


Bang Bang Shrimp – $7.99


Three Piece Roasted Lamb Leg – $18.99


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

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

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

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

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Silk Road Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Leather Clad Custom – Yamaha SR400 Cafe Racer


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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



What do you like most about the finished bike?

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

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



Build sheet:

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

CYU-G YAMADA

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

Flat Belly Diet – Guilt-Free Fries

Guilt-Free Fries


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

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

It’s Back! Multi-Retailer $5 MAC Littles Sale (Recommendations)

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Julep Subscription Box – December 2017

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Julep’s Kalli, Lonnelle, Leia, Persephone, Marguerite & Kemper Nail Polishes

This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Julep. For $19.99 I received three nail polishes from the Going Baroque collection, the Starlit Soiree set of two nail polishes, a Charcoal Konjac Sponge (not pictured) and to my surprise I received a free mystery nail polish. That works out to only $2.71 per item! Bargain! They gave out a free nail polish to subscribers for the month of December, what a lovely and generous surprise. It also came with a coupon for an additional free nail polish of our choice (code below). My December box started out with three nail polishes from the Classic with a Twist Collection and some snowflake nail stickers. I swapped out some of the colors they chose for me and swapped out the nail stickers for the Charcoal Konjac Sponge. Then I used 1000 Jules (reward points) to add on the Starlit Soiree set of two nail polishes. So I started out with three nail polishes and landed up with six for the same price! The total retail value for my box is $96! Excitement! Here’s a detailed list of what I received in my December box:
  1. Kalli, Bombshell Collection, Gold Dust Metallic with Holographic Shimmer, $14 retail value, $11 for Mavens (subscribers)
  2. Lonnelle, Boho Glam, Sahara Gold Multidimensional Holographic, $14 retail value
  3. Leia, Boho Glam, Pine Green Holographic, $14 retail value
  4. Persephone, Bombshell Collection, Crushed Berry Holographic, $14 retail value
  5. Marguerite, Classic with a Twist, Gold Dipped Raspberry Metallic, $14 retail value
  6. Kemper, Boho Glam, Psychedelic Violet Crème, $14 retail value
  7. Charcoal Konjac Sponge, $12 retail value
I could have also swapped out some nail polish for some Matte Lip Mousse, but I absolutely love holographic nail polish, so I chose them. If you don’t like making decisions or you want a surprise in the mail, you can just stick with what Julep choses for you based on your answers on the beauty questionnaire.

The above photo was taken on a cloudy day in indoor light. The holographic glitter shows up so much better in sunlight. The glitter in the nail polish lights up like a Christmas tree! It has a similar look to holographic Christmas wrapping paper. I used two coats of all of the nail polish except Kemper in which I used three. Kemper shows up a bit darker and less bright when painted. All of the nail polishes had a good consistency except Kemper which was a bit too thin. Check out my swatches:

Kalli, Lonnelle, Leia, Persephone, Marguerite & Kemper

Kalli is an extremely reflective true gold that appears textured yet it smooth as glass with holographic pieces of glitter. Lonnelle is a coppery gold that also appears textured yet smooth as glass with holographic pieces of glitter. Leia I have on my nails now, so stay tuned for my manicure featuring it tomorrow. I chose to wear it first since it’s the most Christmasy look. It’s a dark green with holographic pieces of glitter that are highly reflective. Persephone is similar to Leia’s appearance, but in a berry color. Marguerite has a unique look since at first it appears to be a pretty dirty pink, but it really lights up with movement when it reflects gold. I’d say that’s my 2nd favorite followed by Kalli. Kemper’s first coat went on like a jelly, the second coat looked a bit patchy, so I added a third coat and it appears a bit darker than in the bottle. In the bottle it’s much brighter. I used a base coat of Perfect Formula’s Manicure Booster and a top coat of Seche Vite. So which of the six nail polishes is your favorite?

If you haven’t entered the world of Julep, be sure to sign up now since they have the most amazing offer I’ve seen over the many years I’ve been a subscriber. They are offering a twelve piece collection for free just for signing up and becoming a member! To skip shipments, go to their website on the 20th and chose skip or customize your box to suit your preferences. They also offer a Secret Store shortly thereafter for those that chose to purchase their box that month. The discounts are wonderful, but they also offer discounted add-ons for each monthly box, so be sure to check those out. I highly recommend Julep products and their subscription box. Out of all the subscription boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years, I’ve subscribed to Julep the longest.

Bargain Alert:  

Julep – Free 12 Piece Julep Nail Polish Collection! $168 value!
Free Nail Polish with $10 Purchase – code DECEMBERCOLOR, expires 12/31

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

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2nd Gobble Delivery Review & Free Dinner Kit Coupon

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Bistro Salmon en Papillote with Asparagus & Béarnaise


Ingredients


Country Captain Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice


Ingredients


Baked Conchiglie Mac & Cheese


Ingredients


Shepherd’s Pie & Mixed Greens Salad


Ingredients


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Ingredients


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

Bistro Salmon en Papillote with Asparagus & Béarnaise

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

Country Captain Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice

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

Baked Conchiglie Mac & Cheese

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Affiliate Link

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Made-from-Scratch Cornbread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plated Meal Kit Giveaway – September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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No More Cream of Preservatives!

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

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

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

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

Macy’s Beauty Box 3rd Shipment – October 2017

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October 2017


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Macy’s for $15 a month. The retail value of the October box is $55.97 not including the $5 coupon and cosmetic bag. Bargain! Included in the 3rd shipment were the following products:
  1. StriVectin – Multi-action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel, made in the USA, .35 fl. oz, $12.14 retail value
  2. Elizabeth Arden – Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, made in the USA, .17 fl. oz., $11.39 retail value
  3. Smashbox – Photo Finish Foundation Primer, made in the USA, .25 fl. oz., $9.00 retail value
  4. Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium eau de parfum, made in France, .04 fl. oz., $2.27 retail value 
  5. Lancôme – Énergie de Vie Water Infused Moisturizing Cream, made in the USA, .5 oz., $16.17 retail value
  6. Origins – Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, made in USA, .5 fl. oz., $5.00 retail value
  7. $5 Coupon – $5 off a product from Macy’s Beauty Dept.
This month they sent all skin care product samples except for the perfume. It’s disappointing there isn’t even one makeup product. Though the retail value is much better this month, so I’m happy about that. I really like the Lancôme brand. The moisturizer they sent is pretty good so far. It sinks into the skin quickly and it leaves the skin feeling less dry. The Elizabeth Arden Renewal Booster can be used prior to a moisturizer. I’ll be trying that tonight. I’ve received the Smashbox’s Primer sample so many times in subscription boxes. I prefer Laura Geller’s or Julep’s Primer. Black Opium smells yummy. It has notes of coffee and vanilla bean with jasmine. I like it a lot. It reminds me of Jessica Simpson’s Fancy. I look forward to trying the StriVectin sample also. I’ve received a sample of Origins Charcoal Mask before and I’ve purchased one in a Sephora set. I really recommend it, it works really well. It is a bit messy getting it off though, so I like to use it just prior to my shower. I used my previous Macy’s coupons on a Five Piece TonyMoly Mask Set. It’s on sale, I used a coupon and Mr. Rebates, so it was a real bargain. I’m really into sheet masks lately. They are great for relaxing. I keep them in the refrigerator so they cool my face and aid in the relaxation process while resting on the bed. Give it a try! You may find you it aids in falling asleep. It’s worked for this insomniac. 

I noticed they are showing all the products for the November bag already and it looks really good. Plus, they are giving us a $10 coupon instead of $5, yippee! Spoil Alert – the products for November are: perfume sample Gabrielle from Chanel, Mac Makeup Primer, Lancôme Mascara Primer, Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara, Beauty Blender Blotterazzi Pro and Tarte Matte Lip Paint. I’m looking forward to that bag! The cosmetic bag is a sparkly black bag, it looks pretty. Have you subscribed to Macy’s Beauty Box yet? If not, what’s keeping you from taking the plunge? If you received a box this month, what did you think about the product samples they sent? Check out what I received in my Macy’s September Beauty Box.

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

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates -5% Cash Back from Macy’s
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Tarte Mother’s Day Kit is Live

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QVC’s Harry Slatkin Ceramic Fruit Basket Candle TSV Review

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



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

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

Bargain Alert:

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

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

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



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ZenFish Poké Bar Restaurant Review – Durham, NC

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


Exterior View


Interior View


Your Protein Selections 


More Choices


Toppings 


Large Poke Bowl with Zucchini Noodles & Avocado – $15.45


Large Poke Bowl with Zucchini Noodles – $14.45


Homebucha Bluebird – $5.00


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

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

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

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


ZenFish Poké Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Cheddar and Corn Spoon Bread

I usually don’t make a lot of sides with dinner, typically just a veggie of some sort. I decided to branch out a little bit and made this Cheddar and Corn Spoon Bread to go with steak I made the other night. 

While it was good and had a great texture, I think I prefer my Mom’s corn casserole. It’s sweeter tasting, not as bland and easier to throw together. I think maybe I’ll try hers and “clean” it up. Stay tuned! 🙂

Cheddar and Corn Spoon Bread
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large egg whites
1 cup coarsely grated Cheddar 

1. Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish.
2. Place cornmeal in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk baking powder, cayenne and salt. Bring milk just to a simmer; whisk into cornmeal until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, corn, butter, egg yolks, parsley and baking powder mixture.
3. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites just until they hold stiff peaks. Gently fold egg whites and 1/2 cup Cheddar into cornmeal mixture. Transfer to soufflé dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar.
4. Bake until top is golden brown and spoon bread is set around edges but still slightly jiggly in center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

The Cowfish Restaurant Review – Raleigh, NC

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4208 Six Forks Road
Suite 100
Raleigh, NC  27609
(919) 784-0400
Exterior View


Interior View


Fusion Specialty Bento Box – $16


Fusion Specialty Bento Box – $16


This is a review of a restaurant named The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar located in Raleigh, North Carolina. They have four other locations in the country located in Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and Orlando. The Raleigh location is open from 11 am to 11 pm everyday except Friday and Saturday when they stay open an hour later. We visited last Saturday around 4:30 pm. It was very busy already, but we were able to get a table right away. Shortly after we arrived everyone had to wait for a table. If you don’t want to wait for a table, you’ll need to miss the lunch and dinner rush by arriving before or after the busiest hours. Free garage parking is available in the building. After parking, take the elevator to the lobby. When you get off the elevator walk into the lobby, walk to the other side of the building, go outside and the restaurant will be on your left. There is also some parking on the street, but not many spaces.

This restaurant has a fun, festive vibe. There is a very large fish tank in the middle of the indoor part of the restaurant. There is also covered outdoor seating and some patio seating. We sat near the fish tank, so the interior photo above shows our view from our table. There is also seating at the sushi bar. The artwork is visually entertaining. It’s very loud in there with a lot of customer chatter since it’s a large restaurant. They also encourage children to visit the restaurant with games outside and crayons, paper and plastic cups with lids at the table. In addition, they encourage birthday celebrations and accommodate large groups. They set up a table for twelve when we were there. They also sing to you if it’s your birthday and ask each table when they arrive if it’s anyone’s birthday.

They have quite a large menu, so you may want to look online and decide what you want prior to your arrival. The waitress arrived quite quickly considering how busy the staff was. She took our drink orders and we then looked over the menu deciding what to order. I ordered the Fusion Speciality Bento Box. It features both a burger and sushi. It comes with the mini burger of the week, sweet potato fries, Thai cucumbers, edamame and your choice of a four piece Fusion Specialty Roll or three pieces of nigiri. The choices of sushi are Mark’s, Firecracker, Blackened Tuna or the Tempura Shrimp Roll. I ordered it with the Firecracker Roll, skipped the edamame and added French fries as a substitute. The mini burger of the week had bacon and blue cheese on it, so I substituted a plain burger with American cheese and onions. Hubby ordered the same thing, but with the Mark’s Roll and the burger of the week. Eleven minutes later our entrees arrived. The air conditioning was blowing constantly, so the hot food didn’t stay hot very long at all. It was quite chilly, so you may want to bring a sweater or ask for outdoor seating on a warm day. Everything was very tasty, but I had not noticed it was half a sushi roll, so I was disappointed in the quantity of the food for $16.00. For two dollars less you can order the Cowfish Bento Box which includes half of a non speciality roll and a regular burger. Fries and cucumber salad are very inexpensive, so a tiny burger and half a sushi roll seems overpriced to me. There are several restaurants in the area that serve bento boxes and they include a lot more sushi. The mini burger wasn’t that tasty, but it was cooked to the perfect pink color inside. Hubby’s burger had the smallest amount of blue cheese, it was ridiculous. It also included a ridiculously small piece of bacon. We both laughed when he lifted the top bun to view the toppings. My burger was missing the red onion. The sweet potato fries were scrumptious. The fries were tasty and had what I guess was parsley, salt and garlic added to them. Unfortunately, they were cold in no time due to the extra chilly air conditioning. There was a tiny amount of dipping sauce for the sushi and it was difficult to dip a piece in the tiny space. My Firecracker roll was very tasty. It has shrimp tempura, kana inside coated with tempura flakes, topped with yellowtail, salmon, spicy mayo, massage, tobiko and it served with ponzu dipping sauce. Hubby wasn’t crazy about the Mark’s roll, he said it had too much cream cheese and not enough jalapeño. It has fresh tuna, jalapeño, cream cheese, kana, scallions & panko and it’s flash fried. It’s topped with Japanese mayo and sriracha and served with ponzu dipping sauce. The Thai cucumber and red onion salad was really tasty, but it was pickled so I couldn’t eat much of it. 
We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food was tasty. The waitress was friendly and attentive. We shall visit again, but I’ll have to find something of better value on the menu. The people next to us bought the Crab Rangoon Dip appetizer and it looked really tasty, so much so that we plan to order it next time. The Moose is Loose dessert was ordered by many tables and shared, wow did that look delicious! That’s the dessert they bring out for those having a birthday celebration. Cocktails and milkshakes were also popular. What’s your favorite restaurant in Raleigh?

I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board
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The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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24th Blue Apron Meal Kit Review


Togarashi Chicken Lettuce Cups with Orange & Radish


Ingredients


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


Ingredients


Mexican Spiced Barramundi with Kale, Sweet Potato & Avocado Salad


Ingredients



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

Togarashi Chicken Lettuce Cups with Orange & Radish

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

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

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

Mexican Spiced Barramundi with Kale, Sweet Potato & Avocado Salad

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

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

Bargain Alert: 

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

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Girls Night Out at The Melting Pot

The other night, my small group girls and I went out for a much-needed Girls Night Out at The Melting Pot. They were having a Femme Fatale special, where each person could get the cheese fondue, salad, main entree and chocolate fondue for $35.

The cheese fondue course was Bourbon Bacon Cheddar Cheese Fondue, which was lager beer, garlic, mustard powder, Worcestershire, cheddar-Swiss cheese blend, a splash of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon and bacon pieces. It was AMAZING! Ooey, gooey and creamy with the definite flavor of bacon and Jim Bean. 

For the salad, I had the Spinach Mushroom, which was fresh spinach, baby Portobello mushrooms, red onion, chopped bacon and Roma tomatoes with a warm Burgundy Shallot Vinaigrette. Again, super good! I loved that the red onion was really really thinly sliced, so it gave onion flavor without being over-powering. There were a ton of mushrooms, which was great, and the vinaigrette was tangy and delicious.

The main entree was filet mignon (happy happy sigh), herb-crusted chicken and shrimp and we did the cooking style Coq Au Vin, burgundy wine infused with fresh herbs, spices and mushrooms. I didn’t touch the shrimp (I know such a waste…I’m not a seafood eater though!), but the filet and chicken were delicious, especially with the teriayki dipping sauce. 

I unfortunately missed the chocolate dessert round (big sad face!). It was a great meal that was mostly clean and all-natural!

Glass Maltese Ornament from Macy’s Holiday Lane

Macy’s Maltese Dog Ornament – Christmas 2017


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

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

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

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Chocolate Chip Brownie Pie

It had been a while since I had made a dessert. Thankfully, I had to make a dessert for Advent by Candlelight and opted for this chocolate chip brownie pie. I adjusted some of the ingredients to make it gluten-free for my mom and I thought it turned out great. 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Pie

Adapted from Fahrenheit 350
 

6oz. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Chocolate Candy Bar (I used regular Hershey’s bars)
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
 

Melt over med low heat until melted. Whisk in 2 lightly beaten eggs and ½ teaspoon vanilla.
Add:
1 cup flour (I used gluten-free flour)
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
 

Stir until mixture is incorporated and smooth. Pour into greased 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350°, 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately pour 7oz. sweetened condensed milk over top of brownies. Layer with ¾ cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips and let cool before eating.

Canned Pasta Sauce

We planted three different types of tomatoes in our garden–roma, cherry and Better Boy–and we have a bounty of all of them. There are only so many recipes and foods that we use cherry tomatoes for, so I decided to make pasta sauce from them. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just kind of made it up as I went. I took chopped garlic and onion and sauteed in a big stock pot. I then took the cherry tomatoes (after removing the stems and washing them) and just threw them in the pot, added some salt, pepper and dried oregano and let it all cook down. After cooking for 20 minutes or so, I took a potato masher and mashed it all up into more of a sauce, let cook another 10 minutes and then canned the sauce.

Not only was this recipe low maintenance (no cutting or chopping!), it was delicious 🙂 The sauce turns out a little thinner than typical pasta sauce, more like a marinara sauce, so if you like it thicker, add some tomato paste while cooking. We used the sauce as a pizza sauce too, which ended up great!

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Ipsy Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Unzipped – February 2018 Ipsy


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

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

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

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

  


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Boxy Charm Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Galaxy Glow – February Boxy Charm 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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Birthday Party Eating Clean-Style


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Potato-Crusted Pork Chops

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


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


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

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

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

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No 1 Pho Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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5025 Arco Street
Cary, NC  27519
(919) 297-2975


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Pho Tai – $12.00


Sides


Hu Tieu My Tho Kho – $13.00


Side of Broth


This is a review of a new Vietnamese Pho restaurant located in Cary, North Carolina called No 1 Pho. It’s located in a new shopping center that includes the new West Cary Whole Foods which will open on November 7th. It’s been a long wait since the opening was delayed. To get to the restaurant, take exit 66a off 540. It’s not far from the exit. They are open everyday except Wednesday. Their hours are from 11 am until 9 pm, except on Sunday when they close an hour earlier. The interior decor is lovely. They only have tables, no booths. Their current sanitation score is 95, which is very good. We arrived around 2:30 pm and there were only a couple of customers. We were immediately greeted by a friendly Asian woman who I guess is one of the owners. She seated us at a table right away and she was our waitress.

We ordered right away since we were starving. Our food arrived in about ten minutes. I ordered the Hu Tieu My Tho Kho which is described as “pork soup separate, clear noodle with shrimp, ground pork, sliced pork and quail eggs in house special sauce”. It’s suppose to be served with bean sprouts, lettuce and lemon, but mine was not. I was shocked to only see three shrimp and a few slices of pork. Not to mention the missing quail eggs and the missing side of bean sprouts, lettuce and lemon. So disappoint set in as soon as I dug in. I expected more for a $13.00 lunch! There were tons of noddles that appeared to be soaked in the house special sauce which was tasty, but I didn’t want to fill up on only noodles. The side of broth was scrumptious and I was offered more when I finished. It wasn’t a very filling meal which would have been ok if the price wasn’t so high. The bit of shrimp and pork that I was served were tasty. Hubby ordered the Pho Tai which is described as “rice noodle beef soup with fresh eye of round”. It comes with a side of beans sprouts, basil leaves and lemon. It came with lime instead of lemon and jalapeño was added. Hubby also ordered fresh lemonade for $4 which he received one refill. Seems pricey to us for lemonade. He said it was tasty. We also ordered some summer rolls as an appetizer, but they never showed up. When we asked the waitress she said she forgot to put in the order, so perhaps she should write down orders instead of trying to memorize them. 

We had high expectations for this new restaurant, but it fell short. Perhaps if the prices were a bit lower or the proteins were supplied in a larger quantity we would change our mind. Overall, it’s tasty, but not very filling and we felt it was not a good value. We may try it again since we will be shopping at the new Whole Foods frequently and it’s so close by. I recommend stopping at the pet store in that shopping center. They have high end pet food and treats and excellent customer service. What’s your favorite restaurant in Cary? Are you as happy as I am that the area finally has another Whole Foods?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews BoardI invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, or Networked Blogs.
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No 1 Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Chicken Alfredo Pizza

One of my favorite pasta dishes I like to make is my homemade chicken Alfredo (check out the original recipe here). I was going to make it last night again, but decided to mix it up a little bit. Since we’ve been eating more low-carb meals, I swapped out the pasta for a thin pizza crust. My hubby had found this amazing recipe for thin crust pizzas made on the grill and so we combined the two recipes. AMAZING! The Alfredo sauce made for a perfect pizza sauce and combined with the chicken, veggies and lots of mozzarella cheese, it was super delicious. The pizza dough sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty easy and you can double or triple the recipe and freeze the extra crusts. 


Chicken Alfredo Pizza
Homemade Alfredo Sauce (recipe here) **Double the sauce up and freeze the extras for another meal
Thin-Crusted Pizza Crusts (see recipe below) **Double the recipe and freeze the extras
1 large onion cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 package fresh mushrooms
1 or 2 large chicken breasts, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
oregano

Saute the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano until no longer pink. Add in the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft. 

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F). 

Lay the dough on the cooking grate, with the paper side facing up. Grab one corner of the paper with tongs and peel it off. Grill over direct medium heat until they are marked on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Don’t worry if the crusts bubble; they will deflate when turned over. Transfer the crusts to the back of a baking sheet, with the grilled sides facing up.

Spread about ½ cup of the Alfredo sauce across each pizza crust, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Arrange the onions, mushrooms and chicken over the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Transfer the pizzas from the baking sheet to the cooking grate. Grill until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Sprinkle with more oregano. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Thin-Crusted Pizza Dough
Adapted from Weber’s Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance

1 envelope active dry yeast
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
2-½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium bowl combine the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Stir once and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 2-½ cups of the flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the salt. Stir until the dough holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to cover the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1-½ hours. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Cut parchment paper into 9-inch squares and lightly oil each sheet of paper on one side. Roll or press the dough flat on the oiled side of the paper into circles about 8 inches in diameter, leaving the dough a little thicker at the edge than in the middle. Then lightly oil the top side of the dough. At this point, the crusts are ready to grill or can be frozen to be used later.

What’s Your Thing Chicken Wing?

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

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

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

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

Parmesan Garlic

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

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


1 to 2 lbs chicken wings

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

armesan Garlic

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

armesan Garlic

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

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


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Have a Seat – Updating Two Chairs

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

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

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

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review – January 2018

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Here’s to a Beautiful 2018
This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box called Play! by Sephora. It’s only $10 a monthly including shipping. This month the retail value of the box is $28.17 which is much lower than most of the previous twenty boxes I’ve received. Included in the box were the following products:
  1. Fresh – Rose Floral Toner, .6 fl. oz., made in France, $2.82 retail value
  2. GlamGlow – SuperCleanse, .5 oz, made in USA, $3.20 retail value
  3. Smashbox – Photo Finish Primerizer, .13 fl. oz., made in USA, $5.46 retail value
  4. Clinique – Pep-start Eye Cream, .1 fl. oz. 3 ml, made in the USA, $5.30 retail value
  5. Lancôme – Mascara Base, .07 fl. oz., $9.39 retail value
  6. Alterna Haircare – Caviar Anti-aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, 2 x .25 fl. oz., made in the USA, $2.00 retail value
This month instead of sending a perfume sample they sent a foil packet of shampoo and conditioner. Most customers who pay for samples dread receiving a foil packet. I would have preferred a perfume sample. I guess customers were complaining that they were sick of receiving perfume samples though some of us are not. Alterna is free of parabens, sulfates and synthetic color which is what I look for in shampoo and conditioners since my scalp is very sensitive. I’m going to give it a try tonight. Since I have extra long hair, this sample will only be enough for one use. My skin as it’s aged has gone from t-zone oily combination to dry, so I have stopped using toners. The Fresh Toner smells like roses which is lovely! The Smashbox sample is so tiny! I was quite shocked when I noticed it in the box. I have sampled a couple of their primers before and while they were ok, they aren’t my favorite. This one combines a moisturizer and a primer which saves you a step. I like that idea, but Smashbox isn’t one of my favorite brands. I was also shocked to see such a tiny Clinique sample, coming in at only .1 fl. oz.! I like this brand, so I’m anxious to give it a try, but being that it will only be used a few times it’s certainly not enough product to figure out if it works for me. I have received the Lancôme Mascara Base a couple times previously and I just don’t have the time to go to the trouble of using a base and then mascara. It’s a step I don’t want to add to my routine and I didn’t find that it made any difference. I like to put on my makeup as quickly as possible since I’m usually in a rush to get out the door. I’m anxious to give the GlamGlow cleanser a try since I love this brand. I bought the YouthCleanse face wash and it dries out my skin. It would be perfect for those with oily skin. This box has the least retail value of the twenty-one boxes I have received so far, it’s a disappointment. Also, there’s no makeup included this time, which is really disappointing. I don’t consider primers makeup, I’m talking about eye shadows, blush, mascara, lipstick, etc. I have come to expect at least one makeup product, so I’m not happy about the lack of makeup. If the next box is like this one with no makeup and a much lower retail value than previous boxes, they will be causing me to hit the cancel button and find another box. I’ve been putting off cancelling because I keep thinking they will return to boxes like those they sent previous to the last two. It would be a shame if I have to cancel since this one has been my favorite cosmetic subscription box lately. If you’re a subscriber, were you happy with this month’s box? If not a subscriber, what’s keeping you from giving this subscription a try?
Bargain Alert:

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

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Eating Clean 12 Days of Christmas — Cutout Cookies

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

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


Christmas Cutout Cookies
Adapted from Canadian Family
 

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, we’ve been traveling a lot. I just wanted to take a quick moment to wish all my blog readers a very happy Thanksgiving…I’m so thankful for each of you for coming along in this eating clean journey with me! 


Stay tuned for some exciting things happening soon….hint hint giveaways! 🙂

Home Chef 58th Delivery Review & $30 Coupon

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Roasted Salmon with Ginger Scallion Sauce & Charred Green Beans


Ingredients


Apple Cherry Chicken Salad 

Ingredients


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

Roasted Salmon with Ginger Scallion Sauce & Charred Green Beans

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

Apple Cherry Chicken Salad 

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

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

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

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Holy Watermelon Batman!

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

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

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More Pinterest Projects

Love the burlap rosettes

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

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

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

2005 YAMAHA YZFR6 Motorcycle pictures, specification

2005 YAMAHA YZFR6 Motorcycle pictures, specification

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Motorcycle Insurance in Kentucky Murphy Insurance Group

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Freezing Avocados

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

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

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

GIVEAWAY – Plated Meal Kit Worth $72

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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


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

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

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

*Affiliate Link

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Oiso Sushi & Korean Restaurant Review – Cary, NC

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1305 NW Maynard Road
Cary, NC  27513
(919) 655-5133
Exterior View

Interior Decor

Mt. Fuji Roll & Spicy Sashimi Roll – $18.00

Sashimi Mori Deluxe – $35.00


This is a review of a sushi & Korean restaurant called Oiso located in Cary, North Carolina. It is located on the right side of the Maynard Crossing shopping center off Maynard Road. It’s near Goji Bistro. Monday through Friday they are open from 11:30 am until 2 pm and then reopen at 5 pm and stay open until 9 pm.  Saturday they stay open half an hour longer and Sunday they are closed. Their health inspection is currently 95 which is very good. We arrived last Saturday around 6:30 pm. The restaurant was full of customers, so we had to wait about twenty minutes for a table, we were told it would take ten minutes. We were asked to wait outside. The restaurant takes up only one retail space, so it’s very small and they have a lot of carry out orders. There are several booths on each wall and tables in the middle. 

After the twenty minute wait, we were seated at a booth next to the front windows and the door. It wasn’t a peaceful environment. It was so noisy we couldn’t hear the music, instead we were constantly hearing the bell on the door as it was being opened and closed by customers asking for a table and then being sent outside to wait & returning for their table and by people leaving and the constant stream of carry out customers coming and going. Also, many customers had young children who were very loud. The lights were very bright for a Saturday evening. While the temperature was comfortable when we were waiting for a table, shortly after we were seated they turned the air conditioning even colder and it was very uncomfortable. I know some restaurants do this to try and get people to eat faster, so they can turn the tables quicker. We were ready to order when we sat down and made that clear by placing the menus at the edge of the table. The friendly hostess had to ask the waiter to show up and take our order which took awhile. He seemed annoyed that we wanted to place our complete order not just our drink order and he wasn’t friendly. It took him a long time to bring us our drinks. There was very little ice in our drinks which we thought was strange. Perhaps, it was so they didn’t have to refill them as often. We waited twenty-eight minutes for my order to arrive and then another couple minutes for my husband’s to arrive. We thought it was odd they didn’t serve us at the same time. They only had two sushi chefs and they really need at least one more to keep up with all the orders on a busy Saturday night. The waiter pointed to and named each type of sashimi my husband was served. He wasn’t to been seen, but once more during our stay. The hostess and another lady tended to our table and each time we had to wave them down for drink refills, extra wasabi and the check. My fried sushi roll, the Mt. Fuji, arrived cold. It’s described as a deep fried California roll topped with spicy tuna or spicy salmon, crunch, eel sauce and wasabi dressing. It was very tasty and there was adequate sauce though the crunch was missing. I also ordered the Spicy Sashimi Roll which is described as a California roll topped with spicy mixed fish, avocado, wasabi mayo and eel sauce. I did not like this roll since they added pickle and some vinegar which is not in the description. Since the topping is all mixed together it took me a bit of time to figure out what the unpleasant taste was. I finally was able to pick out the cubes of pickle. I can’t eat pickle because it will cause stomach pain. The cubed pieces of sashimi were of the lowest quality I’ve ever been served, they were hard. It seems they save the worst pieces of fish for this roll. I was extremely disappointed with that and the fact that they didn’t stick to the ingredients listed. They also put mixed greens on top as shown in the photo above. One shouldn’t have to pick out an ingredient and I felt they were using the pickle as a filler. If you order two special rolls they cost $18.00. If ordered separately, each one costs $12.50, so that’s a saving of $7 when purchased together. Hubby wasn’t happy to receive pieces of cooked imitation crab and shrimp in his Deluxe Sashimi entree. Anything cooked, isn’t sashimi! Only eighteen pieces for $35 is the highest price I’ve seen in the area. That’s $1.94 a piece. We thought they would be thicker pieces due to the high price, but they were not. One can purchase twenty-one pieces for $26 ($1.24 each) at Sushi Thai in Cary. The other pieces were salmon, tuna, clam, red snapper and octopus. It wasn’t filling and Hubby was very disappointed. I was really surprised that Hubby’s entree didn’t come with soup or salad like similar restaurants in the area offer.

We were not impressed and shall not return. What’s your favorite restaurant in Cary?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There is a list of them on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Follow this blog via TwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’, Facebook or Networked BlogsPlease share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook: Tweet
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Oiso Sushi and Korean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
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QVC’s TSVs for April 2018

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Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values

DO NOT COPY


April

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

21st – Philosophy

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

23rd – Alegria Footwear

24th – Patio & Garden

25th – Lock & Lock Storage

26th – Carole Hochman Heavenly Soft Sleepwear

27th – Cosmoprof North America Beauty Fair Finds

28th – Amazon Echo

29th – Dyson

30th – Women with Control Attitudes by Renee

May

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

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

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

 

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

Bargain Alert: 

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

Help out by sharing this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking their boxes here: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);


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The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant Review – Durham, NC

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


Interior View


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

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


Fiesta Cheese Fondue

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

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


Caesar Salad


House Salad with House Dressing

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

Land & Sea – $39.95 (Four Courses)

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



French Quarter – $42.95 (Four Courses)

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


Flaming Turtle

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

Dessert

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


Happy Birthday

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

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


Champagne with Strawberry

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

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

I invite you to follow my blog via Instagram, PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin’Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I’m sure you’ll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board
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Melting Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Have a PEACEful Day!

XLCR Reborn – Jamesville Shovelhead Cafe Racer



Back in 1977 Harley Davidson unveiled their American cafe racer, the XLCR Sportster. On paper and in the flesh the bike was certainly appealing. It was draped in black, had a unique siamese exhaust system, was powered by a torquey 997cc v-twin and wore bodywork unlike any other Harley. Unfortunately the press slammed the bikes performance and poor sales resulted in it becoming a rather famous flop for the Milwaukee manufacturer. Despite all of these factors the XLCR has become an iconic model in HD history and today they fetch high prices at auction. Not having ever ventured in to cafe racer territory before James Roper-Caldbeck of ‘Jamesville Motorcycles’ in Copenhagen used the XLCR as his inspiration, but paid careful attention to not repeat Harleys mistakes.




“Last year I received a rather sheepish email asking if there was any way I would ever build a café racer” recalls James. James’ portfolio is almost entirely made up of Harley Davidson builds with Chopper and Bobber styling being his usual forte. For an outsider it might seem that he is set in his ways, but when the opportunity presented itself, he was more than willing to take it on.

“It can sometimes become a little monotonous always building bobbers and choppers so I gladly said yes. I have always loved the XLCR 1000 and that bike became my inspiration, right down to how we photographed it.”



Rather than heading down the same route as the XLCR and using a Sportster as the starting point James opted to use a 1974 Harley Davidson FX Shovelhead. “I found a fairly stock FX that had an S&S 80 cubic inch motor and a 5 speed transmission, which is very nice.”

With a powerful donor selected James started penning down some ideas. “To be honest I had no idea what I was doing when it came to building a Café Racer, but I knew I wanted it black with a fairing and for it to look F#CKING mean!”



The build began with the bikes new bodywork. Influenced by the design of Super GP bikes James fabricated an entirely new seat pan and tail from scratch, integrating a Triumph tail light at the rear and mounting it as high as possible on the frame. Surprisingly his front fairing was an aftermarket unit sourced on Ebay. James purchased the unit unsure if it was going to fit his headlight, but much to his surprise it was the perfect fit. For the fuel tank he decided the stock unit looked right for the build and so he stuck with it. “Everyone always asks what it’s from and are shocked when I tell them!” jokes James.



To get the bike sitting right James designed a Progressive shock and spring package that lowers the front end and raises the rear, creating a more aggressive riding position. Taking cues from his favourite Ducati exhaust set up he handbuilt a 2-into-1 system that runs high before exiting beside the tail. Two well placed heat shields sufficiently protect the rider from burns (tried and tested by the man himself) and the hotdog muffler lets everyone know to make plenty of room as the Shovelhead approaches.



With loads of power on tap and a great suspension set up James knew he’d need to upgrade the bikes woeful stock brakes for it to be worthy of its cafe racer status. Using a configuration similar to the XLCR that inspired the build he mounted a set of twin drilled discs up front and a drilled disc with custom mounted, daisy chained twin calipers at the rear. Due to the Harley’s dimensions it still runs mid controls, but they are custom made units that keep the rider’s feet up high for improved cornering clearance.



Taking a measly 5 weeks to complete James finished the bike using a paint scheme inspired by 80s and 90s GP Super Bikes. Touches of XLCR can also be seen on the engine where black has been liberally applied to those distinct Shovel shaped heads, the lower barrels, oil bag and various covers. Then to liven up the monotone theme touches of red were added to the seat and front fairing.

Knowing full well that Harley’s aren’t often the first choice for cafe racer conversions,  James has done his best to create a bike with the right look and performance to be worthy of the title. “I’m not sure how the Café racer guys will like this” says James. “But I can tell you it’s awesome to RIDE!” 


JAMESVILLE MOTORCYCLES

Photography by Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

First published by returnofthecaferacers

Mr. Dumpling Restaurant Review – Apex, NC

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


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Sweet & Sour Chicken – $9.95


Stir Fried Lamb Cumin – $15.95


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

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

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

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


Mr. Dumpling  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
  Have a PEACEful Day!



Crock Pot Beer Chicken

I’ve had many successful attempts at recipes since going clean eight months ago, so it’s inevitable that I would eventually try a recipe that flopped. I debated whether or not to even blog about it, but I figured maybe someone might like this recipe, even if we didn’t.  Plus, it good to see the bad along with the good 🙂

This recipe sounded great, but it ended up very bland and the chicken dried out. Perhaps a shorter cooking time at a lower heat and different spices could salvage the dish, but this one will not be going into the menu rotation.



Crock Pot Beer Chicken
From LaaLoosh
 

2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 bottle or can of your favorite beer 

1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and cook on high for 4-5 hrs, or low for 6-8 hrs.

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review – February 2018

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Feel the Love



This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box for only $10 from Sephora. There are several different boxes they send out each month, but each one includes five samples and usually a perfume sample. The one I received has a retail value of $29.13. That’s one of the lowest retail values I’ve received so far. Included in this month’s box were the following products:

  1. Sephora – Rouge Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic, made in Italy, .035 oz., $2.45 sale price, $4.37 retail value
  2. Lancôme – Monsieur Big Mascara, made in France, .06 fl. oz., $4.54 retail value
  3. Sephora – Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, made in Italy, .04 fl. oz., $3.31 retail value
  4. First Aid Beauty – Ginger & Tumeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask, made in the USA, .75 oz., $6.00 retail value
  5. Belif – Moisturizing Eye Bomb, made in Korea, .17 fl. oz., $9.71 retail value
  6. Viktor & Rolf – Flowerbomb, made in France, .04 fl. oz., $1.20 retail value

    I’m disappointed they sent me two lipsticks and both from their brand and that the retail value of this box is quite low compared to previous boxes. Plus, they have sent me the Always Red Lip Stain in a previous box. I don’t wear bright red lipstick, so that will be placed in my blog sale box. Not to mention the lip stain is on sale and sold out. The point of these samples is to find products we want to buy the full size of, so if it’s sold out then we can’t purchase it! I always enjoy receiving Lancôme products, but I have quite a few mascaras already waiting to be used. Since mascaras dry out once you open them, it will be awhile before I get a chance to sample that one. I also enjoy receiving products from First Aid Beauty. The mask is suppose to comfort and brighten stressed out skin. That is certainly my skin after having pneumonia for two weeks and not having the energy to do anything other than wash it. It has a cooling effect and it’s easy to apply since it has a jelly consistency. It’s suppose to be left on only ten minutes. I put it on while writing this post and it has really sunk into the skin. It’s not laying on the top like most masks do. It takes just a little bit, so the .75 oz trial size shall last quite a while. It can be applied up to three times a week. It put some moisture into my skin which I needed. Since it’s so easy and quick to apply and it’s not hard to wash off, I can see myself using it three times a week. I also like the Belif brand, so I’m happy to receive an eye moisturizer from them. It has a botanical formula that is suppose to give the skin around the eyes a firmer appearance. It will take quite a few uses to see if it helps. My main problem is puffiness. It has a gel consistency with a bit of a cooling effect and it sinks into the skin well. Having been ill for two weeks, scents really irritate me, so today is the first time in two weeks I’ve used a perfume. I’m still not 100%, so it’s a bit difficult to rate a perfume at this point. Flowerbomb is suppose to be warm & spicy with notes of jasmine, orange blossom and patchouli. I mostly smell a spicy patchouli scent which I’m not crazy about. The Sephora Matte Lipstick in Rebel Chic has a dark red wine color and it doesn’t feel dry on the lips which is rare for a matte lipstick. It’s a nice color for fall and winter. It has quite a bit of staying power. After I had a snack, it was still in place.

    My favorite items in this month’s box are the Belif Eye Bomb and the First Aid Beauty Mask. I don’t have a large stash of eye creams and I’m always up to trying another mask, plus they have the highest retail values. I’ll be using everything in the box except the perfume and the bright red lip stain. One of the reasons I have stayed subscribed to this cosmetic subscription box the longest is because of the high quality brands they always send and the low price of $10. While some months I’m annoyed at what they sent, overall it is my current favorite. What’s your favorite cosmetic subscription box?
    Bargain Alert:

    Mr. Rebates – 4% cash back for online Sephora purchases! 
    Check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to see what I have received in my previous twenty-one boxes. Also, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. Don’t forget to follow this blog via Facebook so you don’t miss any of my future posts.

    Be a pal and share this blog post with friends by clicking on the Google red box (G+1) at the very top of this page or via Twitter and Facebook by clicking their boxes here: Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

    Have a PEACEful Day!

    Pesto Cheese Tarts


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


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

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

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

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

    450 Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

    250 Class

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

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

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

    The Focus: Yoshimura RS-9 Exhaust System

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

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

    Teryaki Chicken Stir-Fry

    As I’ve mentioned before, our garden and especially our zucchini are going crazy right now. See exhibit A, the latest zucchini I picked that’s almost three times the size of my hand! I wasn’t very inspired for dinner last night and so I just decided to use up some of the veggies I had in the fridge in a chicken teriyaki stir-fry. It was a little bit of this, little bit of that, clean out the fridge type of meal 😉 

    In my wok (SIDE NOTE: if you don’t have a wok, I highly suggest buying one…they are the BEST for not only stir-frys but other types of sauteing. They aren’t too expensive either; I got mine at Ikea for $8), I sauteed sliced chicken breast with a little salt and pepper until no longer pink. Add in veggies, all cut to the same size to keep the cooking times even (I used zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli slaw, sweet peppers and onions) and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the veggies are desired softness. Add in about 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes and serve piping hot over rice.

    My teriyaki and soy sauces are both organic and all-natural from Whole Foods. They only cost a little more than “regular” soy and teriyaki sauce, but without any of the preservatives. The soy sauce is actually a tamari sauce, which is gluten-free as well.

    Texas Gold

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

    Texas Gold  
    From Kevin and Amanda 

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

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

    Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

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

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

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

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

    The Lipstick League – Week of 5.30.17

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    New Sephora Favorites Sets Now Online (and New Freebie Codes to Go with Them)

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

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    New Ulta Online Only Beauty Bags, 30%-40% off Hot Buys and More

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    QVC’s TSVs for March 2018

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    Preorder Numbers for Today’s Special Values
    DO NOT COPY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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


    Bargain Alert: 


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    Julep – 12 full sized nail polishes for FREE, $168 value! Amazing deal! Check out my reviews. *
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    Nature Box – healthy, delicious snacks, extra 30% off first 3 shipments. Code “THIRTY3”. *
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    QVC’s Luminara TSV – Auto Delivery 2nd Shipment

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    Set of Three Blown Glass Ornaments with Luminara Flameless Candles


    I just received my auto delivery shipment of QVC’s July 16th Today Special Value (TSV), shown above. This time the glass is shaped like a pumpkin and the wreath and bow have autumn colors. It’s really pretty in person. I’ll be able to use this set year round since our living room is decorated in fall colors. I find decorating in warm colors makes the room feel warm, cozy, colorful and comforting.

    The first shipment is still available for purchase in champagne, icy blue and pearl for $42.74, which is only $3.98 more than the TSV price. Lately QVC has been offering TSVs that don’t sell out for only a few dollars more than the TSV price. So if you missed out on it and are having buyer’s regret, snag a set before they are gone. Check out my review of the pearl set. You may be able to find this harvest set later, if too many auto delivery orders are cancelled. Sometimes QVC sells auto delivery shipments separately online. It would have been nice if they had offered wreaths for each season as a add on.  

    Bargain Alert:

    Use Mr. Rebates for 1-3% cash back while shopping online @ QVC.

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    Have a PEACEful Day!

    Dinner Plan to Eat Clean for a Week

    Your Dinner Plan to Eat Clean for a Week 

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

    You can find the whole meal plan here.

    Chocolate croissants aka my husband knows the way to my heart


    Several weekends ago, I not only got a weekend away with my girlfriends, but I came home to two happy (and alive) kids, a pretty clean house and chocolate croissants, my all-time favorite pastry. These were not only super delicious, they were clean and all-natural too!

    Quick story about my love for croissants…when I was in my first trimester pregnant with Liesl, we went on a company trip to St. Thomas. Unfortunately, I was sicker than a dog and sustained myself on chocolate croissants alone. No lie.

    Anyway, I LOVE them! I recently bought Matt his dream kitchen tool, a KitchenAid mixer and he used it to make these delectable treats. He said they weren’t too difficult to make, but did take a long time to prepare. Just don’t get overwhelmed by the length of the recipe; the author gives VERY detailed instructions!

    If you ever want me to love you forever (or want to try them for yourselves 😉 here’s the recipe:

    Chocolate Croissants
    from Baking Illustrated

    Dough
    3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
    1 tablespoon instant yeast
    1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 1/4 cups cold whole milk
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

    Butter Square
    3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
    1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)  
    To make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk 2 3/4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients and turn to the mixer to low, beating until the dough comes together in a rough ball, about 4 minutes.
     

    Add the pieces of butter and continue kneading until the butter is completely incorporated, about 5-6 minutes. The dough will still be sticky, but should form a rough ball and mostly clear the sides of the bowl (if you make bread regularly, this dough will be more sticky than you’re used to and won’t clear the sides of the bowl as fully as a typical yeast bread). If it’s too sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

    Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap.
     
    Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
     

    To make the butter square: Place the pieces of butter on your work surface and sprinkle the flour over the top of them.
     

    Use a bench scraper to smear the butter/flour mixture back and forth against the work surface.
     

    Continue until the mixture is uniform and smooth. Gather in a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 7-inch square.
     

    Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
     

    Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into an 11-inch square, lifting and turning as you go to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center of the dough.

    Lift each of the four corners of the dough up and over the butter square.
     

    It’s fine if they don’t meet exactly, just pinch them together to seal completely.

    Use your rolling pin to gently tap the dough, starting in the center and going outward, until square gets larger and the butter begins to soften slightly. Roll the dough into a 14-inch square, flouring your work surface and rolling pin as necessary to ensure the dough isn’t sticking. (no idea why I chose to roll it diagonally over my parchment…)
     
    Fold one side of the dough to the center and then bring the other side up and over it – basically, you’re folding the dough like you would a business letter. This is also called a “turn” of the dough.
     

    Complete a second turn by folding the top half of the dough down to the center and then bringing the bottom up and over it.

    Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

    Repeat the process above (roll into a 14-inch square and fold like a business letter twice) to complete 2 more turns of the dough. Again, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
     
    Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a 20-inch square (flour as necessary to make sure it’s not sticking). Cut the dough into 4 equal 10-inch squares.
     

    Cut each of those squares into 3 rectangles (about 10 x 3 1/4-inches each) – you should have a total of 12 rectangles.
     

    Add about 1 tablespoon (about 1/2-oz) of chopped chocolate to the center of each rectangle.
     

    Fold the top of the rectangle over the chocolate and down to the center, then lift the bottom up and over it (again, we’re folding it like it’s a business letter).
     

    Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, seam-side down. Try to keep the croissants horizontal as you move them so the chocolate doesn’t spill out the sides. Also, you can see on mine I have a little flap sticking out the side – that flap will get bigger as the croissants rise and puff so you can try to hide it under the croissant a little better than I did to avoid that.

    Loosely cover the croissant with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until they’re puffy (they won’t necessarily double in size). While they’re rising, preheat oven to 400 F with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
     
    Brush the croissants with the egg wash then bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the croissants cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. They’re best warm, but will keep for a few days at room temperature if tightly wrapped. I zapped mine for 15-ish seconds in the microwave on the 2nd day to enjoy it warm.

    Today Only (4/22): Free Full-Size Juice Beauty Sunscreen with ANY $40 Online Purchase at Ulta (and Last-Minute Recs & Reminders)

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    Our Latest Bounty

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

    Happy Labor Day!

    Ulta The Gorgeous Hair Event Day 14 Deals are Live (Tips & Reminders)

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    New Ulta Beauty Bag, Sunday Hair Event Deals and Wet n Wild Reminder

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    HOT DEAL ALERT: Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip & Liner Set on Sale for $30 + New Freebie Codes (Reg $60; $185 Value)

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    Macy’s Beauty Box Review – April 2018

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    Macy’s April Beauty Box


    This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Macy’s. It costs $15 a month and it comes with a $5 coupon that can be used towards any beauty product at Macy’s stores or on their website. I took a three month break from this subscription when they sent only four products instead of five in the December box. Then it looked like they improved their boxes again, so I decided to resubscribe. It took two months to start getting the subscription again, so if you want to subscribe, don’t delay. The value of the April box is $43.24. Included in the box were the following products:
    1. Tony Moly – I’m Green Tea Mask Sheet, made in Korea, full size, $3.00 retail value
    2. Korres – Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, made in Greece, .68 fl. oz., $24.17 retail value
    3. Schmidts – Rose & Vanilla Natural Deodorant, made in the USA, .7 oz., $1.93 retail value
    4. Origins – GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, made in the USA, .17 oz., $10.54 retail value
    5. Coola – Face Mineral Sunscreen, made in the USA, .17 oz., $3.60 retail value
    6. bareMinerals – Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, made in the USA, foil sample in 4 shades
    I have used most of my $5 coupons on the Tony Moly sheet masks. I’m happy to receive another one since I really like them. I place them on and then lay down and relax. They don’t stick well enough to get up and walk around, so you need to sit or lay down during the twenty to thirty minutes. I’ve even fallen asleep while wearing one. They are perfect for nap time. I keep them in the refrigerator for a cooling effect which feels really good and helps me relax. They are very saturated, so they can last even longer than thirty minutes, if you have time. I highly recommend them, give one a try! I purchase them in sets to save money. You can also find them at Asian markets that sell the Tony Moly brand. I’ve received the Korres Sleeping Facial in another subscription box. I remember that it smelled like roses which was very pleasant, but I didn’t find it to be very moisturizing. As far as evening out skin tone and repairing fine lines, that usually takes a full size to see results, not a small sample. It’s really expensive, so I’ll enjoy the sample, but it’s too pricey for me to purchase the full size. I enjoy the Origins brand, so I’m happy to receive a sample from them. The eye cream is suppose to get rid of dark circles and puffiness. I don’t have dark circles, but I definitely have puffiness especially in the morning. I look forward to giving this a try tomorrow and hopefully I’ll get enough uses out of the tube to see results. I’m not a fan of the Coola brand, while it’s expensive, I’m not a fan of sunscreen that uses zinc oxide, it always irritates my eyes, if it gets in there as a result of sweating in the hot sun. I find bareMinerals mineral foundation works better for me for that purpose. It stays on better and it doesn’t irritate my skin or eyes. I’ve purchased bareMinerals Complexion Rescue before in a QVC Today’s Special Value (TSV) set back in 2016. I enjoyed it for awhile, but I switched to the IT Cosmetics brand and then to Julep’s which I’m currently preferring. I find Julep’s Cushion Complexion easiest and quickest to use plus it doesn’t make my wrinkles more obvious which I find bareMinerals does on those that are over forty years old. I loved their foundation when I was younger and I still use it for days I know I’ll be out in the sun. I’m always looking for a deodorant that has safer ingredients, but I’ve yet to find one that does the job. Do you have one you recommend? I’ve never heard of the Schmidts brand before, have you? I’ll be giving this one a try tonight after my shower. Since I experience hot flashes daily, it will be quite challenged! I’m hoping the April cosmetic bag is an exception and they will go back to the lovely, sturdy cosmetic bags rather than cloth sacks like Play! by Sephora offers.

    While I found their February and March boxes more appealing, I’m ok with this months box. My favorite product this month is the sheet mask since I purchase them regularly and they are my current favorite sheet mask. My least favorite product is the sunscreen which I rarely have use for and has ingredients that irritate my skin and eyes. If you received this month’s box, what’s your favorite product? If you didn’t order this month’s box, what’s your favorite subscription box?

    Check out my reviews of the previous Macy’s Beauty Boxes:
    December 2017 $63.14 retail value
    November 2017 $38.21 retail value
    October 2017 $55.97 retail value
    September 2017 $31.84 retail value
    August 2017 $35.36 retail value

    Also, check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to compare it to Macy’s Beauty Box and my Macy’s Beauty Box Pinterest Board. In addition, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I’ve subscribed to over the years. 

    Bargain Alert:

    Mr. Rebates – Cash Back from Macy’s
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    Have a PEACEful Day!



    Yamaha VMax Motorcycle Splendid Wallpaper HD

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    Canned Sweet Banana Peppers

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

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

    Here’s my recipe:

    Canned Banana Peppers
    From Food.com

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

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

    Merry Christmas to You and Yours!!

    From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

    Crockpot Beef and Noodles

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

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

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

    2 cups water

    1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning

    1 T. minced garlic

    1/2 t. onion powder

    1/2 t. salt

    1/2 t. pepper

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

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

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    Update

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

    Love, 
    G.