7.06.2015

Solve Unreliable Internet Connection Issues with a New NETGEAR Router

I'm so lucky to have recently become a NETGEAR ambassador, they so nicely provided me with this awesome router so that I could share my thoughts with you, all opinions expressed below are my own.

When working from home, having a bad internet connection is a little bit like trying to get up a creek without a paddle. My husband and I have spent the last several months suffering from a bad connection at our old house, we couldn't watch Netflix while I was working because it was too much for our poor little connection.
 
During the time we suffered from a horrible connection, we learned that the internet speed that your internet service provider supplies you with is an important part of having a good internet connection (obviously), but we also learned the other part of a good connection is more of a modern technology, the speed at which your router delivers your wi-fi connection.

Solve Unreliable Internet Connection Issues with a New NETGEAR Router

It's as though fate stepped in and handed me what I had been asking for when NETGEAR chose me to become an ambassador for them. Then when they offered me a new router, the Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router with the single fastest WiFi connection, up to 1.73Gbps, and a combined speed of 2.33Gbps. I just knew that my internet connection problems were history. Setting up my router was a breeze, I literally installed the antennas, plugged it into my modem and the wall, typed in a password, and I was connected!

Solve Unreliable Internet Connection Issues with a New NETGEAR Router

I love that we can both be on our laptops, watching Netflix, while a friend is over constantly tweeting. It's the internet we've always dreamed of and it's truly because we finally stepped up our router game! I'm able to control the internet right from my laptop and even limit connections to certain devices, which I could see coming in handy as a parent! I know it may sound like I'm a little too excited about my internet, but after having such a horrible connection the past few months, it just feels good to be happy about my wi-fi speed!

Solve Unreliable Internet Connection Issues with a New NETGEAR Router

My internet connection is no longer part of my daily work stress and I'm so thankful that I'm part of an awesome team of people that love NETGEAR as much as I do! I can't wait to share more about all the wonderful NETGEAR products on the market, I know they have some amazing stuff that you'll want to hear more about.

Solve Unreliable Internet Connection Issues with a New NETGEAR Router

Now that I've shared my internet woes with you, I'd love to know if you have ever had a horrible internet connection experience at your house? If you are still suffering through bad wi-fi connection, are you looking to upgrade? I highly recommend checking out NETGEAR and everything they have to offer!

The American Dream + 4 Steps to Take While TTC

The steps in life are pretty much laid out for us when we are kids. You start school, you learn all kinds of awesome information and you grow into a blossoming young adult, then it's time to head to another school and gain a college education. Once you graduate from college the next step is finding your true love and getting married. After that, you get a prestigious job, you buy a house with a white picket fence, and fill it with a houseful of babies. Right? I mean that's the traditional American dream for most people, anyways...


Well, my hubby and I have been anything but traditional from the beginning of our relationship. Being high school sweethearts, we moved into together when I was only 17 and he was 19. I started college early and though we both were enrolled and working towards our degrees the first few years we were together, we ended up taking an extended break and are back in school currently. We found our soul mates many moons ago, married for seven years this December. We both love our jobs, but still don't own our home (that may be in the works in the far future), but for now our rental is pretty awesome... and well, the last step is having a baby.


This last step is one that is SO important to me. Being a mom is something I've dreamed of since I was a little girl. I've longed to have a baby to hold, to nurture, to love since I can remember and now that we're finally in a good spot in our lives, it's time.  I'm excited that we are trying to conceive a baby of our own.This step isn't a new adventure for us though, we've tried for several years now and haven't exactly been the most fertile couple, obviously. We've considered adoption and that's definitely still in the works, but we don't want to give up on having a biological child as well.


That's why I'm working on a list for those that are new to the game and currently TTC. While we may not have been successful, yet... We are taking the next step on the infertility journey and we are visiting a specialist this summer, as well as taking some of the matter into our own hands and preparing our lives and our bodies for these future children.These are the few steps that we've taken to ensure that we are doing everything we can to conceive soon:


1. Make sure you both are eating clean and that your bodies are at your ideal weight, activity level, etc. Being overweight or underweight can cause fertility problems and having an unhealthy, unbalanced diet can also effect your ability to get pregnant.


2. Only use products that are specifically made for those that are TTC! Did you know that some lube on the market is horrible for reproduction purposes? Luckily, Astroglide has come out with the perfect bedroom helper for those of us trying to conceive. Astroglide TTC Trying to Conceive™ is the perfect product for any couple who wants a baby, offering adjusted pH levels, compatible osmolality, and a consistency similar to a woman's natural cervical mucus. I love that it's available almost anywhere and only costs $12.99, the best value on the market! TTC is the perfect way to make sure your body is ready when you know your ovulating...


3. Speaking of ovulating, you need to know your cycle! Most girls are aware of when they have their period, but did you know you can only get pregnant when you are ovulating? Download a free app on your phone and keep track of your cycle so you know when you are ovulating! You'll want to be extra romantic on those days that you are ovulating to ensure that you are more likely to conceive.


4. Be patient! This is something I've learned after what seems like an ocean of tears. Being patient and working on becoming healthier has kept me sane during the wait. It could take a few months or a few years, but hopefully we will all be blessed soon!


Now that I've shared my four tips on TTC, I'd love hear any advice you have for us on this exciting time in our lives! If you are on the same journey we are on, I'd love to hear your story in the comments below! I'll be sure to keep you all updated on our journey and can't wait to hear about yours!

Astroglide TTC™ sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine

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7.03.2015

Celebrate Independence Day with 4th of July Fruit Kebobs

Fourth of July weekend is officially here and we are excited to celebrate at our house. We broke out the BBQ and made some super fun 4th of July themed snacks today and I just have to share this super simple recipe with you so you can indulge in some of this deliciousness this weekend as well. The flavors of roasted strawberry, marshmallow, and blueberries combined together taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime. Plus, since these are so easy to make, kids can help with the prep work!

These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

Ingredients you'll need to make these tasty kebobs:
Strawberries
Blueberries
Marshmallows
Skewers
These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

To begin rinse the strawberries and blueberries and then pat them dry.

Next cut off the tops of the strawberries, making them easier to eat in skewer form.

Now add a strawberry, a marshmallow, and 2-3 blueberries and repeat so that each skewer has two levels of deliciousness.

These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

Warm up the grill or a make a small fire pit and place the skewers above the flame for about 10-15 seconds a piece, rotating it so that it all gets a nice bit of heat.

These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a second or two, then slide from the strawberry up for a nice fruity, toasted marshmallow dessert in every bite!

These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

Enjoy!
These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

This treat is sure to make your family smile on the fourth and if you don't feel like firing up the grill, these kebobs are just as tasty "raw".

These simple to make fruit kebobs taste like a decadent dessert and leave a deliciously fruity and sugary after taste that embodies everything summertime.

I'd love to hear what your plans for the 4th include...? Will you be making any delicious recipes or setting off fireworks, I want to hear all about your adventures this weekend in the comments below!

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias
Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes
Stop for a moment and tell me, how are you feeling today? Are you full of joy? Feeling a little sadness? Possibly even a little red in the face from anger after a tough day? Maybe it's hard to translate how you are feeling at this very moment?

If you really think about it, we have some super complex emotions, so if you are having trouble I don't blame you. Some of us cry when we are happy, a lot of people smile a joyful grin when they are embarrassed, and some people even laugh when they are angry, translating those mixed signals into words is so very difficult at times.

Emotions are a difficult thing to discuss; when we are children we can't quite put our feelings into words and once we are older we are told to keep composure. While it's nice to keep your emotions at bay in some situations, here's some news for the adults holding it all in all the time and the kids learning to express themselves: all emotions are normal and it's healthy for us to express ourselves.

While I'm not an expert on the expression of emotions, I will be the first to admit I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am passionate and feel everything deeply so not sharing how I'm feeling is abnormal for me. 

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

After seeing Inside Out recently, I'm a huge fan of the movie and just have to share my joy! I love that the characters in the movie make relating our emotions to situations so incredibly easy. It's like a guide book for kids to learn to express themselves in an emotionally healthy way, while still having plenty of humor for adults to get a real chuckle.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

In celebration of all the joy I'm feeling about Inside Out, I decided to make a rainbow of Inside Out cupcakes, sharing all of my emotions through baking! I made yellow cupcakes for Joy, blue cupcakes for Sadness, red cupcakes for Anger, purple cupcakes for Fear, and green cupcakes for Disgust! They all each had their own little twist but were made with the same delicious, cake batter recipe.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes
Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
1/2 cup almond milk with a pinch of lemon juice added (or buttermilk)
Gel food coloring in yellow, blue, red, purple, and green

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Frosting:
1 stick of butter
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp of almond milk

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

 *This recipe yields about 12 cupcakes, I made two batches so I could make plenty of each color.*

Directions-

You'll want to begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, add eggs and beat with mixer for about 10 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 40 seconds, now add the vanilla and oil, beat for an additional 10 seconds or so.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about a fourth of the flour mixture.  Add about a fourth of the milk, then add another fourth of the flour and another fourth of the milk and so on.  Beat until just combined.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Pour batter into 5 bowls and add desired amount of food coloring. I added a pinch of coconut and lime to the disgust cupcakes, 1 tbsp of cocoa to the anger cupcakes, 1 tsp of lemon extract to the joy cupcakes, and left the fear and sadness cupcakes just plain ol' vanilla for those that like that type of thing. These additions are totally optional but add some fun flavor varities to the cupcakes.

Then pour into a muffin pan prepared with silicone liners or directly into a silicone baking pan.  Fill approximately 2/3 full.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Place in oven and bake for 12-14 minutes. We ate some Inside Out fruit snacks while we waited for our cupcakes... Remove all the cupcakes from the oven once you can stick a toothpick (or fork) into the center and it comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a minute or two, then remove cupcakes from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

While your cupcakes are cooling, you can start on your frosting prep! Combine the butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar, and almond milk in a large mixing bowl and mix on high for about a minute or until the frosting is smooth in consistency. Separate the frosting into five bowls again and add desired amount of food coloring and flavors, if you desire.

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Once your cupcakes are completely cooled, cut each one in half and add a thick spoonful of frosting to each "top" of the cupcake and place the bottom on top. You want the inside of your cupcake to be the outside, hence their name "Inside Out" cupcakes! 

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Add Sprinkles, if you wish and these little emotional cupcakes are ready to serve!

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Enjoy!
Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

These Inside Out Cupcakes are like little cupcake sandwiches and are absolutely delicious. The perfect colorful addition to a conversation about emotions or a very happy celebration of any sort! 

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

Now that I've shared my delicious (and emotional) Inside Out cupcake recipe, I'd love to hear which cupcake you think best represents how you feel on a daily basis...? I'd also love to hear if you've seen Inside Out or if you plan to see this adorable movie? If you want to celebrate seeing the movie in style with all the fun emotions, you can find all kinds of cute plush animals, toys, and more at Walmart!

Let's Talk About Emotions with Inside Out Cupcakes

7.02.2015

Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn

Fourth of July is such a fun holiday, full of so much happiness and all kinds of colorful fireworks in celebration of our country... 'Merica! I'm so excited to watch all of the fireworks shows around town and make some memories this year!

Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn - This fun and festive treat is the perfect treat to eat while watching the fireworks!

I'm also really excited because I've been getting creative in the kitchen in celebration of the holiday and I have some awesome recipes to share. Today I'm sharing the most simple recipe and it's so incredibly delicious, you should make a batch right this second.

Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn - This fun and festive treat is the perfect treat to eat while watching the fireworks!

This salty and sugar coated treat is the perfect way to treat yourself while watching the fireworks and you can throw it together right before they start.

Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn - This fun and festive treat is the perfect treat to eat while watching the fireworks!

All you'll need to make this simple recipe:
popcorn
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
red and blue sugar
(or just normal cane sugar lightly coated in food coloring)


Start by making the popcorn in the microwave, remove and place in a bowl. You'll want to add the unsalted butter and sprinkle a decent amount of both red and blue sugar all over the popcorn and toss!

Fourth of July Firecracker Popcorn - This fun and festive treat is the perfect treat to eat while watching the fireworks!

I added in some "firecrackers" to add some extra pizazz to my Firecracker Popcorn! I think this simple dish will make the perfect appetizer and addition to my 4th of July table spread. I hope you all have a very happy and safe Independence Day and that you enjoy your Firecracker Popcorn!

The Ultimate Sophisticated Cycle Survival Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CycleSurvival #CollectiveBias

This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

This coming semester I'm going to be a busy, busy girl! Now that I've finished my associates degree, I'm officially starting my "program" which means that I'll be in classes that are specifically aimed towards my degree. That also means that I'm going to be around a lot of people that I want to make a good impression on, ranging from future politicians to head honchos at companies I may want to work at in the future.

This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

When my period comes I'll still want to make a good impression and always remain professional, I can't let cramps or a little bloating get in the way of my education and career! I certainly can't have a mishap and end up with a stain on my clothing, that's just not going to cut it in this environment... That's why I've put together the Ultimate Sophisticated Cycle Survival Kit for that time of the month. I've included everything you'll need to comfortably survive Aunt Flo, without giving away the fact that you aren't exactly feeling on top of your game and I'm adding the entire kit into my purse today!

This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

My list of items I included all can be found at Walgreens! First things first, you'll want to grab an adorable, sophisticated small make up bag in the make up section and now it's time to shop for all the goodies that go inside!
This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

Everything you'll need for The Ultimate Sophisticated Cycle Survival Kit includes:

This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

1. EOS lip balm to make sure your lips are hydrated and healthy!
2. BIC Soleil Glow Razors so you can shave on the spot if you miss a hair or two on your ankles or knees, which we all do.
3. U by Kotex CleanWear® by U because you need to know that you are protected at all times!
4. A Nail File with all the works, because a manicure can get chipped/scuffed way too easily! 
5. Dark Chocolate with Almonds because we all love chocolate and a little protein, especially while dealing with PMS!
6. Wintergreen Mints are a must, you want to make sure your breath is fresh always!
7. Menstrual Pain Relief is optional but truly helps with cramps
8. Tweezers are a life saver when an eye brow hair gets out of wack
9. Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blisters are the answer to that irritated spot on your feet from your high heels!
This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

Do you want to hear the best part of buying all of these goodies for a new sophisticated cycle survival kit? If you buy $15 of participating U by, EOS, and/or BIC products, you will receive 3,000 extra Balance Reward Points! Being a member of Walgreens Balance Rewards program always pays off!


This survival kit is the perfect way to stay sophisticated and classy while dealing with "that time of the month".

Now that I've shared all the awesome stuff I'm including in my sophisticated cycle survival kit, I'd love to hear what you would include in a kit for a friend to help her survive her cycle...? Find more cycle survival inspiration here.

7.01.2015

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Neutrogena. I received samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

When I was younger I was one of those girls that was convinced I didn't need to wear sunscreen. I suppose I thought I was invincible and the more UV rays that tanned my skin, the better; especially because I'm porcelain pale naturally, I wanted a tan. The thing is, I was doing some pretty awful damage to my skin and after my dad had a skin cancer scare, I realized it was time to start taking care of my skin! Using sunscreen became a regular thing for me from that point on, when we were at the pool or spending lots of time outdoors, but I always dreaded using a sunscreen that was full of unhealthy chemicals and left my skin feeling uncomfortable.

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

After our move to Florida a couple of years ago, I started spending even more time out in the sun. We love spending long days on the beach and kayaking out on the open water for hours on end. We also love shopping every single aisle at the farmers market and exploring new parks. Basically, we spend a lot of time wandering and we love it here, but that also means that sunscreen is a necessity for any occasion, no matter where we are going because we never know where the day will lead!

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

While my skin is pale, it's also pretty sensitive so I love using products that are oil-free and hypoallergenic like Neutrogena sunscreen! I love the entire sunscreen line from Neutrogena because it's the smart way to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays without harming your skin with harsh chemicals.

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

This year, I've also started using Neutrogena pure & free liquid as a primer when applying makeup, it makes the perfect non-greasy, smooth sheer layer of moisturizer on my face and it's 100% naturally sourced... The answer to my sunscreen woes and I'm absolutely in love! Neutrogena pure & free liquid is the perfect way to make sure your skin is protected no matter where you are.

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

Did you know 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer, yet only the same ratio use sunscreen daily? That means that we need to up our sunscreen game to avoid being the unlucky one in that group of five, we may even be able to lower that statistic if we just applied sunscreen regularly. Whether you are running errands getting in and out of your car all day or spending the entire day with your significant other fishing, you'll want to apply Neutrogena sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

I also recently found out that The National Eczema Association awarded its Seal of Acceptance to five Neutrogena Sun products! That means my little nephew with eczema will be able to visit and use sunscreen without any of us having to worry about his skin!

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

Neutrogena pure & free baby isn't just for the cuties that have eczema though. We'll definitely keep it around for all my nieces and nephew, we want to prevent a sunburn for all the little cuties in our family because children that suffer sunburns are more likely to have skin cancer later in life... that's definitely something we want to prevent!

My Secret to Beautiful Skin: Neutrogena Sunscreen

There's so much to love about Neutrogena sunscreen products and spending time at the beach. I'd love to hear where you think you'll use your Neutogena sunscreen the most this year? Neutrogena and I would also love your opinion on all of their fabulous Sunscreen products, leave a comment here or write a review over on their site!