Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

November 14, 2014

Travel the world with "Try The World": Become a Culinary Traveler

 This post is sponsored by Try The World & Cooperatize, regardless all opinions are my own.

I've already shared my passion for traveling in the past, while I've had some crazy adventures and some amazing vacations; one thing every single one of my favorite vacations has in common is fantastic food. I have loved getting to try food from different countries, flavors that we would never combine in America are embraced around the world and my palette embraces all of these flavors as well. I will try any food once, if I like it I'll probably eat it again... I suppose you could call me a culinary traveler... heh. I like that title, I think I'll officially adopt it.
As a culinary traveler, I'm always interested in trying out new foods and when I heard about the "Try The World" Subscription Box, I just had to learn more. At "Try the World" they have the same philosophy I have towards culinary travel, they "believe that life is too short to not try everything that's out in the world. So [they] created the first subscription program to discover the best gourmet food and cultural finds from across the globe, delivered to your door." I think we can all agree, it's good to explore, learn, and grow... this box allows you to do all of these things in the comfort of your own home.

I love receiving subscription boxes, it's like Christmas morning when I open the box and delve in. I love discovering what was sent and reading the labels on products... I'm a total nerd like that. This subscription box service is unlike any other though, they are offering products from around the world that you may not be able to find on your own, products that are rare - if not impossible to find in The US; there's a little bit of magic in every box because of this.

The last few boxes have been from Istanbul, Tokyo, and Rome. The collections are full of authentic, traditional ingredients allowing you to remake recipes and taste foods as if you are in these countries. If you can't get away right now but want to experience some exquisite cuisine, then you should join Try The World today.

Are you ready to travel the world with "Try The World" and become a Culinary Traveler?

Once you sign up, you'll begin receiving a gourmet box from a new country every 2 months (at the end of the month in which you enroll), beginning this month with a box from Paris! Soon they'll begin offering "surprise boxes", can you say hello to happiness arriving at your doorstep?

The best part of the boxes is that all of the products are sourced from traditional and local producers that love what they make and their passion really shows in the quality of the foods! The local foodies gather all of the most delicious and authentic foods from all over the world and bring these boxes together to provide you with food that tastes great.

This box is officially on my Holiday Gift Guide, as well as my wish list! This is one product that I recommend giving as a gift to family members, co-workers, or just that person that has everything. If you want to subscribe to Try The World or learn more about their subscription services, you can find more information here.

 Oh and did I mention 1 in every 100 subscribers now have the opportunity to win a trip to Paris! How cool is that?

November 7, 2014

6 Essentials For Every Home Office + a $200 SkyMall Gift Card Giveaway!

I have a huge announcement:

I officially have a home office space, as an early Christmas present to myself and my blog I decided it was time to get off the couch while blogging and get into a more productive spot. Now that I have a designated work area, my life has changed completely. Havinng an office has helped me establish "working hours", something I never really laid out before. This has made me more productive and creative, so you could say I kind of love my little office space.

When I say little, I mean my gorgeous desk is able to fold up and out of the way if I need it to, and this is perfect since my office is technically part of my living room still... I suppose you could say I commandeered a corner of the room when I saw the The Fold-Out Convertible Desk on made by SEI. I knew it would be perfect and our living room re-design started that day! Now that we've rearranged things a bit, this space feels so much larger and more open with more in it! 

I love the clean lines and the beautiful stark white color of my fold-out desk. The hanging of the desk was an adventure but not too incredibly complicated and that's the only assembly involved. The quality of the desk is perfect, it's sturdy, and even offers a little bit of storage space - everything you could ask for in an office desk.

I decided I really wanted to make my office my own once I set up the fold-out desk, so I began to add some flair by bringing in a fun piece of art work, a few personal pictures, a set of organization boards, adorable office accessories, and some fun knick-knacks! {Do you like the organization/dry erase boards? The Calendar, To-Do List, and Quote are all DIY and I'll be sharing a tutorial in just a few short days!}

I almost have my little office area organized, but I'm still wanting to add a few more things: a small plant for the top, maybe a few more folders so I can keep papers organized in the little pockets the desk offers, and maybe just a couple more pretty little things to add to the shelves because why not?

Today I want to share with you the 6 Essentials for Every Home Office:

1. Organizational tools - You should always try to keep all of your statements, invoices, etc. organized, even if you just opt to scan every single file - you need a way to store your important documents. I have the fun little pockets feature on the desk, as well as a filing cabinet that isn't pictured. I also highly suggest adding a calendar, planner, etc.

2. Get artsy - Put something fun, colorful, or inspirational in your office space. Encourage yourself to get things done with a quote by your favorite inspirational speaker or paint a cute picture of your dog. Whatever you want to add to your space to make you smile; make it, print it, photograph it, and hang it up.

3. Clear work area - I'm using my fold-out desk as my large work area, I want it to always be free from clutter. My laptop and a few other items are the only things I want left on the desktop regularly. This should be a goal in every office: don't overload your desktop. If you don't have the fun storage cubbies on your desk like I do, then think about installing some shelving or getting some storage bins. You'll love having your desktop clear of clutter and I promise it'll make you more productive!

4. Accessorize - Now that I've explained how not to clutter up your accessories, I highly suggest you add in some fun elements to your desk. I have an adorable set of matching clipboards and post-its so I use these as both functional pieces and gorgeous accessories! I have a few pictures on my cork board that the fold-out desk features, both photos reminding me how much I have to be passionate about; my family is amazing!

5. Let it burn - I highly recommend a candle in your home office, because they help relax a space and make it smell delicious! I love having a vanilla or lavender candle because both scents are soothing to me, I suggest using a scent that comforts you and makes you feel all warm inside. You want to be in "your happy place" while in your office, don't you?

6. Relax -  Add something to your office that helps you feel calm. Whether it be a stress ball, a yo-yo, or in my case, a small meditation garden. It's good choose to have something relaxing that offers mindless entertainment... It'll help get your creative juices flowing again when feeling a little drained.

Now that I've shared everything you need for the perfect office space, here's your chance to win a $200 SkyMall Gift Card. Have you seen some of the amazing prodcuts SkyMall offers? They have a little bit of something for everyone and with $200 to spend, I want to know which items are on your wish list this year?

Enter to win with the giveaway tools form below:

Disclaimer: I  received one or more of the products mentioned above to facilitate my review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.This contest will run through December 1st at  11:59pm EST. Must be 18 years or older to win. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter,etc. You understand that you are providing your information to Lauren Paints | a beautiful life and not to any other entity, I will not use your information other than to e-mail you a winning notification if you are the chosen winner. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form above. Void Where Prohibited. Please note that Lauren Paints | a beautiful life is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.

November 4, 2014

I've lost 14lbs on Nutrisystem already! #NSNation Update

 I'm on a journey to get fit this year and with the assistance of Nutrisystem (and Planet Fitness), I've already started to lose big! I updated a few weeks ago that I had already lost 9lbs... That was after losing most of the weight in the first week on their Fast 5 program jump starter. Those results were incredible so I knew I shouldn't expect results like that during the entire program; that just wouldn't be healthy! So with all of that said, I'm SUPER excited to have lost another 5lbs! That means total I have lost 14lbs!

I'm not sure if anyone else can see the difference in these photos, but it's a huge difference to me. I mean I'm wearing a tank top tucked into jeans; that's a HUGE difference itself that I felt confident and skinny enough to do this is a huge sign... plus, my pants look kind of wonky because they are too big! Oh and my wedding band was lost for over a week after losing it because I lost SO much weight (I'm glad to report, it was found) and I now wear it on my middle finger until we get it resized!

All of these amazing transformations and this is only half way through my plan, I can't wait to see what the rest of the journey will hold. I do know after Nutrisystem is over, I have a better mind set towards food and how often/what I should be eating and that is what is going to help my results last once I don't have the pleasure of having a majority of my food pre-made for me.

So are you wondering what my secret to success is?

I'm going to be honest, I occasionally eat out with hubby because that's just how life works... BUT I limit my portion sizes and order healthy. Salads, grilled chicken, and minimally processed foods are this gals best friend. Which means technically, I haven't strayed from my diet at all while eating out but I still get to spend time out with friends and family! It's all about making wise decisions!

Planet Fitness has become a regular day date every few days in our home, while this isn't as often as I would like (we're waiting for the location closer to us to open)... I'm still seeing results! I do about 20-30 minutes of cardio, then I use a couple weight machines, and wrap it up by getting a few miles in on the stationary bikes... I can't even believe I have a "plan" at the gym, that's a huge transformation for me as well.

DRINK YOUR GREENS! Your body and your taste buds will love it. I've made smoothies almost every day, if not a few a day... It's a good way to get in your smart carbs and veggies at the same time while not having to choke down a whole forests worth of broccoli.  Have you seen the smoothie recipes I've been sharing lately? I'm telling you, they all are AMAZING!

I'll be sharing more tips to lose big on Nutrisystem soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Results so far on Nutrisystem:
14 lbs down and looking forward to the rest of my journey!

Help Increase Creativity with Yoga & Meditation - Aurorae Yoga #HolidayGiftGuide

As you've probably observed, I'm a huge fan of yoga and I love sharing my passion for yoga. I hosted the Everybody Yoga Challenge in September and it was an amazing experience, watching all the participants share their photos was inspirational to me... not just because each and every one of the women that participated are amazing yogini's, which is so very true. It was inspirational because those women that were new to yoga seemed to really embrace the challenge and I learned things from them.

During the challenge I learned some amazing lessons and they have changed the way I view myself and my yoga practice. The main thing I learned from these ladies is that we are all our own worst critic, so just a little note - "Hey you, quit being so hard on yourself; you're awesome". I also learned a good mat makes a huge difference in my ability to get into poses, I did almost every pose for the challenge outdoors without a mat and that got sticky at times.

I'm so excited I was given the chance to work with Aurorae Yoga this month. Their Northern Lights Yoga Mat and their meditation candles are two amazing gifts for those in your life that love yoga or even those that are seeking balance in their life. Yoga has so much more than just the obvious physical benefits, it's therapeutic to the soul. Practicing yoga will leave most people feeling rejuvenated and happy. It doesn't necessarily have to be a spiritual thing, but it can be... It doesn't have to be a high intensity session, but it can be... It doesn't have to be "hot" yoga, but it can be... The point I'm trying to make here is that it's your yoga; that's what Aurorae Yoga believes anyways.

Aurorae Yoga makes products for the everyday yogi and the newbie. The level of experience you have doesn't matter, they just want to encourage everyone not to feel intimidated or uncomfortable. It's all about relaxing and enjoying your yoga practice in their opinion and that's why they make products designed to help you do just that.

As I sat meditating after yoga today on my Northern Lights Yoga Mat with my Vanilla Compassion meditation candle, I really felt inspired. I have so many ideas running through my head now that I need to make a list of them all, before meditating I felt like I had writer's block. It's no joke, meditating can make you more creative... According to a Dutch study conducted in 2012 certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking and open monitoring meditation, the type in which you don't have an exact focus but let ideas flow freely, has shown to increase creativity the most.

So instead of providing you with mantras to chant, I'm going to just encourage you to relax & enjoy and spoil yourself with high quality products from Aurorae Yoga!


Interested in scoring a yoga mat or a meditation candle for yourself or another person in your life?  Find out more about Aurorae Yoga!

While I was provided with products by Aurorae Yoga to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

October 29, 2014

Uncorked Ventures: Treat Yourself to a little Wine!

When Uncorked Ventures approached me to review their wine club, I was beyond excited... I'm not a wino but I do enjoy a good glass of vino on occasion!

Signing up to be a part of the Uncorked Ventures Wine Club was really easy: they asked me what type of wines I prefer and I mentioned that I like red over white and then they asked for my information & told me my wine was on it's way! When it arrived it was packaged well, including a description of the bottles and tasting notes from a sommelier! Then it was time to pair with a meal and start sipping!

The wines they sent over are incredible. They sent me Del Rino Vineyards Syrah and Easton H House Red Blend (a Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon blend) and they both are uniquely delicious in the own way.

My husband and I split the Del Rino Vineyards Syrah over dinner one evening and loved the mix of flavors the wine offered... The Sommelier said "good luck finding the flavors that are swirling together here" and I couldn't agree more. It's a tasty treat but a very rich one at that.

The other bottle we just busted into when I decided to write this review. It's always good to write a wine review while drinking wine, right? I'm loving the flavors this wine offers, maybe even a little more than the other bottle. It's a refreshing blend with a zest to it that I haven't found in other wines!

While I loved the bottles Uncorked Ventures sent over, I hope that I'm able to sample more of their wines in the future - after all, it's fun to try new things and since both of these wines are bottles I've never picked up at a wine store before, I'm excited to see what other unique wines they offer!

What I love about Uncorked Ventures, other than their wine selections, is the fact that they are a different kind of wine club and I think you'll love this about the company as well... They are a family owned and operated start-up, based just outside of San Francisco. What's really great about Uncorked Ventures though, is that unlike buying wine through middle men and distributors, they spend time in wine country getting to know winemakers, vineyard owners, farmers and others directly involved in the creation of what's in your glass. That means your wine is personally selected by someone who knows the wine, the person that made it, how it was made,etc not just some sales guy, have comfort in knowing that you'll only receive the very best via Uncorked Ventures Wine Club Subscription!

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Uncorked Ventures wine club?
Find out more here.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using
Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

October 16, 2014

Something To Smile About: My Favorite Concert #CricketWireless #STSA

I participated in Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Cricket Wireless. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I love going to see my favorite bands perform live, there's nothing like hearing your favorite song begin to play, right in front of you, for the very first time ever. It's a thrilling experience to say the least and my favorite concert memory involves one of my absolute favorite bands, My Morning Jacket.

MMJ performed at the Americanrama Fest, which wasn't really a festival but a small bundle of bands playing that included some other awesome performances by Wilco, Bob Weir, and Bob Dylan.

#mymorningjacket rocking my face off #americanarama #happygirl #love #groove #flstofmind #instagood

My Morning Jacket's performance was unbelivable. It had just started raining, there was electricty in the air from the lightening crashing all around the ampitheater, and then "Circuital" started to play and it sounded clearer and more vivid than I have ever heard it... Sometimes when I hear bands play I'm disappointed because they sound nothing like their recordings, My Morning Jacket was the opposite of this: they sound better live, if that's even possible.

I sat there in awe as I watched my favorite band play some of their hits, sipped a few adult beverages, and just danced my heart out. I had the best time I've ever had at any concert... This is what every concert should feel like and Cricket Wireless agrees, they want to bring you a concert experience unlike any other and I can't wait to attend a concert sponsored by them soon

Cricket Wireless aims to give people something to smile about (hence, their #STSA campaign). They recently gave several people Something To Smile About by sponsoring The Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias tour... but they are more than a sponsor, Cricket is enhancing the concert experience!

The "Cricket Stage" will be present at this concert, this is a 10x20 stage where fans can hop up and give their best rock star/model pose. Participants can share their images on their social channels via "share kiosks" around the stage. Photos shared will be entered into a sweepstakes where a winner and 3 guests will get a trip to the Miami Latin Grammy Street Party. Plus, all participants will receive a pair of ear buds!

Not only will you have the chance to win an awesome trip, you can be part of the VIP meet and greet also sponsored by Cricket Wireless. Participants will get to meet Pitbull or Enrique and take photos on with a Cricket device. Selfie Stations will be set up on mirrors in the ladies rooms, encouraging all of us to get our selfies on - as if we needed an excuse! And lastly, if you want to score the perfect picture with Enrique and Pitbull, look for the Hologram Standee boards and pose with them for a picture that looks so real! So if you love Pitbull and Enrique and want to have the most amazing time, check into getting your tickets today.

Stay Connected with Cricket Nation:
on Facebook   |   Follow on Twitter

Tell me about your favorite concert experience...

Why I Run: Support The Cause with Skechers Breast Cancer Awareness Shoes

Today's post is sponsored by Skechers, but my love for their cause is completely my own.

If you're a regular reader you already know Getting Fit in 2014 is my ultimate goal, now that I've teamed up with Skechers I have the most awesome pair of Pink Ribbon shoes to help me on my journey. Lately I've been thinking about why I run... what really motivates me to run. I mean I really love seeing my doggies smiling faces, getting out and exploring, feeling the burn, and all that good stuff but there's more to it than that.

I run because I want a transformation. That may sound strange, but it's the best way to express what I mean. Running helps me transform my body, in the obvious sense: the activity burns calories which helps me lose fat... but running also has completely transformed my mindset. I've shared in the past that I was always the girl that couldn't even finish a mile in grade school, but that all has changed and it's because I believed I was capable and started allowing myself to work towards my goals.

Since moving to Florida I've participated in a few 5K's, which means I've now run (more like jogged and/or walked) hundreds of miles while "training" for these events and participating in them. I've pushed myself farther than I ever thought possible and I'm going to continue to do so. I'm so proud of my progress and achievements thus far. I can't even begin to explain the way I love running now, not only have I changed my mindset towards the activity, I've changed my mindset in general: I now know anything I think I can do, I will be able to do if I work hard enough.

One thing I've noticed while running is that my shoes matter; if my shoes are comfortable and provide the support I need, I can run longer and faster. When Skechers sent over the GOrun 3 Awareness tennis shoes I fell in love the second I put them on. These shoes are obviously designed for speed while offering a barefoot running experience and impact protection, the perfect combination for a nice long run.

Not only are these shoes adorable, the Skechers Gorun 3's offer improved breathability and flexibility with a roomy three-layer mesh front panel. While the GOimpulse sensors on the bottom of the shoes offer flexibility and feedback for a responsive running experience. These beauties also offer the perfect amount of "give" to make these the most comfortable pair of running shoes I own, plus with the M-Strike Technology promoting a mid-foot strike these make for an excellent training shoe. These shoes offer everything I want in a running shoe, plus they help a great cause... Score!

During the month of October Skechers Performance Division has teamed up with American Cancer Society to support the fight against Breast Cancer. This adorable pair of shoes as well as several others and items of apparel are all part of a collection supporting the cause. Skechers Performance Division’s support will help the American Cancer Society continue to invest in ground breaking research, provide comprehensive support to people diagnosed with breast cancer, and advocate for laws that ensure access for women who need it so more lives are saved.

Not only have they created the perfect line to bring Awareness to the cause, Skechers Performance Division is offering a donation to American Cancer Society - Skechers has committed to donate $150K at a minimun... with 100% of the proceeds going to American Cancer Society! This is huge and you can be a part of the donation easily, just buy a pair online or head into a Skechers store near you!

If you head in-store you can score savings on future purchases because Skechers is launching a register round-up! You'll have the option to round up your purchase to the nearest whole dollar to benefit American Cancer Society for the entire month of October! Plus, if you donate $5 or more, you will also receive a 20% off discount for your next visit. Even if you don't purchase anything from the Awareness line, you can buy anything from any Skechers retailer store and still have the opportunity to give back and support the cause. Oh, did I mention that you'll receive a special promotional gift if you purchase any of the Awareness shoes in stores? You'll love it!

Not only can you help the cause while shopping in stores, Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day.

Head in to your nearest Skechers Retail store to purchase a pair of Awareness shoes
or buy a pair online today!

To help raise awareness, I made this infographic:
Feel free to share.

October 14, 2014

Record All of Your Adventures with the New Go Pro Cameras

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Best Buy is home to the latest cameras and camcorders, including the full line of new GoPro cameras, plus a broad assortment of accessories - the ultimate when it comes to documenting your vacation memories and crazy adventures. Imagine riding coasters with your best friends and recording the whole thing to watch and laugh at over and over again... Picture attaching your Go Pro to one of the fabulous accessories and strapping it onto your car for an awesome account of your next off roading adventure... There are so many ways to use the GoPro Camera! How will you use yours?

GoPro cameras make perfect holiday gifts for everyone, from kids and teens, to gadget gurus - everyone likes recording their craziest adventures. GoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life - you'll love reliving your memories you capture on your GoPro!

You'll be super excited to hear that the GoPro HERO4 Black is the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level. The coolest action camera on the market!

The GoPro HERO4 Silver is the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display, so you can see what you are recording while you're recording. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display. This is my choice, I can't wait to invest in a GoPro soon!

And lastly, The GoPro HERO features  high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world... with 12x more powerful processors with 2x faster video frame rates you're all set to capture whatever adventure you plan next.

So, tell me,
what adventure would you take your new GoPro camera on first?

You can learn more at or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person!

The Perfect Halloween Treat: Stuffed Baby Pepper Monsters Made with Skinnygirl Hummus

I was part of an Influencer Activation on behalf of Skinnygirl, I received a product sample and a promotional item to facilitate my review.
Regardless of this, I only recommend items I think my readers will love.

Hummus is one of those foods I didn't think I would like so I never tried it, then a few years ago I tried some at the request of my husband... and now I can honestly say I'm obsessed. Since I'm on NutriSystem right now, I watch what I eat pretty closely though so hummus kind of felt off limits. Now that I've found Skinnygirl Hummus I can snack and feel like I'm indulging even though I'm not really indulging at all. This delicious and unique hummus is made with non-fat greek yogurt, which may sound strange but it has the same great taste that we all love with a extra creamy texture - it's seriously so good. Plus, I'm also a huge fan of the fact that it's made with all natural ingredients, I think that's the real secret to it's great taste!

You probably have heard of Skinnygirl already because of their alcohol line but now they've come out with all kinds of goodies you can indulge in without feeling guilty! This hummus is a great snack and is absolutely delicious with carrots or baby peppers... To get in the spirit, I decided to make a special Halloween themed treat - Baby peppers stuffed with Skinnygirl Roasted Red Pepper Hummus that look like creepy, yet cute little one-eyed monsters! These are so much fun and will make the perfect Halloween themed appetizer for any Halloween Party or get together.

Stuffed Baby Pepper Monsters
Made with Skinnygirl Hummus

Baby Peppers
Roasted Red Pepper Skinnygirl Hummus
Reduced Fat Italian Cheese

These cute little guys are super easy to make, you just cut off the tops of the baby peppers and stuff them with Skinnygirl Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Then heat the italian cheese in the  safe bowl (for approximately 10 seconds or until gooey but not completely melted) and roll the cheese into several small balls and flatten it. Stick the flattened "cheese ball" to the side of the hummus stuffed pepper and add an olive to the center of the cheese. Now you have a one-eyed Stuffed Baby Pepper Monster of your own.
Plus, now through NYE, you can score 75 cents off Skinnygirl products! Print & use this coupon at Wal-Mart to save yourself some moo-lah!

October 8, 2014

My Photography Secret: How I Achieve Great Lighting in Dark Situations

The Chromo Inc Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel D-SLR Light is a continuous light panel with 160 LED lights that help brighten your photos, allowing for a dramatic improvement in every single low-light situation you encounter. I shoot with a Nikon and I love my camera; it gets the shot every time when it's nice and sunny or even overcast out but as we all know, low light situations aren't the easiest to capture beautiful photos in.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the Chromo LED Camera Light I was overjoyed, I've heard from other bloggers and photographers about artificial lights that help enhance your photos... and this light definitely delivers! You can adjust the intensity as well as use the filters that come with the light, making the light adaptable and useful in all kinds of situations.

To show you the strength of this awesome light, I shot my delicious coffee cake cupcakes recipe with the light at different settings, ranging from the light on all the way (far left) to no light at all (far right):

As you can see, the light definitely helps to achieve beautiful photos, I think with a little editing the shot in the middle (mid-range on the adjustment wheel) is the most appealing. What do you think? How would you use a photography light like this if you had one? I'd love to know.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using
Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

October 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Cookie Cakes: The Best Cookies Ever - Made With Only SIX Ingredients!

I recently was given the opportunity to review a Grazia mini-cupcake silicone baking pan and I'm obsessed with all of the cute creations I can make with it. Although I'm on NutriSystem and haven't had any added sweets lately, I made hubby a batch of my famous cookies in mini-cupcake form and they turned out wonderfully so I just have to share this mini cookie cake recipe. Plus, with only SIX ingredients these are SUPER simple to make!

Do you have a dinner party or special event coming up over the holidays? These little perfectly portioned cookies will be a hit! You can eat these little cookies plain or top with icing, ice cream, or even additional chocolate chips or peanut butter to make these feel more like "cookie cake"; the possibilities are endless!

6 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Cookie Cakes Recipe

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (approximately) chocolate chips

You'll start by combining brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix on medium-high speed with a mixer or stir for an extended period of time, be sure the mixture is well combined and not gritty or granular. Now add baking soda and chocolate chips, continue to stir.

Roll into ball shapes and place cookie dough in refrigerator for an hour or more (overnight would work even).

When ready to bake pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (F) and place cookie dough balls into the  cups of the pan and gently push them down a bit so they will spread easily into the shape of the cup. Bake for around 8-10 minutes, possibly longer depending on how crispy you want your mini cookie cakes.

Allow cookie cakes to cool and easily pop them out of the silicone pan and enjoy!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using
Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

September 17, 2014

Satisfaction: My Favorite Guilty Pleasure TV Show

{This post was sponsored by SatisfactionUSA and UCPisTV.}

I wasn't sure what to expect when tuning in to watch the first episode of Satisfaction,
the name kind of left me wondering and the zen aspect of the show really had me curious. The fact that it comes on at a later time slot really made me think this show may be a little risque... and while the storyline features some touchy subjects, the show is a favorite in our home! This couple has it all and still aren't happy, watch as they discover secrets and make some shocking decisions. I was instantly taken in by the characters: Neil, the main character, struggles to function and be content in the rat race of everyday life and his wife Grace struggles with her creativity and how she can keep her long-lasting marriage thrilling, while their daughter, Annika, makes for some pretty comical scenes with a super witty personality.

If you binge watch the most recent hit shows, you'll want to add this one to your "must watch" list. Satisfaction is on par with some of the best shows out there: the plot twists, the humor, the drama, the suspense... it's definitely a show that I look forward to watching every single week... Sad thing is, tomorrow {Thursday} @ 10PM is the season finale.. I don't want to wait for the show to come back on, season finales always make me so sad but I guess in the mean time I'll just re-watch.

The show is fairly new in the line up,so maybe you haven't heard of it before? Good news!
You can watch online, just click here and fall in love with this fabulous show.

Also, If you've been watching along with me then you know at the end of last week’s episode, the show concluded with Grace listening to Annika’s demo. The song was actually sung by cast members Michelle DeShon (Annika,) and Leon Thomas (Mateo) and is now available for purchase on iTunes.

September 13, 2014

8 Bands You Should Get To Know + #Brainwavz S1 Headphones

I've always had a problem with finding headphones that actually fit and stay inside of my ears, I suppose my ears are a little smaller than average. I'm so happy Brainwavz approached me to review their S1 headphones, they fit my ears to a tee since they provide several sizes of buds to choose from plus the quality of sound is incredible.

Good news for music junkies - these babies have been tuned to accommodate a powerful bass beat, while keeping the vocals sounding sweet and provide an undistorted sound - something most headphones just can't compare to... I love how clear my music sounds at any volume... Plus, the S1 headphones use a flat cable and are worn over the ear for good sound isolation - so you don't have to worry about them falling out on a walk. I also love the little case these headphones come with, the perfect solution for bringing headphones along to the gym. I can throw 'em in their case and not worry about the cord getting tangled in with my gym shoes or anything.

September 2, 2014

Weight Gurus Digital Body Fat Scale with Smartphone Tracking Review

I was give the opportunity to review this Weight Gurus Smartphone Tracking Digital Body Fat Scale recently and I'm absolutely in love with it. One of my favorite things about this scale is that it has the option to just see the amount of weight I've lost and not my actual weight - this allows me to stay focused on my loss and not on a specific weight, which I love. Not only does this scale allow me to focus on my loss over all, it helps me document my progress as I use it with the Weight Gurus app!

The image below is a screen shot of the app on my iPhone. The app is super easy to navigate and you scan your weight onto your phone using your camera and the bar code that pops up on the scale. I'm super excited to share that  I'm down 7.2lbs since I received the scale in early August; with 2.2lbs of the L-B's being lost in September, and .9lbs during this week specifically! That's huge progress thus far and I can't wait to see how Nutrisystem helps starting later this month!

I love that the app that accompanies the scale also has a percentage progress meter, I still have a long way to go but seeing that I'm already 15% to my goal is so motivating!

Now, I'm going to be honest and mention that the features that tell you your "water, muscle, and fat" percentage are somewhat untrustworthy. They seem to fluctuate way too much to be completely accurate... but the scale measures my weight accurately every time. Another thing I don't necessarily like is related to the app on my phone, it encourages me to weigh in daily... which for some may be okay, but for me it can lead to disappointment if I'm up a little one day. I feel like it's much healthier to weight less often so I don't pay attention to the part that encourages me to weight daily.

This scale is the perfect addition to our home to help me measure my weight loss goals and I look forward to stepping on it in the future and realizing I've hit my goal and I've accomplished 100% of my weight loss, until then I'll keep working at it!

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.