Thursday, August 28, 2014

Real Simple Magazines No-Obligation Book Club

Remember that post I did back at the beginning of the summer with all the books I was going to read?  Fail.  I read one.  It was a good one. Why is it so hard for me to read books (insert whiney voice)?  I did a swell job reading Dick and Jane books in elementary school.  What happened?

I subscribe to Real Simple magazine and I was intrigued by their "No Obligation Book Club."  You had me at "no."  Here's their description:  You’d love to join a book club—if it operated on your ideal schedule. And now you can:  Be a part of Real Simple’s online No-Obligation Book Club. See what we’re reading now, what we’ve  already read, what noted authors have revealed to us in exclusive Q&A’s, and more.

Big Little Lies is their September pick...

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . .

Set in an Australian suburb, Big Little Lies focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool. One is a great beauty married to a fabulously rich businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the can-do mom who can put together a mean pre-school art project but can’t prevent her teenage daughter from preferring her divorced dad. The third is a withdrawn, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Right from the start--thanks to a modern “Greek chorus” that narrates the action--we know that someone is going to end up dead.

You had me a the cover art.  I'm not deep.  It's how I roll.  Oh, and if you want to subscribe to Real Simple magazine, The Container Store has an offer right now to receive a $10 gift card with a paid subscription. Go to for details.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ePantry Giveaway!

Stu, the co-founder and CEO of ePantry and my new friend, sent me several $12 gift cards you can use toward their new ePantry program.  Here's their testamonial...

"ePantry grew out of a simple realization: we all tend to opt for what’s convenient, especially when we’re busy, and especially with “boring” products. We’ve all made the last-second run to corner store to pick up that $4 roll of toilet paper. But the easiest option usually isn’t best for your family, your wallet, or the planet.  We use technology and a simple user experience to replace stressful last second errands with a service that’s fun, economical, that you can feel smart using. We care about your family (future generations included), and all of the products we sell reflect those values — making it easy to keep your home and our world clean."

No minimums, always free shipping and 10% off your entire order.  They carry everything from cleaning, body, paper, personal care, oral hygiene and pet products.  In my last shipment, they included a packet of flower seeds for my garden!  It's nice touches like this that make me want to help support their business.

I am giving away three gift cards to the first three people that reply to this post.  Here's what you have to do...

1)  Click on ePantry and learn more about how you can customize your delivery of products.
2)  Mention a new product you might like to try in the comment below.
3)  Mention a product you have tried before in the comment below.
4)  Reply by Saturday, August 30

If you decide to start your own account, be sure to use my ePantry link so I earn a $10 credit. 

Can't wait to see your comments!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Picky Teens Will Love PictSweet Green Beans

Miss Bee waits until she's 14 to start being a picky eater.  Now that she has started back with tennis, her coach has been adament with her and the team that they drink more water and eat a healthier diet.  Our goal for the last few weeks has been to try and eat 10-12 fruits and vegetables a day.  Let me tell you, this is not easy.  I have been cramming fruits and spinach into our VitaMix for morning smoothies, so that knocks out 4-5 servings.  Now I've got to come up with another 6-7 ways to make our goal. 
Enter, PictSweet.  As I was looking up and down the freezer aisle of veggies, I saw these...

I flipped over the back...16 pieces for only 180 calories.  Fiber, protein and filling.  I feel this is a much better alternative for her than french fries.  A little on the high side with the sodium would be my only negative feedback.

You bake them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes and here's the tray of goodness.  The coating is light and not heavily breaded.  They are covered with just enough to make them crunchy.

She ate them all!  We had them along with baked chicken and sauteed cherry tomatoes.

The PictSweet story is a sweet one.  Since 1945, this four-generation family has made PictSweet one of the best growers and distributors of frozen vegetables in the United States.  Check out their website for recipes and other products.

Note:  This is not a sponsored post.  I am just reporting good green beans when I see them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A new blog -- the Un-Fancy

I have found a new blog Un-Fancy.  I love all of her style ideas especially her mantra which is minimize your wardrobe.  I have heard so many times how we wear 25% of our wardrobe 75% of the time.  Yet, our closet is packed with stuff we never wear.  I also like how she gives ideas for knock off items...such as these shoes.  Shooties are the hot trend for the fall.  A boot marries a peep-toe.

 Shoe A.

Number B.

Can you guess which one is the Steve Madden and which one is Mossimo by Target?   Did you notice I said number B, instead of Shoe B?  I hate it when I go to a presentation and the person is reviewing an outline -- and they say "Let's look at item A."  Then later in their talk, "Ok, look at number B."  Has anyone had that happen?  Drives. Me. Nuts.

Back to shoes.  If you guessed Shoe A are the Steve Madden for $79.98 you would be correct.  Shoe B is from Target for $34.   They are so similar.  I mean, really.

Here is un-fancy (not really) Caroline modeling the shoes... Jeans, white blouse, shooties and a clutch.  Maybe earrings, but that's it. 

Check out her blog.  She's got a great tutorial on how to create a capsule wardrobe including a free wardrobe planner.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Getting my Fix

Have you heard of Stitch Fix? I signed up about a month ago.  It's been on FB, the Wall Street Journal has written an article about the concept, and they've been featured on the Today Show and Good Morning America.

It's an awesome go to their web page and get started by answering a series of questions about your size, style and color preferences, types of settings you mostly wear your clothing like work, or cocktail or just running errands.  You look at photos and rate your interest level.  You can also add notes and reference links like if you have a Pinterest page dedicated to fashion.  Maybe you don't even know what you should wear and need someone to do the shopping for you.  You can also indicate your budget -- what you are willing to spend on each category.  For example, you might only want to spend $50 for a pair of jeans, you can indicate that. All of this information helps your very own personal Stitch Fix stylist to come up with clothing ideas.

You let them know how often you want a "Fix".  In my case, I indicated monthly.   You enter your credit card information and, for $20, the stylist selects five items --anywhere from clothing to accessories -- from their vast on-site inventory.   You are not billed for the styling fee until your items have shipped.  Shipping is free.  You receive an email letting you know the shipment is coming.  They told me it would arrive 8.15 and they were correct.

Here's my fix...

Neatly wrapped inside a beautiful box.  With a personal note and style guide on ideas for incorporating your fixes with your current wardrobe.  My stylist is Natalie.


Natalie sent me an awesome tunic that fit perfectly.  I felt like she read my notes that I like a few pieces of purple in my wardrobe to wear for work.  The next item was a fit, like a glove, pair of skinny black jeans.  Perfect outfit.  I can wear the jeans with anything, literally.  The third item was a cardigan that I really wanted to keep, but I had one so similar to the fit and color, I couldn't justify keeping it.  The fourth item was a necklace very similar to a Stella and Dot piece I already have.  The last item was an infinity scarf.  I loved the scarf, just not the colors.  So, I kept two out of the five items.  I wasn't disappointed, because I really felt Natalie was right with most all of her selections for me, two items were so close to pieces I already own and love wearing.

Once you receive your fix, you have three days to try everything on and send it back (free return shipping).  You go on line, rate your items, indicate if you are keeping or returning, give more feedback regarding size, fit, color, etc... You then are charged for only the items you keep.  You also receive the $20 styling fee as a credit toward your purchase.  If you keep all five items they give you 25% off your entire purchase. You place the items back in the pre-paid package they enclose with your shipment, put in your mailbox, and you're done.

It was fun, easy and a no-lose opportunity to try something different.  I've heard some reviews that their stylist was way off base, but I think mine came very close to perfect.  After all, most stylists have the opportunity to personally meet their client.  Mine had to figure out my style from a questionnaire -- so I'd say their program is pretty great.  I am sure that over time, my stylist will become even more familiar with my likes and dislikes.  I can't wait for my September fix!

If you decide to give it a try, please click on my link above so I can receive a referral credit.  If you sign up, you can can refer friends, too.

What have you got to lose?

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's a 10 Product Review

I follow the The Small Things blog.  Kate always posts fun articles on the latest hair and beauty trends.  One of her suggestions was It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Conditioner.

This nourishing product promises 10 miracles:  Repairs dry damaged hair, adds shine, smoothes and controls frizz, seals and protects hair color, detangles, prevents split ends, stops hair breakage, creates silkiness, enhances natural body, and is a flat iron thermal protector.  It works on all hair types to bring out your hair's natural luster and manageability while also making hair stronger and healthier with every use. Can be used on wet hair for extra shine or dry hair in place of a styling cream.

I started using it about a month ago.  I have noticed a signficant improvement in the appearance of my hair.  It's super shiny (like my friend Mrs. Burdette.  She has crazy, shiny hair).  This product has helped me to stabilize my sanity during the snail's pace attempt to grow out my hair.  My haircut may be scary during its transition but, darn it, my hair is shiny and soft!

Ulta has it for $18.  Don't forget to use a coupon and you can score it for $15...only a few sprays each time and you can easily get this product to last a while to justify the cost.

Have a fab Friday.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miss Bee's Request -- Surprise Meatballs

Miss Bee doesn't start school for another week, but she is back at tennis. On her way out to practice, she asked for her favorite surprise meatballs.  I remember being her age, coming in from school and being hungry so I was glad to oblige...especially because lately she's become a slightly picky eater. 

There's no magic recipe, just the fact that I wrap the meat around a chunk of mozzarella cheese.  I mix up ground beef with Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, a slightly beaten egg, chopped garlic and onion.  Then wrap a big wad of meat around the cheese.  Here they are all nicely waiting on the plate for the pan.

I heat a little olive oil in the pan, then simmer the round tufts of meat till they're brown.

After they have sufficiently browned, I pour in spaghetti sauce (I like Newman's), sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese, then simmer on low for about 20 minutes.  I don't drain the pan before pouring in the sauce.  I like all the bits and since I buy lean beef, there really isn't much oil in the pan.

We'll have this along with some pasta and mixed vegetables.  I read an article recently that said you really need to eat 10-12 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  My body doesn't know what's going on.

Other projects coming...styling my bookshelves.  Got the study wall painted right before we left for a brief vacation.  So, now the fun part remains of making the shelves look pretty.