21 September 2017

GourmetGiftBaskets.com Launches National "15 & Me Selfie Search"

Online Gifting Company Kicks Off 15th Birthday Countdown, Offering Consumers 17 Ways To Win! 

One of the top U.S. online gifting companies is celebrating its first 15 years of business in a fun, unique way, shining the spotlight on the countless customers who have contributed to this major milestone. At 11:15 a.m. (ET)today, "GourmetGiftBaskets.com's 15 & Me Selfie Search" will launch, offering more than $2,000 in prizes.

The $22 million eCommerce company, which provides hundreds of upscale gourmet gifting options, will turn 15 on November 15th. The selfie search invites everyone to join the countdown to this big birthday by posting selfies with the number 15 in them on the company's Facebook or Instagram pages. All posts must be family-friendly and should contain the hashtag #GGBTurns15.

The "15" can appear on nearly anything -- a cake, sign, house, T-shirt, or even printed on paper. Contestants can post as many different shots as they'd like, as well, since all posts count. All entrants will vie for one of 17 exciting prizes. 

The contestant with the most creative entry will win first prize – a whopping $1,500 worth of upscale goodies! These could include elaborate gourmet baskets, towers, cookie cakes, and many more WOW-inspiring gifts. 

The entrant with the highest number of posts will win second prize -- a three-month membership in the Monthly Cheesecake Club, receiving a different cheesecake flavor each month. 

Finally, 15 third-place winners will be chosen randomly to receive one-gallon tins of handcrafted gourmet popcorn, since GourmetGiftBaskets.com offers nearly 100 popcorn flavors from sweet to savory. 

"As a company that's all about life's celebrations, we wanted to approach this major milestone by offering consumers something fun, different and rewarding," said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jason Bergeron. "We can't wait to see all of the selfies from our many loyal customers – and future ones, too."

The search runs until 11:15 p.m. (ET) on November 15th. Soon afterward, winners will be announced and prizes will be distributed. 
To enter, go to the special contest page, or follow instructions on the GourmetGiftBaskets.com Facebook or Instagram pages. Updates will be available on the contest page and social media channels as the selfie search gains national momentum. 

..::Product Review::.. Mirenesse - Secret Weapon Supreme 24HR Mascara

THE REVIEW:  I was provided with the opportunity to test out the 'Secret Weapon Supreme 24HR Mascara' from Mirenesse, and let you guys know if it actually works.  There is a ton of makeup/skincare available on their website, but this mascara seemed interesting due to all of its claims and it is an International Beauty Award Winner.

The mascara comes packaged in a sturdy box with a coupon for future purchases.

I am sure that by now, you guys fully understand my obsession with makeup.  I love watching videos about application, learning how to use new products, and be the first to try something new.  I can honestly speak to the fact that mascara can make or break a look.  To me, a look never seems 'finished' without a dark coat of mascara.  It's the polish to any makeup routine.  Prior to this review, I was using the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara and on days when I didn't want a super thick coat, I used the Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer.

Before I even begin the 'official' review process, I would like to share my first impression notes:

+ The feel of this mascara package alone is much higher in quality as compared to other mascara packaging.

+ The box makes a lot of claims that I am hoping that this product can live up to.

+ A lot of time has been taken to create a beautiful tube design that stands out from other mascara tubes, so let's hope the product is something to write home about.

+ This mascara won an International Beauty Award for the best mascara; what sets it apart?

This mascara can be found here and costs $28.00 (This company is out of Australia, so monetary conversion may be required).  The company also offers a VIP Beauty Club that allows you to save money on your products and shipping.  

Here is a little bit of information about this plush from Just Born:

Make magic happen! Instantly create super long full lashes and transform your world like never before. All you've ever wanted from a mascara is here with the new leader of the next generation of mascaras; our Secret Weapon Supreme 24Hr Mascara! 

This mascara comes packaged in a thick box with a ribbon pull.  You will find all of the product claims, ingredients, and more on the back of the package.  Inside of the box you will find the tube of mascara and a coupon for a future purchase.

The tube is made of a tough polymer and is black featured with gold accents.  It is a uniquely-shaped tube, not the typical cylinder that is done many times over.  An interesting part of the design (that unfortunately does not photograph well) is the gold glitter gradient stemming from the top of the tube to the bottom.  It's classy and beautiful.

The handle of the wand is contoured for comfort, yet it features a glitter ball design at the end to tie everything together.

The wand itself measures a solid 3", which gives you enough play for a comfortable application, but not too much where you feel like you do not have control over the brush.

One unique aspect of this mascara is the wand composition.  It contains microwrap tubes to thicken and lengthen when held vertical, and it also is a bewitching brush to give you the winged look.  This is a tapered brush to give you precise application where you want it.

So, naturally I am going to tell you about the 'wear test'.  I did not wear any other makeup for these pictures so you can solely focus on the mascara.  I only put on one coat, and you can obviously see which eye has the mascara.  YES, it totally thickens, lengthens, everything.  My other eye doesn't even look like it has eyelashes!

Next, one of the claims is that it won't flake or smear (all day and night!).  I can honestly tell you that every single mascara that I have used has some give to it, and never really exceeds expectations.  For this test, I did not have any remnant flaking.  However, I wanted to see if it would smear under pressure.  I pushed a towel on my eyelashes to simulate 'accidentally' touching them with your hands or just daily wear:

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I didn't have that ugly black ring raccoon eye when I removed the towel.  However, I did have the tiniest amount of transfer onto my top lid.  If you look close, you might see it.  Another thing worth mentioning is that this is a gel mascara, so it will stick to a shape if under pressure.  You can see how my eyelashes flattened out and stuck together afterward.  I would like to counter this by saying that the chance of your eyelashes being smooshed under a towel on a daily basis is pretty low unless you intentionally do it, so your eyelashes will typically remain in a beautiful and healthy shape as long as you don't touch or manipulate them.

+ Absolutely no negative/chemical smell.
+ Beautiful packaging and design.
+ Does not smear like other mascaras!

+ Formula is clinically tested, designed for sensitive eyes, and a product of 30 years of pharmaceutical research.

+ The formula is actually so safe that you can sleep in it, if you forget to remove prior to bed.
- I can feel this mascara on my eyelashes ... it is lightweight, but I feel do feel the ...density?... as I wear it.

+ YES-- lengthens, thickens.
+ YES-- gel formula comes off with simple warm water.
+ YES-- designed for sensitive eyes; does not irritate my eyes one bit.

- NO-- this is ultra-light, but I do feel it on my eyelashes as I wear it.
STAR RATING: On a scale of 1 to 5, this will get a 5.
RECOMMENDATION:  YES, I definitely recommend this brand!  Please refer to the pictures to see why.
Order here (pricing may vary).  You can also find this product online with Amazon, Sephora, and HauteLook.

Please visit Mirenesse
I received this product for free in exchange for inspection and an honest and unbiased review.

20 September 2017

A Week of Healthy Breakfasts to Start Your Child's Day Right

With school in full swing again, sports on the agenda, and all of the fun that comes with fall, it’s important for your little ones to get the nutrition and energy that they need to start their day right. Because they know the importance of eating right, the team at Pediatric Dentistry of Burke compiled this list of healthy breakfasts for you:
Day #1 - Breakfast Taquitos
Take a spin on a favorite Mexican dish and serve it for breakfast! Scramble up some eggs, and roll them up with cheese and a sausage link in a corn tortilla. Bake it and enjoy!
Find the recipe for this easy finger food at Tastes Better From Scratch.
Day #2 - Pancake Muffins
Turn your child’s favorite breakfast into an easy grab-n-go treat. Bake these pancake muffins with berries and syrup (or honey) for added sweetness. Serve with a glass of milk or orange juice and send your child on their way. The beauty of these is that you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and reheat them for a quick, on-the-go meal.
Find the recipe for this little delight at The Nourishing Home.
Day #3 - Breakfast Shake
What child doesn’t love chocolate milkshakes? Take this favorite dessert and turn it into an energizing and healthy breakfast. With frozen bananas, almond milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla, this yummy breakfast is sure to please your little ones.
Find the full recipe at Cooking Classy.
Day #4 - Banana Split
What a treat! Healthy breakfast banana splits will be a huge hit with your kids, especially if you let them compile their own dish. Place bowls of fruit, yogurt, nuts, granola, and maybe some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips along the table, and give your child a split banana in a dish. Let them have fun with it. You can even use this one as a healthy dessert alternative.
Find the full tutorial at Art from my Table.
Day #5 - Animal Face Toast
All food is more fun with a face – especially an animal face! Surprise your child with these adorable animal faces in the morning. Use bananas and berries for the facial features after spreading the toast with Nutella, peanut butter, or cream cheese. Breakfast will be more fun and memorable. Don’t forget to take some pictures!
Find the full recipe at All She Cooks.
Day #6 - Frozen Yogurt Bark
This yummy breakfast treat will have your kids just as content as if they were eating chocolate bark for breakfast! You can cater this dish to your child’s individualized preferences – choose their favorite yogurt, fruits, and other toppings like granola, chocolate chips, or nuts – and watch their face light up as they enjoy this new favorite breakfast.
Find the full recipe at Natural Beach Living.
Day #7 - Breakfast Sandwiches
Back to another classic! Create your own healthy breakfast sandwiches and freeze them ahead of time for an easy meal to reheat before school. You will thank yourself later, and your kids will love this Egg McMuffin copycat.
Find the full recipe at The Suburban Soapbox.

18 September 2017

Thrift Haul-of-the-Month & Christian Corner Beginning in October

For the month of October, there are going to be two new series taking off -- Thrift Haul-of-the-Month and Christian Corner.

For the Thrift Haul-of-the-Month, I am going to go out and find things that I need to replace around the house (and other random fun stuff).  I will implement the original price and the price that I purchased it for.  I love going to thrift stores, so maybe you guys will enjoy following along with what I find.

Secondly, I am still trying to work with an author for Christian Corner.  I am not sure if this will be weekly or monthly, but I think it will bring a new dynamic to this website.  This will start at some point in October.

Again, thank you for all of your input by means of comments and emails.  :)

15 September 2017

5 Steps of a Quality Home Workout

Not everyone can make it to the gym. For some it’s too expensive, for some it’s just not available. However, getting a good workout doesn’t have to be done at the gym. The following 5 steps are key to a quality home workout.
Step #1 - The Warm-up
Every exercise needs a proper warm-up, not only to get blood flowing and your heart rate up, but to prevent injury. Warm-ups for a home workout include a slow pace on a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike. Ensure you take plenty of time to warm-up, and don’t continue to intense physical training until you feel that you are fully ready.
Step #2 - Aerobic
Aerobic exercise is to get your cardiovascular system working. Jogging, step aerobics, jumping rope, or intensified cycling on a bike is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system. The idea is to get your heart rate up and keep it up.
Step #3 - Anaerobic
Anaerobic exercise is to improve your strength. This can be done a number of ways, but depending on the available equipment, you can do squats, push-ups, sit-ups, or pull ups. A variety of dumbbells, ropes, or bands can also be purchased to improve the anaerobic workout.
Step #4 - Flexibility
Flexibility is often overlooked. Floor stretches and forms of yoga poses are a great way to improve your muscle flexibility. When stretching is overlooked, muscles can become tight and lose range of motion. If you exert a muscle group too hard with poor flexibility, injuries can occur. Always make stretching part of your workout routine.
Step #5 - The Cool-down
Cooling down is also a very important part of the workout routine. Allowing your muscles to cool down will help remove lactic acid buildup in your muscles along with allowing your body to gradually reach resting levels. If vigorous exercise is stopped suddenly, risks of dizziness or fainting can occur.