Choosing Custom Upholstery with Wayfair

October 21, 2014

Thanks to Wayfair for sponsoring today’s post.

My fiance and I just recently finished our new home. We have embarked on the daunting task of trying to decorate it. I have been doing it room by room, and prioritizing the rooms we use the most. I finally got around to decorating Jeremy’s office. It is a beautiful space, and almost has panoramic views of the farm. Since I am a Wayfair Homemaker, I thought I would check out their selection of seating and sofas. They recently added custom upholstery options to select furniture pieces. I fell in love with this gorgeous sofa.

Wayfair Josephine Sofa

Continue reading Choosing Custom Upholstery with Wayfair

Emergency Preparedness with Milkman® Instant Milk

October 20, 2014
milkman instant milk

Thanks to Milkman® for sponsoring today’s post.

The entire state of Kentucky goes into panic mode when the weatherman speaks of snow, ice, or flooding. We aren’t use to extended periods of bad weather, and residents flock to their neighborhood grocery stores to gather necessities such as bread, eggs, and milk. Milkman® Instant Low Fat Dry Milk makes it easier for you to prepare for bad weather or emergency conditions which can make it difficult to get to the store.

Milkman instant milk

A few years ago we were without electricity for 6 days; it isn’t uncommon in rural areas that there are periods of snow, ice, or flooding when people can’t get to the store for 3-4 days. If you keep a few packets of Milkman® on hand, you won’t have to worry about getting to the store before bad weather strikes.

Milkman® is also great for hiking, hunting, and boating, One packet of Milkman® makes 1 quart of milk. You just need 32 ounces of water.

milkman instant milk

I mixed Milkman® using a large lidded measuring container. I measured 16 ounces of water from my refrigerator and poured the packet on top of the water. I capped the container and shook well. I was actually amazed at how quickly it dissolved. I poured that mixture into my pitcher and added another 16 ounces of water. I had milk instantly. You can just as easily mix in a large container using a spoon.

We used it in our breakfast cereal, coffee, and hot chocolate. You can also bake with Milkman®, use it in any recipe that calls for milk.

Milkman instant milk

milkman instant milk

Milkman® contains real cream which gives it the same flavor as fresh milk. The powder dissolves completely, so you don’t have to worry about clumps or unusual texture. It is low-fat and nutritious, and starting this month Milkman® is eliminating all GMO ingredients.

You can order Milkman® directly from their site, or it is available through several online retailers including Amazon and REI. It is also available in REI stores.

milkman instant milk

What do you do to prepare for bad weather?


Disclaimer: I received product and compensation for this post, however, all opinions contained herein are my own. Please see the full disclosure page for more information.

Every Moment Counts with Mrs. Fields®

October 16, 2014
mrs. fields

Today’s post is sponsored by Mrs. Fields® as part of the #mrsfieldsmoments campaign. 

When my son was 18 months old, we flew to from Lexington, Kentucky to Bogota, Colombia to visit his father. My (now ex) spouse was stationed there with the U.S. Army. It isn’t easy to fly with an active toddler, and especially not when you have a six hour layover in Chicago. I was so thankful for access to the USO facility there. I found a comfortable and quiet place to breastfeed Gabe, and it made our trip much less stressful. We enjoyed some free snacks, including Mrs. Fields® cookies. When you are separated for months at a time by thousands of miles, every moment counts. The stress of traveling can put a damper on even the most joyous reunion.

Gabe and I in Bogota, Colombia

If USO doesn’t sound familiar, it stands for United Service Organizations, Inc. It is a nonprofit organization that provides recreational activities and programs to boost the morale and welfare of military members and their families. USO lounges are located in airports around the United States, and they allow service members and their families to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminals. USO facilities are staffed by volunteers, and couldn’t operate without generous supporters like Mrs. Fields®. The lounges often have comfortable seating, televisions, reading materials, games and other activities, drinks, and snacks. They also have facilities near military installations in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.

USO and Mrs. Fields

Mrs. Fields®, in partnership with the USO, created the Every Moment Counts Campaign (#mrsfieldsmoments). They want all families to recognize the importance of spending quality time together. They have also pledged to donate 35,000 cookies to be placed in USO2Go boxes which will be shipped to soldiers around the world.

Mrs. Fields and #mrsfieldsmoments

Sitting down and eating a cookie with your child can be quality family time. The Mrs. Fields® website features several neat ideas that make eating a cookie even more fun than, well…eating a cookie. Who doesn’t like cookies? The “Sunday Snacktivites” are just ideas to get you started.

Gabe and I made Mrs. Fields® ice cream sandwiches; I even found Mrs. Fields® Breyers® ice cream. He and I sat down to draw while we were eating. Gabe drew a portrait of his “Papi,” who is still an active duty soldier. I know his dad doesn’t get to see him as much as he would like to, but we routinely talk about him.

mrs. fields







In addition to their direct support of the USO, Mrs. Fields® is hosting a contest for everyone.

Here’s how you enter:

  • Take a selfie of your family participating in a Sunday Snacktivity.
  • Share the photo on Mrs. Fields® Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag, #mrsfieldsmoments.
  • You can share as many moments as you like until November 12 to earn more entries.

Entries are easy and they are a great way to collect a few fun family photos. One lucky family will receive airfare for four to Washington, D.C., four tickets to ride the Capitol Wheel, gift certificates for dining in National Harbor, and accommodations for 2 nights. Complete details can be found here.

You can find links to Mrs. Fields® social media channels here:

What does your family do to make every moment count?


I am participating in this campaign as a member of  The Niche Parent Network & Conference in partnership with Mrs. Fields. All opinions are my own.




Please Excuse the Mess

October 15, 2014

I finally made it over to self-hosted WordPress with the help of a fabulous web designer Stephanie Mullins of Inspired Flow . She transferred all my data and installed the template. The site will be undergoing some modifications over the next few days, so please ignore the “mess”. I hope you enjoy my new site and stick around for a while to explore. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, the link is in the sidebar.




Zone Perfect Blog Forward Challenge & A Giveaway

October 14, 2014

At the beginning of the year, I was asked to write a letter to myself about New Year’s Resolutions for the Zone Perfect Blog Forward Challenge. I failed miserably keeping the resolutions, and the saddest part is that I failed myself. I didn’t love myself enough to prioritize my own physical, mental, and emotional needs.


On January 10, I wrote this letter to myself; I had the best of intentions. I asked myself to do a few things.

  1. Love myself.
  2. Treat my body as my temple.
  3. Turn off the tv.
  4. Trust people more.
  5. Let go of things.
  6. Find someone else to edit my posts.

I succeeded fairly well at numbers 3 and 6. Jeremy is a fantastic editor and who has time for tv?

I have gotten better at trusting people and I can “let go” of things much easier.
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I definitely don’t love myself enough. I have actually foregone full length mirrors the last few months because they make me sad. Instead of pointing out the dozens of great things about myself, I will always find fault. I look in the mirror and the person that I see isn’t skinny enough, and she has too many wrinkles and gray hairs for her age.

In all honesty, it has been an eventful summer. Gabe and I moved to the farm with Jeremy, and I helped him finish the new house. We ate out way more than we should because we didn’t have a dedicated kitchen. There aren’t any gyms close so I couldn’t burn off the extra calories.
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The stress of it all gave me an ulcer.

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 11.07.25 PM

I can’t start the year over, but I can finish the year better than I started. I got myself an elliptical with my birthday money; I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have a gym anymore. I drank a glass of water while I typed this blog post instead of grabbing a sugary drink. I arranged my vitamins so that I can easily reach for them after I brush my teeth. I put a few Zone Perfect bars in my bag so that I have healthier choices accessible for meal replacements or snacks.

I am giving away a Zone Perfect prize pack with some amazing items to help you get in or stay in shape.

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 11.06.21 PM

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 11.06.54 PM

You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?
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If you didn’t, what kept you from keeping them?


Reasons why we eat out more and cook less: Advice from Chef Ricardo Costa

October 10, 2014

People come up to me all the time at my events and ask me why I love cooking all day? They all say about the same thing; it looks hard, time consuming and when they cook it doesn’t come out the way it looks in the photographs. (That’s creative Photoshop). It seems easier to hit the fast food drive through on the way home. Sound familiar? I’m going to tell you guys something, even I have days I don’t want to cook; I love what I do and the way I handle it is this.
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I stay organized. When you set up your kitchen and keep it neat and organized it makes things better for you.
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Here are some ways to go about reinventing yourself and your kitchen. If these aren’t enough for you to reinvent your cooking skills and knowledge, then make sure to visit elsewhere like Prepared Cooks too! There can be an abundance of information available should you look for it.

  • Prepare your weekly menu before you go shopping: Figure out what you plan to make that week including lunches for school. Make your shopping list from that menu. Say, you find a delicious recipe for pork, and you are excited to cook it for dinner, only to find that you don’t have any meat at home! The worst thing is to see a recipe you want to try, and then realizing you don’t have the ingredients. It is easier to open a box of fish sticks instead of running to the store. So make sure you read the recipe thoroughly beforehand and get all the ingredients you will need.
  • Print your favorite recipes: What do you do with new ideas you find on Pinterest or I print them out and make a recipe binder. You can buy one at the Dollar Store (my favorite place) and I use the plastic protective cover sheets. It’s easy to open on the counter to reference your recipe.
  • Safety in the fridge: This gets overlooked a lot. We have to make sure we keep foods fresh and safe in our refrigerators. An easy one is making sure the door is shut at all times, and not leaving it open too long. Keep fresh veggies and cooked foods away from raw meats. This is very important so you don’t get your family sick. There have been cases when raw chicken juice dripped on a soda can and someone got sick. You also need to regularly take everything out and clean the drawers and shelves.
  • Organize kitchen equipment and tools of the trade: Keep your equipment clean and organized. Don’t you hate when can’t find something you need? Get hooks to hang pot holders and small wares. Organize shelves to fit dry goods and have labels easily showing. Make sure all cleaning supplies are in their own separate storage area away from foods.

You don’t need to hire a contractor to build more space. Organization will help improve functionality. Having a plan and being ready is the key to everything.

Have a recipe or an idea you would like to see from the chef? Contact him anytime.

Ricardo Costa is a native of Boston and currently living in Rhode Island.
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He is putting the skills learned as a culinary graduate from Johnson and Wales University as a personal chef serving the Boston and Rhode Island markets.

Chef Ricardo also hosts a cooking show called “At Home with Chef Ricardo” on where he demonstrates how to make a variety of dishes ranging from healthy alternatives, Asian cuisine and traditional comfort foods with a twist. Ricardo also travels to businesses and events throughout the United States performing cooking demonstrations to promote food products, clean eating and cooking techniques.

Always striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle and sharing what he has learned, Ricardo writes for various publications on hot topics including party menu planning and cooking tips for beginners. In his spare time he enjoys working out and karate which he has been studying for the past 25 years and has earned a third degree black belt and is an ISSA certified trainer.

How does a curly-haired girl get straight hair?: Aveda Smooth Infusion™

October 8, 2014

I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time someone told me that they, “wished they had my curly hair.” I would always politely say thank you, and whisper, “no you don’t,” under my breath. Curly hair can be a blessing and a curse; humidity is not friendly to a curly-haired girl. My hair isn’t easily straightened and it generally doesn’t stay straight long. I was excited when SheSpeaks contacted me asking if I wanted to review the Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight product line.

Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight has a styling creme that progressively straightens your hair after continued use. Naturally derived plant fibers attach to your hair and slowly loosen curl. 
My hair can be traced to my Scot-Irish ancestry; my ancestors gave me a head full of ringlets, with an unusually fine hair texture. My hair can’t withstand large amounts of heat or repeated abuse, and coloring my hair makes it even more fragile. I love the look of my hair when it is straight or with the ends slightly curled, but it just can’t take the heat. Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight would allow me to wear my hair the way I liked more frequently without as much heat. 
Here is how you use Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight:
  • Step 1: Wash hair with Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Shampoo and follow with Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Conditioner. Towel dry hair and comb through. 
  • Step 2: Apply Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Style-Prep Smoother to damp hair, by working it through from the mid-shaft through the ends of hair.
  • Step 3: Apply Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight. Depending on hair length and thickness, start by using approximately a small coin sized drop of Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight styling creme on towel-dried, still-damp hair, applying it one section at a time. 
  • Step 4: Blow-dry hair straight using the brush of your choice. Flat iron if desired.
Here is a great video tutorial on the product:
Check out a before photo:

And here is an after:

My curl is slowly starting to relax, and I noticed an amazing difference in the texture of my hair. The ends look smoother and with less frizz than when I straightened my hair without Naturally Straight. 
You can follow along the online conversation about Aveda Smooth Infusion™ Naturally Straight using the hashtag #AvedaNaturallyStraight.
Here are the links to Aveda social channels:

Aveda Naturally Straight retails for $26.00/5 oz., 150 ml and is available at Aveda stores and salons and online at To find a location near you, visit 
What do you use to tame your mane? 

Disclaimer: I received product as compensation for this post, but all opinions contained in this post are my own.