Category Archives: Living

Jones Soda Celebrates the Holidays with One Peculiar Flavor

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Jones Soda. All opinions are 100% mine.

tofurky and gravy Jones Soda Whenever you mention to a friend a completely out there flavor of soda you’ve heard about, seen or recently tried, most often, they will ask you ‘Hey, that has to be Jones soda, right?’ Well they have brought out yet another flavor that came out just in time for Thanksgiving and is remaining on the scene for the rest of the holiday season–Tofurky and Gravy Jones Soda .

I received a bottle of Tofurky and Gravy soda, along with a hilarious turkey hat that was a huge hit with my youngest stepdaughter who insisted on wearing it from the moment she even heard about a hat shaped like a turkey; it was also enjoyed immensely by my entire family when my partner put it on as we walked into the house for Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks later and the turkey hat is still a huge hit with whoever comes over and sees it. Now, onto the soda…

Tofurky and Gravy Jones Soda is perhaps the most disgusting soda I have ever had in my possession. Now granted, I did not try it–because I gagged from merely the smell of it when my partner opened the bottle and tried it. We have also had our two friends who recently moved in next door to us try it and they reported that as soon as you got past the first two or three sips, the aftertaste of it really does taste exactly like turkey and gravy.

So while it wasn’t a big hit with me or my family, it sure did make a great conversation piece for a little while!

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Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta Makes Eating Healthy Easy!

Ronzoni Smart Taste

It is very difficult to get kids to eat most healthy food. Sure, you can make it and place it in front of them, but there is definitely a universal kid’s yum factor chart to take into consideration and more often than not, your healthy and balanced meal you’ve just prepared isn’t even going to rank. Most kids are insanely picky eaters; my stepdaughters live in the land of McDonald’s and whenever they are with us, we hear about how awesome McDonald’s is. I have the very strong belief that McDonald’s was created by a group of people who stayed up at night thinking about how to make the lives of parents of young children as hard as possible. Sure, it’s convenient and also unhealthy and they not only made incredibly unhealthy foods fun, but some of their establishments exude fun and excitement because they had to go and put an entire playground in the place.

So when you get your family together at the table for dinner, it has become a feat unto itself to prepare something that everyone will eat, or at least take a few bites of before they tell you there’s no way they’re eating it.

Ronzoni Smart Taste line Pasta a big dinner staple in my house. Firstly, it’s cheap, which is a must when you live in the economic climate that so many of us do. Secondly, it’s delicious–pair it with some of your family’s favorite sauces and you’ve got a meal that will start to be requested. But pasta isn’t always healthy; a great deal of traditional white pastas are not packed with nutritional value. Ronzoni Smart Taste, however, is the smart and healthy way to eat pasta with an entire line of different pastas that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters in your family.

Check out this insanely cute video Ronzoni Smart Taste put together to show just how far some moms will go to get their kids to eat healthy:

I had the opportunity to try Ronzoni Smart Taste spaghetti, thanks to Mom Central and as far as I could tell, I couldn’t taste a difference between their pasta and other traditional white pastas, which was actually a good thing because it went over very well! Plus, it’s the same taste your children are used to but Ronzoni Smart Taste pastas are packed with more fiber and calcium and they’re cholesterol-free, making it a great and healthy dinner choice!

If you’re sick of boring pastas and don’t know what to do with it to make it an exciting meal, check out the Ronzoni Smart Taste Meal Center, full of great recipes to try next time you’re having a pasta night!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Ronzoni Pasta and received a sample of Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate.

4 Deliciously Festive Holiday Cookie Recipes

Here are some great holiday cookie recipes that will undoubtedly become staples in your household–So be sure to save these recipes!

Chocolate Cherry Snowballs

chocolate cherry snowballs Tender tea cookies are enhanced with pretty specks of candied cherries and a delightful chocolate drizzle.

Total Time: 2 hours 5 min
Makes: About 4 dozen cookies

You will need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) candied cherries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in almond extract. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. On low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in cherries.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 2 inches apart.

3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. Cool slightly. Measure 1/2 cup powdered sugar into small bowl. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

4. Place chocolate chips in small resealable freezer plastic bag. Microwave on high 45 to 60 seconds, turning bag over every 20 seconds. Squeeze bag until chips are melted and smooth. Cut small tip off one corner of bag, and drizzle over cooled cookies. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes until chocolate hardens before storing.

Candy Cane Cookies

candy cane cookies Hooked on traditional holiday baking? It’s a twist to make these fun peppermint cookies!

Total Time: 6 hours
Makes: 4 1/2 dozen cookies

You will need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food color
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

1. Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir food color into 1 half. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

2. Heat oven to 375ºF.

3. Stir together peppermint candy and 2 tablespoons sugar, set aside.

4. For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on floured surface. Place 1 red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cooking sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.

5. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately sprinkle candy mixture over cookies. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Pecan Shortbread Trees

pecan shortbread trees Butter, flour and sugar come together to create rich, delicate cookies.

Total Time: 1 hour 15 min
Makes: 32 cookies

You will need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 drops green food color
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 32 pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup white vanilla baking chips
  • granulated sugar if desired
  • 32 yellow decorating stars, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Spray or lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets. In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and food color. On low speed, beat in flour just until mixed. Stir in chopped pecans.

2. Divide dough into 4 equal parts; shape each into ball. Place 2 balls on each cookie sheet, on opposite ends. With rolling pin or floured fingers, gently flatten and shape each ball into 6-inch circle. With large knife, divide and cut each round into 8 wedges, slightly separating each cut with knife. Poke tops of wedges with fork, and place 1 pecan half in middle of each outer edge to make tree trunk.

3. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until firm but not brown. While still warm, cut into wedges again. Cool completely on cookie sheets, about 30 minutes.

4. Place cooled tree wedges on cooking racks or waxed paper. Place baking chips in small resealable freezer plastic bag. Microwave on high 40 to 60 seconds, turning bag over after 30 seconds. Squeeze bag gently until chips are melted and smooth. Cut small tip off one corner of bag, and drizzle side to side over wedges to make tree garland. Sprinkle with sugar, top each tree with star.

Gingerbread Cutouts

gingerbread cutouts Bring a tempting aroma and goodness into your kitchen with hard-to-pass classic gingerbread cookies.

Total Time: 2 hours 40 min
Makes: 10 dozen cookies

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water or milk
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • currants or assorted candies, if desired
  • colored sugar or additional sugar, if desired

1. Beat granulated sugar, butter and molasses in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well mixed. Beat in egg and water until blended. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cardamom and cloves. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm.

2. Heat oven to 350°F. Roll 1/3 of dough at a time on floured surface to 1/8inch thickness. (Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll.) Cut with floured 2 1/2inch gingerbread boy or girl cooking cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with currants or candies. Sprinkle with colored sugar.

3. Bake 6 to 7 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.

Thanksgiving Kids Table Inspiration

Thanksgiving kids table Members of my family are pretty scattered throughout the country, but I remember on quite a few occasions when a group of them would come to visit for some dinner, holiday or other special occasion, there would be a kids table present.

Having a table especially for the children for any holiday meal is a great idea. Kids won’t be very interested in the grown up conversation happening at the main table and it also gives children a great opportunity to bond with the other children in their families. But even with a table especially for the kids, they are likely to get bored, which is why it is always a great idea to put some activities on their table.

Here is some great kids table inspiration. I love that the tablecloth is just a sheet of butcher paper that can be drawn on and I especially love the drawn placemats! Put some crayons in a few cups or small pot holders and let the kids go to town on the placemats while they eat their holiday dinner. Cleanup will be a breeze, too!

Alice Makes it Easy to Shop for All Your Home Essentials and Save Money!

Alice.com

I just recently met Alice, a website that will help you take and keep stock of all the household products you use and need on a daily basis. Alice will remember the products you have in your household from bathroom and daily care needs, kitchen and pantry items and items your kids expect to be in the house at all times, even if you’re running behind on your weekly shopping.

And that is where Alice comes in…

Alice will notice when you are running low and remind you to re-order items you need. Alice will also give you coupons, saving you a bundle of money every time you shop and will also alert you to free samples of products you may love, depending on the items that are already in your house. Best of all, you can set it up where you can order the items you need right on Alice.com and get your items shipping automatically whenever you need them.

Setting up an account is super easy! First, just choose the amount of people living in your home and their ages.

Alice.com

Then, choose the types of products that you buy regularly.

Alice.com

Then, all you have to do is add your products and Alice will take care of the rest!

Alice.com

And don’t forget to stay signed up for regular emails from Alice, because she will be sending you some great coupons and free samples!

Alice.com free samples

Alice.com is a life-saving resource for busy women everywhere and will keep all of your household items in check so you never run out again and you will be saving a whole lot of money! What could be better than that?

Place Cards Brought to a Whole New (Elegant) Level

Placetile Designs Are you a savvy, seasoned dinner party hostess? Planning a business brunch or having your family as well as your in-laws over for the holidays and want to impress the whole lot of them with something small, simple and elegant decorating the table? Or are you just a chronic note-leaver (honey do lists, anyone?) or need a fabulous yet practical housewarming gift? Placetile Designs really got my head buzzing about the many different uses for place cards, especially since these place cards aren’t your average paper throw-aways and really have a whole flurry of great uses.

Placetile Designs did not start out as a budding business that women flocked to in order to get the perfect place cards or table accessories; they were actually created by Kristin Bowen for her wedding where her guests were actually stealing each other’s place cards. Placetile Designs And the reason why they were able to steal each other’s place cards and not feel weird about bringing them home and using them with someone else’s name written on them is because these place cards are erasable ceramic place cards! Of course she didn’t know it at first, but her elegant and resourceful wedding table accessory turned into a great business with a ton of practical placetiles to suit any woman’s lifestyle!

Of course, I have a holiday-track mind, with Thanksgiving just a little over a week away and Christmas a little over a month away and for the holidays, Placetile Designs has a whole slew of great products for the holidays that will look great on your table, but be warned, you may have your guests begging to take their placetiles home.

Placetile Designs

I really, really love Placetile Designs and their prices are incredibly reasonable, especially since you will get a ton of use out of them. They are a definite must-have for holiday meals, dinner parties that you’ll hold all year ’round, baby and bridal showers and they are also a great, fashionable touch for weddings.

Gourd Bird Shelter/Feeder How-To

gourd bird feeder Sure, it may seem a little weird at first to be making bird feeders just in time for the end of fall and the beginning of winter, but it’s right around this time of year where birds’ food supplies dry up. Why not made a decorative, fun and practical bird feeder from gourds that you’re done using? It’s sure to be a huge help to the birds in your community and it will also provide smaller birds protection from other predators.

Dried gourds can be purchased from gourd farms, or any other type of farm may also carry them. Your local supermarkets will also carry them, but hurry, because they tend to disappear right after Thanksgiving!

You will need:

  • 9-to-15-inch bottle gourd, dried
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Craft saw
  • Drill and 3/8-inch bit
  • 4 sturdy twigs
  • Waxed twine
  • Upholstery needle

How To:

1. Loosen dried gourd seeds by slapping the gourd with your palm. Draw the shape of a window opening on paper, and cut it out, trace it onto the gourd’s surface four times.

2. Use a craft saw to cut along tracings. Shake out gourd seeds. Drill a hole beneath each opening, and find twigs that will fit snugly inside them; insert twigs. Drill two holes, one on either side of the gourd’s neck. Thread twine through holes with an upholstery needle; loop over tree branch.

3. Hang feeder under some sort of shelter, so that the seeds stay dry and don’t become moldy. You may also like to drill two holes on the base of the gourd to encourage water drainage.

When you’re done, just fill the gourd with different bird foods like black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, cracked corn, peanut butter, thistle, fruit and shelled sunflower seeds.

As the Temperatures Get Lower, Give Your Pad a Vibrant Pick-Me-Up

Every single year, as winter falls around me I suddenly wake up one morning, snow undoubtedly covering the outside and turning everything as far as I can see around me, completely and purely white, I look around my apartment and I. Hate. Everything. Yes, that is right–I hate everything about my surroundings; from the carpets to the rugs to the curtains to the couch to the television stand; yes, even the television stand is not safe during this time of the year. This year, I think my winter-spawned re-decorating sensory is in overdrive because technically it’s still fall and I have woken up, staggered down the steps in search of coffee, only to stop dead in my tracks and look around my living room and get that same itch that everything must change immediately. In this vast internet space, awe-inspiring home decorating accessories and furniture seem to throw themselves at you just when you need them. So this year, if you’re like me and hate everything about your living space, then give it a vibrant pick-me-up and who knows, it just may pick you up as well.

Check out these incredible finds to put some vibrant life back into your house from Lotus Bleu:

Start with some covet-worthy chairs for your living room, bedroom or patio (if you’d feel comfortable about putting these incredible (and quite pricey) chairs outside and vulnerable to the elements.

wingback lounge chair, Lotus Bleu

This is the first chair that “spoke to me” as soon as I clicked on the ‘furniture’ link on the Lotus Bleu website. I am in love with it. It is a vintage, mid-century Danish-style wingback lounge chair in contemporary floral silkscreen fabric. ($2,450)

rocking chair with ottoman, Lotus Bleu

Another vintage, mid-century rocking chair with accompanying ottoman with loose cushions in linen silkscreened with silhouettes of branches and leaves. ($1,650)

It is really astounding to see what a difference a few throw pillows or festive cushions can do to your sitting spaces. A good throw pillow goes a long, long way.

Robert Le Heros striped print cushions, Lotus Bleu

Stripes are always a great choice if you’re working with neutral toned carpets or walls, plus they add a whole lot of color to the room without being tacky, overbearing, or just plain ugly. Try these Robert Le Heros cotton striped cushions. ($108-238)

Thomas Paul goldfish pillow, Lotus Bleu

New York designer Thomas Paul‘s mandarin-orange goldfish pillow. ($94)

mosaique silk pillows, Lotus Bleu

Gorgeous mosaique silk pillows with a solid base embroidered with circles, flowers, or lotus motifs. ($62-72, on sale now for $43-$50)

The key to a living space that is so vibrant and really makes you want to spend more time in that space is a room with awesome lighting and these fixtures are nothing less than something that will really catch your eye.

pastel table lamp, Lotus Bleu

Lacquered pastel table lamps with a white silk shade and three-way switch. ($280)

Thomas Paul patterned lamp shades, Lotus Bleu

Thomas Paul patterned lamp shades with coordinating colored bases. ($200-220)

Create an Eddie Borgo-Inspired Jeweled Pumpkin

Now that the spooktacular night of Halloween is coming to an end, you’re probably wondering what to do with your leftover pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Jeweler Eddie Borgo needed a housewarming gift for designer-friend Victor Glemaud and decided to create a festive centerpiece–a bejeweled pumpkin.

Eddie Borgo jeweled pumpkin
Thanks to Vogue, you can find out exactly what you need to create your very own Eddie Borgo-inspired bejeweled pumpkin. This is a great way to keep the Halloween spirit in your house until you’re ready to start decorating for the holidays and is also a really fun crafts project.

You will need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Carving knife and spoon
  • Jewelry studs (Borgo recommends StudsandSpikes.com or M&J Trimming)
  • Krylon matte black spray paint

1. Pick your pumpkin at the local market. Borgo likes his medium-size, symmetrical, and round.

2. Empty out the seeds and pulp and begin to carve the face.

3. Try to accentuate the cutout shapes by studding around them, pushing the spikes into the shell of the pumpkin. Borgo likes to start with the eyes, followed by the noise; the mouth comes last.

4. After the face is completely studded, use Krylon matte black spray paint over the whole pumpkin to make it deep, deep black.

And that’s all there is to it!

Eddie Borgo jeweled pumpkin process

Giveaway: Join Yoplait in the Fight Against Breast Cancer and Win a ‘Promise to Make a Difference’ Gift [Closed]

Yoplait October is breast cancer awareness month and over the month we have been covering a great deal of initiatives that through people-powered activism have seen great strides in fighting against breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime–that’s 12% of all women who will be personally impacted by this disease. But because people know that with hard work, dedication and doing what they can to help fight against breast cancer, we will hopefully see an impact through research to find a cure for breast cancer and also spreading the word on how to prevent it.

While there are many different ways you can participate in the fight against breast cancer, the simplest by far is Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives program. It’s super simple, but you will be making a tremendous impact! Over the past 11 years Yoplait has donated more than $22 million to the breast cancer cause through Save Life to Save Lives as well as other initiatives. Last year alone, participants across the country helped Yoplait meet its $1.5 million donation goal to Susan G Komen for the Cure and this year, Yoplait needs your help too and they have also teamed up with Kristi Funk, Founder of the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills. She has committed herself to educating women and men about the importance of breast cancer risk reduction, early detection and ways to support the cause.

How you can help in this initiative is simple. When you’re in the grocery store, pick up Yoplait yogurt with the pink lids. Save your lids and mail them in (don’t forget to rinse them off!) by December 31, 2009. For every lid that is mailed in, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Susan G Komen for the Cure up to $1.5 million, with a guaranteed donation of $500,000! Don’t forget to also encourage your friends and family to do the same and you can even create an online lid collection team just by visiting Your Lid Matters.

Giveaway

Yoplait Promise to Make a Difference gift

Thanks to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait, I have the opportunity to help a lucky Woman Tribune reader help Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives program! When you promise to make a difference, we are giving away a ‘Promise to Make a Difference’ gift which includes a coupon for a free package of any flavor Yo-Plus or Yo-Plus Light yogurt 4-pack and two other Yoplait breast cancer awareness keepsakes.

Required Entry

Leave a comment on this post telling us how you plan to help Yoplait in the fight against breast cancer, whether it’s participating in an annual walk or run, collecting pink yogurt lids, donating directly to a breast cancer research fund, or another way.

Extra Entries

Leave a comment for each additional entry.

  • Start or join a collection team on Your Lid Matters and leave a comment indicating what you have done.
  • Send an ecard to a friend or family member about breast cancer awareness and to raise awareness about Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives. To do this go to Your Lid Matters and click all the way on the bottom ‘Share Your Passion.’ Leave a comment here saying what ecard you chose to send.
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and information about Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives program. Leave the link to your post in your comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Feel free to use the following tweet or write your own. (This can be done once a day, leave a link to your tweet in your comment.)

    RT @WomanTribune Join Yoplait in the fight against breast cancer. Save your pink lids & send in by Dec 31! http://tinyurl.com/ykuanzz

This giveaway ends October 23rd at 11:59 p.m. ET. This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents over the age of 18 at the time of entry. The winner will be chosen via random.org and contacted by email; they then have 48 hours (2 days) to respond to that email or another winner will be chosen.

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Disclosure: Yoplait provided me with the Promise to Make a Difference prize pack, information and giveaway through MyBlogSpark. All opinions expressed throughout this post are 100% mine.