Monday, October 21, 2013

Choose Fair Trade, Choose Green Mountain Coffe


I have to admit, I have heard the term 'Fair Trade' many times in the past, but I never really knew what it meant until becoming a part of BzzAgent's new campaign for Green Mountain Coffee. Turns out, Fair Trade coffee is a very good thing. Here's why:

According to ChooseFairTrade.com, "Fair trade certification gives farmers a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their future.". This is so very important! Also, because of Fair Trade, Green Mountain Coffee gets to works closely with farmers, which in turn means better tasting coffee for all of us caffeinated coffee freaks. 

It's a win for everyone!

Kelly Clarkson recently visited the Fair Trade community of Agua Azul, Peru to learn more about Fair Trade. You can view her beautiful travel diary here. It is very inspiring.

As for my participation in this campaign, I was sent several samples of Green Mountain Coffee's Fair Trade Three Continent Blend. According to the website, this particular blend is made with beans sourced from "Sumatra, South America, and Ethiopia".  I immediately brewed a k-cup and put it in the fridge to cool to use for my morning iced coffee. I loved that this particular blend is a medium roast and is extra bold. This is the type of coffee I prefer to brew because it holds up so well to ice without becoming watered down. I have to say, the Three Continent Blend is fantastic and I even prefer it over the other k-cups I was using every day. It has a very bold taste without any bitterness and there's a subtle sweetness that I really enjoy. I prefer mine with a splash of half-half and a little bit of sweetener. It's my go-to beverage every single morning.

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I encourage you to visit ChooseFairTrade.com and explore all of the varieties of FairTrade k-cups Green Mountain Coffee has to offer. I personally can't wait to try the Pumpkin Spice variety.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Product Review: Lysol Power & Free

lysolPower 

 As a self-described clean freak, I'm constantly purchasing cleaning products for my home. I love a good deep-down clean, but most of the cleaners I use come with harsh and powerful fumes. These fumes are often so overwhelming that I find myself having to clean in spurts, which is pretty darn inconvenient. 

 Thanks to BzzAgent, I was given the opportunity to try new Lysol Power & Free cleaning products. I was sent Lysol Power & Free Multi-Purpose Cleaner & the Toilet & Bathroom Wipes. So what's different about new Lysol Power & Free products? 

 I'm so glad you asked. Lysol Power & Free products use hydrogen peroxide to attack pesky stains, giving you "more cleaning power than bleach" without the harsh fumes and chemical residue. And I'm here to report that these products do just that. I'm so pleased! I used both products to clean all of my kitchen and bathroom surfaces.  I also used them to clean out my daughter's lunchbox (these products kill 99.9% of bacteria!), tabletops, light switches, my daughter's desk (they removed tough marker stains!), and all of our phone cases (full of bacteria, if you didn't know). 

  What I liked: - Powerful cleaning without harsh fumes. - Anti-bacterial properties which give me a sense of peace when cleaning - I loved the mild scent of the cleaners 

  What could be improved upon: The only thing that could be improved up is the wetness of the wipes. Mine were not very wet and I found myself having to use them with the multi-purpose cleaner.  

Overall: I am very pleased with the effectiveness of new Lysol Power & Free. I will absolutely buy these products as replacements for all of my other cleaning products. You also can't beat the prices of $1.97-$2.97. I would recommend these products to anyone.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Things I'm Loving Lately

These books:


Wonder by R.J. Palacio



This quote from The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp:

"I realized you could not have one without the other, that this great capacity to love and be happy can be experienced only with this great risk of having happiness taken away from you-- to tremble, always, on the edge of loss."
 The Dirty Harry from Gordough's Public House in Austin, TX:

Coconut creme filled donut holes, chocolate icing and topped with fresh coconut. Served warm. I die.


The Dirty Harry was heaven in a crock. It's been almost two weeks and I'm still thinking about this incredible dessert. 

Speaking of coconut, these are incredible. Crunchy, sweet, & slightly salted. Yum!


This article about three huge mistakes we make leading our children. Thought provoking and a gentle reminder.

And finally, Miss Mustard Seed's incredible kitchen. I'm head-over-heels in love with it, especially the countertops.

What are you loving lately?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Product Review: Campbell's Go(TM) Soup-- Moroccan Style Chicken w/ Chickpeas

There's a saying about the weather in Central Texas. It goes something like this: If you don't like it, wait five minutes.

True enough as yesterday I was blasting the A/C and today it barely made it to 60 degrees. It was drizzly and cold all day long-- all I wanted was soup.

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of Campbell's Go(TM) soup in the Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas variety and figured today would be perfect to try it out.

Have you seen these on the shelves? I love the design of the bright white pouches.


Initial Impression: Hmm, I'm not a huge chicken fan, but typically it's easily identifiable in most soups so I can just pick it out. Moroccan? Not sure what that flavor profile is usually, but I enjoy chickpeas and the ingredient list doesn't look too obscure, so let's give it a try. . 

What I liked: 
  • It was easy enough to heat up the pouch in the microwave and I really appreciated the "cool touch" spot on the pouch to avoid burning my fingers after heating.
  • Can eat out of the pouch or pour into a bowl
  • Very thick consistency. The soup was hearty and satisfying. 
  • The soup was well-spiced, but not spicy. It was very flavorful.
  • Plentiful chickpeas
  • Small pieces of pulled chicken-- nice touch, felt like it was a homemade soup
  • 320 calories per pouch (of this particular flavor)
  • 3 grams fat/pouch (of this particular flavor)
  • 12 grams fiber & 26 grams protein (of this particular flavor)
What I didn't like:
  • Strong hint of cinnamon both in smell and taste. I didn't see cinnamon on the ingredient list, so I'm not sure where this was coming from. Different and slightly off-putting, but it didn't prevent me from finishing the soup. 
  • 1580 mg of sodium/pouch! (of this particular flavor)

Final thoughts: With a coupon, I'd likely buy this variety of soup again. Speaking of coupon, print your $1 off coupon here!The pouch packaging is very convenient and much more appealing to me than a can for some reason. Aside from the sodium content, I think this is a tasty & decently healthy lunch/dinner option.

Other Campbell's Go(TM) Soup Varieties:
  • Golden Lentil with Madras Curry
  • Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda
  • Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shitake Mushrooms
  • Chicken and Quinoa with Poblano Peppers
  • Spicy Chorizo and Pulled Chicken with Black Beans
I was provided a sample of Campbell's Go(TM) Soups by Smiley360.com. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list?

I was able to cross a big one off of mine a couple of years ago when my little family of three took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts. We fell head-over-heels in love with the city; it's charm and it's weather were incredible.




My favorite part of the trip was attending a game at historic Fenway Park. My husband is a huge Red Sox fan and it warmed my heart to see his eyes light up when he took in not one, but two games while we were there. He was like a kid in a candy store and it was incredibly cool.






Most of my bucket list revolves around travel-- there is so much out there I want to do and see. My main travel goal is to see all 50 states. You see, I'm not one of those people that yearns to travel to far off places. I have zero desire to travel abroad. I'd much rather explore everything this beautiful country has to offer. That's not to say that I haven't been out of the country, though. As a couple, my husband and I have taken several cruises and of all of the ports we have visited, Jamaica is at the top of our list. As soon as we got off the boat in Montego Bay, Jamaica, we ignored all of the warnings the cruise line gave us and hailed a cab. I was petrified at first, but it ended up being an incredible experience. The cab driver took us all over the city, showing us the magnificent sites, buying us Red Stripe and treating us to an all-day experience we will never forget. And all for $40! Well worth it.

There are lots of experiences and places remaining on my bucket list. Here are a few:

Attend a football game at Lambeau Field:

See the Northern Lights:

Visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:

See the lights of Marfa:

Rock in a rocking chair on the front deck of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI:

Tour the Hawaiian Islands via the Pride of America:

See Niagara Falls:


What fun things are on your bucket list?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

One of those nights.



Last night was one of those that's so incredibly good for the soul. You know the type, right? 

The nights that include good friends, good food, a few drinks and a ton of laughs.

The nights where you linger long after your empty plates have been cleared from the table. 

The nights where you don't say "Goodbye" after dinner, but "What's next?".

The nights that result in a ton of picture retakes because there isn't a single one deemed decent enough by all parties involved to go on Facebook or Instagram. 

The nights where you stay up well past the point of exhaustion because neither of you wants to end the conversation. 

Those nights. They're my favorite.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh, Goodies!

Have you heard of Goodies.co?

Goodies Co. is a monthly subscription box service that delivers delicious new snack samples right to your door! If you love the samples, you can head back to the Goodies Co. website and order more of your favorites. 

This is my first box from the Goodies Co., but I can say with 100% certainty that it won't be my last. I was so impressed with everything!

Here's a picture of the box I received (minus a few things I just had to try before snapping a pic):


(Take a look at the packaging! I'm a total sucker for packaging and this box couldn't be any cuter.)

The theme of this month's box was Rise and Shine featuring many different samples perfect for breakfast (or any time of the day, really!). 

What I received:

Alo Water Watermelon & Peach: I loved receiving a full-sized sample of this product. I was a little skeptical about drinking something with aloe vera in it (my only experience with aloe is in regards to sunburns and cuts), but I was pleasantly surprised. This drink is very light and refreshing and I really love the peach flavor.  My daughter enjoyed it too, but did not like the pulp. . 

Ola! Handbaked Granola: I typically shy away from eating or purchasing granola since most brands are high in fat, sugar, and calories. In my head, it's one of those 'healthy' foods that often isn't always so healthy. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this product. The ingredient list has nothing weird on it and it contains non-GMO ingredients. My favorite part was the almonds-- whole, crunchy, and perfectly satisfying.



Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Coated Granola Bar: This was, by far, my favorite product in the box which is surprising to me because I am normally not a fan of bars. Most bars I've tried in the past either taste like cardboard or are overly sweet, but this one is delicious. I tried the toasted coconut variety (I'm a coconut freak) and loved the little bits of dried pineapple in it, too. It was like a pina colada granola bar--- yum! 

Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookie: This was just okay. It was pretty small and quite dry. I tried the peanut butter flavor and wasn't really impressed. 

Nabisco Newtons Triple Berry: These were dry and tasted almost like a Nutri-grain bar. The berry flavor is okay. I would not purchase these for various reasons, the most important being the ingredient list. The first ingredient is whole grain wheat flour, but from there it goes downhill fast: sugar, high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. These cookies also contain hydrogenated oils, which we as family try to steer clear of.

Jovan's All Natural Instant Breakfast: I wasn't sure what to expect from this product. I loved Carnation Instant Breakfast as a kid, but I do not buy it now. Frankly, I'd rather have coffee in the mornings and my daughter doesn't drink milk. This product is all-natural and all you do is mix the packet contents into a glass of cold milk and enjoy. I tried it this morning and it is quite tasty-- I love the beautiful specks of vanilla bean seeds floating throughout. My only criticism is that the ingredients are not listed on the back of the packet.

Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves: First off, this sample is absolutely adorable. Will you get a load of that mini-jar?! Swoon. These preserves are perfectly sweet and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor. I would absolutely purchase this product-- strawberry is my daughter's favorite flavor of jelly/jam/preserves.

BelVita Cinnamon Brown Sugar Breakfast Biscuits: Wow! These are really tasty. They are thin, crisp and taste like part graham cracker, part ginger snap. Subtle hints of cinnamon and just the right amount of sweetness. I wouldn't eat these for breakfast, but I think they'd make a great dessert!

All in all, I felt like this was a really great box. It was filled with tasty samples of products I'd likely never buy if I hadn't tried a sample.

I got all of this for only $7 including taxes and shipping.

What are you waiting for? Check out Goodies.co!



Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome!

My name is Hilary and I’ve been blogging for quite awhile. It all started with a family blog back in 2008, then a not-very-funny blog about the randomness of my life, and I still maintain a blog for my daughter that is for her only. These blogs satisfied me for a while and then they just fizzled out, but through it all, I’ve still felt the need to put my thoughts and words somewhere. This is that place for me. A place without obligation where I can come and put all of it down. Feel free to sit a spell because I’m glad you’re here.