November 20, 2014

Hidden Valley Ranch Fest






I was super duper excited to be chosen for the 2nd Annual Hidden Valley Ranch Fest courtesy of Crowdtap. I received some great stuff from them including: a fantastic green shirt,recipes, cute little dipping bowls, packs of seasoning/dressing mix, coupons for Hidden Valley Ranch, and a bottle of ranch dressing.

The bowls are super cute and easy to place on your plates. They're really convenient, especially for my family who have a lot of people who don't really like dressing touching their food. The recipes were in both English and Spanish which was perfect for sharing with some of my family members that don't read English well.

I had a party planned, but sadly the weather didn't want to cooperate so I just handed out the dressing mixes along with some bowls, recipes, and coupons to some family and friends. They all tried making the potatoes with ranch because I mentioned how awesome they were. Seriously whether you use instant or "real" potatoes, russet or red, you need to get some ranch taters in your life! Below is the recipe I got off of the Hidden Valley Ranch website, feel free to use it as you wish. I omitted certain ingredients, but they still came out fantastic.

Original Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 pounds peeled Idaho potatoes chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Hidden Valley® Original Ranch Salad® Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • salt to taste
  • ⅓ cup half-and-half
  • pepper to taste
Directions:
Place potatoes in large pan with water over high heat and boil until tender but still firm, about 15–20 minutes. Heat butter, half-and-half and peppers in saucepan over low heat until combined. Drain potatoes and place in mixer with butter sauce. Add dressing mix and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

I cheated and used instant Idahoan Potatoes for the mashed potatoes and left out the chipotle peppers because I'm not a fan. The mashed potatoes came out super flavorful and I'll definitely be using real potatoes next time.

I also used the seasoning on my country style pork ribs. I took the package and slightly sprinkled over top and then rubbed it into the pork. I let it sit for about 20 minutes before putting it to cook. Once it was almost done I then took a little bbq sauce and just basted the ribs with it. If you've never had bbq chicken or ribs with ranch dressing before, you're definitely missing out! As you can see below the kids absolutely loved it and were wanting seconds, sadly there wasn't any more left and they asked me to make it again next time.



So that meal was two days ago and today, Nov 19, I'm using the ranch dressing mix to season my drumsticks and russet potatoes. I just sprinkled 2 tbsps onto the potatoes first and mixed them really well. I dumped them into a pan and proceeded to coat the chicken. I set the temp at 375 as that's normally what chicken recipes ask for. I've honestly never made this before so hopefully it comes out delish.

My nephew had a long practice so wasn't able to get a picture of the monsters eating. They practically inhaled everything without breathing, I don't know how they do it. They're like teenage tasmanian devils, all that was left was some chicken bones and happy kids.

I loved Hidden Valley Ranch before this and I definitely love it more now. I didn't think there were many ways to use ranch other than on top of a salad, or as a dip for buffalo wings. It's much more versatile and I'll definitely be adding ranch to my spice rack.


Disclaimer: I received the products shown above for the sole purpose of doing a review. All opinions are my own and no further compensation was received. If you would like to try out great products, then join Crowdtap.




October 23, 2014

Helluva Good Product Review











I was chosen by BzzAgent to try out Helluva Good dips, and I am so happy I was. Now I'm quite picky when it comes to dips. I first only ate Borden Sour Cream, then they changed the recipe or something because it just wasn't the same. So I tried out the store brand - HEB sour cream and loved it. I hadn't thought to try out other brands because sometimes if it isn't broke, why fix it, right? So because of my love for my sour cream, I was a little wary when it came to try out Helluva Good Sour Cream.

Now Helluva Good just doesn't offer sour cream, the offer a total of 8 sour cream dips. My store sadly only has 3 of there offerings and I wanted to be safe for my first try so I got French Onion.

The flavors offered by Helluva Good are:
  • BACON HORSERADISH DIP
  • BODACIOUS® ONION DIP
  • BUFFALO WING DIP
  • BUTTERMILK RANCH DIP
  • FRENCH ONION DIP
  • JALAPEÑO CHEDDAR DIP
  • WHITE CHEDDAR & BACON DIP
  • LIMITED EDITION ROASTED GARLIC & CARAMELIZED ONION



Now for French Onion dip it's pretty much the same as other french onion dips, right? Well no, not all french onion dips are created equal. Helluva Good does a helluva job of making some good dip. While I couldn't "go to town" on it, I was able to try it out and it was delish! Sadly, I'm not able to eat much dip because of the sodium levels, but the 2 tsbp I did try were great. The dip is a thick, but creamy and you can really taste the pieces of onion in it. This dip would definitely go great with some baby carrots, celery, and some broccoli - um yum!

The price is pretty much on par with the other major brands. It isn't cheaper than my store brand though, but a splurge now and then is okay. The kids ate some dip with the chips and sandwiches for dinner and couldn't get enough of it.

I am looking forward to going back and getting the jalapeno cheddar dip, because who doesn't like some queso dip! I am planning on adding some diced tomatoes to it for some extra flair. Maybe put it on some tostadas or tacos to give my dinner an extra kick.

Helluva Good offers other products as well such as: condiments, cheese, and even greek style yogurt. I'll definitely keep an eye out on those products, because I'd love to try out some Helluva Good cheese!

So if you're looking for some dip to add some flavor to your next meal or party - then go out and get some now. You definitely won't regret it and your family and friends will love you.



Disclaimer: I was sent a coupon for free product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and no further compensation was received. #GotItFree


Chapstick Dual-End Hydration Lock Review






 I was super lucky to be chosen for this great Smiley360 mission. Chapstick came out with a great new product - dual chapsticks! Why deal with having two different chapsticks when you can have just one.

The Dual Ended Hydration Lock Chapstick is for day and night to give you 24hr care. The day end has a built in sunscreen of SPF12 to make sure your lips don't shrivel up in the sun. While the night end works all night to replenish moisture and soften your lips.


They obviously are both so easy to use and even with the dual ends it isn't heavy and bulky. You don't need a lot of product from either end to do the job. One quick swipe and you're good to go, and feel free to reapply as much as you like during the day. I did notice a difference in how smooth and supple my lips looked. Yea, I said supple, because you're lips will look and feel fantastic!


So yea, there are obviously many chapsticks that do the same thing, the major upside is that it's all in one. Everyone loves convenience, and who doesn't need more space in their purse. With the dual end you can have two different chapsticks all in one and you won't have to dig around the bottom of your purse (aka: the bottomless pit) to find the chapstick you want. Because I know you have more than one chapstick in there.



There really isn't any flavor on/in the chapstick. Not that it really needs it, but I'd love a cherry flavor. Seriously, that stuff is amazing, not that I sit there and eat it.

So if you're looking for a chapstick that does it all, then you need to run out and get Chapsticks Dual Ended Hydration Lock, your lips will thank you.



Disclaimer: I was sent this product for the sole purpose of giving my honest review. All opinions are my own and no further compensation was given.

October 20, 2014

Tony's Pizzeria Pizza Review






I was chosen to try out Tony's Pizzas through BzzAgent, umm yay! So I have tried Tony's pizza before, but honestly it's been a very long time since I've done that. With having such a large family of 5 teens I can't get by with just one or two pizzas. So I was excited to plan a pizza night for all the kids to try out the different varities of pizza Tony's offer. Tony's Pizza offers 8 pizzeria style varieties: pepperoni pizza, sausage & pepperoni, cheese, supreme, meat trio, sausage, bascon cheeseburger, and half pepperoni - half cheese.

My kiddos are strictly meat eaters so I chose: pepperoni, meat trio, sausage & pepperoni, and cheese for me. I went with the cheese pizza for myself to help cut down on some of the sodium. I'm really trying hard to limit my daily sodium intake and pizza isn't really friendly to that diet. Tony's Cheese pizza has 25% or 600mg of sodium. I had to be really strict with my food earlier in the day, but I stayed within my limit. Now that 600mg is for 1/3 of the pizza and couple with some salad I was able to get a taste of some great pizza and not feel too bad at the end of the day.




The kids had meat trio, pepperoni, and sausage & pepperoni to choose from. The lucky ducks were able to sample a little from each pizza. I really tried to get a picture of them eating, but I swear they inhaled the pizza like that was the first food they had seen in years. I was busy cutting up the pizzas as they came out the oven and before I knew it, it was all gone. I was able to include some tasty looking pictures of the pizza so enjoy!




Pepperoni pizza has a little sodium in it at 650mg, 330 calories, and 12g of protein. The pepperoni's are a good size and have a great flavor.

Sausage & Pepperoni has 710mg of sodium, 350 calories, and 12g of protein. The same pepperoni is used, full slices, along with sausage crumbles. The sausage was a little on the small size, but it had great seasoning making it really tasty. I was a tie with regular pepperoni for second place.

Tony's Meat Trio has the same amount of sodium as the sausage and pepperoni but has 360 calories and 13g of protein. It has the same slice pepperoni, sausage crumbles, and small diced ham. I wish the ham was a bit bigger but you could still taste that it was ham.

All of the pizzas came with a thinner, crunchy, and crispy crust. I absolutely love thin and crispy pizzas so this was a super duper plus for me. All the pizzas cooked up in the same amount of time, but I noticed the cheese pizza didn't need as much as the other pizzas. It was a little too brown, but whatever I'm not hard to please. I thought it still tasted really good and I liked some of the browner, crispy cheese. Of course I love all kinds of cheeses so I'm a little biased. I cooked all of the pizzas straight on the rack, no pan needed, to make sure they would get the crispy crunchy crust I love. You can use a pan for a softer crust if you so wish.





I'm so glad to have found Tony's Pizza again because overall all the pizzas were so tasty and filling. Everyone was happy to be able to try everything. I was happy to not hear any whining about not liking a certain topping.  I'll definitely be buying more Tony's pizza in the future and hope they come out with more varities - how about a double pepperoni pizza? Or perhaps a vegetarian style pizza?! Anyway, if you're a meat loving carnivore like my kids, then you'll definitely love Tony's Pizzeria Style Pizza.

Disclaimer: I was sent coupons for a free pizza along with coupons to share with family and friends. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received. #GotItFree




October 2, 2014

Snuggle Scent Boosters Review








 I'm a member of the Snuggle Bear Den and was sent a full sized package of Scent Boosters to try out for myself in my home. Being the aunt/mother of 5 very active teens is quite a hard job. It's even harder when it comes time to wash all their clothes. From their every day wear to their sports wear, they can be super tough on them. I don't have a lot of money to be spending on detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, scent boosters (of any kind), etc but I still want and need my family's clothing to smell good. Especially when you have a football player that sweats a river every game. Eww the smell is terrible and don't get me started on their stinky socks!


Now I've used other brands of scent boosters - both of which can be pretty expensive, and I noticed something. I had to put more in the wash than it recommended. So in reality I wasn't getting all the bang for my buck. I was using up to a full capful more than I was "supposed" to.  That's wasteful and not really efficient. When the box arrived with my Snuggle Scent Boosters I could smell it outside the box. Seriously that has got to be a strong scent to do that, right? Well yes and no; I'll explain more later.

So I opened up the box and yay, there were my scent boosters in a nice purple bag. I was sent a pack of Lavender Joy and it smelled great. The packs are pretty big and well they're super easy to use. You open up the resealable bag, pop a Scent Booster pack into your washer before you put you're clothing in. You may have to use more than one pack if you have a larger washer like me. That's okay though because it ends up being one pack per load. They are safe for all kinds of washers - regular and HE. Also they're safe for all types of clothing even activewear and sleepwear. Each bag comes with 20 loads for a regular washer or 10 loads for a larger washer. They cost around $3.97 for a 20 pack and $6.97 for a 56 pack, obviously your prices will vary. I think that's pretty on par with other scent boosters.


The scent itself is pretty intense when you first take your laundry out of the washer. You don't even need to add a dryer sheet because it's got enough scent and is soft enough to go without it. I do have a dryer bar because I hate static cling, but I don't think it adds or takes away from the scent boosters. I think how long the scent lasts depends on your household. For me I have kids coming in and out, playing around on the bed, etc. So the scent stays around for about 4-5 days. My aunt who doesn't really have anyone to mess up her bed, etc says the scent lasted more than a week.

But you know, you don't have to use your Snuggle Scent Boosters just for your laundry. My mother smokes, eww I know, so sometimes my clothes doesn't smell as fresh as I'd like. I took a couple of the Scent Booster packs and put them in my drawers, and I put them in a little sachet and hung it in my closet. This way I get that great smell in my room and in my clothes!

Overall, if you're looking for a change from those more expensive scent boosters and want something that really works check out Snuggles Scent Boosters! There are two different scents as of now: Lavender Joy and Blue Iris Bliss, I haven't tried the latter yet but I'm definitely going to. You can totally afford to try these out and hey if you don't like them send the rest to me! I love these things!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Snuggle Bear Den and was sent this product to review and try out. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.

Vichy Idealia Review




For the last eight days I have been using Vichy Idealia Life Serum. I was sent some samples for myself as well as for some friends so we could all try it out together. Now I'm pretty wary about stuff

I put on my skin because it's not in the best shape already. I have tried so many products only for them to leave my skin burning and red. So on day one I used my regular cleansers and that was it. I wanted to start off using Vichy Idealia as if I hadn't really used any other products before. So after two more days of just washing with my regular skin cleanser I started my 8 day challenge.

Vichy's Idealia Life Serum is supposed to:
  • Even & illuminated skin tone
  • Visibly refined pores
  • Moisturized & refreshed skin
  • Youthful-looking complexion 
Vichy asks you to identify the 4 different factors that effect our skin on a daily basis: environment, diet, uv rays, and stress/lack of sleep. Now I don't know about you but all of those factors effect my skin big time. Living in South Texas we get hot beating down on you sunshine practically every day of the year. That can definitely do a number on anyone's skin. My diet could be better, but hey I'm working on it. I started drinking tons more water, eating way more greens, and a lot less junk food. Stress seems to be my middle name on some days with 4 teens and one preteen in the house. Yea, how do you think I deal with all those hormones?? And last environment - while I don't smoke my mother does and I'm around her a lot, but I think how much could it really affect me, right? So no to the sampling!

Day 1: I again used my regular face cleanser, patted down my face and went for the Vichy Idealia. They came in these super cute little pink pouches. I think there should have been more info on how many times I was to use it. Seeing how there were only eight samples, I assumed it was only once per day. I opened up the small sample sized package, after much effort, and squeezed every little bit of the cream out. First, there wasn't much of a smell - that's a plus. I hate using products on my face that smell weird. It seriously turns me off and takes away from the experience. I followed the directions and smoothed the cream on my face moving outwards towards my hairline. I did feel my skin and it was definitely smoother and more firm after a while. I didn't see any significant different in tone or clarity.

Day 2-5: Went pretty much the same as day 1. I cleansed with my regular cleanser, opened up the package and slathered the cream on. My skin was really smooth and firm, but again no difference in tone or clarity. I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong. While I loved the feel of my skin I was really wanting to see the difference and not just feel it.

I went online and started to read up on Vichy's Idealia Life Serum and saw, "...use Idéalia Life Serum twice daily for 8 days." Ah, so I was supposed to use it twice daily. I wish it had mentioned that in the packaging. So there I was left with only 3 small sample packages left so I just decided to keep using one per day.

Overall, I can definitely feel the difference in my skin's softness and firmness. It still isn't shiny and brilliant like others so I'm a little bummed by that, but I do think with proper continued use I'd see better results. I think it's a great product to add to your collection if you're looking for something new or better. It goes for $44 for 30ML bottle so it's not too pricey, but may not be in everyone's price range. I do think that if you can try it out for yourself, do it!

Disclaimer: I participated in a Sample and Share courtesy of Crowdtap and Vichy. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.



September 11, 2014

FulcrumGallery.com Art Piece Review











I was pretty excited when I was approached to review FulcrumGallery.com. I had actually never heard of them at that point, but who doesn't love some paintings to decorate their wall. The website is so easy to navigate and isn't too cluttered. They have their products arranged by room, styles, subjects, etc to make it easy for you to find what you like.

Aside from the thousands of paintings, prints, and mirrors they offer. You can also create your own masterpiece using your own photo. I am not a photographer so I didn't opt for this choice, but I think it's pretty awesome to have those special moments made into paintings. I'm thinking they would make a great gift for some parents and grandparents. The process is so easy too. I think the bigger the image is the better, so don't crop it. I made my image smaller and it wouldn't work because images need to be at least 900x900. Also right now they have a 50% off all "My Pictures" artwork, so for a 16"x16" gallery wrapped print it's only $50.99. That's pretty affordable for something that is of high quality.


Choosing your own print is super easy, but choosing a print from the thousands they offer, not so much. I saw so many images that I liked that I had practically made my choice 4 times before my final decision. They have a print that will match everyone's tastes and preferences. I finally settled on a print that said "Hope" by Grace Pullen. I love the background, it has a beach feeling to it. Just because this isn't your own print doesn't mean you can't customize it to your liking. Fulcrum Gallery let's you choose your frame and mat color. Those two choices can make the same print look totally different depending on the colors you choose. There are 3 other prints in this series: Love, Dream, and Relax. It was super simple to place my order in and I got a confirmation email within minutes. Shipping is standard shipping so it took about a week to get here.



When I got my print it came in a pretty large package. I was a bit confused because I didn't think the print would be that large. Upon opening up the package I saw why it was so big. FulcrumGallery.com makes sure your print will arrive to you safely and not messed up so they pack your print extra carefully. It wasn't too difficult to remove the print from the box, and any extra work was worth the extra packaging. My print was in excellent condition, not one blemish on it. On the back of the print there are two signatures: one for the personal framer, and the other for quality assurance. This means you can rest assured that what you're buying is 100% the best quality. On the back of the frame were two long metal hook type things. I obviously don't know the official name for them so bear with me. I used the one already attached to the back to hang my print. I wish there was perhaps some wiring to hang the print instead so it would be more sturdy. Either way my print looks fantastic on my wall and even with it being by the door, which gets slammed often, it is still hanging straight.

Shipping was on point and everything got here looking exactly as it did online. So I'll definitely be going back to Fulcrum Gallery for some more prints. I'm definitely thinking about getting a personalized print next time for my mom. A canvas print of all her grandchildren would make the best gift! So if you're looking to add some personal touches to your home, then you should definitely check out FulcrumGallery.com. They will have something to suit your tastes and decor in your home, I can pretty much guarantee that.   




Disclaimer: I was sent a print of my choice free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and no compensation was received. This photo is indeed hanging in my house and looks great on my wall.


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