Monday, March 24, 2014

RedStar Shades & $500 Gift Card!!


This is a sponsored review by Red Star and Media Talent Agency


Red Star specializes in sport and fashion sunglasses, watches and accessories. They are also involved in promotiong and sponsoring many charity and sporting events.

Red Star let me select one of there many sunglasses to try out. It was a hard task to do, because there were so many choices to try from. I decided to go with a classic aviator. I love aviators sunglasses because they always fit my face shape pretty well. I was pretty impressed with the sunglasses when they arrived. They came with a nice case to keep them protected. You can also tell that they are quality sunglasses by just the feel of them. The pair I selected is also polarized, which offers additional protection from the sun. My eyes are very sensitive to the sun, so I always need a pair of quality sunglasses on hand whenever I go out.

Red Star is also offering a free promo code for up to $500 off their shades for a limited time, you only have to pay shipping & handling for each item you select. Pretty amazing deal!

To get your $500 gift card, visit their webpage here.

Enter promo code: MTA14 at check out.

Hope you enjoy your Red Star sunglasses!!

If you have any additional questions regarding the promo; Red Star has a very useful FAQ page you can visit here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper, Chickpea, Egg, and Feta Salad






For this delicious salad recipe, I was going to make a greek salad, but realized I didn't have tomatoes, and olives. So I began to add other ingredients that I had. Even though I wasn't too sure they would all go well together, the result was amazing! My husband loved the salad, we had it for dinner and it was more than enough food, and let us full and satisfied!

You will need:


  • Chopped lettuce (Romaine) (2 cups)
  • Cucumber, Chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Carrots, Shredded (1/4 cup)
  • Roasted Red Pepper (1/4 cup)
  • Feta Cheese Crumbles (1/4 cup)
  • Hard Boiled Egg, sliced
  • Chickpeas (1/2 can)
  • Red onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • Grape Tomatoes (optional)


Drain and rinse chickpeas, add together ingredients at top with 2 tbsp of a vinaigrette dressing. Enjoy!!




Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why you should use Paraben Free Cosmetics



Why, yes. Yes I am…

I have offically joined the Arbonne team. I have known about their products for some time and have used them in the past, and was recently reintroduced to their products again. For me the timing was perfect!

About a year ago, I decided to make the switch to Paraben Free products. Which includes, make-up, lotions, face wash, etc… Do you know how hard it is to find Paraben Free products!? Parabens seem to be in everything these day!

But what are Parabens you ask, and why should we worry about them in our products? 

Parabens are 'an ester of parahydroxybenzoic acid' which are used as a very inexpensive way to extend the life of cosmetics. So they are in a lot of cosmetics! Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it only takes about 5 seconds for the chemicals we put on our skin to be absorbed into our blood stream (Completely bypassing our liver!). So much more potent and dangerous that way. Think of all the chemicals are a rubbing all over our body, and that is being absorbed into our system!

Ok, so they get into our system… but how do they affect us, you ask? Researchers have now found a link between Parabens and Breast Cancer. Yikes! A recent study in 2012 found at least one Paraben in 99% of the tissue samples from women who had breast cancer. 60% contained at least 5 parabens. There no denying that there is a link between breast cancer and parabens. Since, I have a family history of breast cancer, it's not worth the risk for me!

So besides just being Paraben Free, I love that Arbonne is held to a higher standard of quality that what we are used too!! You can see all the "stuff" that Arbonne leaves out of its products. "Stuff" I do not want rubbed on my skin and absorbed into my bloodstream!

What are the most common Parabens called, and what should we look out for? 

Most Common Parabens:
  • Methylparaben                          Methylparaben is one of the most common parabens
  • Butlyparaben                             has been linked to low sperm count, ocular/eye damage, 
  • Propylparaben                           breast cancer and skin damage! 
  • Ethylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben

If you are interested in Paraben Free products, such as Arbonne, or have any questions about why pure & safe products are a better choice, let me know!

source: parabenfree.co

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tasty Tuna Salad and a Weekend Recap

This weekend was so nice, not only because the weather is slowly starting to warm up, but because I was able to have a well overdue date with my husband! Our Valentines plans got canceled, so a month later we finally got to go out! We went to this Foot Spa near our house we kept hearing about. One word: AMAZING! First of all it was only $30, which is amazing in itself, but you got a relaxing foot soak and an hour long full body massage. I can't believe we just found out about this place. It was so nice to do as a couple. Chuck and I had never done a "couples massage" before, and I liked this place because I was able to just wear loose clothing and keep them on. We also enjoyed a nice lunch together at Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant. Chuck loves to get the carne asada. It's pretty amazing, I will admit, but I am partial to the chicken enchiladas. It was great to get a few hours to ourself and have a date. So hard to find time once you have kids! Here's a great quick and easy way to spice up your typical Tuna Salad. I've been on the hunt for new lunch ideas, and I love this recipe!

Looking Relaxed (and a little oiled up) after our massage! 
Tasty Tuna Salad Sandwich

To make this easy and yummy lunch you'll need to mix the following ingredients:

1 can of white chunk tuna
1 tbsp of plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp of mayo
1 tbsp of chopped onion
1 sweet pepper, chopped
1 celery piece, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Add a slice of two of lettuce and thin bread. To make it gluten free, you can eat the tuna salad in lettuce wraps or on cucumber slices.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mom's "Famous" Meatloaf






My Mom has the best meatloaf recipe! It is so moist and delicious and always has you wanting more! The addition of the celery and carrots makes the meatloaf very moist and not dry (like some meat loafs are). Its one of my husbands new favorites (and my dad's too!)


Ingredients

1 Pound of Ground Turkey (or beef)
1 Stalk of celery
1/3 Bag of baby carrots (optional)
1 Onion
2 Tbsp of butter
1/4 Cup of breadcrumbs (gluten free are best)
1 Egg
3/4 Cup of ketchup
1 tsp of minced garlic
2 tsp of worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp of pepper
salt, a few dashes
turmeric, a few dashes (optional)
onion powder, a few dashes (optional)


To start get out that food processor you registered for your wedding. Add one onion and chop it finely in food processor. (will look a bit mushy- this is good!) Next, scoop it out and add it to a pan with a little butter. Cook the onion and when done, add to a mixing bowl and set aside.

While your onion is cooking, add your carrots and celery to your food processor and chop finely. Once your onion is done cooking, add your celery (and carrots) to the pan and cook with a little butter. You may need to drain some of the excess liquid from the pan before adding to the mixing bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, using only 1/4 cup of the ketchup. Press into an 8x4" loaf pan. Spread the rest of the ketchup over the top using the back of a spoon.

Cook for an hour at 350 degrees. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Discerning The Voice of God" - A Review

Photo Credit: Lifeway.com

My women's bible study at the church just wrapped up "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer. If you're not familiar with Priscilla, get familiar! She's awesome. This is the second study of hers that I have done and I have loved both of them!

I was especially drawn to this study right off the bat, because right on the cover it says, "how to recognize with God speaks". Sign me up! I want to hear and know more of what God is saying to me!

Priscilla breaks down the six week study into four sections; " The Anticipation of God's Voice", "The Spirit of God's Voice", "The Nature of God's Voice", and "The Purpose of God's Voice".

The first section about anticipating God's voice spoke directly to me. If you think about it, it's so easy to anticipate something. We are in such a society of "we want it and we want it now". Everything is fast and quick! Our communication is faster than ever, with emails, cell phones and texting, and all within our own hands. Anticipating the voice of God, is waiting with expectancy for God to answer us, BUT, we must do so patiently.

Priscilla writes, "The process of waiting for a message from God, is just as important as the message itself." WOW! We should expect God to answer when we call him, and seek him through prayer, worship and meditation. We must spend time actively listening to God's still small voice.

The second section dives into the Spirit of God's voice, who is known as the Holy Spirit. When we become a confessing believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. It is the primary way that God speaks to us. When we surrender and listen to the Spirit, we are listening to voice of the Lord. Even when we are unsure if what we are hearing is our voice or the voice of God, He is merciful and gracious to give us confirmation when we need it. The voice of the Holy Spirit will always align with scriptures, no matter what.

The nature of God's voice reveals that He leads us perfectly, because He is loving and good. He draws us near to Him, so that we may be more intimate with Him. Through which He can reveal His plans in the "Purpose of God's Voice". We were created to do God's will, and He will not keep His will for our lives a mystery. He will not leave us empty handed either, when God calls us into His perfect will, we are not alone. God will have our back! But when He calls us, (I say when, and not if!) we must respond with obedience to His call. Priscilla gives many examples of how time and time again, we must respond with obedience to His call and the blessing in the obedience that follows! We must not hesitate when God speaks to us!

At the beginning of the study, Priscilla Shirer asked us to write a few "issues" we were seeking answers for from God in the back of our books. As I went through the last six weeks, I have come back to those topics from time to time and seen how several of them have been changing. Now, at the end of the study, I have seen major revelation on two of my "issues". One where God showed up and did a miracle that only HE could have the glory. The other, where God has completely changed my heart from where it was six weeks ago. The others are still on-going, but I am faithfully trusting in God's timing for his answers to those situations, while holding fast to the amazing revelations I have experienced thus far. Our God is so good, kind and patience. He desires that our hearts long for him, and more time we spend in the word, talking to him, he gently draws us closer to him. That we may understand and love him so much more. Isn't He the best?! I think so!



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


rosemary roasted potatoes


I've been seeing these "Fingerling" Potatoes at the grocery store for some time now, but never mustered up the courage to actually buy some and do something with it! So finally, last time I went to the store I decided to grab a bag because they were on sale and I thought I would give it a go!

I love red skin roasted rosemary potatoes, so I basically took that recipe and slightly modified it for the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. The result was amazing! Fingerling potatoes are so soft and kinda sweeter, not at all starchy and bland like some potatoes are. (but let's not name names!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry your Fingerling Potatoes. Slice in half the larger ones so that they are all roughly the same size.

Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and dip each potato in the butter, set aside on a baking sheet. In a separate bowl mix together the following:

2 tsp of sea salt 
1/4 tsp of thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp of ground pepper

Sprinkle evenly over your potatoes, making sure you get both sides of your potatoes. Bake for 25-30 mins. 

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes are perfection when they are done! They are already buttered and salted so you don't need to add anything to them. Absolutely loved how great they tasted and it was so easy!




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Longing for summer in this never-ending winter!

The other week we were in desperate need of a break from this never ending winter in "Chi-beria", so we decided to head over to an indoor water park with Elsa. It was her first time to a pool since last summer or even since she has started walking. Lucky for us, there was a small indoor water park about an hour north of us, in the Chicagoland area, called "Water Works". Which, since it's part of that suburbs park district the admission was much more affordable than a private water park. It was very worth the money since we were only there a couple hours. Which was just the perfect amount of time for a 18 month old!


Elsa was a little curious, yet hesitant when we got there. The kids area was shallow and a gradual entry, perfect for little ones. Once she got her feet wet, she was splashing around and laying on her belly. There was a large playground splash area with watersides, water guns, and foundations.


Elsa was so courageous and wanted to go down the little water slides all by herself! She was non-stop with the water slides, laughing and giggling hysterically! She even was pointing and wanting to go to the BIG slides across the park. We did our best to explain she was just too little!
We hung out and stayed until we were tired out.

It was a great day to get out and pretend that it might just be summer! It's been the longest winter ever here in Chicago, with record snowfalls of well over 60"+ and record lows of -50 degrees below freezing, we are so ready for spring!

What have you been doing to beat the cold this winter!?
  



Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: The Modern Life Study Bible


I've been given the privilege of reviewing the "Modern Life Study Bible - God's Word for Our World" for my blog. Personally, I love study Bibles, because they always have extra insight about the scriptures that I find very helpful for further understanding what I am reading. Let's just be honest, it's sometimes hard to wrap our heads around on just how big the Ark was, when we don't understand the units of measurement or where exactly did the Israelites wander for forty years, without that map insert in our Bibles or a vast amount of other cultural contexts from ancient times.

But what I liked about reading through the Modern Study Bible was that it brought God's word, up into the relevance of today's society. But it also, gives us key insights into better understanding the scriptures.

Within the Bible, each book has an introduction as to who the author of the book is and the context of the book of the bible.

There are sections that are called "Focus" articles, that provide insight on the specific scripture it references. I especially liked this, because some of them were like "mini-devotionals".

Focus Articles


"Insight" articles provided information about the "cultural context". Which, as previously mentioned, I do like as well, because it provides further understanding of the scriptures and allows us to relate on a deeper level. For example, there is a family tree of the Family of Jacob. Now we all know he had twelve sons, and two wives, but he also had two concubines. Which can be confusing to understand who's who. The insight article breaks it down with a clear visual description.
Insight Articlespersonal profiles












There are also "Personal Profiles" on important people of the Bible and "Place Profiles" to show maps and information about where exactly many events of the ancient world took place.

Personal ProfilesThere are also full page biographies about sixty-six different Christ followers from different times and places in "modern" history. I found them very interesting and enlightening!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading through the "Modern Life Study Bible" (NKJV). The inserts gave me a fresh new insight and a lot of knowledge on things I didn't even know. I would highly recommend this Bible for anyone who would like a deeper knowledge and study of the Bible with a focus on relating to our modern times.





Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Easy Stuffed Blue Cheese Peppers



cream cheese peppers


This recipe is so easy and so delicious. It's perfect for a light snack or as a party appetizer.


What you need:
sweet pepper cream cheese

Mini sweet peppers, one package
Cream cheese, one block
Blue cheese crumbles, small container
Green onion, 1 tsp finely chopped

Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove all seeds. Wash, pat dry and set aside. In a bowl add your cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles and green onion. I used about 1/3 block of cream cheese per 10 sweet peppers. You can use more or less depending on how many peppers you are stuffing. The more the better because these are so good! Add about a 1/3 cup of blue cheese crumbles per 10 peppers. Or more or less depending on how much blue cheese flavor you like. Mix thoroughly in bowl until there's an even consistency.

Using a small spoon and clean hands, fill the peppers with the cheese mixture. (You may need to use your hand to push the cheese into the peppers). Serve and Enjoy!!


stuffed blue cheese peppers