Sip it Like “Crazy!” Flavor Your Day with Crazy Cups!

Good Sunday Morning to you, wherever you may be. Here in the Philadelphia suburbs, a cold front has swept through the region, bringing the return of frigid temperatures and intense wind gusts. Though, on a positive note, I do have something I’d love to share with all of you who might be reading: Crazy Cups! At this point, you might be wondering, what in the world is Crazy Cups? Well, given coffee is one of my favorite beverages to enjoy and one I look forward to each morning and throughout the day/evening, my recent discovery of Crazy Cups has significantly broadened and improved my coffee repertoire.

Since my last teens, I became truly vested in coffee, not only for the taste, aroma, and ability to add a bit of warmth to my day, but for the experience, noting all the vast methods and possibilities of brewing a cup of java. It intrigued me how unique each brewing process could be: everything from freshly grinding coffee beans, using a percolator, pour-over, or French Press, a traditional drip coffee-maker, instant packets, k-cups (or any single-cup brewer method), and beyond!

With that being said, I traditionally begin each morning with several small cups of caffeinated coffee, but starting the afternoon and through evening, will switch to decaffeinated blends, or occasionally will indulge a caffeinated variety. However, I often find it challenging to locate a flavored decaf coffee blend, one that is flavored in such a way that is reminiscent of dessert or something like that. With traditionally caffeinated coffee, it is relatively easy to find an abundance of flavors. Numerous months ago, my hopes were answered as I innocently perused the coffee section on Amazon.com, a favorite website of mine to shop for coffee. As I scanned through their offerings, I suddenly settled my eyes upon a brand I’d never heard of before: Crazy Cups! Their flavors and offerings appeared endless and shocking. Not only were their flavors decadent (picture: Frosted Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Coconut Dream, Caramel Truffle Sundae… just to name a few!), but they were available in DECAF varieties, much to my surprise and delight! No worries about their nutritional content, either, they are all calorie-free and naturally or artificially sweetened!

crazy-cups-ode-to-flavor                     crazy-cups-coffee-logo

Early last month, I was presented with the unique opportunity to review Crazy Cups and within a few short days, I received a Crazy Cups box filled with a variety of K-cups, lattes, ciders, and hot chocolates! In addition, a bright orange baseball cap emblazoned with Crazy Cups also made it’s way into the box – their latest addition in their product offerings, now allowing me to sport my love of Crazy Cups while out and about!

crazy-cups-box     crazy-cups-hat-and-coffee      crazy-cups-hat-2

In a bit, I’ll share my review with you, but prior to that, I thought it would be best to indulge whomever may be reading with a bit of pertinent background info on Crazy Cups and a brief synopsis of all they offer. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

Crazy Cups History & Vision: (via CrazyCups.com)

  • Crazy Sol, the creator of Crazy Cups, sought to create a line of coffee and coffee-inspired beverages reminiscent of favorite desserts, candies and decadent indulgences, like Boston Cream Pie and Red Velvet Cake, just to name a few.
  • Nearly completely consumer-driven, Crazy Cups prides itself in operating based off of consumer suggestions and feedback. With that being said, they ultimately created what they affectionately refer to as: #FlavorNation.

Crazy Cups Social Media/#FlavorNation: (via CrazyCups.com)

  • Crazy Cups is extremely active and interactive on various social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. In fact, each new Twitter follower gets a personalized acknowledgment/shout-out and a thank you for their support and following of the company!
  • Crazy Cups Facebook: @CrazyCupsCoffee
  • Crazy Cups Twitter: @CrazyCupsCoffee
  • Crazy Cups Pinterest: @CrazyCups0802
  • Crazy Cups APP: Truly profess and indulge in your love and interest in Crazy Cups by downloading the official Crazy Cups app!* Learn about exclusive sales, new and innovative product offerings and flavors; communicate with other #FlavorNation members and build friendships, share and view photos and even earn prizes, enter contests and shop, all right from the app!

*Available for both Apple products (via App store) and Android devices (via Google Play store)

Crazy Cups Newsletter: (via CrazyCups.com)

  • Be sure to sign up for the Crazy Cups newsletter for the latest news and updates. Simply provide your name and email on the official Crazy Cups website by scrolling to the bottom of the page!

Crazy Cups Product Offerings:

  • Not only does Crazy Cups offer some of the most unique, decadent and indulgent-flavored coffees, but there are countless other options for non-coffee drinkers, or for those who may enjoy coffee, but like to mix it up a bit. Enjoy beverages such as lattes, hot chocolates, tea lattes, ciders and beyond! There is always something new and innovative to enjoy, no matter your tastebuds!

crazy-cups-variety-pack

  • Plus, now you can even “wear” your love of Crazy Cups, by sporting the all new, limited-edition Crazy Cups official Orange Logo Adjustable cap for $5.99! (Available for purchase via CrazyCups.com)

crazy-cups-hat

Crazy Cups Flavored Coffee Flavors (*indicates Decaf variety!):

crazy-cups-coffee-logo-2                        crazy-cups-decaf-2               crazy-cups-decaf-3

  • Frosted Oatmeal Cookie *
  • Death By Chocolate *
  • Bananas Foster Flambe *
  • Chocolate Coconut Dream *
  • Caramel Truffle Sundae *
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
  • Apple Pie a La Mode *
  • Salted Caramel
  • Cinnamon Churro
  • Peppermint Chocolate Mocha *
  • Pumpkin Vanilla Creme *
  • Chocolate Raspberry Truffle *
  • White Christmas
  • Caramel Pecan Cluster *
  • Italian Chocolate Cheesecake *
  • Crazy Jamaican Java *
  • Blackberry Bliss (seasonal)
  • Variety Packs
  • Pina Colada (seasonal)
  • Chocolate Chipotle Mole
  • Spiced Gingerbread
  • Root Beer Float
  • Cinnamon Babka
  • Sweet Potato Pie (seasonal)
  • Chocolate Covered Almonds
  • Rum Vanilla Rhumba
  • Coconut Bunny
  • Blackberry Meringue (seasonal)
  • Hyper-Caffeinated Vanilla Blast

Crazy Cups Lattes:

crazy-cups-latte                     crazy-cups-latte-2

  • Red Velvet Revolution
  • Creamy Cinnamon Chai Tea Latte
  • Green Matcha Madness Green Tea Latte

Crazy Cups Hot Chocolates:

crazy-cups-hot-chocolate                crazy-cups-hot-chocolate-2           crazy-cups-hot-chocolate-3

  • Maple French Toast
  • Salted Caramel Fudge
  • Irish Creme Cheesecake
  • Caramelized Banana Split
  • Frosted Cinnamon Bun
  • Peppermint Patty
  • Molten Chocolate Souffle
  • Dulce De Leche
  • Frosted Oatmeal Biscotti

Crazy Cups Ciders:

crazy-cups-cider  crazy-cups-cider-2   crazy-cups-cider-3

  • Hot Apple Cider
  • Southern Peach Cider
  • Spiced Orange Cider (seasonal)

Crazy Cups Additional Product Offerings:

colored-coffee-cup

  • Gift Boxes
  • Variety Packs

How to Order Crazy Cups:

coffee-shopping

  • At this point, you may be thinking, okay, I’m convinced, now clue me in – where do I buy?! Well, you’re in luck, quench your thirst and cravings with liquid indulgence that is Crazy Cups by choosing one or combination of the following ordering options:
  • Via Crazy Cups.com = order directly from the official Crazy Cups website or APP, plus secure FREE shipping on orders $35 and up!
  • Via Amazon.com = Where I, myself, first discovered this unique and exciting brand. Choose from most flavors and varieties.

My Crazy Cups Review:

What I Received:

coffee-delivery

  • Coffee: Caramel Pecan Cluster, Pumpkin Vanilla Creme, Italian Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Coconut Dream, Coconut Bunny, Cinnamon Churro, Blackberry Meringue, Peppermint Chocolate Mocha, Hyper-Caffeinated Vanilla Blast-Flavored Bold Roast, Chocolate Covered Almonds and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.
  • Ciders: Spiced Orange, Hot Apple, and Southern Peach.
  • Hot Chocolates: Dulce de Leche, Molten Chocolate Souffle, Frosted Cinnamon Bun, Peanut Butter in a Cup, Maple French Toast.
  • Lattes: Red Velvet Revolution, Green Matcha Madness Crazy Tea Latte
  • Creamy Cinnamon Chai Crazy Tea Latte

My Perspective:

  • Given the dedicated coffee fan I am, I chose to indulge in the coffees first. Without much question, I enjoyed all of them, however, there were quite a few standouts in my opinion. First off, Chocolate Coconut Dream stood out as my favorite. The flavor was the ideal combination of a creamy, decadent chocolate combined with the tropical hints of coconut, which complemented each other. The flavor, to me, was reminiscent of my childhood favorite candy – Tootsie Rolls! What a joy to have in a cup! The chocolate covered almonds was also a favorite decadence of mine for similar reasons; the creamy chocolate flavor was expertly accentuated with the nutty, aroma and taste of almonds. In addition, the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle reminded me of a chocolate-covered Swedish Fish candy and left my kitchen pleasantly scented with notes of chocolate and sweet raspberries.
  • Given my mom is a fan of hot chocolate, she gladly sampled several of the varieties and quickly determined the Frosted Cinnamon Bun was her favorite, reminding her of the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies we both loved. As far as lattes, Red Velvet Revolution was quickly recognized as a favorite of ours, with the smooth, creamy texture and rich, crimson color. It was a satisfying taste of Red Velvet creamy desserts in a cup.
  • The traditional Hot Apple Cider was also a favorite of ours, as it reminded and took me back to the days of wandering around the local farm in my area, taking in the haunted houses and enjoying the bonfires outside, while enjoying a cup of warm, comforting Hot Apple Cider. It was easy to note the sweet taste of fresh apples, accentuated with warm notes of cinnamon spice, nutmeg and other warm spices.

* Overall, it was an incredible experience leaving me so very grateful and enthused to have been given the chance by Crazy Cups to sample and review their various products! Their hospitality and generosity is very much appreciated and enjoyed. So, for a bit of flavor and excitement in your cup, as well, I encourage you to check out Crazy Cups and enjoy the kaleidoscope of flavors!

coffee-quote-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets of a Savvy Shopper

Good Morning! I hope your Thanksgiving holiday, if you celebrate, was a pleasant, relaxing and overall enjoyable one! Mine was filled with lots of laughs, good food, and relaxation as my family and I gathered at my sister and brother-in-law’s house. The highlight of the meal was the beautiful pumpkin pie accented with maple whipped cream my sister ordered from a locally-loved bakery. I was fortunate enough to remember to snap a photo of it, as you can see below!

Pumpkin Pie

Along with the Thanksgiving holiday as we all know, is the famed Black Friday shopping excitement! To me, this year seemed/felt quite different given the rampant online sales before the holiday even materialized. That being said, it is still important, whether you choose to shop online, in-store, or a bit of both, to be able to save the most money possible and believe me, it IS quite possible! For years, I’ve scoured stores and online websites in order to achieve the best deal – in my mind, why spend significantly more for an item when you can find it for dollars less elsewhere, or through utilizing the right tools? Even if money isn’t a particular issue for you, why spend more than you have to?

Shopping Bags

Well, fear not, today, I’m here to provide you with some of my favorite insider tips, so you can be a savvy, frugal shopper this holiday season and beyond!

How to save on BEAUTY items (i.e. hair, face, skin, nails & fragrance):

CVS logo      Ulta    QVC

  • CVS Pharmacy: Since childhood, I’ve been an advocate for CVS. It is one of the most popular pharmacy chains within the country and for good reason. Since beginning their ExtraCare program numerous years ago, their sales and promotions have drastically improved. To join the ExtraCare program, it takes merely minutes. Easily sign-up for free in-store or online (via http://www.cvs.com) and watch your savings start to multiply. Each week, check your online account to instantly add in-store coupons to your card and also be sure to scan your card with each visit in-store to see what new coupons you may be entitled to. In addition, CVS offers the ability to combine (or in coupon lingo – “stack”) their CVS store coupons and manufacturer coupons for the SAME item! This to me, is one of the best benefits and features a store can offer! It allows shoppers to maximize savings and potentially purchase items for pennies! Plus, there are always promotions running in-store that allows shoppers to earn “Extrabucks,” which is free money you can choose to spend on anything you like. Plus, CVS offers a vast array of items – everything from health care, beauty, grocery, and beyond.
  • ULTA: Anyone who knows me, knows that if they are looking for a beauty item, I will steer them to either CVS or ULTA. At each store, the savings is palpable with the ability to stack store and manufacturer’s coupons. At ULTA, they offer customers a free ULTA Rewards program, where you are able to sign-up either in-store or online (via http://www.ulta.com). After joining the rewards program, you are entitled to specifically tailored coupons and will receive a catalog each month or so. Additionally, via their website, you are able to print a $3.50 off $10 purchase coupon (sometimes these printable coupons will be 20% off of one item, or your entire purchase, or on a rare occasion, a whopping $5 off a $10 purchase). Plus, as with CVS, you are able to use ULTA store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. In-store and online, there are often promotions such as buy 2, get 2 free, on certain items and free gifts with purchase! This time of year, they have lots of fun stocking stuffers for dollars each (such as lip gloss/balm, nail polish, body lotions, nail files, etc). Plus, with being an ULTA Rewards member, you accumulate points which can be redeemed for free items depending on your points level!
  • QVC: Some of you may be wondering why I am mentioning QVC as being the ideal spot for beauty items, but after catching a couple of shows while cooking in the kitchen, it IS possible to score great deals at QVC! Often times, they will feature select items from companies such as Philosophy and Bare Minerals in package deals, where you are getting numerous items for considerably less than what you would pay for one item at a typical department store or via the brand’s website. Plus, shipping is often eliminated entirely or reduced and there is a customer easy pay option, where you able to pay a small amount each month as opposed to paying for the items in one lump sum. Also, their return policy is simple and generous, allowing you to fully try out the items beforehand and if it is not to your satisfaction, return it for a refund or exchange. At QVC, they also make the ordering process simple and painless, providing countless convenient options, such as phone ordering, online ordering, ordering through an app, as well as ordering by text! Plus, the QVC hosts are friendly and engaging, often answering questions and exchanging tips via their social media pages!

How to save on General Merchandise (i.e. clothing, grocery, beauty, entertainment, electronics, etc):

Target Kohl's Macy's

Bloomingdales

  • Target: Since Target’s arrival in my area many years ago during my childhood, I’ve been a huge fan. Given it’s wide assortment of items and high-quality store-brand items, it is almost impossible to leave Target empty-handed. That being said, it is also one of the best stores to maximize savings and get the most for your dollar! Though I was hesitant at first, several months ago, I started using the Cartwheel app and have become a huge advocate for it! It is a quick and simple download to your smartphone and it allows you to add several different cartwheels for various items (listed by category). Plus, as you continue to use Cartwheel, more spaces become available to you, so you are able to take advantage of even more cartwheel deals! The cartwheel deals often change each week, so definitely be sure to consistently check and see what new offers are available to you. Also, Target is another store where you able to print store coupons (via http://www.target.com)  and combine them with manufacturer’s coupons for the SAME products! Additionally, Target offers mobile coupons where through a simple text message, you can receive instant mobile coupons that can also be combined with other store and manufacturer’s coupons. If you’re a Target Redcard holder (their store card), you will also receive 5% off of each purchase, plus there are special shopping days and events throughout the year (i.e. I recently heard that on December 10-24th, Target Redcard members are entitled to FREE select beverages at the Target cafe!)
  • Kohls: Given I live a mere 5 minutes or less from a hugely-popular Kohl’s location in my area, I’m there quite frequently always looking for the best deals. Thankfully, at Kohl’s, it isn’t a difficult challenge to land the greatest deals, as they are one of the most generous companies out there, consistently providing coupons and promotions. On an given day, it isn’t rare to find a 15-30% coupon lurking, plus if you are a Kohl’s credit card holder, you are provided with even more chances to save as they often send coupons in the mail, or other offers such as a free $5 to spend in-store. In addition, there is also a Rewards program that is free to join, where you accumulate points to eventually earn a free $5 rewards certificate or more! Plus, there are often opportunities to to earn Kohl’s cash (i.e. free money to spend – usually $10!) when you spend at least $50 in-store. This past weekend, there was the opportunity to earn $15 Kohl’s cash for spending $50 in-store or online. As another option, if an item you’re looking for isn’t available in-store, it is possible to order from the in-store kiosk and receive free shipping to your home! Also, when ordering online, if an item is currently available in your local store, you are provided with the option to pick it up in-store! Ordering online is easy with Kohl’s and there are often coupons/promotions to combine (check http://www.retailmenot.com)
  • Macy’s: Though some items at Macy’s can in fact be costly, it is still possible to score excellent deals with the right coupons and promotions. Frequently, there are coupons offered such as ($20 off a $50 purchase, $10 off a $25 purchase and beyond!). If you are a Macy’s credit card holder, you will often be entitled to additional sales and promotions send to your home, or offered in store (i.e. an additional percent off already discounted merchandise if you use your Macy’s card to purchase). Plus, the sale and clearance racks are typically bursting with deals, with even designer brands such as Dooney & Bourke and Michael Kors offered at some the lowest prices I’ve ever seen! Also, Macy’s offers the ability to buy online and pick up in-store, if the items ordered online are in-stock at your local Macy’s. As always, be sure to check my go-to resource (www.retailmenot.com) for all of the latest offers and deals.
  • Bloomingdales: Okay, so you might be thinking, Bloomingdales, really? How would I ever be able to get great deals at a luxury department store? Well, allow me to reassure you, it IS possible! Like other department stores, Bloomingdales offers a unique rewards program called the Loyallist program, which is free to join! Plus, ALL Loyallists program members receive FREE SHIPPING on everything, everyday! That makes for great savings, given shipping can be a nuisance expense, especially when the item you’re purchasing isn’t all that expensive! Plus, with each purchase made, if you’re a Loyallist member, you’ll accumulate points and eventually earn a rewards certificate. There are also frequent sales and discounts, even offered on designer merchandise and apparel items.

How to save on SHOES/FOOTWEAR:

DSW

  • DSW: Quite possibly one of my favorite stores around, DSW is my go-to shoe haven! For me, simply walking into the store or browsing online is like paradise! Offering everything from athletic footwear, to slippers, to sleek stilettos for a night out or work attire, to everyday boots, slip-ons, and flats, DSW is bursting at the seams with options and style! Not only do they offer excellent shoes and footwear, but they recently started offering unique jewelry, in addition to handbags and other accessories like belts, wallets and beyond. Not only are lower priced brands offered at the store, but also designer brands, so whether your budget allots for lower-priced merchandise or higher-end, there is truly something for everyone! The customer service at DSW from what I’ve encountered, is always top notch. They are quick to respond to online/email inquiries, online chats, and phone calls, in addition to providing helpful service in-store. Returns/exchanges are always simple as well and you can easily return or exchange items purchased online in-store, if you choose to. There are frequent sales/promotions (right now, there is a buy two pairs, get 30% off and a FREE blanket scarf!), plus if you join the DSW Rewards program (free to join in-store and online via DSW.com), you are entitled to earn reward certificates throughout the year with every purchase made and on your birthday, as well as random surprises here and there! It is important to note that you CAN combine reward certificates with coupons and other promotions!

BASIC Insider Tips:

Retail Me Not Social Media

  • Be sure to consistently check Retail Me Not’s website (via http://www.retailmenot.com) or download the app to your phone. The website and app are frequently updated to feature the latest deals and promotions for countless stores. Simply type in the store you wish to shop and you’ll instantly see the sales/promotions available. For me, this is my go-to resource.
  • Follow the brands/stores/companies you love on social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest). You will often see lots of pop-up deals, sales, promotions, contests, coupons and other offerings.
  • Don’t be shy about reaching out to companies for advice, questions or concerns! Companies are often generous with their responses and more than happy to answer questions or concerns. If something’s bugging or concerning you, be sure to ask away!
  • Check to see if Price-Matching is available: I can’t begin to stress this enough! (From what I know, Best Buy, sometimes Amazon, Walmart, and potentially other stores will price match with similar competitors’ stores, so be sure to double-check pricing before you pay face value for items.) If you’re a frequent Walmart shopper, it pays to download the savings catcher app to your smartphone, where you simply snap a photo of your Walmart receipt, press submit on the savings catcher app and voila, in a couple hours or days, you should receive money via Walmart gift card for the difference in price for the items you purchased when compared to store competitors’ pricing (the app does all the legwork for you!)

Happy Shopping!

 

 

In with the New

Good Morning! As we approach the end of the week, I thought it was necessary for me to comment on some of the products/items I’m hoping to try this coming weekend! Lately, I’ve spotted several different unique products, everything from makeup, to yogurt, to vegetables, all of which caught my eye and left me curious and eager to try them out for myself. Since it looks vastly unique to me, I thought I’d share them, thinking that perhaps someone else might be as intrigued as I am. Without further adieu, here is the first product:

Smashbox Makeup (in particular, Photo Finish Blemish More than Primer Blemish Control):

Smashbox Makeup

Since graduating college just about five years ago, I’ve battled adult acne on and off. At first, I was embarrassed and ashamed to admit this, feeling self-conscious and insecure and as though I was the only one. Though, after doing a lot of reading and regularly seeing a dermatologist for years thereafter, I came to understand that there are in fact many adults of a similar age who battle similar acne woes and can share in my sentiments. That said, some weeks/days are better than others as far as my skin, but for days when I am plagued with bumps, redness and an uneven skin tone, I look for makeup that will not only conceal these blemishes and the inflammation, but also a product that will assist in the healing of these cumbersome spots. Therefore, the other day, I decided to perform a quick Google search to see what I could come up with and what I found was a newer product (or at least new to me, anyway) by Smashbox Cosmetics. I’ve never used any Smashbox Cosmetics before and have very sparingly used any cosmetic counter makeups. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the funds to regularly purchase higher-end makeup and usually stick with Neutrogena Skin-Clearing foundation. However, upon arriving at the Smashbox website and in particular for the Blemish Control primer, I was intrigued and curious. From the description, it seems to provide both coverage and healing properties, which is what I look for in a face makeup. If any of you have used Smashbox Cosmetics or this particular product, what has been your experience with it and more importantly, would you recommend it?

Vanilla/Chocolate Silk Cashew Milk:

Vanilla Cashew Milk       Chocolate Cashew Milk

Switching gears a bit, as a big fan of non-dairy milks, in recent months, I discovered Silk’s new line of Cashew Milk! Initially available only in unsweetened and plain varieties, my sister and I recently spotted the new flavors, vanilla and chocolate in the grocery store’s refrigerated case! For years, Silk has been my go-to non-dairy milk (everything from soy milk to almond milk, coconut milk on occasion, and now cashew milk!). The nutritional facts are impressive, as it is packed with protein, low-sugar, low-calories, low-carb and high in calcium! Plus, what I love even more about cashew milk is how thick and creamy it is, for a minimal number of calories. It adds a hint of flavor and personality to whatever it is mixed with (or if it is enjoyed on its own). Therefore, I’m eager to try these new flavors, believing they will taste incredible, as Silk as a brand rarely disappoints.

Pancakes and Maple Syrup Jelly Beans by Jelly Belly:

Pancakes and Maple Syrup Jelly Beans

As a lifelong fan of jelly beans (with my favorite flavor being Jelly Belly’s Buttered Popcorn!), I was immensely excited and overjoyed to learn of their newest flavor – Pancakes and Maple Syrup! Anyone who knows me well, knows that maple syrup is one of my all-time favorite condiments. The sweet maple flavor is comforting and truly complements anything and everything it is added to, so I can only imagine how incredible this flavor of jelly beans must be! I cannot wait to try them!

Spiral Slicer Spiralizer Complete Bundle – Vegetable Cutter – Zucchini Pasta Noodle Spaghetti Maker (via Amazon)

Spiralizer

Ahh, here it is! The kitchen tool I’ve been longing for all these months! Finally, yes, finally, it is mine! About two days ago, I decided to take the leap and purchase it from Amazon. In several days, it should be arriving and I am overly eager to test it out! As a huge fan of zucchini and really, all types of vegetables, I cannot wait to make my own “Zoodles” as I’ve recently seen them appearing everywhere on Pinterest, in magazines, other blogs, and simply everywhere! They look and sound incredible, plus the possibilities for flavoring them is truly endless. On Amazon, the price was right, too, at $15 and change, it comes as a complete bundle, with everything from the spiralizer tool itself, a vegetable peeler, recipe book, and even a bag for the tool itself, for easy carrying and traveling! Sounds great to me!

Da Vinci Sugar-Free Cookie Dough Syrup:

Da Vinci Cookie Dough

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite way to enjoy coffee is with sugar-free flavored syrups! I’m always up for trying new flavors and combinations, always wanting my coffee experience to be a unique and tasty one. Therefore, I actively follow my two favorite flavored syrup companies on social media (i.e. Torani and Da Vinci). About a week or so ago, Da Vinci was hosting a contest on their Facebook and much to my content and surprise, I ended up winning! The price was the ability to select any flavor of syrup I wanted and so after quickly perusing the website, I chose the one that most stood out to me: Sugar-Free Cookie Dough syrup! How incredible does that sound? I’m eagerly and patiently awaiting its arrival and look forward to trying it in my morning coffee!

Bigelow Girl Scout Cookie Tea:

Bigelow Tea    Bigelow Tea 2

Again, as a follower of Bigelow Tea on their social media pages, they recently introduced a brand-new line of teas inspired by the beloved Girl Scout cookies! For years, girl scout cookie season was one of my favorite times of the year, as I fondly recall enjoying them on a consistent basis as a high school student, allowing myself to indulge in my favorite variety – caramel delites! Hearing about these flavors of teas brought back fond memories of the cookies, so I’m curious if they truly do taste like them.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Greek Yogurt:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Yogurt

Wow, as a Greek yogurt fan who enjoys it every day (particularly Dannon Light ‘n Fit Greek and Activia Light Greek Yogurt), I was excited and eager to learn of this new flavor. Unique and rare to hear about a peanut-butter flavored yogurt, I definitely added this yogurt to my “must-try” list. Though it is slightly more decadent than I typically purchase, I think it is worth a try!

Birds Eye Steamfresh Flavor Full Line (available in Buffalo Cauliflower, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Ranch Broccoli, Teriyaki Broccoli):

Steamfresh Cauliflower  Steamfresh Corn

Steamfresh Ranch Broccoli   Steamfresh Teriyaki Broccoli

As a huge vegetable fan and frequent purchaser of frozen vegetables, this new line of Birds Eye Steamfresh is right up my alley! The flavors sound unique and packed with flavor, just as the title states (Flavor FULL). Plus, it is simple to cook; simply pop the entire bag in the microwave for several moments and voila, a freshly-cooked, flavor-filled, unique side dish! It is packed with nutrients and flavor and adds something special to a meal, or is a great side item to enjoy on its own!

So there you have it! It truly does seem like new product season is in full swing!

 

If the Shoe Fits…

Good morning! I hope your week is off to a pleasant one, thus far. This week (today, in particular!) is slated to be one with significantly warmer temperatures and sun than in recent days. That being said, I’m definitely looking forward to the warmth and sunshine, but for a multitude of reasons. One of them being, the ability to wear open-toed shoes or sandals with ease and comfort! In my mind, there is nothing better than the ability to quickly toss on a pair of shoes, slipping into them with little effort and going on my way. I’m a big fan of shoes with a heel or wedge and in the Spring and Summer months, the possibilities are endless!

Shopping for shoes is always a fun experience for me, but mostly because there is a shoe store merely minutes from my home filled to the brim with an array of all types of shoes, sandals, sneakers, PLUS accessories (everything from jewelry, handbags, socks, wallets, etc). If you’re curious as to what store this is, there is a good possibility you may have a location close to your own home! The store I speak is none other than DSW (short for Designer Shoe Warehouse!). I remember the first time I heard it advertised on the radio. Having always been a self-professed “shoe-lover” (a term coined actually by DSW), hearing about all the different types of shoes and brands left me intrigued and eager to find a store location. Within months, there were several DSW locations located close to my home, plus one that is merely minutes away! Since then, shopping at DSW for not only shoes, but also accessories has been a consistent occurrence.

DSW

Curious about what DSW actually is and what their all about? Here is an excerpt from their official website (via DSW.com):

“At the core of DSW Inc. is DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, the destination for fabulous brands at a great value every single day. With thousands of shoes for women and men in over 400 stores nationwide, DSW is all about the thrill of finding the perfect shoe at the perfect price. A huge assortment of handbags and accessories also adds to the breathtaking assortment DSW is known for. For an even bigger selection, Shoe Lovers can shop anytime at dsw.com (where kids’ shoes are ready and waiting!), making it crazy-convenient to explore all the fashion that DSW has to offer. To top it all off, DSW Rewards means shopping comes with perks-members earn points toward $10 Rewards certificates every time they shop.”

Besides shopping in-store at DSW, I love to consistently check their website, occasionally their blog, and also follow along with them on their social media sites (i.e. Twitter and Facebook). They are an interactive company, constantly engaging with their fans and customers in a friendly, welcoming fashion. Anytime I’ve ever reached out them in-store or online, they have always responded with a pleasant demeanor in an accommodating manner. Plus, being a DSW Rewards member, it is easy to be consistently provided with certificates, making most purchases extremely affordable! Not only that, but on your birthday, a surprise gift arrives in your mailbox!

In fact, on Sunday, I completed what I initially believed would be a complicated shoe exchange, but was actually quite simple and done with ease. Here are the shoes I happily purchased:

Chinese Laundry shoes             Franco Sarto

INSIDER TIPS for SHOPPING DSW:

  • Follow DSW on social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Polyvore, their blog – DSW Unlaced).
  • Each Tuesday and Friday, DSW has FREE SHOES DAY! Curious about what this means? On Tuesday and Friday, on either Twitter or Facebook (they alternate, so be sure to check both on these days at 12pm EST when the question of the hour is posted.. remember, free shoes day is only between 12-1pm EST, so you’ll have to submit your answer BY THEN!) Several winners are chosen thereafter and within a couple days, a $50 DSW gift certificate arrives in your inbox if you are chosen as a winner! The question that is posted is done “Scavenger Hunt” style, where they will post a photo of a shoe, accessory, etc, or ask a question about their blog, store, website, and you’ll have to go hunt around to find the answer! Submit the answer on the form they provide and you’re done!
  • Join DSW Rewards! It’s easy, FREE and really does REWARD you! Enroll either in-person or online and with each purchase, you can easily earn points and when you accumulate a certain number, you are rewarded with a $10 certificate with the ability to use it on anything! Plus, throughout the year, coupons will appear in your account at random times! Plus, you’re entitled to free standard shipping on DSW.com, for orders over $35 and on your birthday, you’ll receive a rewards certificate!
  • DSW Rewards VISA: If you’re in the market to open a new credit card and are a big shoe shopper or DSW fan, consider opening a DSW Rewards Visa. You’ll earn double points on all your DSW purchases (i.e. 20 points vs. 10 for being a DSW Rewards member only). Plus, you’ll earn points on outside purchases, so it makes earning reward certificates even easier!
  • Download the new DSW App: A couple months ago, DSW unveiled their new app, which I immediately downloaded! When I downloaded the app, I was also rewarded with points, as an added bonus. On the app, you can log-into your DSW Rewards account, instantly see your points, use your certificates in store, access an online chat, and add shoes to your wish list! It makes shopping even more convenient and simple.
  • A variety of payment methods: At some stores, the payment method is limited, but at DSW, the possibilities are significant. Everything from credit cards (their own and other such as VISA, Mastercard American Express, Discover, etc), cash, gift cards, and now Paypal!

Well, there you have it! It literally PAYS to shop at DSW! Great styles, great brands, great variety, and of course, great service! Prepare to be pampered when shopping at DSW!

Shoe Quote 2       Shoe Quote

Introducing: Milly!

Good Morning, all! Tomorrow, April 23rd, one of my favorite department stores, Kohl’s, will welcome the latest designer clothing line to its budding repertoire, “MILLY for DesigNation!” As a line produced by powerhouse fashion designer, Michelle Smith and a mother to an 8-year-old daughter, Sophia, she describes the clothing line (according to her interview in May’s Family Circle magazine) as, “An extension of my personal style, so each collection is like stepping into my dream wardrobe for the season – I try on every piece myself before production to make sure everything is perfect!”

Milly Kohl's

Smith’s, MILLY line for Kohl’s is vast, featuring everything from dressy t-shirts, bottoms, sleek dresses and skirts, in addition to a line for younger girls (in sizes 4-6x) so she can match with her mommy, sister, aunt or any other woman in her life! It truly is a unique style for any female and allows women to sport color and fashion for considerably lower prices than what is found on the runways. Plus, as with mostly everything with Kohl’s, coupons are able to be used and sales are always occurring.

Michelle Smith for Milly

The new clothing line promises to bring a pop of color, uniqueness and personality to the everyday woman’s wardrobe. Below is a sampling of the items available in stores and online, beginning tomorrow:

Milly    Milly 3  Milly 4

Having honed many her skills working in top Parisian fashion lines, the Parisian sophistication definitely shines through in Smith’s pieces and I, for one, absolutely love this European flair! Pairing a t-shirt and a sleek skirt isn’t typically a style I would typically embark on, but from seeing it in the MILLY line, I think it is a look I will have to try! Fashion is one area where I will fully indulge in creativity and the possibilities are endless! There’s no better time to be fashionable than the Spring and Summer months and after seeing the new designer lines hitting stores shelves (i.e. this MILLY line, Lilly Pulitzer for Target, etc), it is definitely possible and achievable.

Happy Shopping!

Fashion Quote                   Fashion Quote 2

Sweeten Up Your Morning!

Good Morning, all! Since the last few posts have been quite heavy and emotion-driven, I decided to keep today’s post a more lighthearted one, featuring one of my favorite topics: new products spotted on store shelves! However, these new finds are a little more specific, centered around my favorite meal of the day: breakfast! So without further adieu, here are some new breakfast finds (though, of course, these can be consumed at any time throughout the day, not only at breakfast time!):

New Breakfast (or anytime!) Finds:

Kellogg’s Krave S’mores Cereal:

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First off, how wonderful does this look? The official Kellogg’s website (via Kelloggs.com) states it has a “crispy graham flavored cereal outside with a smooth chocolate and marshmallowy filling inside.” All I can say is yum! This particular flavor, S’mores, proudly joins the Krave family, which boasts flavors such as: Chocolate & Double Chocolate varieties. While I’ve never tried any of the Kraves family of cereals, after noticing this particular flavor, I just might have to! No word on when it is expected to hit store shelves, but since it is already featured on Kelloggs.com, I’m assuming its arrival is imminent. Of course, if you happen to spot it and/or try it, please let me know, I’ll be eager to hear your perspective!

Silk Pure Almond Light Almond Milk:

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If you’re already a fan of almond milk, or if you’ve always been curious about trying almond milk, Silk is definitely a wonderful brand to start with! For years, I’ve been a dedicated fan of both their soy and almond milks, so it is exciting to report they have a NEW light variety of almond milk, available in both Original and Vanilla flavors! In my opinion almond milk is a great non-dairy alternative for those who either cannot have dairy milk, or would prefer to consume non-dairy alternatives. It is mild and the ideal addition to cereals, baking endeavors, or simply on its own. I’ll have to give this variety a try very soon!

Danimals Frosted Cinnamon Roll Smoothies:

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Just a disclaimer: I took this photo myself, so that’s the reason why it’s a little unclear and fuzzy! The reason for taking this photo myself, is because it is so new, I couldn’t even locate it anywhere online! It is a seasonal flavor of Dannon’s kids line of yogurts and yogurt smoothies affectionately called, “Danimals.” They offer products in traditional cups, tubes, and of course, small bottles of yogurt smoothies! I’ve had Danimals before, as an adult and actually really enjoy them. I’ve only taken a small sip of out of this Frosted Cinnamon Roll flavor, but from what I could tell, it is a good one! There are no added sugars, no juice, and are 3.5 oz, so they are the ideal size if you are looking for a satisfying, healthy sip!

Nature’s Path Love Crunch Gingerbread Granola:

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As a big granola fan, when I first noticed this particular flavor of granola – Gingerbread, my interest was piqued! This sounds so wonderful and definitely seasonally-appropriate! I’ve always been a big fan and advocate for gingerbread, cinnamon and pumpkin flavors, so this granola fits the bill. While I haven’t tried it yet, it is without question on my “must-try” list! Also, the brand Nature’s Path, is one I fully support given their environmentally-friendly, organic ingredients and packaging.

Seattle’s Best Coffee in Cinnamon Sugar Cookie (Ground, bagged coffee):

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A couple weeks ago while grocery shopping with my mom, we spotted this particular flavor of Seattle’s Best Coffee: Cinnamon Sugar Cookie! Always searching for new and exciting flavored coffees, the price was right coupled with a coupon I found, so we purchased it. Unfortunately, after the first sip, I was a bit disappointed. It’s not that it was completely terrible, but there was a little too heavy on the cinnamon for my taste. Still worth a try though, if you’re interested and/or curious.

Target Brand Market Pantry Candy Cane Granola Bars:

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On Black Friday, my sister, Hope, Mom and I were perusing the aisles at Target and just so happened to spot this brand new, holiday flavor of Target Brand granola bars: Candy Cane! As a fan of candy canes, I think this sounds like a wonderful flavor for a granola bar and one I would thoroughly enjoy.

Target Brand Archer Farms Candy Cane Ground Coffee & K-Cups:

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I’m proud to report, Target has reintroduced their holiday line of coffees! Though I’ve never tried this Candy Cane flavor, I must admit, I am very intrigued and curious! I would love to try this flavor, among others, and have been waiting for a sale. Plus, if you’re a K-Cup fan, Target now supplies their seasonal coffees in this medium as well. Of course, if you prefer ground coffee, the bagged varieties are readily available!

QUESTION: Which of these products would you like to try? Or, if you’ve tried any of these products already, which ones were your favorite?

 

 

 

Friday of a Different Color

Happy Holiday week to you! Wherever you are, I hope this morning finds you well, safe and out of the inclement weather. I’m told that by Thanksgiving, the weather around here should be pretty clear, with the exception of frigid temperatures! As long as we’re clear of rain, I’ll be content. Since I’ve been young, I’ve always looked forward to the day after Thanksgiving, affectionately referred to as, “Black Friday.” When I was a child, I was unsure as to what “Black Friday,” actually entailed, wondering if the “black” meant it was something to be mourned or sad about. However, as I grew older and began to notice “Black Friday” appearing in ads, stores, and people referring to it with excitement and anticipation, it became my understanding that it was something to be celebrated, or at least, enjoyed in some way. 

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For me, it’s not even about the shopping (well, okay, maybe a little, but not as much as it used to be, since finances are tight) Rather, it is about spending time with my sister and mom, taking to the stores as though we are on a mission, hoping to maneuver our way through the crowds while enjoying lots of laughs and jokes. Perusing around the stores can be stressful at times, especially if there are people who enter the stores already feeling frustrated and defeated, but for me, it’s amusing just to watch the excitement ensuing, the people taking their time to inspect clothing and other items, hoping to select the ideal gift for their loved ones.

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There are several preceding Black Friday instances I look to with a fondness and a smile. Sometimes, I can’t help but laugh when I think of a few in particular and I’m sure my sister, Hope, would agree with me on this. From standing outside in frigid temperatures to receive the miniscule “diamond” ring a local jewelry store distributed to the first several customers, to seeing Target with a line wrapping around the store, the things we see and experience on Black Friday are in a class of its own. However, I look to this year with a heavy heart, sadness and regret. For the first time, as I’m sure many of you are aware, a significant number of stores will be opening on Thanksgiving Day, causing many sales/promotions at 6-7am on Black Friday to be a thing of the past.

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My sister, Hope and I in the very jewelry store that Black Friday, in 2009! It makes me smile to see this photo.

The other night, my mom and I were discussing this, as she made very valid points I wholeheartedly agree with. She stated, Thanksgiving Day was always the holiday where people barely thought of shopping. Shopping and retail was reserved for the following day. It was even nice to not have the chance shop in a store on Thanksgiving. It was almost as though people were forced to reflect, or at least focus on other important things in their lives. Sure, online shopping would be an option, but it might not be something that would keep retail employees from being with their families during a holiday to celebrate family, friends and togetherness. It makes me sad when I think of Black Friday becoming a thing of the past, because I do have fond memories attached to it. Again, to me, it’s not about the shopping, but more so the thrill of the experience and being with my sister and mom, as we explore, navigate the stores, and spend time enjoying each others’ company.

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To those of you who might be working on Thanksgiving, I thank you for dedicating your time, support and presence to customers and to the economy. For me, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be the shopping day I partake in, a tradition as it always has been, in true “Black” form.

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