June 24, 2012

Best Waterproof Mascara

I often get asked by other women what type of mascara I use. Having extra-long eyelashes, I have trouble finding a mascara that doesn't leave me looking like Rocky the Raccoon. Last December we were in Miami for a family wedding and I had to run to Ulta to grab a new mascara. The sales associate recommended Tarte's Lights Camera Splashes Natural Waterproof Mascara. This is by far the absolute best mascara that I have ever used. Weddings, Bikram Yoga, Maryland humidity, and swimming pools are no match for this mascara. You'll definitely want to get a good eye make up remover because it is difficult to get off with just a normal cleanser and water. The sales associate also recommended this product because it is botanical and does not contain harsh chemicals found in other waterproof mascaras. Click here for ingredients.

June 13, 2012

Easy Gourmet Pizza Lactose Free

Pepperjack, chorizo & green peppers

Did you know that Cabot has several variations of lactose free cheese? I know there are still tons of lactose intolerant people out there who think that they have to eat cheeseless pizza, so please share this post! Thanks to my brother-in-law, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Erica (who is lactose intolerant), for giving me this nugget of knowledge to share with you.

For a complete list of of lactose free cheeses from Cabot check out its faq's page. FYI, any hard, aged cheese has little to no lactose.

I absolutely love using Betty Crocker's pizza crust packet because it is quick, easy and produces a great crust. A few months ago I stumbled upon this simple and tasty crockpot marinara from Budget Bytes and have used it ever since for my pizzas. I froze individual servings in Ziploc bags and simply thaw them (in the sealed bag) in hot water for a few minutes when I'm ready to use.

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June 11, 2012

June 6, 2012

Desserts for the Deserving II

Do you know someone who has been having a rough time lately and could use a little positive energy or someone who takes the initiative to help others and you would like to have their selfless acts recognized with an unexpected thank you? Tomorrow morning at 7:00am CST  (8:00 EST, 5:00 am PSTi am baker will be asking for nominees for Desserts for the Deserving II, a simple and creative way to support those who could use a little pick me up or thank you.

If you are a baker, crafter, or someone who would like to send a thoughtful gift or note to a deserving person, next week i am baker will be asking for volunteers to make or purchase something to send to these deserving people. What started out as an altruistic idea and single blog post has turned into a movement inspiring hundreds of people to help others. Join GNG in helping i am baker spread a little love by sharing her post, submitting a nomination, or becoming a volunteer.

A few days ago, I met a mom and young daughter at the park who are staying in the area while their husband/father, a U.S. soldier, is recovering at Walter Reed from injuries that he sustained in Afghanistan. They have been here for several months, and have another 6 to 9 months to go. There is no way to thank this family enough for their service and sacrifices for our country, but I will be nominating them tomorrow and taking this opportunity to say thank you. I will also be volunteering to bake cookies for another deserving family.

How will you participate? Please leave and comment...and inspire others.

June 4, 2012

Free 6 week subscription to The Grocery Game

Couponing used to be a very polarizing idea. People either loved or hated it. Lovers spent hours hovered over the Sunday paper pinching every penny possible and oblivious to the eye rolling and toe tapping happening in the ever growing checkout line as the cashier had to manually punch in an envelope full of coupon codes... and oblivious to the value of all their time spent looking for coupons. Some haters cringed at the idea of being seen using a coupon while other just didn't think it was worth their time.

In todays economy everyone is trying to save where they can, and the idea of couponing has not only lost its stigma but it has become the cool thing to do.

A few years ago, after watching countless couponing experts on every daytime talkshow go to the grocery store and buy hundreds of dollars of groceries and watch their total dollar amount on the cashier's screen dwindle down to a few dollars... or cents... I decided I would give it a try. After looking over several websites, I decided to try a free subscription to Terri Gault's The Grocery Game. It looked easy and kinda fun. Here is a basic rundown of how this website works:

First grab your Sunday paper and pull out the weekly coupon inserts. Next, login to The Grocery Game and select the grocery and drugstores that you shop at (I subscribed to Giant and Harris Teeter), and the website generates a color coded list ("Teri's List") of deals happening in your stores.

The color of an item indicates the type of savings:
  • White is a good deal, but only buy it if you need it now.
  • Blue deals are for investing in products you can store and use over time, as the prices are the lowest in the product's cycle. Obviously, the more you invest in things you'll buy anyway the more you'll save in the long run.
  • Green items are free! 
When you click on an item a more detailed description appears, including any store or manufacturer coupons available and the name and date of the coupon insert found in your local Sunday paper. After you select what deals you want to take advantage of an organized list of your items is generated so you can print the list, clip your coupons, go to the stores and SAVE SAVE SAVE!

What I really like about The Grocery Game is that it makes the couponing process very easy and it feels like a game rather than a chore. Instead of spending hours blindly searching for deals, it highlights the best store deals and tells me what specific insert has the coupon. It takes me approximately 20-30 minutes to create my list for the week and cut out the coupons. Remembering to pick up the Sunday paper was the hardest part for me, so I bought a discounted subscription to The Washington Post through livings social and now it arrives at my door. Not a lot of time when you consider it has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars. When using The Grocery Game, my average saving is between 55-65% off those items, and yes, I have gotten Green items for free. And if you are worried about holding people up at the check out line, no worries! Coupon codes no longer need to be manually typed in, they are quickly swiped through by the cashier or automatic checkout machines so it doesn't take long at all.

Things you should know about the regular subscription.... After the 28th day of your free trial (cancel at any time) you will be charged $10 every 8 weeks. You also need to add $5 for each additional store you select. For instance, I selected Giant and Harris Teeter so I pay $15 every 8 weeks. In order to break even and have the subscription pay for itself, I need to save $15 every two months. You most likely will recoup the cost of your bi-monthly membership and obtain significant savings in your first shopping trip. Today (5/4/12) I went to Giant and bought 5 items: 1 Sargento Shredded Cheddar (8 oz), 2 Ken's Blue Cheese Dressing (16 oz), and 2 Huggies wipes (64 ct). The total before my savings was $15.97 and after my discounts the total was $9.05 (pre tax) so I saved $6.92 (43%). Note: I saved 55% from the 3 items on Terri's list (the cheese and the dressing) but my percentage dropped with the addition of the wipes which were not on her list. Still pretty good huh? For full disclosure I've posted the receipt.

After you sign up and try the game, post a comment here to tell me what you think and how much you saved!

I absolutely recommend trying out The Grocery Game and I have a coupon code so you can try six weeks for free! Go to The Grocery Game and subscribe for a four week free trial and enter the code WWMAG for an extra two weeks. Hurry this offer must be redeemed by June 30, 2012. Watch this video and see the game in action.

June 2, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If you are a believer, or need a reminder, that life is what you make of it, you need to go see this movie. If you have an adventurous heart, or need a little more adventure to find your heartbeat, you need to go see this movie. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a British comedy that touches upon many changes we all face in life and reflects upon how our attitude in any given situation defines not only the circumstances we find ourselves in but our character in the way we react. As someone who has strived to live an adventurous life, and immersed myself into cultures that were not my own, I got chills the first time I watched the trailer and couldn't wait for this to come out. To add to my excitement, while describing the premise of the movie to my father-in law over crepes at Fenton Cafe, a woman sitting at a table next to us overheard our conversation and said that she had gone to the movie the night before and it was fantastic. She added that it got a standing ovation at the end and she had never seen that type of reaction in a movie theatre before. Ahh, I couldn't wait! My husband and I don't usually go to the movies on vacation, but he indulged my excitement to see this movie during a quick trip toVienna, Virginia. I was not disapointed! Watch the trailer, and experience the magic of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel .

June 1, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake (Gluten and Lactose Free)

I have several friends and their families who are living lactose and/or gluten free so I am on a mission to create and find recipes that meet their needs without sacrificing the tastiness of a dish to do so. This is my first attempt at making a gluten and lactose free cake, and this recipe I found on A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis by guest blogger La Phemme Foodie hit it out of the ball park. The original recipe called for a cup of milk so I simply substituted it with Giant's Whole Lactose Free Milk. If I gave you a piece, and didn't tell you it was gluten and lactose free, I guarantee you wouldn't know the difference.