I know what you’re thinking … Another social media outlet? Well I hate to break the news but there will always be a “new” social media outlet. It’s up to us, however, to decide which ones are worth our time investment. I’ve come across a new to me website called Yummly. Since you’re here vising my FOOD and travel blog I think it’s a safe bet that you like to EAT as much as I do. Yummly is a FREE website with nothing but recipes that acts as your virtual recipe box. Did I mention this a FREE service that’s incredibly easy to use? You can add as many recipes as you like (you know all the ones from my site yeah?) You can even go as far as to save and categorize the recipes you’ve saved to your recipe box. You can also discover recipes that are in the feed and can browse popular categories. Ready to set up a profile and get to YUMMING? Yeah you are.

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Heartburn Happens

BBQ Sundae BBQ Sundae

Disclaimer: I have received information, product and materials from McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co., the makers of PEPCID®, as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.

Heartburn. It’s something we’d all like to keep off of our menus whether we’re eating at home or out, right? I’m no exception. I have always enjoyed foods with a spicy kick to them. I’m not talking super spicy (I’m just not personally cut out for super spicy) foods that would make me cry (think Indian hot), just a little tingle thank you very much. Sometimes however, spicy and occasionally overly rich (read fatty) foods don’t necessarily agree with me. What am I left with when they don’t? You guessed it, heartburn. It happens to the best of us. When it does I want relief and I want it stat. Fun fact: did you know that heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, so why in the world do they call it heartburn?

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Protect your Personal Data With M-Disc

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Mom it Forward and M-DISC. Opinions are my own. Always have been. Always will be.

I am what most people would call a shutter bug. Whether I have my big daddy DSLR or my iphone on me, I’m always snapping a photo of this or that. Of people and moments that mean a lot to me. Memories that I wouldn’t be able to access if they just disappeared. Do you ever worry about your data disappearing? Your precious family photos. Videos you’ve taken of vacations, your children’s recitals, graduations? I don’t have to worry about that any more since I was introduced to M-DISC. What is M-DISC you ask? “M-DISC is a unique storage solution that preserves photos, video, and important documents…practically forever. People use M-DISC to create a “hard copy” of their treasured memories, and important information. By hard copy we mean something they can hold in their hands, and have complete control over. This process is also called “archiving”, formerly only embraced by businesses and universities, it is not gaining traction among consumers. M-DISC is the brand leader in personal archiving because it’s economical, simple to use, and will preserve data for more than 1,000 years.” 1,000 years people. That means generations and generations to come behind us will be able to share and cherish our data.

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Heroes and Cookies #ShareYourHero

Share Your Hero Cookies

Heroes. Everyone has one (if not more than one). They could be a neighbor, a police officer, a fireman, military personnel, your Grandma, your dog. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. My first Heroes were my parents. My Mom who tirelessly made our school lunches, showed up to each and every single function we could sign up for, and believed in me with a fierceness that knew no bounds. I never really marched to the beat of a normal drum. When I put my mind to something (no matter how off the wall everyone else thought it was – and trust me that was often) she believed in me wholeheartedly. Priceless. My Dad was in the military while I was growing up. It’s not an easy job, but one he believed in. I have a deep respect for the military and the people who serve and for the freedoms they provide us with. Although he wasn’t always there because of serving our country, I always knew he loved me and believed in me. Last but not least, my husband is my Hero. He works hard all day to provide for our family. Despite his long work hours, he’s a hands on Dad and spends a great deal of time teaching and playing with our children. He is the best Father they could wish for and he puts up with my crazy. I am a lucky girl indeed. Those are my Heroes. I’d love to hear about YOURS.

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Pin it to Win It with Real Seal

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet Corn and Blackberry Ice Cream

June is National Dairy Month (and all the Dairy lovers stand up and cheer). To celebrate the occasion, our friends at Real Seal are hosting a pin to win sweepstakes. You could win a $100 VISA gift card just by re-pining your favorite dairy recipe in the Real Seal Pin to Win sweepstakes.  If you’re anything like me you LOVE pinning all the things to Pinterest so this should be easy peasy yeah? Did I mention there’s a prize at stake? Thought that might get your attention (well that and the ice cream because she’s a looker too.)

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DIY Coconut Lime Salt Scrub

Salt Scrub Ingredients

I love making homemade scrubs all year long but it seems like I really get into them in the spring and summer. Something about showing a little extra skin and all and wanting to be prepared. Yes I like to be prepared. I was a girl scout after all. No one wants to have ashy, grey and dull looking skin right? We took a trip to OBX last month during bike week. The ocean is one of my happy places. I gravitate to it. It’s so calm and peaceful which is the complete opposite of my life in general so maybe that’s why I’m all about the ocean. Deep and salty. Very salty. Which brings me back to this salt scrub.

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Eye Give Back

Wondering how you can take care of your vision and help a child in need of vision care? One in four children has an undiagnosed vision problem. Right now, when you purchase an individual vision insurance plan from VSP Direct™ for as low as $17/month, a child in need receives a free eye exam and glasses, up to a retail value of $1 million. Find out more at VSPDirect.com/EyeGiveBack. Thanks to VSP for sponsoring this post.

Being able to see all the things that are going on right in front of me is a blessing. Like when my children smile and it gets me all tingly inside (oh I should have warned you there would be mushy stuff in this one) when they scrunch their noses and and I can tell from the look on their  faces that something is off. I am so grateful to see that so I can do my best to fix it. Without my vision I would miss all those little things and we haven’t even talked about the big things. Their vision is just as important to me.

With good vision, anything is possible. Your vision is one of your most valuable assets, don’t lose sight of protecting it. Have you thought about Vision Insurance?  The ability to see the world is less costly than you think. Vision protection can help you see the world in a new light. VSP® Vision Care is the largest not-for-profit company that offers vision benefits and services in the US. They have launched a program called #EyeGiveBack and now through June 30, 2015 when a VSP Direct™ individual vision insurance plan is purchased through VSPDirect.com/EyeGiveBack, VSP will be donating an eye exam and glasses to a child in need (up to a retail value of $1 million)! You can learn more at VSPDirect.com/EyeGiveBack where they are committed to building a better future for children in need!

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Enhance Your Water With DASANI DROPS

DaSani Drops
I try to drink A LOT of water each day and encourage my family to as well. I like to stay hydrated, my body feels better when I do and I think my skin looks better too. Now drinking all that water and getting my kids to as well isn’t always an easy task. How do I get around that? I add a little flavor to said water and now, just like magic, we’ve got a whole new outlook on drinking the daily recommended water. DASANI DROPS are a great way to enhance your water anytime, anwhere. It’s UNSWEETENED, naturally flavored, with no color added and has ZERO calories. DASANI DROPS comes in two inspired flavors: Lime and Strawberry Basil (my favorite of the two). One 1.9 fl. oz. bottle measures up to 32 servings! 

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Starting off the New Year With #FitTeaDetox

Fit Tea

It’s a New Year. That’s means resolutions right? Did you make any resolutions? I have to tell you I’m not a resolutions girl. I do however like to set GOALS for myself. One of my goals is to MOVE more. To be ACTIVE and often. Which should ultimately give me more energy and help my clothes to loosen up. I’m not alone in my goal if the parking lots at the gym and the sheer amount of workout clothes that are on SPECIAL at every retail store I enter are any indication.

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Easy Mirror Make Over

Metallic Painted Bedroom Mirror
I’m not what would you call a cheap skate. At least I don’t think I am. Frugal. That’s a much better word. I like a good deal what can I say. I LOVE saving money as much as the next person. If I can make something (or more accurately if Pinterest makes me think I can make something) save a buck and not pull my hair out in the process I’m all in. I’ve wanted to add a piece of mirrored wall art to our bedroom for a while now. I’ve been smitten with one that I saw at a Gallerie that starts with a Z forever now. Problem? It’s $255. I just couldn’t swipe my card. Couldn’t. I think I found something just as awesome and I spent 1/4 of that making minor modifications myself. Yay me.  I’m always amazed at how quickly you can transform just about anything with a simple can of SPRAY PAINT. I figure if I don’t like something, I’ll just paint it again. No problemo. In other news I might be addicted to metallic spray paint ever since we finished our DIY GLITTER RIMMED MASON JARS . I could be addicted to worse things so I’m thinking it’s no so bad after all.

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DIY Glitter Rimmed Mason Jars

DIY Glitter Rimmed Mason Jars

We’re getting our GLITTER on today! Literally, it’s in all the places. BUT these jars are so gorgeous I’m going to ignore the fact that I now look like a disco ball. They are absolutely perfect for not only the holidays (these will so be gracing my New Year’s Eve Table) but I can even see these for birthdays, weddings, engagement parties okay pretty much for anything and everything that you want to add a little sparkle to. You do want to sparkle don’t you?

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Easy Under Sink Organization

Under Sink Cabinet After
My under the sink cabinet was a HOT MESS prior to this organization project. Had I known how quick and easy it was to get that unorganized black whole of cleaning products storage that I had organized, I would have done this a long time ago. All I needed was a quick trip to Lowe’s Home Improvement. 3 items and about a half hour later and I’m sitting pretty and am actually able to find the granite cleaner that I didn’t know I had. Once I actually pulled everything out from underneath the cabinet (and there were a lot of bottles) I found that I had duplicates of many products. 3 bottles of glass cleaner (I rarely even clean my windows, yes I just admitted that), 2 boxes of Brillo pads, and more bottles of air freshener that I could use in half a year. Now I know.

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Mixed Food Conference 2014 Ticket GIVEAWAY!


Mountain Lake Lodge
In case you haven’t heard, my friend Susan and I organize a food conference called Mixed. It’s a small boutique conference for approximately 100 food lovers bloggers that is held at Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia. You might recognize it from the movie Dirty Dancing. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading right now and look it up on Netflix, or Amazon Prime (what would I do without that) and then come back when you’re done because you don’t want to miss out on this GIVEAWAY! Not to be pushy or anything (because I would never ever do that would I) but it is one of the best movies of all time right underneath Pitch Perfect of course. We will actually be showing Dirty Dancing and another chicken flick (what’s your favorite? We’re open to suggestions) each night at the conference because we like to have just as much fun as we do learning. Pajamas and pillows are encouraged.

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DIY Gourd Candles

DIY Gourd Candles
I’m kinda crazy for all things squash (I eat it, every variety I can get my hands on, and often) so it was only natural that I looked to the gourd family to inspire a little fall table-scape. I don’t like to go to any grand effort to dress up my tables but I do like to do something small and in season. That something for me needs to be: easy and LOW profile. There’s nothing more irritating to me during a meal (other than over cooked food and that’s just a given) than to have to bob and weave around a large centerpiece to try and have a conversation with your family or guests. Hence LOW profile.

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DIY Chalkboard Door


Chalboard Door

I like organization. I wish my family had the same like of organization as I do but unless I break out the drill sergeant voice sigh they do not. I try to keep our main living area in order (not necessarily spotless mind you because who has time for that – just tidy and picked up, everything in their places) and I simply avoid the basement and upstairs as much as possible. It helps keep me sane. You can call it avoidance if you want. Lets not split hairs. A small thing I’ve done in my kitchen to keep my grocery list organized (no more notes laying around) is to paint a raised section of our kitchen door with chalkboard paint. I can’t tell you how much this has saved me from forgetting ingredients. When we’re out of something we grab the chalk and add it to the list. Done. It’s on the door so it’s not taking up any coveted counter space or my lack of kitchen wall space. Besides being used primary as our running GROCERY LIST, it’s a creative way to showcase your DINNER MENU or even DOODLING for the kids.  Multi-purpose. It’s a good thing.

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DIY Chalkboard Pails

DIY Chalkboard Pail
It’s back to school month around our neck of the woods !!! Yes I used three exclamation marks. I’m excited. The kids, not so much. They do however get excited about back to school shopping. I must admit I kinda get going myself about calendars, pencils, pens and the like. I’m old school in that way. I love to actually WRITE things in my calendar. As much as I love technology (and I really really do as my iphone is practically attached to my hip) there’s just something about putting pen (ehem or pencils) to paper.

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DIY Slip and Slide

DIY Slip and Slide
Slip and slides were a part of my childhood. Every summer we’d go through several of them. We were rough and tough and usually after a few days of hard core competition they were torn to shreds. I was a sparkly tom boy (if that’s even a thing). We had the best time slipping and sliding all across the yard. Seeing who could go the fastest and the furthest. More times than not I came out the winner. I had a mean competitive streak and would practice my sliding until I was a raisin. Practice pays off.

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DIY Outdoor Serving Tray

Outdoor Serving Tray

Now that the weather is warm we spend a lot of time on our deck, which is located directly off our kitchen and faces our backyard. We’re fortunate to have a decent size deck that houses our container garden, a sitting area plus a dining table with umbrella and chairs. When the weather permits, we like to enjoy our family meals on the deck as well as entertain in this space. The deck overlooks our backyard which is heavily wooded and I can pretend that I’m in a tree house. One that just so happens to have plumbing. I’m not really the camping type, have I mentioned that?

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Get Your Garden Growing

Miracle-Gro Gro-ables www.bellalimento.com
A few weeks ago we got our started our container using Miracle-Gro Gro-Ables. Gro-ables are seed pods that provide an ideal growing environment for your seed. Each ready-to-plant seed pod contains growing materials, plant food and a specially selected seed from one of 17 different varieties including basil, spinach, cilantro, dill, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and more. All you need to do is plant your seed, water and enjoy watching it grow into something greater. Easy right?

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Front Door Decor

Front Door Decor www.bellalimento.com

It is finally spring! I can’t tell you how excited I am for sunshine, my garden and flowers! I’ve slowly been spring cleaning the inside of our house and now it’s time to focus on the outside. My front yard is let’s just say very natural. Our lot is extremely shady due to the amount of trees (practically a forest) we have. Trees mean lots of leaves to rake and limbs to pick up.  On top of the piles of leaves and limbs, we also many many LARGE rocks (boulder size) peppered throughout the front yard. I’m thinking they were too large to move when the lot was being graded and someone thought they looked good (read not me). Sadly because of the shade we don’t have a ton of grass in the front yard besides a small patch by the mailbox. Cutting down trees (to allow more sunshine) is expensive so we’re looking into other ways to add pops of color and improve our curb appeal.

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