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Category: the goods

  1. Thursday, April 25, 2019

    Show and Tell: IKEA Kitchen Finds + Live Music You Need to See

    I went to IKEA last month and found a few things for my kitchen that I am loving. And then I bought a bunch of concert tickets that I am pumped about, so I think a Show and Tell post is in order! 

    IKEA Kitchen Finds: Steak Knives, Dish Towels, Hand Whisk, Cheese Grater

    IKEA Kitchen Finds

    I haven’t been to IKEA in ages, but I went with the kids recently to get some new bedding for Anna’s room. I came home with a small pile of really awesome kitchen stuff, so I feel I must share.

    • Cheese Grater. IKEA made this type of cheese grater years ago. I’ve had mine forever and it’s still going strong. I even gave it to everyone for Christmas one year. Then IKEA stopped selling it for a while, which was sad, but now it’s back on the shelves! I’m so excited because every kitchen needs one of these. Reasons this grater is awesome: it doesn’t take up a ton of storage space, non-slip surface on the bottom, there are two grate size options, the container comes with a lid for storing cheese in the fridge, and it is only FIVE DOLLARS. This is, in my opinion, the best cheese grater around. Click here to buy.
    • Steak Knives. These little knives are only $5 a piece and work great. Here’s the thing, I got some cheap-o steak knives when we got married that were marvelous, and I’m down to only one left. I don’t want to spend $100/knife (or even $20/knife, really), but every cheap steak knife I’ve met since stinks. Not this IKEA knife. It’s great. Not quite as marvelous as my free set of Farberware steak knives, but close. ūüėČ Click here to buy.
    • Dish Towels. Okay, so, I bought these black dish towels and these grey/blue striped dish towels. They are exactly the same except for the color/pattern. The fabric finish is different from other dish towels at IKEA. These towels are pure magic and legit dry things off completely. Not a speck of water left behind. Plus, they aren’t white, so, you know, they don’t look like crap after a couple of uses. I ended up ordering more online and have a nice stash that will hopefully last me until I die.  
    • Hand Held Whisk. This is so random, but this whisk is like those antique hand held whisks that existed before hand blenders came along. And I love it. And you can put it in the dishwasher. It’s kinda bulky, but, whatever, I’m just glad IKEA brought the old-school hand blender back! Click here to buy.
    • Enameled Steel Grey Dishes with Blue Trim. I didn’t actually buy these dishes because I’m looking for white enameled dishes with red or black trim, however these were completely adorable. So, if you like grey and blue, you should totally get them because I feel like someone should. You can get bowls, plates and/or mugs
    • Prize Wheel Game. This is one of those wheel of fortune spinny wheel things. No, it has nothing to do with the kitchen. Yes, it is completely awesome and fun to spin and perfect for practicing cello with your 7-year-old son. I’ve told two teachers about this and two teachers have since bought it. So, you know, if you have a need for a prize wheel, here you go! Click here to buy.

    Live Music You Need to See

    I just bought a bunch of concert tickets. Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas/Everything Else to me! We have already seen these performers perform live and they were so good we are spending money to see them again. 

    • The Avett Brothers are on tour! Seriously, they are amazing live, and I’m not just saying that because they are my favorite band, which they totally are, but seriously, seriously, seriously, they are so good live. Click here for tour info.
    • Hozier is out and about, too. This dude is unbelievable live and can really jam, plus he has the happiest, kindest vibe about him. Click here for tour info.
    • Last but not least, Sara Bareilles. As a piano-player-singer-type, of course I’ve always loved Sara. But when I went to her concert a few years ago I had no comprehension of how truly spectacular she lives. Her musicianship is impressive, but she is also incredibly funny and witty. Her favorite word starts with “F” and she uses her favorite word a lot, but she makes it very endearing (haha!) and it’s not stopping me from taking my girls anyway. ūüėČ Click here for tour info.

  2. Thursday, February 14, 2019

    Plant-Based Eating Hack #1: Non-Dairy Plant-Based Ice Cream

    As part of my new year’s resolution to focus more on plant-based eating, I promised you I would share all kinds of tips and ideas throughout the year. Today is the first of these posts, which I will call “Plant-Based Eating Hacks.” A bigger focus on plant-based eating doesn’t mean you have to go vegan, but those of us who aren’t vegan or vegetarian are often unfamiliar with the great options out there for plant-based eating. Let’s explore those options together! Today we’re going to start with a classic dessert we all know and love: ice cream. Yep, we’re talking about non-dairy, plant-based ice cream with nary a drop of cream in sight!

    scoops of salt & straw vegan ice creams

    Three years ago I had the chance to travel to Vermont to visit the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters. It was ridiculously cold, I had a 5-hour flight delay in Chicago¬†and¬†I discovered on this trip that I have sacroiliac dysfunction (which basically just means excruciating pain). Despite all the cards stacked against me and the fact that I hobbled about like a 150-year-old woman addicted to ibuprofen, it was hands down one of the most fun trips I’ve¬†ever¬†been on. We toured the factory (including the production floor!), ate ice cream straight from the production line, and even got to create our own new ice cream flavors in the test kitchens. The experience was¬†unforgettable.¬†Ben & Jerry’s hosted this media trip as part of their non-dairy frozen dessert product launch. I was the only writer on the trip who was¬†not vegan. At the time I was a full-fledged dairy consumer and knew very little about veganism, quite frankly. But I walked away from the trip with two things. First, really wonderful vegan friends who were open and ready to teach me in the least-judgy way imaginable. Second, a love for non-dairy, plant-based ice cream.

    Why Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Ice Cream?

    Here’s the thing: you totally do not need cream to make good ice cream. I know, it sounds like crazy talk. But since I cut dairy a year ago, I can attest to the fact that my non-dairy, plant-based ice cream options have left me completely happy and not missing “real” ice cream at all. And, as we learned in my plant-based eating kick-off post, cows are a¬†huge drain on the environment. Eating red meat and dairy makes for a reeeeeealllllllyyyyyy big carbon footprint. If you can sub out that dairy with something equally delicious, why wouldn’t you?

    I’m going to share two great non-dairy, plant-based ice cream options that I love with you today. And then I’m going to ask you all to share your own favorites in the comments! Let’s make this the best collection of plant-based ice cream recommendations around!

    Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts

    As I mentioned, about three years ago Ben & Jerry’s launched their non-dairy frozen desserts line. At the time I believe there were 4 flavors, but today the line has expanded to 11 flavors¬†(and I’m sure it will keep growing). All of Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy frozen desserts are made with an almond milk base (which is delicious, btw) and are certified vegan.

    Display of Ben & Jerry's Pints at the Factory in Burlington, VT

    And since I have yet to write about that trip from many moons ago, I have to share some pictures with you.

    Tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory in Burlington, VTPictured: Top – Shots of the Ben & Jerry’s factory floor in Burlington, VT; Middle – Ice cream straight off the line; Bottom – Product testing for quality control

    The Ben & Jerry's Test Kitchen - creating new non-dairy frozen dessert flavorsPictured: The Ben & Jerry’s test kitchen where they develop new flavor – we had the chance to create our own non-dairy frozen dessert flavors. My partner Becky from Glue & Glitter (bottom left) and I decided our ice cream should be called “Beck & Janey’s.” Aren’t we clever?

    Salt & Straw Vegan Ice Creams

    Salt & Straw is a Portland, Oregon-based ice cream shop that that serves unique and quirky ice creams that taste amazing. They have started to expand to other states and the kids and I recently visited their Anaheim location. Salt & Straw has made a commitment to make 20% of their product line plant-based by the first of of this year. From what I recall on my last visit, their non-dairy ice creams are all made with a coconut milk base.

    Sign announcing Salt & Straw's new focus on vegan ice creams

    My 7-year-old meat eater son Owen is very resistant to my plant-based food changes, so when he happened to pick one of the vegan flavors at Salt & Straw, I just kept my mouth shut. I only let him know his ice cream was vegan after he was done eating. He looked shocked and then just laughed. If you can fool Owen, you can fool anyone.

    I know not everyone has access to Salt & Straw, but when you visit your favorite ice cream shops, keep an eye out for non-dairy options! Last summer the kids and I visited Honeycomb Creamery in Cambridge, MA. They had a few vegan options, including an ice cream made with a cashew milk base, which was¬†divine. I’m telling you, now is the time be alive if you’re wanting to eat more plant-based foods. The trend will only continue and these ice cream companies are proving that plant-based ice cream can be done in a truly delicious way.

    Scoops of Ice Cream from Salt & Straw in Anaheim, CA

    Tell Us Your Favorite Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Ice Cream Brands!

    Now that I’ve shared a couple favorites, it’s time for you to fess up! Tell us your most favorite non-dairy, plant-based ice cream brands and flavors in the comments below!

    Vegan Bloggers I Met at Ben & Jerry’s.¬†These blogs are fantastic resources for plant-based eating!¬†¬†


  3. Friday, November 9, 2018

    Friday Show & Tell: Wild Kratts Live, Imperfect Produce, Native Deodorant and Oatly Update

    Happy Friday! I have a few things I want to share with you, so I think it’s time for Show & Tell!

    Wild Kratts Live

    Wild Kratts Live Show with the Family

    A few weeks ago we had the chance to take the kids to see the Wild Kratts Live 2.0 show, (big thank you to PBS Kids for the tickets). My kids love the Wild Kratts (even Cate who is pushing 14!). Nate and I kept the show a secret and surprised them the day we went. When we arrived we discovered we even had VIP tickets, which meant we had the chance to meet the Kratt brothers after the show. It was such a fun day!

    Chris and Martin talk with my kids at the Wild Kratts Live show

    If you have kids that like Wild Kratts I definitely recommend the live show. The show itself was adorable and the sound of children’s laughter was non-stop. Owen (7) was completely engaged the entire time. Cate decided that watching all of the little ones in the audience was as much fun as the actual show. Meeting the Kratt brothers was¬†awesome. Chris and Martin have boundless energy and are so kind, speaking to each child individually and really taking their time with all the kids. We walked away from the experience in a great mood, with positive feelings and happy hearts.

    Meeting Chris & Martin at Wild Kratts Live

    Click here to check out the tour dates and locations!

    Imperfect Produce

    In my ongoing effort to make the food I buy more environmentally friendly, I recently started ordering from Imperfect Produce. In terms of environmental impact, the very best thing we can do is buy local. After that, buying food that would otherwise go to waste is pretty awesome, too. Imperfect Produce sources “ugly” and surplus produce from farmers and producers and then sells it at a discount to customers. The box of produce is delivered to your house each week. I love their mission since wasted food is something I think about¬†all the time.

    Infographic explaining how the company Imperfect Produce works - they source imperfect and surplus fruit from farmers and deliver directly to customers

    I am absolutely loving Imperfect Produce. There is minimal packaging and all of the produce we have received has been awesome and delicious. Each week an email arrives reminding me to customize my box. You can choose from whatever they have in stock that week and there is both conventional and organic produce. In addition, it tells you were each item is grown. The website is so easy to use and my new system works great: I keep a list on my phone that tells me what will be coming each Friday from Imperfect Produce so that when I go shopping at the farmer’s market and grocery store each week I don’t overbuy anything.

    Imperfect Produce is expanding across the country and San Diego was one of their latest additions. Click here to visit their website and see if Imperfect Produce is in your city. I highly recommend them! (Note: Links to Imperfect Produce in this post are referral links. If you sign up using this link you and I both get a $10 credit. I have no relationship with Imperfect Produce other than being a customer and once you are a customer you can refer people, too!)

    Native Deodorant Update

    Remember my new favorite deodorant? I’ve been using Native for over a year now and still love it. In fact, I’m kind of addicted and have never had such a large stash of deodorant before. Their scents are just so great! Anyway, Target started carrying Native. Woohoo! Keep an eye out next time you visit Target!

    Oatly Update

    A few months ago¬†I sang the praises of Oatly oat milk. Since then Oatly has become nearly impossible to buy because it’s just so darn popular (with good reason!).¬†They had a day a few weeks ago where you could buy one case on their website. It felt like buying tickets to a concert ‚Äď I had to set a reminder on my phone and it sold out within 20 minutes (I succeeding in getting a case!). I have confirmed with the Oatly team that they are building a factory here in the United States that will be opening in early 2019, which means pretty soon it will be much easier to get Oatly. I CAN’T WAIT. Good work, people. Keep the demand up! We want Oatly everywhere!

    That’s all I got! Have a great weekend!


  4. Friday, May 18, 2018

    Friday Show and Tell: Joy’s Red Beans and Rice + the Chompers Podcast

    Happy Friday! I have two quick things to share today. These two things are awesome. Ready?

    Joy the Baker's Red Beans and Rice Recipe

    Joy’s New Orleans-Style Red Beans and Rice

    When I went to New Orleans about 347 years ago I bought a bag of Camellia Red Kidney Beans, a New Orleans classic. And then I came home and put the beans in the pantry. And then I didn’t do anything with them in¬†forever and the beans were sad. But now they’re happy because they finally made it into a pot. One of my blogging friends Joy the Baker moved to New Orleans a few years ago and has¬†a recipe for Red Beans and Rice on her site. I trust Joy, so I decided to give her recipe a try.

    Oh goodness I really loved this dinner. Joy’s Red Beans & Rice are delicious. And I didn’t change the recipe¬†at all, which means I’m just gonna go ahead and send you on over to her site! (Okay, I did double the amount of pancetta and sausage, a decision I firmly stand by. We also served it over brown rice, which worked great.)

    Also, people from New Orleans say you have to use Camellia’s Red Kidney Beans. And you can buy them online so there really is no reason not to.

    Also, I bought a canister of Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning for this recipe and have since used it three times on other foodstuffs, too. So, that is also a worthy investment.

    Chompers, the kids' tooth brushing podcast that rocks

    Chompers Podcast

    If you have any kids in your life that you have any kind of influence over then you need to keep reading. CHOMPERS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER. What is Chompers, you ask? It is a twice-daily podcast show for kids that teaches them how to brush their teeth¬†and¬†gets them to brush for a full 2 minutes. They tell jokes, share facts, do quizzes…the list goes on. It’s the best.¬†Owen, our 6 year old, especially loves it and has listened to the Chompers podcast twice a day every day since we discovered it. And he totally brushes the whole 2 minutes every time.

    Seriously, go subscribe STAT. (I hear even some adults listen to the podcast to make sure they get their full 2 minutes of brushing in, too!) Click here to visit the Chompers website or simply subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


  5. Friday, May 11, 2018

    Friday Show & Tell: Cool Food, Kitchen Gear and More!

    I have¬†so many things to share today, ranging from a non-wheat pasta product, a non-dairy milk alternative, a super cool kitchen tool that made making cut-out cookies delightful, cool shoes AND a live show for the family that is sure to be awesome.¬†Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

    Banza Chickpea Pasta

    Banza Chickpea Pasta

    I don’t follow many celebrities on social media, but I do follow Kristen Bell (who I actually saw speak last week and she is tiny and adorable and smart and she even sells really delicious bars that save lives, go check them out!). Back in February she posted this cute Instagram video about Banza pasta. I’ll be the first to admit I ordered six boxes almost immediately after watching it. I have eaten the pasta a few times now and am ready to report that…

    I love Banza! It smells and tastes a little different than normal pasta. Because, duh, it’s not normal pasta. It’s made out of chickpeas. Which means it’s full of fiber and protein and all kinds of good nutrients. But, also, when you top it with whatever you normally top your pasta with, it totally tastes good. If you’re looking for a wheat alternative or just want a pasta with a healthy boost, I recommend Banza!

    Oatly

    Oat milk by Oatly is a great dairy alternative!

    Okay, so I have pretty much cut dairy from my diet. I still use butter, but whenever I eat anything with cream or milk, I feel awful. Which means I haven’t had a decent latte in months, which is a cryin’ shame. Then, last week, I went to one of my favorite local coffee shops Revolution Roasters and discovered they had “oat milk” as one of their milk options. After a lengthy discussion with the barista (because once you get me talkin’ ’bout food I can’t stop), I gave the oat milk latte a try and SKIPPED HOME SINGING TRALALA BECAUSE I WAS SO HAPPY THE END.

    Oh wait. That’s not the end. I went home and ordered a whole lotta oat milk from Oatly, the very oat milk my barista raved about.

    So far Oatly’s oat milk is my favorite milk alternative I have tried. It has a unique flavor, as all milk alternatives do, but it’s my favorite so far, and the flavor is more subtle than say almond or coconut milk. It kind of tastes like, well, granola or oatmeal, but, like I said, it’s subtle. And the oat milk plays nice with my body. No nuts to worry about, no dairy to worry about and I feel good afterwards. Oatly is a plant-based, sustainable product, which is another big reason I am happy to support them.

    King Arthur Rolling Mat

    The rolling mat for baking form King Arthur Flour

    Oh my goodness I am so happy I bought this rolling mat. SO HAPPY. Here’s the background: my grandma and my mom always had the Tupperware rolling mat, which I received as a wedding gift many moons ago. I know they loved it, but I never really did (sorry Mom and Grandma!). The mat would slide around and over time it started cracking and falling apart (which made me sad because¬†nostalgia, but I haven’t missed it in the kitchen as far as cooking is concerned). Once my Tupperware rolling mat bit the dust, I bought a new rolling mat from King Arthur. It came in the mail and I promptly put it away for a few years. It stayed in the cabinet, patiently waiting, until yesterday.

    This mat is seriously awesome. It stays put on the counter beautifully, it’s really big, and it just plain worked great. I highly recommend it! Click here to buy a King Arthur Rolling Mat for yourself.

    My New Favorite Birkenstocks

    My New Favorite Birkenstock Styles - Mayari and Daloa - from This Week for Dinner

    I didn’t start wearing Birkenstocks until a few years ago. Once I did, I was hooked and it’s pretty much the only shoe I wear (as made apparent by the T-shaped tan line on my feet that I just can’t shake). The Gizeh style has served me well and I own three pair. But, I’ve gotta admit, I was getting a little tired of them. So, I started poking around, looking at different kinds of Birks. I ordered a pair of the Mayari sandals in Stone and the Daloa sandals in Mocha, just to try on, mind you. And, well, I kept both pair. They’re my new faves. Which means now I’ll have even more Birkenstock tan lines on my feet. ūüėź

    Wild Kratts Live!

    Wild Kratts Live US Tour

    My kids¬†love Wild Kratts on PBS. A lot. Even Cate, my 7th grader. I just learned that there is a Wild Kratts Live show and the U.S. tour kicks off in September.¬†We are totally going no matter what. But it’s a surprise, so don’t tell my kids. (Hopefully they don’t read this, fingers crossed!) Click here to get tickets for a show near you!

    In Conclusion…

    Please don’t tally how much money I have spent on this post. Thank you and good day.


  6. Monday, November 27, 2017

    Seven Tabletop Gifts That Give Back (and Look Great!)

    I have another guest post for you! AND it’s from another one of my favorite, funny¬†friends AND she just so happens to be besties with Rachel, who is today’s other guest poster¬†(which was totally coincidence). And she and I have the same name. And so do our husbands. So, what I’m saying is, this post is meant to be. Jane and I scoured her company’s¬† products and came up with this list of 7 amazing tabletop gifts that give back. (Click here to find out why Jane’s company To The Market is so awesome.) It’s time to spend money and make a difference! ¬†Also, there are a few sale items and a secret discount buried in the post below, so get reading, clicking and shopping!

    ****

    The name Jane is the best name ever. My friend other Jane and I both share it. This post is about how we met on Ancestory.com.

    Gifts That Give Back: To the Market's Holiday Cheer Kit

    HOLIDAY CHEER KIT ($40)

    From the table to the tree, the holiday cheer kit is a festive holiday accessory. These cute little holly leaves are exactly what your table needs for that extra pick-me-up! These are made by artisans in Mexico.  This purchase helps the makers improve their lives, their children’s lives, and their communities through the dignity of work.  

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Heart-Shaped Wooden Cutting Board

    HEART SHAPED WOODEN CUTTING BOARD (Regularly $40, Now $30 with custom TWFD code YUM10)

    Who doesn’t love this heart shaped cutting board? Use it to cut your food on in the kitchen or to serve some tasty food during your holiday party! This was handmade in Guatemala and helps to employ vulnerable communities.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Honey Vanilla Candle

    VANILLA HONEY CANDLE ($26.99)

    A warm scented candle is an essential during the cold winter months and vanilla honey is a classic. These hand poured soy glass candles are made by vulnerable women in Chicago. This candle helps a young mom provide for her children by giving her the confidence to chase her dreams.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's TAY Ikay Table Runner

    TAY IKAY TABLE RUNNER ($120)

    Simple yet chic, this table runner is a clean statement piece. Go for an even bigger statement and add a white vase with some fresh flowers! This table runner is carefully handwoven and naturally dyed in Guatemala. This purchase supports sustainable livelihoods and traditional weaving.

    Gifts that Give Back: To the Market's Overdyed Kantha-Stitch Placemate Set in Cranberry

    OVERDYED KANTHA-STITCH PLACEMAT & NAPKIN SET IN CRANBERRY (Regularly $65, On Sale Cyber Monday for $45.50)

    Deep rich cranberry is such a lovely color for this time of year and this placemat and napkin set will make your tableware pop! This is truly a unique set that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Your dinner guests are guaranteed to love the detail of this sari napkin and placemat set made by women in India. A purchase of this table set helps women rediscover their dignity, independence, and creativity in a financially rewarding way.

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Safina Banana Fiber Basket

    SAFINA BANANA FIBER BASKET ($38)

    This small basket can hold anything from fruit to bread to popcorn! This light neutral is not only a safe bet for the holidays, but it can be used year round for all kinds of gatherings. This basket is named after the sweet woman who makes it! She‚Äôs an uneducated HIV+ widow. Since becoming involved in basket weaving, her outlook has improved. She wants you to know ‚ÄúI love you very much. I reach out to say thank you for buying.‚ÄĚ¬Ě ¬†We love her too!

    Gifts That Give Back: To The Market's Hand-Painted Batik Bone Bottle Opener

    HAND-PAINTED BATIK BONE BOTTLE OPENER ($22.99)

    Made in Kenya, this hand-painted bottle opener is an ideal hostess gift  for your favorite bartender.  Pattern design vary for each piece, making this truly one of a kind!

    Happy Shopping!


  7. Friday, October 20, 2017

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Prius Envy

    Hello, friends. I have a veritable grab bag of things to share with you today, including a recipe, deodorant, Netflix and car talk. Yes, totally random. But also fun! ūüėČ Let’s start with the food!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Last week¬†LAND O LAKES treated me to a surprise package, complete with a shiny new Chemex coffee maker and everything I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer¬†using their Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Butter Spread. We are loving the Pumpkin Spice Butter (seriously, I had to cut Cate off…she would have eaten a loaf’s-worth of toast just to consume the butter), so I felt like I needed to tell you about it!¬†Plus, I did in fact make the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and it was delicious. I am¬†now sharing the recipe with you!

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer Recipe from LAND O LAKES and @janemaynard

    Show and Tell, Grab Bag Edition! Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, Deodorant, Netflix Birthday Fun & Car Envy
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup half & half
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoons LAND O LAKES Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, 30-45 seconds or until butter spread is melted and sugar is dissolved.
    2. Beat with hand mixer for 90 seconds or until mixture is frothy. (Note: I whisked by hand.)
    3. Store in refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

    Native Natural Deodorant

    Native Deodorant, my new favorite thing! from @janemaynard

    Years ago I wanted to switch to¬†natural deodorant but had a bad experience (read: Hello, Stinky Lady!)¬†and gave up. but the fact I’ve been smearing aluminum on my body every day for¬†over¬†30 years has always nagged at me. Well, my sister-in-law Cora recently demanded that I try Native deodorant. She was insistent. She pretty much made me buy it. Well, I must admit that I am grateful Cora was so bossy! I LOVE NATIVE. So, so, so, so much. I¬†have the Coconut & Vanilla, Coconut & Shea and Apricot¬†& Peach scents and I love them all. Note: the scents are seasonal, so a few of those flavors aren’t currently available, but there are a bunch of new ones that sound great!

    Why do I love Native so much?

    • First and foremost, the deodorant actually works. I have¬†less¬†body odor than I did with anti-perspirant and my clothes are picking up less scents, too. Cora (and the website) said that I would need about 2 weeks for my body to adjust and for the deodorant to work well. I started using the deodorant during a heat wave and loved it from Day One. But please, if you try it, give it at least 2 weeks to kick in (in case you are not lucky like I was). Also, if you need to freshen up later in the day, just re-apply and magically things smell better.
    • Native’s customer service is amazing. AMAZING. I originally ordered the summer scent pack and did not like the floral scent that came with it.¬†Native made an exchange beyond easy. Plus, even before needing customer service support, I loved their email communications. They do a great job every step of the way
    • I really like the scent options they have.¬†The deodorant¬†just plain smells good without being overpowering.
    • For those with baking soda allergy, they also have a sensitive version that does not contain baking soda.

    I must admit I thought it was a¬†little¬†funny how excited Cora was about¬†her deodorant. I mean, how can someone be that happy about deodorant. But here I am. On the Native bandwagon and happy to be here. I’m in all the way! Thanks, Cora!

    Netflix Birthday Fun!

    New! Netflix Birthday Messages for Kids! from @janemaynard

    Did you hear about the new birthday messages for kids on Netflix? They launched the¬†birthday messages just in time for Owen’s birthday last month and he¬†loved¬†them. Owen’s birthday party involved taking eight 5- and 6-year-old boys to the LEGO Ninjago movie, followed up with a dinosaur cake at the park. Having the LEGO Ninjago friends¬†and the Dinotrux friends¬†sending¬†birthday wishes his way totally made Owen’s day!

    To find the messages, simply type “birthday” or “birthdays” into your Netflix search bar and all 15 birthday message video options will appear. Definitely a cute way to kick off your little one’s special day!

    Why I Wish We Weren’t So Frugal and Had Bought¬†a New Prius

    2017 Toyota Prius Test Drive from @janemaynard

    Nate has been driving a Prius for over 3 years and has been very happy with it. When his lease was up this past spring, we decided to be frugal and buy the car he was driving rather than start a new lease with the latest Prius. I was perfectly happy with that decision until 3 months later when Toyota lent us a new 2017 Prius for our east coast trip. I love the new Prius.¬†We shouldn’t have been so responsible after all! What were we thinking? ūüėČ I am grateful I had the chance to try the Prius out for a month (thanks, Toyota!), but now I¬†totally have Prius envy. Here are a few of the things I loved about the car:

    • The car basically drives itself. The radar cruise control works¬†beautifully. I used it ALL THE TIME. For example, when we drove from Cape Cod to New Hampshire, I¬†followed¬†my sister-in-law¬†using cruise control. The system detects the speed of the car in front of you and adjusts accordingly,¬†so Jess was basically doing all the driving. There is also a lane departure alert system, pre-collision and pedestrian detection system, and¬†the car can park itself.
    • Even better gas mileage. I got over 50 miles per gallon the entire trip.
    • For such a small car, there¬† is a ton of storage. The back is roomy, and there is a net you can use to store smaller items. The storage was great for short and long trips alike.
    • I’ve mentioned this before about Toyota, but I love their remote lock system. It’s just awesome.
    • There was also a spot for doing that fancy cordless phone charging. My phone doesn’t have that capability, but I was sure wishing it did! I also like how the middle console is set up better in the new Prius versus previous models.
    • The navigation system worked better than my Google maps app on my phone. Impressive! And the car told me what the speed limit was at any given time, which is especially handy on those east coast back roads!
    • The one thing I did not love was the SofTex synthetic leather seat material. It is more eco-friendly than other synthetic leather materials and does not use any animal-based material, but if I had to choose I would go with fabric or real leather. I just didn’t love the feel of the seats or how they looked when inevitably sand and other stuff got into the seams.

    Phew! I think that’s all I have to share for today. As usual, Show & Tell is for the whole class! Feel free to chime in with your own finds and recent loves in the comments!

    Please note: I have a relationship with Netflix as a member of the Stream Team, which means they don’t pay me a dime but do send me cool fun stuff occasionally. Toyota provided¬†me with the Prius for our trip. Land O Lakes provided me with product. I have no official relationship with Native deodorant.


  8. Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    Happy Summer! Albion Fit Swim Giveaway!

    I am currently sitting in a beach house in Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod. The weather is perfect and we are hitting the beach every single day this week. Basically, I don’t ever want to go back to real life.

    Albion Fit Mid-Summer Swim Giveaway on This Week for Dinner (@janemaynard)

    This year I have a new swimsuit, thanks to Albion Fit, and I have been loving it on our East Coast vacation. I am loving the suit this summer. LOVING. It’s comfortable, I love the fabric, and people keep asking where I got it. (Click here for a link to the suit.¬†You can also get my suit in black, but I don’t know why you would because the Antigua pattern is awesome.)

    The founders of Albion are dear friends of ours and Liz and I thought it would be fun to do a swim giveaway for a little mid-summer fun! So let’s get right down to it! Who doesn’t want a cute new suit in the summertime?

    HERE’S HOW TO ENTER!¬†Simply comment on this post telling us your favorite Albion swimsuit! One randomly-selected commenter will win an Albion¬†swimsuit of their choice!

    BONUS INSTAGRAM ENTRY! You can also enter the giveaway on Instagram! Simply click here and leave a comment on my Instagram post about this giveaway with the name of your favorite Albion swimsuit AND tag a friend in that comment.

    All comments, both here on the blog and on Instagram, must be posted by Midnight PT on Saturday August 5, 2017.

    Good luck and happy swimming!

    The winner of this giveaway was Mary Beth, who commented, “These are beautiful suits! I am loving the Grace off the shoulder one-piece!” Congratulations! And thank you to all who entered!

     


  9. Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Fudgy Thumprint Chocolate Chip Cookies + A Fair Trade Mother’s Day

    Guess what? I have another fun Mother’s Day post for you, complete with an easy, delicious recipe and an equally delicious giveaway!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Each year I create a post in conjunction with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day and this year is no exception! As usual they sent me a box of goodies (which we will be giving away to one of you lucky people in just a moment) to inspire a Mother’s Day baking project.

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    This month has been super busy and as Mother’s Day has approached I haven’t had a lot of time to bake. Normally when Fair Trade sends me a box of goodies they include a baking mix from Immaculate Baking Company. I haven’t ever used the mixes in¬†my posts¬†because I normally create my Fair Trade recipes from scratch. This time, however, I decided to embrace the ease of the cookie mix, adding¬†a fun twist to make it special.

    First off, the Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix is so, so, so¬†good. Whether or not you add my fudgy thumbprint you’ll be happy with this mix. But the fudgy addition really takes these cookies over the top. Today’s recipe kind of had a longer journey than most of my recipes. First I tried to make cookie cups with a fudgy center but it just didn’t work practically or¬†visually, but they tasted amazing. So then I tried stuffing the cookies, which worked pretty well but not exactly what I envisioned. So then I tried a thumbprint and it worked! The fudgy “button” goes so beautifully with these cookies and you will love them, especially since it’s so easy to throw this dessert together!¬†How Fair Trade Helps Women

    The most wonderful part of this recipe is that using Fair Trade ingredients means you can celebrate strong women and mothers throughout the world by¬†supporting their livelihood. I’ve read so many stories about how Fair Trade helps women in so many countries and I love it when I can incorporate as many fair trade ingredients as possible into my recipes.¬†The infographic above is a great summary of why Fair Trade is so cool! For today’s recipe I used the¬†Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix¬†as well as Guittard’s Extra Dark Chocolate Chips, so it’s a Fair Trade double whammy! The recipe is below…but first…

    Fair Trade Goodies Giveaway!The giveaway! Fair Trade will send one of you lucky people the same gift box I received, which includes product from the following companies:

    To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post before Midnight PT on 3/25/17! That’s it! Easy peasy…as easy as today’s recipe, which I will give to you now!¬†The¬†randomly-selected winner of this giveaway was Comment #24 Michele. Congratulations, Michele!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    A fair trade-friendly recipe that is easy and delicious!
    Author:
    Serves: 22 cookies
    Ingredients
    • 1 Immaculate Baking Company Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
    • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (Guittard is my favorite and they are Fair Trade!)
    • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
    • Pinch salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375¬ļF (or 350¬ļ for a dark non-stick pan).
    2. Follow directions to mix the dough for the cookie mix.
    3. Once dough is mixed, put chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high in the microwave for 45 seconds, then stir until all chocolate has melted.
    4. Let chocolate mix cool for a few minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, create 1-tablespoon rounded cookie dough balls. With your thumb press a well in the center of each cookie dough ball, then place ½ teaspoon blobs of the chocolate fudgy filling in the center. If the chocolate is sticking to your fingers a lot, just get your fingers a little bit wet with water. Keep in mind, the shape of the chocolate will look how it looks after baking as it did before, so if you want the chocolate nice and smooth, smooth it out before baking!
    5. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool before eating.

     


  10. A Beautiful Up-Cycled Mother’s Day Giveaway + Maybe The Easiest Mother’s Day Craft Ever (as in, NO WORK FOR MOM)

    Sponsored by General Mills Cereals

    Happy almost Mother’s Day! To celebrate I have a fun and EASY craft idea for the kids in your life as well as some love for TO THE MARKET, one of my most favorite companies. And a beautiful giveaway that will have 20 winners (woohoo!).

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    As you know I’ve worked with General Mills Cereals in the past. They approached me recently about coming up with a fun craft idea using up-cycled cereal boxes with my kids. I AM NOT A CRAFTY PERSON. But when I told my kids about the project they were all in. You see, they are crafty people. I’m not entirely sure they are my children. Anyway, my kids were doubly in when they learned they would have to eat some of their favorite, yummy cereals, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios, in order to make the craft happen (empty cereal boxes are a necessity!). Basically, this is their favorite post on my blog ever.

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    As a lovely Mother’s Day gift, General Mills Cereals sent me a necklace and bracelet set from TO THE MARKET. TO THE MARKET is a company that sells survivor-made goods from around the world. I’ve written about TO THE MARKET before and founder and CEO Jane Mosbacher Morris is one of my favorite people. She was even on my podcast at one point! (It’s one of my favorite episodes, by the way. Jane is the BEST.) Anyway, TO THE MARKET is helping SO MANY WOMEN and their products are beyond lovely. I have a very special place in my heart for their work.

    To The Market Up-Cycled Cereal Box Necklaces

    The jewelry that General Mills Cereals sent was created by Haitian TO THE MARKET artists, with beads made from up-cycled cereal boxes. The beads are gorgeous. You simply cannot believe they are made from cereal boxes. Both my girls are enamored with the jewelry (I think Anna might steal it) and felt very inspired for their own cereal box crafting!

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Flowers

    Which brings us to today‚Äôs craft. For real this is the best craft ever because the parent doesn‚Äôt have to do ANYTHING. Just give the kids some empty cereal boxes (the more colorful the better!), scotch tape and colorful straws. Then say, ‚ÄúGo make flowers!‚ÄĚ¬Ě All three of my kids, from ages 5 to 12, had a blast cutting up the boxes and getting creative. Anna‚Äôs flower ended up being three dimensional, Cate made an adorable bumblebee for the bouquet, and Owen went completely off book and made a ladybug with a heart to show that the ladybug loves me. I consider it all a crafting success! And I didn‚Äôt lift a finger. (Well, okay, I helped clean up the billions of cereal box cuttings strewn about the kitchen. But it was worth it.)

    Up-cycled Cereal Box Mother's Day Craft

    Lucky for our family my beloved mother will be here for Mother’s Day this year. She will be taking home the best bouquet ever!

    Giveaway time! General Mills Cereals and TO THE MARKET¬†are providing TWENTY¬†of you lucky people with your own necklace made with upcycled cereal box beads.¬†You can’t buy these necklaces, so this is the only way to get one! Here is how to enter: (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT May 25, 2017.)

    BONUS BONUS BONUS: If you head on over to TO THE MARKET’S Stories Blog, they are also giving away these necklaces¬†and you can enter there, too! Yippee!¬†Winners were randomly selected and have been notified via email. Thank you!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    I partnered with General Mills for this post because they are committed to strengthening communities around the world through remarkable initiatives, nonprofits and causes that help strength people and the planet. General Mills Cereals partnered with TO THE MARKET to create these handcrafted pieces of jewelry from up-cycled cereal boxes as part of this commitment and to celebrate all the moms, caregivers, aunts, sisters and special heroes who fill the world with love.

    Learn more about General Mills Cereals and its delicious line of cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charm, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and many more at www.generalmills.com/cereal.