Monday, December 30, 2013

Black Sails: A STARZ Original Series - Coming in January 2014


Check out the "Black Sails" trailer here!

Black Sails is written as a prequel to the classic novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Follow the adventures of the notorious pirate, Captain Flint, and his new young sailor John Silver as they survive the seas during the Golden Age of Piracy. Tell your friends why you're excited to tune in to Black Sails, beginning January 25th on STARZ. 

The highly anticipated pirate adventure, Black Sails, centers on the tales of Captain Flint and his men and takes place twenty years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island.” Flint, the most brilliant and most feared pirate captain of his day, takes on a fast-talking young addition to his crew who goes by the name John Silver. Threatened with extinction on all sides, they fight for the survival of New Providence Island, the most notorious criminal haven of its day – a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers, a place defined by both its enlightened ideals and its stunning brutality.

The above description of the upcoming "Black Sails" was NOT written by me, but taken from the STARZ website. I scored an amazing FREE trial offer with Smiley360 for episodes, behind the scenes details, and much, much more. If you'd like to check out this consumer community, please click my link below (it's SUPER easy to qualify for missions and it's a fun website):

Thursday, December 5, 2013

RedBox Instant by Verizon: Easy, FAST, Great Selection, Family Friendly!

Below you will find my review on RedBox Instant by Verizon. If you haven't heard of it, then definitely check it out! Currently, they're offering a one month subscription for FREE! They only need your credit card information to continue charging you beyond the first month (if you choose not to cancel the service) and if you decide utilize their other awesome features that require purchases (renting movies at the kiosks, etc.).

I was given an opportunity to review their service and #GotItFree by being a BzzAgent. If you decide to keep the service after your one month free trial, it's only $8/month and you get 4 free kiosk movie rentals each month. They do NOT have TV Series (as of yet) but their movie selection is quite impressive! 

Did creating an account go smoothly?
Creating an account was SUPER easy! Especially, if you’re already a RedBox renter (from the kiosk) and have an account at
www.RedBox.com.

Could you find the movies you were looking for with your subscription?
I not only found movies that I knew I wanted to see, but the extensive library helped me find movies that I didn’t even know about or remembered; and every movie I’ve seen thus far is amazing! The quality is great, no buffering needed, and using the service on my PS4 is super easy! I love that RedBox Instant has a nice filtering system to find the movie you’re looking for; you can type it into a “Search Bar,” narrow your search by genre, most popular, etc.

Did you like how films were organized online — were they easy to search for in the Redbox Instant library?
YES! The movies were extremely easy to find and search for online. As I stated, the library is quite extensive and I LOVE that they have retro throwback movies; as in… very early horror, sci-fi, etc. The list just goes on and on!

Was it simple to reserve or rent a DVD at the box?
Yup! As usual, renting from a RedBox kiosk is extremely quick and easy! And the bonus is… you are not required to return a rented movie to the exact same kiosk. So… if you want to rent a movie on your way home from work in Seattle, and then return it the next day next to your house in Redmond, that’s totally fine!

Were you happy with the streaming quality?
I was blown away by the streaming quality! I’ve never streamed anything like a movie before (other than YouTube videos) but there was absolutely no buffering required and the movie quality was top-notch; even on the older movies.

Would you like to see any changes made to the service or the movie selection in the future?
It would be really cool if you could stream the brand new releases that the kiosks have; even if you had to pay the normal rental fee. It would save a trip to pick-up the movie. I would also like to see a rotating genre for the current season / holiday. For instance, it would be nice if I could just click on “Holiday / Christmas” movies right now; rather than finding them here and there in different genres.

Answer the question, “What would I want to know before I get this product?”
As someone who has never used Netflix, Hulu, etc. I was very pleased with this service and am seriously considering keeping it for a while. But, something that should be known before buying this service is that RedBox Instant does not have TV series available for streaming; at least not right now. Perhaps that could be something they add later. But the $8/month is a more than fair deal when you consider how many movies they have available AND that you get 4 kiosk rentals each month.


Overall, I was and continue to be extremely impressed with RedBox Instant. I am so glad that I decided to try this free trial offer for one month AND that it hit during the holidays. RedBox Instant has been the answer to my prayers on cold, lonely nights, when I cannot find anything on TV, and has made for SEVERAL fun movie nights with my ladies! I am looking forward to my upcoming Christmas Themed RedBox Instant party later this month! :)

 
Monster's University was my 1st FREE Kiosk Rental!
I just HAD to buy appropriately themed Rice Krispie Treats to go along with my movie night! :)
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Check Out "Beautiful Goodies!" (Giveaway Recommendation)


Interested in checking out another blog, other than mine? You HAVE to check out “BeautifulGoodies”. It’s another “Plain Jane” type of girl who’s looking to expand her beauty horizons. I stumbled upon her by following one of my Twitter suggestions. She has an amazing blog that features the "411" on monthly beauty box subscriptions and much, much more!

She has an exciting “End of Autumn GIVEAWAY!!!” that ends Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. There is still plenty of time to enter and I highly recommend not only entering, but taking a minute or two to read her other blog posts. She has an amazing presence on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.

Good luck!!!


BlogLovin'

I can now be found on BlogLovin!

 
<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11287339/?claim=n5uwzbjm5hn">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Make Your Food Fabulous!


 
Being on a diet or trying to eat healthy does NOT have to be a prison sentence. In fact, if you look at it that way, you are only setting yourself up for failure. You should enjoy your food and create an enjoyable experience out of every meal. Get excited about those greens!


You’ve heard the age-old suggestions of: “don’t watch TV while you eat,” “eat at a dining room table,” etc. Well, I know those are grand suggestions, but if your life is anything like mine, you (1) don’t have much down time as it is, and (2) cannot locate your dining room table as it is filled with a collection of the most recent week’s events: your purse, keys, mail, and random unidentifiable objects that are now lost in the abyss of your dining room table. However, just because you choose to eat on your bed while watching your favorite Lifetime Movie, or pop in a Red Box rental while using a TV tray as your table, that does not mean that your food should be lack-luster as well.

Take a few extra minutes to spruce up your entrée; add garnishes to prettify your meals, use fancy dishes, and whip out those gorgeous napkins that you save for only once-in-a-blue-moon occasions! Make every meal a special occasion! Personally, I try to at least make my week-night dinners “pretty,” but breakfast and lunch tend to be quick and eaten in my cubicle at work. Buuuuuuut, when the weekend rolls around, I turn-on my Martha Stewart skills and try to make each meal special.

One quick and easy breakfast “recipe” that I use on the weekend is:

·         Crystal Light (I always have a pitcher of this in the fridge. It’s ZERO calories and T-A-S-T-Y!!!)

·         1 Apple

·         2 Eggs

·         2 Boca Breakfast Links (“sausages”)

Prettifying Items Needed

·         Wine glass (or some other fancy glass)

·         One strawberry

·         Cinnamon

·         Garnish (some green leafy item – you will not eat this, so as long as it looks pretty, it doesn’t matter what it is lol)

For your breakfast beverage, pour yourself a glass of your favorite Crystal Light flavor. Then, after cleaning / removing the stem from the strawberry, slice into it (NOT all the way through, just enough to place it onto your glass – see pic below).

Instead of chomping into that apple like an Amazon, slice it, place it on a pretty plate, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Prepare the eggs to your preference (I prefer over-easy and runny – try and use EVOO, a non-stick pan, and/or non-fat cooking spray), nuke those “sausages,” and place both items delicately onto a pretty plate.

Lastly, add your green garnish and wipe the plate clean of any spots/splatters (from the egg). Ta-da! A VERY easy, low carb, filling, and FABULOUS breakfast!  

 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Easy-Peazy Everyday Look


If you know me personally, you know that I do not wear makeup very often; however, I want to improve upon that aspect of my life. I like makeup that enhances your natural beauty rather than hiding yourself behind a painted mask. A few days ago, I received my recently purchased “Today’s Special” from HSN (the Home Shopping Network). It was a Benefit Cosmetics “Get Real Glamour 4-Piece Collection” for under $40. If you would like to purchase this set, it is now priced at $50 (free shipping):

 
I used this set (products listed below) along with a few other staple items to create an “easy-peazy” everyday look; see pictures below.

Products Used

[Benefits Cosmetics “Get Real Glamour 4-Piece Collection”]
  • Bad Gal Eyeliner Pencil – Extra Black
  • Fine One One (for cheeks)
  • Peek-A-Bright Eyes Compact (for eyes)
  • They’re Real Mascara – Jet Black (included in kit, but NOT used for this look)

[Staple Items]
  • Benefit Boi-ing Full Coverage Concealer (Shade: Light 01)
  • Benefit BADgal Lash Ultra Black Mascara
  • ModelCo Lipstick Lip Couture – Color: Emily
  • Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara (for brows)
It was my first time using the Benefits “Get Real Glamour 4-Piece Collection” and I INSTANTLY fell in love!!! The instructions provided included pictures and all of the products were uber easy to use. If you’re a newbie to makeup and want something easy, yet stunning, GET THIS KIT!!! I’m also new to the Benefit Boi-ing Concealer and Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara; both of these products have earned a place in my “staple” makeup collection kit. They’re super easy and fool-proof to apply. I LOVE how my lashes look with the BADgal Lash Mascara (full and separated lashes with NO clumps) and the Boi-ing Concealer was perfect for the dark circles under my eyes.

I’ve always used Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara for my brows and on very lazy days where I know I’ll rub my eyes, I slap that puppy on my lashes as well. Lastly, the ModelCo Lipstick was included in my “Beauty Box 5” October subscription box and OMGosh! I LOOOOOVE this lipstick. I don’t normally wear lipstick, but this tube has totally changed my philosophy on lipstick. It is very buttery and blends in nicely with the natural color of my lips. The tube even has a little mirror on the side of it; tré cute!


If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Bite-Sized Green Bean Casserole


Thanksgiving is right around the corner; and you know what that means… food, food, and MORE food!!! However, for those of us who do not have a hummingbird metabolism, we must watch what we eat. I have many classic holiday food favorites, but my most guilty pleasure is the famous “green bean casserole;” the one with a billion crunchy fried onions on top – you know the one. I could probably eat nothing but that for Thanksgiving dinner and be content.  Traditionally, my family makes it with frozen French-Cut Green Beans, canned Cream of Mushroom Soup, slivered almonds, and topped with French’s French Fried Onions. Easy, fattening, and delicious!

This year, I’m coming up with an alternative Thanksgiving dinner menu; however, I am not willing to give up the classics. Therefore, I’m scouring the internet for healthier alternatives and/or unique spins on my fattening filled favorites. One discovered gem that I would like to share with you is a portion controlled spin on “green bean casserole”. The original recipe, and picture, comes from a blog entitled “She Makes and Bakes” and the link is below:


I decided to slightly deviate from her recipe and stick more with my family’s easy “green bean casserole”. If you would like to cut-down on the cooking time, try my recipe below; otherwise, click on the link above and have fun!

Ingredients

·         1 Small Frozen Bag of French-Cut Green Beans

·         1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

·         1 Small Bag of Slivered Almonds

·         1 Small Container of French’s French Fried Onions

·         15 Large Mushrooms (rinsed and stems removed)

·         Cooking Spray

Recipe

You will most likely have leftover “green bean casserole” mixture leftover; feel free to make more or less mushrooms depending on the number of guests at your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Make the Green Bean Casserole!

1.       Thaw the frozen green beans. Once thawed, cut them into ¼”pieces (they have to be small enough to fit into the mushroom).

2.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.       Using a food processor (or blender), chop the slivered almonds once or twice to make them into smaller pieces (they have to be small enough to fit into the mushroom). If you do not have either device, simply use a knife and cut each slivered almond in half.

4.       In a mixing bowl, combine the green beans and almonds. Slowly incorporate the cream of mushroom soup; mixing all of the ingredients together. Add more or less of the cream of mushroom soup, depending on your preference.

5.       Evenly spread the casserole mix into a casserole dish and set aside.

Prep the Mushrooms!

6.       Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.

7.       Rinse the mushrooms and remove the stems. Don’t waste the stems! Use them in a salad for later.

8.       Lay the mushrooms on the sheet pan, hole-side up. Make sure there is no liquid inside the mushroom caps.

Oven Time!

9.       Put the green bean casserole into the oven for 25 minutes; or until cooked (should be bubbly).

10.   After the casserole has been in the oven for 5 minutes, put the mushrooms in as well. Both the casserole and mushrooms will cook together for the remaining 20 minutes.

Assembly Time!

11.   Take the mushrooms and casserole out of the oven (leave the oven on); be sure to stir the casserole.

12.   Leaving the mushrooms on the sheet pan, place a spoonful of the casserole into each mushroom cap and top with one French’s Fried Onion. Resist the urge to eat the rest of the French’s Fried Onion container!!!

13.   Put the filled and topped mushroom caps back into the oven for approximately 2 – 5 minutes; or until the French’s Fried Onion is golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

 

Quick-n-Easy Soft Tacos – Olé!

 
Finding time to make a well-balanced and healthy week-night meal can seem impossible. However, with slight preparation on the weekend and an inexpensive “chicken-cheat” from your local grocery store, you too can make this impossibility a reality!
Ingredients
Ø  Xtreme Wellness! – High Fiber & Low Carb Tortilla Wraps
Ø  Fat Free or Light Sour Cream
Ø  Already Cooked Rotisserie Chicken
o   You should be able to find one at your local grocery store; before 7:00 PM
Ø  Fat Free Shredded Cheese
Ø  Shredded Lettuce
Ø  Sliced Olives
Ø  Salsa
Ø  Avocado
Ø  Tomatoes
Ø  Onion
Ø  Lime
Ø  Cilantro
Ø  Sliced Jalapeños
Directions
The quantity of each ingredient will depend on the number of people you plan to serve and individual taste preference.
1.      Completely destroy the chicken! Remove all skin / fat and discard. Strip the meat off of the bones and place into a reusable container (Lock & Lock is my preferred brand).
2.      Once the chicken is inside the container, shred the meat to your liking.
3.      Slice the avocado into thin strips or cubes (1/4 of an avocado per person).
4.      Dice the tomatoes and onions.
5.      Cut the lime into quarters (1/4 of a lime per person).
6.      Clean and loosely shred the cilantro.
7.      Open the salsa, sliced jalapeños, sliced olives, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
8.      Begin the taco construction!
9.      When separating the tortillas, be extremely gentle. They are very thin and have a much different texture than regular flour tortillas – but, they still taste amazing and are surprisingly good for you!
10.  Spread approximately 1 tbsp. of sour cream into the center of your tortilla.
11.  Place one handful of warm shredded chicken on top of the sour cream.
12.  Quickly sprinkle ½ a handful of shredded cheese over the warm chicken.
13.  Place a handful of shredded lettuce over the melting cheese.
14.  Depending on preference, place other toppings onto your taco – the more veggies the merrier!
15.  Once the masterpiece is complete, gently take both sides of the taco and wrap it into a burrito-like shape. Then, “seal” the taco by running your fingers along the seam. The odd texture of the tortilla actually helps keep the taco closed.
16.  Ta-da! Quick and delicious!
 
 
Tips
Ø  To help keep all of your produce fresh longer, consider investing in “Debbie Meyer Green Boxes or Green Bags”.
o   You can cut-up all of your ingredients ahead of time and store them in these containers.
Ø  Use the shredded chicken for multiple creations!
o   Tacos, Homemade Soup, Salads, etc. – get creative!