Monday, October 16, 2017

The Hilarious Debate Behind the Ariana Grande Album Photo



Any fans of Ariana Grande in the room? Well, if you are than you know of her album cover:

Well it started out with Jesse McLaren tweeting a photo of himself attempting to do the same thing himself on a stool -


Obviously, the outcome was quite different for him than it was for Ariana.

Some fans jumped in of course trying to point out the obvious flaws in the science of the balance, such as the lack of heels:


Or maybe it was the lack of ponytail as another one posted -

And then some further attempts happened and some people were actually fair successful -


And then to top off the hilarity, even Ariana chimed in herself.


So, time for you guys to debate - how do you think she did it?

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Ozeri High Velocity Desk Fan - Review



Some of the best quality fans I've received came from Ozeri. They are one of my favorite brands and I was so excited to review this desk fan of theirs. This summer was an awful one and I made sure to keep myself stocked with fans. Even old ones. And this was one that was a prime feature near wherever I was sitting almost all summer long.

Ozeri Brezza Oscillating 10" High Velocity Desk Fan has a variety of perks and maybe only one slight downside that I noticed. First of all, it's oscillating feature - it worked pretty well. I kept this on a side table between couches and it went 90 degrees. So I immensely appreciated that. It's only a touch awkward to stop it from oscillating and making sure you've stopped it at the right point. The fan gusts are pretty strong considering it's small size as well. One of the things that I noticed is that it is a tad boxy. So it kind of takes up more space than I would have liked but not by much at all. It's truly a desk fan, but it's not narrow.

Overall, if you are still suffering with warm temperatures and haven't yet been able to embrace the cool fall season, get this fan. It's a fantastic thing for an office or dresser. It's best used if you are sitting right in front of it or are standing right in front of it though. It probably cannot cool an entire room of people who aren't sitting near it.  And one thing I can say about Ozeri is that their products are long lasting. I've had a couple of their fans for couple of years now and they are still working great.

Come by Amazon and purchase one for $34.18 (price as of this post today). Purchase now 

I received the above item in exchange for my honest review.
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

5 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women Under $35

Photo by wuestenigel


Okay so it is a TAD early to talk about this, but it's October at least, right? But if you are in need of a few ideas for gifts, I think you should sit down and take a read of this blog post. I have a few ideas for you that won't break the bank. Most of these items I've reviewed before but I think they're worthy of being on the list and considered for gift giving season.

1) Nyakio Lip Balm



I had the chance to try this out recently and I have to say I really like this lip balm. My lips tend to be on the sensitive side and I always appreciate when I find a lip balm that I can put on my skin without any irritation or dryness. And this does exactly that! They also have lip scrub which is a way to gently exfoliate your lips and get rid of any unnecessary skin. Also an amazing thing. Considering the dry weather, I think anyone appreciates the extra help with lip skin care.

Purchase the Nyakio Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish (Exfoliate) for $22.  And here is that amazing Lip Balm for $22

2) 98 Degrees Christmas Album



Okay, so I posted about this a few weeks ago and I think this needs to be added to gift list, especially if you know this person to be a 98 Degrees fan. Their Let it Snow CD is up for only $13.98, which makes it a relatively decent price for a small gift that you are cramming into a sock. Visit their website for purchasing details

Check out my original post all about it here or visit the 98 Degrees website for more details.

3) Cocomels Candy



Cocomels! Okay, so I had the chance to try these last year but I also had the chance to try out their chocolate drops. These are amazing. They're flavorful and dairy and gluten free.

If you are seeking a treat for someone with an allergy of some kind, you may want to consider these. I like these candies a lot and happened to give these to a coworker who was going dairy free for the sake of their newborn and she was so excited about these! So treat yourself or someone else this holiday season and stuff these in that stocking.

Check out my full review here and check out their website to purchase.

4) Fran's Chocolates.



Okay, chocolate by Fran's is particularly amazing and rich tasting. I've had the chance to try their chocolates quite a few times and I've been pleased and impressed both times. Check out my review of their chocolates last winter. Delectable chocolates is never a wrong gift to give either for a chocolate lover.

Check out my full review here and check out their website to purchase.

5) Flat Out of Heels Flats



Okay I had the chance to try this out a couple of weeks ago and these flats are surprisingly durable. Especially since I've used them a few times to walk to my bus stop in the morning and in the afternoon coming from work. I think these are probably best suited for walking around in the mall or if you are at work and you need a break from the shoes that pinch your feet. Overall, an excellent gift I think.

Check out my full review or check out their website to shop now. 

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Instacart vs Amazon Prime Now: Differences, Similarities, and Which I Prefer



I'm a regular online grocery shopper. Although I do occasionally shop in the store, I'd say the majority of my monthly grocery budget goes towards online grocery shopping sites. There are two major websites - Instacart and Amazon Prime Now. Thanks to my recent free trial of Amazon Prime Now, I now can say I've tried both. They seem similar and I've heard rave reviews of both. Now it's my turn to add in my two cents:

Instacart

Instacart is a grocery delivery service where it can deliver to you in an hour. I've been using them for a couple of years now and except for a few snafus in service, I've generally been really happy with their service.

Amazon Prime Now

Amazon Prime Now offers up the same - two hour grocery delivery. They offer delivery services through Amazon itself and local grocery stores who have partnered with them.

First Major Difference - Departments

First, the website. At Instacart.com homepage, when you've logged in, you have a variety of things you can do. Change what store you are looking at, look for food based on department, search coupons, and view which last items you've purchased to add them to a list.




Here's one major difference. At Amazon Prime Now, you don't just need to shop for food to get things within two hour. A coworker told me she shopped for a window air conditioner via Amazon Prime Now and got it within two hours. You can tell when they listed the departments:



Second Major Difference: Replacement Items

This is the most noticeable difference between the two sites. As you shop on Instacart, you build your list. As you select which items you want to buy, if it comes across something usually low in stock, it will give you this pop up window -


And let's say you are all done shopping and are on the order page. Once you select the delivery time, you also suggest which items you want replaced and what your replacement choice is or you can also choose to not replace the item at all (if the store doesn't have it). Check this out -

So I ordered bacon -


And I have three options - pick best match, pick specific replacements, or don't replace. Of the three, I recommend pick specific replacement or don't replace it at all. Even the most seasoned Instacart shopper can get the best match wrong, unless you are REALLY sure you don't care about alternative choices. If you specify, you get this screen and then you select which food item you want if they don't have this specific brand -


This aspect of Instacart is far superior to Amazon, in my opinion. You can do this with each item you buy (and I highly recommend it) and even add notes specifying details of the item you've selected to purchase -

Check out the note I added regarding the garlic -


Now for Amazon, you don't get as many item specific options. When you get to the end of the shopping experience, I found I could either ask them to choose the best option if they don't hear from me or not replace it at all, and then I could specify certain items I didn't want replaced -


Major downside to me! I like being able to specify alternative options because I don't want to assume the shopper will choose the alternative I would like. 

Third Major Difference - Personal Shopper Experience

I don't want to criticize this too much. There is one major difference that sets Instacart ahead in my book over Amazon. That is the chat with shopper feature on Instacart -


You can access this on their website as well as their app.and while their shopper is shopping, you can request items, discuss the alternatives they selected, and even add things to your list that you forgot. Of course, humanity itself is imperfect and this isn't always a problem free process. However, this is a perk I enjoy and missed out on with Amazon prime.

Amazon prime primarily doesn't have this feature. If you do request them to select alternatives, you will get a text and you will only have a couple of minutes to respond (don't have that screen shot of the text communication right now). I responded a few minutes too late for the shopper who was shopping for me and they ended up just choosing an alternate. Sadly, it wasn't quite what I wanted, but that's when I decided to just tell Amazon to not replace things for me.

Major Difference Number Four - Wine.

Unfortunately right now, Instacart will not give you wine in two hours. Amazon Prime Now does (based on your area). I wonder if this is area specific though. I just live in Portland, Oregon and that is not the case for Instacart (and is for Amazon). 

Major Similarities Number One - Shipping Price

Both sites charge for shipping and both sites ask for a tip. There are minor differences in the both of them and Amazon wins out ahead by just a little bit here. For orders less than $35, Instacart offers up a $9.99 shipping fee. For Amazon, for orders less than $70, they charge $4.99 (if you order more than $70, shipping is free - at least with the local grocery store I shopped through). 

The confusing aspect to Instacart is their end service charge. This CAN be waived and instead you can add on a tip -


And here's Amazon's site (you can customize the tip and the shipping fee is obvious too) -


Amazon is a bit better here. The tip area is obvious and the shipping fee is too. However, not enough of a difference to me and overall, the cost turns out to be the same in my opinion.

Major Similarities Number Two - The App

I found the apps for the two to be the same for the most part. At least in terms of building the list. Any differences I found to just be existing within the difference in the websites itself. I'll add some screen shots later for visual aids. 

Which I Prefer -

In case you can't figure it out, I obviously prefer Instacart. For their interactive shopper experience and ability to add specific replacement items is what makes them stand out to me. Also, for Amazon Prime Now, you need to be a prime member to use it. For Instacart, you sign up for free and use it right away (they have an Instacart Express subscription which gives you free shipping over $35 and the cost of that isn't worth what you are getting). 

The biggest downside to Instacart is that you don't get the in store deals that you would get if you were shopping yourself. Also, if you want same day delivery, I'd recommend putting in your order before 4 pm. Overall, I've been using them for a couple of years and they have been a saving grace in the winter days when it's icy. 

Sign up for Instacart and get $10 off (I couldn't resist using my referral code here!) with my link and use the code NPYLES125.

I still like Amazon Prime Now. They do have some better pricing I noticed for a few products I shopped for yesterday. Most items turned out to be competitive with Instacart and practically the same. And I do plan on using both, especially since Amazon Prime comes with it's own perks and plus the whole getting wine in two hour thing is a major perk. 

Have you used either Instacart or Amazon Prime Now? What are your thoughts on the differences or similarities?Which do you prefer?

This post includes a referral link and I'll receive a small bonus if you sign up with my link.
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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stargazer Cast Iron Skillet Review & Recipe Round Up




Do you own a cast iron skillet? I've never owned one before and had the chance to review one by Stargazer Cast Iron. It was started by three friends in 2015 after one friend became obsessed with looking for the right skillet. Hobby cook and professional designer Peter Huntley started collecting vintage cookware and used his finds for inspiration.

So like I said, I have never owned a cast iron skillet before and was so excited to review this cast iron skillet by Stargazer. I've not used this for heavy duty recipes, but have just used it for stove top egg recipes and cooking up bacon. What I really liked was how light weight this was! One thing that has always annoyed me about a lot of cookware was how much of a hassle it was to move it around. The handle which is considered a cool handle also with stood heat which made it easy to handle while cooking! After cooking bacon, when I've drained the bacon drippings from it, I don't run across a lot of run off. Which is fantastic because this annoys me immensely with a lot of other cookware.

With all of this in mind, I have for you a round up of recipes that you will definitely want to create with your cast iron skillet! Make sure you check out the Stargazer Cast Iron skillet website. You can purchase a seasoned cast iron skillet for $88.00, so purchase today.

Cast Iron Skiller Recipe Round Up

Easy Steak Fajitas
Recipe

Mashup Mom has an excellent steak fajitas recipe that uses your cast iron skillet. It's made of flavorful healthy ingredients that is also friendly to your budget. My mouth waters just looking at the photographs!

Summer Squash and Tomato Frittata
Recipe

I'm kind of really into the healthy and tasty looking recipes that Mashup Mom creates. This uses summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes and it's sure to be a warm way to welcome the fall season.

Low Carb Portobello Skillet Lasagna
Recipe

I've never been sure about how to use mushrooms in recipes but this serves up an excellent lasagna recipe made up beef, sausage, red pepper, ricotta, and portobello mushroom cups. I know what I'm going to make for dinner soon.

Copycat Chili's Cookie skillet
Recipe

One thing I'm excited to do with this skillet, especially around the holiday season is to make desserts with it. This is a fantastic cookie recipe by Frugal Coupon Living that uses your cast iron skillet and is surprisingly easy and simple to make. You can top it with ice cream to round out the amazingness of it. Check it out!

Peaches & Cream Cobbler
Recipe

I'm really into the idea of using peaches in a dessert recipe. This is a really easy cobbler recipe that uses butter, peaches, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in its ingredients list. And it looks so good!

Chocolate Peanut Butter skillet Cake
Recipe

Something about chocolate and peanut butter in any recipe name makes my tastebuds jump for joy. Best of all, this is incredibly easy to make! It uses peanut butter, chocolate, and other simple ingredients to make up a really tasty dessert. You must try this!

Arugula and Sausage Pasta Skillet
Recipe

One thing that I love about this recipe by Upstater Ramblings is it looks so tasty but also healthy. It uses olive oil, sausage, cherry tomatoes, arugula and pasta. Make this up in your skillet and your hungry mouths at home will be wanting more.

One Skillet Chicken Asparagus
Recipe

It's rare when I think asparagus looks tasty but Saving Dollars and Sense offers up a great looking recipe that saves you money AND makes your mouth water. Check out this chicken recpe that you will definitely want again.

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie Recipe
Recipe

This is an excellent dessert recipe and I love the recommendation to use this for camping. It uses a variety of pudding mixes as well as butterfinger and heath toffee bits. I know you will want to try this!

Apple Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breast
Recipe

Before we know it, we will all be planning recipes for the holiday season. This is something I think you should add to your list. This turkey breast recipe by Hello Creative Family blog is an excellent one for your cast iron skillet uses apples, cranberries, turkey breasts, pumpkin pie spice and stuffing. This makes me want Thanksgiving to be here!

Iron Sillet Apple Pie
Recipe

The fall season is an great time for apples and why not make apple pie with your cast iron skillet? I think that is an excellent idea and the Jenny Revolution blog has a fantastic one for you. And it's ingredient list is surprisingly short, which always appeals to me. Check it out!

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Thighs
Recipe

I really like when I can find new ways to make chicken. Mommy Musings has a tasty looking chicken recipe that uses a balsamic glaze. YOu will definitely want this for dinner.

Cast Iron skillet Pear Tart
Recipe

I love the ideas of baking with pears! This pear tart looks so good and uses pears, nutmeg and cinnamon in it's ingredients. I think it's gauranteed to be a hit.

Veggie Frittata
Recipe

I love the ingredients in this recipe crated by Robyn's World blog. This has so many good ingredients including garlic, onion, chard, zucchini, and hashbrowns! Check out the recipe to see how good this looks.

Sausage and Gnocchi
Recipe

This is another really tasty looking recipe and it looks easy to make too. It uses chicken sausage, gnocchi, basil, tomatoes and paramsean cheese. This looks like it would be a hit for dinner!

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie
Recipe

Ah I love cast iron skillet cookies! This one is so easy to make too! Must Have Mom creates a skillet recipe with easy ingredients and a must have to create with your cast iron skillet.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe

This really makes me excited for the fall season! You'll be really into these pumpkin pancakes and they're sure to be a hit for breakfast. Check out this recipe by Eating on a Dime!

Honey Lime Glazed Salmon
Recipe

Salmon! You guys I needed a salmon recipe and I had no idea how to make it with cast iron skillet. Be sure to serve this to your family at dinner time and you will be glad you did.

Remember, check out stargazer Cast Iron to purchase your 10.5 inch cast iron skillet. I think you will love it! Purchase today.

Be sure to also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I received the above item in exchange for my honest review.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

If You Are Into Wine, This Web Series is For You



While I am not what you call a wine aficionado, I do enjoy a glass of wine at night. I really enjoy looking at the bottles in the store and am a huge fan of the movie Sideways. So, that's where I'm at with my wine expert-ness. And if you are like me and have just a mild curiosity about wine or maybe you are way off the charts and know wine backwards and forwards, I think you should you check out the new web series by Bellangelo.

What makes this wine web series unique is that it's described as being a journal of the wine making process. From growing the grapes to what gets put onto the store shelves, this wine series is meant to show it all.  It's also designed to entice those of us who wish we could quit the usual 9-to-5 grind and pursue something that's a bit out of the norm. And the story of Bellangelo winery is just about that. The Missick family started out in successful construction and law careers but gave that up to pursue their dreams in making wine.

So with that in mind, onto the web series. Their first video has been posted and it's about a minute and a half long. It's called their "Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Journal." It starts out showing the most important part of the wine making process - the grape vines. It takes a close look at a row of vines and some workers surrounding them and then takes us to a bird's eye view of the grape vines as if we were flying overhead. And the cool thing is that it really takes you into the process of wine making that you just don't get to see. At least, I haven't!

Make sure you check out the first video -



And subscribe to their page online to get alerts about the others and more of what their posting!

You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook .

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Activity Alert! Marshmallow Math



So as the winter season comes around the corner, the purchasing of marshmallows are increasing by so much! Anyone else gearing up for hot chocolate and marshmallows at night? So I have a fun activity to share with you courtesy of Education.com. It's called Marshmallow Math And it's no secret that children absolutely love marshmallows. It's also not a secret that children don't always love math. But put the two things together and you've got some fun activities that will get your child excited about math basics like estimation, measurement, area, and counting. They'll have so much fun, they won’t even know they're doing math! Here some ideas for marshmallow math games you can play with your kindergartner.
What You Need
Bag of miniature marshmallows
Clear glass
Spoon
Mugs
Piece of paper
Post It Notes

What You Do:
Estimation Game: For this guessing game, place an amount of marshmallows (anywhere from 1-12 marshmallows) in a clear glass. Have your child estimate or guess the number of marshmallows in the glass. If he's correct or only 1 number off, allow your child to eat a marshmallow! You can try it several times with different amounts of marshmallows.
Measurement Game: Help your child use marshmallows as units of measurement to measure different objects. How many marshmallows long is a spoon? Lay a spoon on the table. Show your child how to line the marshmallows up next to the spoon. How many marshmallows long is your hand? Mom’s hand? Find other items he can measure.
Area Game: Help your child draw a square on a piece of paper. How many marshmallows can fit inside? Try this with different sized squares as well as other shapes. Help your child count if it’s a big number.
Counting Game: Set out some mugs. Think about numbers your child needs to work on. Write the number on a post it note and stick it on the mug. Have your child drop the correct amount of marshmallows into the mug. If correct, eat one.
For each of these different games, while you and your child are playing the game, talk to him about the particular math concept he is exploring with each particular game. And if you and your child want to snack on a few marshmallows while you're playing your marshmallow math games, well then that's okay too!

Hooray! Your child has completed many marshmallow math activities and practiced some important math concepts along the way! Celebrate by making hot cocoa with some marshmallows!
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