Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Get on Up! - Movie Review and Giveaway [Ends 2/15]

One of the coolest movies I saw (on a very awkward date, I might add) was Ray. To me the music and the story behind the real man was interesting to me and made me enjoy his music even more. So when I saw that Get On Up! was coming out James Brown I had a gut feeling that I might really enjoy it because of how much I enjoyed 'Ray.'

Here's some info about the movie:

Get On Up stars Chadwick Boseman (42, Draft Day) in yet another career-making performance as Brown, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Oscar®-nominee Viola Davis (The Help, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer (The Help, Fruitvale Station), Nelsan Ellis (The Butler, “True Blood”), Oscar-nominee Dan Aykroyd (Driving Miss Daisy, Ghostbusters), Craig Robinson (This is the End, Hot Tub Time Machine) and Jill Scott (Why Did I Get Married, Baggage Claim).

James Brown’s ferocity, talent and ambition propelled him from his hardscrabble South Carolina roots to some of the most prestigious musical venues in the world, earning him a reputation as “the hardest working man in show business.” Get On Up takes audiences behind the scenes of his brilliant, six-decade-long career for an uncensored look at the turbulent forces that drove the legendary performer.

First of all, the actor who played James Brown, Chadwick Boseman did an excellent job. I think he played a perfect James Brown - he moved like him, had the same attitude and demeanor. Octavia Spencer as his mom was really good too and I connected with her character immediately. The movie did an interesting approach showing James Brown success and drive to perform and make music alongside the struggles of his childhood. I was very impressed! At first I didn't think I would like the switch between his past and the present but I think it did a really good job at showing the contrast of where he came from and how he grew up to the man he had become and made you just appreciate how hard he had to work to get there.

I would say if you are a fan of James Brown you will want to see this movie. I have to say I think it's also really cool that Mick Jagger produced this movie too. I got a huge kick out of the references to the Rolling Stones in the movie!

Overall this is a huge win for me this movie! Make sure you check it out.

I have the chance to giveaway a copy for one lucky reader! You will receive a Blu-ray combo pack copy of Get On Up ALONG with 1 Blu-ray copy of the classic, The Blues Brothers (which features both James Brown and Dan Aykroyd) and 1 pair of sunglasses. Giveaway ends 2/15.

If can't wait for the giveaway to be over to get your own copy, purchase your copy on Amazon.com.
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I received this movie in exchange for my honest review.
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazing Foods for Life Gluten Free Baking Mixes - Review and Giveaway [Ends 2/8]

Rarely do you find me doing a lot of baking, but one thing I have always wanted to find an easy solution to was making pancakes. It's not like I don't like them, but you have to make them one at a time most of the time and by the time the cook gets to their batch, everyone else is ready for more!
So I had the chance to try some baking mixes by Amazing Foods for Life and when I received their amazing pancake mix, I thought I would give pancakes a brand new spin.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. After that, for the most part, the process is the same. You follow all of the directions listed out on the packaging. The only thing I added was about one teaspoon of cinnamon. I would also recommend about a teaspoon of vanilla extract too.

You take your muffin tin and you butter the tin thoroughly. If you have them, I recommend using baking cups, because although these pancake muffins don't stick to the pan, they are very light and you run the risk of them falling apart as you try to take each one out when they're done.

Anyways, after you've mixed the ingredients you feel each muffin tin with the pancake mix, with about 1/4 inch room at the top.



 
 
I baked these for about 15 - 20 minutes, but check on these to be sure they are done thoroughly otherwise they may come out gooey (and not in a good way) if they are out of the oven too soon.

Overall, I these pancake muffins were perfect. Also what I loved about them was the fact that they didn’t have a whole lot of sugar in them and they were extremely easy to make. I made these with the Amazing Foods for Life Pancake mix and I really loved this mix because of all the healthy stuff in it! Plus, it’s gluten free too and with the texture and flavor of these muffins, you wouldn’t even tell that they were gluten free.





I also had the chance to try their Chocolate Banana Muffin mix. It was good but I’m not a huge fan of the banana in it and next time I may try to make the banana muffin mix without the banana. Lastly, I made their cookies with their Oatmeal Cookie mix and this was really tasty as well!

I definitely plan on buying these for myself, especially the pancake mix. These were just amazing in general and I hope to see these in more stores. If you are a lucky Californian, you might just find them in a store near you. Just follow this link to find out
. For those of us who live elsewhere, you can find their products online and purchase them from their website. Also another major perk is that their prices are really reasonable. Each mix is about $6.75 and right now if you order 3 bags you can get FREE shipping! I plan on taking advantage of that!

Be sure to follow them on Facebook. And they have an maxing new design and one lucky reader will receive one of each of their products (certified organic and gluten free):

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Oatmeal Rasin Cookie
Pizza Crust
Sugar Free Pancake and Waffle (Sweetened with Stevia) 

Giveaway ends 2/8.



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I received free products in exchange for my honest review.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

30 Days of Giveaways with Zazzle.com! [Ends 2/21]

This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive compensation if you purchase via the link provided.

I am so excited to tell you about this giveaway going on with Zazzle.com. You have the chance to win a prize from one of their creative product makers every single day. PLUS if you don't win the daily prize, you get entered to win the grand prize of $1000 each day you enter.

Follow the link to enter! 30 Days of Maker Giveaways on Zazzle
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Friday, January 16, 2015

10 Songs That Make Me Feel Like I Can Take On The World

I know we all have those days where we feel just down and out and pummeled by life. And sometimes the right song comes along and re-ignites that fire and you just feel like you can do anything. So since it's Friday and we all need the extra help to get through the day, I thought I would put together a list of 10 songs that make me feel like I can take on the world.

 1) Piano & I - by Alicia Keys 

 Something about the lyrics, "Always got to try; no matter how long that sh!t take..." makes me feel like I not only should try, but can try.

 

 2) Think by Aretha Franklin

 Everyone needs a little bit of "sass" in their day and this song has it. I mean it just makes me want to strut and tell people like it is.

 

3) Chandelier by Sia 

 This song has a tragic quality to it yet feels free at the same time. Every time I listen to it it makes me want to let go of inhibitions which is a very good thing when it comes to my personal fiction writing.

 

 4) A Good Day (Morning Song) - Priscilla Ahn 

 Okay this is a perfect morning song if you are not a morning person. If I listen to this way early in the morning it relaxes me into the day and I feel like I will have a good day.

 

 5) Bang Bang by Jessie J., Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj 

This song always makes me want to yell and sing along at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately, most of the time I'm listening to it is when I'm on the bus, so I just have to imagine it. But if you ever need a boost and want to sing something in the shower or while you get dressed for your day, blast this one.

 

 6) Runnin' Down a Dream - Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers 

 Just the way the song starts out makes it for an awesome morning song to get you going and start the day. And the lyrics, '...runnin' down a dream, that never would come to me" speaks to anyone who's ever tried for something.

 

7) Thunderstruck by ACDC 

There's a funny story to this one because my mom's car has slowly fallen apart (and now it's sort of officially no longer with us) and one of the last songs it was ever able to play on it's little engine that could radio is this one. I thought that was an awesome send off for the car. I actually wasn't there at the time, but my mom tells me this story every time this song plays and I just smile every time.

 

 8) Praise the Lord All Nations - by Ron Kenoly

I actually used to go to this church as a little kid and saw them playing it. It's just as uplifting and motivating as looks like and sounds like in the video.

 

 9) Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf

This is another one that makes me smile every time I listen to it and boosts my mood no matter what.

10) I Believe in You by Il Divo and Celine Dion 

 Nothing like watching hunky opera guys sing a song about believing in me. Can't get better than that, can you? Oh how about a Celine Dion ballad thrown in there too.

 
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Van's Gluten Free Foods [Review and Giveaway ends 1/30]





I've seen Van's Foods in stores but this is the first time I've really had the chance to try them. What I already appreciate about Van's Foods is that they are certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Since going gluten free last year, I've made it my goal to find really good food items that are gluten free that taste JUST as good as their gluten brethren. Although reading over their FAQ, I did notice that their facilities aren't gluten free. So depending on your sensitivity to gluten, keep that in mind. However they do practice excellent cross-contamination prevention methods and I really appreciate that! Read more here.

I tried out two different foods - their waffles as well as their crackers. Luckily, I picked up both of these items at my local grocery store so they weren't hard to find at all. (I usually shop at Safeway by the way mostly because it is very convenient to my home!).

First, for their waffles. I did enjoy the waffles, although I wish I could have found a different flavor. I thought the flavor I chose was good, but if you visit their website, they have SO many you can choose from. Personally I think I would go for a flavor that has a bit more pizzaz in it. Also I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for their french toast sticks because those look VERY good.

Second, I tried out their Gluten Free Say Cheese! Crackers. These were tasty! They were extra salty which I loved. Also you don't even recognize that you're having something without gluten because they are just that good. I will definitely pick these up at the store next time I visit. These would definitely make for a great snack to have with lunch. Also, if you check out the link here, you may notice that these aren't too many calories. So overall I didn't feel guilty at ALL having these.

The one thing I really like about Van's is how much variety they have! If you visit their website you can see all the things you get to choose from if you have a gluten allergy.

To find out the store nearest to you that sells Van's products, visit their website. Also, get some great deals and coupons by signing up for the Van's eclub and make sure you read their blog for tasty recipe ideas! You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Best of all I get to giveaway three coupons for free Van's products to one lucky reader! Enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends 1/30.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received free product coupons in exchange for my honest review.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year, New You Challenge - Zazzle Giveaway [1/12]



We’re looking for you to create a fabulously fantastic collection on Wanelo titled “New Year, New You” where you include products that represent your New Year’s resolutions.

If you enter, you can chance to win one of the following amazing prizes:

ONE GOLD PRIZE : $75 Zazzle Gift Certificate and feature of 9 products from your collection on Zazzle blog

ONE SILVER PRIZE: $50 Zazzle Gift Certificate

ONE BRONZE PRIZE: $25 Zazzle Gift Certificate

How to enter:

1. Follow the Zazzle store on Wanelo

2. Create a collection on Wanelo.com titled “New Year, New You”

3. Tag every product in your collection #zazzlenewyou

4. Add at least 4 Zazzle products, and include at least 9 products total in your collection

5. Fill out this form to submit your collection

For a full description of the challenge please visit Wanelo Collections Challenge 



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Pereg Gourmet Review and Giveaway [Ends 1/25]

I am always on the hunt for healthy food items - particularly healthy food items that are gluten free, taste good, and aren't strange. A very difficult task I have to say!

I had the chance to try out some of their gluten-free noodles and their dried beans and I was pleasantly surprised! First of all they truly have a wide variety of options for both gluten-free and non gluten-free people, which I really appreciated. Pereg Gourmet was established in 1906 and is a family business passed down from generation to generation. You know how I love businesses that stay close like that, so I loved reading this!

For their gluten free noodles, I tried their quinoa spaghetti and curvo rigate. I also had the chance to try their black beans and chili beans.

I definitely enjoyed myself when I had the gluten free noodles. I would really suggest something creamy when you make it, because I had mine as Alfredo pasta dish and it was really good. I would say the taste of the quinoa noodles was hearty, a little nutty tasting and thick texture. I don't think I would have liked the curvo rigate with regular pasta sauce. With the quinoa spaghetti noodles I DID try them with pasta sauce but I added a lot of spices and included some ground meat so the flavor was really packed in there. I did enjoy them, too. I thought the texture was different than what I am used to but I really loved the flavor.

For the black beans and chili beans, I did enjoy those and I made them in the best time of year (when it's REALLY COLD there is nothing like chili or black beans and rice). I did their recipe for the black beans and it's more involved than what I would usually do for black beans. I'm thinking though you can modify the recipe any which way you want to. What I loved about the beans that I received they were quality. I especially enjoyed the chili beans, mostly because I had gotten the hang of how to make them!

Overall I highly HIGHLY recommend checking out Pereg Gourmet and purchasing their food. They have such great selections - you won't be disappointed! Plus their prices are really good and you can get amazing deals on spices (which can be EXTREMELY expensive in grocery stores). Make sure you visit their website and see what you can find to try!

You can visit Pereg Gourmet's website,  follow them on Facebook, and follow them on Pinterest. Also be sure to check out their recipes to get some tasty ideas!

I am also so excited to announce that I am giving away the curvo rigate quinoa noodles and chili beans! Giveaway ends on 1/25. Enter via Rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received complimentary items in exchange for my honest review.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Deal Alert! Save Money With Plum Organics at Target Stores

This post contains affiliate links which I will receive small compensation if you click, download, or purchase through the link. 

It's been a while since I've had the chance to tell you about some great deals! The latest one I want to share is with Plum Organics and they are having an AMAZING sale at Target stores right now.

The coupon I have is $2.00 OFF any Plum Organics item and it's an exclusive item at Target stores. Simply click on the image below or follow this link to print YOUR coupon! 

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Liane Fried Art Studio - Gift Certificate Giveaway [Ends 1/24]]

Anyone else really sad that the holidays are over? I sure am! My holiday decorations are officially down and I am so sad to see the season end. But onward and upward, right?

Over the Christmas holiday, I had the chance to hang some decorations made by Liane Fried on my amazing Christmas tree. She is such a talented artist and I couldn't wait to feature her work on my blog.

First she's an amazing illustrator (as you can probably by every single item she sells in her store). She describes her creations as being "quirky, whimsical, and colorful" and I absolutely have to agree. I love art that has so pop of color and personality.

I want to feature some of the amazingly creative items she has in her store before I show off the ornaments she sent to me!

Never Enough Time Clock $15

And for all you pet parents out there, check out these adorable magnets!

Cat Magnet Set $21

And for you bookworms -

Bookmarks $6.95

I received several ADORABLE Christmas tree ornaments. Actually this was the first time in a long time that my family and I have had the chance to really decorate on Christmas, so these were such a wonderful addition.

Check out my collage here -



Aren't these ornaments adorable?? Well I must admit my photo taking attempts were downright awful because I was decorating at the same time, but these were such delightful additions to the Christmas decorations.

Also here prices are very reasonable, so if you are looking to treat yourself a bit or maybe give a gift to someone, her creations certainly won't break the bank and they are definitely worth it. They are made of very good material too and they won't fall apart fast.

You can purchase by visiting Liane Fried's website here, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest.

Best of all I get to giveaway a $25 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter below. Ends 1/24. Please note this gift certificate does not include shipping cost.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received complimentary items in exchange for my honest review.
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pearl Olives California Grown Specialties Olives [Review and Giveaway] [Ends 1/18]

I'm back from my mini-blog vacation! I took some time off and basically took off my blogging hat for a while to relax and spend time with family. So that means I have many products and companies to tell you about, and today I'm starting with some of the best olives I've had in a long time. I mean, these were incredible. Remember when I told you about Pearl Olives to Go? These adorable snack packs were so perfect for lunch time (read my review here!)

Pearl Olives are made by the Musco Family Olive Company, a privately held family business that is the leading supplier of olives in America. This company has family roots and has passed on from generation to generation, so make sure you read more about their family history if you have a moment. I tried California Grown Specialties Olives in three different flavors - Spicy Escabeche, Herbs & Sweet Pepper, Garlic, Lemon & Thyme.

These olives were incredible. I can rarely say this about olives, but these were SO tasty and SO flavorful. First of all, I loved all three flavors and each olive container was PACKED with flavor. Usually, olives have a salty, semi-tart taste to them. Trust me, they're good no matter what - I love olives! But these speciatly olives were incredible. Next time I get these, I plan on having a container all to myself. I especially loved the Garlic, Lemon & Thyme, because it comes with little lemon wedges inside and there were actual garlic cloves in them. The herbs & sweet pepper had a ton of peppers in them. And you could see the veggies and jalapenos in the Spicy Escabeche. I was so impressed!

Best of all, these come at a great price. Normally I would expect olives like these to come at an expensive price, but they really aren't expensive at all. They are about $4.49 for a 6 ounce jar. Not bad at all! Now, they aren't in every store, so if you want to purchase these, visit their website and find out the store nearest to you that sells these.  You want to purchase these for your lunch. In fact, I'm fairly certain once you try these, you won't want to share these with anyone else in your home.

And I am so excited to announce that one of my lucky readers will get to win the same three jars of olives that I got to try! Simply enter via the widget below.

Also, make sure you visit Pearl Olive's website and get recipes and find out more about their products.  Also, you can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and follow them on Pinterest. Giveaway ends 1/18/15.

Pearl Specialty Olives

I received this complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.
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