My Own Blog Review

Friday, December 19

We just recently moved to a new state. We accepted this job offer and moved to a place where we know no one! Yes we did that when we moved from Utah to Connecticut for grad school but we had built in friends. We were so blessed to meet two great families who not only share our same religion {you can read more about it here} but had young children! They instantly became lifelong friends. Friendship hasn't come as easily here in Illinois. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet anyone for about 3 weeks. I have made some great friends, but it's just a completely different situation because no one else is in our same situation. Making the transition from being full time students to working is really hard. Like harder than I imagined. Weird right? We're in a weird middle ground because we aren't students but we aren't established either. We're making money but it doesn't really feel like it because student loans nowadays are killer! haha. 
I love doing nice things for people that mean the most to me! Considering none of my family or friends lives anywhere nearby {like not at all!} I wanted to make sure the people my husband sees the most knew how much we care, and how grateful we are for them in our lives. I wouldn't want to make this transition anywhere else, because I have to tell ya, the Midwest is amazing! I really do love the people here. Everyone is SO nice. SO NICE! And I could not be more grateful.

I decided to make a really amazing Rosemary Olive Oil Bread and gift it with bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love this bread, and I think they did to! You must try it.!.
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm water {100-110 degrees}*
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. organic can sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped {or 2 tsp. dried}
  • 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning {or pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil}
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour**
  • 1/2 cup bread flour 
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash
  • dried rosemary for sprinkling

*If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast
**Once my mom couldn't find white whole wheat flour and just used 2 cups of bread flour and it still turned out wonderful

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof
  2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and still until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a floured surface until smooth {about 5 minutes} adding more flour if necessary to prevent sticking
  3. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl and cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour
  4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  6. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes {oven times vary} until the top is golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped


Tuesday, December 16

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveV8Protein #CollectiveBias
We are in the thick of holiday season and I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off from sun up to sun down. When I stay on top of everything {i.e. laundry, dishes, dinner, etc} we all seem to have a better day around here! Take this morning for example: My alarm went off and I immediately hit the snooze button. Fifteen minutes later I'm trying to wake up my toddler, change and feed my infant, find my son's school clothes, make him breakfast and get out the door in 20 minutes. My poor toddler was stressed, my baby was crying and I was asking my toddler to hurry in a not so sweet voice. It wasn't very successful! I know life is so much better when I get everything ready the night before, but I was up late addressing Christmas cards and couldn't keep my eyes open one more minute.
No matter how busy I am our day always goes so much smoother when I go to the gym. My son loves the children's play area and I enjoy getting those two hours of me time working up a sweat. One of my absolute favorite parts of working out is definitely the recovery drink! As in the protein shake.
V8 Protein Bars and Shakes have become a reward for getting myself in the gym and getting a good work out in because I tell myself I can't have one unless I workout. When I keep on a consistent schedule of going to the gym, I begin to crave them. They have become the little indulgence I need everyday. You of course don't have to exercise in order to eat one of these V8 bars or protein shakes, I just use them as a little extra motivation is all!
They are extremely convenient! Gone are the days of me rushing home to make and drink my protein shake within an hour of working out. Now I can keep it in my bag or the car and run off and do errands after my workout. They save me so much time!
These bars are full of healthy, good-for-you ingredients! I enjoy eating a kale salad every now and then but it's a lot easier getting the fiber I need from one bar, instead of eating two cups of Kale. They are also a good source of protein and contain a quarter cup of vegetables. That's impressive! One of my favorite facts about these powerhouse bars is definitely that they don't have high fructose corn syrup in them.
Go find these awesome, convenient, tasty bars and shakes in the health and beauty aisle {near the Pharmacy} at your local Walmart.
You need to try these new V8 Protein Bars and Shakes. See for yourself how easily they can fit into your busy life. Start getting healthier today, and stop going to that one fast food restaurant on the corner!

Be sure to follow V8 on social media:


Thursday, December 11

About 6 months ago I introduced you to CookingPlanit, the cooking app that helps guide you through the entire cooking process from prep to the table. It ensures the entire meal is finished on time and all together!
Well now they have a Meal Planning Service that takes planning, shopping and cooking to a whole new level! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...4!
You can pick one of 4 plans! Under 40 Minutes, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian and Surprise Me! It's truly great for family meal planning. But don't feel too stressed out on choosing just one, because you have access to all 4 plans! And guess what!!! I have a code for a free 60-day trial period, so keep reading.
There are a couple aspects of this plan that really stick out to me! They are recipe scaling and the grocery list. Recipe scaling gives you the ability to adjust the quantities of meals and recipes to 2,4, or 6 servings. The grocery list combines the ingredients of all recipes, which are then categorized by grocery store aisle. You can even add additional grocery items to make a complete list. Your meal plan is delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning.

The cost of the service is
  • $3.99 per month OR
  • $9.99 per quarter OR
  • $34.99 per year
  • The first 30 days are always FREE, and you can cancel at anytime
That's less than a cup of coffee a month. Or so I'm told, ha, I don't drink Coffee! So I guess you could say it's less than a cup of fancy hot chocolate a month!

Visit the Cooking Planit website and sign up for Meal Plans AND THEN enter this promo code:
CPspecial60
{expires 12/31/14}
this promo code gives you a 60 day FREE trial period for the meal plans. You can cancel any time, so go ahead and try it and see how life changing it really is AFTER you enter the giveaway!!!!!

Enter this giveaway for your chance to win one of 3 prizes:
1-Year Meal Planning Subscriptions from Cooking Planit + a $25 Visa GC
2-One-Year Meal Planning Subscriptions from Cooking Planit

Good luck, xoXO!
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To check out this Caprese Salad, and other recipes from Cooking Planit go here. Cooking Planit gives you exclusive access to over 800 chef-tested recipes and thousands of meal combinations. That's my favorite part! Meal combinations. Dinner isn't just one recipe, it's anywhere from 2-3 recipes combined to make up your meal.
Be sure to follow Cooking Planit:

#CookingPlanit

Checkout the other great bloggers involved in this campaign with Cooking Planit



Sunday, December 7

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Oh how I love this time of year. Isn't it just wonderful? It's amazing how the meaning of Christmas continues to evolve. I'm grateful it's not all about gifts for me anymore. Now it's about being with my family, helping my children enjoy such a special time of year, and to reflect on all the blessings in my life. The one thing I'm most grateful for in this whole world is the privilege I have to stay home with my two, sweet boys. I wouldn't change it for the world. Growing up in Utah it wasn't very unusual, but now that I'm raising two boys outside of Utah I have found that it's not the norm. I pass no judgement on anyone who has to work, or who chooses to work, but I'm grateful that we have chosen to live a lifestyle that allows me to stay home with my babies. Another thing that I'm so grateful for is this blog! And all of you. Seriously! Even though I'm so grateful I get to be home it's super nice to have something of my own that helps me improve everyday. We could all use a little extra cash this time of year and I hope YOU win this $500 Visa Gift Card Giveaway.
The giveaway runs through Saturday, December 13. Thank you for entering, and have a great week!

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Wednesday, December 3

Skincare tips and products for your individual needs from industry leaders on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

I'm excited to share another great beauty product company with you! Rodan + Field. Have you heard of it before? Well you have now, and that's all that matters! One thing I love the most about the Rodan + Fields line is it's very customizable for your individual skin needs, which is really important!
Skincare tips and products for your individual needs from industry leaders on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields have developed a recommendation tool based on how they work with their own patients at their practice. It takes less than five minutes and you receive your own personalized recommendations and daily skincare routine. Try it out here!

I love this awesome product! The Redefine Macro exfoliator:
Skincare tips and products for your individual needs from industry leaders on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
Reclaim your skin's radiant glow in just five minutes once a week with the Redefine Macro Exfoliator. This hand-held exfoliation tool sweeps away dead skin cells leaving behind a smoother, healthier-looking and more luminous complexion. Do you know what my favorite part of this product is? It works on keratosis pilaris! Those annoying red bumps. My husband and son get them and they drive me nuts.!. 

I love this tip:
Skincare tips and products for your individual needs from industry leaders on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
I had heard something similar to that years ago. The same idea, but the other tip was to sleep on your back because the gravity will help fight off wrinkles. I try rally hard but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Good to know, right?

The doctors believe in their product so much that they offer a 60-day money back guarantee, even if the bottles are empty! That's faith right there.

Be sure to check out more of what they have to offer, here. If you have any questions be sure to ask Alicia Hunt, her email is ahunt@necolorsri.com

Do you sleep on your stomach or your back?

Monday, December 1

Disclaimer: I am not a beautician. I have no training. This is just what I have done. These are tips compiled from experience, videos we have watched, and my husband's hair stylist back in Utah who has given us tips here and there.
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

When we lived in Utah my husband went to the same hair stylist every 4-6 weeks. She always did such a great job, and really knew how to handle all his {DARN} cowlicks. He's got two on either side of the front middle. Lucky for my boys they both have cowlicks right in front too. Oh well, it's endearing, right? haha.

When we moved to Connecticut for grad school my husband went to several barbers. Unfortunately the barbers he went to were usually busy and unsanitary with their tools. Yuck! Every time he would come home after a haircut he would tell me that I just needed to cut his hair.

Yeah right! Not going to happen. Ever!

Well it did happen. I swore I'd never do it again! It took so long, and we nagged each other over and over again {Unfortunately}.

Well, I did it again.

Believe it or not, all of my haircuts looked better than any of the haircuts he got from the professional barbers while we lived there. Crazy right?

They only got better with each cut. I got more and more confident, and now I'm cutting my 3-1/2 year old's hair too.

It's saving us a lot of money. My husband has a lot of hair. A lot, a lot. And it grows at an amazing rate so he needs to get it cut quite often. I would say he gets about 10 haircuts a year, if he stays up on it. That's around $300 a year. I don't know about you, but that's a lot of money. Then factor in our two boys hair and that would be quite the bill every month.

I get my haircut like twice a year. Now with all the money we're saving I can feel justified with cutting it more often. My hair would appreciate it too! I've been able to pull off waiting longer between cuts and colors but my hair has gotten more grey hairs after each baby. It drives me nuts!

So here's what I do. All I have to say is be patient the first go around. Ask your husband or son to just work with you and help you. Work together! Each haircut you will get better and faster, and it will be worth it in the end! I actually enjoy it now.
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

haha! These pictures look like mugshots! I would never post a picture of myself like this, but my husband loves me so much he doesn't even care. I love it! I should also say, he was watching a football game and not paying attention at all.

Some of the steps you're about to see I have to do 2 or 3 times each just to be sure I get all of his hair even. Like I said, his hair is thick and he has A LOT of it!

Tips:

  • Always stand in front of where you're cutting. Don't move your arm around, move your whole body to face where you're cutting.
  • Cut only before the first two knuckles so you don't cut your fingers.
  • If you use clippers keep your hair dry. If you use scissors be sure to wet your hair.
I used an open #3 attachment on the clippers. Make sure your hair is dry if you use clippers.
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

  • Using the clippers make an upward motion and curve out once you get to the natural roll of the head. 
    • What I mean by that is imagine there is a book right up to your head, and as soon as the book is no longer touching your head flick it up and out. If you went straight up that would not allow you to blend the hair, so be sure to curve out.
  • Change directions with you clippers so you are sure to get all of the hair the same length
    • Use the clippers sideways, up and down, etc.
  • Wet the hair

HORSESHOE: Blend the heavy line
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
  • Start as close to the face as you can get
  • Comb hair forward and back into the fingers
  • Your guide is the shortest piece, and be sure to cut straight up with the roll of the head. DO NOT curve your cut. DO cut straight up!
  • Proceed blending the hair around the head, being sure to stand where you are looking. Don't just move your arms.
  • Go back around the other way so you are sure to make everything even.
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
See how important this blending is?!

TOP:
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
  • Make a mohawk and decide how long you want the top of the hair to be.
  • Pull straight up and cut. Match that length all the way to the back of the hair.
  • The middle is now a different length than the two sides.
  • Take one side at a time and even it out, using the same technique you used while blending only cut off the peak, don't cut straight up.
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com

Cross Check! Check every inch of the head, at different angles. Make sure there aren't any peaks!
{Sidenote: See how I'm holding the comb in the picture above? When you comb the hair back into your hand, place the comb in your other hand like so, so you don't have to put it down and pick it up so often! It is a lot easier than putting it down with every cut.}

TRIM
How To Cut Men's Hair // Basic Haircut For Men and Boys on www.MyOwnBlogReview.com
  • Don't cut into the actual hairline, just trim the bottom, the ears, and sideburns at the natural hairline. Don't cut into the hairline
You can for sure do this! Don't give up after only one try. Trust me. If either of you are nervous maybe wait until the weekend. I suggest watching a few tutorials on YouTube and using this post as a a reminder of what step is next. I found it easier to look at my notes than to watch a 15-20 minute video every time I cut my husband's hair. 

Let me know how it goes! xoXO

Thursday, November 6

As I sit here writing this blog post at a local McDonald's, because we don't have internet at our new home yet, I find myself being very anxious because I can't concentrate at all. My three-year-old son is talking nonstop, walking around the table and doing pretty much anything he can to not eat his cheeseburger. I would let him play in the playplace but my laptop has very little battery and the only plug they have is not within view of where he would be playing. 

The thought came to me to sit, relax and enjoy his little personality. The reason I'm even writing this post right now is because I want to tell you about an awesome personalized book, "I Can Change The World" This book tells children that they can make a difference. 

"The world is a big spinning planet of blue. There are 7 billion people, but only one you!

I decided intead of being so worried about writing a blog post about how great children are, that I would admire how great my child is, at that moment! To be honest it's easier said than done. I am as guilty as anyone of being more concerned with the dishes and piles of laundry than sitting and playing cars with my son. Or letting him watch one more episode of his favorite TV show so I can check something off my list. 

One thing that's so great about "I Can Change The World!" is the confidence it instils in children. As I sit here watching my son one thing I know without a doubt is that he does not lack confidence and he is very motivated to learn and do new things. Here as I write this he drank all his water, and instead of asking me to fill it up for him, he walked to the young woman at the register and asked her to please fill up his water. Small children have the ability to spread kindness and change the world by using manners.
Last week we had a particularly stressful day. My sweet boy came in from playing in the backyard where he had picked a couple flowers just for me. It showed me that even if I have to tell him "No, no, no" for what feels like a million times he still thinks about me and wants me to be happy! 

Have you ever noticed how something as simple as a smile can turn your day around? Even my 6-month old son changes my outlook every single day. His smile is all I need at the end of a long day!
I See Me! is celebrating the launch of "I Can Change the World!" by encouraging fans of all ages to share their smiles. Fans can simply post a photo and caption with hashtag #ShareYourSmile on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.

"I Can Change the World!" comes personalized with your child’s name on the cover and throughout the book. It can be ordered within minutes on ISeeMe.com and it will be delivered within two weeks. I love that you can also include a printed dedication in the beginning of the book and a photo of the child to make it extra special.

I See Me!’s mission is to make children feel special, one book at a time. In addition to personalized storybooks, ISeeMe.com also offers a variety of other unique personalized gifts, including new personalized growth charts, stickers, placemats, puzzles and more. You can order at http://www.ISeeMe.com.

This post has been compensated by Moms Affiliate. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Monday, October 20

How has your fall been so far? Our has been crazy! What a whirlwind this year has been. Between having a baby, my husband graduating from grad school and moving I'm surprised I know which directions is up. If I'm being honest! That may explain to you why you haven't seen many recipes from me. I haven't really had a kitchen to call my own for a couple months. I'm hoping we can get back to a regular routine soon. Like really soon! Hopefully by Thanksgiving...I'm crossing my fingers!
I wanted to let you know about the Free Beauty Events Fall giveaway! I say fall, but I'm pretty sure they are going back to monthly giveaways. Which is pretty exciting! This month they are offering a giveaway featuring a basket full of beauty products and cosmetics worth over $150!

The contest runs through October 31 so go check it out fast! Winners will be chosen on November 1st, and notified by the 15th of the same month! Be sure to like their Facebook page so keep up with all the free makeovers, samples and other giveaways. Like always, you can also enter on their website here.

Wednesday, September 17

Welcome to the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer Giveaway!

I've joined forces with a great group of bloggers to bring you this amazing giveaway. One lucky person will win a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer, valued at $350.

I purchased my amazing KitchenAid when I was given the task of making 360 cupcakes. Three Hundred and Sixty! Whaaaa? That's a lot of cupcakes. It was so convenient being able to make 2+ plus batches at once using my mixer! How about 9 dozen cookies, 4 loaves of bread or 7 pounds of mashed potatoes in a single batch? Sounds about right. Can't beat that!

I decided to go with black because, well, with big ticket items like this I'm pretty conservative. But since you could actually WIN this mixer {if you enter the giveaway below} what color would you choose?

Enter to win a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer

Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway.
Refer your friends using your unique link to earn even more chances to win.
One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
Winner to select their color of choice. Color options based on availability.
Open Worldwide.
Ends at 11:59pm ET on September 30th, 2014.
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This giveaway was coordinated by Giveaway Promote.
If you love entering giveaways, visit Giveaway Promote to find the greatest giveaways listed in one place.

Thursday, September 11

The Younique 3D Fiber Lashes were provided by Melissa Billman
Get some for yourself HERE
YOUnique 3D Fiber Lashes vs Eyelash Extensions. They look the same but one costs far less money and takes almost no time at all!
As a mom some afternoons feel like they last for days. Some days it's 6pm, I'm still in my pajamas and I'm wondering where the day went! About two years ago I got eyelash extensions {how that 2 years has come and gone I'll never know!} and I loved them. ...for about a week and a half. Ok, maybe, two whole weeks! Then the gap between the lids of my eyes and the extensions began to get more and more noticeable. After 3 weeks I just wanted those dang things off my eyes! Eventually I cut them down to my natural eyelash length. Bad idea. A little later I tried taking them off myself. Worse idea.
YOUnique 3D Fiber Lashes vs Eyelash Extensions. They look the same but one costs far less money and takes almost no time at all!
Eyelash extensions have their advantages, but they just don't last long enough for me to feel like I got my moneys worth out of them! Not to mention the damage they did to my real eyelashes. It took about 3 hours to get the full set done, and some people get them refilled every 2-4 weeks. That's major time and money right there. I honestly don't think I could do that...unless I made 80 million dollars on an app like Mrs. West. {Ya know, Kim Kardashian...}. Even then, I've got 2 kids! Who has time for that?

A really good family friend asked me to try YOUnique's 3D Fiber Lashes. I had seen and heard of them before but never tried them myself. I was pretty excited.
YOUnique 3D Fiber Lashes vs Eyelash Extensions. They look the same but one costs far less money and takes almost no time at all!
I must say, the first time I tried them they blew my mind. I'm talking Airbrush Legs by Sally Hansen and Out The Door Topcoat blew my mind. And if you know me personally, or at any level really, you know that I live for Airbrush Legs and OTD! These 3D Fiber Lashes are impressive!

So if you're even considering getting extensions try these out first! You will save a lot of time and money my friend.

Extensions
Pro: You don't have to put mascara on everyday
Con: Cost way too much money {I know people who spend like $300 a month on those suckers}, and you have to sleep on your back otherwise you feel like you're going to ruin your extensions. Annoying!

YOUnique 3D Fiber Lashes
Pro: Inexpensive {compared to eyelash extensions} and they make as big of a statement!

Would you ever try 3D Fiber Lashes?
If you want to try and or sell them yourself contact my girl Melissa! You could even host a virtual party and get free product. Email her to get more information: sagermimi@hotmail.com
YOUnique 3D Fiber Lashes vs Eyelash Extensions. They look the same but one costs far less money and takes almost no time at all!