Review: The Ritual of Ayurveda with #Tryazon

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I love this box!

Recently, the awesome people at Tryazon and Ritual sent me an incredible box of the most heavenly products to review… The Ritual of Ayurveda-Balancing Ritual.

Ritual recently opened up a store at one our local more upscale malls, and I was entranced by all of the varieties and scents. I was so excited to dig into the box and discover what Rituals products were all about.

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.21.51 PM.pngThe Ritual of Ayurveda-Balancing Ritual, comes with:

  • The Ritual of Ayurveda-Body scrub 4.4 oz
  • The Ritual of Ayurveda-Hand Wash 10.1 oz
  • The Ritual of Ayurveda-Balancing Body Cream 2.3 oz
  • The Ritual of Ayurveda-Harmonizing Foaming Shower Gel 6.7oz

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.22.09 PM.pngEach of the products in the set have the most intoxicating aroma: Indian Rose and Sweet Almond Oil. What I love about the scent is that it’s not what you commonly think of as ROSE. You know what I mean.. Heavy, sweet, cloying. Kinda like old lady perfume.

Indian Rose is a light, delicate aroma. It’s a mood booster, and roses have long been the universal symbol of purity and love.

Combined with sweet almond oil, which not only has a light scent, but is also rich in proteins and vitamins. It regulates moisture in the skin- the perfect base for skin and body products.

I started my Ritual in the shower with the Body Scrub. Not only is the smell heavenly, but, the scrub has an amazing feeling. The base is a mixture of rich oils: Sweet almond oil, macadamia nut oil, and jojoba oil. The actual scrubby part is pink salt, which exfoliated gently and left my skin so soft and smooth.

Afterwards I used the Foaming Shower gel, which is unlike anything else I’ve ever used. It goes out as a gel, but quickly lathers up to a rich, creamy foam.

I’ve been keeping the Body Cream next to my bed and applying it right before bed. I wake up with soft, supple skin. It’s a great feeling, especially with all the dry late summer/early fall weather we’ve been having lately.

If you want to check out  The Ritual of Ayurveda or any of the other awesome Rituals, Check out their website, or visit one of their stores.

While I received this set for free, all opinions are my own, and I was not financially compensated to write this review. You can learn more about my reviews on my disclosure page.

#ritualsusa #shareyourslowdown #tryazon

Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

Are You an Influencer?

laptop2V.jpgAre you a Social Media Influencer?  Are you looking for a way to make some income while sharing cool promotions, deals, and freebies?

Let me introduce you to ShopHer Media! They are an awesome Influencer Marketing Agency.

I use ShopHer Media a lot- They have an impressive list of freebies that they update constantly (which is how I am able to pass on such great freebies every week or so to ya’ll). I also have a really great account rep, who answers emails quickly.  They update their offers, I swear, daily.

In addition to freebies and deals, ShopHer Media also has printable coupons from coupons.com, and redplum, among other companies.

If you are interested in learning about learning more about their Influencer Marketing Platform, check ShopHer Media out!

Sweet Thanksgiving Graphic Tees & Hoodies from Cents of Style

**This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

I love the graphic shirts from Cents of Style (in fact, I have two). When I found out there was going to be a sale on their latest shirts, I had to share.

The coupon code to use at checkout is BOLDTHANKS and it takes $10.00 off the lowest marked price. Making tees ONLY $16.95 and hoodies ONLY $29.95! 

Don’t forget the FREE Shipping. The code is active 10/24/18 until 10/29/18 at midnight. Click on the link below to check out all of the cute t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Bold & Full – 10/24/18 – $10.00 Off Thanksgiving Graphic Tees and Hoodies! w/code: BOLDTHANKS 

Talk Back: What are you thankful for this fall?

Versatile Chicken Meatball Recipe!

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This recipe is dead simple! We don’t eat a lot of red meat, and I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey, so I was hoping to find some way to concoct an awesome meatball recipe.

After some trial and error (ok- it was one batch that was weird and dry), and tastings with various sauces, and here is the final tasty result!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chicken (I use Foster Farms)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 small onion diced small
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped small
  • 1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 2 T. olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except the olive oil.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are combines, shape the meat mixture into small balls. Place small balls on a plate or cookie sheet and place in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes, until firm.
  3. Once firm, fry in olive oil in batches until cooked through.
  4. Meatballs can be topped with a favorite sauce and served right away, or store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to a month.

This recipe makes between 12-20 meatballs depending on how big (or small) you make the meatballs.

These meatballs are great with BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, even as Swedish meatballs!

Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I spent a bunch of time late last week cleaning out the pantry, fridge, and freezer and worked up a list of meals that we can have over the next ten days.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Bean, Rice, and Cheese bowls, watermelon slices

Tuesday:Chicken meatballs (I’ll post my recipe later this week-it’s super simple) with BBQ sauce, herbed cauliflower rice, green salad

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers, roasted brocolli, popovers (with lots of butter)

Thursday: Homemade Ramen (complete with veggies and poached eggs)

Friday: Veggie Burgers, fruit salad, butternut squash

Saturday: DIY Pizza night

Sunday: Leftovers

Gazelle Rewards: Earn More For Your Old Phone!

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**This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Ok, so maybe not a phone that’s as old as the one above… but…

Gazelle has recently launched the Gazelle Rewards program so that customers can get even more money for trade-in devices! I’m pretty excited about it because I need a new phone like whoah. My phone is 3 years old, and it’s starting to not hold a charge for long along with a few other things. But, I’ve kept it in an Otter Box, so it’s in really excellent shape.

How it works:
Step 1. Sign up for Gazelle Rewards by creating an account and opting into the loyalty program. If you have an existing Gazelle account, log in and opt into the loyalty program through the Rewards Dashboard.
Step 2. Sell your devices to rake in points.
Step 3. Redeem your points to add $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 to your next trade-in payout from Gazelle!

Right now Gazelle has a couple awesome promotions: 10% Bonus on iPhones $150+ at Gazelle (10/22-10/28) But if you aren’t in the market for a phone, There is a pretty sweet deal on MacBooks: $10 Off Sitewide, Up To $100 Off Some MacBooks at Gazelle (10/23-10/29)

I’ve sold two of our old phones to Gazelle. I like that our old technology isn’t relegated to a junk drawer or ending up in a landfill.

Freebies from TopCashBack!

When I wrote about my complete list of side hustles, I talked about TopCashBack. I love it for getting cash back when I shop online. If you are new to TopCashBack, you can score one of the following items for free!

file000495960738.jpgOk, so this is my favorite: $10 off at any Ulta.com purchase of $10+.

How to get this offer:

1. Visit the offer here 
2. Create your account with an email and password
3. Click on the “Get Offer” button and it’ll take you to ULTA.
4. Add any item or items that totals to $10.00 (excluding sales tax and shipping) to your cart and checkout as normal.
5. Once you checkout, in about 14 days $10.00 will post in your TopCashback account.

Congrats on making your first purchase with TopCashback and getting $10.00 cash back!
* New TopCashback members only. Ends January 25th at 23:59 PST. All details and terms are available here.

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If you are looking for some holiday home decor (think Christmas lights) you can Visit Lowe’s through TopCashback, purchase any items totaling to $10.00 (excluding Shipping and Tax) and within fourteen days’ $10.00 cash back will post in your TopCashback account.

 

Still looking for something free? This one makes a great holiday gift! Visit Walmart through TopCashback, purchase one (1) Twin Size Mainstays Plush Blanket for $10.46 and then shop as normal. Within fourteen days $11.19 cash back will post in your TopCashback account. I love this one because you can use ship to store to save shipping costs, and really, who doesn’t want a nice, soft blankie?

 

Terms and conditions apply to each offer, and only one offer per person/account. Pick the one that works best for you.

 

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Combo Pack Giveaway!

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies 2D.JPEG The kids love Teen Titans Go! We first time we discovered Teen Titans Go was when we were on vacation for the weekend and the suite we stayed in had cable. I love that the adventures are kid-friendly, full of action, and positive. Henry loves Robin, and Bitty is definitely a Starfire girl.

I’m stoked that we’ll be getting a copy of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies for the kids, and it gets better because I’m giving away a copy to one lucky reader as well!!

What’s it all about?  It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies – everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! Determined to be a star, Robin vows to change this. If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them! With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town. But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world.

And nowadays when a movie comes out, it’s not just one little disc, it’s an adventure! The Teen Titans don’t disappoint- check out everything that comes in the combo pack:

BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:

  • DVD and Blu-Ray discs of the movie, and a Digital Download, so you can watch it anywhere!
  • Lil Yachty Music Video: “Teen Titans GO! Rap”
  • Sing-a-long with Silkie “DC Super Hero Girls: The Late Batsby” Mini-Movie
  • Red Carpet Mayhem
  • Teen Titans GO! To the Movies: WB Lot Shenanigans
  • “Everything is Fake”: Exclusive song not in the movie
  • “Teen Titans GO!: Translated”
  • Storyboard Animatics:
    • Storyboard Animatics: Time Cycles
    • The Final Battle

You can learn more about Teen Titans GO! To The Movies by visiting their Facebook Page.

As soon as our copy arrives, we’re having family movie night: popcorn, apple cider, candy bars (Henry’s recent favorite is, of course, Oh Henry bars).

Enter to win your own copy: It’s easy, leave a comment with your favorite superhero. I’ll choose a winner on 10/30/18.

Winner will be notified via email on 10/30/18, and will be shipped directly to the winner by the giveaway sponsor.

Meal Planning 110: Batch Cooking

file6951293850756.jpgOk, so I’ve discussed Meal Planning here, and I try to post our weekly meal plans on Mondays, but I’m sure you’ve wondered if/how I actually do it.

One of my secrets is that I try and do meal prep and batch cooking once every few weeks. For us that means:

  • Setting aside an hour or so after grocery shopping to clean the produce, and prep it in single serving containers (they are reusable, don’t worry) if they are for lunches or snacks. Little bags of carrots, or grapes are both popular in our house.
  • I make my own smoothie kits too- cut up over ripe bananas and other fruits and put them into single servings ziploc bags.
  • Make frozen veggie bags too: I cut up onions, carrots, and celery for mire poix bags. They are the perfect base for most dishes, especially soups.  I also cut up fresh brocolli, cauliflower, bell pepper strips. Whatever I bought that we’ll be using in recipes.
  •  Depending on what is on the menu for the next week or two, I’ll prep some of the proteins.  I try to buy large packages of proteins, and re-package them with herbs and seasonings perfect for meals. Mostly chicken, because we don’t really eat all that much meat. Sometimes I’ll even prep ground beef into hamburger patties. This afternoon, I made chicken meatballs. I’ve included the recipe below.
  • Once the veggies are prepped and bagged, and the proteins are prepped and bagged, I get a bigger zip top bag and place everything needed for one meal into it, write on a sticky what it is, put the sticky on the bag and pop it into the freezer. Then we are all set to get cooking!
  • I try and prep a few crockpot meals as well. Salsa Chicken, Moosie’s Pot Roast are two great options. Crockpot freezer meals are perfect  for those mornings when you know you’ll want a hot meal after work, but won’t be in the mood to cook.
  • I also like to break up large packages of cheese, like I did here. Less waste, and we’re less likely to eat all of the cheese quickly.
  • Making baked goods. I prefer to make muffins, brownies, and cookies at home, that way I can control the amount of sugar that the family consumes.  I also add little healthy things: milled flax seeds, pumpkin, bananas. I try to do healthy swaps that aren’t really noticeable. This is a favorite cake in our house. It’s also great as muffins too. This time of year I also like to make Pumpkin Donuts too. YUM.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 10.12.05 PM.pngAll of these things make meal planning a lot easier. Having ingredients already chopped, proteins mixed with seasoning, even snacks pre-packaged and set in a specific area of the kitchen.

I use a plastic Sterilite Basket to pack most of our shelf stable snacks that go into our lunches. I frequently skip buying large containers of pre-packaged snacks unless they are a better deal. If you notice, the goldfish are in Ziploc bags. The kids bring them home and I reuse them. But I only reuse them for more snacks.

I have a second shelf that stores all of our crackers (saltine, Ritz, graham, etc.) and puffed rice rolls, we eat those at other times besides lunch, but I grab them and pack them into individual containers or plastic bags for lunch as well.

Not shown are the lunch drinks which I have to keep hidden from the kids so they don’t drink them all after school/on weekends. I have a cache of goodies in the fridge and free to have in our lunches: fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, milk boxes, and bottles of water to choose from.

This “hack” aka pantry shortcut keeps my time making lunches a lot shorter, and I can spend more time with my kids!

Recipe: Ground Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of a white onion, minced
  • 1 /2 Teaspoon of each: Salt, garlic powder, pepper
  • 2 T

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Divide mixture into 12-20 balls and roll between your palms until uniform in size.
  3. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet or plate and stash in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in large pan, fry meatballs in batches, and drain on a paper towel to blot out any excess oil.
  5. Once meatballs are cool to the touch, place them in a freezer safe container with a lid or zipper top bag. Store in the freezer.

I like to make several bags of meatballs, and I put as many in a bag as we need for one meal. For us, that 6-8 large meatballs- about the size of a cutie tangerine.

These meatballs are great because they work with a variety of sauces and cuisines.

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about some of the ways that you use batch cooking and food prep to make your life easier! What is your favorite time saving kitchen “Hack”.