The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: July 2012
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to School with Post-It Products!!!

If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I have a few products I cannot live without. Post-It Notes are just one of the products I obsess over.

I have them everywhere! At home they are in my kitchen, my "office" area and by the phone. If you walked into my office at work and opened my the bottom drawer of my file cabinet, you would think I was a hoarder. It is filled with Post-It Notes.

I have them on my desk and I even have some stuck on the side of my other file cabinet! I use them to remind myself of the projects that need doing. I use them to tell my co-workers what I need from them. I use them to write little thank you notes to co-workers and leave them in their boxes.

At home, it's the same thing. I leave them for my hubby. I stick them on my car dashboard so I remember to pick something up. I also stick them on my purse or phone. They keep me organized.

Last year, I received a cute backpack filled with Post-It products. I kept the products and gave the backpack to my co-workers daughter. A year later, she still wears it around school when her mom brings her in!I also received a Post-It dispenser that I gave to a co-worker and she still has it on her desk.

This year, I got another surprise package and, once again, I am over the moon about it. I received a cute Post-It tote filled with goodies! I know my office mate will be too. I work in a school and my office happens to be in the library. My friend, B, is the librarian and she also share my love of Post-It products.

Last year, I shared my Post-It products with her. She loved the apple shaped Post It dispenser. She also loved the Post-It Pockets because she was able to use them in certain books and materials for the library. I will be sharing these with her again. My new favorite Post-It product are the Label Pads that can be used on files, boxes and other places! These will be great for my storage files!

I have to be honest and say I cannot be biased on this post because I LOVE all Post-It products. Of course, my favorite is the Post-It Notes. I could not imagine not having them!

I could go on and on but I won't. What I will tell you is that these products are great for Back to School. Not only for your kids, but for you! Think how cool it would be to have your kids open their lunch and find a little note from mom or dad. The pockets are great to place into notebooks to store loose papers. The memo pads are the best to put on the fridge and leave messages. I do this all the time to remind my hubby of something.

Post-It also has some new products that I cannot wait to try. The Clutch Pop-Up Note dispenser is the cutest thing I have seen. It looks like a little purse. I know this is so my style. The new Post-it JAX Pop-up Note Dispenser is a product I MUST have on my desk.

All these great products remind me that I need to go out and buy more Post-It 3 in 1 Flag + Pen + Highlighters. I use them every day at work and have worn them all out! If you have not used these, you need to!

Remember that Post-It products are good for back to school or any time!You can also follow Post-It on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Be Prepared it's Hurricane Season!!

Okay, you are asking why someone who lives in the mountains worries about hurricanes, right? Well, it's because I used to live in Florida and lived through several hurricanes and understand the importance of getting the word out to BE PREPARED.

And believe it or not, hurricanes do affect us in the mountains. A few years ago remnants of a hurricane that hit South Carolina caused flooding in our area. So every year around this time, I make sure we stock up on emergency supplies like batteries, flashlights and candles.

I keep my pantry stocked with canned food, freeze dried emergency food and other non-perishable items. We also make sure to have lots water on hand as well.

Because we live in an area where it snows, we also have to be prepared for any big winter storms that might hit our town. Last year we got stuck in our house for 3 days before we could get out onto the roads.

Our emergency preparedness plan not only includes having food and water on hand for at least a week but we have lots of wood on hand. If the power goes out, you want to be sure you have a heat source.

We also have our flashlights and extra batteries. We have a battery operated radio. We also make sure to charge our laptops and phones before a storm comes. We have a handy portable charger as well.

We always make sure both cars are filled with gas. We make sure to have plenty of salt and a shovel to clean the driveway. It is also important to keep an emergency preparedness kit in your car as well.

I am all about being prepared because of my experience with hurricanes. I also lived through a few earthquakes when I lived in Los Angeles. I never took it seriously but now I preach it whenever I can.

You need to start thinking of having a emergency plan if you do not already have one. Let me tell you after living through natural disasters without electricity or water for a few days, I am glad we were smart enough to have the supplies needed to make it through a few days.

I have also learned that in any emergency, you can't count on getting help right away. Sometimes even the government does not have the resources to help everyone. So emergency preparedness and food storage are things everyone should take seriously.

It's never too late to start planning. For more information on what to do during an emergency and what supplies you will need, go to the Department of Homeland Security's site.

Start planning now!

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Blog Spark Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds Review and Giveaway

I am always trying to find products that I enjoy for breakfast. I know I should eat breakfast but many times, I am too busy or just forget. But if it is something I like and it tasty, I make time for breakfast.

I recently received a sample of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal through MyBlogSpark. I also received a beautiful wooden nut bowl that can be used as just a bowl or a bowl for nuts. It also comes with a nutcracker and a spoon!

Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal contains 11 grams of fiber (43% of the Daily Value), 23 grams of whole grain (at least 48 recommended daily), and 180 calories per serving. It makes a great breakfast food.

I like the fact it is 180 calories per serving. This fits it with my new fitness plan. Plus it is very tasty. It is filled with crunchy nut clusters, sliced almonds and whole grain flakes. The textures make it a nice alternative to just plain cereal or oatmeal. It also filled me up so I was able to hold out for lunch without a problem.

I would recommend this cereal if you are looking for a change to your breakfast routine. The crunchy, nutty flavor is something that I loved. If you want to try it, you can visit this site to download a printable coupon for $1.25 off one box of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal today!

If you want to win a prize pack that includes 2 boxes of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds and a beautiful nut bowl and spoon, you can enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Johnson & Johnson "Entre Tu Y Yo" Campaign and Giveaway!

I have used Johnson & Johnson products since I was born. My mother always bought Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Lotion. As I grew up, she still bought the baby shampoo. I don't think I knew there was other types of shampoo until I got into grade school. But to this day, almost 50 years later, I every so often buy Johnson & Johnson baby Shampoo when my hair needs a little TLC.

It is amazing how many Johnson & Johnson products I use in my every day life. I looked in my bathroom cabinet and found a whole bunch! That's why when I was chosen as a Johnson & Johnson Brand Ambassador through the Latino and Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective in support of the Entre Tú Y Yo (between you and me) campaign, I was thrilled.

Entre Tú y Yo, is a program hosted by lifestyle expert Andrea Minski, that provides relevant tips and resources to help today’s Latina manage her modern, busy schedule while finding balance at home with family and herself. Powered by Johnson and Johnson Family of Consumer Companies and Telemundo, Entre Tú y Yo helps foster real conversations among Latinas on everything from beauty to oral health, nutrition, relationships and entertainment.To join the conversation with Andrea visit Entre Tú y Yo’s Facebook page

As part of the ambassadorship, I receive Johnson & Johnson products to review. I also get to giveaway the same products to my wonderful readers!

There were so many great products included in the box I received. All of which I use except for the Aveeno baby products. But I am going to let hubby try the baby lotion because he has really sensitive skin and I think it will do wonders for him.

I received my box and was happy when I saw the numerous Aveeno products included. I have used Aveeno products for quite a few years because I have found them to be very high quality and they do wonders for my skin and hair. The Aveeno shampoo leaves my hair soft and moisturized. The conditioner always makes it smooth. It is wonderful for color treated hair as well.

I have also used the Lubriderm and Listerine products before. And, I only use Band-Aid products. I never buy any other type of bandage. Though, I had never used the new Tough Strips with the QuiltVent technology. These were a new product for me.

I really liked these because they are the same great quality of all Band-Aid bandages but with the QuiltVent technology they felt super comfortable. This was great because I had a blister on my heel from exercising. And even with the frictin from my show, the Band-Aid held tight.

Overall I would recommend Johnson & Johnson products because I have used them for so long. They really are a great addition to any household.

In the next few months I will be reviewing other J&J products. And, as part of my ambassadorship, I will be having a Johnson & Johnson Entre Tu y Yo giveaway a month for the next four months.

So if you do not win this giveaway, you will still have three more chances! And look at all the goodies you will win! YAY!! You know the drill. Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: These products were sent to me as part of the Latino & Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective and Johnson & Johnson Entre Tu Y Yo campaign. The opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Carmex Summer Beach Tote and Carmex Sticks Review and Giveaway!

It's summertime and that means that my lips have to be protected from the sun. During this time, I am always out in the garden and it gets hot. I find that if my lips get a little sun, they get dry and crack.

Luckily, I am a member of the Carmex Blog Squad and so I know that Carmex sticks will help me get through the summer with smooth and kissable lips!

To celebrate this summer, I was sent six Carmex® sticks including the NEW Pomegranate stick, which is fantastic. Also included were a the original Carmex stick, Lime Twist, Vanilla, Strawberry and Cherry. Each of the sticks contain a SPF of 15 to protect your lips from the effects of the summer sun. All came in a beautiful canvas tote that is fantastic for the beach, lake or gym.

I have reviewed the other flavors of Carmex sticks and they are all so delish. The new Pomegranate stick is really good too. It is a little sweet and a little tart. It left my lips soft and protected. I am also glad a Lime Twist stick was included because I had used up my previous samples and now I have more.

I love keeping my Carmex sticks everywhere. I have one in my purse, one at work in my desk, at home I have a few and I also keep some in our cars. They are great in the summer and winter or anytime of year! I know I will be taking my tote with me on our trip to Lake Lure next month along with my Carmex sticks to protect my lips from the sun.

And, of course, I have one of these prize packs to give away to one lucky reader! The winner will receive a prize that includes the beach tote and six (6) Carmex sticks including the NEW Pomegranate flavor! Just enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Michelob Ultra Light Cider Review

I don't drink a lot. But I like to have a drink every once in a while especially during summer. There is nothing like a nice cool drink while sitting on the front porch watching the river. Or having a cool drink at a picnic or lake.

I recently had the opportunity to review the new gluten free Michelob Ultra Light Cider. Michelob Ultra Light Cider is a naturally sweetened, gluten-free cider made from crisp apples, and it has one-third fewer calories than leading ciders.

Aside from the Light Cider, I also received a "Summer Entertaining Kit" to enjoy. The kit included:

* Crate and Barrel picnic table in a bag
* Crate and Barrel insulated tote bag
* Crate and Barrel picnic blanket and coordinating napkins
* Crate and Barrel cutting board
* Artisan Crackers and Summer Sausage
* 2 Acrylic drink glasses

Because of the rain recently, we weren't able to actually go on a picnic to enjoy the new goodies. We decided stay at home and enjoy our front porch. We have a spectacular view of the Tuckaseegee River that is across the road. Our porch is also a very comfy place that is shady and beautiful.

Michelob Ultra Light Cider is great. I loved the taste. It was light and crisp. It had an essence of apples. It was not overly sweet and it had a refreshing taste. The best thing about it is that a bottle is only 120 calories. I am definitely buying more to take on our summer picnics and our trip to the Lake Lure next month!

If you are looking for a lighter alternative to beer or wine and want something with a lot of flavor and not a lot of calories, I totally recommend Michelob Ultra Light Cider. It is such a wonderful summer drink!! Delicious!

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Treats from Breyers, Klondike, Magnum, Good Humor & Popsicle!

My favorite kind of reviews involve FOOD! You all know I love food. Yes, I have been on a quest to lose weight and eat healthier, and I have been. But every once in a while, I give myself a little treat. Ice cream is one of those treats we allow in the house. Until I learn to make my own ice cream, I buy store bought!

And lucky me, I recently had the opportunity to review a bunch of ice cream. With this heat, it was the perfect review item to receive. Hubby was pretty happy as well.

In honor of National Ice Cream Month here are the new Magnum, Klondike, Good Humor, Popsicle and Breyers flavors:

MAGNUM, the world’s most luxurious ice cream bar, has introduced the Mini line of petite treats in Classic and Almond. MAGNUM has also added two new varieties to its traditional-sized bars, which include Mint and Mochaccino.

Breyers Blasts!, the line known for featuring fun mix-ins from the most loved candy and cookie brands has also added four new flavors including Chocolate REESE’S, Golden OREO, Cookies & Cream, OREO Birthday Blast! and Klondike Krunch. Banana Split and S’mores flavors are also available nationwide.

Klondike is taking their famous Original Choco Taco to the next level as they have introduces the Chocolate and Peanut Butter varieties, as well as the new Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich.

Good Humor has added to their classic candy treats after last year’s successful introduction of REESE’S Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cup. They now offer Mounds and York Ice Cream Bars.

As you may have heard, Popsicle introduced an unexpected new line: Yosicle, which combines ice pops with combining ice pops and the smoothness of yogurt. Popsicle also partnered with SOUR PATCH KIDS to introduce fruity, candy-inspired pops that replicate the sour then sweet taste of the classic candy.

I live in the boonies so sometimes new products aren't easy to find so I had to make do with what my local grocery store had but let me tell you that it was all good!

First of all, I had never ever tried the Magnum ice cream bars. Well let me tell you that I am hooked. They are so good! I tried the Magnum Almond and they were chocolaty and delicious.I am certainly going to them again and again!!

I have been a Klondike fan for years. I cannot wait until my grocery store gets the Choco Tacos. I picked up the regular Klondike bars which are always good. The only problem is hubby gobbled them up!

I had tried the Reese's Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cups last year and loved them. For my Good Humor purchase, I went old school and bought the Strawberry Shortcake bars. I used to eat these when I was so much younger. They brought back some memories.

Until my grocery store stocks the new flavors, I am eagerly awaiting the Mounds Ice Cream Bars and the Yosicles.

So if you are looking for some sweet summer treat, you might want to go check out these new flavors. I know that with this heat, these have been the perfect way to cool down and have a treat! Sure, they are great for kids but even us big kids love these!!!

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MapMyFitness Walking Adventure! #ToyotaRAV4Adventure

Everyday I hop on my treadmill and walk in place. I actually enjoy walking on the treadmill and listening to music for 45 minutes. But sometimes, I get bored and feel like quitting.

The other day while talking to my co-worker about my predicament, she suggested we walk around the school campus and the surrounding neighborhood. I have worked at my school for 2.5 years and I have never ever walked around the campus or neighborhood.

Because I am participating in the Toyota RAV4 Adventure Club, I knew that I could go online and map our route. We went on the site, plugged in our location and mapped where we would be walking. It was super easy to do!

Once we started mapping our route we realized if we walked around the campus then into town, it was a mile. That was perfect because I walk 2 miles a day and this would be perfect for my fitness routine.

We started our walk and it was beautiful. We walked through a memorial garden on campus. We also have a small amphitheater on the property as well. The trees were beautiful and the path easy to walk. The road into town is the same road I take in the car but on foot it looks completely different.

We walked by shops and businesses. I even discovered a new shop that sells beads and handmade jewelry. I have to visit soon. We also walked by a beautiful nursery that you cannot see from the car.

The whole walk was really nice and we will do it again, in the fall. Unfortunately, it was very hot that day and we decided to shelve more walking until it cools down. Plus, once school starts up again, we can invite some of our other co-workers along as well.

I discovered a whole new town on my 2 mile walk around Cashiers, NC. What a cool unexpected adventure! It was actually quite nice getting out and walking and taking a break from the treadmill! The Toyota RAV4 Adventure Club is the perfect place to map out a fitness plan.

Do you like unexpected adventures? You can create your own mini-adventure by joining the Toyota RAV4 Adventure Club and mapping your fitness route. Then share your route because the person who creates a route and receives the most votes will win $500!!

Toyota motivated me to break out from the norm and discover a new route in my city. This experience taught me that there is an adventure waiting around every corner! Tell us about your unexpected adventure below for a chance to win a Tom Tom GO LIVE.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine. Sweepstakes Rules.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alexia Foods Review and Giveaway!

I have been trying to eat healthier lately. I have really cut back on processed and frozen foods but I can't give them all up. I work full-time and sometimes I have to cheat and buy frozen food to help me get dinner on the table when I get home.

Occasionally I scour the frozen food section and try to find products that good for us. This is tough because there are few choices. So when I had the opportunity to review some of Alexia Foods products, I was excited because they are all natural and healthier than most frozen food options out there.

Alexia is a gourmet food company that offers a wide variety of artisan breads, appetizers, oven-baked fries and potato side dishes perfect for any meal. From Sweet Potato Puffs made with farm-fresh sweet potatoes (an excellent source of vitamin A!) to crispy Panko Breaded Onion Rings with sweet Spanish onions, each of Alexia’s premium products are made with the finest natural ingredients and are prepared in around 20 minutes.
I was sent packages of the new Parmesan Lemon Waffle Fries and the Sweet Potato Fries. Now I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes but I still decided to serve them one night and I really liked them.

The Sweet Potato fries are low in sodium, which is a huge plus! They have zero trans fat and only 5 grams of fat, which is also pretty good especially for processed foods. Plus they were very tasty. Hubby really liked them as well.

Our favorite though was the Parmesan Lemon Waffle Cut fries. They have a zesty lemony flavor that paired well with the roasted chicken I made.They are crispy yet soft inside. The spices are spot on and make for a tasty side dish.

What I loved about these products is that they were ready in under 30 minutes! They are also delicious and a nice change of pace in my dinner routine. Hubby was impressed we were having something different. If you are like me, you get into a dinner rut so it is nice to have new flavors and dishes for dinner.

Would I recommend? Yes, these are delicious. Alexia Foods also has a ton of other products to try! Head over to their site and check them out. I was surprised how many other products they had and I want to try more!

I also have 3 full value coupons to giveaway! YAY! Three lucky readers will receive one coupon each so you can try these products. Trust me, I think you will like them! Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Costa Rica Goody Bag Giveaway!!

I got back from Costa Rica about a month ago and I brought back some goodies to giveaway to one lucky reader because that's how I roll!! WOOO!

This is what I have to giveaway:

* A bag of real Costa Rican coffee and let me tell you this stuff is GOOD!
* An assortment of flavored coffee beans - YUMMY!
* A bag of Chocolate covered coconut - YUMMY!
* A bag of Macadamia Nut Brittle - DELISH!
* A Costa Rica potholder - HANDY & CUTE!
* A recyclable Cafe Britt shopping bag - CUTE!

These come straight from Costa Rica courtesy of ME! YAY! I tell you that Costa Rican coffee is delicious. It is strong yet never bitter. The candies are so good!

Want to win it all? Just enter on the Rafflecopter widget!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I bought these items to giveaway!  Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes since I am a slacker!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aloha or Hola?

This summer we decided not to take a long vacation. I have an huge event at work that is killing my time in July. Plus, we also have our garden to think of because it is a lot bigger this year. Last year, we missed out on some fresh veggies because we were traveling.

So this year we decided to rent a lake house and spend a few days in August just relaxing. Because we have decided to take a short trip this summer, that means we get to take a better vacation in December.

Now the problem is where to go. We have narrowed it down to either somewhere in South America or Hawaii!

Neither of us has been to South America but if we decide to go there, it will definitely be a lot more expensive than a trip to Hawaii.

Tom has never been to Hawaii but I have. When I lived in Los Angeles, I traveled to Oahu a couple of times and fell in love with it. Hawaii is so beautiful and I would love to go back with Tom so he can experience it as well.

I think we are leaning toward Hawaii because it will be a nice and warm escape from the North Carolina winter. If we decide on Hawaii, we will have to decide what island to go to. Since I have been to Oahu, I would like to travel to another island.

I have never been to Kauai and I have had friends tell me that is probably the most beautiful Hawaiian island. A friend of mine went to Kauai on her honeymoon and goes back every year.

If we do decide on Hawaii, the decision then comes down to where to stay. We have looked at resorts and hotels but for a 2 week trip, the cost becomes prohibitive. Our other option is to rent a home and then travel to different islands while having a home base. We did this when we traveled to Ireland and it was such a great way to travel.

We did a little research and found some great homes for rent in the the Hawaii Star Advertiser newspaper, Summit Pacific vacation homes website and we even found some home listings on Craigslist!

Renting a home can be an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel. In Ireland we saved money by being able to cook some of our meals in the rental home. We also could travel around the countryside without having to unpack and repack all the times. It was wonderful.

So while I am leaning toward Hawaii, South America is still an option. But if we do travel to South America, it will be on a cruise and that might be a little too expensive for us right now.

That brings us to the question in the title. Do we want to say Hola to South America or Aloha to Hawaii! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

This is our flag. It has a special story behind it that you can read here.

Happy Independence Day!!