The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: July 2013

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Slim Fast Berry Sexy Vanilla Sunrise Mocktail #SlimFastVeranoSexy

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of Latina Bloggers Connect and Slim-Fast. This post is brought to you by SlimFast. All thoughts and content are my own.



It's summer and that means time spent outside relaxing and enjoying the weather. Every evening, I sit out on our front porch with my hubby and cat. We have a view of the Tuckasegee River that runs in front of our house. After dinner, we head out to sit and relax. It is a special time for us because we can sit quietly and watch the river and take in the beauty of our yard and the mountains. Or, we can catch up on our daily adventures.

I am always looking for refreshing drinks to enjoy on our front porch evenings while hubby has his beer. It can be a cocktail and mocktail, it depends on my mood. One of the main things I want in a cocktail or mocktail is low calories though because if I were to drink every evening, it would not be pretty. I also look for something tasty and refreshing since at the end of the day as the sun is setting, it can be warm here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. That is why when I was asked to create a cocktail using Slim Fast, I was thrilled. The thought of having a creamy and delicious drink for my evenings was great.

I made a Berry Sexy Vanilla Sunrise! Using SlimFast in a cocktail/mocktail was a little strange but it worked out well. Using Slim Fast, cut down on the calories yet gave me a really tasty and refreshing drink.  The drink is made with Slim Fast French Vanilla Shake, frozen berries, fresh ginger and honey. If you want to make it a cocktail, you just add white or raspberry rum, yummy! I also added a fresh strawberry as a garnish! The drink was refreshing and sweet. The ginger added a pop of spicy freshness to the drink. Delicious!





Check out the new SlimFast cocktail/mocktail recipes and start slimming for summer by visiting http://wow.slim-fast.com/cocktailrecipes.pdf and start slimming2 for summer. The new recipes were created exclusively for SlimFast by DR Mixologist, Darryl Robinson, host of “Drink up” on The Cooking Channel. The recipes feature some of the tastiest and trendiest ingredients of the season. SlimFast shakes are the perfect base for deliciously creamy summer cocktails/mocktails1 and Darryl’s new recipes contain just 130-190 calories per serving. Your waist will thank you!

1 Cocktails are not a part of the SlimFast 3-2-1 plan. Only occasional use recommended. You must be 21+ to consume alcohol and please drink responsibly.

2 Losing more than 2lbs per week is not recommended. Exercise 30 minutes daily and follow the SlimFast plan.


Disclosure: I received compensation and a sample product for review purposes. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Red Gold Summer Grillin' Party Giveaway!




If you have followed my blog, you know I am a fan of Red Gold tomatoes! It is one of the brands I buy religiously. The tomatoes are delicious and fresh tasting. I use them in almost every dish that requires canned tomatoes.

My favorite way to use them is in my pasta sauce. I also use them in meatloaf. Lately, I have been using the
Red Gold with Green Chilies in my taco filling. This summer, I am going to try Red Gold in my burgers. I received a Red Gold variety pack and it included some delicious recipes. After reading the recipes and seeing the photos, I know I have a new way to use Red Gold tomatoes.

Here are two of the recipes I am going to be cooking up:

Spicy Tomato Burger
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 14.5 oz can of Red Gold with Green Chilies
- Salt and pepper
- Option: Pepper Jack Cheese

Combine beef & tomatoes (drained). Form into patties. Season. Add cheese to center of each patty for an added kick. Grill.

As desired, serve on toasted bun. Use Jalapeno Ketchup or Chipotle Mayo. Layer spicy peppers.

Caribbean Chicken Burger
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 14.5 oz can of Red Gold with Lime Juice & Cilantro
- Salt and pepper

Combine ground chicken and Red Gold Tomatoes (drained). Form into patties. Season. Grill.

As desired, serve on Toasted bun or lettuce. Layer guacamole or avocado or roasted pineapple slice. Top with mango chutney or fruit salsa.

Don't these look delish? I know my Red Gold tomatoes will be put to good use this summer. And Red Gold is hosting a sweepstakes to celebrate the last part of summer and grilling. They will be giving away a popular Green Egg Ceramic Grill & Smoker. In addition to the grand prize, they will be giving away 1,000 aprons each week for five weeks leading up to the grand-prize drawing. The drawing is going on now so head over to the Red Gold's Facebook page and enter because the sweepstakes ends Aug. 30.


I also have a great giveaway for one lucky reader! You can win this great prize pack that includes Red Gold canned tomatoes, Red Gold Jalapeno Ketchup and an apron! This is a delicious prize pack!! To win, just enter on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

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. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sea Band Nausea Relief Band and Ginger Gum Travel Giveaway!




During summer, we try to travel as much as we can. Sometimes we fly. Sometimes we drive. If we are near a body of water, we love to be on a boat. It doesn't happen often but there are times when I get airsick, seasick or carsick. I am never sure what causes it but it is not a good thing especially while traveling.

According to Sea-Band, approximately 53 million Americans suffer from motion sickness (car sickness, air sickness, or sea sickness) and children ages 5 to 12 years old, women, and the elderly are the most susceptible. This is why if you are traveling, you might want to consider buying a Sea-Band to put in your luggage.

Sea-Bands are acupressure wristbands that are drug-free and all natural. Sea-Bands are a great alternative
to anti-nausea medicine. Sea-Bands are FDA approved. The bands work by using the ancient art of acupressure. They apply pressure to the inner wrists. This causes stimulation to the nervous system and that helps the body's healing abilities to kick in and stop nausea in its tracks.

You can also try the Sea-Band Anti Nausea Ginger gum as well. This works quickly since you just pop a piece into your mouth and it starts working when you start chewing. I have to say that I have used fresh ginger and ginger lollipops to stop my nausea. When I tried the ginger gum, it worked well.

These two products are great. Since we travel so much, I am always looking for travel items that are practical and useful. These are definitely a plus for me. Just throw them into your luggage, glove compartment or tote bag so they can always be at hand. I am keeping mine in my suitcase, just in case.

Sea-Band products are available in mass market retail, supermarkets and drug stores in the U.S and Canada:
· Sea-Band Drug Free Nausea Relief Bands: $11.99 (U.S), $12.99 (Canada)
· Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum: $6.99 (U.S.)

Also, Sea-Band is having a giveaway on its Facebook page. The giveaway will run through August 2nd and 15 winners will be selected to win product each Friday and one of these weekly winners will receive a grand prize of a $50 in addition to the family pack of Sea-Band.

I have a Sea-Band and Ginger Gum for one lucky reader. The winner can choose if they want an adult Sea-Band or a child's Sea-band. To win, just enter on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

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. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Paris Clutch Purse Giveaway!


Because I am a slacker, it has taken me a while to put up this giveaway. We didn't buy too many souvenirs in Europe because of space. Plus, once you have one cheesy Eiffel Tower souvenir you don't need a hundred of them.

I did buy a few aprons because I collect them and some other cheesy stuff. But I also bought a beautiful little clutch purse for me. I also have an extra one as well! So because I have an extra one, I am giving it away to one lucky reader.

This is perfect for every day use as a wallet or for a nice occasion as a clutch. It does have the Eiffel Tower on it and lots of space.




And, if the winner reminds me when I email them, I can also send her/him a little Spanish saffron for kicks! My dream was to see the Eiffel Tower, now I want to hear your dream.  Just enter on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: I am giving this away because I rock. I am a slacker so do not be surprised if you wait a while to receive the prize.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sweet Relish helps you Discover new products!

I am always on the lookout for new products to clean with. It is not because I love cleaning. Just the opposite, I hate cleaning so I look for products that might make my life a little easier. I also look for products that are healthier for my home than the usual ones packed with chemicals.

I recently received a box of Eco-Me products from Sweet Relish to review. First of all, Sweet Relish is a site where you can find unique and cool items. They are not an online store but more a site where you can discover products, share the stuff you  find and see what others recommend. If you find something you want to buy, Sweet Relish allows you to go to the site where it is sold and do some shopping. 

Sweet Relish also allows you to create lists and keep track of all the goodies you want to buy. You can also follow people so you can share or see what they Relish! I love this because I can now leave big hints for people about what products I like or want. This is a great way to ensure you get a gift you like.

The Eco-Me products are great. The company was founded by Robin Levine after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. After doing research they decided to get rid of all the chemical based products and created natural products for cleaning. The products are made in the USA and they do not test the products on animals.

This is a company I can get behind. I can also get behind Eco-Me because the products work well. I
received a box full of products that included Floor Cleaner, Stainless Steel cleaner, Dish soap, Hand soap and Scrub Cleanser. My favorite was the Scrub Cleanser because our sink is always tough to clean and this did really well. Plus, I felt good to be using a natural cleanser on my sink because that is important to me.

I would definitely buy these products. I would also recommend then to friends and family. I am always trying to make little changes to my life that make a difference and the Eco-Me products are a good way to start.

I also recommend Sweet Relish! If you are an online shopper, this is a great tool to organize your shopping. You can also use the Discover button for some great finds that you might Relish! It is a great tool but be careful because I spent hours "discovering" new products that I wanted to buy. It is addictive. But I was able to find some new items that are going to look great in my house!


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.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zumba Fitness Wear Review and Giveaway!

I have been such a slacker lately. Between being sick and traveling, I have pretty much given up exercising these past few months. It is time for me to get back.

I usually do a mix of exercises when I actually exercise. I walk on the treadmill, do a little walking DVD and I also do a little Zumba. I started doing Zumba when some co-workers created a Zumba club after work. It is tough but fun. I usually cannot keep up but it's just fun dancing.

I had no idea that Zumba Fitness made workout clothes! And, it is quite cute! The new Zumba spring/summer collection has a huge variety of items like capris, tanks, tees, sweatshirts, sports bra and much more. The collection is funky, fresh and colorful.

I received a pair of the Ultimate Orbit Cargo Pants and a Solar Burst Top. They were adorable. They were also comfortable. I was glad they had plus-size clothes. It is tough to find funky and hip plus-size clothes but Zumba has something for everybody.  They also carry men's clothes, footwear and tons of accessories.

The clothes was comfortable and allowed me to move around freely. The fabric was lightweight and cool. I have used the Zumba clothes for my other workouts as well.

If you want to win a Zumba Fitness item (to be determined by you and the sponsor) then you can 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. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Official Songza Colgate Max Fresh Playlist + GIVEAWAY!!







It's summer and that means a lot of fun, sun and good music. I know in the summer I drive with my windows down and with the radio blasting. If we are in the garden, we are always playing music as well. it is a great time to just relax and enjoy the music.

This summer, Colgate Max Fresh is featuring its summer playlist on Songza. And Colgate Max Fresh has asked me to share my summer songs on their playlist. You can check out the playlist here. These are the songs I shared:


Treasure ~ Bruno Mars
Feel This Moment ~ Pitbull
Heart Attack ~ Demi Lovato
Mirrors ~ Justin Timberlake
Just Give Me a Reason ~ Pink

Keep going back every week, because Colagate Max Fresh will be updating the music list weekly! Plus, you can also use Songza to listen online while at work, play or anywhere. You can choose your playlist by mood, genre or anything else that tickles your fancy. It's a great place to get music!

To celebrate the Colgate Max Fresh Songza Playlist, I have a great prize pack for one of my readers. The prize pack includes:

* Phillips ear bud headphones
* Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste
* Colgate Max Fresh Toothbrush

How cool is that? If you want to win, just enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

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. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Atlanta ~ Atlanta, GA








When we visited Atlanta, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Atlanta hosted us for two nights. Because of the location of the hotel, our goal was to park our car and never have to take it out of the garage the whole time we were there. It worked.

We arrived early Sunday morning. and our room was not ready. This was to be expected because we got into Atlanta around 11:00am since we only live 2.5 hours away. But we were allowed to valet park our car and leave our luggage there. While I was a little leery, Tom said it was fine. Valet parking was a little pricey at $26 dollars a day but it was well worth it not having to look for parking around the hotel.

We left to have lunch and then we headed to the Georgia Aquarium that was right next door to the hotel. There were several convenient places to eat steps from the hotel. There were sit down restaurants as well as fast food places. We decided on Baja Fresh which was right across the street.

When we returned from the aquarium, you can read my Atlanta post here, our room was ready. We
grabbed our bags and went upstairs. We had a lovely room on the 12th floor. We also had a fantastic view of downtown Atlanta.

Our room was very clean and very comfortable. The room included a King size bed, end tables, desk with an ergonomic chair, a wall safe and an area with a microwave, fridge and a Keurig coffee brewer. I loved that the room came with a Keurig. I have one at home and I love it. I love that I can use it at any time and make coffee or tea. We found only decaf and flavored coffee with the coffee service. When hubby requested regular coffee, it was delivered immediately.

Check out my hotel room vlog:


The bathroom was clean and had all the toiletries we needed. The bathroom did not have a tub but had a large walk in shower with great water pressure. The towels were plentiful, which is always a plus at any hotel.

Since we had some time before we would head out to dinner, we decided to take in the rooftop pool. The pool is actually on the 7th floor. The pool was huge. Plus, the whole outside deck offered a wonderful view. There was also a hot tub and a sitting area on the pool deck. To get to the pool you walk through an indoor area where you can have lunch or relax. There is also an smaller indoor pool and a fitness area as well. They also have clean towels all around for bathers.

What struck me was that both the outdoor pool and hot tub were handicap accessible. I had never seen that in other hotels so that is definitely a plus if you or anyone you are traveling with needs help. There were plenty of lounge chairs around as well.

Since we did not want to drive, we had dinner at Legal Seafood that is located on the second floor of the hotel. It was so convenient to be able to go to a nice restaurant and have a nice meal without worrying about driving around town and finding parking. The food was very good and the restaurant had a nice view of the Georgia Aquarium next door.

The next day we visited CNN, Centennial Park, The World of Coca-Cola and took a tour of Atlanta with . The best part was that all these attractions were in walking distance of the hotel. The tour was a little further out in the Underground Atlanta area but it was still only 10-15 minutes away. I cannot tell you how nice it was to be in such a prime location.

For lunch and dinner, we visited two other restaurants around the hotel. Again, they were right across the street. We visited Stats, which is a sports bar and Der Biergarten, a German restaurant that offered a nice change of pace from the usual food. Also across the street was an Asian restaurant as well.

The hotel stay was very nice and almost perfect. The only problem we encountered was on Monday. We left the hotel around 8:30 am and came back around 4:00 pm and our room had not been made up. I found that a little strange since we had been out all day. I chalked it up to not having enough staff because by 4:45pm we heard the cleaning staff starting our floor. We asked for clean towels and more coffee and all were brought immediately and the head housekeeper apologized for the inconvenience. It was not a big deal.

The hotel is nice for a downtown big city hotel. The lobby area was comfortable and clean. As were the other common areas. The hotel also offers complimentary cookies and coffee in the lobby which was a great treat when we returned from being out all day.  We did not have breakfast at the hotel but they do offer a buffet breakfast and you can also order off the menu.

If you are traveling to Atlanta the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Atlanta is a great option for couples or for families. The location could not be better. You have several of the big attractions within walking distance including Centennial Park where you can take the kids to play. The dining options are varied and there are quite a few within walking distance as well.

I would definitely come back and stay again especially since we discovered that Atlanta has so much to offer. We barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do in Atlanta and hope to return this later this year. From $159+ for a standard King Room, the price is worth it. I can not say what a wonderful location this for visiting Atlanta.

I want to thank the Hilton Garden Inn for hosting us. Please check out more pictures below.

Disclosure: I was provided a two-night stay. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the hotel.