The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: February 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

The #CinderellaEvent in Los Angeles





I will be leaving tomorrow to go to Los Angeles for the premiere of Cinderella. I am sure you are sick of me saying it but I am so excited. Tomorrow I arrive and then meet with the other bloggers and the Disney peeps for dinner.



On Sunday, I get glammed up for the premiere at the "Glam Ball" courtesy of JCPenny! They are treating s to high tea and glamming up our hair and make-up. I am SO excited about that because I need all the help I can get. After the Glam Ball, we head back to the hotel to get dressed up for the evening. We have a before party to attend and then the premiere of Cinderella and the short: Frozen Fever! OMG, Olaf!!



On Monday, we head out early because we have several interviews to do! I will be interviewing Kenneth Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden and Costume Designer Sandy Powell. We also interview the FROZEN FEVER Directors Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee. YAY!



Then that evening, we go out to dinner before we all head out to the airport. I take the red eye home so I won't be back until Tuesday. But I am so excited. Remember to follow me on all my social media platforms so you can see pics! I will be sharing all weekend!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Follow Your Heart® Vegan Cheeses Giveaway! #CheeseKarma


Okay, I was a little iffy when this review came my way. Vegan cheese? I was not sure if there was such a thing and if it would actually taste like cheese. But because we are on a journey to start eating better and trying new products to help us eat better, I wanted to try this for myself.

When the Follow Your Heart® vegan cheeses showed up at my door they looked just like real cheese. I received various flavors. The first thing I did was look at the ingredients list because I wanted to know what the heck vegan cheeses would be made from.

The "cheeses" are made with coconut oil, potato starch, olive extract, water, sea salt and other non dairy ingredients. I also noticed that all the vegan "cheeses" had the same texture and feel of any cheese I could buy at the store. The "cheese" also melts like any other cheese.


When I tried the American "cheese" it actually tasted like the string cheese you get at the grocery. It was not like the horrible American cheese slices I grew up with. It was actually quite tasty and I would definitely put these into sandwiches or eat them straight out of the package.

I melted some of the provolone on a piece of toast an gave it to hubby who did not even notice this was not real dairy cheese. In fact, he liked and when I told him it was vegan, he thought I was joking. The Garden Herb was really tasty on crackers. Hubby had no idea I had switched that out either. That is how much the vegan "cheese" is like real cheese.

Here is some info about the various cheeses:

· Provolone slices, blocks, and snacks – Just as flavorful as the Italian classic, with a creamy taste and texture that’s so irresistible, you won’t be able to stop at one bite.


· American slices, blocks, and snacks – Inspired by the classic favorite, this “cheese” has the mild flavor and creamy texture that kids love, with none of the artificial ingredients.


· Garden Herb slices and blocks – Elevate your vegan cheese experience with this enticing Garden Herb, seasoned with an elegant blend of thyme and oregano. Delicious warm, melted or cold, and great for entertaining, this gourmet vegan cheese will be the hit of the party!


· Mozzarella slices and blocks – Mozzarella cheese is #1 for a reason, and this new vegan version rivals its dairy counterpart in both taste and texture. Shredded on top of your favorite Italian dish, it melts into creamy deliciousness. Even eaten straight out of the package, this mozzarella is a crowd pleaser!


Honestly, I was expecting vegan cheese would be awful but it wasn't. I am a cheese lover and an super picky about my cheese. But I would eat and buy this because it passed for real cheese. It is made with non-GMO products and no dairy. Plus, it's vegan so I feel good about replacing my regular cheese with these Follow Your Heart cheeses. I have to say I am totally amazed that I liked this cheese. It will not replace the artisanal cheeses I love but it will replace the cheese I use for my everyday dishes like tacos, lasagna and on sandwiches.

New Follow Your Heart® vegan cheeses have already begun to hit store shelves nationwide. If yoj are serious about changing your eating habits and losing the fat and preservatives from processed cheese, these are a great alternative.

If you want to try this cheese go to the Follow Your Heart website and see if it is available near you. If you want to win a set of these cheeses, then enter 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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Austin, Texas Trip Recap

The reason I even went to Austin was because Tom had a conference. Otherwise, I never would have been there. The airfare was pretty good so I decided to tag along. I was glad I did. I did not have that much time there but it was nice to get out and see a new city.

When we arrived, it was pretty late. We stayed at the Barton Creek Resort. It was nice but not that special. Anyway, Tom had a cocktail party so I just rested and waited until he cam e back to take me to dinner.


The next morning, Tom had to get to the conference. I decided to head into town and take a ride on a Double Decker Bus Tour. Now, if you have never done a Double Decker bus tour, do it. It is so worth it if you have limited time in a new place. We did one in Dublin and saw so much more that we would have. I also did one in Chicago and I saw so much as well.




Along with being able to tour the city if you have a good our guide, you will learn so much about the place you are visiting. I headed into town and could not find parking so I had to drive around a while. I have to say that it is impossible to find parking in Austin. Luckily, I was able to grab a spot in a parking garage that was in the same building as the tour.




Before the tour though, I went and had a delicious lunch at the Moonshine patio and Grill. I had a Pimento Cheese Burger and fries. It was pretty amazing! I was set for my 2 hour tour. Unfortunately, it was freezing cold in Austin that day. But I was not going to let a little cold get in the way of sightseeing. So I sucked it up and went to the top of the bus.





The tour was amazing. We got to see all the big sites of the city! It was freezing but worth it. We toured downtown and then headed over to the University. We then headed across the river to the trendy side of town: SOCO.

After the tour, I was totally frozen and decided to head back to the resort for a little rest. When Tom was out of his conference, we headed back into town and had dinner. The tour guide had mentioned a BBQ restaurant she loves. So we headed over to Terry Black's. When we walked in, we almost walked out. It was a funky place and it had a buffet. Tom hates buffets.




But he stuck it out. We grabbed our plate, filled up on sides and then headed over to the meats. They sold them by weight so you could get a choice of ribs, sausage, chicken etc. We decided to stay when the guy behind the counter gave us a taste of the brisket. It was the MOST amazing brisket I had ever had. Holy cow!


We headed back to the hotel since Tom had an early day. The next day, I headed back to Austin and went to visit the LBJ Presidential Library. I have to say that this is an amazing place to visit. I am not a huge fan of LBJ but he did a lot of good things during his presidency. Walking through the library and seeing little bits of history was pretty impressive.

I also realize that I need to visit more presidential museums because if the rest are as interesting as this one, then I know I will be in for a treat. If you are ever in Austin, go here and enjoy it.




Tom finished early so we headed back into Austin and visited the Bullock Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art. Both were interesting. After that we headed to eat at Guero's Mexican Restaurant. They had some delicious Mexican food. We headed back early because our flight was super duper early the next day and had to wake up at 4am.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LEGO Justice League Vs. Bizarro League Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack Giveaway #JusticeLeague #BizarroLeague

I have always been a LEGO fan. I am also A Batman fan. So you know I love the fact that LEGO has a new DC Comics Super Heroes Set! The Justice League vs. Bizarro League follows Batman joining the newly formed Justice League in order to keep tabs on Superman. His mistrust of Superman is complicated by Superman’s clumsy – but well-meaning – clone, Bizarro. Bizarro’s creation of the Bizarro League has caused confusion amongst the world’s greatest Super Heroes, but an even greater and mysterious threat may force the Justice League and Bizarro League to band together to defeat evil.

The Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack + Batzarro LEGO minifigure is available now! So go pick it up!




And try out this cool app. You can use The LEGO Bizarro Name Generator App to find your Bizarro name. Mine is CAROLYN -MEGATON-ZARRO-DROID! Just type in your name below and get yours!




Watch the Trailer:


Check out these great digital trading cards as well. Click on the second image to download your trading cards. These are pretty cool. 



If you or your kids love LEGO and the Justice and Bizarro Leagues, these products are for you. I know a few kids in my family who will love this! If you want to win one of these great combo packs, then enter below on the Rafflecopter widget below. 
Each household is only eligible to win LEGO: DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) Blu-ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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, February 23, 2015

What we are watching 2/23

We haven't been to movies lately. We tried to see American Sniper a few weeks ago but it was sold out 2 weeks in a row. So we basically gave up. Then with our trip to Austin and all the renovations, we just haven't gone back. But we will.

Anyway, we always have TV and we have been watching a lot of shows on the Roku. I signed up for Amazon Prime and so we get free streaming. I am starting to like the way TV is going where you can binge watch series instead of having to wait for a new episode weekly! Anyway, here are my reviews.

Boyhood
This movie is all the rage. It is really fascinating to watch because you literally get to see the characters age without makeup or actors. It is a pretty good piece of movie making. But, frankly, if it didn't have this gimmick, it would not be worth watching.

The plot was mediocre and boring. The acting was good but not that great. I mean, honestly, I would not recommend this movie. I know others will say I am crazy but it was pretty meh.



Transparent
When we got Amazon Prime, we were able to watch this new Amazon show. We loved it!! Basically it is the story of a transgender man and his transition into becoming a woman. It is well written and well acted. Jeffrey Tambor is the lead actor and he is amazing. It is really a great show and a learning experience.


House of Lies
Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell lead this show. I love them. The show is about a consulting firm and all their nonsense. It is funny, well written and the characters rock. There is a lot of sex, dirty language but it is worth watching. Since I have worked with consultants, it rings really true.


Better Call Saul
This is the spin-off of Breaking Bad so I had great expectations. But I was disappointed in the first few episodes. It was slow and clunky. I am hoping it gets better because I like the character Saul.


Bosch
This is another Amazon series. It stars Titus Welliver and since I like him we decided to watch. The show is not amazing but it is s pretty solid police show. It is based on Michael Connolly's character Harry Bosch so you might have read one of the books. I had just started a book and it was pretty good. I would recommend it.



Friday, February 20, 2015

"Happiness & Health to Live a Better Life Todos los Dias" + Big Hero 6 Giveaway!! #BigHero6Sweeps


This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers and Disney Studios.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.



Big Hero 6 is now available on Disney Movies Anywhere, and on Blu-ray™ February 24, 2015! This movie is an action packed animated film that focuses on friendship. Baymax is a lovable, personal companion robot, who forms a special bond with robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to Baymax and his diverse group of friends. They transform into an unlikely group of heroes.  The movie is great fun and teaches us about friendship and living life to the fullest.

I might not have a robot for a companion but I do have mi esposo who is my best friend. And we always strive to be happy in our life. There are several ways we try to incorporate happiness in our everyday life. From sharing a cafecito in the morning, to eating dinner out once a week or traveling to fun and exotic places, we never give up trying to find that one thing that brings us felicidad.




I love making healthy and tasty comida for my husband. He sometimes brings me flowers or a small treat when I least expect it. It is these little things that bring us happiness. Es facil to make your life a little better. Here are a few tips that help me:


* Make time to have at least one meal a day together with your family. Sitting down to a great meal and great conversation puede cambiar tu dia y hacerlo mejor. Better yet, get the familia en la cocina and have them help you cook!





* Do the unexpected. My hubby's car needed to get inspected. So, I asked to borrow his car for the day and took it in to be inspected. Que sorpresa. Le encanto and it was one less chore for him.


* Do things together as a familia. Whether it be shopping or traveling, time spent together can really enhance relationships and make your bond stronger.


* Make sure to laugh together at least once a day!




These are things I practice en mi vida. There are so many other ways that you can enjoy you life and bring a little happiness and health to your family.


And this is why Big Hero 6 is such a great movie. It highlights on those things that can make bonds stronger. If you have not seen Big Hero 6, you can buy it on February 24th! And remember to participate in the #BigHero6Sweeps 7-day Instagram Photo Challenge. Post a picture that follows the campaign theme of  "Happiness & Health to Live a Better Life Every Day" between February 22 – 28th. By participating you will be eligible to win prizes that include Disney gift cards and more.




You can also join in on the #BigHero6Sweeps ‘Living a Happier, Healthier and Better LIfe’  Twitter Party on February 24th from 9-10 PM EST. You can RSVP for the Twitter Party here.


Remember, Big Hero 6 is now on Disney Movies Anywhere and on Blu-ray™ Feb 24. You can also follow Big Hero 6 on Facebook. And, if you want to win a Big Hero 6 Blu-ray DVD Combo pack, then enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!!

The prize was provided by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and I have been paid to blog and promote the film.  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own. 

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.


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. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

McFarland USA Special Clip!



Okay I am so going to get hubby to take me to see this movie. I am a sucker for sports movies and, of course, Kevin Costner. McFarland USA opens this weekend!!





Follow McFARLAND, USA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mcfarlandusa

Follow Disney Pictures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneypictures

McFARLAND, USA is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on February 20th!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Putting #FamiliaFirst with Lubriderm + GIVEAWAY! #FamilyFirst




This year, LUBRIDERM® is launching a new campaign that puts your Familia/Family First! The  #FamiliaFirst campaign is about sharing how you put your families first. Whether it be cooking them great meals, taking your kids to the movies or making sure your family is protected, it is important to make your family the priority.

One of the ways I keep my family first is by making sure that during winter their skin is protected. I do this by making sure I have LUBRIDERM® available! You all know I am a HUGE fan of Lubriderm! It is one of our go to lotions. And this winter has been especially cold and tough on our skin. We have used tons of Lubriderm because it is really only one of the lotions that moisturizes and leaves our skin looking healthy.


LUBRIDERM® features a variety of lotions perfect for each family member. With a simple skincare routine, you and your family can achieve healthier-looking skin. Use a lotion with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, such as the LUBRIDERM® Daily Moisture with SPF 15 Lotion, to protect yourself and your family from sun damage. Yes, you can get sun damage during the winter!

Hubby loves the LUBRIDERM® Men's 3 in 1 lotion. It is specially formulated with vitamins and nutrients naturally found in healthy skin.  He also loves that he can use this on his skin and also use it as a post-shave lotion on his face. With a light fragrance and aloe-enriched formula, this is his favorite.

I love the LUBRIDERM®  Daily Moisture lotion with Shea + calming Lavender Jasmine. It is the best thing for dry, scratchy and itchy skin. It is one of the only lotions that actually helps me stop the itchy skin. It provides immediate and long-lasting relief for extra-dry skin. The nourishing formula leaves skin soft, smooth and comfortable and is clinically shown to moisturize and restore healthier-looking skin.

I love the new #FamiliaFirst campaign. To help me put my Family First, I was sent a great little basket that included LUBRIDERM® lotion, a beautiful #FamiliaFirst blanket and the fixings for a family movie night!



Of course, I have a gift for one lucky reader as well. If you want to win a set of LUBRIDERM® lotions to help your family have healthy skin this winter, then enter below on the Rafflecopter widget.


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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Our Renovations Are Done and I Am So Glad!

You all know we have been remodeling our house. It has been quite a project. We had a few things going on and it has taken about a month and half to get them all done. I was pretty much over it a few weeks ago but it is finally done.

We took out a wall between our living room and a small room behind it. We also renovated out master bathroom. We completely gutted it and changed the configuration. It was a lot of work but it was really worth it.

But because we gutted the whole bathroom, we had to buy everything new including a new toilet, a new vanity, counter tops, sinks, bathroom faucets, shower head and shower wand. We also created a new walk-in shower and took out a jetted tub that was in the bathroom.


Our bathroom was very 1980's. Mint wall color, white vanity and white counter tops and that huge jetted tub that could fit 3 people. It was very dated. We even had a glass block window. Getting in and out of the tub was treacherous. There were times I almost killed myself trying to get out. It also had terrible white tiles that were worn and dirty.

We used slate tile on the floor and shower. Along with the new black vanity and modern white counter tops, we have a beautiful glass tile back splash. I am so glad our renovation is over and we actually love our new bathroom. It looks updated and modern. It also works better with the rest of the house.


The problem is now our guest bathroom is looking a little outdated as well. I actually love our guest bathroom because although it is small and older, it was easy to decorate because it had a French feel. But the shower and tub are a little older. We never had to use that shower before. But with the renovation, we had to use it and we noticed that it needs a face lift. After this renovation, we are only going to do cosmetic touches.


We will add new hardware to the shower and install a cool shower head because the old one is terrible. I think with a little paint and maybe more accessories we will be able to get away with not gutting the guest bath. Plus, we don't want our guests to get too comfortable, do we?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tandoor Chef Coupon Giveaway!


I rarely eat processed foods anymore but there are times when I do because it is easy and convenient. Every thing in moderation is a good thing. One of my favorite products to buy when I want a quick lunch is Tandoor Chef.

The other reason I like Tandoor Chef is that I don;t often make exotic foods. I am a good cook but making Indian foods is not my forte. That is why I am glad I can get my fix without having to make it myself. I can also find a variety of Vegetarian and Vegan foods as well. I am learning to cook vegetarian but I am still not there.


The variety of food is amazing. You can find appetizers, entrees, naan breads and has Gluten Free options as well. I especially like the vegetarian options because it makes it easy for me to eat good vegetarian food without having to figure it all myself.

I loved the vegetarian Pad Thai. Pad Thai is something I have never mastered in my kitchen. So the Tandoor Chef Vegetarian pad Thai allows me to eat a great meal without the muss and fuss. It is really tasty and delicious.


You can find Tandoor Chef in your local grocery store. I had a bit of a problem finding it at Harris Teeter but I headed over to Whole Foods and they had a lot of options. I love the Lamb Vindaloo and the Tandoori Chicken Wings as well.

If you like Indian food and want to win 2 full value coupons for Tandoor Chef item, then enter below on the Rafflecopter widget.

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.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Traveling the World with Verizon #VZWBUZZ #Connectedlife

Disclosure: I am a Verizon Lifestyle Ambassador. I received no compensation for this post. 

In our house we love traveling. Whether it be for business, blogging or just pleasure, we travel almost every month. A lot of that travel also includes international travel. And that's where Verizon comes in and makes it easy for me to travel and share.

Two years ago, we headed off to Europe. Of course, I wanted to over share everything like I do. I was not sure if I would be able to use my phone because of the cost involved. I did not want to just take pictures then head back to the hotel and download them and then share either. I only took my tablet so that would have been a pain to do.






I knew I could use wi-fi in some places but even using wi-fi is not always the way to go because many restaurants and attractions do not have access to wi-fi. Luckily, I investigated the international data plan that Verizon offered.

The Verizon Global Plan was a really good deal for me. I was traveling to England, France and then Spain. All the countries were covered under the plan. I had to renew the data a few times but that was because I was taking pictures all over the place. But for $25 per 100MB, it was well worth it.


We traveled to England first then I ran out of data in Paris. I added another 100MB and used a lot of it in France. By the time I got to Spain, I had added another 100MB for a total of $75. With just $75, I was able to share photos in 3 countries, 4 cities and I was a happy camper. I loved being able to share my pictures with family and friends.


Signing up for the Global Data Plan is easy. I made one phone and was signed up in minutes.

* The $25/100MB global data plan will be back-dated to the start of your current billing cycle.
* The $25/100MB global data plan will be removed at the end of the billing cycle, and the Pay as You Go global data plan will be re-added.
* If your travel continues beyond your billing cycle date, you will receive another request to add the $25/100MB global data plan. To re-add the $25/100MB global data plan, you must reply ‘YES’ to the new message request.

Now the Global Data Plan is not in all countries though. You have to go on the site and ind the list of countries. I recently went to Mexico and signed up again because I was not sure if the resort wi-fi would work all the time. It worked well so I did not use up all my data but I used about half of it. When I traveled to Costa Rica, the data plan was not available not because of Verizon but because of Costa Rican regulations. Luckily, I was staying with my mother who had wi-fi at her house so I was still able to over share everything I was doing.


Since I travel so much, I am glad that Verizon has a plan that is affordable and extensive. I cannot imagine having gone to Europe without having access to data. I would have missed sharing so many great moments like seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, visiting Buckingham Palace and hanging out at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

If you travel a lot, check out this great Verizon Global Data Plan. It will save you a lot of money and you can also share your memories with your friends and family.