Loving my FabFitFun winter box!

I’m so glad my favorite radio host, Taylor Strecker, recommended the FabFitFun box on her show. I already get an Ipsy and Play! by Sephora box of sample-size goodies each month, but the FabFitFun box is so much more than just a few samples.

Each quarter, FabFitFun puts together a selection of premium, full-size products to welcome the season. From jewelry to lotion to makeup and more, there are plenty of new things to try in each box. In my winter box, I received these items:

  • Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener in “Stella” – This champagne toned highlighter is perfect for a bright daytime eye, or a shimmery highlight in a nighttime look.
  • Ahava Hydration Cream Mask – A hydrating treatment with mineral spring water, shea butter and vitamin E, this mask is going to be a Christmas present for someone near and dear!
  • Blaq Hydrogel Eye Mask with Hyaluronic Acid – Detoxing and depuffing will be a cinch with this activated charcoal eye mask.
  • Mark and Graham Colorblock Throw in “Natural/Ivory” – Oh my goodness, this mini blanket is soooo warm! I can’t wait to take it to the office for when it gets chilly at work.
  • Moroccan Gold Series Treatment Mask – Argan oil and keratin will help seal my dry, split ends and make my coarse curls more manageable.
  • Lele Sadoughi Silver Circle Necklace – This is a beautiful statement necklace that will be easy to wear at festive holiday get-togethers.
  • Pur “Be Your Selfie” Palette – This palette of shimmery shades is perfect for a nighttime look.
  • Anthropologie X Mer-Sea & Co. Sea Whip Body Cream in “Coconut Sugar” – This rich body cream smells delicious and feels so soft and cozy!
  • Kate Somerville Exfoli-kate Treatment – I signed up with a special coupon code, so I received a free full-size Exfoli-kate scrub in my box. It’s perfect to use a couple times a week to slough off all that dry, winter skin.

Beyond the box, when you’re a FabFitFun subscriber, you also have access to an online community with forums and exclusive content. There’s a video library of tips for using the items in your box, along with fitness and yoga videos, product reviews, makeup tutorials and much more.

Overall the FabFitFun box is a great value, especially since there’s so much additional online content. There’s no way you could purchase all the premium, full-size items in each box for less than the $49.99 quarterly price. Plus the online workout and yoga videos add so much more value.

I have 5 sampler boxes to give away. If you’d like one, comment on my Facebook post and I’ll email you a link to sign up for one. You’ll only need to pay shipping and you’ll receive a sampler box containing some of the items from the quarterly FabFitFun box.

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DC’s Emporiyum at Union Market’s Dock 5

This past weekend, foodie mecca The Emporiyum returned to Union Market’s Dock 5, and there were plenty of delicious dishes and drinks to try!

Having attended the event in Baltimore a few years ago, my husband and I were excited to see the many food and beverage vendors and the Dock 5 layout. The space was a combo of indoor and outdoor vendors, with a large tent set up outside Dock 5.

First things first: a drink was in order. One Eight Distilling was happy to oblige. They had a short cocktail menu featuring their gins. I tried the Figetta Bout It, made with District Made Barrel-Rested Gin and a bunch of fall flavors.

Next on the agenda: fresh biscuits from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. We visited this classic southern biscuit bakery in the Charleston City Market while on vacation this summer and wanted to enjoy their delicious biscuits again. I got a biscuit with cinnamon sugar butter and my husband got his with spicy pimento cheese.

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Next we wanted to try the Instagram-worthy Chick’nCone, but when we realized the line that snaked through the venue was not moving, we gave up and decided to explore the other vendors. I’m so glad we did, because we tried samples of Hiatus Cheesecake’s delectable cheesecakes and were instant fans. Their Corn and Berries cheesecake was so good, with a cornmeal base, dense creamy cheesecake and fresh berry topping.

We got to try so many delicious foods and drinks, from Old Fashioned’s made with Buffalo Bergen mixers and Wild Turkey Longbranch bourbon to Indian dishes, Ketel One’s new line of botanical flavored vodkas, all-natural energy drinks, Chincoteague Island-made beer and butters, mustards and honeys made with truffles.

The event was a great chance to check out some really interesting Mid-Atlantic specialty food vendors, and to bring home some delicious treats, like Call Your Mother Deli‘s bagels and The Dough Jar‘s edible cookie dough. We had a great time exploring the market and trying all the different products.

Meal Prep Hack

As a busy mom, my meal planning and prepping is constantly evolving. I find that it’s hard to prep too many days of the same meal at one time because I like variety in my meals. I’ve also spent whole Sundays cooking food for the week and then ended up making a frozen pizza for dinner because I’m so over being in the kitchen. What’s a girl to do?

For this week’s meal prep, I used three recipes to make enough food to both feed my family for Sunday dinner and prep four lunches for the week – two for me and two for my husband. Combined with a couple of salads and one meal out during the week, these meals will get us through the workweek eating healthy.

First, I prepped my sweet potatoes by dicing them into chunks about 1/2″ wide, then tossing them in vegetable oil and salt. I roasted them in a 450-degree oven while I went to work prepping my proteins. I cut a pound of chicken breasts into about 1″ chunks then tossed in oil and cajun seasoning before arranging them in one layer in a glass baking dish. Next, I peeled a pound of shrimp and placed them in one layer into a different glass baking dish, then drizzled with oil and topped with salt and pepper. I popped the two baking dishes into the oven and grabbed a couple heads of broccoli. I chopped the broccoli florets into small pieces, drizzled with some oil and sprinkles with salt and pepper, then into the oven they went!

While everything was cooking in the oven, I sliced my leftover broccoli stalks and made a quick slaw with some diced almonds, chopped grapes, 1/4 cup of mayo and 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar.  I put a package of Green Giant zucchini noodles in the microwave to cook, then mixed up my sauce for the shrimp and zucchini noodles – 2 tbsp. mayo and 1 tsp. diced chipotle peppers in adobo.

Once everything was cooked, I packed up four lunch containers with a little bit of everything in each, then we enjoyed a delicious dinner from everything that was cooked. The kids enjoyed the cajun chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and the shrimp and zucchini noodles (they aren’t big on green vegetables – more roasted broccoli for us grownups!).

 

New York Comic Con Trip Win

If you’ve read some of my posts about how I enter and win contests and sweepstakes, you’ve seen some of my trip wins. Being a “sweeper” as a hobby is definitely full of adventure, especially when winning involves my favorite thing: travel!

Recently I was notified that I was one of the lucky winners of the Lipton Brisk New York Comic Con sweepstakes. The prize was a three-night trip to New York to attend Comic Con, including flights, hotel, ground transportation, Comic Con tickets, some spending money and a gift bag. If you’re not familiar with a comic convention, or comic con, this is typically a multi-day event where various comic book authors and artists and other vendors come together to celebrate fandom of all types. San Diego Comic Con is the largest in the U.S., but New York’s annual event takes a close second. Expanding from its original focus on comics, NYCC offered panels from actors, actresses, writers, showrunners, authors and other people involved with some of the hottest movies, tv shows and books.

Over three days and a handful of different venues, my husband and I got to take in panels on some of our favorite shows and even see the first episodes from new seasons for some. We also visited the show floor, where there were plenty of vendors and interesting experiences, plus attendees dressed in their cosplay best. From independent artists creating graphic novels and comics, to hand-painted items to fragrance oils and vintage deadstock music memorabilia, there was plenty of shopping. NYCC was definitely an experience – it was crowded, but totally fun!

 

 

Holy Grail Moisturizer

As a product junkie and skincare fanatic, I’ve tried numerous skincare products and routines since my early teens. Moving into my 40’s, I’ve tried to change up my regimen to include a serum morning and night and a little bit heavier of a moisturizer, preferably with anti-aging benefits. I’d tried samples of some Perricone MD moisturizers before, but they were so tiny I could only try them for a day or two.

Thanks to Influenster, I was able to receive a recent VoxBox featuring Perricone MD’s Face Finishing & Firming Moisturizer. This lightly rose-scented cream is hydrating but not too rich. It smooths, plumps and firms skin and is perfect for daytime use. I’ve been using it now for over a week and I can definitely tell the difference. My skin is clear, moisturized and healthy-looking. Some of the fine lines around my eyes have been smoothed out and my face just feels soft and smooth.

If you’re looking for a good anti-aging moisturizer, definitely give this one by Dr. Perricone a try! You can find the product at Sephora, who currently has several excellent coupon codesfor some extra freebies.

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Shrimp and Green Bean Skillet

With three kids, a husband and a full-time job, finding quick and easy dinner recipes is super important. I’ve found the quickest options include frozen or pre-packaged items. My go-to’s are store brand organic frozen veggies. For this skillet, you’ll need a pound of raw frozen shrimp, a package of frozen green beans, some oil or butter, a medium onion, a clove of garlic, salt, pepper and your favorite hot sauce (mine is Cholula!).

Thaw out your shrimp – I usually do this by running warm water into the bag and letting it sit for about five minutes, then draining and repeating until all shrimp are thawed. Remove shells and tails and set your shrimp aside. Cook a package of frozen green beans in the microwave according to the package directions. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil or butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then dice half of a small onion and one or two cloves of garlic.  Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and let the onions and garlic cook down for a few minutes. Add your shrimp and season with some more salt, pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce. Cook the shrimp for a few minutes on one side, then flip them over to finish cooking. Add your cooked green beans in for just enough time to coat them with seasoning and sauce, then plate and serve! Yum.

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Quick, Healthy Breakfast

I’m always looking for quick, easy, meal-prep options that are also healthy. For a while, my go-to breakfast was some egg whites, salsa and cheese nuked for about a minute and a half in the microwave to cook the eggs. Then I discovered Green Giant’s veggie spirals, especially the zucchini spirals. The quick-cook package makes meal prepping for the week quick and easy. I can just throw the package in the microwave to cook the veggie spirals from frozen, then divide the package contents across a 12-cup muffin tray.  Drop in some onions, cheese, fill the cups about 2/3 of the way with egg whites, then top with salt, pepper and any herbs I want and it’s a quick cook in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees for a batch of yummy, healthy mini veggie frittatas.

Once the mini frittatas have cooled, you can drop two at a time into plastic bags and store in the freezer. It’s easy for my husband and I to each grab a bag of these to take to work and warm up in the microwave. Voila – the problem of how to enjoy a quick, healthy breakfast is solved!

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