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All Aboard Carnival Cruise Line For A #CarnivalCuisine Experience (New Ship Spring 2018)

18 Sep

I had the pleasure of being invited on Carnival Sunshine Cruise for a #carnivalcuisine experience. When you see me post things about food you know I’m either throwing it down in the kitchen, eating at the best restaurants or creating a new recipe. I also work in a restaurant so I’m definitely a foodie lover. 

I went on a vacation with my son on the Carnival Vista back in November 2016 for an 11-day cruise and we had a blast. I love cruising and enjoying great food and Carnival sure knows how to please your palette. They cater to everyone’s needs and if you have a food allergy or dietary restrictions they accommodate you. 

On board Carnival Sunshine we were in for a treat. We ate at the Fahrenheit Steakhouse. The waitstaff passed around appetizers which melted in my mouth. Loved the mini lobster sandwiches. To start I chose the Gulf Coast Shrimp with Yukon Gold Blini and Lemon Butter Avocado Cream. I also chose the Classic Caesar Salad. For my main course the Double Cut Lamb Chop and Loin with Crispy Quinoa, Carrot Cumin and Port Wine was amazing. I also had Yukon Gold Mash with Wasabi. For dessert the Chocolate Melting Cake was perfect. There were also cocktails, wine or soda. 

Did you know Carnival is America’s Cruise Line sailing 5 million guest a year? Carnival also sails more children and military personnel than any other cruise line. Carnival also recently launched their first sailings to Cuba and just announced 5 additional voyages to the island in 2018. In Spring 2018 Carnival will introduce their second Vista Class Ship Carnival Horizon. 

Carnival Horizon will leave from New York May to September 2018 for four -to eight day cruises. I hope to be on one of those with my family. Carnival Horizon will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks with more new features still being announced. 

On Carnival Vista my son and I enjoyed the 24 hour pizzeria and Guy’s Burger Joint. I also enjoyed tacos and lobster rolls. On Carnival Horizon new food venues like Guy’s Pig N Anchor featuring a variety of BBQ favorites smoked right on board over hickory and cherry wood using Guy’s signature recipes, rubs and spices. Another new food venue will be Seafood Shack a New England style seaside spot which will feature crab cake sliders, lobster rolls, fish & chips, lobster rolls and much more. 

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event as media. This is not a sponsored post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

#NationalBreakfastMonth with @Krusteaz (New Recipe & Giveaway) #spon 

18 Sep

September is National Breakfast Month. Breakfast is a staple in homes across the country and while it can range from toast to eggs to yogurt, pancakes are an all-time family favorite. Krusteaz, makers of premium pancake and waffle mixes, is launching a new Buttermilk Protein Pancake mix this fall.  

With 13g of added protein, it’s the perfect way to keep your family full and energized all day long. In keeping with Krusteaz’s commitment to simplified and wholesome ingredients, the new protein pancake is free of partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Don’t you want some pancakes? I gladly accepted Krusteaz’s offer to create a recipe using their new buttermilk protein pancake mix. I kept it simple and my kids were a big help. We used 3 ingredients. That’s it! 

Strawberry And Cream Cheese Crepes/RollUps 

Ingredients:

1 Box of Krusteaz Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix (follow instruction on box) 

I package strawberries 

1 container of Philadelphia whipped cream cheese

Instructions:

Make pancakes according to box. The blender bottle was a great help with mixing, pouring and cleanup. It’s all I use now. 

Cut up strawberries in circles or whatever shape you want.

After pancakes are done, let them cool the spread whipped cream cheese on pancake, add strawberries then roll up. That’s all folks!! You can also get fancy and add syrup or confectioners sugar or even BACON!!!! 

What are you waiting for? Get to your local grocery store and buy a few boxes and try my recipe. You can also enter my giveaway that Krusteaz was so kind to offer to one of my readers. 

**GIVEAWAY**

· Krusteaz Protein Pancake Mixes
· A whisk

· A blender bottle and tote bag (for you to take to the gym or the kids soccer games!)

How To Enter: 

*Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog. 

*Following my Instagram @nilimo

*Following my Twitter @nilimonicky

*Leave your email and social media handles. 

*What would you create with Krusteaz Pancakes?

Giveaway starts today and winner will be announced on 9/25 on social media. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Items were also given for my recipe and review. 


 
 

SUNDAY SKILLET FRITTATA WITH NELLIE’S EGGS & CABOT CHEESE #NelliesBrunch #AD

5 Sep

It’s nearly indisputable that Sunday brunch is the best meal of the week, and what is brunch without eggs? 

Nellie’s Free Range Eggs come from the first Certified Humane farm in the country where the hens have as much, or as little, access to outside as they want.

Nellie’s Free Range Eggs and Cabot Creamery Co-operative Cheese asked me to come up with a brunch recipe using these two stellar brands. 

We love eggs no matter what time of day. There’s so many ways eggs can be used. I must say I can’t have eggs without cheese unless I’m baking or making pancakes or waffles. We are cheese fanatics and you know cheese go great with lots of things. 

The farm families that own Cabot Creamery Co-operative love what they do. And they’ve been doing it for a long time—every single day since 1919. 

I love my eggs very cheesy, scrambled eggs, omelets, etc. For my brunch I decided to create a one pot frittata type of egg recipe. 

SUNDAY SKILLET FRITTATA WITH NELLIE’S EGGS & CABOT CHEESE

INGREDIENTS:

 Nellie’s Free Range Eggs 6 or 7 eggs depending on size of pan and amount of people you’re feeding. ( I fed 6 people) 

**Cabot Cheese Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar Cheese (you decide how much to put in) just cut up in pieces

**Cabot Cheese Gatlic and Herb Cheddar Cheese

**Cabot Cheese Seriously Sharp Premium Naturaly Aged Cheddar Cheese 

**You can use whatever flavor cheese you want. 

1 Red Bell Pepper chopped up 

1 Orange Bell Pepper chopped up 

2 Whole Tomatoes chopped up 

2 whole onions

I used garlic powder, onion powder and salt & pepper. 

PREP:

In my nonstick skillet I cracked 6 to 7 eggs. My daughter whisked them up. My veggies and cheese were already choppep. I added them inside the egg mixture with my seasonings and stirred it up. 

My oven was already preheated to 350 degrees. (Check your oven for your right temperature). You don’t want the frittata to burn before it can cook all the way through. 

Yes, skillets can go in the oven. I tried to avoid opening the oven too much because that slows down the cooking process. It took roughly 45 minutes to an hour. Cooked to perfection. It was well worth the wait. Everyone enjoyed it and I can say that will be a part of our breakfast/ brunch or dinner quite often. It can also be put on bread and made into a sandwich. My daughter did that. 

To learn more about Nellie’s Free Range Eggs head to http://www.nelliesfreerange.com

For more info on Cabot Co-operative Cheese check out http://www.cabotcheese.coop

Check your local supermarkets for product. 

**GIVEAWAY**

Nellie’s Eggs and Cabot Cheese sent me 

2 coupons for free cartons of eggs

· $50 gift card courtesy of Nellie’s Free Range Eggs to purchase other necessary ingredients

· Cabot Creamery Co-operative cheese (4 varieties)

· Set of fun egg molds

They also want to send one of my readers  coupons, cheese and egg molds. (Sorry gift card not included but hey look at all the great stuff you can win). 

*Leave a comment below about eggs and cheese and what flavor cheese you like or how you like your eggs and you will be entered to win. 

*You also must be following my blog. 

*Follow my Instagram @nilimo

*Also leave your email and social media handle for Instagram and Twitter. 

Giveaway ends September 10, 2017. Winner announced September 12th. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 





Neuhaus Chocolate with Almonds

10 Jul

Neuhaus presents the perfect collection for National Chocolate with Almonds Day

 

Neuhaus Chocolates has the perfect collection to celebrate National Chocolate with Almonds Day on July 8th– the Chocolate Discovery Collection. This collection features several pralinés with almonds for all kinds of taste buds, including milk, dark and white chocolates.

National Chocolae with Almonds Day is over but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy Neuhaus Chocolates. 

In 1875 Jean Neuhaus settled in Brussels and opens a pharmacy in the prestigious Galerie de la Reine. He made a name for himself by innovatively covering his medicines in a layer of chocolate to make them more palatable. 142 years later, Neuhaus is the market leader in the luxury chocolate sector in Belgium. The company currently has over 1,000 sales outlets in 50 countries, and six stores in New York alone. Neuhaus recently opened its latest shop in Westfield’s, WTC. It is one of the few chocolate companies still manufacturing in Belgium. 

 

 In 1912, Neuhaus Jr. decided to expand his grandfather’s idea replacing traditional medicines with fresh cream, thus creating the first filled chocolate. He called it ‘Praline’, which became an immediate success, and an early form of the delicious chocs we know and love today. 

 

Hailing from Brussels, the luxury chocolatiers have a couple of options which lend themselves to this National Food Day – Passion Amandes White, a praliné with caramelized almonds and a pinch of salt or the Satan Dark, an almond and hazelnut praliné with caramelized hazelnut pieces.

The Chocolate Discovery Collection promises something for everyone. Whether for chocolate lovers or those looking to give that perfect gift – we all love an excuse to eat more chocolate, right? 

Check out http://www.neuhauschocolate.com

Instagram:@neuhauschocolates

Disclosure: Thia is not a sponsored post. Product was given for review purposes. 

 

 

Farm Fresh FAM Tour with Dutchess County, EscapeMaker, Metro North #distinctlydutchess #hosted

3 Jul

I’ve always dreamed of moving into a big house having a farm and lots of land. I love the quiet life. New York is fine but it’s overcrowded. Who knew my dream was just a train ride away? If you hop aboard the Metro North you would think you have traveled to another world. Well that’s how I felt. It’s perfect. 

I was invited to the Farm Fresh FAM Tour with Escape Maker, Dutchess County and Metro North. 

I started my day early and met other journalists at Grand Central Terminal and we boarded the Metro North to Wassaic. From there we took a shuttle to our first stop on the tour to Harney & Sons Teas in Millerton, NY. If you appreciate a good cup of tea then I suggest you check out this shop. The company, which sources, blends, and packages their product from start to finish has grown from their original six teas, to more than three hundred. We sampled some of the teas and my favorite was the Hot Cinnamon Spice. Harney & Sons Teas gave us a nice variety of teas to take home. I absolutely fell in love with this town. So many cute shops and all the locals know each other and in no way is it overcrowded like Manhattan. Check out @harneyteamillerton on Instagram and http://www.harney.com for more info. 

Stop #2 was Irving Farm Coffee Roasters also located in NY. If you know me you know I love coffee. Iced, hot, cold brew and an occasional coffee ice cream and can’t forget coffee cake. Wait is there coffee in coffee cake? Don’t know, but it’s still good. Coffee samples were great. Coffees from Guatemala, Brazil and Columbia to name a few. I also purchased a coffee mug and bakery treats. Head to @irvingfarm on Instagram. 

Stop #3 the McEnroe Organic Farm. They produce premium organic meats, vegetables, and soils & compost. We took a tour on the shuttle through the farm and oh my did we smell the compost. I spotted chickens and sheeps. I also went inside my first greenhouse. There were tomatoes everywhere. We enjoyed the best organic, fresh, healthy lunch from the farm. Roast beef and chicken salad wraps, green salad cucumber water or iced tea and cookies were amazing. We were given time to shop in their market and McEnroe was nice to give us more cookies to take home. If you have kids or even if you don’t this can be a fun tour to take and learn all about McEnroe Organic Farm. Please check out their page on Instagram @mcenroeorganicfarm http://www.mcenroeorganicfarm.com

McEnroe Organic Farm has been NOFA-NY Certified Organic for over 25 years; it is one of New York’s oldest and most diverse certified organic farms and stands at over 1,100 acres of fields, pastures, and greenhouses.

Their Market has grown from a small roadside stand to year-round market, offering local, seasonal, and organic groceries. The talented kitchen staff uses the produce and meats from the farm to create healthy. delicious, and sustainable meals.

The farm’s methods include crop rotation, biological pest control, composting, careful cultivation, and cover cropping. They grow certified organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and feed for their livestock. With green houses and cold frames, they extend the season for organic tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, field greens and herbs, enabling them to grow as early as April and as late as December.
Established in 1683 as one of the original counties of New York. Bestowed in the Hudson River Valley midway between New York City and the the capital of Albany it is easily accessible by car, train, bus, air and boat. With its abundance of historic landmarks, restaurants, festivals and natural scenic beauty, Dutchess County is 800 square mikes of fascinating sits, lively events and breathtaking vistas. 

Dutchess County is a year-round vacation getaway so there are plenty of events and activities for all tastes and styles. Listings are subject to change so it’s a good idea to call ahead. Check out the calendar at DutchessTourism.com for current listings. 

EscapeMaker.com, NYC’s guide to local getaways since 2000, announced earlier this year that it was selected by Dutchess Tourism, Inc. to administer the operations of their successful Dutchess County Farm Fresh Tours program through 2017 with Metro- North Railroad.

For 10 years, Dutchess Tourism, Inc. has operated the Farm Fresh Tours program, which offers guided day trips to local farms and producers in and around Dutchess County by providing bus shuttle service to train passengers arriving at Metro-North Railroad stations in Poughkeepsie and Beacon, among others. 

Many Dutchess County farms are family-owned and welcome visitors to “pick-your-own” produce, make purchases from their farm stands, or join them during family-oriented festivals. Apple picking, wine making, visiting breweries and learning about cheese making are all examples of agritourism, which supports local farmers and producers.

Stop #4 Taconic Distillery. If you’re a bourbon whiskey fan this stop is for you. Yes you get samples of spirits here. I’ve been in Distilleries before but if you see all the land that the Taconic is on you won’t want to leave. It’s breathtaking. I learned quite a bit about how the bourbon whiskey is made and how long is has to rest to become Straight Bourbon Whiskey. (2 years in case you wanted to know). I wrote my name on a barrel and will check it in 2 years. There’s also Founder’s Rye Whiskey, Dutchess Private Reserve, Rolling Hills Rum, LIMITED EDITION Double Barrel Bourbon Whiskey with Maple Syrup and Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey. We also tasted pure maple syrup. I purchased a bottle of the Barrel Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup which is enhanced by the hint of their Dutchess Private Reserve Bourbon. My pancakes and waffles won’t know what hit them!!! There was also a raffle and I won a cool tshirt. Instagram: @taconic_distillery and http://www.taconicdistillery.com for more info. 

Our final stop was at Crown Maple. This is where magic happens. Pure, organic maple syrup is made at Madava Farms. Lots of syrup tasting going on here. I also love the shop where I made sure to take home Madagascar Vanilla syrup for the kids. You can find them on Instagram @crownmaple https://www.crownmaple.com/visit-madava-farms

I really enjoyed myself on this Farm Fresh FAM Tour. It was great meeting new people and exploring for the day. Everyone on the tour was great!! 

Farm Fresh Tours will officially kick off for the season on Saturday, September 2nd and will run through the end of October 2017. Packages will go on sale via Metro-North Railroad in July 2017 and can be purchased from full-service ticket windows and ticket vending machines. Attendees will be required to make reservations beforehand at EscapeMaker.com/FarmFreshTours 
EscapeMaker .com will continue to offer many of the existing farm and destination itineraries from past seasons, which include Metro-North transportation. All itineraries transfer from the Beacon, Wassaic and Poughkeepsie stations and highlight artisanal eats, craft beverage tasting, apple picking, eco-friendly and organic farming, festivals and more. Following the 2017 season, EscapeMaker.com will be exploring ways to expand in other seasons, including working with GrowNYC’s Greenmarket and farmers to educate their shoppers about trip options.

Metro-North Railroad, is a suburban commuter rail service run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a public authority of the state of New York. The service also offers packages, special fares and deals to area local attractions and weekend getaway destinations.

Disclosure: This tour was hosted by EscapeMaker, Metro North and Dutchess County. Swag , tickets, transportation and lunch was given. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

My Mother’s Day Gift Guide Favorites From One Mama To Another 

12 May

I’m writing this Mother’s Day gift guide to show you a few of my favorite things. It doesn’t mean you have to wait till Mother’s Day to give or receive these things because to me Mother’s Day is everyday. Below are classic gifts that will last for a very long time, except for the food of course and a few favorite movies that I suggest you see. 

1. Armitron Watches. Check out http://www.armitron.com to see what style you like. Ok all for the mesh band this year and I wear it everyday and get lots of compliments. It goes with any outfit and feels great on my skin. Prices are incredible. 

2. Keysocks. These comfortable socks go with me on vacation, are great for lounging around and feels great in flats. Lots of colors to choose from. 

KEYSOCKS are the first smartly designed socks that remains hidden inside pumps, flats, sneakers and moccasins. They pull up to your knee, but have a cutout on the entire top off your foot that makes them invisible inside shoes while still providing comfort, moisture wicking and blister prevention. Available in ultra lightweight and nylon. Check out http://www.keysocks.com

3. Godiva. How can you not have chocolate any day of the week? Just walking into any Godiva store you will want one of everything from truffles, chocolate covered strawberries, frozen drinks and lots of varieties of candy gives me that chocolate rush I love. Check out all you can eat on their website or if there is a store located near you head in. The gift wrapping is amazing. http://www.godiva.com

4. Boppy. The new Boppy Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow is a large one-piece pregnancy pillow designed to provide complete head-to-toe support. The pillow can be used multiple ways to make you and your bump more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports head, neck, back, hips and tummy with just one pillow. Filled with 100% virgin fiber for just the right support. The 100% cotton slipcover is wipeable for easy cleaning. Both pillow is machine washable. No I’m not pregnant and you don’t have to be to use this pillow. It’s so comfortable my daughter and I take turns using it. It has great support for my back and neck that I need. We love it. Check out http://www.shop.boppy.com for all your needs. 

5. Zac Posen. I can’t even begin to tell you how many handbags I own. I could open a shop. I fell in love with Zac Posen Eartha Iconic Soft Top Handle bags. It’s so chic, clean, sleek and classic and goes with any outfit dressed up or down. Lightweight and can be worn as a crossbody, floral shoulder strap or by the handle. I love the hinge lock flap closure. I treated myself to this beautiful bag and I’m about to purchase another one. Please head to http://www.zacposen for gorgeous styles, colors and prices. 

6. Castello del Poggio Moscato Provincia Di Pavia. If you’re looking for a great wine this Moscato is for you.  Unique sweet and aromatic characteristics. Fruity and very inviting, with intense scents of peaches and exotic fruit. Can be found online by googling or stop into Olive Garden restaurants. My favorite wine. 

7. I would also like to suggest a few movies from Disney. Beauty & The Beast and Born In China. You might need some tissues for Born In China. These movies were great! We sanged, laughed and cried but I would definitely see them again. Check your local theaters to see the schedule. I also want to throw in the Broadway play School Of Rock which was amazing. I wrote a post about the play that you can check for my review. I also want to check out Snatched which I missed the screening for. Looks very funny. 

8. G.H. Cretors Popcorn. End the day with a bowl of yummy popcorn. G.H. Cretors is the perfect snack for at home game night, movie night or any time you want. This artisanal popcorn is made in small batches using only the highest quality ingredients. Delicious flavors ranging in bold craveable favotites. Check these out: The Mix (cheddar cheese and caramel), NEW Organic White Cheddar, NEW Organic Honey Butter Kettlecorm, Organic Chile Jalepeno White Cheddar, Organic Salted Butter, Organic Dill Pickle, Just The Cheese, Just The Caramel, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Non- GMO ingredients and 100% gluten free. Gold mine!!! These amazing, delicious popcorn can be found nationwide. At Target, BJ’s, Walgreens and Rite Aid and more retail locations. Also head to www. ghcretors.com for more info. 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. A few of the items mentioned were given to me for review or as a gift for attending an event. Others were purchased. Opinions are mine 100% as always/ 

Spring Crafting = Halo’s Fun #MThalosfun #ad

13 Mar

When asked to get crafty at a recent event my kids and I attended we said sure but we couldn’t do it on an empty stomach. Sure we had breakfast but we needed a little more energy from something healthy that was easy to digest, easy to peel and no mess. What snack could we possibly have like this? Halos mandarins is what I’m talking about. 

These little guys have been a favorite of ours for years. Who doesn’t love a seedless, easy to peel, sweet mandarin that you can snack on any time of the day? Halo’s go to school, work, on the go, when we travel and is stocked in the fridge for whenever we want one or two. 

Momtrends invited us to the Children’s Museum of The Arts to get crafty on a cold day but once inside it felt like Spring. Halos mandarins surrounded us and we took our fruit to a whole new level and created chickens and bunnies. We were also treated to amazing snacks that included: Mandarin Spring Salad, Fruit Pizzas, Cider and Smoothies as well as other fun, healthy treats. 

I love the canisters that we took home because they can be used for so many different things. The tote bags were cute as well and there were also coupons for more Halos. Check out the website for more craft ideas: http://www.halosfun.com/teamhalos.html. 

Disclosure: This is a compensated post. Thank you to Momtrends for the invite. All opinions are ours 100% as always. 

CARNIVAL VISTA 11-DAY CRUISE WITH MY 20 YR OLD SON. SHARING MY 20 MONEY SAVING TIPS. #hellovista #carnivalvista

31 Dec

So if you follow me on social media you’ve seen me posting pics about going on an 11-day cruise to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas on Carnival’s new ship The Vista with my 20 year old son. I’ve been on a Norwegian 7-day cruise with my kids but this really felt like a vacation. 

I want to share with you my money saving tips so when you’re ready to take a cruise you will still have money left when you return. 

TIP NUMBER 1:

I am so grateful that cruises leave from New York which saves me so much money on airfare. If you live in New York take advantage of the cruises and you’ll see just how much extra money you will have. I only spent $20 to take a cab from my apartment to the port.


TIP NUMBER 2:

You do not want to be disappointed or embarrassed when you check in and they tell you birth certificates are not allowed to travel. Have a passport or get what my son and I have: An enhanced license (permit, or non-driver ID) is a New York State DMV issued document that you can use instead of a passport to return to the US by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean. 

TIP NUMBER 3:

The first picture that the cruise member takes before you board the ship is the best picture. Even if you think you don’t want it let them take it, then look at it on your he app andi guarantee you will want it. I also allowed cruise members to take one picture of us at each destination. I don’t care what kind of camera you have their pictures always come out perfect. I also took home one in black and white which I didn’t know they could do. They are not expensive at all. 

TIP NUMBER 4:

Eat, eat and eat. It’s all included. Why would you not want to eat? Food is available all day. Some of the restaurants charge you to eat but you don’t have to eat there if you don’t want to. Also there were times when we didn’t want to get up early to go eat so I would order free room service for basic stuff like croissants, bagels, muffins, coffee, tea, fruit, cereal, etc.. After that if we wanted the hot breakfast we had till 11am to get it. So take advantage of free room service for breakfast only. On port days it would take longer so my advice get up and go eat before leaving the ship. Also don’t forget to tip for room service!!


TIP NUMBER 5:

Excursion: a going out or forth : expedition, a usually brief pleasure trip, a trip at special reduced rates. 

For some people these excursions are planned in advance and can cost quite a bit depending how many people you are traveling with and what exactly it is you want to do. There’s lots of things to do from snorkeling, horseback riding, party boats, beaches with access to spas, scuba diving, and shopping trips. You name it they’ve got it. There was one port we couldn’t stop at because of flooding so refunds were given. 

For others they just want to stay on the boat no matter what. Then you have some who want to hop on a free trolley like we did and do your own sightseeing and shop and just be a tourist with the people you’re traveling with. All the money I could have spent on an excursion we used to shop and unless we wanted to try the local cuisine we were nearby the ship where we could go back on have lunch, drop off our bags and head back out again or stay on the boat and enjoy the pool and other rides while the ship was empty. Remember there are things going on in the ship for those that don’t want to leave. At certain ports there are roundtrip boats that take you to the beach for $7 per person and you could also do shopping there as well. 


TIP NUMBER 6:

Never leave the ship without your coupons. 

I had so many coupons to take with me during our port stops that I collected so much free jewelry and gifts I didn’t have to spend a penny. Even on the cruise there are events where you can win raffles for jewelry, pairings and even a free cruise. Make sure you always check your mail, redeem your coupons and attend the seminars to get even more coupon books and freebies. Some of the coupons can even be used when you come back so don’t throw them away. It was great to walk into a retailer and get a free gift without having to purchase anything even though they will try to get you to look at the expensive jewelry. It’s still cheaper to purchase souvenirs off the ship if you’re taking gifts home. Coupons are also good on the ship too. 

TIP NUMBER 7:

Your room key (sail and sign card) is your identification card on and off the ship, your money card and your card to turn on your lights in your room so don’t lose it. I purchased a sparkly necklace or neck rope to attach it to. If you don’t want to spend any money download the ship’s app which you’re gonna need anyway and show it to the shops and they will give you a free necklace to attach your room key to. The first day you board you can link a credit or debit card to your room card and it can be split between you and your family or you can have control of all the purchases. A minimum of $200 is what you should start with. I had mine linked with my son so he could make his own purchases. 

Drinks can be purchased at the bars, games can be played, snacks from other shops, etc.. I didn’t purchase a soda plan in advance because we don’t drink soda and it was too expensive. There is free coffee, tea, juices, cold lemonade, iced tea and water so we were fine. You must be 21 to drink alcoholic beverages . There is also a liquor package which I didn’t purchase. It was cheaper to buy a drink here and there. 

Here’s another great TIP. When you order room service ask for a pitcher of water then keep that pitcher for your entire trip and keep refilling with water to keep at the table or bring back to the room so you don’t have to make double trips carrying cups of water. Make sure you keep the pitcher in the fridge so housekeeping doesn’t take it. We stayed hydrated for 11-days. Also guests used sports bottles. 


TIP NUMBER 8:

Some people pay for tips and gratuity during  the booking of their trip. You don’t have to. You can do it 2 days before the trip ends. You can let the cruise add it on to your bill which they will do anyway. If you feel you need to dispute the price let them know in person and they will remove it and you can ask for envelopes and leave what you feel is right for each employee like housekeeping, bartenders, room service, etc.. I feel like I made personal connections with everyone so I handed enevelopes to individuals. 

TIP NUMBER 9:

If you see the prices of the spa on the cruise you might want to think again. I’m not saying don’t do it just me personally I got a better deal by bringing my own facial treatments with me. I spent less than $5 at Target and had the best peel off facials ever! I got to relax in my Carnival robe and meditate or watch tv, listen to music or just take in the ocean and didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars. Now if you want a massage or botox or something else then I suggest you hit the spa. The hot tub is free too. 



TIP NUMBER 10:

Be sure the person you take is someone you will get along with. Believe it or not there were people arguing on vacation. 

My 20 year old son was the perfect choice. I love all my kids and it was hard to not have all of them there but I knew my son really needed this as much as I did. He’s a hard working young man and I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. He doesn’t ask for much and he’s just the sweetest, funniest, polite, mellow person. Everyone complimented him on his manners and how he was the best dressed person they ever saw. They also asked him about how he does his hair. He really enjoyed himself and took great pictures, got on a ride with me on board and took advantage of rest and relaxation. We laughed, shopped, explored, ate our bellies full and just enjoyed every moment. He enjoyed Guy’s Burgers the most. I treated him to milkshakes, candy and video games and we also enjoyed a comedy show on board. We liked the fancy dining rooms as well. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE SON THAT YOU ARE AND HANGING WITH YOUR MOM! 


TIP NUMBER 11:

To dress or not to dress that is the question. 

There are evenings when you can choose to dress up and dine or have dinner with the Captain or just wear casual clothes and eat casually. Some people really dressed up with sparkly evening gowns, tuxedos, high heels, etc.. I knew I didn’t want to dress up so I just came with regular sundresses and opted for casual dining. There were also themed nights like where you wear all white, or 90’s party, etc.. Those were fun. You can get the scoop of that online ahead of time so you know what to pack. 

TIP NUMBER 12:

Our room was great. We had two twin beds, two bathrooms and lots of storage space, a couch and tables and tv. We also had a window view of the ocean. Didn’t need a balcony and the bottom level we were on we didn’t feel the motion of the ocean as much as other people. We were on Deck 1 , Starboard 1417 AFT-S. 

TIP NUMBER 13:

I do not like checking my luggage. I don’t like the fact that my luggage sits in front of my door while I’m not in my room. There were luggage missing from rooms days later that were never found that had wallets, medicine or electronics in. I rather we take our own luggage to our room. Nothing missing, nothing to worry about. If it’s not a hassle take your luggage yourself and don’t have your wallet, medicine, purse or electronics in it. Keep that in your carry-on.


TIP NUMBER 14:

Carry a small umbrella whether you think you need it or not. It felt like 100 degrees and I was so thankful I had that extra protection  from the sun along with my sunscreen, hats and shades. We also got some rain at a few ports. Umbrellas are your friend. Never leave home without it. 


TIP NUMBER 15:

Don’t forget your portable chargers. As a blogger I never leave home without it. You don’t want to miss that great shot or miss talking to loved ones when you dock because you didn’t fully charge your phone. 

Depending where you go on your cruise you might not  get Wifi when you dock so don’t get mad unless you’re willing to pay for it or sit somewhere where there’s free Wifi which is at a restaurant. 

On board the ship Wifi plans vary. There’spackages to choose from like social media packages or internetand email packages, etc.. When using Carnival’s app on board you will not be charged. It’s free. This app really comes in handy when you want to know what’s going on daily on board and to order your pictures, etc. We were too busy enjoying ourselves to worry about using our phones so when we did get a signal then that was a good time to speak to family and send pictures. 

TIP NUMBER 16:

Magnets, coffee mugs and postcards make great souvenirs. Inexpensive and you can find them anywhere. Also don’t forget the clothing factories like Polo Ralph Lauren which was my favorite. Amazing deals. 

TIP NUMBER 17:

There’s so much to do on board you will always be busy unless you just want to relax. There’s drive in movies, bingo, casino, comedy, seminars, spa, exercise classes, gym, pools, saunas, rides, water slides, dancing, karaoke, scavenger hunts and that’s just some of the things you can do. 


TIP NUMBER 19:

Double check before leaving for your cruise to make sure you have everything and double check before leaving the ship as well. You’d be surprised how many things get left behind. 

TIP NUMBER 20:

Always listen for announcements from the cruise director or Captain. The television also have announcements so pay attention and you can follow the map on the tv to see where your next destination is. 


HAVE FUN ON YOUR NEXT VACATION!! WE CANT WAIT FOR OUR NEXT CRUUSE!!! 

Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 







Baking With @FreeRangeNellies Eggs 

26 Dec

My family and I enjoy eating scrambled eggs, egg omelets, baking and using eggs in different recipes. What eggs are you using in your recipes? Do you use organic, cage free, or hormone free?

Ive been using Nellie’s Free Range Eggs and love the taste and what goes into how they care for their hens.


Nellie’s Free Range Eggs believe happy hens lay better eggs and Certified Humane Free Range means letting our hens be…hens. All our hens live on real, small family farms, not industrial scale factories calling themselves farms. Free Range means there are no cages or enclosures, anywhere inside the barn. “Cage Free” cannot make the same claim. Our girls roam free and can head out to our spacious pastures anytime the weather is agreeable to engage in all their natural behaviors like roosting, dust bathing, scratching, and being social with one another.

 

Nellie’s contains no hormones and no antibiotics, and you and your readers can rest assured that you’re buying wholesome, humane eggs at a reasonable price. All of our farmers follow the strictest standards of humane animal treatment, safety, and environmental sustainability.

I decided to make chocolate chip cookies with the kids. We got our whisk out, animal cookie cutters and of course Nellie’s Free Range Eggs and got baking. The cookies were amazing and you can follow any chocolate cookie recipe and make sure to use Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. 

 

For more info visit http://www.nelliesfreerange.com, watch our recent Free Range Kids video or follow @FreeRangeNellie on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and swag was given to create my cookies. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

Volunteering with @Nissan @NYCommonPantry, Nissan Rogue, @RogueOneMovie #NissanRogueOne

23 Dec

I was excited that I was invited to help out Nissan and volunteer at my local food pantry “Common Pantry” New York’s largest-community based food pantry providing social services to communities throughout NYC. They are located at 8 East 109th St. 


Low income families can sign up to receive groceries such as fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, fresh bread, cereal, boxed items, milk, eggs, etc once a week. Common Pantry also serves meals to the homeless. 

A few volunteers took grocery orders from families on an iPad then orders came upstairs to where I was volunteering and I packed up the food in bags and handed it to them. I enjoyed packing bags and giving extra treats like a cupcakes, water and sandwiches. The community really appreciate this. For some this is all they have and I love helping people out. 

Even for Thanksgiving if you are signed up Common Pantry gives frozen turkeys and all the sides. The line goes around the  corner. When you live in a community where fresh fruits and vegetables are either expensive or nowhere to be found Common Pantry makes sure to take care of you. 

There are even working families who rely on Common Pantry for either the groceries or hot meals because they just aren’t making enough to feed their family. You should never feel ashamed to ask someone for help. I’ve told tons of people about Common Pantry. 

We volunteered for about four hours and after we hopped in the new Nissan Rogue, had a fabulous lunch at Maxwells Central Park then we were off to a screening of the new Star Wars Rogue One movie. I enjoyed the smooth ride in the Nissan Rogue. I can’t wait to test this baby out and go on a road trip. The movie was amazing. My son and I enjoyed it very much and all the concession snacks.


Don’t forget to check out: @nycommonpantry on Twitter and the Nissan Rogue @Nissan @NissanUSA

Website: http://www.nycommonpantry.org

http://www.NissanUSA.com

Huge thank you to Nissan and your great team, Common Pantry and Steven Oldham for an awesome day. 

Disclosure: Opinions are mine 100%. This post is not compensated. I was invited to this media/volunteer event.