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#ShopkinsSwap Preview Event Recap at Toys R Us 

24 Aug

If there’s one thing my daughter is obsessed with its Shopkins. She’s been collecting since Season 1 and to be honest I absolutely don’t mind. I like them myself. They are so cute. It’s fun not knowing what she’s  getting in the package then seeing her face light up when she gets a shopkin or the special limited edition, rare or ultra rare. She plays with them everyday. They’re not expensive and you can get a pack with two or the bigger packs with twenty. There’s so many and we won’t stop till we collect them all. 

We were invited to the Media Preview Shopkins Swapkins Party at Toys R Us in Times Square, NYC on August 14. My daughter had no idea until we got to Toys R Us and she saw a character in costume and figured it out. However, I did tell her to bring a few Shopkins with her just incase she saw someone there with a Shopkin she wanted to swap with. She kept asking me “why if the swap wasn’t till that Saturday?”. “I said you never know”. 

It was amazing. We were greeted by two Shopkins characters and led into the skybox for a great breakfast and to see what’s new. We love the new Lego Shopkins. There were Shopkins on the tables to also trade with and cookie decorating table, coloring and just swapping away. My daughter did good and got a few Shopkins she’s been wanting. She loved swapping with MommyandGracieShow and DisneyCarsToys. 

Kids were also given a Limited Edition NY Apple Blossom Shopkins. Only 800 of these were made. That made my daughter’s day. Looking forward to collecting Lego Shopkins for my daughter and I’m sure Season 4 will be just as fun. 

We had a great time. Thank you Toys R Us and Moose Toys for the invite. Yes, once again we rode the ferris wheel. It’s a must!! 

Check out @ShopkinsWorld @ToysRUs and @Moose_Toys on Twitter. 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. My daughter was given swag. Opinions are ours 100% as always. 

   
      
   

Bratz Dolls Empower Girls To Create Their Own Worlds #BratzBesties 

31 Jul

Back in June I was invited to a never-before-seen preview of the re-launched Bratz doll. It was held at Hundred Acres down on MacDougal St. In NYC. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and took a look at the dolls and their accessories.  

 On July 25, MGA Entertainment’s popular fashion doll franchise, Bratz, made its comeback with a new mantra to empower girls to create their own worlds. Celebrating creativity, confidence and friendship, the event was held at the flagship Toys”R”Us in New York City’s Time Square and featured activity stations including braid bars and a photo booth. 

My daughter was very excited to see the collection, hang out at the activity stations, get her nails and hair done, have breakfast in the Skybox and take pictures with teen pop sensation, Skylar Stecker. She also signed her autograph on a cute pair of lips which is a iPhone 6 cell case. My daughter also got a picture with real-life Bratz and the inspiration for the Yasmin doll, Jasmin Larian who also talked about all the ways the brand has evolved over the years. Actress Nathalia Ramos also made an appearance and took pictures. 

There was a huge pair of pink lips cake that was so delicious. You know we just couldn’t leave Toys R Us without getting in the Ferris Wheel. We got in the Barbie car. 

Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckPH4uD4nJw 

Bratz Brand Anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckPH4uD4nJw

Bratz ‘Meet the Bratz’ (stop motion animation teaser): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL1LGEMljAA

 http://www.bratz.com/

It’s always hard to choose one doll as your favorite when there’s a collection. I like them all. My daughter was sent Sasha from the Sleepover party collection (Walmart exclusive). She loves the accessories and is having fun with Sasha. She can’t wait to get the entire collection. 

You can find the Bratz dolls at Toys at Us. Walmart & Target now. 

Disclosure: I was given a gift card in June for attending and my daughter received a doll for review. Opinions are 100% ours as always. Thank you to everyone involved in inviting us to these events.

   
    
    
    
    
   
    
    

    
    
     

NEW YORK BABY SHOW FAVORITES & BLOGGER LOUNGE RECAP

21 May

The New York Baby Show presented by New York Family Magazine was in full effect over the weekend, May 16,17 at Pier 92 in NYC. I always appreciate these shows even though my kids aren’t babies anymore. However, I do have baby/toddler cousins. My readers also have babies/ toddlers and I’m sure they appreciate reading about the latest, greatest baby strollers, toys, clothes, furniture, etc. 

We went the first day and was there for the ribbon cutting ceremony with NBC News Anchors Erica Hill and Sheinelle Adams. Rosie Pope was in the house as well. Canon was the presenting sponsor of the New York Baby Show. Momtrends hosted the Blogger Lounge (#MomtrendsLounge) this year and child care was also provided. It was much needed and a big Thank You goes out to them for that. There was pampering for bloggers from GlamSquad giving the ladies manicures, hair and makeup touch-ups. My daughter immediately had her nails done. After we walked around and visited stations we came back to the lounge for a delicious lunch and raffles. My son decided to stay in the lounge because he’s not into baby things but he’s a great helper with kids and parents have told me he’s a very caring person and the kids love playing with him. He’s 12 and loving with his sister too. He had fun up in the lounge. My daughter saw a few of her friends in child care and wanted to play so I sent her off to have more fun. She was in good hands with The Nanny League. They are great with kids of all ages. 

NYC Dads Group hosted the Dad’s Lounge sponsored by Dove Men Care. They took care of the dad’s and moms by welcoming them in their lounge to change and feed their babies, get tips, advice and tricks from other dad’s. 

Quinny & Maxi-Cosi, Stokke, Evenflo Feeding, Delta Kids, Pottery Barn Kids, Mamas & Papas, Please and Carrots, Happy Family, Plum Organics, Shoosha True, Babies R Us, Britax, Vitamix, 92Y, Lincoln Center, The Bump provided reading material with the inside scoop of getting pregnant and pregnancy. New York Family Magazine another favorite magazine also provided reading material for helping parents enjoy raising kids in the city and beyond. 

Mabel’s Labels handed bloggers a pack full of labels with our names on it and a few dog tags. I use them for the kids school books, lunches and clothing. They come in handy. The goody bags were filled with fabulous items from lots of brands. A few of my favorite things from the goodie bags and on the floor were: Hatch Things have a lightweight caryall bag called “Sureshop” that won’t let your stroller fall over. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this with our strollers. I wish I had these when my kids were little but as a bag fanatic i can never say no to a good bag. While walking the floor my daughter found these cute reuseable garden snack bags from Green Sprouts. Comes in a 2-pack snack size and sandwich size. Fun styles. Safety 1st showed and awesome step and go stroller. Fold down is easy and to open just step down on the foot pedal and it fully opens up. No hands! Love it! Primary has amazing kids clothes for boys and girls for under $25. The softest material up to size 10. Mixed Pears make the cutest portable food scissors for parents to cut food to the right bite size. They are called “BiteSizers” and come in a variety of colors. 

Canon had fun interactive activities for the entire family. There was a play area where parents could take photos of their children, and have one-on-one guidance on capturing that once-in-a-lifetime moment.  There was also a Pregnancy Portrait Studio where expecting moms could had a professional photographer snap and print a baby bump photo. Canon experts also hosted two photography seminars to lead new and expecting parents through Baby Steps lessons for each stage of their child’s life.

These are just some of the brands that were in attendance. For more info check out @newyorkbabyshow and @momtrends on Twitter. 

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. Opinions are mine 100%. 

   
         

Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce Launch BBQ Party w/ Alex Guarnaschelli at Butter

17 May

I recently attended the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce launch party. Chef, cookbook author and Food Network personality Alex Guarnaschelli hosted a backyard BBQ party on the patio at her restaurant Butter, where she served her original BBQ recipes and Woodbridge Wine cocktails. There were also summer games including corn hole and jumbo-jenga and a live bluegrass band.


I am addicted to Food Network and have been a fan for years as well as a fan of Alex Guarnaschelli. I consider myself a foodie and chef and love trying new foods and recipes. I also love creating my own. I think I have more than 20 cookbooks. Love collecting them. Hopefully one day I’ll be on tv or become a cookbook author. BBQ’s are my favorite kind of parties. The smell of the food cooking in the grill and the taste is what I crave. Everything from steaks, burgers, corn on the cob and shrimps are a few of my favorites. I just recently found out you can even make a cake on the grill. I know what I’m doing this summer. 


I just have to say the food on the menu was so good you had to be there to taste it. I couldn’t stop eating. They were all great. This is what guests had the pleasure of eating: Slow Cooked Woodbridge Wine Pork Shoulder ‘Que, Oven-Baked Woodbridge Wine Chicken Wings, Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce Portabello Sliders, The Ultimate Woodbridge BBQ Shrimp, Summer Roasted Potato Salad, French Fries, Mix Green Salad with Woodbridge Wine Vinaigrette, Caramelized Woodbridge Wine Onion Party Dip and Grilled Pineapple with ‘Cue Sauce Glaze and Woodbridge Wine Granita. Did I say this food was banging? Just in time for Memorial Day, I will be making all of these recipes this summer. 


The drinks were perfect for a beautiful Spring evening. Frozen Woodbridge Moscato Mint Julep, Woodbridge Pinot Grigio Sangria, Woodbridge Orange Fizz, Woodbridge Moscato-Watermelon Smash all by Robert Mondavi. My favorite drinks were the mint julep and the watermelon smash. 


Inspired by a shared commitment to create quality products for everyday enjoyment, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi and Daddy Sam’s partnered to create a one-of-a-kind Texas style sauce, infusing the robust taste of the winery’s beloved Cabernet Sauvignon into a grilling sauce that’s ideal for summer entertaining. The perfect accompaniment to backyard BBQ’s and gatherings of family and friends, the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce combines the dark fruit and caramelized flavors of the Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon with a sweet and tangy molasses-based sauce. The limited edition Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce is available for purchase for $6.99 on http://www.amazon.com from May 15-September 30. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Woodbridge-by-Robert-Mondavi-Sauce/dp/B00VRYFVCK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431711698&sr=8-1&keywords=Woodbridge+BBQ+sauce 

Alex Guarnaschelli recommends enjoying the sauce with a glass of Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon to truly amplify the flavors ($6.99 per 750mL bottle / $10.99 per 1.5L bottle) 

I couldn’t wait to try so I made baked chicken and shrimp and use the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and everyone loved it. I definitely have to stock up before it’s all gone. The best part is it contains no residual alcohol and is appropriate for all ages and contains no artificial ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup or MSG. A big plus in my book. I put a few of the recipes below. Let me know which one you try or if you try more than one and how you like the sauce after you purchase. I know you will love it. I love mine and can’t wait to get more. 


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I was given a bottle of sauce for review purposes. Opinions are mine as always 100%. The last 3 photos are credited to Brian Zach.

                        




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Mixed Green Salad with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wine Vinaigrette

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is used to create the foundation for a fresh salad dressing.

 

Sauce is not used, but does use Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon as an ingredient

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Makes about 2 cups of dressing

 

2 teaspoons sugar

2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard

1 medium clove garlic, minced

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon clover honey

½ cup Canola oil

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound arugula leaves

½ pound escarole

1 sprig fresh dill, stemmed

  

1.       Make the vinaigrette: In a small pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and sugar over medium heat until there is about 1/4 cup liquid. Slowly whisk together the mustard, garlic, Balsamic vinegar, honey, Canola oil and olive oil. Stir in the reduced red wine. Add a splash of water if needed. Taste for seasoning.

2.       Toss the salad: In a large bowl, toss the arugula, escarole and dill with the dressing, tossing a few spoonfuls at a time.

 

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Oven-Baked Woodbridge Wine Chicken Wings

The chicken is brushed with butter and paprika then baked. The Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce is boiled, reduced, tweaked and then used as a glaze over the chicken after it is finished baking.

 

Incorporates Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon as ingredients

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Serves 4-6

 

2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

¼ cup clover honey

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 scallions, white and green parts both, cut into thin rounds

1 pound (about 16 pieces) chicken wings

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons hot paprika

The juice from 1 large lemon

 

1.       Preheat the oven to 350F.

2.       Make the honey glaze: In a large skillet, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon over medium heat until there is only about ¼ cup liquid. Pour the wine into a medium bowl to cool. In the same skillet, bring the honey, garlic, dark brown sugar and Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce to a simmer. When it starts to foam and turn light brown, remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the sherry vinegar. Return the skillet to the heat and allow it to simmer until it becomes like a light glaze, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the black pepper and scallions and pour it over the red wine in the bowl. Whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning.

3.       Prepare and cook the chicken wings: Cut each chicken wing at each joint so each wing is cut into 3 parts. You will have 36 pieces including the wing tips. Season them with salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the paprika. Put the wings on a sheet pan and brush them with the melted butter mixture. Bake them for 5-8 minutes. Turn them on their second side and brush with the remaining butter mixture. Then, put the tray under the broiler and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until fully cooked.

4.       Finish the dish: Toss the chicken wings in the honey red wine glaze and squeeze the lemon juice over them.

 

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Slow-Cooked Woodbridge Wine Pork Shoulder ‘Cue

Traditional pork BBQ adapted for a slow cooker with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce, served “naked”. The pork shoulder is rubbed with some simple spices. The pork is cooked whole with the sauce, wine and herbs.

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

1 bottle Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

6 medium cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce

3 tablespoons Canola oil

3 pound piece pork picnic shoulder – If you can’t find a 3 lb. piece of pork shoulder, ask your local butcher to cut one for you

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

1.       Marinate the pork: In a medium pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon over medium heat until it reduces by half. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, paprika, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and oil. Stir in the reduced red wine. Drop the pork shoulder in the marinade and roll the meat around, coating all sides. Refrigerate the meat for (preferably overnight but for a minimum of) 6 hours. Take care that the meat is coated and turn the meat around in the marinade once or twice as it sits.

2.       Preheat the oven to 325F.

3.       Cook the pork: Place the pork on a tray with a fitted rack and low sides. Season the meat on all sides with salt. Place the pork in the center of the oven and roast until tender but still juicy, 2 ½ – 3 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest 15 minutes before slicing against “the grain” of the meat. In a small pot, bring the marinade to a full boil over medium heat. Simmer and reduce for a couple of minutes then whisk in the butter. Taste for seasoning. Pour the marinade over the pork slices.

 

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Summer Roasted Potato Salad

Red Bliss potatoes roasted and tossed with an emulsified dressing made with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, mustard, scallions.

 

Sauce is not used, but does use Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon as an ingredient

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

2 pounds medium Red Bliss potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

 

The dressing:

1 cup Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons smooth (Dijon) mustard

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chopped capers

6 gherkins, quartered lengthwise and sliced into ¼ inch pieces plus 1 tablespoon of gherkin liquid

1 small bunch chives, minced

 

1.       Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.       Arrange the potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven.

3.       Make the vinaigrette: In a small pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon over medium heat until there is only about 2 tablespoons of liquid. In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, whisk together the red wine vinegar, shallots, mustard, mayonnaise, capers and gherkins. Whisk in the reduced red wine. Taste for seasoning. When the potatoes are tender and yielding when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30-35 minutes, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool for a few minutes. Peel half of them. Some potato skin is a nice flavor in the salad.

4.       Finish the salad: Place the potatoes (halved or quartered, pending size) in the bowl with the dressing and lightly crush them with the tines of a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss them in the dressing. Sprinkle with the chives.

 

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Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce Portobello Sliders

Grilled Portobello mushroom “burgers” made by sandwiching two portobellos together with the cheese and with Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce onions inside. They are pressed and cooked on the grill (or could be baked in the oven) until completely hot in the center.

 

Incorporates Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce 

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

6 large garlic cloves

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus ½ cup olive oil for the dressing

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce

1 tablespoons clover honey

8 medium Portobello mushrooms

10 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices

½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

 

1.       Preheat the grill. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2.       Roast the garlic: In a small bowl, toss the garlic cloves and onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt. Spread the onions on one end of a baking sheet and the garlic on the other. Place in the tray in the center of the oven. Cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20-25 minutes.

3.       Make the dressing: “Mash” the garlic cloves and whisk them vigorously together with the balsamic vinegar, Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce, honey and ½ a cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

4.       Grill the mushrooms: In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt. Place them, stem side up, on the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes, you may see liquid starting to emerge from the stem area. Turn on their second side and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Transfer them to a tray and place in the center of the oven. Cook for an additional 12-15 minutes until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

5.       Make the sliders: Arrange four mushrooms, stem side up, on a baking sheet. Top each with 3 slices of the mozzarella cheese and some of the cooked onions. Season with salt. “Sandwich” the cheese by topping each with another mushroom. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake until the cheese melts, 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice in half and drizzle with the dressing.

 

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Caramelized Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Wine Onion Party Dip

Caramelized onion dip with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce cooked into the base of the dip and blended with cheese, fresh scallions, and served with pita chips.

 

Incorporates Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon as ingredients

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Makes about 2 cups dip; Serves 6-8

 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon cayenne

Kosher salt

½ cup Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

½ cup Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce 

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 ounces cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 scallions, thinly sliced, green parts only

12-16 baby carrots, peeled

Pita chips

 

1.       Cook the onions: In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic and cayenne. Season with salt and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and cook until almost all of the liquid evaporates, 8-10 minutes. Add the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and red wine vinegar and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes over medium to low heat until the onions are golden brown and tender. Set aside to cool.

2.       Make the dip: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the onion mixture and scallions. Taste for seasoning. Allow the dip about 15 minutes to “rest” before serving with carrots and pita chips on the side.

 

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The Ultimate Woodbridge BBQ Shrimp

Incorporates Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wine and Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce in the recipe which is cooked, (grilled or) broiled and glazed.

 

Pairs with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Serves 4-6

 

For the BBQ Sauce:

1 cup Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

1 cup Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry mustard (preferably Coleman’s brand)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons chili powder

4 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, cut into ½ inch thick slices

 

For the Shrimp:

16 – 18 “U-10” Shrimp, peeled, deveined

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon

1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger

 

1.       Preheat the grill.

2.       Make the BBQ sauce: In a large pot, simmer the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon until it reduces by about half. Stir in the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, dry mustard, Dijon mustard and chili powder. Whisk to blend. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon slices. Simmer on the stove for 20-25 minutes until the aroma of the vinegar mellows slightly. Taste for seasoning.

3.       Cook the shrimp: Season the shrimp on both sides with salt. When the grill is hot, place a large sauté pan on the side of the grill to get it hot. Place the shrimp in a single layer on a “hot spot” of the grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to turn them on the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the butter to the sauté pan. Allow the butter to melt and the toss the shrimp in the pan, basting them with the butter. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and stir in the ginger. Drizzle them generously with the BBQ sauce. Transfer to a platter and serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side, if desired.

 

 

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Grilled Pineapple with ‘Cue Sauce Glaze and Woodbridge Wine Granita

Grilled fruit that could be served as a dessert or as part of a party menu served with a red wine granita, made from freezing Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon with some spices and honey. There is a sweet and sour aspect; as well as a hot/cold temperature concept. This recipe could also be broken into two smaller dessert or “refresher” concept recipes. Makes about 2 ½ cups worth of granita.

 

Incorporates Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon as ingredients

 

The Granita:

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 bottle Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon dry ginger

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

 

Pineapple:

1 large ripe golden pineapple, top removed, peeled and cut into 10-12 wedges

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup clover honey

2 tablespoons Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce 

Juice from 1 medium lemon

  

1.       Make the syrup and cook the wine: In a medium saucepan, combine the water with the sugar. Stir to blend. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring from time to time, until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Refrigerate. Pour the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon into the same saucepan, add the cinnamon stick and ginger and cook over medium heat until it reduces by half. Refrigerate.

2.       Freeze and make the granita: When the wine and syrup are cooled, stir them together. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in the Balsamic vinegar. Pour out onto a baking sheet and put in the freezer until it hardens, 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, scrape the surface with the tines of a fork to remove the granita in large flakes.

3.       Preheat the grill.

4.       Grill the pineapple: When the grill is hot, arrange the wedges of pineapple in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush them with the olive oil. Place them on the grill in a single layer, cooking 3-5 minutes on one side before turning on the other. Meanwhile, put a medium pot on the grill and add the honey. Bring it to a simmer and let it froth and bubble 2-3 minutes until it turns a darker shade of brown. Add the Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce and lemon and simmer 3-5 minutes. When the pineapple is charred on both sides, arrange on a serving platter and spoon the honey wine reduction over them.

 

DOVE DRY SPRAY ANTIPERSPIRANT REVIEW & #GIVEAWAY #TRYDRY 

6 Mar

Dove recently introduced their new Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant at their Friendship Suite and I was invited to check it out. Dove partnered with Rocksbox, the innovative jewelry subscription company that was created out of the practice of sharing the latest fashion finds with friends. They asked you to bring your best girlfriend to take part in celebrating friendship. There were beauty makeovers, style trends to learn about and giveaways. 

The new Dove Dry Spray is the latest beauty trend and I see why. If there’s one thing I hate about deodorant it’s clumps under my arm that dried up. It provides 48 hour odor and wetness protection and is formulated with 1/4 moisturizers that offers all the care of Dove in a antiperspirant that goes on instantly dry for a cleaner feel. The scents are amazing. There are so many to choose from.  

Here are a few:

Nourished Beauty: A floral, powdery fragrance with notes of jasmine and rose.

Cool Essentials: A blend of cucumber and green tea.

Revive: A pomegranate, lemon verbena scent. 

These are just 3 of 6. The other 3 are Beauty Finish, Skin Renew and Sensitive. These can be found now at mass food and drug retailers nationwide. SRP $5.49 (3.8 oz) can. 

I tried the Nourished a Beauty and loved it! No more clumps and when I feel under my arms it’s so smooth and the fragrance was still there hours later. The 48 hour protection really worked. I will be packing this for my cruise. Dove didn’t forget the men. I found it in Target for my boys. It’s called Dove Men Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant in Clean Comfort which also smells amazing. They love it too!

I had my makeover which I loved and consulted with a Rocksbox stylist about their gorgeous jewelry and how the subscription works. They were kind enough to offer my readers a free one- month subscription to try unlimited jewelry. For more info and to try your free month head to Rocksbox.com and enter promo code: DoveBFFs 

Go to dove.us and @Dove on Twitter for more info. 

GIVEAWAY: I am giving away 3 Dove Dry Sprays to 3 winners. Choose from Nourished Beauty, Cool Essentials or Revive. Comment below and tell me which one you want to try. Open to US residents only. 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I received free samples. I was excited to receive these new Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant from the Dove Team. I also received a necklace from Rocksbox. 





@Breyers GELATO INDULGENCES INTRODUCES NEW FLAVORS & MY VALENTINE’S DAY RECIPE

28 Jan

No matter what the season I always make sure to have ice cream in the freezer for me and the kids to enjoy. Breyers has always been a favorite of ours. Now even more with Breyers Gelato Indulgences our freezer is beyond stocked. There’s so many flavors to choose from like: Vanilla Caramel, Raspberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate. If you think those are tempting there’s even more deliciousness. Breyers introduced Mint Chocolate in stores now. Wait, hold for it….. three more Breyers Gelato Indulgences in March to tempt your tummies with flavors like: Strawberry Truffle, Cappuccino and Chocolate Caramel. Okay can someone call Breyers and tell them to send me free coupons for life? These flavors are right up our alley. There’s so much you can create with these.

My kids and I love making ice cream sundaes, milkshakes or root beer floats. But you don’t have to stop there. I’ve seen hot chocolate with ice cream and even waffles. With Breyers Gelato you can do the same thing. My kids and I recently tried the Mint Chocolate and came up with a recipe for us to enjoy on Valentine’s Day.

We started with pound cake, Slice a piece of cake, cut a hole in middle, add Breyers Gelato Mint Chocolate in hole, add chocolate syrup, marshmallows and sprinkles whatever your color choice. You can also add whip cream and a cherry on top if you like. It was soooo good we had to have seconds. I love when my kids get creative and see what ideas they come up with when we work together in the kitchen.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be once a year and eating ice cream or gelato doesn’t have to be eaten once a year so enjoy it with the people you love. I’m ready to try the new flavors in March as well. I’m also ready for my kids and I to come up with more fun recipes.

Check out Breyers website for more info: http://www.breyers.com and on Twitter: @Breyers

Which flavor are you excited about trying? Do you have a favorite already?

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Coupons were given for review of product. These opinions are mine 100% as always.

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@WeberGrills GRILLING JUST GOT MORE COLORFUL WITH THE Q1200 GAS GRILL #Qincolor

27 Jan

Yes I live in New York and I know that I can’t have low humidity and the temperature in the 70’s all year around. I refuse to let the cold temps and snow bring me down especially when the Super Bowl is fast approaching. I love cooking, entertaining, parties and grilling. Yes, I can grill. When I lived in the Bronx I grilled so much there was a party at my house all the time. Now that I’m back in Manhattan I’m in an apartment building so it’s not happening unless I bring out an indoor small grill. It’s just not the same. Who here knows about Weber grills?

I recently attended the Weber 2015 new product reveal of the Q1200 series gas grill. Anyone that loves grilling should know that you should only invest in a Weber. I was so sad when I moved and had to leave my Weber grill behind. I’m sure someone got good use out of it.

The first thing I noticed upon entering Crave Fish Bar where the event was held was how colorful these Weber grills were. The Q1200 gas grill came in six amazing colors : Purple, Blue, Green, Fuchsia, Orange and Black. Of course I wanted one in each color and had a hard time choosing which color I wanted especially when I saw the purple first.

The second thing I loved about the Q1200 gas grill was it can fit on a balcony or can be easily transported to the park, beach, or that tailgating party. For a separate purchase ($79.99) Weber’s Q Portable Cart features a simple mechanism that allows users to set up the stand in a snap. When transporting the grill, the cart folds down with the grill attached and can simply be wheeled like a suitcase. Who would ever think transporting a grill would be this simple?

The next thing I loved learning about the Weber Q1200 gas grill besides it being a gas grill was the fact that you can make pancakes and eggs for breakfast and even a cake. Yes, a cake!!! I saw it with my own eyes. The Q1200 gas grill features 189-square inches of cooking space, porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates, two folding work tables, electronic ignition and a built-in-lid thermometer to help monitor the heat inside the grill. Grillers can remove the grill grate and replace it with a porcelain-enameled cast iron griddle for cooking foods like scallops, or smaller vegetables (griddles sold separately).

I’m already thinking about what foods to have on hand and what holidays and places I will be using my grill. I can also use it on my big terrace in my building. The top holidays to grill is on the 4th of July. 83% grill on this holiday ahead of birthdays 72%, Labor Day 70% and Memorial Day 62%. I thought the Super Bowl would have the highest percentage but it came in that only 30% fire up the grill for that day. I really prefer grilling than frying and don’t need it to be a holiday to get out the grill. I can’t wait to get my Weber Q1200 gas grill in…….. FUCHSIA!!!! After a long decision that’s the color I picked. They are all beautiful but the fuchsia was calling my name.

Dinner, drinks and dessert compliments of Crave Fish Bar, NY (945 2nd Ave) was amazing. Chefs took us outside on the balcony to show us what foods they were grilling up. We learned tips and saw what the Q1200 gas grill could do in person. I’m still impressed with the cake. Amazing!!!
I’ve included pictures of Weber’s Cold Weather Grilling Tips, Recipes and How to Grill the Perfect Steaks.
For more info you can visit: http://www.weber.com/blog and http://www.weber.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/weberbbq and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/webergrills

The Weber Q1200 gas grill will be available February 2015 at major retail stores MSRP: $219.

What color will you grill on?

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. These opinions are mine 100% as always. We were given gift bags and a grill will be shipped to me for review.

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SPRINT SOUND SESSION HTC ONE M8 HARMAN KARDON EDITION #sponsored #MC #Sprintmusic #Sprintmom

28 Jul

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sprint Sound Session. I received a sample of the HTC One to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.” http://momcentralconsulting.com/

I recently attended the Sprint Sound Session event at the beautiful Lambs Club restaurant in NY located in Times Square. We were treated to delicious appetizers, drinks, lunch and dessert.

I went there to learn about the HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Phone, the Harman Kardon Onyx Speaker and listen to #TheVoice Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul serenade us with his beautiful music.

I couldn’t wait to test out the HTC One M8 and see what was in store for me. I love listening to music in my house, the car, train, gym, anywhere. I usually don’t put music on my phone because I have an iPod and I feel that my battery will waste, but after hearing music on my HTC One M8 phone I was blown away. First of all I didn’t know how easy it was to use Spotify. The sound is amazing from the headphones that come with the phone and includes LiveStage a Harman technology that provides a more lifelike listening experience. Now, I don’t have to carry around my iPod anymore. Sprint exclusively offers customers access to Spotify’s catalogue of +20 million songs for either three or six months for FREE, plus reduced Spotify Premium pricing for 18 months for Sprint customers on Framily plans. Spotify is a great value. A music lover can easily spend more than $9.99 per month buying individual music tracks or albums. For that same price (or less), Sprint customers have access to +20 million songs with Spotify Premium on their mobile phone, computer or other compatible, connected device. Here is the Sprint Music Page: http://www.sprint.com/landings/music/index.html?ECID=vanity:music#.U87LWYBdXmU I also love the other music apps on the phone like Next Radio which has different radio stations available from Hip Hop, Top 40, Jazz /Blues, even Classical music. Another app is the Sprint Music Plus where you can purchase music and ringtones.

I am a photographer at heart. I take my pictures serious and my favorite is the amazing camera on this phone. When the Sprint representative showed us what the dual lens camera could do I knew I was going to have fun. I’ve been using the camera and I’ve already had people tell me that my phone and the camera is great. My photos look like professional photos and I didn’t have to carry around an extra bulky camera. I can’t get over how I can edit the pictures to my liking from the vintage look to drama and I can add frames, center focus and tilt shift. I also love the selfie mode that counts down from 3 to 1. Pictures are crisp and sharp every time. Video is on point too. I used it for the first time and the sound and video was clear.

I’ve heard good things about the Framily Plan from Sprint. I also have lots of friends who are Sprint customers and if I join the Framily Plan the more people in my family, the lower my rate will be. I would also get unlimited data, talk and text with the Sprint Network. That’s my kind of deal. The company I’m using doesn’t offer me unlimited data and I definitely need that in the blogging field. I feel a switch coming on.

I’ve met quite a few celebrities in my years but there’s nothing like meeting a music artist. There’s a connection there especially when it’s a live performance because you get to feel what the artist feels when they are singing in person and hear the music up close. I love live concerts and hearing the artist let it all out. My favorite instrument is the drums and it just sounds so good live. Grammy nominated artist, Jermaine Paul from #TheVoice Season 2 sounded great live. Watching him on television was one thing, seeing and hearing him live playing the guitar is another. He sung three songs and took pictures with everyone. His song “Next To You” had everyone with smiles on their faces. “Eyes Of Brazil” was another beautiful song. I’ve already downloaded his songs and it sounds great on my phone and on my Harman Kardon Onyx Speaker that I won at the event.

When I got my Harman Kardon Onyx Speaker home I immediately took it out, downloaded songs from Spotify and connected. It has Bluetooth connectivity which connects wirelessly to any Bluetooth enabled device. My kids and I couldn’t stop playing song after song because of the sound. Our music experience was as if we were at a live concert. There are 4 powered speakers and dual passive radiators for extraordinary acoustics. The design is sophisticated and has a highly distinctive shape. The round button on the back pumps up and down with the vibration of the music. My kids enjoying looking at it and feeling it move. We listen to it a lot since I got it.

I also couldn’t believe how easy it was to link my phone contacts from my iPhone to my HTC One M8 so quick and easy with just the press of one button. Genius.

I am so happy I was able to experience this Sprint Sound Session. I love my new phone and speaker and will be making that switch to the Framily Plan soon. If you want more information about the HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition and the Harman Kardon Onyx Speaker go to http://www.Sprint.com to learn more. For the Framily Plan go to http://www.Sprint.com/Framily

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eCarrot TEACHES KIDS TO SEE SCREEN TIME AS A VALUABLE REWARD

16 Jul

I was invited to attend an event at Southard Communications to learn about a new app for parents that helps monitor your child’s time limit on devices. My children love all their smart devices and game consoles and I try my hardest to monitor their time. Weekends I’m more lenient. How many hours does your child spend on smart devices? Check out this new app called eCarrot.

eCarrot is a ground-breaking, rewards based software platform that converges parental controls and education to enhance learning via a smartphone or tablet. Now available for Android devices on Google Play, eCarrot (www.ecarrot.it) is the first such program that uses proven behavioral science to encourage learning through the help of a rewards system, providing parents with an easy and effective means of managing children’s time spent on smart devices and rewarding them for hard work!

The software has been tested in schools here in the US and India – showing improved scores in computation by 30% – 40%. In fact, teachers have reported that they were able to better understand the various methods in which each student learned – while the kids were learning and having fun at the same time.

The concept is simple:
For every educational task your child performs, he or she receives a designated amount of “free” time on the chosen device.
As a parent or teacher using the app, you set a select amount of time-owed based on what your kids/students accomplish.
Each question answered correctly is rewarded with a set amount of time.
Kids can choose to build a bank of time by answering more and more questions or alternatively earn five minutes and jump into playtime immediately.

The app can be downloaded for free on Google Play. Right now the app works on Android devices and will soon be available on iOs.

I enjoyed meeting the husband and wife team who created this app. This is something for all parents and teachers to look into. They are also working on more goodies to come in the future.

Disclosure: I received compensation thanks to The Mommy Factor
(http://www.mommyfactor.net/). blogger referral. Views expressed are always 100% my own.

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I MADE A #BigSnifference WITH @Snuggle_Bear SCENT BOOSTERS via fivelittlewords.net

25 May

I’ve been doing laundry for years and my clothes, comforters, towels have yet to have a long lasting fresh smell till the next laundry day. I’ve had detergents that make my clothes smell good for that day but then that’s it. I want my clothes and towels to have that same smell for at least a week. I’ve recently discovered Snuggle Scent Boosters at an event I was invited to.

I never knew something so powerful with an amazing scent was the answer to my problems. Snuggle has always been my favorite bear in commercials. I always wanted one to squeeze and hold. When the commercial came on I would stop what I was doing and tune in. I was so excited when Snuggle bear paid us a visit at the event and talked to me. He’s so cute. He even let me take a selfie with him and we got a group shot. I also got to take home a Snuggle bear. Well, it might have taken me over 30 years to finally get a Snuggle bear but it was worth the wait. Let me be honest, my daughter took it over but we share. Lol.

So, I recently headed to my laundromat and took these amazing Scent Boosters with me along with the dryer sheets and tested hem out. First of all let me tell you how easy it was to use them. Just throw them in the drum of your machine then add the clothes. That’s it! Since I’m not used to having anything that works that easy when doing laundry sometimes I would forget to add the booster before the clothes and had to lift all my clothes to check. Then I finally got the hang of it.

The Scent Boosters come in Lavender Joy and Blue Iris Bliss. I like both scents. When my laundry was finished my clothes came out smelling very good and couldn’t wait to add more scent to it with the Snuggle Exhilaration Dryer Sheets in White Lavender & Sandalwood. When I got home with the laundry the kids couldn’t stop smelling the clothes, especially the sheets that went on the beds right away. These dryer sheets are phenomenal. I put them in the shoe closet, shoes, the bathroom, & gym bags. I never liked using dryer sheets but I am hooked with these and the scent boosters that these will always be with me when I do laundry. My towels, clothes, & linen still smelled fresh a week later.

I gotta give credit to the scent sommelier. There are people who have the pleasure of coming up with these amazing scents so we can enjoy our laundry smell for more than a day. The sommelier explained how they created these scents and the training they have to do to become one. They have their work cut out for them and I’m glad they chose these scents. Their noses aren’t no joke. I told the sommelier my kids would probably love to do what she does because they have the gift of smells. They smell things I don’t even smell, or things that might take me longer to smell that they can pick up right away. She told me to have them apply. They will be the next generation sommeliers.

Head to your retailer and stock up on Snuggle Scent Boosters and dryer sheets. They are available in different sizes and are safe for standard and HE machines.

Go to snuggle.com for more info.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I received a gift bag with Snuggle products for review. Opinions are always mine and only mine.

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