Category Archives: Product Reviews

Six on Saturday

I wanted to do a Five on Friday or Five Things Friday post yesterday, but never got around to it. So, I’ll post a Six on Saturday instead!

1. I received a package from Larabar and Food Should Taste Good earlier this week. It totally made my day because it was unexpected and contained products I love.

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2. I found a Men’s Fitness article about eating for your blood type on Pinterest and had to share it.

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I am type A+ and the information it gave on my type couldn’t be more accurate. See, I knew there was a reason I ate a mostly vegetarian diet and avoided red meat.

“Your Diet: When hunter-gatherer Os started thinning out, our ancestors started relying on agriculture and expanding their diet to include a semi-vegetarian approach. Type As have the digestive enzymes and bacteria it takes to digest grains and plants that other blood types might have a rough time breaking down.”

“What to Eat: Fill your plate with fruits like berries, figs, plums, apples, avocados, pears and peaches. Choose veggies like broccoli, artichokes, carrots, greens and garlic. Fish and poultry should be limited since type As produce fewer meat-digesting enzymes, which is why they have such a hard time digesting red meat. To get protein, rely on plant protein from nuts (like nut butters), seeds, beans and soy. Since your body can easily break down and get optimal nutrition from grains, carbs and proteins, cereal, breads and pastas should be staples of your diet.”

3. I tried this Saffron Road meal for lunch yesterday and it was delicious. I won some free product coupons and bought a bunch of frozen meals at Whole Foods with them. Craig actually ate two this week and he loved his as well. He had a chicken tikka masala meal and said it was much better than his Mayura restaurant version.

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4. I seemed to be a magnet for helping others this week and I enjoyed being able to do that.

I took the picture below for my co-worker, whose son is allergic to peanuts, but he loves sunflower seeds. I recommended the Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter to her. She was worried about the ingredients, but they passed the test.

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I had another co-worker consult privately with me about the fact that she might be diabetic (and doesn’t have health insurance to confirm or deny the suspicion). I felt honored that she came to me for help since she knows I read a lot about health conditions and nutrition. I played nutritionist for a half hour and recommended some switches in her diet. I also sent her a blog to check out because the author is a Registered Dietitian with a specialty in diabetes (it’s Prevention RD).

5. Henri

Thanks to Karis, I found the Henri videos and seem to watch at least one a week, even if I am just re-watching one I have seen already. My favorite is this Halloween video.

Perfect Christmas present for a crazy cat lady like me? Henri’s calendar. He also has a book coming out next Spring!

6. I subscribed to Nutriton Action magazine. A co-worker subscribes and used to borrow me copies occasionally, but I finally decided to get my own subscription.

Nutrition Action magazines

They also feature some of their articles online if you want to check them out.

This isn’t really a seventh thing, but I successfully moved a year and a half of my blog posts over to the new site and it’s almost ready! I have enjoyed creating a new blog and love Blogger so far!

Have a wonderful Saturday! I am off to the mall to get some much needed shopping in.

Life lately

I usually don’t post on Saturday nights, but we are just relaxing at home and I was in the mood to blog. We’ve been enjoying our weekend so far and I hope you have too!

Earlier this week, I shot this photo while walking to the bus stop. I had just finished an interview on the radio (taped, not live, luckily) and I was so relieved to be done and heading into work. The leaves under my fantastic and comfortable Tsubo boots were just too pretty not to capture.

fall leaves and boots

I go through phases where I become obsessed with cottage cheese. This week, I put it on everything and also ate it plain. I really enjoyed it on toast as an after work snack and in my lentil soup.

cottage cheese on bread

Last night, we walked around the mall after enjoying a dinner out. I almost always take stairs vs. the escalator when I can, so I loved how Aurora Healthcare encouraged people to be well and take the mere 30 steps to the top with their “30 steps to a healthier you” slogan.

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This morning, we woke up and packed our gym bags for a trip out to Mukwonago. We met my parents at the beautiful new YMCA and enjoyed working out by doing cardio and weights and then hitting the pool. I am not much of a swimmer, but I did love their walking pool, the water slide, chilling in the whirlpool and swimming with the kick board. We had a lot of fun with my parents and I hope it’s something we can do more often.

Mukwonago YMCA

Once we got home, I wanted to chill on the couch and read My Berlin Kitchen. I am only 55 pages in so far, but I like Luisa’s story and recipes. There is a recipe that really sounds delicious and uses quark–it’s called quarkauflauf. I had actually just read about it in Alysha’s article on quark that was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Entree section on Sunday. I hadn’t read Luisa’s blog, The Wednesday Chef, before picking up this book, but I am following her site now because I like the way she writes and I love Berlin.

My Berlin Kitchen

I think reading about Germany made me crave pretzels. Luckily, I had picked up this Deutsche Kuche pretzel dough at Aldi a couple of weeks ago.

Deutsche Kuche Pretzel

This is the pretzel I was most proud of, although I realized after that the ends didn’t need to extend down so far.

Pretzel in dough shape

The verdict? They turned out pretty good. They didn’t taste like the “bretzeln” we adored in Germany and reminded us more of bread.

Pretzel

Well, I am off to listen to Spotify, drink some wine and keep doing laundry. Night!

My week at a glance

Wow, this week flew by! I can’t believe it’s Friday tomorrow, hooray!

Here is what I have been up to.

Thanks to Partners Hub, I got to try all sorts of various chocolate milk with my work lunches all week.

The Horizon was my favorite.

Horizon Chocolate milk

Lala chocolate milk

I have been enjoying looking at the beautiful mum plants planted along Wisconsin Avenue on my bus ride to and from work. I need to buy some mums of my own next year. They are just so pretty. I love fall!

Mums in Milwaukee

I found a cool new book at the library this week. I have been enjoying looking through it so far. I always like to check out magazines I don’t subscribe to, like Cooking Light.

Fitness for Geeks and Cooking LIght

I have been eating Sassy Cow ice cream for dessert all week. I love this salted caramel flavor!

Sassy Cow Creamery Salted Caramel ice cream

I got to get away from the office for most of my Thursday and spend it at a conference held at the Harley Davidson Museum. I didn’t get to go in the museum yet, but the buildings and grounds themselves were cool to walk around!

Harley Davidson Museum

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It seemed like all of my shoes were falling apart this fall, so I have been buying a lot of new ones, including these lovely $12 black patent flats from Target (they were on sale last week). I am not usually that keen on patent, but they look nice and dressy for work. I wore them today and they were very comfortable. Much better than heels!

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No photo to show, but Craig and I went to yoga tonight and it was great. We hadn’t gone together in a while and it was fun to practice with him. While my usual favorite teacher wasn’t there, I enjoyed the new poses our substitute teacher came up with, especially the ab ones.

I hope your week flew by like mine did! It’s almost the weekend!

Fall colors and falling

I felt a little cursed this weekend. All around me, people were falling and nothing seemed to be going my way.

I won’t get into too much detail, but my dad took a really bad spill while we were out hiking yesterday. He’s in a lot of pain, but will be ok with lots of rest and ice over the next couple of days/weeks. I witnessed it and that was no fun, especially because I couldn’t do anything to stop him from falling.

Despite what happened, we had a gorgeous day to experience the fall colors at Lapham Peak.

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After I left my parents’s house, I went to the mall to use a coupon that offered $50 off a purchase of $100 or more. The store that offered it was a mess. It felt like Black Friday or Christmas Eve in there. I couldn’t find a thing I liked or that worked with all of the coupon restrictions.

I headed upstairs in the store to check out their coats and an older woman who was about 7 steps below me fell on the escalator and hit her head. It was my first time seeing someone fall on an escalator like that. I work in a place where kids always fool around on escalators and they are not the place to be doing so.

She was fine in the end and I was shaken up because I had already witnessed a bad fall. It was not fun to witness two older people hurting themselves in one day.

Onto happier things, like comfort food!

I made pancakes this morning and topped them with fresh raspberries and the raspberry enlightenment from Penzey’s, which was a great combination! Craig didn’t have the fresh raspberries and wasn’t as impressed with the raspberry sauce.

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Craig and I went to Target (my happy place) this afternoon and I found these, so into the cart they went. They are really good and super sweet, so I couldn’t eat too many without feeling sugared out. I compensated by buying spinach and eating a big salad for dinner and packing one for lunch tomorrow.

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My work is having a bake sale fundraiser for a co-worker who got hurt in a bad accident a couple of months ago. So, I put on my apron today and baked Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Yes, our kitchen floor is totally 60′s and not my fav and I have a hole in my slipper. I wear these LL Bean slippers out until they are completely unwearable.

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Here I am baking–thanks to my sweet hubby for taking photos.

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mixing up the muffin batter

I just realized it’s my first time making anything for a bake sale! I am glad the muffins turned out really well and I hope there are a lot of pumpkin fans among my co-workers.

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I got to the gym twice this weekend. I managed to work hard enough yesterday that I feel some muscle fatigue today. I attribute it to the squats I did with weights and on the bosu with just my body weight. My knee has been aching lately, so I am trying to be careful and yet build up the muscles around it to make sure I don’t injure it.

I ended the weekend by shopping online. My black boots are falling apart on the bottom (seems to be a theme with my shoes lately) and so I bought these beauties in black. I have been looking everywhere for new tall black boots, but they have to be flat, comfortable and look sort of European to me (this is how I define it instead of “cowboy boots”/American), etc. I just hope I love these when I get them in the mail and that they fit great. I have better luck with shopping online lately, so I took the risk and figure I can always return them.

Time to get ready for bed! I can’t believe the weekend is over already. I hope next weekend is a bit more calm (and this week is too).

Monday Monday, so good to me

Yesterday was definitely productive and one of the happier Mondays I have had in a while, mostly because I was free to do whatever I wanted.

Maybe I should have bought this cup at Target after all?

I considered buying this for my desk at work

I went to Penzey’s to purchase something so I could get an item for free. I got the Natural High Fat Cocoa that my mom loves and makes brownies with. Now I need to figure out what I am going to make with it. The cashier suggested a nice chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

Penzey's Natural High Fat Cocoa

This jar was free with my purchase of $5 or more. Isn’t the label sweet?

Penzey's Raspberry Enlightenment

Halfway through my errands, I fueled up at Panera bread. I really love their greek salad. I must find a way to make that salad dressing at home!

Sierra Turkey and Greek Salad from Panera

I found these new fish oil gummies at Target. Even better, I had a $3 off coupon, so they were pretty cheap. I am all about the coupons!

I tried two when I arrived home and they were yummy. They didn’t taste like fish at all, which is always my worst fear because I do not like the taste of fish. I like the gummy form vs. the pills because my doc tells me they are easier for me to digest.

Nature Made Fish Oil gummies

When I arrived home, I found Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Happier at Home, in my door! I won it from her publisher directly and I am so excited to read it. I just have to get through a stack of magazines and some library books first.

Happier at Home

I worked out in the afternoon and recovered with protein powder and milk in my new BlenderBottle. I added some vanilla stevia and it added that bit of sweetness it was lacking before. The BlenderBottle mixed the protein powder well and I was so full after having 19 grams of protein in a matter of minutes.

Blender Bottle and NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia

Craig and I took a very long walk after dinner. We spotted mice (eek) in a few yards. I don’t like rodents. Craig insists that they are cute. Yeah, not convinced!

I have been cleaning and doing laundry today. I need to get back to some of that and take a walk while listening to some fitness and nutrition podcasts.

A city girl married a farm boy

We had a nice weekend away in Shawano and DePere!

Halfway through our trip, we stopped at the outlet mall (no luck there) and then at Starbucks, where I got my free birthday drink. We shared a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino.

Venti Salted Caramel Mocha

Mmm…whip cream and caramel is divine. I do think I prefer the hot Salted Caramel Mocha though.

Mmm...caramel and whip cream

Last time we went up north, the Olympics were just starting and I had Olympic fever, so I didn’t read anything I brought with me. This time, I made a point to chill out and read a magazine and a book. The Snow Child is pretty interesting so far.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine and The Snow Child

Loved that one of my favorite textile designers, Amy Butler, was featured in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Amy Butler article--Better Homes and Gardens

Amy Butler in Better Homes and Gardens

I celebrated more relaxation time with a Sprecher beer.

Sprecher Special Amber

Sometimes I find things in Shawano that I don’t see back home–like Biscoff spread and a BlenderBottle.

It was my first time trying Biscoff and it’s delicious. I like it better than the Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. It’s somehow not as sweet, if that makes any sense.

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The BlenderBottle will be great for post-workout protein drinks. I also think I am going to take it to work to have a protein shake as a snack around 3 p.m. as that’s when I get hungry.

Blender Bottle

The whole reason we went to Shawano was to stay an hour away from DePere, which is where my friend Jenny (a city girl) got married to Tim (the farm boy) on Saturday!

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Isn’t this sign the cutest?

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I don’t like the way my arms look in photos, so I had to adopt the model/actress pose during the wedding. Here is my friend Kim and I.

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Hooray, Jenny is finally married! She had been dating Tim since they were 19 and she turns 33 in about a month. That girl is patient! :)

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On Sunday, Craig and I headed into town to have breakfast before packing up the cottage and leaving.

I got a country benedict as my meal and it was very tasty! I hadn’t had hollandaise sauce in a while.

Country Benedict

My first day off this week has been productive and fun! I’ll write that post next.

10 days

I am off of work for the next 10 days. Last night, I celebrated with a couple of glasses of this wine, which is quite good. I chose this bottle because it was produced in Mosel, Germany, which is one of the regions Craig and I visited on our honeymoon in Europe. We went through the lovely Mosel valley by train on our way to Burg Eltz.

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I am just staying in town for my week off, but it will be great to get away from work for a bit and visit with a friend, hang out with my mom and dad, get a haircut, organize the house, shop without feeling rushed and to check out a new YMCA that just opened by my parents’ house.

We are on our way out of town to attend my friend Jenny’s wedding near Green Bay! I had to meet with our new insurance agent this morning to sign some paper work, cleaned the house, packed and now I am trying to relax a little before we hit the road for a two hour plus drive.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Dunkin’ disappointment

Last week, I went to the Dunkin’ Donuts closest to my work to use my free birthday drink coupon, courtesy of DD rewards. Most birthday rewards coupons I receive rarely result in any problems. Unfortunately, this one did and I wanted to share my experience, especially since it wasn’t a positive one.

When you sign up for their rewards program, you get one drink free and then another coupon for a free medium drink for your birthday. The coupons look like this.

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My coupon explicitly stated that I would receive one free medium drink of my choice, including a coolatta. The coolatta was the most expensive drink on the menu and something I normally wouldn’t order, so I wanted to try it.

As I presented the coupon to the cashier and asked if the Oreo Coolatta would be fine to order, she said no but proceeded to scan my coupon anyway. I explained that I wouldn’t want the drink if that particular location would not honor it. I did explain that the coupon said that a coolatta was included. She looked at the coupon and said no it was not. Then another DD worker did the same and said it was not included. I had to point out explicitly where it said it was included and then they finally believed me. I don’t like it when companies don’t pay attention to the details on their coupons or when their staff doesn’t really read them.

I guess the main problem came from not being able to cancel out my drink order with the coupon and get the register to recognize it as being a free item. The cashier said fine, they’d honor it, but it had to be a small drink, not a medium. At this point, I just wanted to redeem the coupon and get out of there, knowing I’d never return to that location again. I won’t return there not because I was embarrased or anything, but because their service hasn’t been friendly on more than three occasions.

The Feast Nearby and Dunkin Donuts

I got an Oreo Coolatta, which was super sweet and indulgent. I was drinkin’ dunkin for the last time from that particular location.

Oreo Coolata

I apologize for the rant. I did write Dunkin’ Donuts and complained on their site. I still haven’t received a reply.

Also, I don’t want it to sound like I am ungrateful for getting this free item. I am saying that the service at that location needs to change because they are turning customers away.

All I want is for others to learn from my negative experience. Get your free Starbucks drink for your birthday instead. I don’t have problems with that birthday coupon and the staff there is always friendly. Plus I like their coffee better anyway. :)

Any readers have a similar negative experience they want to vent about? Sometimes it just feels good to get it out! I normally am not that defiant in such a situation, but I had had enough.

This and That

I can’t believe this week is nearly over! Here’s a little “this and that” from the week.

I splurged on this cheese and it’s all gone already. It reminded me of Pleasant Ridge cheese, which reminded me that I am a major slacker and I still owe a post on my visit to the Uplands farm from back in June. I hope to get that done soon.

Anyway, I would definitely purchase this one again. It was great with some fresh french bread and also on a turkey sandwich.

BellaVitano Sartori gold cheese

Alysha blogged about this cider, so being a cider girl myself, I had to try it. I didn’t like it at first and then it grew on me.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider Crisp Apple

Lately I’ve been buying the new tubs of Chobani and just adding my own preserves, fresh blueberries, lemon NuNaturals stevia, almonds and chia seeds to the plain variety for my work lunches. I really never seem to get sick of this combination and it fills me up!

Chobani plain yogurt with blueberries, blueberry preserves, chia seeds, almonds

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I Iove to read. I have always wanted to join a book club in Milwaukee, so Karis and I are attending our first meeting for one on Sunday, August 26th. Locals-for more details check out this site.

Check out the flyer–aren’t the illustrations on the bookmarks fun!?

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Our first selection is The Happiness Project, which I have read before, but it was a while ago. I didn’t want to go to the book club without rereading it and I figure I can always use reminders on how to be more happy every day.

The Happiness Project by Rubin

Like Rubin says, she didn’t start this project because she was depressed. It’s just that she complained too much and got irritated easily by things. I can totally relate.

I loved these lists at the beginning of the book. I have been trying to do a lot of these lately, even before I started rereading the book.

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Today was a good mail day (love those). I ordered some stuff from Lands’ End earlier this week and it came so quickly. It helps that Lands’ End is a Wisconsin based company, so the package didn’t have far to go.

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I got a great deal on these four shirts and was so excited to see how they fit.

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They all fit wonderfully, but I may return the pink top because I don’t love how the cowl neck looks. The nice thing is that I can return the shirt to a Sears that carries Lands’ End. Anyway, all of the shirts were so soft and the material was high quality. It won’t be my last time buying from them. When I was at the mall last weekend, I was frustrated with not being able to find any tops that I liked and even wanted to try on. I love ordering things online, so I took a chance and I am glad I did.

More fun mail. I love getting free samples of new products to try out!

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On the fitness front, I am still hitting the gym occassionally, but I know that I need to work harder when I am there. Craig and I played tennis last night (he won, boo) and took a long walk around the park afterwards. I wasn’t too pleased when I saw a bat flying overhead. Eek!

Tomorrow I am off to get highlights in my hair and then to work in the afternoon. I work until around midnight, but I don’t mind because I won’t have to do it again for another two months.

Passion tea lime cocktail

I made a tasty and refreshing summer cocktail over the weekend.

passion lime cocktail

I love to get Tazo Passion teas from Starbucks. So, I decided to save some money and purchase my own iced tea bags.

Tazo Iced Passion

When I found out I was selected to try out Sweet ‘N Low sweetener in a cocktail, I knew that I wanted to use my newly purchased tea bags to create one.

The lovely folks at Foodbuzz sent me this cocktail shaker, Sweet ‘N Low packets and cocktail recipes.

Sweet N' Low and cocktail shaker

sweet n' low and cocktail recipes

Tazo Iced Passion tea and cocktail shaker

I brewed the tea per the instructions, added some Sweet ‘N Low packets to the pitcher and had yummy tea!

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I added some vodka, fresh lime and more Sweet ‘N Low to make my Passion Tea Lime cocktail.

pouring the sweet n' low

It was tasty and refreshing. The Sweet ‘N Low definitely helped to sweeten up the tea a bit, as it can be a bit blah on it’s own (in my opinion).

Disclosure: I received a cocktail shaker, 10 Sweet ‘N Low samples and recipes through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Sweet’N Low and I received compensation for this post.