Playa Del Carmen: A Visitors Guide - to come!

Monday, September 15, 2014



Late August I headed off to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. About 45 minutes away from Cancun, it's a secluded place right on the coast.

While most tourists enjoy the all-inclusives, my friend and I stayed in a hotel and sampled local fare. We also visited some cool nearby places - one of which I will never forget. One very cool thing is that food in Playa is incredibly affordable, which makes things pretty easy on the budget when it comes to filling your belly. You just gotta know where to go, and know some basic Spanish.

I'm going to be dishing out details and pics on some of my favorite places I visited in Playa Del Carmen, along with an awesome giveaway, so stay tuned!

(And while I love touched-up shots, all of these are SOOC so you can see how incredibly blue and beautiful the beaches are!)

Live Happy Magazine Review + Giveaway

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So, my family rarely watches the news. Why? Because it's nothing but negativity. Rarely, if ever, do large news programs show positive segments that last longer than 2-3 minutes. When it comes to the books I choose to read, I try to keep them uplifting and positive, because really - there's enough bad stuff going on without media just cementing the negativity.

When I heard about the publication Live Happy, I was chomping at the bit to give it a try. I received the May/June issue, and it is packed with positive reinforcements. From mood-boosting foods, to tips on how to heighten your compassion for others (and yourself), and even a calendar of tips for the theme of the month - compassion - with simple things you can do every day to show more compassion.

This issue also had an incredible interview with the Dalai Lama, and some great recipes.

When you flip through this magazine, or sit down and read it cover to cover, you'll not only be taking in positives, but you'll walk away feeling happier, have concrete ways to help yourself and your community, and you'll leave feeling more hopeful about the future - and that's an amazing statement to make about a publication.

Live Happy is joining with me to give away an entire year's subscription to one lucky reader!  This is a beautiful full color magazine that's a breath of fresh air compared to the typical mags. See below for details!

S'mores Brownies

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seriously, I have a problem with S'mores. No joke. I'd eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I could get away with it. I've tried many recipes for S'mores brownies, but I've always ended up with a mushy or crumbly graham cracker crust, a too-dry of a chocolate middle, and not much of a toasty marshmellow on top. But I can proudly say I've found MY perfect S'more brownie recipe.

 These didn't last a full 24 hours in my house, and they were super easy:

You'll need:
Brownie mix (Plus whatever ingredients are needed on box) or your own brownie recipe
Milk chocolate chips
Graham crackers

First, take a regular brownie mix, or make them from scratch. Add a few handfuls of chocolate chunks or MILK chocolate chips (Seriously. ALWAYS use milk chocolate chips. Semi-sweet? no thanks. Go big or go home, I say). Bake brownies according to package directions. Once they are done, preheat your oven to broil, and add marshmallows on top. Sprinkle some graham cracker pieces on top, and throw in that hot oven and watch it like a hawk until those marshmallows are toasty. Pull out, and enjoy.

These brownies are a definite hit with whomever happens to come over while these are out, so whip up a quick batch of these, and take them to a party, friend's house, whatever. I promise you won't leave with any left!

Shoplet Review + Date Night

I love Shoplet. They have some of the coolest products. This month, I got to review the SlimMate Storage Clipboard, a recycled clipboard, a Uhu glue stic, and a glue style pen. These products came just in time, because my husband and I have started doing weekly dates - and these tools came quite in handy for my latest date, a drive-in night. I got this idea from the Dating Divas, and used their drive-in printables to create a "treasure hunt" in my hubby's truck. I hid the clues with the help of the glue stic and style pen, and surprised him on date day with it. I've been using the clipboard to keep all my dating stuff in order and ready. Take a peek:

I ended up breaking out our inflatable mattress, and airing it up. Throwing it in the back of the truck, along with pillows, blankets, and my laptop, and we had a movie night. It was super fun! Dating is something I've missed, and I love being able to look forward to a date night with my hubby. If you're looking for some fresh date ideas, The Dating Divas have you covered!

Gardening 2014: Pumpkin on a Stick...or not?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So, every year, I decide to grow at least ONE thing I've never grown before. While I love to garden and preserve, the normal tomato-cucumber-squash-herb stuff can get kinda boring. And I'll be honest - I've given up on growing beans. It's just too much work. I may buy a bushel at one of the Amish auctions or a few bags of organic beans at the grocery store as well, but beans and I just don't get along that well. But I  digress.

I've expanded my garden this year, and I decided to plant some "Pumpkin on a Stick" seeds. I know very little about them, but here's what I do know:

1. They are adorable.

2. They're some type of eggplant

3. They look vicious.

To illustrate the viciousness of this plant, I present you with photographic evidence. I swear, these things should've come out of Alice in Wonderland, or the Secret Garden or something. These are some serious spikes, readers. These plants looked great in the greenhouse, and stayed quite small until a few weeks ago, when they all of a sudden decided to grow spikes and shoot up out of the ground like an invading army of angry triceratops/plant hybrids.

Seriously. No joke.

It's like they're half porcupines or something.

I've looked at pictures of what this plant is SUPPOSED to look like, and NONE of them sport the hardware these are threatening me with. What on earth have I done to deserve this?

So, I'm hoping that these are really the "Pumpkin on a Stick" that I thought I bought, but if not, these are interesting nonetheless!

Stay tuned, I'll hopefully be posting more gardening/farming/canning stuff very soon, along with some really awesome giveaways!

Spring is Here, and I am Not Ready.

Monday, April 14, 2014

So, I'm really not known for being fit. I'm pretty normal.This is moi, at the Lexington Comic Con.

And I'm really out of shape. I may not be "Overweight", but I definitely am not where I should be fitness-wise. And after having my daughter, fat has ended up in weird places-places that fat shouldn't be.

So, I've bitten the bullet and I'm starting to work out.

I live almost 30 minutes from the nearest gym.

I am a stay at home mom.

I love peanut butter, chocolate chips, and potatoes. 

I could seriously eat mac n cheese every meal.

So, this is going to be rough.

I've decided to start out with "John Cena's 10 Week Body Change". I really didn't know who this guy was, but, I heard about the program, and was interested. When I was told that I don't need a gym/equipment to do it, I was sold. I mean, I realize exercise is important, but getting a program in place that you actually ENJOY and see results from is honestly like finding the holy grail.

I've tried other workouts in the past (Here's looking at you, P90X) and I enjoyed those workouts, except having to get all the equipment was a definite down-point for me.

So, if you want to join in on this with me, you're welcome to!  I hope to take some better "Before" pictures to reference in case you decide to follow along with me.

Organic step at a time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In my constant progress toward living an organic life, I've had to take a tally of what organic items are critical, what items are nice, and what items I'm okay with having non-organic. It's a give and take, and it's always a work in progress.

Mohawk Valley Trading Co. has a variety of really great organic products. Based in New York, they offer candles, honey, and maple syrup. I've been using their Tulip Poplar - Black Locust honey in my tea almost every day, and it's really been helping my morning sore throats.

I made some waffles last week, and their dark, robust maple syrup went perfectly on top. It was simply divine. I've never had pure REAL maple syrup, and the difference is just amazing. If you've never had the chance to try raw, organic maple syrup, you're missing out.

So the next time you're in need of some organic maple syrup or honey products, Mohawk Valley Trading Co. is happy to help! They've also agreed to host a giveaway with me for the products you see here, plus more! Enter below!