Blogging for Books: Soul Food Love by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

Soul Food Love 00.jpg

Soul Food Love is the cookbook you need to own if you want healthy soul food recipes!  This cookbook is inspired by over one hundred years of one family’s cooking traditions of good ole’ soul food.   A mother-daughter team (Alice Randall and her daughter Caroline Randall Williams) transition some of their favorite soul food recipes all while keeping the traditional recipes in mind but creating them into healthier versions that are sure to be a hit in kitchens all over the world.  What they have created is delicious, easy, and simple recipes that are affordable for everyone!

I especially love the kitchen family tree, the family history background, the photo keepsakes, and the introduction to their family history in cooking soul food dating back to the late 1800’s…covering three generations of women that cooked for their family day in and day out.

 Some of my favorite recipes from Soul Food Love are:  Sweet Potato Broth, Carrot Ginger Soup, Steamed Chicken and Broccoli with Basil, Turkey Burgers, Sweet Potato Skewers, Cauliflower Crown, and the Breakfast Casserole.  These recipes all consist of affordable ingredients and simple recipes sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

I received this cookbook for free courtesy of Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

They Say Absence Makes the Heart Grow Founder…

I know you have all heard of the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Well in my case…this is very true.  I have so much love for my blogging followers and fans and I really do appreciate all the concern and love that has been sent my way.   You all know how to make a girl feel loved!  I’m so fortunate to still have so many followers even in my absence this year.   I truly have missed preparing blog posts for you and I really hope that I will be able to get back at it very soon.   I will be attempting to blog for the next two months on a very irregular basis.  Can you believe that we are so close to the holidays again?!   Time sure does fly by.

Oh…and I have BIG news….

save-the-date

On Saturday, August 20th…my love of soon to be 5 years (our 5-year dating anniversary is on 11-11-2016) popped the BIG question!   Of course….I SAID YES!

I’m so happy to start planning our wedding ceremony and reception for next year.  We have chosen to become Mr. & Mrs. on 11-11-2017.  We have over a year to plan and we are both eager to start planning.   I’ve already ordered our Save the Date cards and we have a wedding cake consultation & cake tasting scheduled at one of my favorite bakeries in Greensboro in early November and then we are meeting with a Photographer later that month.  In the meantime, we are attempting to take our own engagement photos this Fall as soon as the leaves start to change!

I am hoping to include some of the wedding planning in some of my blog posts as I’m new to the engagement club and this will be a totally new experience for me.   We are hoping to have a small intimate ceremony for immediate family and a few close friends and then a BIG reception party to celebrate afterwards!

engaged-02

Our very first date was at Starbucks…so we just had to stop by and get some coffee and celebrate being engaged!

Here’s to life, love, health, and happiness!  I’m a lucky girl..that’s for sure!

Blogging for Books: Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn

I have loved being a part of the #bloggingforbooks community!  The book I choose for this month’s book of the month is a journal that I’ve been so anxious to get!   It’s called the Instant Happy Journal  by the famous Karen Salmansohn from notsalmon.com and it’s completely going to change my perspective on life.

instant  happy journal

This bright and colorful journal is all about changing your mindset to think about the positive things in your life-what’s giving you joy, what you are grateful for, and what inspires you.  It helps you focus on what’s really important.

This journal is filled with 365 different “happiness prompters” that include scientific studies, motivational quotes, and thought-provoking questions.   These prompters inspire you to notice the joy and gratitude in your own life on a daily basis.

I love the idea of this journal-it makes you more conscious of your thoughts and feelings and gives you the space you need to jot down what’s on your mind and get those feelings out and onto paper.   It’s so good to let it all out and it helps bring things out into the open so you can focus more on what you can do make your life happier!

There are some seriously great prompters in this journal.  Below are just a few of my favorites:

“You can’t control everything that happens to you-but you can control your attitude and how you deal with things.”

“Sometimes you need some time and space alone-except for the company of a bird and a few trees- to sit quietly and try to figure things out.”  This one prompts you do to do just that go sit outside and take a moment for yourself.

Word of the Day:  Blesson-when you are able to view painful lessons as blessings.  This prompter asks you to write down some of the blessings that you have learned from some of those challenging lessons.  

365 days of amazing prompters like these above in this little bright and bubbly journal.  What an amazing gift this would be for a family member or close friend.  I challenge you to buy your own Instant Happy Journal and go on this journey with me.

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

I was given the opportunity to review this book courtesy of Blogging For Books.

PicMonkey Collage-blog signature

Christmas Wish List/Holiday Guide 2015

This is my first year doing a Christmas Wish List/Holiday Guide here on the blog.  I just had so many products that I’ve recently been testing and reviewing that I love and I thought I would put together a last minute blog post on those items.  Maybe, just maybe some of the items will help you get some shopping done if you are undecided on what to get your family or friends for Christmas!

All items (except the Mankind wallets) are available on Amazon.com and I will link them up below so you can just simply click on the link if you feel so inclined to make a purchase.   **I do not receive any income from you clicking on the links below.**

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet…or do you wait till Black Friday and shop till your heart is content?  I personally keep away from retail stores on Black Friday if at all possible.  I usually do my shopping online or wait until the last 2 weeks before Christmas to go out and shop like a mad woman!   Nah-I’m not one of those people…people can get so crazy during the shopping season…it makes me laugh and is very entertaining to me!  I like to shop when and only when I know exactly what I’m going for.  I don’t like to shop around all day-I want in and out as fast as humanly possible.

So let’s begin my wish list/holiday guide-or whatever you may call it.

Christmas Wish List & Holiday Guide 2015

Christmas Wish ListHoliday Guide 2015 00

  1. Lyceem Large Capacity Hanging Toiletry Bag/Travel Organzier Kit in Tiffany Green
  2. Decorative Hand Cast Aluminum Owl Single Wall Hook
  3. UTILYZE Rechargeable Electronic Foot File
  4. Big Bang Theory Ceramic Coffee Mug
  5. Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn
  6. Eco Friendly Quality Artist Colored Pencil Set by Colowlful
  7. Alpine Swiss His and Hers Moccasin Slippers in Sabine and Yukon
  8. Ipow Colored Pencil Set with Canvas Roll Up Bag
  9. VTIN Peashooter Bluetooth Sport Headphones
  10. Rose Gold Monogram Necklace and Rose Gold Bangle Bracelet from EZ Creations LTD
  11. Bellabeat LEAF Activity Tracker
  12. Mankind Wallets

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Christmas Wish List/Holiday Guide…I’ll be reviewing each product right here on the blog very soon with possibly a few more products to add!  Happy Holidays!

PicMonkey Collage-blog signature

FotoJet: a FREE online art designer for creating collages, photo cards, and more!

  Year after year I anxiously await to get photo cards in the mail during the Christmas season.  I usually end up purchasing mine through Snapfish or Minted, however, they can be expensive and you can’t guarantee that they will turn out just like you want them to.  Today I’m introducing you to a FREE online art designer that you can use to easily make your own photo cards for the holidays.

Have you struggled with being able to afford these costly photo cards in the past?  Well…don’t fret over it now!  There’s a website called FotoJet and it lets you create your own custom collages, photo cards, posters, and more all for FREE!    FotoJet is developed by PearlMountain Technology Co., Ltd, a dedicated graphics software developer founded in 2006.  Click here to see what FotoJet is all about and try it out for yourself.  You can also find FotoJet on Facebook here.

I spent some time this past weekend working on a photo card on FotoJet and I wanted to share my experience with you so you can see how simple it is to make your own photo cards.  FotoJet‘s website is very easy to use.  First you choose a design, then you add your own photos, and share and save your creations.

I also like that they have templates for Facebook covers, Instagram & Facebook posts, and YouTube banners!  A very social media friendly app!  There are so many options to choose from and a ton of templates to use or you can simply create your own.

Here are some of my creations using FotoJet:

*All photos below belong to the owner of this blog-please don’t copy or share without contacting and getting consent first.  Thanks!*

FotoJet Collage 00

Facebook Cover

FotoJet Collage 01

Instagram Post

 FotoJet Collage 03

FotoJet Collage 02

Twitter Headers

FotoJet Collage 04

Fun Photos

FotoJet Collage 05

Photo Cards

FotoJet Collage 06

Classic Collage

There are so many options with FotoJet!  Try them out and show me some of your creations by linking them below!

PicMonkey Collage-blog signature

Blogging For Books-Owls: Our Most Enchanting Bird by Matt Sewell

Owls by Matt Sewell

Matt Sewell is a well-known avid ornithologist, a contributor of the website Caught by the River, and the author of the best-selling books Our Garden Birds and Our Songbirds.  His new book Owls:  Our Most Enchanting Bird is quickly becoming very popular as well.  Matt’s pop-art watercolors of the owl species (over 50 species) are just so fascinating and intriguing.   He captures the beauty of the birds in his own illustrations.  The book is filled to the brim with owls-you have four major categories of the species: Woodland Owls, Tropical Owls, Wilderness Owls, and Desert Owls.

Matt not only gives us his beautiful artwork but also gives us valuable information on each species of the most enchanting bird.   A charming book for any nature lover or bird lover!  I personally love birds-especially owls…they are so mysterious-yet compelling!  This book is a perfect coffee table book as most people would pick it up and enjoy it-for it’s not only a book, but a piece of art!

I received this book courtesy of Blogging For Books in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.  

PicMonkey Collage-blog signature

A Fall Afternoon/Evening with MalloMe Roasting Sticks! #MalloMe

The weather here in NC is so nice in the late summer and early Fall that we still enjoy having cookouts on a regular basis!  We love to spend time outdoors in our own backyard.   A perfect escape from the work week!

I was given the opportunity to test and review these MalloMe Roasting Sticks and they were a perfect addition to our campfire evenings!

MalloMe Roasting Sticks

roasting sticks

A perfect afternoon for testing these roasting sticks out!

fall view

Yodo Picnic Camping Blanket

Our Yodo Picnic/Camping Blanket came in very handy today!  You can purchase one here.  Review coming up soon for this product.

mallome roasting sticks 99  roasting sticks 00 roasting sticks 02

roasting sicks 03  mallowme roasting sticks 98

roasting sticks 03  roasting sticks 04

Even one of our fur-babes enjoyed the marshmallows!

cloverr eating a marshmallow

Here’s my review:

The MalloMe Premium Roasting Sticks are perfect for any camping trip or backyard bonfire! We love to roast hot dogs and marshmallows this time of the year. It’s the perfect weather-not too hot, not too cold! This set comes with 5 piece rotating & telescoping fork set along with a canvas travel bag to store them in and they also have rubber tips on the prongs that keep you from getting pricked when you are storing them. They are non-toxic and made of stainless steel. These are unlike most roasting sticks that are online because they are extendable forks (34″ in length) that keep you at a safe distance from any bonfire, campfire, or a backyard fire pit.

They come in a lovely set of popular colors-very appealing to the eye. Everyone you know will want their own set! We used them over the weekend to roast hot dogs for us and our fur-babes and then we decided to roast some marshmallows for dessert. They were the perfect length for using at a campfire…you had enough distance between you and the fire so that you wouldn’t get burned or too hot. The roasting sticks are very easy to clean with just dish soap and water and they store perfectly in the case that was included with the purchase. I highly recommend these roasting sticks to anyone that enjoys outdoor campfires or camping in general. This would definitely be a must-have for any camping trip in our near future!

I received this set for a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

PicMonkey Collage-blog signature