Friday, January 30, 2015

Java Me Up coffee bar review via Shoplet.com

This was certainly a change as far as "office supplies" product reviews go for Shoplet.com. They sent me some Java Me Up coffee energy bars. Have "Coffee with bite"!
Not your average office product, yet something that is often needed around the workplace. These are a fantastic idea. Get your coffee in the form of a bar. You can avoid spilling, burning yourself, and its quicker to devour than drink. Each bar is equivalent to 1/2 a cup of coffee.
These bars are all natural with fiber and protein. They provide you the energy-inducing push in the form of a bar. Each bar is a combination of coffee, chocolate, almonds, and rolled oats. 

I took some to work to try with my coworkers. Getting up at 4 AM can be hard to do. And since most of us have lives outside of work, i.e. family, school, etc., we don't always get enough sleep. Some of us turn to energy aids such as energy drinks to get through the day. Side effects can be headaches, quickened heartbeat, and increased body temperature. Ingesting these bars didn't result in any of those. I'm not one for coffee in general. I'm that type that drinks it only when it's super sweet and therefore not effective. While these bars are covered in dark chocolate, they aren't overpowered in the chocolate flavor. The taste of rich coffee is quite prominent. My coworkers enjoyed them. The results of added energy varied. My own feelings were inconclusive as I was near the time for my second wind already. One of the guys reported feeling a super boost and it seemed to work. The other one stayed as mellow as he always is. Then again, I don't think he ever comes off as "energized" no matter what he takes. 
The texture and consistency were good. They aren't hard or too chewy. 
If you're a coffee lover looking to try something new and clean, this is it. Easy to take on the go, without making messes, and still helping to kickstart your day - these bars have my approval. They are $39.99 per pack which comes to $1.66 for each bar.
Don't forget to check out Shoplet.com for more than just office supplies. They now provide medical supplies, office stationary, and promotional products to get your business name out there.

A great month over all

January was pretty busy. Getting into the swing of the new year, making plans and even turning a year older. It seems to be flying by so quick. 
Work has been the craziest of all.
Preparing for our Bounce Back has made me seriously despise working in retail. 
I came up with a new creation of my own. Your mind can get quite devious when the cupboard is getting bare. 
I had pasta, diced tomatoes, sour cream and some velveeta cheese. Mixed it up for a sort of southwest meal. I think adding chicken or ground beef would be a good idea too. 
For my birthday, a couple of my coworkers treated me to their baking skills with chocolate mint cookies
and chocolate mint cupcakes.
I'm pretty sure that in two days time I've gained about 10 pounds, but the taste was divine so I'll survive. 
Instead of making my cake or my husband going out to buy one, I decided to get Krispy Kreme donuts. 
Why not? Especially when I got one free with a free drink from my birthday email. 
Which, by the way, Krispy Kreme has a deal if you're needing to buy more than 5 dozen donuts for parties or other events before February 12th... 
Or here's another Valentine's Day giveaway, that you might be interested. One of the local rock stations is giving away a divorce for Valentine's Day.
Yep, that's right. Divorce. So if you had enough (like me), you can sign up for a chance to win an uncontested divorce by local (Bexar county residents only) lawyer-assisted divorce. Happy Valentine's Day, honey! 
February should be fun.... 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Guest post of healthier living by Mediterranean Snacks

Occasionally I received emails from Mediterranean Snacks that I feel are worth sharing. This is one of them. Let's stay healthy and live better, not just this year, but every year to come! 
 
3 Ways to Make This Your Best Year
 
1. Clean Eating: Here's the trick to shifting your diet to a more balanced and clean routine. 

Start small. Many of us go "all in" before really thinking through our goals and knowing what are the best steps to take. Jumping to extremes or going full force can make it harder for us to maintain.

We suggest you make a list of all the things you would like to work on, evolve, or change in your diet.  Maybe it's cutting out soda, swapping fried chips for baked lentil chips, eating fewer carbohydrates, adding more greens, or simply drinking more water.

After you make your list, pick the top 12 and use those as your guide, one for each month of the year.  So each month you make one temporary change with a goal to make it a habit. By the end of the year, you will have made 12 improvements to your diet, how awesome is that?


2. Get Active: How many times have you tried to get active, yet sometimes, you feel you may have failed? Same rules apply as in step 1. Start small and make it gradual. We also recommend focusing on your interests and find an accountability partner; a buddy to check in with weekly.

Start with getting active once a week for a month, then twice a week, then three times a week and so forth.  Make sure you and your accountability partner check in with one another to ensure success.


3. Stay Positive: The first two steps may not succeed unless you work to stay positive.

Change is not always easy, but if you want things to be different in your life, then being open to change is a great start.

Find your gratitude in each day and in each experience because this will open up your mind to new ideas and make it easier to stay positive. 

Make this your best year-you deserve it!

Collage.com photo pillow review

I was again asked to do a product review from Collage.com. This time, I got to order a 16x16 Photo Pillow.
Its that time of year, when everyone takes a day to show their love for someone special in their lives. As Ellen (my contact at Collage.com) says, "Why say it on paper when you can declare your love with a Collage.com pillowgram? It's quirky. It's different. And what's better than a valentine you can cuddle with? (Nothing.)" Well, she's right. Chocolates add the stress of needing a gym after eating or risking the extra pounds. Flowers last maybe two days before wilting and falling apart, causing a mess and extra work. Jewelry is nice, but how much of that do we actually need? And does your someone special ever get a special, thought-filled gift? Do you get them one?
I don't have that "special someone" to give to. So I chose to make something for myself or perhaps I'll send it to my Mother. Whoever you are saying "I love you" to, make it special this year! Give them something that will last for years to come and shows you actually took the time to think about it.
Just as its easy to make other products, making this photo pillow was simple and fast. I chose my pictures, added color, it automatically added the border for me, and I was ready to order. I still can't tell you how much I love that it fills in my address after I start typing just a part of the street name and number. This makes adding your address to the order form so much easier.
The pillow is the perfect cuddle size. Its fits comfortably on the couch and is super soft. I almost don't want to give it up.... but I do think my mom would love something like this for Valentine's Day.
So check them out and let me know what you think! Prices start at $53.99. You can also check around as they often have sales or coupon codes.
And to help you connect with them to find out about specials they might be running, check out any of their social networking sites.
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
and Twitter
And for all you lucky singles out there, happy Singles Awareness Day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

American Sniper movie review

I went to see American Sniper last night. I've heard from so many people about how great it was. Even my mother has been urging me to go as well. She was right. Every American needs to see this one.
For starters, it's directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. He's a great american actor and director who has my utmost respect.
This movie brings a very important subject to the spot light; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Our military men and women come back changed mentally and/or physically. Numbers are showing that there are 22 veterans committing suicide on a daily basis. That's a staggering amount of individuals within a similar group. PTSD can be triggered by sights and sounds that are reminiscent of what they experienced while deployed. Friends and family need to know how to recognize the signs and reach out to those coming home on a regular basis.
This story is about Chris Kyle. At 25 years old, he joins the Navy and becomes a SEAL who later struggles with war and home life. He marries before his first deployment after the September 11 attacks. Leaving behind a pregnant new bride, he is thrown into war and pitted against a sniper of incredible skills on the enemy's side. This story takes you into what it's like for these soldiers. They have a bond stronger than blood. When one of them gets hurt, the rest seek vengeance. They look to finish off the enemy that threatens the American way of life.
I was floored by this movie. They make jokes throughout. But it's far from a comedy. It's action packed with everything Americans might not see or know. The struggle for him to adjust to home life after being on a battlefield. Four tours left him distant and always on edge. It took a lot of patience from him wife to pull him back in to reality. He began helping others who were recovering as well. It gave him something to use to find balance. Sadly, he was killed in the US by another vet on a gun range.
There's a lot of hype going on about this movie. A lot of political nonsense. But this movie is about one mans life and experience. About fighting for what he believed in, being scarred by what he saw and did, and overcoming it all. Our Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army - all of them deserve our respect. All of them fight while we sit here and enjoy the privileges to do whatever we want in the country founded on being free. They fight overseas to try to keep the war away from home. No matter what you think of war or of those leading the troops, you need to support the troops themselves. They volunteered their lives and minds.

 Some interesting trivia that I found...
Chris Kyle met "Lone Survivor", Marcus Luttrell, during their BUD's(SEAL Training) and became close friends with him although they graduated with different classes. They kept in contact often and remained friends for the remainder of Kyle's life.

 The real Chris Kyle was murdered on February 2, 2013 at a shooting range while trying to help a veteran that had severe PTSD.

 Chris Kyle's first long range kill was a woman who was about to throw a grenade. It was not, as depicted in the movie, a child and then his mother. When asked about it, Kyle responded "The woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn't take any Marines with her".
 
So I have a challenge for each of you reading this.... Go see the movie. Then reach out to a veteran. Even if all you do is say thank you. Remember what they have done for YOU.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ridiculous Ramblings in Retail: Executive Style

I know stupidity runs rampant.
No matter where you go, you will have at least one idiot who can ruin even the best of days. And that person is usually the one with the "boss" title. Mine is at Executive level. With boobs so big, she can't fit through a door with another person simultaneously and only enough knowledge to get her by, she runs the show haphazardly and makes us question how much she paid (or who she slept with) to get her position of authority. She's known throughout the lower levels of employees for running her mouth, being suggestive, and having plenty of bad ideas. Thanks to some of her ramblings, I've been nicknamed the Backroom Hooker.
The jokes that follow that line of thinking have been funny to downright my-face-feels-like-its-on-fire.
Conversations with her are avoided often. She is avoided as much as possible. Since she came on... the following things have made working at that store a near nightmare.


After being there maybe a week, she tried to question almost all of us in the back room about our relationship status. She wanted to know who was dating and who was married. She has been married at least twice and working on number three. Explains where she got the money for her manufactured breasts. Her conversation with me went along these lines....
Her: "Wow, you look so dressed up today. Got a hot date after work?"
Me: "I'm not all dressed up, its just a skirt. But no, Backroom is my date! I'm not divorced yet after all."
Her: "Are you kidding? Dating while going through a divorce is the best! I've had my best dates then."
Me: "Um... wow."

After being our Executive Team Leader (ETL) of Logistics for a couple months, she began to teach us new lingo on the tools and terminology for the back room.  
She showed us the upper shelving and the way things should look in a perfect back room. Then she says, "Don't forget to use your back room hooker."
Now, this is a new term for us. Sure we know about the metal hooks we use to pull things from the back of the steel shelves to the front. It helps us keep a healthy zone while eliminating our need to actually climb onto the shelves and possibly hurt ourselves. Did we know it's called a "hooker"? No! So she got incredulous looks as a reply.
"You know, those metal hooks? Those are hookers. Didn't you guys know that?"
No...
She starts up her talk again and ends with, "Now don't forget guys (looks at the guys), utilize your back room hooker (looks at me and winks)."
What the...?! The guys all look at me and a couple smile. I could feel my face turning red. I immediately went from Backroom wife (because I'd cook and bake and clean up for my team) to being a hooker. Let's just say the jokes haven't ended and won't. I've learned to just roll with it.
She's told us to go "topless". We needed an explanation and were told it's where everything on the top shelves are brought down.
She told an older male ETL he could "use" one of our younger guys for "whatever purposes he wanted". Poor guy is now picked on for being that ETL's "boy toy".
When we spoke about our hopes for the back room and getting it as close to perfect as we could, she told us "Hope is for the weak and dying."
While receiving a food truck, the driver was hitting on me pretty strong. Trying to get my number, ask about my Facebook page, and ask me out when his divorce was settled. Did she step in for me? Nope. Just laughed. But when our receiving guy who is old enough to be my grandfather and has been nothing but a sweetheart to me, gives me a hug... She asks if I felt sexually harassed. 😐 Are you kidding me?! Her ideas of harassment are way out of line. 
We have designated areas for certain large-container products that work well for our safety and ease of back stocking. Like pillows being on the top shelves along a wall. "We need to make this look pretty. Move them to the bedding aisle." Now we have to haul boxes as tall as ourselves up a ladder to the top shelves down an aisle. The one assigned to that task did so, only to then be told to move them to the back of the aisle since it still wasn't pretty enough if we could see it.
Appearances mean everything to her. Obviously. What others think of her and the back room, also matter. Whatever happened to "Don't let others opinions of you, affect you. Be yourself and do good. It will all work out. Don't worry about what others think of you." Nope, it doesn't apply to you when you're an adult working in retail. Appearances are everything then.
All these months of dealing with her and listening to the things that come from her delusional mind have given two teams in our store something to hate as well as laugh at. Today, she really messed up. Will anyone notice? Probably not on the executive level.
We came in, and started our normal routine. We were already behind since the closer couldn't complete his part and back stock product was scattered everywhere. We had two trucks; general merchandise and a food truck. After pulling the morning stock, she had "projects" lined up to beautify the back room and present as close to perfection as possible to her special visitors today. Did she let us back stock? No. Did she let us start pulling down the pallets from the truck? No. "Make it pretty." We brought everything low and tight. This took a lot of time.

We get done with that and back stock starts rolling in with the pallets we have yet to finish from the truck. On top of this, food truck delivery was twice its normal size and coming up fast. So here's our team, struggling to keep up. What's her solution? "If you work faster, you'll finish faster."
Seriously?
We didn't stand much of a chance. They had their visitor and the higher ups didn't even bother to really give us a look over. They peeked in and moved on. Less than five minutes I'm guessing. All that work.... for nothing! Way to go! So much for prepping for the inspection. But what do you expect from an exec who has no idea how  to plan ahead? By the time I left (past my scheduled time again), the freezer looked like this:
And the best part? Look at us, being ever so safe!
You got it! The fire exit was blocked. To the left, our paper products which are edged by chemicals and lighter products. Now let's think about this a minute.... what happens if there is an accident? A single spark, turned blaze, and no exit. I see a future of deaths, lawsuits and plenty of finger pointing. Come on people! But what do I know? I'm just another loser working in retail.
Welcome to my crazy world!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Twigtale has an app!

I loved creating a special book for my daughter Ana with Twigtale. It makes explaining certain issues a bit easier. Whether its starting school, having a new sibling on the way, or just telling them what it means to be loved, using Twigtale makes it simple. They have experts who write the stories that you can match with personal pictures. Now you can do it from your phone or iPad!
They have a new app you can download here.
 
You can also find expert postings that they share. I posted a couple of favorites I had a while back. But there is a link to others you can check out.

Always busy around here

It's like a constant whirlwind of action. Very few times do I get that calm before the next storm. And when I do... Let's just say it's only long enough to take a breath and raise my head above the waves of chaos. Work, cleaning, kids, cooking, playing chauffeur - the never ending cycle that my life flows with. It makes me treasure those brief moments of peace and clarity even more. 

Yesterday I wandered around Target while taking the husband to look for clearanced Legos. Valentine's Day (or as I like to see it, Singles Awareness Day) is around the corner. Merchandise is reflective of such. 
I can't wait for some of these to go on clearance. Being a Star Wars fan, there were some I really liked. 
I did find some things on the clearance endcap that I couldn't resist. 
Fall flavors are heading out. But so are these Pepperidge Farms chocolate covered cookies! 
They were half off and only 1.98 each!
I've been busy baking again too. I made Cookie Brownies!
What can possibly be better than combining two favorite desserts into one?
I had used the 20% off any clothing clearance on Cartwheel when I found an Angry Birds shirt for my son.
Today is one of those lazy days. Its cold, rainy, and I didn't have to work. I'd love to crawl back in bed. Or maybe curl up with a good movie on Netflix. Instead, I'll be paying off a speeding ticket, doing some grocery shopping, finishing up laundry... and maybe catch a movie. I've been wanting to see American Sniper. Has anyone out there seen it yet?

Free Sea World Preschool Pass for kids 3-5

To celebrate all the fun SeaWorld San Antonio has for our littlest guests, we’re offering kids ages 3-5 living in Texas a FREE SeaWorld Preschool Pass. So they can ride, climb, splash, and play at BOTH SeaWorld and Aquatica San Antonio through September 7, 2015 for FREE!
Register now for your child’s FREE Preschool Pass! Online registration ends May 31, 2015. Then print your confirmation and bring it any ticket window at SeaWorld San Antonio, along with (1) a valid form of ID for your child [a COPY of certified birth certificate or travel passport] and (2) verification of Texas residency for the parent/guardian. The Preschool Pass CANNOT be redeemed at a park kiosk. Only the child’s parent/guardian may register them for this Pass and redeem at the park. You must redeem your Preschool Pass at the park by July 31, 2015.

Bulu Box sales for January

Now that the January box has been shipped out, sales on the January samples are out! You can check out the deals they have to offer, here: http://www.bulubox.com/promotional-groups/sale.html?utm_source=Bulu+Box+List&utm_campaign=d6d0b0feef-Brand_Partner_SALES1_20_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bf6b0c386f-d6d0b0feef-76478901&mc_cid=d6d0b0feef&mc_eid=25a04cc4c7

My favorite part of this months box was the FLYJOY Bars. They are also on sale.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Goodbye Lego City

I won't be building the Lego City anymore. Sorry guys. 

Bulu Box subscription review for January

As a part of the U.S. Family Guide bloggers, I was given the chance to try out the Bulu Box subscription.
It's a health conscious monthly subscription that allows you the chance to try out things without purchasing full sized products that you may find you don't like after all. You get a variety of items that span diet, vitamins, protein, and otherwise healthier living aids. The following products were all in this months box. 
NeoCell Beauty Bursts are gourmet collagen soft chews.
They are a minty chocolate that is good, but it has an aftertaste that I can't quite describe. Not necessarily bad, but somewhat noticeable. Each one is individually wrapped to keep them fresh and so that they won't stick together. They have Collagen Type 1 & 3 to help rebuild your skin, Hyaluronic Acid for skin hydration, Vitamin C to enhance the collagen, and are all natural. 

Umph! Umph! is a premium, pre-workout formula to aid increased speed, power and endurance. I added it to my water before going to work one day this week.
Especially since the night before, I'd only gotten 4 hours of sleep after having a migraine all day... I needed the extra boost. Definitely has that fruit punch smell when you rip it open.
I feel like a kid adding Kool-Aid to my drink... Its overly sweet though. Remember presweetened Kool-Aid as a kid? You felt like you were on a sugar high? Yep, that's what this was like. I didn't notice any significant boost in energy. Enduring work was more of a breeze though. But that could've just been from working with some fun guys from my team.
 
Symbiotics Colostrum Chewables Plus are similar in taste to children's vitamins.
They are what we adults refer to as "horse pills" in being so large.
I wouldn't want to have to swallow something like this.... The taste is pretty good as far as vitamins typically go. I even broke one in half for my boys to share and they liked it. No, its not meant to make you produce milk... They help build up your immune system.

Flyjoy antioxidant snack bars are all natural, gluten free, non-gmo, and vegan.
I got to sample the blueberry almond flavor. It has quinoa, oats, flax, and chia.
It's a bit on the chewy side, but the flavor was quite good. These are made in the US.
 
The Miracle Tree tea was interesting.
It's apple cinnamon flavor isn't strong with just one tea bag. My suggestion would be to use two at a time. It has 47 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, 25 multi-vitamins and proteins, and is caffeine free. This is the type of tea you'd want to drink before bed. Some other perks this tea has include being 100% vegan, gluten free and 100% organic. I add honey to sweeten my tea. It has a smooth taste. I just wish it were stronger. 
Bulu included some other fun things such as magnets that you can piece messages together with.
Whether you are leaving encouraging messages for yourself or someone else you work/live with, these are really fun.
 
Lastly, I have the Lentil Crackers from Mediterranean Snacks.
I personally love Mediterranean Snacks. They have so many healthy options to choose from. These were the Cracked Pepper flavor. Being that they are made from lentil beans, they are a great source of protein. They are gluten-free, oven baked and a part of the Non GMO Project. Everything in their ingredients list is understandable by the typical reader! 
My youngest son didn't like how they looked and felt. My oldest son got through two and decided he was done. And my daughter loved them, calling them "chips". I think they'd be perfect with dip, especially hummus. 
  
Why is the Bulu Box so great? You get to sample a variety of products that help you focus on being healthier and dieting well. It's a once a month delivery. You try the products and should you find something you like, you can order more on their website or possibly search for more on the individual company website where you can find similar products. Like any other subscription boxes out there, this gives you the chance to try before buying full sized things you might not like.  So check them out! http://www.bulubox.com/