Make Thanksgiving Cooking & Cleaning a Breeze With T-fal & Zabada + Giveaway {US}

~I received a T-fal & Zabada samples for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and we are already in prep mode in my house. It is only a 9 person meal on the big day but we still cook a lot of food because Thanksgiving leftovers are the best! I love spending the day with family and eating a delicious feast but I personally hate the cooking and cleaning aspect of the day. The kitchen becomes a complete disaster and the best I can do is clean as I go. That means I am always looking for ways to make the cooking easier and the clean up quicker. That is why I decided to take part of the #TfalZabadaThanksgiving Blogger Challenge. I am a competitive person so I am always up for a challenge! I was sent the T-fal Calipso pressure cooker and the Zabada Kitchen Handy for clean up duty. Together the are my new little dream team.

T-fal Cookware

The T-fal Clipso is a 6.3 QT. stainless steel pressure cooker makes it easy to use a pressure cooker. I am no chef but even I could figure it out! When things get busy this is ideal because it allows you to prepare elaborate and impressive meals very quickly and safely. Featuring a unique one-hand system, the T-fal Clipso allows users to open and close the lid using only one hand and a steam release valve that controls steam release for added safety. The durable stainless steel construction guarantees an extended lifespan and is dishwasher safe, excluding the gasket and pressure valve. The T-fal Clipso includes a steam basket, stand and recipe booklet. Please ignore my terrible 70s kitchen stove and counter top. I will get it re-done someday!

T-Fal Clipso

I have a beer-braised chicken thigh recipe that always takes FOREVER to cook and with this the chicken and potatoes were done in under 20 minutes! I just combined all the ingredients and then I could go off to do other things. On Thanksgiving  you could put a meal in this and leave it while it cooks and it could keep a dish out of the oven where the turkey is cooking. Go watch the parade or some football while the pressure cooker does all the work!

beer braised chicken

KEY BENEFITS AND UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • One-hand system makes lid easy to open and close
  • Steam release valve controls steam release for added safety
  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • 12 PSI / 6.3 QT capacity
  • Stainless steel encapsulated, induction suitable base for even heat distribution
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Includes steam basket, stand and recipe booklet

The T-fal Clipso is available in Macy’s retailers and Macys.com and you can get more information at T-fal.

After my delicious meal I am the one that is always on clean up duty and we all know pots and pans can get pretty disgusting. Since I am continually trying to be more “green” I was super excited to try the Zabada Kitchen Handy which is a chemical-free cleaning solution that removes 99.9% of bacteria, grease, viruses and more just using water. This little scrubbier really works!

T-fal & Zabada

The Zabada Kitchen Handy features two advanced microfibers – a “Grease” side for removing grease from ovens, rangehoods and cooking appliances and a “Grime” side, with light scouring patches, for removing food residues and light grease with no chemicals, just water!

  • “Grime” side surface tackles: sinks, benches, appliances, baking trays, pots and pans
  • “Grease” side surfaces tackles: stove tops, inside your oven, range hood and pots (on a cool surface) 

Zabada Clean

KEY BENEFITS AND UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • Zabada fiber clean technology cleans cooktops and baking dishes, as well as spot-cleans dishes, baking trays, and pots and pans just using water!
  • This chemical-free cleaning solution uses only water to remove grease, baked-on grim, and 99.9% of bacteria!
  • Replaces and outperforms disposable scourers and store-bought microfiber cloths
  • Lasts 2 to 3 years, saving money and reducing waste
  • Zabada’s wet-wipe-dry system cuts cleaning time and eliminates the need to purchase chemical cleaning products
  • Perfect for spot-cleans, along with grease and grime build up cleans
  • Machine washable

The Zabada Kitchen Handy is available at Zabada Clean. I had never put much thought into a greener cleaning solution but now I am so glad I have one. No need to be using materials full of chemicals that only get thrown away each time. I consider this blogger challenge a success. Now I have a new cooking tool that I fully plan on using all the time and a “green” way to clean up afterwards.

**Zabada will be running a “Thanksgiving Sale” with 20% off all Kitchen products (including the Kitchen Handy) from November 26th – December 5th.**

Connect: You can connect with T-fal  on their Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

You can also connect with Zabada on their Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway: How would you like to win a T-fal Clipso and Zabada Kitchen Handy? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter Form below for your chance to win!

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Sweet Mornings w/ Honey Nut Cheerios + Exclusive Usher Single!

~Thank you to General Mills and Usher for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring us to start our day with happiness and positivity!~

In my family, how we start the morning really sets the stage for the rest of the day. Tot is quite sensitive to people’s mood shifts, so we do our best to begin our days with our best feet forward. Obviously, there are some mornings that are pretty tough to break through. Take yesterday for instance, Tot was home sick from school and hadn’t slept well all night. He was already upset he was going to miss having breakfast with his class, so we made our own little picnic breakfast with Honey Nut Cheerios and a few of his “friends”!

honey-cheerio-picnic

Of course, no little breakfast tea party can be without its music! It just so happens that Honey Nut Cheerios has a unique code inside special boxes at Walmart for Usher’s new song, “Clueless”. The song is ONLY available through the Honey Nut Cheerios promotion! I just pulled up the special page on my phone and viola! Instant party music.

cheerios-box

We turned what could have been a sad boring ol’ morning into a fun breakfast with just a box of cereal. After that, the rest of the day was smooth sailing. 

honey-nut-cheerios

“Clueless” is a soulful modern R&B track tht gives a little peek into what’s coming up on the horizon with Usher’s new album (with features from Nicki Minaj, Drake, Pharrell Williams, Diplo, Ed Sheeran, Skrillex). The new album isn’t due out until 2015, so it’s definitely worth heading over to Walmart to grab a few boxes Honey Nut Cheerios. Besides, they’re a great breakfast cereal/snack anyway! We always have a box in our cabinet, especially for snacks while we’re out.

honey-nut-bowl

For more information on the single and where you can pick up yours, head over to the special campaign page at Walmart! Let us know what you though of the track after picking up your boxes!

Manda Signature

Build Your Locket This Christmas With PicturesOnGold.com + Giveaway {US}

~I received a Pictures on Gold sample for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~

I am super picky about the jewelry I wear and I have to really love it or I won’t wear it. The locket I reviewed from Pictures on Gold last year is still one of my all time favorite pieces of jewelry. I wear it so much that I have constantly heard all year long how my oldest daughter wants one for herself. This year I designed one just for her and she is going to squee with delight when she opens it on Christmas morning.

PicturesonGold.com Logo

picturesongold.com

I don’t think I would ever buy custom jewelry online if I could not see the finished product first and that is what makes Pictures on Gold so perfect. You get to design the front, back and the insides with a huge variety of choices and when you are all done you get to see exactly how the finished product is gonna look. Here is a screen shot of the finished design I made of mine.

Picturesongold.com lockets

The final product came out exactly as I built it. I can attest to the quality because the one I got a year ago still looks just like new. I like to put colored etched pictures inside but you can make it so you put print out pictures in it if you so desire.

personalized lockets

You get to select from 1000’s of front designs which range from decorative hearts, Nationality symbols, hobbies and more. Then you upload your photos and resize them as you wish to fit perfectly inside the locket. Next, there is a personalized engraving option which allows block or script writing all while it shows you exactly how it will look while you are working on it. Since you are the artist then the designs are endless.

build your own locket

The website offers so much more than just lockets. They have several types of photo engraved, religious, sports, medical ID and regular engravable jewelry. Along with children’s jewelry, chains, state pendants, rings and so much more! Of course I think a personalized locket is a great choice for women and girls alike. Having a favorite picture permanently laser engraved into a piece of jewelry is a special way to wear it and look at it any time you want. The holidays are rapidly approaching and these make absolutely stunning gifts to be treasured for a lifetime.

Connect: You can connect with PicturesOnGold.com  on their website, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Twitter.

Promo Code: Use HOLIDAY 14 at checkout for a 10% discount for all orders placed on their website by December 23, 2014.

Giveaway: How would you like to win a Sterling Silver 2 Picture Heart Locket from Pictures on Gold? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter Form below for your chance to win!

Please note your prize will not ship out till after the holidays.

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Jamaica is the Ultimate Tropical Travel Destination for the Whole Family – Where to Stay

~I received a trip from the Jamaican Tourism board to share my travel experience as a parent. Opinions and stories are my own.~

I absolutely love to travel and was so excited when I was offered the amazing opportunity to visit Jamaica for the first time. Although I’ve visited several islands in the past, this was a whole new experience for me! I hope to inspire you to visit the gorgeous island of Jamaica. Although what I mention is only a tiny fraction of the amazing things to see and do, I will give you highlights so you can learn more about what the country has to offer for the whole family. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on exciting things to do when you get there and of course, what to eat!

Where to Stay in Jamaica

Jamaica definitely feels like the home to all-inclusive resorts. That normally means what you pay up front gets you your room, food and drinks for your entire stay. This is nice for budgeting because you know how much you are going to spend and because those resorts have plenty to do at the hotel itself. The RIU Palace Tropical Bay, located in Negril, is definitely like staying in paradise.

RIU Palace Tropical Bay Resort

 All Inclusive 24 hours (everything is included)

  • All meals and snacks
  • Optional dinner in their fine dining restaurants (reservations required)
  • Pools
  • Bars
  • Sun loungers, towels, parasols
  • Gym
  • Turn-down service
  • Wifi
  • In-room safe
  • Room Service
  • Daytime Kid’s Program (ages 4-12)
  • Adult Entertainment
  • Sauna

Extra Charge

  • Spa
  • Business Center with internet

RIU Palace in Jamaica

There are plenty of places to lounge and relax while soaking up the sun. I could easily sit in one of their IN pool loungers for hours.

Pool Lounge at RIU Palace

No need to get out of the pool to get yourself another cocktail…just swim on over to the bar and take a seat!

Pool Bar at RIU Palace Tropical Resort

If you are looking to stay at a place right on the beach, than this is it. You can’t get any closer. Many of the rooms have direct ocean views and the buildings are literally steps away from the sand. The water is warm and calm and it is like having a cove all to yourself. There is nothing quite like having this sand between your toes.

Beachfront

There is plenty for the kids to do including the kid’s entertainment program or just letting them play with you at the beach.

Playground at RIU

If you want to stay somewhere with a more personal feel or stay at a place with a bunch of family members where you have the whole place to yourself then I would highly suggest renting a villa. Sea Island Villa, which is located up on a picturesque hillside in Montego Bay, is the ultimate in luxury.

Sea Island Villa Jamaica

You enter through an impressive gate and go down the drive until you literally find your home away from home (that you will never want to leave).

Sea Island

Sea Island is a fully-staffed luxury villa with over seven private acres and sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. This 6,000 square-foot, 6-bedroom home is the perfect place to create memories that will literally last a lifetime.

cozy Sea Island Villa

The staff are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They bend over backwards to help you in any way that they can with a smile on their faces. They are like friends you never knew you had and ones that you will never forget. This property has a staff of 8 including a cook, butler, housekeepers, laundress, gardeners and a night watchman, so even while you sleep you know that you are being taken care of. Every single nook and cranny shows extreme attention to detail. It is cozy yet extremely spacious and super kid friendly. Kids can literally run all over the yard and the house and have endless fun, just like at your house (but in Jamaica)!

Dining Area

Each room has its own newly renovated en-suite bathroom and two of the rooms even have outdoor showers as well. There is just something amazing about showering outside on an island in the Caribbean.

Indoor / Outdoor Showers

Other amenities include: 

  • Private Pool
  • Private Tennis Court
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Cable Television with DVD Player
  • Sound System with CD Player and iPod Docking Station
  • Wifi
  • Handicap accessible
  • Pool mats and floats and kid’s pool toys
  • Two Safes for Valuables
  • Tryall Club Membership
    • complimentary beach, tennis, gym, pool, Hummingbird Kids Club, non-motorized water sports, internet room, Usain Bolt Game Room, jogging trail, afternoon tea & Manager’s Cocktail Party plus lots of spas, restaurants and more for an extra fee

outdoor pool at Sea Island Villa

I know your immediate reaction might be, “I can never afford that”, but think about sharing it. You can check out their rates and if you split this across the board with the grandparents, sisters, and cousins (plus go during the low season) this place is actually very affordable; especially when you compare it to getting 6 hotel rooms. Plus it has the added benefit of having paradise all to yourselves!  I would absolutely pack up the whole family to spend it at the Sea Island Villa. Now I just have to find a way to con the grandparents into paying for a trip back. Can we say Holidays anyone?!

Book this truly one of a kind place to stay through Villas by Linda Smith. Established in 1985, they now offer over 100 of the best private staffed villas on Jamaica’s lush north coast. Conde Nast Traveler has named Smith the Top Villa Rental Specialist in Jamaica every year since 2007. They have also been listed on the Global Guide to the Top 40 All-Star Villa Agencies in the World by Travel + Leisure. If you think this villa is spectacular then you haven’t seen anything yet. They also offer ones that are even larger and more decadent!

These are just the two places I stayed at, but Jamaica offers places to stay for every budget and for every want and need. Check out my post on What To Do in Jamaica later this week. Sure you might want to stay pool or beach side your whole vacation, but if you want to get out and see the sites, than I have plenty of suggestions!

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