Dec 302014
 

25 Jello Shot Recipes

I love to entertain at my house.  Whether it’s a blow-out party or just a few friends over to watch the game, there is one thing I almost always have on the menu when I have people over – Jello Shots.  If you love Jello Shots as much as I do, you’re going to be psyched about this list I have compiled of 25 of the best Jello Shot recipes out there!

1. Salted Caramel Jello Shots from That’s so Michelle

2. Birthday Cake Pudding Shots from Culinary Cool

3. Watermelon Tequila Jello Shots from Kirbie’s Cravings

4. Lemon Drop Shots from A Beautiful Mess

5. Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shots from The Sweetest Occasion

6. Thin Mint Jello Shots from E is For Eat on Tablespoon Continue reading »

Dec 292014
 

**Disclosure:  I received a weekend press pass at no charge in order to attend the event.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

A couple of weekends ago, Chris and I took a ride up to the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, MA to check out the Northeast Comic Con.  You see, we are both nerds at heart and big fans of pop culture events like this.

The NECC featured fun things like cosplay, costume contests, video game competitions, celebrity guests/autographs, panels, and over 100 vendors of vintage and modern toys, comic books and other pop culture must-haves, along with over 50 Artists and Authors.  I got quite a bit of my Christmas shopping done while I was there because there were so many unique products for sale there.

Northeast Comic Con Sign

When Chris and I first arrived, we scoped out the celebrity guests, which included:

  • Marky Ramone (The Ramones, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee)
  • Billy West (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy)
  • Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Criminal Minds)
  • Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
  • Leah Cevoli (Robot Chicken, Deadwood)
  • Gary K. Wolf and Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Rango, Back to the Future)
  • Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story)
  • MacKenzie Lintz (Hunger Games, Under the Dome)
  • Mike Pollock (Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Tom Wayland (Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh)
  • Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1, X-Men: Evolution)
  • Paris Themmen (Mike TV from Willie Wonka)
  • Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson and Ryan Matthew (from the cast of Oddities, Obscura)
  • Kayli Mills and Peter Bernard (from Those American Girls).

Continue reading »

Dec 282014
 

**Disclosure: I received compensation from Stop & Shop in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**

I have to admit that the holidays seem to bring out the hustle and bustle in all of us. I work so hard to keep my family happy and healthy around this time of the year and when I come across a shortcut that saves me time and money, I am all for it.

That is why I am super excited that Stop & Shop is helping their customers save both time and money with entertaining and food-related gift ideas this holiday season. They have this great line of gourmet quality products called Simply Enjoy and it really makes Stop & Shop  your one stop shop no matter the festive occasion.

Stop & Shop has expanded  our exclusive Simply Enjoy brand, a collection of gourmet products, all foodie approved and made with the finest ingredients just in time for the holidays.. To help make memorable menus this season, Simply Enjoy products for this year include  new frozen appetizers and desserts, deli pastas, seafood sauces, and chocolates , as well as dipping oils, sorbetto/gelato, hummus, crackers and sparkling sodas to name just a few. They can add something special to your festive occasion or make a great gift for the foodie or hostess on your list.

My husband, Chris and I headed to Stop & Shop recently to pick out a few goodies to bring with us to our family get together on Christmas Eve.

Simply Enjoy Line From Stop

The Tiramisu Wafer Rolls were a big hit with everyone.  Just ask my pretty sister in law…. Continue reading »

Dec 252014
 

Holiday Returns - 21 return policy links to your favorite stores

It might be the thought that counts, but you can keep the thought and still return the Santa brought you that you don’t like or need . Trust me, you won’t be the only one. If you’re like me, you’re probably itching to get to the store with (or without) the receipts and return the unwanted gifts. The most important thing to know before you get in line at the stores is the exact return policy. It’s going to save you time and quite possibly a hassle.

To get you started, here are the holiday return policies for a few of the biggest retailers.

Walmart
http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9/~/returns-policy

Game Stop
http://www.gamestop.com/gs/help/Returns.aspx

Target
http://help.target.com/help/subcategoryarticle?childcat=Return+policy&parentcat=Returns+%26+Exchanges&searchQuery=search+help Continue reading »

Dec 232014
 

Pound-puppies-Review

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Can you remember the Pound Puppies cartoon and plush toys from when you were a kid? Well you will be happy to know that Pound Puppies are back, and ready to make new memories with your child! I recently had the chance to review a Pound Puppy plush dog, and I would love to share my thoughts with you.

The new line of Pound Puppies plush products come in Labrador, Bulldog, and Poodle. You can enjoy mini plushes as well as the 12 inch plush Bulldog that I was able to sample. Each one includes the famous heart shape tag for you to write the dog’s name in, as well as a trading card with breed facts, and last but not least a printable adoption certificate. You can even register your Pound Puppies online! The online features are a cool new way for tech savvy kids of today’s generation to enjoy Pound Puppies in a whole new way.

Pound-puppies-Review3

Once you make your puppy your own, you can enjoy hours of make believe play. Pound Puppies are ideal for helping children explore imaginative play, which is a welcomed change from all of the electronic toys on today’s market. Children will not only love playing with their Pound Puppies, but they will enjoy learning facts about the various breeds via the trading card. Continue reading »

Dec 232014
 

disney on ice

**Disclosure:  My family received a 4 pack of tickets at no charge in order to write about our experience at the show.  All opinions are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Experience a magical Disney fantasy live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by YoKids Organic Yogurt. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen and Mater race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies! Join the Toy Story gang who are back in town to take on their most daring adventure ever! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice!

Last Friday night, my family and I headed into Boston to see Disney On Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy at The Agganis Arena at Boston University.  It’s been a few years since we had been to a Disney on Ice production, so we were excited to see the show.

Disney On Ice Worlds of Fantasy Boys

During the show, we had a chance to go through four “worlds” and we got to see the high speed version of four classic Disney stories.

I have to apologize for the photo quality in advance.  The arena wasn’t well lit because of the show. Continue reading »

Dec 222014
 

**Disclosure:  My family and I received a complimentary stay at The Cape Codder Resort & Spa in exchange for our honest opinions about our experiences.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If you’re looking for a getaway on Cape Cod, Hyannis is the place to go.  Located mid-cape, Hyannis is one of the seven villages that make up the town of Barnstable.  I have been vacationing on Cape Cod all my life, and to me, Hyannis is the hub of the cape.  There are so many shops, restaurants and tourist attractions – all located relatively close together, which is why it’s the perfect destination for your Cape Cod vacation.

It sounds great, right?

So now that you’ve decided on Hyannis for your next trip, where do you stay?  That’s easy. The Cape Codder Resort & Spa!

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The Cape Codder is conveniently located right in the heart of all the action, so you’ll be able to get to everything in the area quickly and easily.

My family stayed at the The Cape Codder Resort & Spa this past weekend and I am going to tell you all about it so that you will know why it’s the place to stay when you plan your next Cape Cod get away!

Check-in at the The Cape Codder Resort & Spa is 3 pm and we were there promptly at 3!  We looked online and knew there were so many things to do at the resort and we couldn’t wait to get going. The room that my family stayed in had two queen sized beds (which were very comfortable) many other conveniences such as wireless internet access and dataport for my  laptop, an in-room coffee maker, an iron & ironing board, and an interactive television system that provides access to digitally formatted movies, on-demand movies, an on-screen channel line-up and in-room check-out service! Continue reading »

Dec 202014
 

Mocktails and Kiddie Cocktails Non-Alcoholic Old Fashioned

Mixology is a fascinating talent for preparing libations and mixed drinks. From fruity concoctions to refined drinks served in glass tumblers, you can’t beat the classics. An Old Fashioned is drink that conjures up images of times that date back to its roots in 1806. It exudes class. It’s like the monocle of mixed drinks.

Whether you are child-at-heart or have children, this mocktail will be great for parties in the holidays or refresh you on a hot summer day thanks to its traditional garnish of an orange peel. The Non-Alcoholic Old Fashioned kiddie cocktail will please kids…and designated drivers.

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 oz maple syrup (real maple syrup, not the corn syrup imitation)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tea bag
  • 1 orange
  • Peel from orange
  • Hot water
  • Ice
  • Splash of Club Soda (optional)

Continue reading »

Dec 192014
 

**The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free**

Print

I got my first camera when I was in 6th grade.  Somehow I lucked out in school that year and ended up with a teacher who loved taking the class on field trips.  We went on approximately 15 of them that year (yes, 15) and after the 3rd or 4th field trip, I started begging my mom incesantly asking for a camera so that I could be like all my friends and take pictures. That year for Christmas, I got a Kodak Disc Camera (I totally just dated myself, right?) and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I took my Kodak Disc on all the rest of my field trips that year and ended up with hundreds of pictures of my friends and the places I went.  And thus began my love of photography.

Since then, I have upgraded my camera quite a few times, and I like to think that my photography skills have come a long way since I was that 11 year old girl running around in the 80’s with my Kodak Disc.  Lately I have been thinking about another upgrade and there are a few cameras that I have my eye on.

Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras and camcorders to capture your high-stakes memories. These three cameras from Nikon, Sony and Samsung, all come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi so you can share amazing photos with ease. Upgrade your camera in time to capture precious holiday memories. Continue reading »

Dec 182014
 

**Disclosure: Thanks to Old Spice for sponsoring this program.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Do you remember when I told you recently that I was partnering with Old Spice and Second Chance Toys to help collect gently used, clean plastic toys for their  HoliSPRAY Toy Donation Exchange?   I was chosen to help collect toys that would be distributed locally through the nonprofit organization Second Chance Toys. This was a first-of-its-kind, phil-MAN-thropic holiday exchange by Old Spice and I was so excited to be a part of it.

Second Chance Toys is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to keeping plastic toys out of landfills by donating them to children in need throughout local communities since 2006.  I was thrilled when I heard that the donated toys were going to be given to kids right in our own community.

The toy exchange was held at my son’s dojo.  They have lots of families in and out of there every day, so I figured that the toy drive would get more exposure if I held it there.

The drive was held at:
America’s Best Defense (ABD)
1470 New State Highway
Suite 22
Raynham, MA 02767

ABD Raynham

The folks at ABD let me leave the bin for the toy donations in their lobby, so it was easy to spot as soon as you walked in the door.  For every family that donated, someone who was working at the counter helped to hand out a bottle of Old Spice’s new Re-fresh Body Spray (one per family) to them in exchange for their donation. Continue reading »

Dec 172014
 

**Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip into Boston to see a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Being nine years old at the time, I basically had no appreciation for what I was watching.  Fast forward to the present when I had a chance to go see this years production of The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House and got a second chance to take in the show – as a “grown up” with a whole different outlook on the show.  My husband, Chris, had never even seen The Nutcracker before, so I knew he was going to be in for a real treat.

Boston Ballet The Nutcracker

“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  

The show itself was absolutely breath taking.  All of the dancers were so graceful and they all did such a great job of telling the story through dance.  Chris and I sat there in awe throughout the entire show.

More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production and each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved. There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios). Continue reading »

Dec 162014
 

Are you looking to have a little Elf on the Shelf fun this holiday season? If so, take a look at these fun and frugal Naughty Elf ideas a try! You will find that it can be so fun and easy to help your Elf on a Shelf get into some holiday trouble. Here is how you can get started!

1. Clubbing Elf
This elf loves to get down to the beat and dance until the dawn. Grab a pack of glow sticks at your local dollar store, activate them, and then tie them around the elf. He will look like he is ready to party in no time. Cue the house music!

Clubbing  Elf on the Shelf

2. Boozy Elf
Uh oh! Looks like someone found the booze! Boozy Elf looks great when set out with a bottle, wine corks, and a wine glass. For extra fun, stuff him inside of the glass. Bottoms up! Continue reading »

Dec 152014
 

**I was invited on a sponsored press trip to the John Carver Inn’s Beach Plum Spa and WaterFire Tavern, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Recently I was invited to join three other area bloggers at the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, MA for a day of pampering at the Beach Plum Spa and some great food at the WaterFire Tavern.  I live in the area, so I have actually stayed at John Carver Inn before, but I had never had the chance to try out the spa or eat at the WaterFire Tavern, so I was excited to get the chance to experience both of those things for the first time.

The great thing about the John Carver Inn is that it’s a quaint, charming hotel that’s within walking distance of the Plymouth waterfront, shopping and attractions of historic Plymouth like the Plymouth Rock and Mayflower.

john carver inn

When we arrived at the John Carver, we got a tour of some of the rooms as well as the opportunity to go check out the Pilgrim Cove Indoor Theme Pool.  I have actually been to the pool with my kids before and it was a big hit with them. They ask to go back all the time.

After our tour, it was time to head to the Beach Plum Spa, located on the second floor of the hotel.

john carver inn beach plum spa

The Beach Plum Spa at John Carver is a full service spa and they offer a complete array of spa treatments for men, women and children. Yes, children.  In addition to traditional spa services such as massages and facials, the Beach Plum Spa offers a full range of cosmetic medical services including skin rejuvenation, body sculpting & contouring, and pain-free hair removal. Continue reading »

Dec 142014
 

How to Wrap Gifts Almost Perfectly

Every birthday and Christmas I try my hardest wrap my gifts perfectly. I’ve never wrapped them perfectly, but I have learned to wrap them almost perfectly. Check out my tips below to follow along in my secret wrapping.

#1. Pick out wrapping paper you love.

I’ve learned that the secret to wrapping a gift almost perfectly is picking out wrapping paper that I love. I take some serious time choosing several types of wrapping paper that will help me wrap my gifts. I especially love finding incredibly beautiful wrapping paper for Christmas. The shinier than the better when it comes to Christmas wrapping.

#2. Grab your supplies.

There’s nothing worse than starting to wrap a gift and you realize you forgot scissors or tape. I always have everything ready before I start wrapping any gifts. The more prepared you are than the better your gifts will turn out. Continue reading »

Dec 132014
 

**I received product a no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If you know me in real life, you already know that I am completely hooked on Dunkin Donuts coffee.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that  I am there every single day – at least once. Usually I stop at one of their restaurants for coffee a couple of times a day, though.  I am really lucky because where I live, I have four Dunkin Donuts shops within a few miles of my house. Sometimes I just don’t feel like leaving the house to get my coffee from one of their shops, so thankfully Dunkin’ Donuts has K-Cups available so that I can have a cup at home any time I want!

Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast KCups

Dunkin’ Donuts’ has made one of its boldest additions ever to its coffee lineup, with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ DarkRoast Coffee which is now available at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Dark Roast Coffee uses a unique roasting process to bring out key characteristics of different beans, creating a bold flavor and the smooth finish without the bitterness typically associated with most dark roast coffees.  When you go to a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, you can enjoy the new Dark Roast Coffee served either hot or iced, but it is also available for sale for brewing at home in both packaged coffee and in K-Cup® packs.

Dunkin’ Donuts new Dark Roast Coffee features the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, indicating that it is made with at least 30% coffee beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Rainforest Alliance certification helps to protect wildlife; safeguard soils and waterways; and improve quality of life for workers, their families and local communities in order to achieve true, long-term sustainability.

Plus, it’s seriously delicious! Continue reading »

Dec 122014
 

**Disclosure: Product was received at no charge in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Is your family up for trying something amazing this year? We had a chance to try out the new Skylanders Trap Team (for the Wii) recently and my boys were completely blown away when I opened the package and they saw what was inside.  We’ve always loved playing video games together, my boys especially, so we were excited to give this video game a go! The Wii is one of our favorite systems to play, so it only made sense to give the Skylanders Trap Team a try!

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They have been Skylanders fans since day one and as soon as they heard a new set was coming out, they starting asking for it.  I kept telling them that maybe Santa would bring it for them this year for Christmas, but Christmas came early for them this year!

The particular starter pack that we got came with the game, the portal, two Skylander “guys” and two traps. Trust me, there are a lot of hours of fun packed into such a small game. The boys even invited Chris into join in the fun and he loved it. Continue reading »

Dec 112014
 

**The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free**

Print

Do you have someone who’s really hard to buy for at the holidays?  I have a couple of those people to be honest.  One of them happens to be my 10 year old son.  He’s at an odd age where he doesn’t really want toys anymore and he’s just now starting to get into electronics.  We have a gaming system already, but it’s old and I have been giving serious thought into getting him the Xbox One this year for Christmas.  He could also use a new pair of headphones, so I definitely have to get over to Best Buy to finish up my shopping for him.  When it comes to great gift ideas, Best Buy is the place to shop! They have everything I’m looking for all in one place.  You know, things such as the Xbox One, JBL speakers and headphones, Garmin and TomTom!

Check out some of the things I’m thinking about getting when I go to Best Buy this weekend:

Xbox One:

Xbox One was built by gamers, for gamers. With the best exclusive titles (Halo, Sunset Overdrive), the biggest blockbusters (Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty) the hottest sports franchises (Madden 15, FIFA 15, NBA 2K15) and top family titles (Fantasia: Music Evolved, Just Dance 15, Skylanders) Xbox One takes gaming to a whole new level.

In addition to being a great gaming console, Xbox one connects consumers unlike any other device.  Xbox One enables access to the latest TV shows and movies through your favorite apps.  With Xbox One all of your media is at your fingertips when you want it. Continue reading »

Dec 102014
 

**Disclosure: I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**

I have to admit that the holidays seem to bring out the hustle and bustle in all of us. I strive so hard to keep my family happy and healthy during the holidays albeit I sometimes fail miserably. I wanted to share my best tips for managing some of the holiday craziness while still on the go.

Plan Ahead

One of my best tips is to plan ahead for the day. You can’t predict every single thing that will happen, but you can plan ahead for what might happen. I write my day down and add a few notes to what I can do to help stay on track and keep things running smoothly.

Tone Down the Schedule

If I feel like things are getting too busy during the holiday season, I pull back and tone things down. It’s important to remember that spending time with family and friends is more important than anything else this holiday season.

Wholesome Fast Food Choices

As much as I love everything on the McDonald’s menu, I like to make the best choices possible and offer those same choices to my kiddos. I’m so excited that McDonald’s is adding fresh fruit items, like Cuties, to their menu! Beginning December 1, 2014, customers nationwide can choose to enjoy Cuties as a side in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals, as well as “a la carte,” or just purchasing the side option itself Cuties are a sweet and delicious kid-sized fresh fruit choice providing an excellent source of vitamin C and providing about one-quarter (1/4) cup of fruit; they are small and easy-to-hold and peel! Make sure you try the Cuties in your Happy Meal because they will only be served while they’re in season (thru March 2015).

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Happy Meal Evolution

The traditional Happy Meal is amazing, but I love the chances that are happening! McDonald’s continues to evolve the happy meal to help keep their smallest customers happy and healthy. Want to know more about the Happy Meal? Continue reading »

Dec 092014
 

Linden Square

**Disclosure:  I attended a sponsored media event, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Last week I had the chance to meet up with a few fellow area bloggers and take a little stroll around some of the shops and boutiques at Linden Square in Wellesley. You’ve never heard of Linden Square?  Let me tell you a little bit about it!  Linden Square is a 250,000-square-foot shopping, dining and lifestyle destination located in the heart of Wellesley, MA and it’s only ten miles outside of Boston.  There are all sorts of fun shops, restaurants and services to choose from there.

Our first stop of the day was Roosters Men’s Grooming Center. At Roosters, you’re going to get charm and comfort of a classic barbershop, but it’s combined with barbers who are skilled in modern men’s haircuts and grooming techniques.  In order to demonstrate a little bit of what they do there at Roosters, we all had the opportunity to shave a balloon with a straight edge razor. Trust me, it wasn’t as easy as it looks. Continue reading »

Dec 092014
 

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There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of money on Christmas decorations year after year. Whether you’re looking to purchase new Christmas decorations for a first time home or replace your old decorations, there are some ways you can save money.

Borrow Christmas Decorations

There’s nothing weird about borrowing someone else’s Christmas decorations. Let’s say a person is no longer using something fabulous, decoration wise, and it’s just sitting in their basement. It’s best to ask  to borrow it than just watch it sit there.

Garage Sale Christmas Decoration Finds

Garage sales are some of the BEST places to find Christmas decorations. Whether you’re looking for a tree or lights, it’s best to find them for the lowest price possible. There’s no use in spending your whole Christmas bonus on something like this. Look around during the summer months for decorations that you can use during the winter months. Continue reading »