Guest Post – Yogurt Parfait

This is really more of a presentation/serving idea than a recipe, but it is easy!

When I have dinner guests, I always like to serve dessert. Last summer, I was looking for something a little healthier to serve my guests than the usual cake or pie. So, I decided to set up a Yogurt Parfait buffet.

If you want to go very basic, simply spoon a large container of plain yogurt into a serving dish, cut up some strawberries, and place strawberries and blueberries into separate dishes. Do the same with some granola and nuts. I used these large water glasses, and my guests made their own parfaits. In this case, the color combination is great for an Independence Day gathering if you’re in the United States.

One thing I learned – make sure you serve both regular and Greek yogurt (or know your guest’s preference). I served only Greek yogurt and, because it’s not as sweet as regular yogurt, I learned it was not the preference of some of my guests.

In the photo shown, I used organic strawberries and blueberries, because I have been reading how full of pesticides regular strawberries are in the U.S. You can add any kind of fruit or nut you like. You can make it as healthy or decadent as you like (part of the beauty of offering a buffet).

An easy, yummy, and healthy summer dessert!

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About the Author: Karla Pitzen’s blog is Hands On Working Mom. She is a Mommy of two, sometimes adorable, sometimes naughty, always loved, little ones. She works full-time outside of the home, and her husband, Bill, stays home with the kiddos. Her blog is about anything and everything related to being a woman in the good old U.S.A.

Drinks After Work

Work. After nearly 9 months I am back to the grind and to be honest, I missed it quite a bit. The structure. The routine. The responsibility. I have to admit, the social butterfly in me needed to get back into the swing of things & meet new people.

This got me to thinking of what people do after work. For so long we either went straight home to take care of an ailing parent, or our commute left us so tired we sometimes skipped dinner and went straight to bed. Now that we both work so close to home and are only responsible for each other and our rambunctious cat, dinners out and an adult beverage here and there are sounding quite nice!

I see people sharing their pics of after work drinks, whether out at a restaurant or at home. They share their beers, wines & cocktails. Im not a beer drinker. Ive had some in the past but its not a favorite. I dont drink regulary, typically only on occasions & that usually consists of celebratory shots or the occasional cocktail. My daily go-to beverages are water, iced tea or coffee but everyone says the benefits of wine at dinner is something I should consider. So I am considering wine…but where do I start?

Over the years, my hubby and I have tried a few different types. You can probably tell that they weren’t a big hit otherwise they would be a staple in our home and I wouldn’t be asking for your help. See, I need guidance. I want feedback on wines. All types. Whites, reds, rosés…blends, sweets & sparkling.

  • What do you like?
  • Do you have a brand you love?
  • How often do you enjoy a glass or two?
  • What made  you decide to try wine?
  • Do you have a suggestion for a newbie?

I want to know…I want to learn. I want to be the person a year from now who says, ‘Last night I curled up on the sofa with a glass of wine & my hubby.’

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Product Review ~ Toothbrush & Mouth Guard Shield

In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s week, I wanted to share a product review that will help keep your mouth fresh and clean so you can smooch your love freely.

IntelliDent has a couple of products that should be a staple in your home moving forward. We all know the importance of good oral health but what if you do everything right and dont cover your toothbrush or mouth guard? All of your efforts could be wiped away simply with the contamination on your oral supplies. If you dont already know, when flushing your toilet the micro splash could reach 20 feet or more. Closing the lid could help, but what if you forget? I dont know about you, but my bathroom isnt 20 feet.

Its common sense to grab a cover from the drugstore to ensure a contaminant free toothbrush. Not so fast. According to the information gathered by IntelliDent, the Centers for Disease Control actually discourage the use of plastic containers due to the probability of germ contamination. That is why the Toothbrush Shield and Mouth Guard Shield are a dynamic duo in keeping your oral health at an optimum level.

The Toothbrush Shield and Mouth Guard Shield are quick drying, disposable covers made of a non woven fabric. They wick moisture away and are breathable which reduces the chance for germ accumulation and contamination. Everyone has a toothbrush so this is beneficial to all. For those in sports or use an overnight mouth guard, these shields are a necessity.

I encourage you to check out their Twitter & Facebook account and follow for the latest updates.

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Product Review – Cottonelle Fresh Care

Never settle for a bad doctor, always pay for a quality bra & always wear clean underwear. Did you ever hear that saying? Growing up, these were three pearls of wisdom that always seemed to be strung together. Not quite sure why. Well I have no problem seeking out the best doctors, I may cringe at the price when I buy a quality bra but I do it anyway, and I always wear clean underwear. The Cottonelle Challenge had me considering tossing my underwear entirely and trying it out myself. I loved it! I was so happy, I reached out to Cottonelle on Twitter. They offered to send me free samples when I offered to share my review with all of you.

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If going commando is a new term to you, it means not wearing underwear. You may have seen the commercials. The Cottonelle rep approaches random people asking if they will go commando. Its funny and kind of cute. Until you consider it yourself. I mean the thought of losing that extra layer can be somewhat intimidating. Perhaps you are nodding your head in agreement as you read along.

Let me ask you…when did you decide to stop using a moist wipe as a baby and turn to using only dry toilet paper? You didn’t. Using plain paper is just what you do. Of course toilet paper will always be a staple, but I am an avid fan of the Cottonelle Fresh Care Wipes and their Clean Care toilet paper. Yes, you may think I sound like a commercial but if you think of some of your favorite products, you will understand why I am singing it’s praises. The wipes have a clean scent and dry quickly. They have similar ridges as the paper and when used together, you feel fresh. Now going commando is liberating!

I urge you to try it out for yourself. Go to the Cottonelle site and tell me afterward just how life-changing it can be for you.

Fitness in 5 Steps

Its resolution time. Everyone wants to get healthy after all the gluttony over the holidays…especially me. I am not getting any younger and frankly, enough is enough. As a plus sized, full figured woman, I am not going to start fast and get quick results. I want this to be a lifestyle change so slow and steady is my preferred method.

As a brand influencer, I was able to connect with a company that offers some resistance bands that I am including in my routine. Limm Resistance Bands are going to help me change in 2016.

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I received my resistance bands and was pleasantly surprised at not just the quality, but the thought that was put into creating them. To start, the packaging is great. They come in a box, each band in a separate plastic sheath and they include a mesh bag for easy transport. The bands come in 5 different strengths and are labeled for convenience. The fact that they are color coded is awesome to me because after a while, you can grab by color instead of checking the label. The bands are made well. I have used others and they have a powdery feel to them. These do not. They are pliable and do not pull on your skin when stretched, which is a plus for me.

All in all, these are great. I liked them so much, I offered to sponsor a giveaway to help promote them. I encourage you to check it out and enter to win.

Click here & good luck!

Product Review – OZ Naturals Ultra Ageless Eye Cream

All my life, I have been both blessed and hampered by fair skin. I say blessed because I have a fairly even skin tone. Hampered, because my skin is sensitive and burns easily in the sunlight. So when it comes to beauty products, I am wary of testing things out.

Now that I am 40 (gasp!) I need to put my fears aside and try out new products to protect my skin. I came across OZ Naturals Ultra Ageless Eye Cream and decided to give it a try. I was still apprehensive to try something that had algae extract. It just didn’t sound like my skin would respond well. I was wrong. I used this for a few days now and I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised. Maybe it is because I am so used to steering clear of facial products, but I could tell within 2 days that it was helping.

I have started to develop fine lines around my brows up toward my hairline as well as around my eyes. This didnt take them away so dont think its going to be a magical *poof* and you look 20 again, but it did reduce the puffiness around my eyes and diminished the lines. Its not that my skin is smoother, it just feels freshened. That is a big deal to me. I live in a climate with extreme temperatures…not Midwest weather, but at the base of a mountain range in southern California, we have temps in excess of 110 all summer and in the low 30s for most of the winter. This wreaks havoc on my skin and although I just began using this, its comfortable to wear in this cold weather. It doesnt feel like a mask.

I purchased this item through Amazon at a discount to provide an unbiased review and was so pleased, I thought I would share it with all of you as well. You can check it out for yourself and read all about the peptides and vitamin E goodness of the OZ Naturals and decide if you want to try it out.

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Meal Planning for Beginners

Lately I have been pinning a lot of meal planning tips because its been something I have wanted to try for years. The problem is it can be so overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are so many bloggers out there who are already experts. One of which I pinned and absolutely love. Hearth & Holm is a gem on my Meal Planning boards.

The reason why I profile Hearth & Holm is because they not only show pics of all the delicious meals they prepped, but they also provide a shopping list. Yup…you can download the list to take with you while you shop!

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I look at this pic of a fully stocked freezer and I have big ambitions. Thinking about making 40 meals in one day so meal time is quick & easy is appealing but I am also fully aware, this is a lot of work. The task is daunting but I imagine I would work up to this level. To start, I will probably do a week at a time.

There is a great (and kinda OCD) pic of my goal for a week of meal planning on Instagram. I would probably swap out the drinks and modify the meals but that looks like success right there!

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All in all, meal planning is one of my resolutions for 2016. For those of you who have done a variation of this, please share your tips!

Feeling Inspired

When I was in high school, I thought I would keep my circle of friends forever. It was the last scene of Grease…you know…we’ll always be together. (Hold it together Ro, no tears!) Sadly, over the years I lost touch with many. Some I still have no clue how to find. Thankfully with the advent of social media, namely Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with my friends. Not just those who were closest to me all those years ago. Many I am connecting with now as adults. Its a new kind of friendship. The type of ‘we went through it all and now we are here’ people who are simply genuine. Those connections lend new perspective that you don’t always see coming. For that, I am inspired.

You see, on an afternoon meant for alumni to gather over food and drinks, I got to see a handful of people who I hadn’t seen in 20+ years. I had my hubby and bestie at my side and we had fun. What I didn’t know going in was that I would eventually be a personal cheerleader for two friends who are currently training for the LA Marathon. I cant really say what clicked…it just did. I found myself wanting to help. I was inspired. Its not like I am going to carry them across the finish line but I wanted to find a way to be a part of their journey…one that led me to my keyboard to share with all of you.

I understand marathons are expensive. I mean the registration fees, clothing, shoes, and the stuff to eat and drink all add up quickly! Its my hope that others are just as inspired and consider showing some support and perhaps, maybe even sponsoring them. Im not blogging as if it were a kickstarter or gofundme…just sharing in case someone is sitting in front of their screen reading this and saying, ‘I can share this to my network’. That being said, I invite you all to follow their journey as they train. A couple of hot mamas getting fit and showing their kids how to own it!

Follow Yaneth Bonilla @runwithyaneth16

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Follow Jennifer Burke @runwithjenn16 

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Giving Back – Feeling Thankful

With the evolution of social media and specifically, sites like Pinterest and Facebook, we have an infinite amount of information that we share with one another. Lots of tips are related to life hacks but have you ever stopped to think about those who are more concerned with shelter and their next meal instead of how to use a binder clip to prop up a keyboard?

There are lots of ways to give back and I hope you find these helpful. If you have tips not listed, please share in the comments so all can benefit. Feel free to reblog and post all over social media. If anything should go viral, random acts of kindness should be at the top of the list.

#BlessingBags – Take a gallon sized ziploc bag and fill with travel sized hygiene items. Anything from toothbrushes & toothpaste to deodorant & feminine products. Some additional items that we take for granted like mints, gum and hand cream should also be included.

#PursePurge – Take your old purses and fill them with things women use regularly. Take a look inside your own bag and think of what you would like if someone blessed you with one. Items like those above can be included but keep in mind, these bags will be for women.

#SweaterSwap – Clean out those closets and grab all the old sweaters you can find. Kid sizes too. Many who sleep outdoors layer their limited clothes so the more pieces you find, the better.

#PrepaidCards – Whether you grab a prepaid Visa or a calling card, both are valuable beyond measure. Imagine having to decide between using your change to eat or call a loved one. You never know when a phone call could change a life.

The possibilities are endless. Take the initiative and host a blanket drive at your office or in your local community. Ask all the men in your life to donate their old wallets with a single dollar inside. Collect solar blankets and travel sized emergency kits too.

So…what are some of your tips and ways to give back?

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#SmallBusinessSaturday

#ITryFitness

Have you ever gone to the gym (gasp!) and felt intimidated or self conscious (double gasp!) at the sight of all those fit bodies who clearly know what the heck they are doing? Do you have limitations that keep you from venturing out even though you are eager to get up and move? Perhaps you are interested in going big with a marathon or even a triathlon? (seriously gasping for air now!) What if you could achieve your goals, or even set some new ones, without the stress of a gym environment and still get quality assistance from a qualified and successful trainer? No need to Google and Yelp your way to wondering if you are making the right decision. A lifelong friend of mine is the answer to your fitness questions. Danny Perez has not only taken on fitness as a challenge for himself, but he has started his own business to help others do the same. Danny worked as a physical therapy aide for over 6.5 years at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare primarily working with patients who suffered spinal cord injuries (SCI), strokes, had total knee/hip replacements, and a number of other physically and mentally debilitating injuries or diseases. He provides quality in-home personal training for able and disabled people looking to stay healthy and active. I encourage you to cruise by and check out I Try Fitness to see for yourself. Check out all the options, cruise through the pics, and see the care & attention that is clearly a priority for him and his clientele. Forget Pinterest, he even offers meal planning! Whaaaat?! Before you stress about adding holiday weight, go check it out.IMG_5915 (1)