Monday, November 28, 2011

Only Child

Contribution by Saul Martin

As an only child I grew up with adults and I was always really keen on pleasing them. There was always someone around who knew more than me so I was really inquisitive and learned a lot from my elders at a really young age. When I started my own business at age 21 I knew there was something special about me – I had a real capacity for juggling a lot of things at once and really not having to worry about whether or not I knew what I was doing. I looked into vendors and taxes and merchant services all by myself and to this day I feel really good about being the kind of woman who can handle herself in any situation. I knew there was something I was always meant to do but you know, I guess I didn’t think it would be owning a kitchen store. Who would have ever guessed this would be my life’s calling – not me or anyone in my family I think…who can ask for anything more?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Get 30% off Norton Small Business Products NOW!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Norton Small Business by Symantec. All opinions are 100% mine.

I read somewhere not too long ago that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and that technology is the backbone of any small business. I couldn’t agree more. Looks like I am not alone on this thought. In a recent survey of small business owners, 28% identified technology as one of their top business priorities. That makes it approximately one in every three small business owner! Going along with that, did you know that almost six out of ten small business owners admitted to having experienced some sort of malware in the past three years and half of them had to pay an expert to resolve the problem?

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I can totally identify with that. As a blogger, I also see myself as a small business owner. I have lost track of the times when my computer was attacked by viruses or I have unintentionally picked up some sort of malware from surfing. Now, almost everything I do is on the computer. Apart from blogging, I also do my banking, pay my bills, shopping...pretty much everything else online. As you can see, my computer is not only used for entertainment purposes, but my identity and confidential information is on my computer. Now, that is something I wouldn’t want to risk being compromised from unsafe Internet searches.

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I am pretty sure many of you are like me too. We spend so much time and money trying to protect ourselves and family. We set up all types of home security systems and automobile security systems to protect ourselves and our families. Shouldn’t we want to protect our computers (basically our whole identity!) from harm too? Now you can! Norton Small Business by Symantec was launched this past September and I know that it’s the perfect solution to for all your internet security needs. With Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security 2012, you know that you are in safe hands. Don’t take my word for it. Check out Norton’s website to see what Norton has to offer you to help keep you safe on the Internet. While you are there, you could also get 30% off Norton Small Business Products now! Better hurry and take advantage of this great offer. Oh and once you have visited Norton’s website, don’t forget to share with me which Norton product would most benefit you the most and why!

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Kevin's 'Not So Secret' Roast Turkey Recipe

I really do not understand why people make it seem so difficult, when it comes to roasting a turkey. From the way people talk, I used to think that it must be really difficult to roast a turkey. It wasn't until Kevin showed me how it's done (about eight Thanksgivings ago, when we first started dating :P) did I realize that it's really not that difficult at all. Really, it's no rocket science. Anybody can do it. In our household, Kevin is the one in charge of making the turkey. So, here's Kevin's 'not so secret' (cos we are sharing it with all of you, right?) roast turkey recipe.
If you have a frozen turkey, the most important thing you need to do is to remember to thaw it! Leave it breast side up in the refrigerator, with the wrapper unopened. It takes approximately 1 day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey. Once it's fully thawed, you would want to remove the neck and giblets from inside the cavity of the turkey. Some people would use it to make gravy but we would just throw it away. Come on, we don't have time to make our own gravy. We would just get it from a bottle :P Alritey, so once you have removed the neck and giblets, rinse the turkey through cold water and pat it dry. Then, cut up some apples and stuff it into the cavity. Kevin would also sometimes use oranges and/or cranberries with the apples, it really depends on what we have available at that time.
Now, the secret weapon in making the perfect roast turkey - OVEN BAGS! I personally feel that oven bags are the best. They keep the turkey all moist, juicy and once it's done, the meat practically falls off the bone. So, just shake about one tablespoon of flour in the oven bag to coat it, set it in a roasting pan and place the turkey in the bag. Tie up the bag with the ties that comes with the oven bag and you are done! Make sure the bag doesn't touch the turkey, cos it might stick to it while roasting. Also, remember to poke some holes in the bag, to allow the steam to escape while roasting.
Then, pop it into a preheated 350F oven. It takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to roast a 12 - 16 lbs turkey. However, we are going to set the timer for 2 hours.
After two hours, its time to make the glaze. Combine brown sugar with any type of soda. We would usually use Sierra Mist, Sprite or Ginger Ale but any type of soda works. Slowly add in the brown sugar in the soda, while stirring, until it thickens (the consistency should somewhat be like BBQ sauce).
Once the glaze is done, it's time to remove the turkey from the oven. At this point, it's not fully cooked yet. Just cut open the oven bag and brush on the glaze. You gotta be really careful when you open the oven bag. It's really hot and you do not want to burn yourself from all the steam.
After glazing the turkey, cover the entire turkey with aluminum foil and pop it back into the oven for another hour or so.
You can remove the turkey from the oven after an hour to check it's internal temperature. If it hits 180F, you are good to go. If not, then just pop it back into the oven for another 15 - 20 mins. Once it's done, allow the turkey to rest for a bit and it's ready to be served! Now, that wasn't so difficult, was it?

Affordable & Stylish Eyeglasses from Zenni Optical

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical. All opinions are 100% mine.

Unbeknownst to many people, both Kevin and I need eyeglasses. However, it’s been ages since we wore any. A couple of weeks back, we decided to get our eyes tested again, just to see how bad our eyesight was. Let me tell you something, it’s bad! So, we started looking around to see where we could make some nice but yet affordable eyeglasses. We found out that eyeglasses don’t come cheap!

You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon Zenni Optical online. I have finally found what I was looking for. Not only do they offer cheap eyeglasses, but the eyeglasses available are really stylish and fashionable! That got me thinking, how is it possible that the eyeglasses from Zenni is so cheap, compared to the other places that I have been to? Is there something wrong with it? Well, not that all! It’s pretty simple, actually. Using the latest modern materials, manufacturing and marketing systems, Zenni Optical bring their product direct from their factories to you. This means, there are no middlemen, no retail overhead and practically no advertising budget. Also, they do not pay for or sell expensive (or even inexpensive) brand names. They only sell their own manufactured brand, ZENNI.

I also love how it’s so easy to navigate through their website. You can even upload a photo of yourself and ‘try’ out each and every pair of eyeglasses! You can also search for that perfect pair of eyeglasses by size, type, gender, style, color and so on. I had an awesome time just surfing around their website and ‘trying’ on various eyeglasses. I finally found the one that I totally love! It’s in red and black (both my favorite colors!) and it looks totally cool. What do you think?

This is current economy, every little bit of savings count. With the savings I get from Zenni, maybe I can use that money to back another pair of backup eyeglasses or maybe even sunglasses! It’s like getting two or even three pairs of eyeglasses for the price of one! I really do not understand why prescription eyeglasses are so expensive elsewhere. I would consider it a health item necessity for most wearers and I’m glad that Zenni Optical feels the same way. That is why they take considerable pride in being able to bring to all a very high quality product of great durability, safety and comfort at truly reasonable and affordable prices. Head over to Zenni Optical for stylish and affordable eyeglasses today!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

How is everybody enjoying their Thanksgiving so far? We just had a yummy dinner, so our tummies are all full and we are just about ready to go into a turkey induced coma! Boy, thank God for elastic waistbands :P Kevin's mom is visiting us from Pittsburgh, so we made the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Contrary to popular believe, it's really not that difficult to make at all (compared to say, Chinese New Year dinner and stuff like that). Over the next few post, I will show you how to make a simple Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. I know many young couples (like us!) who gets overly stressed out when they have to make a big dinner, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. Let me tell you this. Chill, it's not that difficult! Once you break it down, it's becomes really really easy to make. Trust me! So, watch this space for the recipes. Til then....


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Café Well: The Social Network to get Well and Stay Well!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cafe Well. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I know many of us are always talking about living a healthier lifestyle but how many of us actually do something about it? We might try it for a couple of weeks but after a while, we would lose interest or motivation to continue. For those of you who know exactly what I am talking about, I have some news for you. Let me ask you this. How many of you have heard of Cafe Well? For those of you who have not, let me tell you about it. Caféwell is a social network that was created to provide a safe, secure and anonymous health care destination that connects you with other people who share your health care interests and needs. They understand how difficult the healthcare system is and they try to make it easy for all to understand. Not only that, the Caféwell Community is also there to help address your needs, from chronic condition support, to healthy lifestyle tips and challenges.

Among some of the exciting things happening in the Caféwell community is the Race to the Moon corporate wellness program. Hosted by CaféWell and sponsored by HealthAmerica, Race to the Moon represents a new breed of wellness program that is more fun, more rewarding and more effective for consumers. How so, you might ask? Well, this program works because it leverages the power and support of social networking with incentives and fun! Race to the Moon aims to get members more fit and active by walking or running through offering free wireless pedometers which tracks their steps and rewards them for milestones and total steps. Yes, we know that many companies already have corporate wellness programs, but how many of them actually work? Guess what? This does! In just under a month, the program has participants who have walked over 50 MILLION steps, and average 2.5 million steps a day!

After reading about the Race to the Moon, it got me thinking. It would be really cool if I were to create my own health challenge too. Of course I am not bold enough to come up with some unattainable. I believe in small steps. So, I would create the Walk More in a Day Challenge. We live on the 6th floor, so instead of taking the elevator, I would make it a point to use the stairs. I believe that’s a good start. Also, when we go grocery shopping or the mall, we would park further away from the entrance. By doing so, it ‘forces’ us to walk more. So, what would you do to stay healthy? Head over to the Caféwell website to get Well and stay Well today!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spaghetti Hot Dogs

I found this fun and easy recipe online not too long ago and since it was Halloween (Yes, I knowwww! This is a very backdated post :P), I decided to try this recipe out. I must say that it was a hit! Everybody loves spaghetti and everybody loves hot dogs. So why not combine it together? For those of you with kids, I bet they will totally love it too! It's just fun to see spaghetti oozing out from hot dogs. I'm pretty sure this will get the mark of approval, even from the most fussy eater. So, here's how you make it.
When I say that it's an easy recipe, I am not kidding. It's really really easy to make. All you need is a box of spaghetti (you'll probably only need about half a box, if that), a pack of hot dogs and some pasta sauce.
Start off by cutting the hot dogs into smaller sections. If you like bigger pieces, you could also just cut the hot dogs into half. If you have smaller kids, you might want to cut it into quarters. It makes it easier for those tiny fingers.
Next, thread the spaghetti into the hot dogs. It's fairly easy to do. You can either thread it all the way through or you can just thread it half way. I tried both!
Now it's time to cook the spaghetti hot dogs! Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Then, just dump in the spaghetti hot dogs and allow it to cook until the spaghetti is al dente.
Once it's done, drain and its ready to be served. You can serve it with your favorite pasta sauce or eat it without any sauce. Some kids also like to dip it in ketchup. It's entirely up to you. Since it was Halloween, I drew on some eyes and mouth with a little mustard and the spaghetti hot dogs looks like little aliens, rising up from a sea of blood :P You should try this recipe, it's really easy to make and I'm pretty sure it will be a hit with the kids and even the not so little kids!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sign up for Schar Club and get FREE Ciabatta rolls!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schar. All opinions are 100% mine.

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These days, both Kevin and I have been trying to keep a healthier lifestyle. Apart from trying to exercise more, we also have started to watch what we eat. While looking for healthier alternatives to our regular diet, I found out that Schar, who is a leader in gluten-free foods, has recently just re-launched their gluten-free heat & serve items! This includes their Sub Sandwich rolls, Ciabatta rolls and Baguettes. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty excited because I know that these products will make it easier for Celiac and gluten-intolerant consumers to enjoy the foods they love without sacrificing the flavor.

Among all of the products, I am really eager to try out the Sub Sandwich rolls. Not only are they delicious, but they are also low fat, non-GMO and is an excellent source of fiber. Schar Sub Sandwich Rolls also comes individually wrapped in convenient two-packs for optimum freshness. I can just imaging making all kinds of sandwiches with them, be it a cold cut sandwich or a yummy hot meatball or chicken parm sandwich. Mmmm mmmmm yummy!

For those of you who would like to try out some of Schar’s products, boy, I got some news for you. For a limited time, Schar is providing free samples of the Ciabatta rolls to the first 2,000 Schar Club members who request them! That’s right, all you need to do is sign up for the Schar club. Once you have done that, you will see a column titled "toolbox" on the left hand side of the website. Then, look for the word "Giveaways" and click on that. From there, you will be taken to the page to order your free Ciabatta sample! Better hurry though, cos free sample kits will only be sent to the first 2,000 members that request them!

Being part of the Schar Club is an awesome thing. Apart from getting free product samples like the Ciabatta rolls and coupons, you will also get advice on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Indeed, Schar is really the gluten-free brand that cares for their consumers. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Schar’s website and sign up to the Schar Club for your free sample today! Remember to come back and share with the rest of us what you made with your free sample or with any of the other yummy Schar’s products!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stand Up For Family Comedy Special

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Family Insurance. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you were to ask me to name one thing that is most important to me, I would have to say – FAMILY. Growing up, some of my fondest memories are of big family dinners that we would have with the whole clan or the countless family vacations that we took. Our family pretty much did everything together, from playing sports, hanging out to watching television! I remember the whole family gathering around the television back in the 80s, watching sitcoms, almost every evening. Good clean comedy, suitable for the entire family. Unfortunately, good TV is hard to come by these days. All we see on TV these days are junk, filled with violence and sex.

Are you looking for some good clean comedy that is perfect for the entire family? Wholesome comedy for the family, about families! If you are, then you should totally check out American Family Insurance's Stand Up For Family Comedy Special! It’s the perfect stand-up comedy showcase that is designed for families of all ages to enjoy. Inspired by experiences from their own families, the performers offer their own perspectives on daily life with loved ones, finding the humor that we all can relate to.

When I went to check out some of the videos on the AmFam website, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! They were all so funny and really, I could relate to almost every one! My favorite performer out of all of them would have to be Billy Bellamy. He is just so funny! I totally can relate to the video “Street Lights”. Back when I was growing up, it was safe to just go out to play! It doesn’t matter where we went, as long as we were back by the time street lights came on, then it would be fine. If not, oh boy, we would be in big trouble! So, if you want to check out those videos for yourself, head over to the AmFam website and I guarantee that you will be laughing til your sides hurt, in no time!

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