Monday, July 30, 2012

Product giveaway: Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - excellent for a quick dinner inside

I know that summer is grilling season, but sometimes it is just too hot outside or, as recently in North Carolina, a massive thunderstorm is looming and staying indoors is just a wise choice. So you need to prep dinner and like the speed of grilling, but now you are indoors and what to do?
Here is where the subject of my current giveaway comes in - Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. I had previously blogged about how quick you can prep meals with Coconut Oil and the recipe described below took me less than 10 minutes to prep. I swear the pasta took longer to cook than fixing the tomato sauce with spicy sausage.
So that you can experience how versatile coconut oil is in cooking, I am giving away one jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. But first, a picture journey for homemade tomato sauce, prepared using Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - oil quickly turns to liquid when cooking

copyright Durhamonthecheap - tomatoes, curry and sugar + coconut oil
By the way, the tomatoes were of course from my vegetable garden. These organic tomatoes were a beautiful red color and have a fantastic flavor. I am also routinely adding sugar when cooking tomatoes since it makes the tomatoes easier to digest. I recently talked to my neighbor and, while I add regular sugar, she adds brown sugar when cooking tomatoes. I will have to give this a try as well. Try adding sugar when prepping your tomatoes the next time, it does make a difference!.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - add some spicy sausage and chives
The chives were from the garden as well, frozen from last year and this year I again have enough chives to freeze them for the winter. Organic herbs are so expensive at the store,  but so easy to grow. Even if you do not have a garden and live in an apartment, a small pot on the window sill is enough to maintain a little herb garden.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the sauce is ready in under 10 minutes

copyright Durhamonthecheap - add some pasta and the sauce and a healthy quick meal is ready to enjoy!
So there it is, pasta with homemade tomato sauce in under 10 minutes and it tastes like a restaurant dish. I know that the veggies are organic and can actually list the ingredients in the sauce, which I trust more than tomato sauce in a jar. I admit, I usually have a jar of tomato sauce at home for emergencies. But I usually stick to a very basic sauce and add in the curry, sugar and some fresh herbs, such as chives or rosemary to flavor it the way we like it. Store bought tomato sauce just is not flavorful enough for us.

But now for the important part - the product giveaway and your chance to try out Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil in your home.

Product giveaway: I will be giving away one jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil courtesy of Tropical Traditions. Read below for product information on Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and their other products!

To be entered into the giveaway there is a mandatory entry:
To be entered into the giveaway, you must subscribe to email Tropical Traditions Sales Newsletter here.

For additional entries:
Please note for each additional entry - post a comment stating what you did!

Additional entry: You must subscribe to the blog "Durham on the cheap" as a member. If you are already subscribed as a member, you will automatically be given the additional entry, just mention it in the comments.
Additional entry: Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter @troptraditions and @ttspecialdeals
Additional entry: Follow Tropical Traditions on Pinterest
Additional entry: Post a comment on the blog about what dish you plan on using the coconut oil for.

Giveaway ends Noon on Saturday August 18th 2012.  The winner will be drawn through a number randomizer and notified by email within 48hrs of the end of the contest. Good luck to everyone!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shutterfly contest: Long Live Summer Photo Contest

I am little late to the game, but on July 9th Shutterfly launched a great contest with MANY prizes on Facebook. The contest is entitled "Long Live Summer" and goes through August 12th, 2012. So you still have plenty of time to participate with your favorite summer snapshots.
The Facebook contest page is here and you get both instant win prizes as well as sweepstake prizes, including a trip to the Bahamas.
There are themes for each week during the contest listed below:
•       Week 1(7/9): Americana
•       Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
•       Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
•       Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
•       Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

Because I was late getting to the game, you missed out on the week themed Americana. But the theme "Great Outdoors" is now live and you can easily find pictures for that. A day hiking in the mountains, a trip with the kids to the beach or simply having a picnic in a neighborhood park - they all fit into the theme. I have included one of my nature images from earlier this year. I may submit it or other pictures from my garden and backyard to the contest because my flowers, with the ample rain the spring, turned out great this year.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - my Iris from earlier this year in perfect bloom

As I indicated above, they have great prizes. The whole list of prizes is below - who would not love a trip for the family to the Bahamas. And all for just entering a photo online. The complete rules for the contest can be seen here.
•       Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
•       Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
•       Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
•       Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Kroger Private Selection Ice Cream - Chocolate Cinnamon and Coconut Caramel Flan

I had recently an opportunity through to sample Kroger Private Selection products, among them their Private Selection ice cream. I received a couple of coupons for free or reduced products, but actually liked the Private Selection ice cream so much that I went back for some more.
I initially sampled the Chocolate Cinnamon variety and was quite impressed. Let me be clear - this ice cream is rich. Its fat content is quite high, but it is very smooth and a little in a waffle cone will go a long way.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Cinnamon Chocolate Private Selection ice cream
I really liked that you could taste the cinnamon in the chocolate ice cream. I selected this variety first because I love to make cinnamon coffee, using sticks of cinnamon and boiling them in some milk that is then mixed 50:50 into regularly brewed coffee.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - perfect dessert, a little really goes a long way!
While I do love to add hot fudge sauce or warm raspberries on top of my ice cream, this ice cream is truly rich enough that you only want to eat a scoop and certainly don't want to add hot fudge to it. I simply put a scoop into sugar cones and ate it. Great for after dinner dessert.
Besides this flavor, I also sampled their Coconut Caramel Flan, which I also loved. It has bits of coconut in it as well as caramel swirls. Very rich indeed - but fine for a special treat every now and then.
For your information, another variety of the Kroger Private Selection Ice Cream Sea Salt Caramel Truffle and its nutritional information is listed here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: The many uses of Ivory soap - gentle, but effective cleaning

 As part of my Mom VoxBox I also received a bar of Ivory soap. I have been using Ivory as my everyday soap for quite some time and using specialty soaps off and on as a special treat. So walking into my bathroom, you would always see Ivory laying around in a soapdish. I love the fact that the scent is very understanted for Ivory and that it gets your skin clean, without being harsh. I normally use it for facial and body cleaning, but decided to include pictures of my hands and arms because I had just stepped in from the yard and my arms had dirt all over them from working in the vegetable garden.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - a typical Ivory bar, compared to most other soaps this is a real bargain - LOVE it!
Like I said, Ivory is usually found in my bathrooms because it is reasonably priced and cleans well, but gently. You can already see the foam that easily forms with Ivory and just a little water. That is why I sually use for body cleansing. It lasts a really long time and you do not have to soak in water to get the foaming action that helps clean.
I have also used Ivory as a facial soap, but as a treat to myself, I sometimes use specialty soaps with lavender scent or fruity scents. I have found that soap can be a special treat and you do not have to spend a lot of money. Ivory has many different uses, I do not routinely use it to clean laundry with, but I know people that use it that way. I love using Ivory though for spot treatment and to quickly remove stains. Wet the area of the clothing around the spot, rub a little of Ivory over it, add some more water and almost all stains have disappeared after one quick treatment.It is amazing that Ivory has not thought of a way to make their soap more portable and cash in on the money that people spend on spot removal sticks. I still prefer Ivory for spot removing because I know it works well and will not damage my clothing!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - cleaning action by Ivory - gentle, but solid cleaning
So thanks Influenster for including my favority soap in the VoxBox. I love how Ivory cleans and the scent of the soap is one I associate with clean. I can highly recommend Ivory as the go-to soap for body and facial cleaning, but be brave and give it a try for quickly removing stains from clothes. It really does a fantastic job!

Disclaimer: I received a free product through Influenster and Ivory in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Ivory, Influenster or any other third party.

Review: Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

 Through my Mom VoxBox I received a sample of Quaker Soft Oatmeal Cookies. Unfortunately my box only contained a small sample, one cookie. But I can honestly say that even a full-size package, which contains 6 individually wrapped cookies and retails for around $2.69 nationwide would have been too little - because these cookies are GOOOOOD! They are nice an chewy, containing Quaker Oats and plenty of raisins; they actually taste homemade.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - homemade tasting goodness in a bag - Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

Now we all know that oatmeal cookies are good, especially if they are made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats. They are a good source of fiber and only contain 6 grams of total fat per serving. I really was impressed with the flavor of these cookies. I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but a lot of the commercial products do taste just you expect factory made products to taste, somewhat bland, underbaked and short on real ingredients like the raisins. Not so for these, Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies truly let you taste the oats and the raisins and they are just sweet enough to really taste good and make sure you get a satisfactory dessert.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - taste so good, you hate to have to spend the time to unwrap them!
 They taste so good, you just want to eat them right through the packaging. Like a said, this is one of the rare occasions that a cookie that was not baked at home actually tastes like mom just opened the oven and took them out before you came home from school. Congrats to Quaker Oats for designing such a good cookie!

Disclaimer: I received a free product through Influenster and Quaker in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Quaker, Influenster or any other third party.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review - Starbucks Refreshers: Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime

Today, Starbucks was giving away free tall Refreshers at US and Canada locations. I tried a small sample cup of the Cool Lime and then ordered my tall sample in Very Berry Hibiscus. The reason for the switch was that the little bit of Cool Lime that I sampled tasted quite frankly atrocious. It had a weird flavor that I could not quite place. Reading through the description, the lime flavor was complemented with mint and cucumber, so either of these latter two may have been the culprit. It was hard to taste the mint flavor, but the beverage definitely had some weird flavors added into the mix.
From the Starbucks website - Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

The Very Berry Hibiscus was better, but I was not thrilled with it either. The beverage has whole blackberries added, which is a nice touch and you can taste the fruit. But is also has some strange flavor additions that I cannot quite place.
Both beverages are low calorie and have added caffeine through the use of Green Coffee extract. I did not get a noticeable coffee buzz, but then I drank the Very Berry Hibiscus slowly since I was trying to determine the additional flavors besides the hibiscus and the blackberries. Overall, for a free beverage they were okay. I would not pay for these. Looking over the online reviews, the average is less than positive. While a few people like either the Cool Lime or the Very Berry Hibiscus, overall the majority of people posting online really hated both flavors. Comparisons from Cough Syrup to actual bile vomit very being leveraged against these new creations by Starbucks. So if you are thinking about trying either of these flavors, you may want to wait until you find a coupon or maybe Starbucks will have another sampling event. For the Cool Lime, I was definitely glad to have started with a very small sip because that flavor to me was absolutely horrible. I actually tossed the remainder of the sample, it was that bad.
The carbonated canned varieties of the Refreshers
I should mention that the Refreshers come in regular brewed fresh varieties, but will also be offered as prepackaged VIA beverages as well as canned sparkling Refreshers. As with anything else at Starbucks, you can customize your beverages, not sure how much you can vary or where to begin. I am quite frankly not anticipating that Starbucks will continue to sell these because they are that bad and with Starbucks selling a lot of high calorie and high fat beverages such as their frappuccinos, I would not be surprised if these Refreshers never really take off.
The Starbucks website with additional Refresher flavors available in the canned variety is here.

Living frugal and healthy: grow your on vegetables - certified organic

I hate to spend the extra money on organic vegetables, but still know that eating vegetables and fruit with a minimum of chemical treatment are better for you. So I started having a small garden whenever possible. My vegetable garden is not very big, but each year for several months the garden provides for a nice amount of certified organic vegetables.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my little vegetable garden in spring with one tomato plant and some roses
I have a raised bed in the front yard that works as both a year-round flower bed for some roses and day lilies and then as my seasonal vegetable garden. I bought a pepper and a tomato plant from Aldi in the Spring for around $2.50 each. Later on, I added a squash plant, another pepper plant, two sweet potato plants and some cucumber seeds that I had gotten for free through an online promotion.
In late June I started harvesting tomatoes. I am now regularly harvesting tomatoes and east daily fresh tomatoes for dinner, usually as a simple salad with some black pepper, chopped onions and Maggi.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - tomato harvest in my household!
Here is the harvest from the last three days. You see that the one tomato plant is really producing a nice number of fresh, organic tomatoes now! I really like organic tomatoes from my garden, the flavor is so much more intense and you can really taste the difference.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my garden, full of tomatoes, plenty of peppers, cucumbers and squash forming
I will continue to post stories about my vegetable garden, but also wanted to alert readers about the good quality of the vegetable plants that were on sale at Aldi earlier this year and I am hoping will be on sale again at Aldi next year!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cravebox - Summer BBQ box

 I finally signed up for Cravebox, in part past reviews had indicated that the contents are really useful and even with a small subscription fee, the contents are a real bargain. So when Cravebox decided to offer a Summer BBQ box, I could not resist and signed up. It arrived today and even the packaging was fun. As you can see, the box was filled with patriotic paper stuffing in red, white and blue.
copyright Durhamonthecheap -my Cravebox for Summer BBQ has arrived! Nice packaging - screams 4th of July!
 When I opened my box, I did not really know what to expect, some more BBQ sauce? Maybe even some BBQ tools? So I was very happy when I saw that the beverages would be taken care of. I received a 10pack of Real Lemon Lemonade, which is something I have not tried yet, but I love the Real Lemon products. Then I also got a sample as well as $1.75 off coupon for Mighty Leaf Iced Tea. I love drinking Iced Tea in the summer, especially if the temperatures are warm enough to make sun tea! Then I received a coupon for a BIC all purpose lighter, immensely useful around the house for lighting candles, grill etc. Another really nice item is the small appetizer utensil set from Mozaik which contains 24 small forks and 24 small plates, just the right size to put some nuts on or antipasto or other appetizer. They are very solid and will come in handy when you BBQ with friends and have some munchies until the main dish is ready. Lastly, the box at the bottom is BIC Flame disk that you can use instead of charcoal, less messy and easier to bring along if you have a picnic.
Overall, I love the contents and I am very happy with my first Cravebox! I will definitely consider signing up again for another Cravebox.
If you are interested in Cravebox, just go here, create an account and sign up for either the subscription box or wait until a one time special box is available. You will have to enter credit card information to pay for the subscription fee of $10.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - contents of my box, all useful for a summer BBQ with your friends!

Disclaimer: I signed up for a Cravebox and was selected to receive this Cravebox in exchange for a small subscription fee. The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Cravebox or any other third party.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 4th BBQ and Grilling adventure thanks to McCormick

So I received a boatload of stuff from McCormick's grillmasters and could not wait for my July 4th grill adventure to start. I had previously blogged out McCormick's here and was quite impressed with some initial attempts using the flavorings on chicken. But for July 4th I wanted to make something really special. I picked up from smoked turkey legs frozen that we remembered enjoying at the Iowa State Fair years ago and basted them in some BBQ sauce prior to heating them up quickly. I wanted to give them that extra flavor and add a homemade touch. It worked out great. They looked and tasted spectacular.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - mouthwatering good-looking turkey legs - tasted even better than they look!
The turkey legs, improved with Brown Sugar Bourbon by McCormnick's were a hit - they were so good, I was sad that I did not have any more leftover but  a couple. I kept using them on sandwiches for a couple of days, but now will have to order some more to baste them in McCormick's and create this grilled delicacy.
Next came the chicken and I used spiced Brandy and Herb marinade by McCormicks. They too turned out great, mouthwatering spiced with the marinade. Just enough flavor to boost the chicken flavor and stand up to anyone demanding beef or burgers. Chicken breast is so much healthier and now it tastes just as flavorful.
copyright Durhamonthecheapo - spiced brandy and herb marinade by McCormicks
I used my indoor grill for the chicken, since the outdoor grill was filled with hot dogs for the kids.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - chicken breast ready to eat, flavored with McCormick's Grillmasters
copyright Durhamonthecheap - grilled perfection, nice and moist as well as wonderfully flavorful!
Overall, having the McCormick's Grillmasters assortment available certainly widened the choices that I had available for my July 4th. Rather than serve hot dogs and the usual flavored white meats, I could add some spice to the turkey legs and chicken breast. I really liked the fact that several of the items in the Grillmasters line work well with chicken or turkey and pork, the white meat and the more healthier and leaner choices. I prefer to feed the kids hot dogs because they like them and can add their own condiments to the bun. But adults have a taste for something besides burgers and steaks, so the turkey legs and chicken breasts were a big hit and adding the flavor varieties from McCormick's was such a lifesaver because it took the guessing out of mixing up marinades. I really liked the powdered marinades because I can adjust the strength of it and also the amount that I use. I can mix a little bit for a quick supper for the family or make a large batch for a crowd. This gives me more options. I will also attempt to mix in some fresh herbs or spices, such as peppers, from the garden next time and use the marinade as a base. It will be fun experimenting with McCormick's ingredients.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Your teeth and gums will thank you - Dentek flossers!

In my Influenster Mom Voxbox I also received floosers by Dentek. One package was in plain white for comfort flossing, the second package was in assorted colors for kids to have fun flossing their teeth.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the two sample packages of DenTek floss that I received

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the reason I like DenTek flossers, you only need one hand to floss, so convenient.
I have been using DenTek flossers off and on since I really like their design. You only need one hand and the silk is always nicely stretched and that makes flossing so much more comfortable and convenient. With regular flossing silk you always need to use both hands and then to tighten the silk, you almost cut the blood flow off to your fingers. DenTek design is so much more user friendly and that makes it easier to use. Proof in point, I have been flossing regularly with  flossers designed like the DenTek ones and my recent vist to the Dentist showed very little build up, healthy gums and no cavities. Since DenTek makes flossing convenient, you are more likely to floss (this is especially true for kids) and flossing is essential for healthy gums and teeth. I actually catch myself now keeping a package of DenTek flossers in my purse and ever so often simply grabbing a DenTek flosser while stuck in traffic and flossing my teeth. Unthinkable with just flossing silk, but with DenTek this flossing is actually a good stress redeucer.

Food Review: Taco Bell Cantina Bowl - is it Chipotle or original Taco Bell?

So even before I heard about the Cantina Bowls being available at my local Taco Bell, I had seen reviews and comments online that commented that these new items were an attempt by Taco Bell to taste like Chipotle. I had seen some really bad reviews of the Cantina Menu containing steak, while the chicken and vegetarian options got okay reviews. So when a coupon came along that offered BOGO for the cantina bowls, I decided to give the chicken cantina bowl a try.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the initial presentation of the Cantina Bowl, typical Taco Bell packaging

copyright Durhamonthecheap - this does look different, the guacamole looks very rich, the salsa and corn fresh!
 So the first impression I had of the Cantina Bowl with chicken was the nice helping of guacamole and the fresh looking salsa and corn salad (?) that was topping a mix of white rice with black beans, lettuce and chicken. Overall, it did look good and I am fan of guacamole, but was somewhat disappointed that no sour creme was added or offered to go with the bowl. I like the tartness of the sour creme with my rice. And while I do not need a lot of sour creme, a little spoonful to me makes all the difference.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - close up of the roasted corn and guacamole
 As I started digging into the very big portion, the flavors came nicely together. I did like the flavor of the guacamole, even though it seemed very rich to me and I would have like some more pronounced lime flavor to lighten the guacamole. The salad overall was fresh, the lettuce was crisp and the rice and black beans were well flavored.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - close up of the fresh salsa with some guacamole and topping rice and black beans
The best flavor addition to the menu was the salsa, nicely chopped in just the right size pieces. I really liked its flavor and would have definitely wished for more. Having only a little bit of salsa, but quite a bit of lettuce and rice and beans did not add enough spice to my bowl. having more salsa would have made for a nice mix of staples like rice and beans, but lightened up with the salsa.
So this is my review of the Cantina Bowl with chicken by Taco Bell. I was happy with the portion size, which was really, really filling and for a snack will serve two people. I would like to see larger percentages of lighter ingredients, such as the salsa or adding more lime juice to the guacamole. Without these additions and in its present form, the Cantina Bowl is filling, but also quite heavy and for a summer meal only recommended for dinner, not as a lunch if you need to walk back to your office in the heat or need to work for another few hours in the office.
Now to the point whether this is imitation Chipotle. I think the flavors are different enough that I cannot mix up Chipotle and Taco Bell products. The ingredients may sound similar, but the flavor is very different, especially the salsa and the guacamole that you cannot compare really Chipotle and Taco Bell.
More information on Cantina Menu from Taco Bell is available here.

Stash Tea - SUperfruit medley with herbal and green tea

In the Influenster Voxbox was a package of Stash Tea. I love Stash Tea and regularly purchase their Licorice-flavored tea, but I am very happy with the selection of the superfruit tea in this Stash variety box.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - enjoying green tea with Pomegranate Raspberry from Stash's Superfruits Tea Sampler
Green Tea is well known for its health benefits and adding superfruit like Acai or Pomegranate seems like a winning combination. In my Voxbox, a box of Stash Superfruit tea was included. The sampler box can be purchased on Amazon here and includes the following flavors: Acai Berry, Blueberry Superfruit, Yumberry Blackcurrant, Goji Berry Green, Mangosteen Green and Pomegranate Raspberry Green. I have sampled the Pomegranate Raspberry and Mangosteen Green Teas and I love both of these flavors. 
I love the fact that I can enjoy the herbal and green teas warm or cold. In the summer, I often let the tea steep for 6 minutes, then remove the teabag and add plenty of ice to make ice tea. It is very refreshing especially with the 100+ degree temperatures we have right now in North Carolina. The ice tea contains no calories and tastes like real fruit. A nice change from the usual ice tea you get at restaurants or my home-made version to which I had some lemon juice to make it more refreshing and add some fruit flavor.
I can highly recommend Stash tea and besides their Licorice flavor, I am now also a fan of their Superfruits Sampler!

Broadway Nails (imPRESS Press On Manicure) and Influenster; My first experience with press-on nails

As I had written earlier, I received my mom Voxbox and it contained something that I was excited to try out because I would never think of buying these for myself - press-on nails. When I opened the box, I was happy to see that by chance they had included a color shade of lavender / purple, which is similar to my favorite nail polish by Ulta that I frequently use during the summer months.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the packaging is cute, all nails are fit into a little nailpolish bottle!

So I already liked the packaging, it is like a little bottle of nailpolish that contains 24 nails of varying sizes. For more information on how to get the nails and the varieties offered go here. The application is very easy, you determine the needed sizes, then peel off a little plastic film in the back and press the nail onto your actual nail. Could not be easier - loved how simple it was and the nails for pressing on seemed fairly solid. I was impressed on how sturdy they felt. No wonder they are advertised as lasting one week.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - left is my usual nail polish job, right is the press-on salon-quality finish
As you can see from the picture above, the colors almost match. No wonder I was happy with the chosen color from my Influenster Voxbox. In the close up you cannot see the difference as striking as in real life, but the finish on the press-on nails is really salon quality, unlike my usual manicure. I was very pleased with the outcome of my first try with press-on nails!
copyright Durhamonthecheap - my one fingernail got busted this week working on the yard - not pretty!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - so much better after applying the press-on nails from Broadway Nails and Influenster!
 I really saw the benefit of Press-on nails by Briadway when my little pinky suffered during yardwork and the nail got torn off partially. Usually, the finger nail would be obviously shorter than the remaining nails, but with press-on nails you can easily cover up such an accident and make the nail appear long and healthy. Overall, I am quite impressed with my first attempt at press-on nails. Will it be something I use everyday? probably not, but I will definiteely make sure to have a couple of sets in different colors at home for special outings when I want the salon look at a budget price or when yardwork proved too much for one or more of my nails.
Again. thanks Broadway Nails and Influenster for giving me an opportunity to sample this product!

For information on the press-on nails and how to use them, including cool videos, go here.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the above product for review. The opinions expressed in the blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by Influenster or any other third party.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate the 4th of July with grilled food, BBQ and FREE STUFF!

nice freebie today:

Starbucks will provide a free tsall coffee just for showing up at their stores - no coupon or address disclosure required. Just get to your neighborhood Starbucks and order a tall coffee - and ENJOY!

Zoya has free red nailpolish available with free standard shipping. Go to their site here and fill in the required address information (you will have to disclose phone number and provide an email as well), then order the red nail polish and with standard shipping ( 5 to 9 days) the total balance is $0.00. Some people get the order and confirmation email to go through without a minimum order, the website does state that $10 minimum order is required and the nail polish and free shipping is valid. So try this one at your own risk - of the order without the minimum being canceled ;(

Enjoy these freebies and then take some time off, have some nice cold lemonade (or a stronger adult beverage if you feel like it), grill some burgers or brats and have a great 4th of July!

obtained from here - they have additional gifs to make your own party invitations.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Upcoming Aldi special - kitchen supplies

It has been a while since I have written about upcoming Aldi weekly specials, but next week (starting July 4th, 2012) Aldi has some great deals available for people who like to cook.
The kitchen specials include a mandoline slicer for less than $5.00, flexible cutting boards for $2.99 as well as  various gadgets for $1.99.
First off the mandoline slicer that comes with 5 different attachments and a nonslip grip handle. For less than $5 this is a phenomenal deal in my opinion. I am not familiar with the company Kitchen Living, but so far none of the Aldi store brands have disappointed. I will definitely buy this slicer since mine is more than 20 years old and has one fixed blade. I hate using the kitchen processor for cutting veggies and this slicer should work nicely for prepping a quick salad.
Kitchen Living Mandoline Slicer

Next off are the Kitchen Living 4-Piece Flexible Cutting Boards for $2.99. They come in four colors to prevent cross-contamination, allowing you to keep one board just for raw chicken, which I cut on a separate board from anything else because of the high risk of raw chicken causing food-borne illnesses if not properly prepared. The boards are dishwasher safe and measure each 15" x 12".
 Last are the various gadgets for only $1.99. They offer the following utensils: Garlic Press, Ice Cream Scoop, Melon Baller, Citrus Zester, Vegetable Peeler and Apple Corer. With a low price like that I may actually go and buy the apple corer. If you do not have a citrus zester, I highly recommend to jump on this deal. One of my cheap little treats is adding a little bit of orange zest to freshly brewed coffee. It adds an interesting twist to regular coffee. Another use of citrus zest is as a quick topping for plain vanilla ice cream or vanilla pudding. I also add orange or lemon zest to my cheesecakes. Especially in the summer, a little bit of a citrus flavor makes the cheesecake more refreshing!
The complete sales advertisement can be seen here for the week of July 4th, 2012.

Hershey Air Delight - love them to pieces

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Air Delight and this is the proper portion (too bad the hand is not bigger)
So I do not often write a product review just for the hell of it, but this time I have to write about one of my new faves from Hersheys. The Air Delight version of Hershey's Kisses are absolutely fab, nice airy texture, same chocolate taste, but so much more of a melt-away texture! If you are like me and you grew up in Europe, tasting Swiss and German chocolate, you are used to a melt in your mouth chocolate and now Hershey with Air Delight has come out with just such a product.
Anyway, if you love Hershey flavor as much as I do, but you have been missing the melt in your mouth goodness of traditional European chocolate, Hershey Kisses Air Delight is for you. Give it a try next time you are at the grocery store!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mott's® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks

 I am part of MyInSite, which is affiliated with General Mills, and through this site and courtesy of Mott's I received two full size boxes of Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks. Now I love Mott's products, like their apple sauce in all varieties, so I was particularly excited to get to try their fruit snacks. After reading through the product description I was even more intrigued with the product since the product is made with fruit and vegetables, but has fruit flavor. What a nice way to get kids to eat vegetables, snacks that look like gummi bears. If it was not for the health benefit, I would call the way that Mott's is tricking little ones into eating veggies downright devious, but as someone concerned about nutrition, I just love the idea!
copyrigtht Durhamonthecheap - the box with the goodies from Mott's! I love getting packages!
As I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised that I got a box of each flavor, mixed fruit and berry. I right away sampled the mixed fruit flavor and loved it. I could not tell that any vegetables were used, it really tasted like a gummi bear. Kids will love them and never know that they are eating veggies! I will try the berry flavor soon, but so far, I am EXTREMELY happy with the product. Each pouch has only 80 calories and contains 100% of recommended Vitamin C - truly health in a pouch. At 80 calories, a pouch is perfect for snacking after school for the little ones or to get out of the afternoon slump for the bigger (adult) kids!
copyright Durhamonthecheap- the haul, two full size boxes and lots of coupons!

Disclaimer: Through membership in MyInsite, associated with General Mills, I was provided with product samples and coupons to the product reviewed here. Even though I received a full-size box of each flavor, the opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own and have not been influenced by General Mills or any other third party.

Mom Voxbox - all contents are free and what a great selection of goodies it is!

 As I got back from my stay in D.C., my Mom Voxbox was already waiting for me. This is my first Voxbox and I am really excited to be able to finally participate in the program. The boxes are sent totally free to recipients and in exchange, we try out the selected products, talk about the products on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and post honest reviews.
This is my initial post, which will list the contents of the box and some first impressions. As I stated below, the language DVD is probably my favorite product. A language product made especially for kids, what a great idea. Especially since foreign language programs do get cut with the current budget problem, being able to supplement language education at home is more important than ever. In addition to the language DVD, the really girly press-on nails are something that I do look forward to trying. I rarely treat myself to a manicure to save money and stay on budget and therefore rarely paint my fingernails since I am rarely able to maintain the salon look for long. So I will definitely give these press-on nails a try and see how the hold up and how happy I am with the look. Goes without saying that the tea and natural sweetener got me excited. I love Stash tea and frequently buy their Stash Licorice flavor, so trying these new superfruit teas will be great!
Then there is a cookie by Quaker and some dental floss, which I feel go together well. For my first Voxbox, I am very happy with the selection and cannot wait to try out all the goodies, review them and let everyone what I think of them.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the outside of the Mom VoxBox, well packaged so nothing breaks!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - a box full of goodies from Influenster

copyright Durhamonthecheap - who does not love cookies? Quaker soft-baked Oatmeal cookies, I know this box is good!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Woohoo! Stash tea and a nice selection of teas with superfruits such as Acai

copyright Durhamonthecheap - dental flosser for adults and kids, love the fun colors for the kids!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - natural sweetener, crystallized honey - should go well with a cup of tea! (made by Stash)

copyright Durhamonthecheap - kind of hard to see, but this is Ivory soap.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - I am actually excited to try these since I have never tried press-on nails!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - my favorite product, a kid language lesson on DVD. I will have to research online!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - who does not need or love coupons? Love them and use them!

Disclaimer: As part of, I was able to participate in the Mom Voxbox and got a box with items shipped for free in exchange for honest reviews. The opinions voiced about the products as well as Influenster are solely my own and have not been influenced by Influenster or any other third party.