Monday, October 31, 2016

When I Say Cheesecake, You Say Factory

Let's play a game.  If I say a word and you tell me what you think about.  Ok, the word is menu.  What did you think about?  food?  Next is two words, Cheesecake Factory.  What did you think about?  desserts?
Thanks to the Cheesecake Factory for inviting my husband and I to be their guests.  All opinions stated are our own based on our personal experiences.
Did you know that the restaurant makes more than 250 dishes from scratch daily? 
My husband and I started with the Eggroll Sampler since we could not decide which appetizer to start with.  This is a perfect plate to share and to sample the four different types of eggrolls available:
Avocado, Tex Mex, Crispy Cuban, and Firecracker Salmon.  They each come with their own dipping sauce. 
My husband went with the Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta for his dish.  This dish caught both of ours eyes on the menu.  I noticed that it is available Gluten-Free upon request.
I went with the Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta after the waiter's recommendation.  This dish is normally served with Penne Pasta but I always prefer ordering dishes that have angel pasta.  All I had to do was ask. 
For my drink, I tried the Cucumber Lemonade.  This is a non-alcoholic drink that I recommend.

My husband and I ended up being so full but you always have to have room for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory.

'Tis the season for everything Pumpkin or even better, Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake.  (Available now through Thanksgiving)

The Cheesecake Factory is donating $.25 of every slice sold to help feed hungry Americans in the communities they operate.  They have donated over $4 million since 2008.

Thanks again to The Cheesecake Factory (Galleria) located at 5015 Westheimer Road for hosting us.  For more information or to check out the menu, go to

No More Boo Boos-Glossique

I have a love hate relationship every time I get my nails down.  I love how they look but then afterwards I hate how damaged they are left.  I have heard about nail wraps but never tried them.
Thanks to Glossique for sending samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My daughter loves to get her nails painted as well but I do not want her nails to get damaged.  She is too young.  Glossique is a new non-toxic & kid-friendly nail wrap brand.  They even have Halloween inspired nail wraps!
They are chemical free, durable, and simply peel off without damaging the nails.  So they are definitely safe, fun, and easy for children to use.  There us no heating required for application either.  They are available in regular and petite sizes, so you and your daughter can have matching nails in minutes.

Patterns:  All Hallows Eve, Bewitched, Velvet Widow, Spooktacular, 6 Feet Under

I am ready for all the trick or treaters now.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Do you Zumbida?

Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and asked for an agua fresca?  Do you know what an agua fresca is?  Aguas frescas are a combination of fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water.  It is different and not alcoholic.  My two favorites are Agua de Tamarindo and Horchata.  Horchata is made different in El Salvador and Mexico.  They are both refreshing. 
Thanks to Zumbida for sending samples for me to review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Introducing Zumbida, an aguas frescas-inspired drink with subtle carbonation and fruit flavored sweetness with a touch of alcohol.  This is not a remake of aguas frescas.  Zumbida is a drink inspired by the Mexican tradition of making natural fruit and flower flavored waters but with a kick everyone can enjoy regardless of their familiarity with aguas frescas.

I like the twist Zumbida brings.  My husband was watching football and asked me for a drink, so I passed him a Zumbida.  He took a sip, and I waited to see what his reaction was going to be.  He liked it.  That made two of us.  The agua fresca with a kick! 

Mango is the first flavor released.  I can't wait for them to released more flavors.  Zumbida is currently only available in California, Texas, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Denver.

For more information, go to

Monday, October 24, 2016

Houston Zoo Boo, Thanks NICU

Five years ago, I was pregnant 26 weeks pregnant.  I had Placenta Previa but everything was going ok, for now.  At 34 weeks, regular ultrasound shows Lil Bit at 7 lbs.  At this point I am going to weekly visit and we have already started scheduling a C-section for the first week in January.  At 35 weeks, I go to my weekly visit and the ultrasound shows Lil Bit has lost weight.  So the doctor schedules an emergency section.  Not what we wanted to hear or experience after we almost lost her at 14 weeks.  Due to some complications, Lil Bit had to be rushed to the Children's Memorial Hermann NICU.  My daughter's first days into this world she was in a room full of babies being care for by wonderful angels.  I am so thankful for our NICU nurse, Liz.  She was more than a nurse to me.  I had to have a C-section and almost died.  After 3 days, I finally was able to go see my baby in the next building.  She was hooked up to tubes and machines were making crazy sounds.  Even thinking about it now has me full of tears.  Nurse Liz made everything ok for me.  She helped me handle the separation.  She taught me and my daughter how to bond after 3 lost days.  She gave my daughter a start to life by being there for her when I could not be.
Thanks to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital NICU team for inviting us to the Houston Zoo to reunite patients and caregivers.  This is the 6th annual celebration of life with family and friends. 
This was the first year we were able to attend this celebration.  I have always wanted to go back and thank nurse Liz.  I even called back a year later but she no longer worked at this location.  We were hoping to run into her here.  There were so many beautiful children at this wonderful celebration.  The Houston Zoo is always a fun place for our family.  Check our day at Houston Zoo Boo:

This shot looks like a green screen picture but it is us in the zoo.  I happen to look up and I saw my daughter's hospital.  My husband caught this in the moment shot of me showing her where she was born.

Thank you to all the men and women who work in the hospitals caring for our children in the NICU.  They are special angels in my book.  This was such a great event thanks to the hospital for hosting us.  We didn't get to see our nurse but wherever she is at, I wish her well.  I always have her in my thoughts and will never forget what she did for me.  Thanks Nurse Liz!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Share A Scare Kids Halloween Lunch Ideas

Halloween falls on a school day this year.  It is my daughter's first year in school and she loves to pack lunches.  I started thinking how can I add a little spookiness to her lunch and what I do for one, I have to do for the other one.  It is his last year of school and why not add a little fun to his lunch too.
Thanks to Nestle for sending samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I decided to share a little scare with my kids this year.  First, I added a little spooky to the refrigerator by placing a decorative pumpkin and Nestle Halloween water bottles.
Then I added a little fun to their lunch packs:

Spooky Apple Mouth or Monsters
For my son I made him a gross mouth.  He loves Nutella so his mouth was full of Nutella.  For my daughter I made a monster that was full of grape jelly.  I used peanuts for the teeth on both.

For the head I used a white mini powered donut and for the body, I used marshmallows.  I placed them in a small snack bag.  I placed a white napkin on top.  Then I used a ribbon to tie the napkin to the snack bag.  My daughter said a ghost had to a face so I used a marker to add eyes, nose, and mouth.

Spooktacular Drinks
Nestlé® Pure Life® Halloween monster/Día de los Muertos calavera bottles come in cute holiday-inspired designs including a spooky cat, jack-o-lantern and two new calaveras, available in 8 oz. size water bottles that will keep the kids hydrated whether at a party, in their lunch packs, or out trick-or-treating.  My kids love to drink water.  Water is always in their lunch packs.  These water bottles help me share a little scare with them.

How do you share a scare with your kids? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Skipping the Grocery Store #RealHomeChef

I have no idea how I did things before when I was a single mother, my son played sports, I worked full time, and I even had time to make dinner.  Now I have a partner who helps me out, we both work, our kids attend school, but we barely have time for dinner.  We do not have time for anything else to be added to our schedule.  We sometimes don't even have to time to go to the grocery store.  Can you feel me? 
Thanks to Home Chef for sending a meal kit for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Imagine getting off from work, heading home, and remembering you never made it to the grocery store...this is me.  I was so glad this box showed up at my doorsteps to save me. 
Everything you will need to prepare your meal all in a box ready for you.  What you receive:

-Binder-Home Chef - My Cookbook
-recipe card

A team of chefs have already figured out the recipes and all the ingredients for me.  The ingredients all came to my house in a recyclable box FREE-OF-CHARGE (minimum order required).

The recipe card has directions that are easy to follow.  There are step by step directions and pictures you can see.  This recipe can be done by a beginner or an everyday cook.  If you know me, I love to learn new recipes and like to experiment but sometimes my ideas don't come out so well.  Home Chef made me feel like I really was a chef in my own kitchen. 

Step #1-Prepare the Ingredients.  My ingredients looked just like the picture, YES
Step #2-Roast the Vegetables.  Most recipes are not as descriptive as these and the pictures helped.
Step #3-Sear the Chicken.  Ok, so I have never seared anything.  What does that even mean? 
I learned how to boom.  Do you see my chicken?  No burn marks.

Step #4-Roast the Chicken.  My kitchen was smelling so delicious at this point.
Step #5-Make the Sauce.  Unless it comes already made and all I need to add is water....that is the only sauce I have ever made.  I was really scared and thought I would burn it.  Then I got so excited that it actually came out good, I forgot to take a picture.

Step #6-Plate the Dish.  This I know how to do.
So how did I do?  It looked like the picture but the real test was the taste test from the family.  It smelled great and tasted even better.  This was a win, win for all of us.  I served my family Chicken Chateau with Dijon Demi-Glace and herb-roasted root vegetables.  It was only 371 calories.  It only took 30 minutes to prepare.  This meal was low-calorie, low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, and nut-free.   What I really liked?

The Tips-
All the extra tips, every step of the way.  The kitchen tools has a picture and how to use each one.  The tips for cooking and seasoning your meals teaches you new skills with pictures and measurements.  Every you need to know, like if you were asking the chefs themselves. 

The pictures-
The pictures made every step easier.  I knew exactly how I was doing.

The ordering-
It was really easy to order.  I went to  I followed the instructions and my box just showed up at the door.  For under $60, you get everything you need to whip up three restaurant meals for two.  That makes each meal about $10 each...We spend way more than that on one meal.  We recently went to a restaurant, not fancy at all, and spend more than $60 on one meal. 

I would definitely be ordering more home kits and make my life easier.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Houston - Cabana Cares

We all have to eat, right?  Food is a necessity for our bodies.  Do you ever miss a meal or two?
What other necessities do you have to have?  It is not a hard question but I will give you a minute.

Now imagine being homeless.  What do you think their answer is to the above question?  Maybe a meal, shelter?

Got a $1. 

Throughout the month, Houston-area Taco Cabana locations will sell $1 coupon treat books, good for five free bean and cheese tacos and a buy-one-get-one Dr Pepper fountain drink – a $7 value.
Taco Cabana brings back its annual Taco Treat fundraiser in October to support Houston’s Star of Hope, which is dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless men, women and their children through education, employment and recovery programs.

Every dollar from each treat book sold will go to the charity, the Star of Hope

“Each October, it’s our mission at Taco Cabana to inspire and create good in the communities we serve through our Taco Treat fundraiser,” said Taco Cabana Vice President of Marketing Jack Civa. “This year, we’re teaming up with children’s charities in each of our markets, like Star of Hope in Houston, to increase awareness and support for those who care for the displaced and underserved children and families of Texas.”

Star of Hope has been a crucial member of the Houston community for more than 100 years. It offers numerous programs and resources for homeless people in Houston, including work therapy, tutoring, career development, recovery education and emergency shelters.  Star of Hope is a Christ-centered family of ministries serving more than 1,000 of Houston’s homeless men, women and children every day. The mission helps those in crisis with their immediate needs as well as offering longer term, life changing, structured recovery programs, focused on education, employment, spiritual growth, personal development and recovery from substance abuse.

“We are grateful for our community partners like Taco Cabana and we know that our work is possible because of the generous hearts that live in the great city of Houston,” said Star of Hope’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications Vivian C. Winslow. “We thank them and the entire community for supporting Star of Hope in its efforts to uplift our neighbors and provide them with help and hope.”

For hours and other information regarding the Taco Cabana nearest you, please visit

***Disclosure-This is a sponsored post. All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Snacking on the Go

One of the things I have learned is, in order to not over eat or mal pasarme (not eat at my usual time), I have to snack.  We are always on the go.  Whether we are on our way to school, work, or the gym, always on the go.  Sometimes we over schedule ourselves and may not even have time to stop and eat.  But your body needs fuel to keep going.  I always encourage my family to take snacks on the go.  I prefer the snacks to be healthy snacks.  Sometimes that can be hard with the kiddos.  We have to teach them healthy habits to keep their minds and bodies strong.
Thanks to The New Primal for sending samples to review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

One snack we all enjoy is jerky.  Even the little one always asks for meat sticks.  This is a good snack they can take on the go and eat anywhere they are.

The New Primal says they are the #1 selling natural jerky in the county.  Their beef is sourced from New Zealand: (Why, you ask?)

1)  grass grows year round due to New Zealand's temperate environment
2)  New Zealand has some of the strictest animal welfare standards and bio-security laws in the world
3)  GMO's are illegal
4)  Cattle have zero natural predators there
The flavors include Habanero Pineapple Beef, Barbecue Beef, Cilantro Lime Turkey and the first pork product- Maple Bacon Pork. 
Product Facts:
·      Our beef is humanely treated and pasture raised, not injected with hormones or antibiotics, or being fed anything other than non-GMO contaminated grass. 
·      There is zero sodium, sugar, or preservatives/nitrates added to The New Primal’s jerky, only natural, easily recognizable ingredients you’re likely to find in your own kitchen.
These jerky sticks are fresh new flavors.  They are perfect for our family.  Perfect for anyone looking to eat clean protein.  They are very tasty too. 

For more information, visit

Monday, October 3, 2016

Who Run the World? #ONAMISSION

Ever since I can remember my son has been super fast.  He may be little but he is fast.  I started him off playing soccer, moved to football and eventually he even played baseball.  But it wasn't until he got to middle school, where he would find his passion for Cross Country and Running.

A couple of years I did Crossfit and I really enjoyed it.  My son was able to do Crossfit in school.  He fell in love with this sport.  I was never encouraged to do sports as a kid, but it is one thing I have encouraged my kids to do. 
Thanks to MISSION Athletecare for sending sample products for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Even though Fall is here, in Houston it is still Hot.  Everyday the temperatures still are in the 80s.  I worry about my son getting overheated during his midday workouts at school or his afternoon jogs afterschool.    
MISSION Athletecare’s EnduraCool towel may be just what we have been looking for.  When the towel is soaked in water, wrung out and snapped, the instant cooling technology is activated to chill the fabric’s surface temperature by up to 30 degrees.  The user can then place the towel around their neck and the fabric will keep them cool, comfortable and dry.  The towel comes in a variety of colors and patterns.  It is compact enough to put in your child’s backpack or sports bag. 

In addition to the towel, MISSION Athletecare has an entire line of EnduraCool Instant Cooling Gear and Accessories.  The line includes a full range of instant cooling Hats, Skull Caps, Headbands, Sleeves and more – all designed to enhance performance and recovery.
And like my teen says, it is cool too!  He loves the cooling sleeve.  You can wear it multiple ways.  It is good for boys and girls.  It has UPF 50 protection and is odor resistant.  It is chemical-free cooling.  Best of all it is all machine washable.  The technology never washes out.

For more information, visit