Sustainable Engagement Rings for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2018 / Fashionista, Main Menu / 2 Comments
Sustainable-Engagement-Rings

Valentine’s Day for years has been one of the most romantic days celebrated all around the world. Valentine’s Day is not the day that hubby proposed to me, but my day was just as romantic. I may tell you all one day of the day that I almost ran out on my own engagement. It was truly funny now looking back on it, but at the time I am sure that I had him sweating:)

Here is hoping that yours if filled with nothing but diamonds and more diamonds if that is what you like. Hubby, with his sweet self, just upgraded my ring and I was surprised but am very happy.

Speaking of diamonds, Helzberg Diamonds has some new luxurious selections if you want to possibly propose on Valentine’s Day or select the perfect ring for your upcoming proposal. Don’t worry, I will not tell.

Lab-created diamonds are a popular trend with consumers who desire brighter and larger diamonds that are sustainably developed. ALTR Created Diamonds offer an unmatched selection of engagement rings and jewelry that pay homage to the new cultural truths that guide modern relationships.

Below, I have selected some of my favorites from ALTR’s sophisticated ring collection available at select Helzberg Diamonds retailers nationwide.

 

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I will go for the princess cut, which ring is your favorite from Helzberg


The Ballad of Klook and Vinette

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Be warned!!! If you are not in love when you come see this play, you will be when you leave.

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This is such the love story that it put everything and I mean everything I have seen to shame. With the exception of some of the Words in the Song of Solomon, I have not heard anything so deep. I was in awe and that does not happen easily for me. I am a hard person to impress, but I was blown away with the words and depth of heart that the characters had for each other. From their first conversation involving carrot juice to Klook saying, “We are seventeen feet tall.” Who says that?!!! That is just one line that just left me asking myself, “Do I love my husband enough and do I have anything left to give?”

What did I learn? I learned that I do not have a way with words, but I am thankful for a world that includes people that do:)

(Excerpt from press release, Horizon Theatre) Klook is a drifter who’s tired of drifting. Vinette is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Together, they make a tentative stab at love and reach for hope until the past catches up to the future and smacks it in the face. Tough, tender, funny, poignant, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette will grab you from the inside out. Horizon kicks off its 2018 season with this love story set against poetry and jazz in its highly anticipated American premiere. Soulful music combined with a witty, moving story makes this a mesmerizing theater experience.

A sweet deal is going on until Friday February 16th, 2018, but to get this deal you have to call the box office 404.584.7450.

What you get: 

Two tickets, reserved seating, two drink vouchers, and a special treat!
$70/couple on weekdays
$80/couple on weekends

Have you had someone melt you with just the words they speak? Tell me about it in the comments. 


Pork Clouds My New Party Snack

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Big Game last week, the Olympics and the Trumpet Awards this week, there will always be a reason for me to try new snacks. In fact, who am I fooling, I do not need a reason a game or an awards show to try new snack options. I was able to try Pork Clouds for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. #ad #powertothepork

Pork Clouds My New Party Snack

So I had my first bag just because I wanted to try them without anything, just plain in the raw, and the first one that I tried was Rosemary and Sea Salt. Yum. The rosemary is prominent and the salt is there but barely noticeable. I was fine with that and I was pleasantly surprised that no one has made an rosemary flavored pork rinds/clouds. This is a winner if you do like rosemary.

The second bag, I must admit I was calling myself being daring, so I did a little pico mixture and some cubed grilled chicken thigh and put it over the Malabar Black Pepper pork clouds and this was a great idea. I had never thought to put pico or chicken for that matter over pork clouds. This was a keeper as well, but wait there is more…

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The third bag, Habanero Pepper, was I believe my favorite way to enjoy the pork clouds. I made vegetable beef soup and put some on top of the soup and oh my, so tasty. Hubby even enjoy this, so much so he put more in the soup and some on his next helping. So hot, but sooooo good!!! My favorite by far. Habanero-Pepper-Pork-Clouds

 

Pork Clouds are a delicious carb free alternative in the salty and savory snack category. They are cooked in olive oil, only 100 calories per bag and an awesome source of protein (over 11g per serving). All flavors are gluten free and free of added hormones, which makes these the perfect game day snack or perfect snack for any gathering or just to have instead of potato chips.

Have you tried Pork Clouds before? If so, what flavor was your favorite? 


Valentine’s Day Dress Under $30

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Hey ladies and gents. Galentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day is less than 2 weeks away, so you still have time to get your outfit together. Looking hot is important, but on those days you have to spark up and somewhat step your game up. For many it is a first time date and for others it is another day to share with the one you love another day. I always want something new, but to find out that I can get some beautiful dresses for under $30 shocked me. Some of these dresses are already in my shopping cart ready for me to purchase and if you decide that you want to purchase, feel free to click on the titles and/or pictures for more details and how to purchase.

Valentine's-Day-Dresses

Valentine’s Day Dress Under $30

  1. SHEIN Split Form Fitting Dress

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2. SHEIN Scallop Detail Bell Sleeve Dress

 

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3. SHEIN Scallop Edge Box Pleated Dress

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  1. SHEIN Flounce Embellished Tied Neck Dress

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5. Rose Print Surplice Wrap Pleated Dress

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6. SHEIN Triangle Lace Top Pleated Waist Slip Dress

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I like all of the dresses for various reasons, but I believe the waist slip dress would be my favorite for that day but the rest I just want to have because they are so darn cute.

Which dress would you pick for your Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day plans?


Big Green Egg Tailgating Fun

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I was given the opportunity to attend Tailgating on the EGG class at Big Green Egg Culinary Center, in partnership with CulinaryLocal and had an awesome time and left so full. Chef Amanda and Taylor greeted me with a smile and welcomed me to the class.

When you think of entertaining and cooking what do you usually think of? Ovens, stove top cooking and bbq grills, but it is time to expand your way of thinking when it comes to entertaining and cooking. I had a chance to learn it first hand by attending my first Big Green Egg class in Atlanta.

Prior to attending the class, I had no experience using or seeing a big green egg in person, by a friend of mine baked a pizza on it and I was suspicious until attending this class.

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Bake, fry, grill and more on these cool devices, but I am not here to talk about that but about the amazing classes they have at the Big Green Egg Culinary Center. After getting lost trying to find the place I welcomed the beer, wine and other drink selections we were provided with.

Beware, after seeing the pictures below you will want to purchase one for yourself, and start making all of the delicious treats we were able to have during this class and everyone took food home with them.

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Each of us had to share what experience if any at all we had with using a Big Green Egg. Me being a novice, I felt a little off, but I was relieved to find that the instructors Amanda and Taylor and the other assistants were very helpful and put me at ease.

There is a right way and a wrong way to open the grill. Who knew? Well the people who have purchased one of the eggs certainly know, but I was so glad that they shared tips throughout the class.

The class was hands on, so everyone had a chance to taste, mix and try the food as we went and that is like the best part to being in the kitchen right?

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Chef Taylor shared about experience being a griller and big green egg user since the age of 10, she had a wealth of knowledge just in case you want to take part in a championship grilling competition. The ribs should bend but the bones should not come out of the meat (see pic below), if the bones come out then you instantly lost the competition. I will not find myself in a pro competition, but hey you never know I may change my mind and this knowledge may come in handy.

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Upcoming class, Big Green Egg Basics, is perfect for people like me with little to no experience on the Big Green Egg and others to come. For more information, check out all of the classes on www.culinarylocal.com.

What is the best dish you have created on the Big Green Egg and if you haven’t what is the dish you are most looking forward to trying one day on the Big Green Egg?

 

 


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Crunchies

 I have received samples of Crunchies in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. #ad

Just in time to end National Oatmeal Month, I wanted to share what you can do with fresh dried fruit from Crunchies. It is okay to play in your food, just any kid you know and in my case you can ask me one of the biggest kids I know:) Crunchies has been mentioned in so many times in various Health and Fitness Magazines that once you try them you will see why. Great snack even for the kids.

I put a big S in my oatmeal using Strawberry Banana and decided to dress it up some and use it in my dessert. You do not lose any of the flavor with the fruit and or vegetable being freeze dried.

Crunchies

Brownies and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry crunchies.

Dessert-Crunchies

Crunchies comes in 8 varieties and it is nothing but pure freeze dried fruits and vegetables.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Crunchies

CHOCOLATE BERRY BARK

Picture and recipe from Crier PR

Prep: 10 mins / Cook: 1 hour / Total Time: 1 hour & 10 mins

8 Servings

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Ingredients

1 (16 oz.) bag of dark chocolate chips (the higher the quality, the better)

¼ cup Crunchies Strawberries

¼ cup Crunchies Raspberries

¼ cup Crunchies Blueberries

Instructions

  1. Pour chocolate chips in a saucepan and begin to cook on the lowest temperature while stirring constantly until completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat and pour in the center of a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Smooth out with a rubber spatula.
  3. Sprinkle on Crunchies fruit.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place until hardened.
  5. Allow chocolate to cool and completely harden before breaking apart. Now serve and enjoy!

These are very tasty and can be added to many recipes, get inspiration here → Inspire Me. Crunchies can be found at your local Walmart store, but to see where is the closest place for you to go here.

See how easily Crunchies can be incorporated into your Valentine’s Day meals? Have you tried Crunchies before?


Meaty Classes at Pine Street Market

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I had the opportunity to attend the Whole Hog Class at Pine Street Market for free in partnership with Culinary Local in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I learned oh so much from Rusty #knowyourbutcher. #ad

Warning: A cut up animal picture is below.

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If you do not like to see cut up animals, this class is definitely not for you.  

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Have you always wondered where various parts of the pig come from? Have you wondered about the process of how bacon is made or pork butt? Did you know that the pork butt actually comes from the shoulder of the pig? I had no clue, but I found out that and more.

Some of these questions and more have crossed my mind, but I never thought that I would be able to get the answers upfront and personal. Education is the key if you ask me and I like to be educated especially about things I eat, so as mentioned, thanks to culinary local I was able to learn some things. True, I could have looked online and some of it is true, but what is better than getting the information first hand from a butcher who has been doing in the business for over 15 years.

First things first though, a waiver had to be signed before we could go to the back to start the class which made sense to me, but what I did not expect were the recipes for some tasty treats including bacon.

To me there could not have been a better teacher, so from start to finish Rusty Bowers, Whole Animal Craft Butcher, #knowyourbutcher, from Pine Street Market, showed about 10 of us from start to finish the breakdown of a pig. We saw everything from the cooler and the room used for curing and smoking the pork.

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After showing us how to cut our pork chops, each one of us took turns to cut our own and when class was over we took some home with us and yes it was good if you were wondering. Each participant received as well 2lbs of bacon and it was good. Simply seasoned and oh so tasty.

If you were wondering if they had more than pork, they do, including lamb, chicken and turkey.

All of the staff helping Rusty were very very helpful and knowledgeable and it was kinda fun to see while the class was going some of his patrons’ watching the class take place (they are all future attendees I am sure). We learned about various types of pigs and this one came from Riverview Farms.

We were served various parts of the pig and all of them were moist and we received tips on how not dry out the meat, how long let certain pieces sit in brine, and more.  Rusty had one of his good friends there, Brad from Moody Tongue, that provided us with some refreshments that paired well with what we had.

Check out the pics of what we were able to try during our visit:

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Braised-Kale-with-Bacon-Potlikker

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Would I pay for a class? Yes, I would and would not hesitate. How about you?

For information on the next class, coming up soon so stay tuned to www.culinarylocal.com for the upcoming classes.

 


Grilled Cheese & Beer Book – National Cheese Lover’s Day

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Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my most favorite things to eat anytime of the year. Why? Simply because I enjoy cheese and I do not discriminate. It is perfect in the summer with a refreshing beer and in the winter with a hardy soup. There seems to be no wrong way to make a grilled cheese sandwich and that excites me.

Just in time for National Cheese Lover’s Day, January 20th comes, Grilled Cheese & Beer: Recipes for the Finer Things In Life.

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Menage-a-cinq-national-cheese-lover's-dayMénage à Cinq

Ingredients:
3 slices of sourdough bread
2 slices of cheddar cheese
1 slice mozzarella cheese
1 slice of Muenster cheese
1 slice pepper jack cheese
1 slice provolone cheese
1/4 avocado

Directions: Grease one side of each slice of bread and place in a pan on medium heat, greased side down. Cover all three slices with cheese (in no particular order). Once the cheese is melted, put avocado on two slices. Slap it together and enjoy!

Beer Pairing: This is our ode to one of our favorite show, The League. Except, instead of it being Andre’s swanky wine bar, it’s a delicious sandwich paired with a light refreshing lager—one with some punch behind it. Otter Creek’s Citra Mantra is a pretty good bet if you can find it. If not, the guys on the show always prefer Stella Artois or Bud Light. Old post office boxes are a pretty sweet idea for a bar, though. Right?

Johnny-Apple-Cheese-National-CheeseJohnny Apple Cheese

Ingredients:
2 slices whole grain bread
4 slices Adirondack cheddar cheese
1 granny smith apple
3 strips of bacon

Directions: Grease one side of each slice of bread and place in a pan on medium heat, greased side down. Place the cheddar on the bread so that all of the bread is covered. Thinly slice the granny smith apple and place it on one slice of bread so the cheese and bread are completely covered. Add bacon strips to the other slice of bread and cheese. Once the cheese is melted, put the sandwich together and tada! You are all set.

Beer Pairing: This one has a lot to work with for something so simple. A good European-style lager will do well to complement the sharpness of the cheddar and the smoky flavor from the bacon. Heineken and Grolsch would both do fine, but for those looking to accentuate the apple, why not try it with a cider? Although not beer, anyone trying this on a warm sunny day shouldn’t shy away from a nice Angry Orchard or Naked Flock to hit the notes a beer wouldn’t.

Surprise Giveaway, Enter to Win a Copy for Yourself:

Grilled Cheese & Beer Book Giveaway

About the Authors:

Authors-Grilled-Cheese-and-Beer

Kevin VanBlarcum is a brewer at Keegan Ales in Kingston, NY. After graduating from the University at Albany, he began pursuing a career in the brewing industry. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Kevin currently resides in Pine Hill, New York. James Edward “Eddie” Davis has honed his skills as a chef from Brooklyn, NY to the Catskills. Eddie fell in love with the culinary arts and began to hone his skills at a local favorite, The Caboose.

Pics and press release: Hatherleighpress

Have you ever celebrated National Cheese Lover’s Day? If so, what is the oddest item you put on your grilled cheese sandwich? 


5 Reasons to Run to First Watch Cafe

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I have received a meal free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. #ad

First-Watch-OutsideRecently I was invited to First Watch to help promote a new coffee program that they have called Project Sunrise. More about that later, but I am so upset that prior to my visit I had not heard of First Watch and after tasting the food, I really could not understand why unless people were trying to keep the place to themselves. A hidden gem in Smyrna, GA (currently 7 total locations in Georgia), only serving breakfast, brunch and lunch and truly they do specialize in the three and they truly do not disappoint. My hope is to expose you to a new restaurant that you will dine frequently for years to come and can feel good because you are helping one of the many great community programs they are investing in.

There are 5 reasons to Run to First Watch and I will not prolong the reasons why:

 One Reason: Cinnamon Chip Pancake

Our classic multigrain pancake batter featuring seasonal cinnamon chips. So filling and so good.

Table-Shot-First-Watch-CafeSecond Reason: AM Superfoods Bowl and Fresh Fruit Juice (Vegan Options)

Coconut milk chia seed pudding w/fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. Served with whole grain artisan toast topped with almond butter and Maldon sea salt.  Fresh fruit juice all day every day. One’s shown: Kale Tonic, Morning Meditation (my favorite) and Chilled Pear Cider.

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Third Reason: Avocado Toast

Thick-cut whole grain toast topped with fresh smashed avocado, EVOO, lemon and Maldon sea salt. Served with basted eggs. Nuff said. Who does not like avocado toast?

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Fourth Reason: Million Dollar Bacon

Hardwood smoked bacon with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and maple syrup drizzle. So yummy. I wanted to eat all of the bacon on the table.

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One of my most favorite pics. I had to see the bacon and avocado again. Million-dollar-bacon-first-watch

 Fifth Reason: Community

First Watch is always doing something in the communities they have locations. Project Sunrise involves high quality coffee grown and harvested by a group of women in the Huila region of Colombia. The coffee has medium body, hints of cherry, orange, toasted nuts, honey, milk chocolate and caramel, which makes for a fantastic complement to our menu’s variety of fresh breakfast dishes.

Project-Sunrise-First-WatchCheck out just one Community Outreach that First Watch is part of:

 

Have you been to First Watch Cafe? If so, what is your favorite dish or let’s face it dishes? 


The Ballad of Klook and Vinette – Horizon Theatre

Klook-Horizon-Theatre

2017 Horizon Theatre had a great year of plays and 2018 will be no different. I laughed, cried and was in some intense thought leaving many of the plays. Great writers, production, set design and everything in between. See below how to get your season tickets.

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Coming this week to the Horizon Theatre, Klook is a drifter who’s tired of drifting. Vinette is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Together, they make a tentative stab at love and reach for hope until the past catches up to the future and smacks it in the face. Tough, tender, funny, poignant, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette will grab you from the inside out. Horizon kicks off its 2018 season with this love story set against poetry and jazz in its highly anticipated American premiere. Soulful music combined with a witty, moving story makes this a mesmerizing theater experience.

Why is Horizon Theatre excited? It’s sexy, dramatic, funny, poetic, and relevant. A great time to tell this story and it’s beautifully written! The Ballad of Klook and Vinette is underscored with keyboard and double bass, as it flows in and out of song throughout. The writer, Ché Walker, is here to direct. Ché is a successful actor and writer from London, and the composer, Anoushka Lucas, will be joining us from overseas in early January.  Our play stars Brittany Inge, who performed in Blackberry Daze at Horizon last season and was recently listed as one of ACJ’s 8 up-and-coming Atlanta actors to watch; and Amari Cheatom, who joins us from LA and is most popularly known for his role in the film Django Unchained.

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Ticketing Information

Box office 404.584.7450 or visit horizontheatre.com.

Performances are January 19 – February 18, 2018

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 PM

Saturday, 3 PM & 8:30 PM (No matinee first week)

Sunday, 5 PM (2 PM Super Bowl Sunday)