LG Watch W7 SmartWatch Powered by Google WearOS #Ad

Hubby is a “Watch Guy”. We all know them, some of us love them. They like and collect watches. Sometimes to an unhealthy degree. And I’ll be honest, while I’ve picked up some of the nomenclature and in’s and out’s of watches, I’ll never be a “Watch Gal”. So I’ll abdicate the bulk of this review to him, because he’ll be able to touch on things that I might miss. So, since we’re a team, here we go…

A watch is an important tool. Anyone with an affinity for them has heard the two stand-by gags of “I have a phone that tells time” and the ever hilarious “A $8 Timex would be the same”, especially if you can appreciate and own a fine Swiss timepiece. But today we’re going abruptly change gears and talk about neither an low-end digital quartz watch or an expensive automatic 23-jewel Swiss investment. This unit falls somewhere in the grey area between those worlds, neither fully digital, and certainly not fully mechanical, despite sporting a Swiss-made gearbox for the analog hands. The LG Watch W7, a Smartwatch powered by Google’s Wear OS, seeks to bridge the gap between a techie with bleeding edge gear and those of us with one foot firmly in a simpler time who still need to wind our watches. The LG W7 can help keep you on-task (with proactive help from the Google Assistant), and keep you a touch healthier with smarter health coaching from Google Fit. And look good doing it.
With that established, I’ve resisted the Smartwatch craze because I have a plethora of watches of all makes and models and, to turn the gag back on the techies, I had a phone and didn’t need another on my wrist. I can now safely say, I definitely see the appeal of something like the LG W7 because it’s pretty handy to not have to dig your phone out with every buzz and beep. And, to put a finer point on it, today’s phones with 6″ screens (and larger!) can not be checked too discretely anymore, whereas a watch can be as under the radar as it gets. I deliberately stayed away from the instruction manual to see if the watch controls were intuitive, and the are. I had the majority of features figured out in a matter of minutes. It’s on the larger side for a watch, but not quite like, say, a massive Invicta or the larger 50mm Casio G-Shock watches. It’s certainly not heavy, but it’s not light either, it feels significant on the wrist and you’ll not forget it’s there. With the right watch face (because they’re infinitely swappable!!) it can look sporty, dressy, or can mimic a classic chronograph with ease. The 1.2″ edge-to-edge screen sports 360X360 resolution (is easy to read at any angle, and the traditional analog hands are a bright silver that can tell the time at a glance without the need for the screens bright backlight. The pull-out crown serves as the main control button, but the capacitive touchscreen makes analog buttons almost an afterthought beyond initial setup and programming. Battery life for the 240 mAh lithium-polymer battery could be better, but unless you’re quite the social butterfly, with the right settings it’ll easily last you all day before needing a charge. A few hours tops it off and you’re set to seize the next day again. In fact, you could select the “Watch Only” mode and LG claims you can get 100 days wear out of this watch. Nice. The 44.5 mm (?) case is right in the sweet spot for a men’s watch, neither too small or too large before needing a recharge. Nice. The fixed matte-black bezel means the gloss silver indices are easily read as well. The 22mm rubber strap is soft and pliable, and a joy to wear. In fact, it has a feature that I would appreciate on some of my nicer Seikos, a simple nub for the push bar that negates the need for a lug tool to change your strap. Anyone who’d ever had to fumble with one of those tools knows it can be a real pain sometimes. The brushed stainless steel case means this watch looks as nice as any I own. It’s fully compatible with both Android and Apple OS’s, so no matter your preferred smartphone, LG has you covered. It has all the features of a full-fledged digital ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), plus a stopwatch and timer like the finest chronometer. I have yet to master the touch-free gesture controls, but I do appreciate their necessity for some folks and like that the option is there. Full product specs can be found here and here.
It’s not all wine and roses. I have hit wrong keys on the unit a couple of times, hitting the wrong key. I have given up ever using it for all but the briefest of 1- or 2-word replies for a text. The keyboard is just too small for me to use. Being that it’s a touchscreen, I have to go against everything I’ve ever held true about my watches, as touching the crystal all the time is antithesis to what I’ve known. I’m fully aware that some people have made quite a bit of fuss over the analog hands blocking important notifications. While I can appreciate that some would want a clear, uncluttered face, I myself found no issues reading the notifications behind the hands. I would very much like to have had GPS and heartrate monitor functionality, and I’m unsure if it can be added later via an OTA firmware update, but I’m happy with the features included thus far and unless those are “deal-breaker” features for you you’ll not miss them, in my opinion. I wish the water resistance was a little better, because I do tend to treat my watches like tools and water…water sometimes happens. It’ll be fine with a light splash or a little dust, but don’t dunk it in the pool or wear it in the desert or heavy rain. NFC and fitness tracking would be nice as well, but since I don’t use either I’m not feeling the pain of their absence, but I could certainly understand folks being a little peeved at these fairly common features being excluded.
In the end, I have very little about this watch I don’t like, despite my initial resistance to this hybrid device. I like that it doesn’t scream “TECH!!” on my wrist, and could easily pass for a normal fine timepiece at a glance, but still sports most the high-tech features people have come to expect from a smartwatch. I like that it can be easily customized to fit any occasion or style of dress with a few touches or swipes. It feels substantial without being obnoxious. I would recommend it for a watch person who’s looking to dip their toes in this particular pool, and stay ahead of the curve. It’s got enough bells and whistles to satisfy just about anyone. Grab one right here: http://bby.me/8yqyj , if you’re so inclined.
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product.
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Tryazon: The Ritual of Sakura Skincare Set by Rituals Review #Tryazon #RitualsUSA

As much as we enjoy a day at the spa, reality is that sometimes the spa needs to come to us. Having products that help renew your space not only helps in creating a relaxing environment, but takes the home space to another level.

In comes Rituals, which provides an array of products that can be used at home or even when you travel. Stress relievers on the go! It is no longer not having time to book an appointment but stress hits us at any hour. It can be midnight and a soak in a tub can be enough to make you finish the rest of the week strong just because you took some time to give yourself some very much needed TLC. I have yet to know a spa available at midnight and going out in my jammies at such an hour becomes a drag if the idea of getting out the car comes into play. Stay in your pajamas and use that travel time at a place that has no waiting room, your home!

Rituals has many sets to choose from and products are sold a la carte or if you wish for a more economical idea, you can get a gift set that allows you try out four products from the same line. These are not only great for self gifting but make great presents because one thing we all share, is needing a touch of less stress in our lives. I opted for the set called The Rituals of Sakura. You will find on the Rituals site that they even have gift sets available in size small, medium and large, again accommodating for every budget and each set comes with a gorgeous reusable box. Men are also not excluded (hear they get stress too 🙂 ), so you can also find products for that special guy in your life. Make it a dual spa day!

 

The Rituals of Sakura Renewing Set Includes:

All products assembled in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and disturbed out of Delaware (USA)

Retail Price: $45 and the site advertises free shipping with orders $40 or more. You can also add an item and receive a free gift when you spend $50 or more. A pop-up window will come up and offers you sign up for emails and again offers a percentage off of orders, making the deals only sweeter.  You can also access Ritual products at Macys’s, Jet, Ulta, and Lord & Taylor

 

Verdict:
The scent in the Sakura collection is light and pleasing. The site advertises the scent of Japanese Cherry Blossoms, which is delicate and Rituals did get the fragrance spot on. The scrub has a soft almond scent that is calming when paired with the floral notes. The shower gel goes further than expected, so a small amount is needed when using. I worry as some gels can be irritating but this gel still had a nice scent that remains but is not overwhelming. I also found it nourishing to my skin versus how some gels tend to strip away moisture and leave your skin feeling tight. Not exactly a relaxing experience, but Rituals got it right where this is a foaming gel that lends itself in being kinder and beneficial to your skin’s surface. I was concerned the body cream would be overpowering as some fragrance enriched products can be. I don’t want to walk by someone and make them feel like I beat them with a cherry blossom tree! Again, a sweet cherry scent that is soft to the nose but does not linger to become annoying. The cream is not heavy and my skin absorbed it, leaving a nice even texture with zero dry spots. I would use this lotion daily and it takes the bore out of my no scent oatmeal one I had been using prior. The hand wash was a nice surprise. I thought it was that extra item in the set that I was not too ecstatic about but after several uses, my hands improved so the not so exciting item became a favorite too. Nice scent and cleanses enough that after cooking, I had no lingering unwanted smells left from making dinner. Again, it is nice when a hand wash with perfumes actually washes versus just give me scented hands.

Final Verdict:
I have purchased products from skincare and bath stores with same scents, but nothing has captured the Cherry Blossom experience as well as Rituals. The ingredients like rice milk aid in softening your skin’s texture, so this a true spa quality product versus just scented goodies that have no benefits.  Finally, a gift set where each item can be used with no throwaways included! I liked that not only for myself but when I gift a set, I know it is not just filler made to look nice and pretty. The ingredients are top notch, non-irritating, and scent wise it became a desirable fragrance I looked forward to using. This is definitely a must buy and will easily make it to the #2018GiftGuide this year!

 

To Connect with Rituals, please visit:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Rituals USA and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

New Orleans Famous Praline Company: Classic Pralines #Review #PralineInLove

New Orleans Famous Praline - Box of 8 Original Pralinettes

We have always loved anything that is “New Orleans” related from the food to the decor, we have enjoyed it. There is a reason why New Orleans Square at Disneyland was our favorite place to hang out when we had the park’s passports. I make everything at home trying to mimic and bring back that piece of memory from making Beignets, Gumbo, to even Red Beans and Rice with Andouille at home. Most things I can make and hit the mark but the one thing I can’t imitate, is those pralines! You can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to review them.

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The New Orleans Famous Praline Company has been sharing their delicious clusters with us since 1996. Calling them a candy is just too simple. Candy to me is a piece of gum drop, to a sour patch straw. It’s just not enough of a justifiable name to what really is a treat all of it’s own. This is a delicacy that you make it right or wrong, no middle ground here. The N.O.F.P Company (as I call them), offers you 3 different types of Pralines to choose from:

  • The Original “Classic” Praline
  • The Creamy Praline and
  • The Chocolate Praline

Three things done right means you can get away with a short selection but do not discount them!

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Verdict:

I received the box and let me tell you when I opened it, it smelled like the store at Disneyland. That store that stocks all the items you can’t find anywhere that originate from New Orleans. My goodness, did I spend my pay check at that store! It was such a joyful scent of sweetness and butter, with a hint of nuts. New Orleans Famous Praline Company packs a gorgeous little box that even serves as a souvenir itself because it’s that adorable. The box’s image is a drawing of a the shoreline. You see the city and the ships, plus the colors give it that vintage feel; very much like the century old recipe the company uses to produce these beauties. The company only uses real quality ingredients that is why these differ from the rest. Each praline is lovingly sealed in it’s own wrapper, so you have guaranteed freshness and let me get started on how they taste. You have the pecans that are chopped into pieces and floating in a buttery and sugary filling that almost resembles the inside of a pecan pie. The confection is crumbly but not dry or hard, it literally melts in your mouth. Not grainy at all but smooth and it has that classical cluster texture where it’s creamy but not gooey. Just perfectly blended and the proper thickness too. Enjoyable to the last bite and I first devoured this praline as is, but then crumbled some on ice cream (Southern Pecan of course) and it just made that bowl of ice cream pure happiness! These are a must and especially from a company that takes care and pride in what they produce. I hope in the future to taste their other creations, the creamy and the chocolate pralines!

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Connect with New Orleans Famous Praline Company at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from New Orleans Famous Praline Company. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Pampers: Olympian Dana Vollmer with #PampersDreams Twitter Party alert #AD

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision

Twitter party on June 16th (9 PM – 10 PM EST)

Join Dana Vollmer, a Mom and Olympian competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, host a Twitter Party for #Pampers. Dana on June 16th will be hosting the #PampersDreams Twitter Party and you can RSVP today http://bit.ly/1TWorI6 to be part of the event! #Sponsored #AD

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Candle Warmers Ect.: Candle Aire Fan Fragrance Warmer in Fleur de Lis style #Review #CandleWarmers

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When you cook and bake, it tends to make the house smell like whatever you are making. This may be a good thing or a bad one. Cooking onion and burgers, plus baking fries is a welcoming aroma before you eat and two hours after you ate…..not so welcoming. I most times have to bake before I cook dinner to allow desserts to cool down like pies, cakes, and the sort. So, that sweet smell that I wish would linger longer, gets killed by whatever meal I am making for dinner. One thing I dislike and almost more than dust, is smelling the next morning what I made for dinner the night before. It drives me up a wall, so I am always fighting smells in the home.

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I buy candles, pods, blocks, oils, you name it. I purchase my scents after a holiday to use the next holiday in order to save some money. There are some scents I like all year around, even though companies label them seasonal and only for Spring or Fall. Clean linens are a scent that I enjoy all year around. Most recently I purchased a few of those boxes that contain those blocks of wax, which you melt to release a scent. I cleared out the scents I liked most because I have purchased the brand before, love the fragrance this scent provides, had a bundle of coupons……to just get home and realize the fragrance was diminished in strength this time around. Yes, I saved money but not enough to justify a reformulation that really equates getting less for more. Even the amount of wax squares was cut back and now I get 2 less than when the “new style” was introduced. That is another thing that gets to me, the constant revamping. I have devices/plug-ins and sprayers that refills are no longer made for. They hit the market and poof, they leave. I get tired of buying “starter kit” after kit. I like fresh starts but not when it means plunking down more money for a new device that is just a modification to make the last one obsolete. I just don’t want to play anymore. The one thing that has lasted me is my wax melting pot. No matter the brand, that little pot will melt any fragrance rich wax block and deliver results, with just requiring one tea candle.

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Retail Price Point: Warmers are $39.00 via Amazon and the candles are $15.99 via Amazon.  Shipping is free for Prime members!

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Fleur de Lis Warmer

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When Candle Warmers Ect., offered to send me one of their warmers and candles, well you came to the right house. I don’t just look for pretty, I am after results. Now, I must admit that it was hard choosing between the wax warmers they carry. They are all so pretty and my heart was desiring two of them, but I went with the Fleur de Lis style. It’s a caramel colored glaze and the vessel is really pretty both in color and design. It just looks like a small jar and goes with any decor, plus the earthy tones in the glaze make it welcoming to any colors you may have in your home. Simple but gorgeous! Okay, visually the warmer got me!

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Verdict:
The warmer gets delivered and this is not a dinky device. The size is substantial and the details are more than I expected. It’s beautiful! I turn of the device and the fan is low in noise level but strong. The warmer starts delivering scent within 15 minutes that is significant in aroma. The family room is next to the kitchen and has a cathedral style ceiling. This means what you cook and bake tends to linger above you without escaping. If the air conditioner clicks on, this means the smells collected in the highest part of the ceiling now get to swim around and promptly shared with the rest of the house! Yay…..not! If it was that you can’t leave a candle unattended, I sometimes wish I could burn one at the other end of the house. No worries with the warmers from Candle Warmers Ect., the unit requires zero wicks or live flames. It’s a warming plate with a fan, the flickering light up is for effect and it does look pretty and especially when the warmer is next to a wall. The wall captures the flickering shadows quite lovely. I fried fish on a Sunday. One hour later and it smells like I just fried the fish. Five hours pass and we decide this, “I just cooked fish” smell needs to go. It’s midnight and the house, plus the bedrooms included….stink! I’m about to shower and I’m afraid my open pores are going to capture the fried cod smell and I am going to smell like fish in the morning. We put everything together at midnight, no time like the present. We plug it in and drop in the round that Candle Warmers Ect., provided. I go shower. The scent on the tin stated Sugared Citrus and 20 minutes later after I come out, I can only smell fish at the back of the house. The front area, including the family room smells like no fishy crime was committed. You smell a clean and crisp orange scent. Like a fresh orange, not some orange chemical cleaner. The fragrance is refreshing and nice, plus different from anything I have purchased at the store. I think $16 for a tin…..that is kind of high. Forty minutes later I smell zero fish. I even take the dog out to go potty in case my nose is acclimated to the house’s smell, but when I step back in, no fish. Fish gone. That $15 price tag is seeming not so high now. I use this candle day after day, after I finish cooking. Stays on about 2 to 3 hours and I still have wax left, plus I am nearing a month’s time from owning it. I probably have 2 weeks worth if I continue using it and do not get me started when my Husband left it on after we went to bed. I woke up to a citrus field and that still was okay because no worries, that is not a real candle’s flame burning! That is a major plus in my book and because the fragrance is still strong, pleasant and kills bad odors, this $15 tin is a fair price point. You got to try it and especially if you cook daily like I do.

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Connect with Candle Warmers Ect. and their entire warmers and candle tin collection at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Candle Warmers Ect.. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

PureCopper: 100% Pure Copper Mule Mugs in Smooth and Hammered Finish #PureCopper

 

 

 

 

 

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I love copper from it’s color to how the metal lasts. I was looking at these mule mugs when they became popular and knew I wanted them until I saw the price tag for just one mug! I thought I will wait it out until the price lowers and that did not work in my favor as then quality went down. I started seeing what I call “painted mugs”, that are just coated with a copper layer or some even stated “copper like” when you searched further into the description. Price kept going up and I figured I better just walk away until……….PureCopper brand offered me a set to review!

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The name says it all and it’s pure 100% solid copper! Sounds so simple when you think about it but there is always the imitators and gimmicks out there, that like cloning themselves but never as true as the real original product. I prefer to wait and afford the real item versus spending a percentage towards a purchase that will leave me unsatisfied. I can easily say that PureCopper is not only crafting beautiful copper mugs but I was more than satisfied with the set I received. You know when you imagine a purchase and sometimes it falls short? Well, this one is a purchase that you will be able to enjoy visually and also when pouring yourself a drink. It’s a Mule mug but doesn’t require a mule! You can make desserts to even as I have done, I stick it in the freezer and let is get ice cold, so it keeps everything from ice cream super cold.

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Retail Price Point: $21.97 for the hammered mule mug and $18.97 for the smooth finish mug via Amazon.

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Then comes something that I can’t overlook because presentation is a bonus and I don’t mean from the copper glistening in the light, but what PureCopper does. My mugs are beautifully shipped and they added these glossy recipe cards, plus the cutest paper clip that is also shaped like a mug! Who does that anymore? PureCopper makes any person receiving this gift just smile and I do every moment I use them and have even put them in my curio because when the sun starts setting, the rays hit those copper mugs and I end up with the most gorgeous looking light effect in that room. I don’t have to worry about wearing them out as it’s pure copper and like food, you don’t want fillers but a clean product. My copper with time will get a beautiful patina and you can choose a smooth finished mug or a hammered effect. Perfect for gifting or just rewarding yourself because the applications are there when it comes to how the metal conserves coldness. It’s not just a beauty but it serves it’s purpose and in the end this is the stuff we keep that can multitask and also be distinctive at the same time.

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Connect with PureCopper at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from PureCopper Brand.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Dick Taylor Craft Handmade Chocolate and French Silk Pie Review and Recipe #DickTaylorChocolate

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Every once in a while, you run into a product that is a game changer. Someone who ups the bar so high that you don’t know who or if it can ever be topped. I really try to reserve some labels for a truly superlative product. Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate hits every metric for me to call it “The Very Best”. Nothing I’ve ever had before can even come close. It’s in a league all it’s own. I’ll go over why below, and even add a recipe that, should you have the willpower to not devour the chocolate immediately, will be dynamite.

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Chocolate in the United States has been done a great disservice. What was once an American icon, Hershey’s, can be held partly accountable for the woeful state of chocolate confections in this country. Because if you’ve only had Hershey’s, you’ve not had chocolate. Craftsmen like Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick are looking to right a terrible wrong with their small-batch craft Dick Taylor chocolates. With a hands-on approach that takes up to a month or more, it starts with selecting only the finest fair-trade raw cacao, all the way up to the pouring of this molten magic into it’s molds. You’ve not lived until you’ve treated yourself to a piece of Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. The vintage machinery used belie the dedication and skill inherent to this labor of love, because one would think to make the best chocolate, you’d need the latest and greatest in automation and innovation. The craftspeople at Dick Taylor chocolates scoff at the notion, and impart a love and devotion to being the best that I could only strive for. Heart will take you far, it seems.

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The list of ingredients for the 72% Madagascar, Sambirano is so simple it’s almost as if they left out a step on purpose to keep anyone else from finding the secret to a truly superior chocolate. Ready?

Organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

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That’s it. No emulsifiers, no fillers, no chemicals, no artificial gunk, no waxes. The flavor envelopes your mouth immediately, with no harsh bitterness, no oily or overly creamy mouth feel, no grit. Impossibly smooth from first bite to final swallow, you almost never want the experience to end. There’s nothing else like it. It was almost transcendent. Our bars of Green & Blacks now sit in the pantry, lonely and wanting. The Guittard Dark baking chips that were my baking cabinet queens have been kicked to the curb. I’m fully and completely in love with Dick Taylor’s Craft lovelies. I mean, they even look exquisite. We were so fortunate that the weather was in our favor when the box arrived, as I’ve have been inconsolable to have had this chocolate adulterated by the heat. There’s 5 different types of “dark” chocolate with cacao percentages from 72% up to 76%, as well as 4 specialty flavors (Fleur de Sel?! You had me at “chocolate”, you devil!), drinking chocolate, and even a Father’s Day Gift Collection! Should I gift one to hubby despite not being a father? Hmm… At any rate, there’s truly something for everybody there!

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Located to our north in Eureka, CA, we have a standing invitation to tour their facility should we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood. I don’t know if I’d trust my self (or hubby) to not grab everything we could carry and run cackling like madmen out the doors at first opportunity, probably to the tune of “I’ve got a golden ticket”. There’s thankfully an authorized retailer just a short ways away, but I’m not sure if my diet thinks this is a good thing. We finished the first bar in 5 minutes after the first nibbles, and we just don’t do that in this house. Chances are, there’s someone to sell you a bar locally. And if not, they do sell direct from the website, shipped to your door.

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Not since the mythical Willy Wonka has there been something so magical available to eat. Nothing you’ve had comes close. Be forewarned, after you’ve had Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, nothing will ever come close again. You’ll be spoiled for all time, chasing a chocolate dragon until your end of days. Do it anyways. It’s sooooo worth it.

Connect with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates at:

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate French Silk Pie:

With Summer here and the weather finally warming up for us, I wanted to bring back a classic but a goodie.  A good pudding always allows you taste the honest chocolate notes.  With Dick Taylor’s Madagascar, Sambirano 72%, I found it to be like the perfect espresso without the bitterness.  A good chocolate will not add oils or large amount of sugars, so neither shall I.  My Husband has always loved this pie but disliked what time has done to it.  It went from a way to showcase a fine chocolate bar and having a cold pie on a hot day, which hits you perfectly like a car ride (of course top down) with a chocolate shake in hand.  We now get ready-made puddings out of a box and the custard pudding below is good and rich enough to eat by the spoonful!  Say goodbye to eating desserts out of the box and treat you and yours with real pudding made like other, with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  If I could only find a way to transfer the design of their bars onto this pie…….life would be perfect.  I swear they should sell stamps of their bar’s imprint and of course paired with chocolate scented ink 🙂 Enjoy!

Lets Begin……

Filling (Custard Pudding)-

  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 5 1/4 ounces of Dick Taylor’s Dark Chocolate of your choice
  • 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 of teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (reserved as you sprinkle it on the crust before adding the filling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter (salted and used KerryGold)
  • 1 Pre-baked Pie Crust (search my recipes if you need one or you can use whatever recipe you desire)

You Start by pre-baking a pie crust.  The crust has to be fully cooked and cooled before you begin making the pudding for the pie.  Below is my crust, and I use a butter and shortening recipe.  I won’t judge if you even get a ready made pie crust, just as long as you make the pudding and you can just skip the crust and serve the pudding in cups with a graham cracker to dunk with!

Now, comes puddin’ time!  You first start by combining the dry ingredients.  This is the corn starch, sugar and salt.  I combine them in a bowl, whisk and then they go into the pot you wish to make your pudding in.  I use a non-stick for that added no stick insurance they have.  Next, combine the milk and the 2 egg yolks.  I use the same measuring cup I use for the milk and just whisk and set aside.  You then measure out your chocolate (break up bars **sniffle**), and you need 5 1/4 ounces.  If you go over, it produces a thicker product but trust me this is pudding that is as thick as it is and rich.  Add the 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder to the same bowl you have your chocolate in.  If you opted to make this a pie, add the 1/2 teaspoon and dust the bottom of your pie crust with it.

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Now comes the cooking process.  Combine the milk and egg mixture to the sugar, salt and corn starch mix.  Combine with a whisk and turn the stove’s burner on low.  Keep mixing, whisking (get those edges too!) and continue whisking.  You can set the burner to a low-medium setting if you are a heavy whisker at this point and the mixture will begin to show small air bubbles around the 3 minute mark.  You will feel some heat on you knuckles from the steam but keep at it.  After all, we’re burning calories here!  As you whisk, you will feel at the 5 minute mark (if not sooner), the mixture getting thicker and thicker and when it truly bubbles, just before it boils, off the heat it comes.  Turn off the burner and add the chocolate to your custard, along with the Vanilla.  You got pudding!

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Then add the tablespoon of butter.  Now, you have a glistening and rich pudding.  Heaven!

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Now, pour the pudding into the pie shell or if making pudding cups, you can pour into a container to cool (uncovered).  Once cooled, you can then add a cover to not have a choco-smelling fridge, but then that’s not a bad thing either.

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You allow the pie (or pudding bowl) to cool on the counter for an hour and then into the fridge it goes (uncovered).  I let it cool about 3 hours to avoid that condensation you can get if you covered it.  After the 3 hour mark, I then cover the pie (or pudding bowl).  I allow the pie to cool over night and yes, it tortures my loved ones.  I figure they can salivate while it’s cooling and you really get the pie to settle and this is why that 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa is added.  Any wetness gets absorbed and there is no sliding around from the filling when cut.  Now, topping time!

I have made several topping from whipped cream with mascarpone cheese to salted caramel.  This time I made edible fun-fetti.  It’s a sugar cookie batter but why use white sugar when you can add color!

Fun-Fetti/Confetti Cookie Crumb Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals
  • A Dash of salt
  • A Sprinkling of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals

Set Oven at 375 degrees and begin incorporating (cutting with fork or I use my hands) the butter and flour.  It’s cold and you want to create crumb with about pea sized crumbles.  Add a dash of salt (if wanted) and the 1 tablespoon of the sugar crystals.  Mix until incorporated and in it goes into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  When the 7 minute mark comes, add a sprinkle of the sugar if you want extra shimmer.  Then back it goes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.  You want the crumble set but not browned because it takes away from the appearance.

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Take out cooled Pie.

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Add whipped topping and Fun-fetti/Confetti topping and done………..well, you can do more and this is why I never decorate the entire pie!  You can also add red, white and blue sugar crystals for a 4th of July theme to the confetti crumble.

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You can opt for a Fleur de Sel Caramel topping with crushed Pistachios…….

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Or, you want it all!

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And, if you’re feeling nifty and want Fleur de Sel Topping with Maldon Salt Crystals (of course, Hubby fought me on not leaving the Fun-fetti out)……the possibilities are endless!

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Enjoy!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Heck That’s Hot: Monthly Subscription Box #Review

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We always enjoy subscription boxes because they introduce us to new brands and even new foods. Like with gift baskets, I find most subscription boxes have more down time where maybe 1 to 2 items are fabulous and the others are duds. You then have companies, which add so much little filler that getting a real sized item is impossible.

Not with Heck That’s Hot!

I love spice and can tolerate heat very well. My only caveat is that the heat better bring some flavor and make the food worthy of eating. Empty calories to me, also means eating something that is not great but you are eating it to make whatever you spent on it not be wasted. I can state that Heck That’s Hot provided a box filled with items that were full sized and the individual size (i.e. one serving) products were included in multiples. Yup, you are not trying to share a one-bite chocolate piece between a family of four! Some of the products I was familiar with when it came to the manufactures like Lindt chocolates. I also liked that there was care in packaging. The parcel was double boxed and the items were safely packed. Even the chips were not a mess and that also means care is shown and you not only want that when a box is being sent to you, but it’s something I seek when I give boxes as a gift. Heck That’s Hot will not make you look poorly in that aspect either and I like that they take pride and care in how they handle products.  Hey, I got chocolate sent that was not even melted and I reside in California!

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Now, Let’s See what you Get:

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The Better Chip in Jalapeno Flavor-

This a company I have seen and heard of but never actually tasted their products.  The chips are made with real ingredients making them simple but so tasty.  You see real jalapeno pieces and these are not green little flecks.  I’m talking about diced jalapeno that is mixed into corn masa, which is used to make these delicious round shaped chips.  They deliver heat and crunch, plus they are not a salty mess.  What’s not to love?

 

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Van Holten’s Hot Mama Pickle-

This item made us laugh when we saw it.  It’s a large size pickle and not your everyday product, so I love that Heck That’s Hot included it.  I love firecrackers and this pickle is like the big version of them.  We refrigerated the pickle and I first took a slice to see how it tasted and it was a pleasing flavor, you get that pucker power from the brine but the spice is good tasting.  The pickle also has a good texture and crunch!  You get a heat that is zesty but not over the top.  I made a spread for burgers using the pickle (diced).  Very simple with Mayo, Chipotle powder, and the Hot Mama Pickle.  I even have 1/2 left to enjoy as-is or in another recipe.  I’m thinking this one would wake up any tater’ salad.

 

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Lindt Chocolate Squares in Chili Flavor-

Okay, I have had these little squares in what I thought was every flavor…..I was wrong.  The base is dark chocolate and chili extract.  I have had spiced hot chocolate drinks and even Mexican chocolates but these are nothing like that.  The chocolate used is velvety smooth and because it’s dark, it has sharp notes but the chili pepper is not in flake form or anything grainy within the square itself.  Just smoothness and the spice is almost pepper (as in peppercorn) and it just intensifies the cocoa notes.  That is all.  It’s sort of like a play of salt on chocolate and what that does to your taste buds.  I really enjoyed it and will seek this chocolate out due to the intense flavor it delivered!

 

I always look at boxes and their worth is also measured by what I can make with them and this item along with the following two, I was able to create a meal and still have left-overs.  That is what makes a subscription box worth it to me and Heck That’s Hot provided quality products that go beyond just a few dips with a chip, put jar in the fridge to just throw it out 2 weeks later.  We actually enjoyed cooking with what was provided in the box!

 

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Julia’s Sassy Dip Mix in Chipotle Seasoning-

It’s a dip, a mix to even a spice packet.  The seasonings provide a base that can be used in sauces, combined with meats to even making spreads.  This allows me to use the product more than once and that is more bang for your buck!  I found blue corn taco shells that just again was adding something new to the everyday rotation.  We have had blue corn chips but never taco shells, and it’s hard finding something not enhanced with dyes, so you bet I grabbed them when it was just simple blue corn.  I had fresh ground chicken and beef in the fridge, so I made Tacos using Julia’s Sassy Dip mix.  I tasted the seasoning and it was a little sweeter than I desired, so I just added more chipotle flakes and powder.  Some red Anaheim Chilies, onion and you simply brown each meat in a separate pan.  That simple.  I love how easy it was to make!

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Habanero Pepper Salsa From Hell in Beyond Hot- 

I prepared myself and I love Habanero to the point I use the actual pepper to make a Habanero Rice.  Everyone thinks the orange little pepper is just an innocent sweet pepper and then it just hits you.  Habaneros have great flavor and are very versatile when cooking.  I got tired (bored really) of jalapenos that tasted so mild anymore because it’s hard to find spicy jalapenos.  We opened the jar and it smelled spicy, like it kicked my nostrils with the heat but once the jar was opened for over a minute, the intensity in smell went away.  We tasted and the base is very tomato-y like sort of the notes you get from a jar of canned plum tomatoes and paste.  Then comes the vinegar and then the slight heat.  The salsa has flavor but not intense in Habanero, so it’s workable.  I worked it into some rice and it was perfection because my Husband did feel the vinegar was more intense than the heat.  A 1/4 cup of the salsa I added to the water, after frying the rice with veggies and chilies and 22 minutes later…..Spanish rice that has some heat but pairs perfectly and does not overpower the dish.

 

 

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Bravado Spice Co. Ghost Pepper and Blueberry Hot Sauce-

I know…..what!  I thought the same when I saw this sauce but I’m always open to tasting new foods.  I checked out the ingredients and you have Blueberry, Raspberry, Vinegar, the Ghost Pepper and then just salt and pepper.  That is all!  I start thinking how people mix pineapple with pork, and then add heat via chilies.  I make and eat that, so why not give this a chance?  First I tried the sauce on a chip and it’s hotter than the Habanero Salsa above.  I love Ghost Pepper but feel the poor pepper is misused and mostly there for name than flavor.  The Bravado Spice Co., did not leave the Ghost Pepper behind and did it justice by adding flavor.  Think of the fruit as base, there for texture and to control the bitter notes peppers to even vinegar can give.  It off-sets the heat just a bit and keeps everything in check.  This sauce would be great to marinate shrimps with, like a ceviche.  Great for a dressing in a Mexi-style salad but I think it shines best with lighter meats like poultry and fish.  I’m thinking Tilapia tacos next time and I may even crust them with blue corn by just grinding the taco shells that came broken in the box (there is always 1 or 2 that never make it whole).  Great sauce and I am open to trying that Pineapple one on a smoked pork butt sandwich.  I added some to our chicken tacos this time!

 

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Ass Kickin’ Habanero Popcorn-

Yee-haw!  I don’t usually eat popcorn from a microwave bag but that donkey is mocking me.  I have not popped this baby yet but will be this weekend.  It’s movie night, I got a free RedBox code, so I’m set.  It’s even raining in California, so things could not be better.  It’s Habanero and it takes the boring out of poppy corn any day.

 

Retail Price Point: They have two box sizes to choose from with the lowest $20 and then a larger $30 sized box.  Shipping is always free, so you pay on a monthly basis the price above and that is all.  You also have the freedom to cancel your subscription, so Heck That’s Hot is not your gimmicky company that has hidden charges or trying to bog you down with long term commitments.

 

Verdict:

Do I need one?  I know I always add something here to see where I land on purchasing an item but this is a must try.  Try a month, see what comes and see what you make.  That is how I think of boxes of this kind work and why some of us love them and others don’t.  I can say that there is enough in a box that makes the price point fair and then you think of weight and shipping, but wait that is included into the Heck That’s Hot price point.  That is where I see the worth because it gets delivered to your home and the items are full sized and the ones that are portion sized is enough to share.  No one gets left out, so you shouldn’t either and check-out a company that is bringing something different to the table.

Heck That’s Hot and their zesty connections at:

  • Wedsite
  • Facebook
  • Also, please make sure to check-out their FB page as they run contests for free gift cards, boxes, and so forth, all the time!!
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • #HeckThatsHot

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Heck That’s Hot.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Gurin: High Accuracy Digital Bathroom Scale ACS-100 #Review #DigitalBathroomScale

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Gurin High Accuracy Digital Bathroom Scale with 4.3″ Display and Step-On Technology

There is one product that everyone absolutely needs this time of year, but no one thinks about. A scale. With all the rich comfort foods, sugary desserts, and appetizers, my bikini body can go “poof” in a New York minute. And I worked very hard on it, so you better believe I’m tracking every calorie and pound. What better way to do that than with this stylish, tempered-glass digital beauty from Gurin? Why can’t a scale look snazzy too?

Retail Price Point: $23.50 via Amazon

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It feels solidly built enough that I’m not terrified to step on it. Hubby either. This Gurin ACS-100 is backlit, consistent and reliable, safe for up to 400 pounds. The 4.3″ LCD Screen can be viewed from any angle, even in the dark! With “Step-On” technology it’s a cinch to operate. And best of all, it runs on AAA batteries, which, yes, thank heavens, are included.  Four precision sensors means an accurate reading the first time, and every time. We compared side by side with our previous scale that cost nearly twice as much. We got the same reading time after time.

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I’m loving this new scale. And I’m loving how it looks, even if it doesn’t always deliver the news I want. Specifically, that cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and stuffing are not calorie free and as we’ve established, this Gurin ACS-100 doesn’t lie.

Start 2015 with a Gurin scale!  The scale comes with the Gurin Satisfaction Guarantee and a 2-year warranty.

 

Connect with Gurin and their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Gurin.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

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