Sonoma Soap Company Collection Product Review

I love, love, love the fall and winter months. One of my favorite things to do during this time of the year (aside Sonoma Soap Company product reviewsfrom visiting family and vegging out on the couch next to a cozy fire) is shopping for products that are themed for the season.

This product review features a collection of beauty products brought to you by Sonoma Soap Company. Sonoma is a brand that offers wonderfully fragranced natural products for the body and hair. Each one of their products is made with you and the environment in mind.

For my review, I received not one product, but six from Sonoma that were used over the course of the two weeks (happily). In the box was a bottle of their shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, hand and body lotion, bubble bath, and body gel. Each product was amazing and left me feeling soft, clean, and smelling fresh. I was actually very impressed with the smells, the results, and I would recommend Sonoma Soap Company to all.

Sonoma Soap Company Products:
Sonoma Soap Company Citrus Medley Shampoo Product ReviewCitrus Medley Shampoo – A beautiful aroma of fresh Sonoma citrus grove that will leave you wanting more…. The shampoo has so many wonderfully combined scents of pink grapefruit, sweet orange, green tangerine, spearmint, bucchu, and certified organic extracts; all in this gentle Citrus Medley Shampoo. As well as the ingredients above, each shampoo features nut shell extract, which is a traditional Indian hair remedy that provides added moisturization.
SIZE: 12 oz.
PRICE: $9.95
IDEAL FOR: All hair types

Sonoma Soap Company Natural Daily Conditioner First Crush Product ReviewNatural Daily Conditioner (First Crush) – Amazing results after the first use…. My hair felt so nice, soft, vibrant, and healthy looking. I loved the smell and it blended so nicely with the Citrus Medley Shampoo. Natural Daily Conditioner First Crush savors the 100% natural aroma of freshly crushed certified organic grape seed, red raspberry, and green apple extracts. Each formula is also pH balanced with precision and formulated with a natural vitamin complex to promote shine (and that it does).
SIZE: 12 oz.
PRICE: $9.95
IDEAL FOR: daily use for all hair types

Sonoma Soap Company Foaming Hand Soap Product ReviewSonoma Natural Foaming Hand SoapCitrus Medley foaming hand soap will leave you feeling wowed by the extra softness your hands exhibit. Enjoy the fresh aroma, as with the shampoo, of pink grapefruit, sweet orange, green tangerine, spearmint, bucchu, and certified organic extracts. Each bottle is enriched with therapeutic botanicals and natural aromas reminiscent of Sonoma Valley that will naturally soothe your hands and your senses.
SIZE: 8.4 oz.
PRICE: $8.95
USE: wash slowly; savor the pure fragrance and deep luxury of the orange grove

Sonoma Soap Company product reviewsNow these are just three of the six items I received (also received: Bubble Bath, Lotion, and Bath Gel), but I can assure you that, if tried, it will be loved. I’m just delighted to know that the Sun Harvest here in Corpus sells them (yea!!!). I know that I am going to be purchasing some products in the Citrus Medley and First Crush scents again. I love the way each and every product made my skin, hair, and hands shine. Now, if you’re wondering just what my favorite product out of the whole bunch was, I couldn’t answer you; the reason, I love them all equally. Sorry all — I just can’t see making a choice between any of them. You’ll just have to try them out for yourselves to see.

If you’d like to check out more of what Sonoma Soap Company has to offer, please feel free to visit www.sonomasoapcompany.com. If you’d prefer to purchase your products locally, please visit the Sonoma Soap Company’s store locator page for more details.

Products provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure: this review was made possible by Sonoma Soap Company. I was given the opportunity to receive free products in order to give you my straight and honest opinion. Results may vary therefore; I hold no responsibility for those who disagree with my opinions.

Demeter Fragrance Collection Product Review

I’m really very excited about sharing some thoughts on a very cool collection. It’s something we all use, want Demeter fall harvest fragrance reviewsand need to make us feel and smell better… you guessed it — FRAGRANCES!

Demeter Fragrances are, by far, the most nature enhanced fragrances you’ll ever hear about or know about; I’ll tell you why. They have 250 fragrances inspired by real life objects. They have found use of those not so common smells and turned them into unique fragrances for the world to wear.

I was so impressed with the fragrances I received that I will no longer be buying “the norm.” Seriously — they have scents like: Laundromat, Sex on the Beach, Blueberry Muffin (for the kids), Patchouli, and more-more-more! I actually received Chai Tea (WOW!!!! My absolute favorite), Mulled Cider, and Cedar… the smells took me someplace back in time where the fragrance was strong in my memory. The fragrances really are that pleasant.

Demeter fragrance collection product reviewsOf the many good things I can say about Demeter fragrances; the one thing I’d like to mention is how perfectly practical this line is in terms of use. It’s practical in the sense that these fragrances can be worn every day. Forget having a special fragrance that only gets used on “special occasions”; use them daily, use them everywhere, use them in combination — they’re just perfect for everything!

As you just read, yes, you can use them in combination. With Demeter fragrances, you can actually combine scents to create your own. Because they have so many unique smells, you can splash any number of scents together and create a whole new, one-of-a-kind scent (all your own). I have been spraying and splashing the Mulled Cider and Chai Tea together and I love it… not to mention, I’m getting an awful lot of compliments about how great I smell throughout the day. Even people I’ve never met have come up to me and asked the “who Demeter Chai Tea fragrance product reviewmakes it” and “where’d you buy it” questions. After a quick Thank you, I tell them all about Demeter. This is usually about the time they start pulling out the pen and paper to jot down the Web address… it’s pretty funny but very enlightening at the same time.

You can’t forget the kids either. Demeter also has yummy smells that are perfect for the little princess in your home. So you say she likes Blueberry Muffins — great, you’ll find that fragrance on their site. Or how about Hot fudge Sunday? Now who wouldn’t want to smell like hot fudge Sunday? I know I would… yum! Think of all the followers you’d get with that smell (LOL). To put it simply, if you can imagine it, I’m sure they provide it! If not, I’m sure a little nudge to the home office about a particular smell can be requested. The possibilities are endless with Demeter Fragrances!

Demeter Mulled Cider fragrance product reviewIf you’re still considering what to get for those last minute stocking stuffers, Valentine gifts, birthday presents, and other gifts, you really should check out the official Web site (that’s www.demeterfragrance.com), shop around and purchase a few bottles yourself. Who knows what smells might excite you? But I can tell you this, with 250 fragrances to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something you want (or something you know a friend would drool over).

For more information on Demeter fragrances, please visit the Web site. You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Products provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure: Please note that I received product samples, for free, via Demeter Fragrances for the purpose of my review. This review is based on my experiences and may differ from others; therefore, I take no responsibility for anyone who feels differently. Please be aware that results may vary. Thank you.

Harvest Themed Products: The Dragontree Holistic Day Spa

Here’s yet another great harvest themed product worthy of sharing…

Pumpkin pro enzyme mask by The Dragontree - Product ReviewThe Dragontree Holistic Day Spa, out of Portland Oregon, is something to be desired as the products whisk you away to unforeseen territories of sanctuaries unknown. I deem this the perfect harvest themed product for those that crave their “spa time.”

From moisturizers to massage oils and therapy treatments to spa packages, you are sure to find something for that perfect someone this holiday season (or year around). The products may be a little pricy, but if you’ll take a moment to visit The Dragontree, you’ll see why.


Dragontree Day Spa pumpkin pro-enzyme face mask product reviewI received the Livia Pure Skin Care Pumpkin Pro Enzyme Masque… SOLD! My skin is still enjoying the effects and it’s been about seven days since my last application. Let me first say, I have never been one to use specific products when it came to cleaning my face; soap and water was always good enough, but now, well, let’s just say —  I’m spoiled and will not go back to the old soap and water bit again.

The scent is actually the first thing you’ll notice. It’s strong, yet pleasantly breathtaking. I actually had to tell myself to stop sniffing the bottle… I just couldn’t help it. The sweet smell of pumpkins lingered around my nose. Like a cartoon character, I was dragged to the bathroom, led by a string of fragrances pulling me at the nose. I was forced to try it.

Livia Pure Skin Care Pumpkin Pro Enzyme Masque has a retail price of $67.25 (plus applicable taxes and shipping). It has ingredients that will resurface even the most complex skin types and will nourish your skin down to the core; the deep layers of skin where the environment has plagued the vibrant textures that once were.

Pumpkin pro enzyme mask by The Dragontree - Product ReviewI did receive another product and, needless to say, I am thrilled to be recommending this to you. Using this masque has given me something that I hadn’t felt in a long time, long ago when I was younger… back when my skin was young; that vibrant, radiant looking skin I once had!

There are so many other products to choose from at The Dragontree that I can’t even begin to list them all. But the important thing to remember is that the products are well worth the look (and possible purchase).

For more information, visit The Dragontree online at http://thedragontree.com.

Product provided free to writer for reviewDisclosure: I was gifted with a few product samples, FREE, via The Dragontree for the purpose of this review. My opinions will always be my own and, sometimes, may not be the same as others therefore I claim no responsibility if there are those that disagree. Thank you.

How Do Your Favorite Shoes Stack up? Short-term and Long-term Health Effects of Popular Types of Shoes

High heels can do WHAT to your feet and ankles??!Do you have your long-term health and mobility in mind when you choose new shoes to add to your collection? Most people do not – and it’s not surprising that many of them will probably face foot problems due to excessive wearing of uncomfortable shoes or those with poor support. How do your favorite shoes stack up? Do you know if you are giving your feet and your body the support needed to stay healthy and strong?

Wearing your favorite shoes in moderation is probably okay if you find out that your preferred shoe style is not the best for your feet. If you wear the same kinds of trendy or fashion shoes very often without regard to comfort or support, you may start to experience foot problems earlier in life than you would if you wore more supportive shoes all the time. Consider these tips from podiatric experts who share the scoop on the best and worst shoes for your feet.

The Best and Worst Shoes and Long-term Health Effects of Each
Everyone has a favorite pair of shoes – that special pair to wear to a fancy occasion or the most comfortable pair to wear around the house, running errands, and everything in between. Find out if your favorite pair of shoes has any particular short-term or long-term health effects or problems on your feet.

“It’s really difficult to rank shoes because there are different situations that make the various shoes good or bad,” says Dr. Marlene Reid, spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

High Heels / Stilettos

Are stilettos and high heels bad for you? These red strappy stilettos are beautiful, but will they hurt your feet?“Women with high arches tend to be more comfortable in heels than flat footed women, but excessive use of heels causes many times the normal pressure on the ball of the foot and can cause stress fractures, inflammation of the ball of the foot, and even ligament ruptures at the joints of the ball of the foot, which can lead to hammertoes and dislocated joints. Constant heel use can also cause the Achilles tendon to become contracted and then make wearing flatter shoes difficult. Some women even fall off their heels and suffer sprained ankles!”
–    Dr. Marlene Reid, spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association

Red peep-toe high heels look hot, but what will they do to your feet and ankles over time?“When wearing these types of shoes, women are more likely to develop metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), blisters or ingrown toenails secondary to narrow toeboxes, suffer ankle sprains/fractures due to instability, aggrevate neuroma symptoms because they have a pointy/narrow toebox.”
(Rated stilettos and high heels 12th on a 13-point scale of 1-Best :: 13-Worst)
–    Dr. Melissa Hong, podiatric expert at Crystal Lake Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, LTD

“Wearing high heels, or stilettos, will change a person’s center of gravity. This will cause poor balance with strain and stress on other body parts, such as knees, hips, and the lower back. There is also a greater chance of spraining or breaking an ankle or foot bone if you fall.  In addition, there is more stress placed on the ball of the foot and this can cause a painful condition known as bursitis. The toes may be curled in a tight and narrow shoe toebox (front of the shoe) which can lead to blistering, corns, and calluses.  The shape of the shoe may also aggravate and worsen existing conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas (a pinched nerve).”
–    Dr. Robin Ross, podiatrist and New York State Podiatric Medical Association

High heels can do WHAT to your feet and ankles??!“High heels of any kind [can cause] shortened achilles/leg muscles, aggravation of bony problems like bunions, hammertoes… Can cause blisters, corns, calluses, neuromas, metatarsalgia, instability leading to ankle sprains or falls.”
–    Dr. Jane Andersen, Board Certified Podiatrist in private practice in Chapel Hill, NC

Platforms / Wedges Shoes
“Platforms / wedges shoes that don’t allow your foot to bend naturally can cause the tendons to be overworked and can cause tendonitis or inflammation and pain. Because they limit normal motion, people with arthritis may benefit from wedge shoes.”
–    Dr. Marlene Reid, spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association

These hippie style platform wedge shoes are a bit better for you than typical high heels...“This type of shoe tends to be better than a pointed heel because the weight-bearing sole is wider and therefore absorbs more shock. Any heeled shoe should be less than two inches.”
(Rated platforms and wedges 6th on a 13-point scale of 1-Best :: 13-Worst)
–    Dr. Melissa Hong, podiatric expert at Crystal Lake Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, LTD

“Platform, or wedges, are ‘in’ and come in all sizes and shapes. The higher the platform or wedge, the worse the center of gravity becomes when walking. A high platform or wedge may cause the individual to lose their balance and twist an ankle which may lead to chronic ankle instability or even a broken bone in the ankle or foot. It is important to make sure that the shoe material is made of cotton or a soft, supple leather. Plastic will irritate the skin and may dig into the skin causing blisters. Tight straps may feel like a tourniquet, as the day (or night) progresses, and the feet naturally swell over the course of the day and can become very uncomfortable, if not downright painful.”
–    Dr. Robin Ross, podiatrist and New York State Podiatric Medical Association

Boots with a Heel…


Non-Oily Makeup Remover: Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes Review

The day I found This is a product review of Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes.Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes, I think I gave up on ever searching for another non-oily eye makeup remover product. I have when my eyes feel greasy after taking off makeup, as it’s not a pleasant feeling to my skin and it makes reapplying makeup bothersome. I am thrilled to report that Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes are gentle on the skin, non-oily, and residue-free, not to mention they smell great!

I first started using Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes when I picked up a couple of packs on clearance at CVS back in the summer of 2007. That was one of my greatest product finds to date. I used Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes daily to remove eye makeup, foundation, whatever. They always effectively lift the makeup from your skin without leaving any unpleasantness. Skin remains soft, smooth, and hydrated.

This is a product review of Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes.I trusted Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes enough to use them on my wedding day and all throughout my honeymoon. The light and gentle fragrance still reminds me of those joyous occasions to this day when I use the makeup remover wipes even now, two and a half years later. The fragrance is delicate, clean, and pleasant, though I can’t quite put my finger on the ingredient responsible for the pleasant scent.

Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes are ophthalmologist tested, dermatologist tested, allergy tested, and free from alcohol. The cloths are soft and gentle on your skin, making them suitable for everyday use. Perhaps best of all, the wipes even remove waterproof mascara flawlessly with a few swipes.

I bought a bunch of the refill packs and simply resealed the opening each day after use. Neutrogena does have a plastic case available with this product in some stores. Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes come in sets of 25 wipes, which could last you about a month in most cases. The wipes are very large, so if you are removing only eye makeup, you can easily cut them in half to extend your use. Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes run about $5 – $8 for a pack of 25 wipes. You can find them in your favorite drugstores and retailers like Target and Walmart, or order them online at Amazon.com.

Experience Luxury with Juara Skin Softening Series: Candlenut Body Polish

What a delightful, sensational experience! Juara’s Candlenut Body Polish is a creamy concoction offering a nutty scent that is pleasant to smell. You can find it on a variety of Web sites including Amazon.com.

Consider this product review of Candlenut Body Polish by Juara.I received a 6.75 ounce container for the purposes of reviewing it for lifelovebeauty.com. While you might not agree with my feelings about this product, I am being as honest here as I can. I honestly did not like the scent of this product as I opened it to receive my first whiff. However, something about using it in a warm, steamy shower changed all of that for me.

Consider this product review of Candlenut Body Polish by Juara.As you might already know, fragrances have three notes to them – top, heart, and base. While this product is not a fragrance per se, it did incorporate one into its chemistry. The first note is the one that assails the olfactory senses as it interacts with the human skin. I absolutely fell in love with this heady, nutty scent as I began to gently scrub my body with this Candlenut Body Polish.

This is a product review of Juara's Candlenut Body Polish.As the top note dissipated, the heart note began to garner my attention, making me absolutely fall in love with it. The base note remained on my skin throughout the day, creating a pleasant reminder of this spa-like experience.

The body polish feels a bit gritty as most do when I first apply it to the skin. However, as I gently rubbed it on using a circular motion, the grittiness became intertwined with a silky-soft feel.

One of the most pleasant aspects of Juara’s Candlenut Body Polish that I enjoyed is the feeling my skin enjoyed directly after continuing all through my day. My skin actually felt alive. Yes, I know this sounds silly, but my skin felt refreshed and invigorated.

The clean, nutty scent of the body polish clung to my skin, which felt soft and silky from the very first time that I used this product. Perhaps this is so because it is winter and my skin has been rather dry. Product provided free to writer for reviewHowever, I believe that I am so pleased with the results that I am going to continue using this delightful gift from the beauty goddesses. I feel like I am in beauty heaven!

Do Suave Professionals Hair Styling Products Work as Well as Sebastian Products?

For most of my adult life, This is a comparison of Suave Professional line and Sebastian products.I have been in search of a terrific hair styling product to hold my long, thick, curly, sometimes frizzy hair without leaving it sticky or stiff. I wanted a product that I could use that wouldn’t flake and that would smell better than paint thinner. I know that lots of women do not use hair spray, but having grown up in a home where my mother used hair spray every day of her life, I got used to the idea of using it to control my unruly locks — at least on those occasions when I was leaving my home temporarily.

Over the years, I relied on my mother’s tried-and-true hair spray product, Aqua Net, until I eventually started using whatever I had a coupon for. Therefore, when I got the chance to try and compare Sebastian with Suave Professionals, I jumped at it. Good thing for me that my one daughter is off at college, because when I happened to mention this assignment, I thought she was going to reach her hand through the phone and grab my Sebastian Super Shaper Hairspray. Apparently, the name meant something to her even though I had never heard of it before now.

This is a comparison of Suave Professional line and Sebastian products.Anxious to get started, I began to read the tiny words printed all over the six bottles of wonderful hair styling products that I had received. I read the advertisements claiming that I could get salon-proven performance with Suave Professionals. After my youngest daughter’s reaction, I rather doubted these claims. However, after using all five Suave products on separate occasions as well as the Sebastian product, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not an empty claim.

I started with the Sebastian Super Shaper Hairspray, Shpritz Forte in the Power Hold mist 8.5 fluid ounce size. While it offered a powerful hold, I honestly did not notice a big difference between Suave products and the Sebastian product, which by the way, happens to be a discontinued product that is no longer available through the company. I did experience some initial trouble with the nozzle on the spray. Instead of spraying in a fine mist, the product came out in a stream. Maybe it is supposed to do this, I don’t really know. Unfortunately for me, even though I tried to distribute the Power Hold mist through my hair evenly, when it dried, it left white globules all over my hair. Despite this fact, Sebastian Shpritz Forte provided excellent hold in a big way.

Next, I tried the Suave Professionals Freeze Hold Aerosol Hair Spray (Shaping and Finishing Spray) in an 8.5 fluid ounce size. It provided hours of excellent control and a firm hold, helping to control the errant fly aways that are so common with curly hair. I thought that it worked just as well as Sebastian Super Shaper Hairspray. Despite the fact that this one is an aerosol and less environmentally friendly, I did like the way that this one smelled best out of all six products. Plus, it is easy to touch up any spots that I miss the first time around when I use this spray. It is important to apply this one to dry hair at least 10 to 12 inches from your hair and to spray it evenly.

I also liked the Suave Professionals Extra Hold Non-Aerosol (Shaping and Finishing Spray) in the 8.5 ounce size that provided excellent all-day hold for style and control. This one comes out in a fine mist with a strong yet pleasant smell, giving a firm hold without looking like I just glued my hair together.

The Suave Professionals Freeze Hold Non-Aerosol Hair Spray (Shaping and Finishing Spray) 8.5 fluid ounce is quite…


Mardi Gras Party Food Suggestions and Recipes

Try these tasty homemade beignets with this easy recipe to make them at home. Photo and recipe by Cafe du Monde.If you are planning a Mardi Gras party, your menu and party food ideas should be at the top of your priorities. Mardi Gras party food can be as basic or as elaborate as you’d like, and beginners have just as good a shot at creating the perfect Mardi Gras party menu as the experts. Simply decide what you would like to serve at your Mardi Gras party, gather the ingredients, and get cooking!

“The tradition of colorful beads and elaborate parades now stretches from New Orleans, Louisiana to all across the country. Mardi Gras is one of the fastest growing celebrations in the world and a great excuse to enjoy Cajun flavors. Ingredients such as shrimp, and bread pudding, and Louisiana yams are all representative of this unique cuisine. Everyone assumes that Louisiana food is hot and spicy, but I prefer to call it ‘well seasoned.’”


Prepare to host the party of a lifetime with perfect decorations and a star-studded Mardi Gras menu. Consider these Mardi Gras party food suggestions and recipes to help you plan your Carnival party.

Mardi Gras Food Suggestions
Depending on the amount of time you have and your own creativity, the food possibilities at your Mardi Gras party are virtually limitless. Baton Rouge based cookbook author of the trim&TERRIFIC cookbook series Holly Clegg offers the following Mardi Gras party food recipes from her latest book, trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites.

Mardi Gras Salad Recipe
“Get in the spirit with this festive salad of oranges, bacon, carrots, red onions, and green spinach representing Mardi Gras colors with a delicious slightly sweet dressing,” says author Holly Clegg. “Make the dressing ahead of time, have the salad ingredients ready to mix together, and toss when ready to serve.”

Makes 8- 10 servings

Try this colorful Mardi Gras salad featuring the traditional colors of Carnival. Photo and recipe by Holly Clegg.Ingredients:
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head red tip lettuce, washed, drained and torn into pieces
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach, washed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup shredded carrots
4 slices center cut bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

Instructions:
1.    In a small bowl, whisk together onion, vinegar, sugar, mustard and olive oil.
2.    Refrigerate until ready to toss salad.
3.    In large salad bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, red onion, mandarin oranges, carrots and bacon.
4.    Toss dressing with salad when ready to serve.

Terrific Tip: Cook bacon in the microwave for crispy bacon without the fat. Drain on paper towels after cooking. Center cut bacon is a better choice to use.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe
“Of course, the best jambalaya is prepared in huge black cast iron pots, but here’s a quick home version that is equally good,” shares Clegg. “I used chicken and sausage but add pork or ham, if desired. This Louisiana favorite serves as a great family one-dish meal or is perfect for a large crowd.”

Makes 6-8 servings

For an authentic New Orleans dish, try chicken and sausage Jambalaya. Photo and recipe by Holly Clegg.Ingredients:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
14 ounces reduced fat smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
2 cups chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups canned beef broth
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Instructions:
1.    In large pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken over medium heat until done, turning constantly.
2.    Remove and set aside.
3.    In same pot, coat with nonstick cooking spray and cook sausage until lightly browned.
4.    Remove and set aside.
5.    Coat the same pot with nonstick cooking spray and sauté onion, pepper, and garlic until tender about 5-7 minutes, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. This adds color to the jambalaya.
6.    Add rice, broth, chili powder, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper, browned chicken and sausage and bring to a boil.
7.    Lower heat, cover, and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25- 30 minutes.
8.    Uncover, stir in green onions, and continue cooking over medium heat another 5 minutes.

Terrific Tip: When sautéing the chicken and sausage, the brown bits that stick to the pan give the jambalaya the lovely brown color and will come up when the broth is added. A secret tip is some add a little Kitchen Bouquet for that rich brown color.

Shrimp, Corn, and Sweet Potato Soup Recipe & Beignets…


Tips for Planning and Hosting a Mardi Gras Party

Throwing a Mardi Gras party can be easier than you think!For an unforgettable party idea, host a Mardi Gras party during Carnival season or any time of year. Your Mardi Gras party can be as tame or as wild as you like, but you should be sure to focus on your Mardi Gras party food and beverages, party favors and decorations, and of course, music. Consider these tips for hosting a Mardi Gras party to help you give your soiree the right atmosphere.

As you plan your Mardi Gras party, remember to make yourself a checklist of things to do as well as a grocery list of all the items you need to buy for your food and beverage offerings. Get a few CDs or create an iTunes playlist of your favorite Mardi Gras music and don’t forget to decorate your home for the occasion. For an even more memorable Mardi Gras party experience, encourage your guests to dress up in the Mardi Gras colors or ask everyone to wear a Mardi Gras mask to the party.

Consider these tips on hosting a Mardi Gras party from party planning experts and those who have attended Mardi Gras in person. You can always add your own special touches, too!

Mardi Gras Party Decorating Tips
Make sure you decorate for your Mardi Gras party.Setting the right atmosphere for your Mardi Gras party is vital to the way your guests feel when they walk through the door. Decorate your home with lots of gold, green, and purple to give the right feel to your Mardi Gras party. Be sure to get masks, beads, balloons, and feather boas to further decorate if the spirit moves you. Take some advice from the party pros or make up your own Mardi Gras party decorations however you see fit.

“Décor of traditional purple, green and gold should be abundant not only for the home (tablecloths, streamers, etc), but for the hosts and guests, too,” says Don Miller of Harrison Leifer DiMarco Public Relations. “Most party supply stores carry Mardi Gras supplies.”

Holly Clegg, Baton Rouge based cookbook author, suggests decorating your party tables with traditional Mardi Gras accessories like colorful beads and festive masks. You can strew them about the table for a casual yet classy look.

“Buy an assortment of green, purple, and gold paper napkins to enhance your theme and ensure easy clean up,” Clegg adds.

Mardi Gras Party Food Suggestions
Often the food at any party becomes a point of memory for years to come. If you plan your Mardi Gras party menu in advance, you can likely get all the supplies you need to create an authentic New Orleans style spread. Gather your favorite southern and Cajun recipes and let the fun begin!

Some top Mardi Gras party food ideas include:
–    Crab and corn soup
–    Jambalaya
–    Gumbo
–    Red Beans and Rice
–    Crawfish
–    Shrimp Po’boys
–    King Cake
–    Beignets

“Cuisine is vitally important, even for the non-experienced cook there are some good, quick dishes you can buy in the supermarket like jambalaya, red beans and rice, etc.,” Miller shares. “Andouille sausage is easy to find in most areas. Finally, an authentic King Cake can be ordered online and delivered in time for the celebration, and according to tradition, the person who finds the plastic baby in his or her piece of the King Cake gets to host next year’s party. First time revelers from my party last year are very enthused about hosting this year’s party and have been talking about it for months! Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

Don’t forget the ingredients or mix for your Hurricane drinks!

Mardi Gras Party Music Tips and Other Party Tips…


Recyclable Shopping Bags to Help You Go Green – its-laS-tik by what’Surbag (Great for Mardi Gras!)

Whether you need a stylish bag to tote around groceries or a cute bag for all those last-minute dashing-out-the-door things Consider the its-laS-tic bag by what'Surbag as an alternative to paper and plastic shopping bags.you need to bring, its-laS-tik pouches and shopping bags by what’Surbag offer the most eye-catching patterns, colors, and designs around. What’s better yet – these bags totally stretch and conform to hold just about anything you’d want to bring with you to work, the gym, the store, the mall, on an airplane, or just about anywhere.

Make a point to go green this year and you won’t be disappointed. Reusable grocery bags have come a very long way from solid colors, straw-like textures, and awkward handles. They are designed to take the stress of heavy items you carry off your shoulders and arms by bearing the brunt of the weight in a very elastic, flexible, and durable bag. In fact, the bags bounce with each step you take.


Consider the its-laS-tic bag by what'Surbag as an alternative to paper and plastic shopping bags.Made of stretchy, flexible nylon and lycra blend, its-laS-tik pouches and shopping bags by what’Surbag are washable and they compress into very small sizes so you can take them along with you in your purse or other bag when not in use. They spring right back into shape and size when you need to use them again.

No matter what your sense of style and personality, you will be hard pressed not to find one if not several its-laS-tik shopping bags and totes to love. These reusable shopping bags come in countless colors and styles, from camouflage to shiny metallic and everything in between. These also strike me as a great alternative to the bridesmaid tote bag.

I received a beautiful tie dye its-laS-tik bag from the folks at what’Surbag, and it couldn’t be more fitting to my personality and sense of style. The vibrant colors of hot pink and yellow with a touch of orange are just the most fun hues for me to enjoy sporting anywhere I go. I find no matter how much of my stuff I pack into my cute pink bag, I still have room for whatever else, from a full sports bottle to gloves, tissues, 10 ounce bottles of body lotion, lip balm, my lunch, and so much more.

I honestly wish I had known about its-laS-tik by what’Surbag last year when my husband and friends and I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, you must first understand the importance of catching as many beads as you can from the floats passing by the parade route. We had bags to fill up with beads, but once the bags were full, that was it – you either had to stop catching them, wear them, or try to get a hold of another bag. Had we had a few of these its-laS-tik bags, I am sure our take-home amounts would have far exceeded the beads we got – although we did end up with hundreds of strands of beads by the time Mardi Gras concluded. Honestly – if you are going to Mardi Gras and want the best bag you can get to carry all your beads and throws, order yourself a couple of its-laS-tik pouches and shopping bags.

A really neat tie-in…. its-laS-tik and what’Surbag actually hail from New Orleans! Perhaps they used their knowledge of the Mardi Gras culture and customs to help come up with the design for their kickass bags. Who knows? What I can tell you is that they manufacture these stylish and reusable bags in a factory that was rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Not only that, but what’Surbag donates a percentage of sales to Hope House in New Orleans. So, you can own a stylish bag (or several!), go green for the planet, and contribute to a second great cause – alleviating suffering in the community via faith-based Hope House.

You can order its-laS-tik pouches and shopping bags at www.whatsurbag-usa.com/shopping. Product provided free to writer for reviewYou can choose from countless colors and patterns and a variety of sizes. Pouches are 5″x 9″ with a zipper and a wristlet ($11.99), medium bags are 12″ x 13″ ($14.99), and large bags are 15” x 16” ($24.99). You can also check out backpacks and other products by what’Surbag.

What to Wear for Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or a Mardi Gras Party

Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras can be an unforgettable experience. Just decide what to wear on Fat Tuesday!Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras is an amazing, unforgettable experience, and the outfits you decide to wear to the festivities should reflect that. From the colors of the New Orleans Saints to the traditional gold, green, and purple of Mardi Gras, you can coordinate your outfits with the colors of Carnival or you can choose outfits that you love. If you are wondering what to wear to Mardi Gras, or if you could use a few packing tips and fashion suggestions for Carnival, try these fashion suggestions from Louisiana natives.

What Colors to Wear for Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is perhaps best known for its gold, green, and purple hues, but black and gold combinations also tend to be popular due to the New Orleans Saints NFL team. LSU (Louisiana State University) is another popular local team whose gear Carnival-goers tend to sport. You can choose to wear any of these color combinations or simply wear your favorite colors and favorite clothing. Honestly, jeans and t-shirts or hoodies make excellent choices for most days you’ll spend there. You can also wear shorts or skirts weather permitting.

Wearing lots of green, gold, and purple is a Mardi Gras must!“Anything purple, green and gold is always a must have!” shares Mary Beth Romig of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. “A very popular shirt during Mardi Gras is a polo shirt from the New Orleans store Perlis. You can actually order them online.”

“With all the excitement with the Saints, and with Drew Brees as Bacchus the Sunday before Fat Tuesday, I think black and gold / Saints gear will be a must-have this Mardi Gras season too,” Romig adds. “For all things Black and Gold, the Black and Gold Sports Shop on Veterans Blvd is great. Also, the Drew Brees Finish Strong shirts are a popular choice right now.”

What to Wear for Comfort, Climate, and Weather at Mardi Gras
If you are from up north or anywhere that your winters are bitter cold, you’ll most likely enjoy the warmer climate when spending part of February in the South. The temperatures at Mardi Gras tend to be fairly mild, allowing you to get away with jeans and short or long-sleeve tops and sometimes even shorts or skirts, tank tops, and other warmer weather gear.

Be prepared for the elements. “Just in case it rains, cute rain boots are popular, along with Patagonia or North Face rain jackets,” Romig recommends. “Wear layers, because parades are an all day/evening event!”

Wear comfortable shoes. “From a native who has enjoyed scores of Mardi Gras celebrations, wear comfortable shoes,” says Tom Long of Thomas Long Corporate Communications. “You are on your feet for hours at a time.”

Wear layers. “New Orleans can be both warm and cool in late February,” Long says.

What to Wear on Fat Tuesday or at a Mardi Gras Party…


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Sexy Lingerie from Shirley of Hollywood

Sexy lingerie is perhaps the most intimate style of clothing that a woman can wear. And why not wear it? The full-bodied You can't go wrong with black lingerie by Shirly of Hollywood.sensuality and delicate femininity of intimate apparel is undeniably appealing. There is no doubt about the fact that sexy lingerie tantalizes, tempts, empowers, and caresses all at the same time. Wearing sexy lingerie can make a woman feel gorgeous, desirable, beautiful, powerful, appealing, confident, sexy, and oh, so much more.

Whether a man is buying his Valentine a few seductive pieces of flimsily-designed, see-through, skimpy lingerie or the woman is boldly selective a few tempting pieces to express her inner vixen, beautiful, hot lingerie is the direction to go this Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry about the cost either, since the gift is definitely worth the price ten times over.

Whether seduction is in the picture or you simply want to feel beautiful, I highly recommend treating yourself to a delicately-designed balconette and thong ensemble in pastel pink or a sexy red outfit that leaves little to the imagination. If you are looking for something a bit less revealing, why not pick up a form-fitting, body-smoothing corset in your favorite color.

Consider sexy lingerie to spice up your love life.Even when no one can see my lingerie, just the simple fact that I feel the soft fabric caressing my body while it shapes and offers a smoothing effect is enough to enhance my mood for the day. Try it and discover the empowering effect of a bit of finery that has been designed to barely cover what the sun does not shine on.

While you can purchase sexy lingerie in almost any fine department store along with linger boutiques across the globe, I recently discovered the line of Shirley of Hollywood to be attractive and alluring. Offering exceptionally fine fabrics to daring styles, Shirley of Hollywood features a wide variety of collections that cater to an assortment of lingerie tastes.

I received two adorable baby doll sets from their H.O.T. Collection. Designed as a one-size-fits-all ensemble, both baby dell sets were crafted in sheer fabric, trimmed in ribbon, and adorned with sequins. The straps are adjustable, a nice feature; and the panties feature that ever-popular style of a G-string. Currently, Shirley of Hollywood is featuring a lacey, fringe baby doll with a halter neck. It is only available in white or black, but it is quite fetching. They have lots of other styles and colors as well.

The packaging for the H.O.T. baby dolls states that the one-size-fits-all style will fit women between the height of 5 feet and 5 feet, 10 inches. The suggested weight range is 90 to 155 pounds.

Sexy lingerie can ignite the spark in your marriage.Don’t be discouraged if this isn’t your sizing because Shirley of Hollywood’s “Intimate Attitude Collection” is perfect for the full-figured woman with a taste for sexy intimate apparel. They also offer pamper-perfect luxuries such as soft robes and spa products.

I also received a strapless, black corset featuring a hook & eye side closure, waist-slimming lace-up back, ruffled front, ribbon trim, body-controlling boning, and G-string panties. Talk about creating a sizzle! Even if you haven’t indulged in sexy lingerie before now, it is an experience that every woman should try.

From charming see-through baby dolls to lacey corsets to fishnet stockings to camisoles to bras to panties to bustiers and more, Shirley of Hollywood’s lingerie collections have something to offer everyone in a delightful array of colors and styles. Create the whole package and purchase an expensive bottle of perfume to go along with the lingerie.

Products provided free to writer for reviewFor a look at some of the latest lingerie styles, visit Shirley of Hollywood Collections.