Fast & Easy Shopping at Walmart.com

It is so fast and easy to get what you need, shipped right to your door (or right to the store) at Walmart. Here is my recap! More »

Yummy Chocolate Covered Strawberry Recipe

I love fruit and I love chocolate, so I amped up the deliciousness in this yummy cream-cheese filled chocolate covered strawberry recipe. More »

Delicious Leftover Recipe Ideas

Looking for some delicious recipes that use your everyday leftovers? Here are some yummy ideas that your family will love! More »

J. Hilburn Custom Menswear

I designed a custom-made shirt for my husband for Easter! It turned out so neat, and there are a lot of things to love about this shirt... More »

March 2015 Glossybox Beauty

Glossybox March 2015 Sample Spoiler

I received this box complimentary of Glossybox. Post contains affiliate links.

March Glossybox 2015

Ahhh, I just love getting these little pink boxes filled with goodies in my mailbox each month! It’s seriously like receiving a birthday gift, every single month :) This month was no different, and I’m so excited to share the details of March’s GLOSSYBOX with you guys!

These little pink boxes are packaged so cute. Wrapped in baby pink tissue paper and ribbon, and packed with care! Each month offers five luxury beauty products for you to try out, and only costs $21 for a Monthly Subscription!

Are you ready to take a peek inside??

March 2015 Glossybox Beauty

March 2015 Glossybox Samples

  1. Ouidad Color Preserving Shampoo & Conditioner – This specially formulated shampoo and conditioner set works to prevent color fading, and it also helps to remove mineral deposits and build-up that may cause stripping of your hair color. (Retail: $10.00 each)
  2. So Susan Cosmetics Concealer Quad - This concealer palette offers coverage for your blemishes and under-eye circles no matter what your skin tone. The heat of your fingers even softens the formula of this concealer to blend with your skin. (Retail: $30.95)
  3. Bellapierre Cosmetics Cheek&Lip Stain in Pink – This pink stain is made to work both on your cheeks and your lips for a beautiful, rosy glow. I personally love using this on my lips, it provides a great shade that lasts! (Retail: $19.99)
  4. ModelCo More Brows Eyebrow Thickening Gel – Youthful looking eyebrows are the ones that look full and well-groomed. This product helps provide shape and fullness, just brush through and allow to dry for 60 seconds! (Retail: $18.00)
  5. Orogold Cosmetics 24K Multi-Vitamin Day Moisturizer - This lightweight moisturizer has become one of my favorites for providing hydration to my dry, winter skin. It contains antioxidants, vitamins, and you’re not going to believe this, but actual 24 karat gold. (Retail: $178.00)

——————

As always, I love looking at the overall value of my monthly box. Adding together the retail values of these items, it’d come in at over $256! Plus, I got to try out these high-end products for only $21 a month. And I haven’t had to buy cosmetics in a long time because these luxury samples actually last me a long time!

If you haven’t tried Glossybox, I highly recommend it. I absolutely love getting to try out these samples each month without spending an arm and a leg!

GLOSSYBOX is running a promotion right now too, where you can receive a free Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics loose colour concentrate in smote (this is seriously one of my favorite eye products, color and all!) It shimmers and shines and just looks gorgeous on the eyes. Just use promo code OCCSMOTE at checkout to get it! Trust me, you’ll love it.

Check back next month to see what the April box has in store! :) I can’t even wait!!

Hearts,
Sarah

Victoria Jackson Makeup Review

Victoria Jackson Cosmetics: Makeup Essentials

I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of Victoria Jackson® and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Victoria Jackson Makeup ReviewI absolutely love trying out new makeup, with all the new options out there it’s great to be able to experiment and find something that you love. When I recently tried out Victoria Jackson Cosmetics, I was really impressed with not only the quality of the makeup but the easy application. It’s been a great option for my everyday beauty routine because it offers a quick but effective process!

They sent me the essentials of what I typically use everyday; foundation, bronzer, blush and mascara. First off, the appearance and packaging of the makeup was impressive! It has that very high-end look and feel, but it’s not as expensive as you’d think!

Victoria Jackson Bronzing PowderVictoria Jackson Blush Victoria Jackson Foundation Duo Victoria Jackson Lush Mascara

For fun (and don’t judge the photo on the left…) I did a before and after of a super basic application I did for a bridal shower this weekend. As you can see, the foundation gives a great coverage, but it’s not too cakey where it looks unnatural. And the bronzer is perfect for a sunny glow, and of course a little blush on the apples of your cheeks always makes the world of a difference.

Victoria Jackson Makeup Before and AfterWhat I really love about the foundation duo is that it comes with two tones, so I use the lighter hue for a highlighter and concealer, and the darker hue for coverage and subtle contouring. It’s nice to have the two in one, and it’s so nice that a little bit seriously goes a long way. I just had to dip my beauty blender lightly once or twice in the palette and it did the trick. No need to go overboard, a light coat is perfect!

Victoria Jackson Cosmetics

Victoria Jackson Cosmetics is all about letting your natural beauty shine, so they call their makeup the “No Make Up, Make Up®”. And it’s how it feels when it’s on too, it doesn’t feel thick or heavy at all. As a company, they also aim to help women achieve inner confidence through exterior beauty – because when you feel beautiful, you feel confident, and you should. You are beautiful!

Now, let’s talk about a beauty bargain. Right now, Victoria Jackson® is offering readers an exclusive 25% discount on their entire website when you use promo code “LOVEVJC“. (Valid until April 4, 2015)

You can shop their website here, and get your beauty essentials! My absolute favorite product, if you can’t guess by now, was the foundation duo but I loved all the powders as well. A little bit goes such a long way with these cosmetics, and I know they’re going to last me a long time!

Have you tried Victoria Jackson Cosmetics before? Which products do you love? Leave a comment below! And don’t forget to check out Victoria Jackson® on their social media channels:

Until next time,
Sarah

How to save money on baby

How to Save For Baby: Plus, 28 Week Update

How to Save Money on Everything Baby Related

Time has been flying by lately. I don’t know if it’s because of this gorgeous weather or what, but I am loving it! It’s been nice to finally open up the windows and let the fresh air flow through the house. Plus, it’s ignited a cleaning spark in me, or I could be nesting. Who knows these days. All I know is that I have a clean house and it feels great!

In the meantime, we’re at 28 weeks (hello, 3rd trimester!) this week and we’re starting to get into the nitty gritty details of everything that needs to get done before baby comes. The nursery is all set for decorating and preparing now, we have finished painting, re-carpeting, adding custom shades, and setting up all the furniture. So, now it’s just the little details – which is a little bit of a relief!

We’ve been researching baby names and have come up empty, I’m hoping that changes soon because I feel so ill-prepared without at least a few names on-deck… Eek!

How to Save Money with a Baby

Alright, well as promised in the title, today I wanted to share some money-saving tips for having a baby. I’ve been trying to get prepared and get things ready lately without spending a whole lot, and I’ve learned a few things along the way!

    1. Know what you’re looking for when buying diapers – I found a great chart from BabySavers.com that told me how much of each diaper size I should stock up on, and that’s been handy as I shop. Here’s what she recommends:
        • Size 1: 10 jumbo packs
        • Size 2: 15 jumbo packs
        • Size 3: 35 jumbo packs
        • Size 4: 35 jumbo packs
        • Size 5: 0-5 jumbo packs
    2. Stockpile diapers when they’re on sale - This has been my saving grace for the last couple months and I know I will thank myself later. By taking advantage of store sales (namely CVS and Target) I’ve been able to stockpile a good number of diapers so far. Look for gift card deals at Target (such as buy two packs of Huggies and get a $10 gift card) and stack that with manufacturer coupons (which you can find online or in newspaper inserts on the weekend, or in previous packs of diapers) and store coupons for the maximum savings.At CVS, I watch for Extra Care Bucks deals, where you get something like $10 ECB when you buy $30 or more Huggies products. Use manufacturer coupons and any red box coupons to maximize your savings here. Typically, I aim to pay about $2.50 or less for the smaller packages of diapers, and $10-12 for a box.
    3. Browse thrift stores and consignment stores for clothing - There is no sense purchasing brand new infant items because they get worn for such a short period of time, they just barely get used! Thrift stores are packed full of items that are barely worn, and you’ll pay a fraction of the cost that you would if you’d purchase new. The same thing goes for maternity clothing, it takes some digging to find the cute stuff, but trust me it’s out there!
    4. Thing ahead to the things you will need – I am a huge deal hunter, so when I see things on clearance that I know will come in handy at a later time, I buy them. For baby, this has meant outfits for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. Think ahead to what their size will likely be at that time, and go for it! This is especially helpful for Halloween costumes…
    5. Check on what your insurance will cover – I was surprised to hear that a breast pump would possibly be covered by my health insurance, but sure enough when I called, they said it was covered 100%! That saves me around $350, which is huge! I’ve also read that some insurances cover childbirth classes, and possibly even prenatal exercise classes – mine doesn’t, but it doesn’t mean that yours won’t!
    6. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family – If there are things you need, it’s okay to mention it to friends and family, they might have those items that you need that they don’t use anymore. This might include things like a walker, a play mat, or even old clothes (if they’re not saving them for another child). Remember everything has a price though, so be sure to offer some sort of compensation to show you appreciate their generosity.

Do you have any more tips to add? Leave a comment below! You’ll be helping out fellow moms near and wide :)

Sarah

MN Red Dress Event

Minnesota’s Red Dress Collection Event

There is a local event coming up that I just had to share with you guys. It’s called the Red Dress Collection and it pairs local designers along with local celebrities to give you a fun and exciting fashion show! There will be both male and female models, sporting great red garments designed by local talent. All proceeds from ticket sales, silent auction and donations will benefit the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” program. It’s a great event with no doubt, a great cause.

MN Red Dress Event

Image Credit: Red Dress MN

When: March 7th, 2015 at 7:00pm
Where: Loews Hotel (downtown Minneapolis) 601 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55403
What: Black Tie Event/Fashion Show for a Cause
How: Get Tickets Here!

Beyond the fashion show (which is obviously the main event) there will be a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and some neat pop-up shops!

For the silent auction, come prepared to bid on some great packages like autographed sports memorabilia, tickets to Wild or Timberwolves games, private photography sessions, couples massages, a tour of Caribou Coffee Roastery, and lots more.

Last but not least, the night will end with a very special performance by Kat Perkins (as seen on “The Voice”)! I was looking through the list of designers and local celebrities and it’s a great-looking list! Here are a few of the ones that popped out to me:

Designers:

  • Christopher Straub
  • Thom Navarro of TIM+THOM
  • Laine Sou Weinberg of KOKOON

Local Celebrities:

  • Kat Perkins (The Voice)
  • Liz Collin (WCCO)
  • Falen Lambert (KDWB)
  • Todd Walker (FOX 9)
  • Stephanie Hansen (MyTalk 107.1)
  • Kim Pominville (Wife of MN Wild player, Jason Pominville)

I was fortunate enough to be invited to cover the event, so I’ll be live tweeting and instagram-ing the event as it unfolds! It should be a very fun time!! I hope to see you there :)

Hearts,
Sarah

sarah carlson money saving

Easy Ways to Save Money – And Website Resource List

Today started out early! I woke up at 3am to get ready to go down to St. Louis Park for a couple live segments with WCCO (CBS) about money-saving tips and resources. I had to narrow it down to my top four of each category, which was tough because there is so much out there! But I managed, and hopefully gave some helpful tips.

First things first, I’m almost 26 weeks pregnant now and it was a long process for me to find something to wear for the segments. So far I’ve bought maybe 2 maternity tops, both of which I really don’t love, but they’re better than stretched out t-shirts which has been what I’m down to lately! It’s a frustrating ordeal, to go through your whole closet and not be able to find a single thing that you feel like you look good in. My husband saw my frustration and we made a late night trip to Target to see if we could find something to work. I took a few looks around and found nothing. He grabbed a few tops and said, “Let’s try some stuff on here!” Bless his heart. I ended up going with the blue Liz Lange one he picked out.

sarah carlson money saving

Alright, so back to the topic at hand; money-saving. Here’s the first segment, in case you missed it: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/video/11173815-creative-ways-to-save-while-you-shop/

The second segment didn’t make it up on their website so you’ll just have to keep reading to find out my four favorite deal websites. Here’s what I outlined in my interviews…

Easy Ways to Save Money

Practical Ways for Mom to Save Money

1. Think Ahead - Instead of shopping for what you need right now (which is when you end up paying full price), purchase items that you know you’re going to need when you see them at a low price. For example, if you see a great deal on shampoo/conditioner, buy a few! You’ll need them soon enough and you’ll be glad you have back-ups when you run out, plus you’ll pay much less when you find them on sale (and use coupons to lower your cost even more)!

Personally for me lately, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for diaper deals. I’ve created a little stockpile of diapers ranging from sizes 1 to 4, and I’ve been able to get them for under $2.00 a package, or in some cases I’ve been able to score them for free! Watch for hot deals (such as save $10 when you spend $40, or get a free $10 gift card when you buy two, etc.) and then stack that with manufacturer coupons and/or store coupons to get the very best deal possible.

2. Shop Second-Hand – Kids go through things so fast that they barely get used sometimes. Everything from clothes, to toys, to movies… they obsess over things for short periods of time and then they just collect dust. These items often times end up at Goodwill, garage sales or stores like One Upon a Child where you can pay a fraction of the cost for something that’s barely been used.

3. Meal Plan - It only takes a few minutes each Sunday to sit down and flip through the weekly circulars. Jot down what’s on sale that week, and try to pair this along with things you might already have in your fridge, freezer or pantry. From there, get your coupons ready and head to the store to get your shopping done all in one day. This will not only save you time during the week (because who likes trying to scrape together something to make at the last minute anyways?) but it also will save you money from having to run to the store and purchase random items at full price.

You don’t have to schedule your whole week either. If you make enough for leftovers, you can make Fridays your “Choose Night” where you all pick from something you already have made. It’s a win-win!

4. Utilize Coupons – Yes, it takes time to clip coupons but it is just worth it. I don’t put that much time into clipping coupons, maybe a couple hours a week? And that’s including cleaning out expired coupons and clipping/organizing new ones. I’ll plan my shopping around store deals and good coupons to get the best deals on items and when it’s a good price, I stock up! My hubby made me storage shelves last summer because I needed somewhere to put my extra ‘stock’. I don’t go crazy but when there’s a great deal, I’d rather buy 10 jars of pasta sauce at $0.20 each than buy one for $2.00 – am I right?

And you don’t have to limit your coupon use to groceries either. I regularly clip gas coupons, restaurant coupons, clothing store coupons, etc. They come in handy and the savings really adds up!

Top 4 Websites for Finding Deals

The second segment of the day, was focused on my favorite websites that I love to use for finding deals. These are a few of the sites that I visit regularly!

  1. Passion for Savings – Find awesome deals and coupon ideas to save big on things you need.
  2. Pocket Your Dollars - A local blogger, she posts hot deals ranging from Amazon, Menards, Cub, etc. to get you the best deals from all over the web and offline too.
  3. Money Saving Mom – She posts tips and advice for saving money, along with hot deals as they happen.
  4. Coupon Mom – Posts coupon match-ups for current deals. This site is a good one for those of you who have done some couponing before and know the basics.
  5. Hip 2 Save – This one I didn’t get to mention on-air, but I love her coupon deal videos she does and she updates her site frequently with hot deals as well.

If you haven’t noticed either, I have a Coupon Database on my site where you can search for specific coupons. This is so helpful and will save you a lot of searching when you’re looking for coupons for a certain deal. It tells you right where the coupon is (printable, or in a newspaper coupon insert) so you don’t have to do any of the hard work.

I hope these tips are helpful for you! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Hearts,
Sarah

GB Evoq Travel System Review

The All New GB Evoq 4-in-1 Travel System Review

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GB. I received a GB stroller to facilitate my review as well as thank me for my participation.

GB Evoq Travel System Review

There is so much out there when it comes to baby equipment. My husband and I have been looking at strollers, car seats, and travel systems for a while now and just could not find anything that impressed us. Then we had a chance to try out the new GB Evoq 4-in-1 Travel System – and it has totally won us over!

Let’s start from the top. My main concerns in searching for a stroller and car seat were that I wanted it to be first and foremost, safe. From there, I wanted it to be practical, lightweight, easy to use, and of high quality. I wanted to buy it once, and have something nice that would last me for a long time.

When the GB Evoq arrived from Babies ‘R Us, I was so excited to open up that box and see how it matched up with my expectations. As I pulled the items out of the box, I kept saying to my husband, “Oh my gosh, this is SO nice. It is all SO nice!” I was immediately impressed with the quality of the Travel System and all the careful attention to detail that they put into both the stroller and the car seat – and that was before I even got to test it out!

Now that I’ve gotten to feel my way around it, and learn how it all works, I’m even more impressed. I honestly don’t think a Travel System could get any easier. The simple installation made it easy to put it all together in less than five minutes and from there, all it takes is an easy click-click! for things to be set to go. That is key for me, because I don’t want to be messing around with latches, buttons, straps, etc. when I’m out and about. I just want it easy 1-2-3, ready to roll (no pun intended).

The GB Evoq Travel System Car Seat: Asana 35 Infant Seat

The first piece of the set that I tried out was the car seat (the Asana 35). Since this is the item that we’ll be using most, I wanted to make sure it was going to be a good fit for us. I was so impressed with the design of this seat, you can tell that it is top-of-the-line with all of the soft but ultra-secure padding and it’s durable but lightweight design.

GB Asana35 infant car seat

The Asana 35 has a “FirmFit” system that helps provide easier installation while still providing you with the peace of mind that your little one is well-protected, riding in one of the safest car seats available. And trust me, nothing means more to moms than knowing that your baby is safe and secure.

I am in love with this seat! It’s so easy to use and the base makes it easy to just pop the seat in, wait for the click lock, and you’re set. Plus, with the FirmFit Arm (which allows a tight, secure base installation every time) and the FirmFit Harness (which allows you to just pull the harness strap and it finds the correct setting for you), I know that my baby girl will be protected in every sense of the word.

GB Evoq car seat

Plus, in a matter of a couple clicks, the infant car seat pops right into the stroller for as long as your baby is in that seat. Picture this, you get to the store and baby is finally fast asleep. Do you wrench her out of her seat to put her in a stroller, wake her up, and deal with the crying that ensues? Well, you don’t have to. Now you just click the seat into the stroller and baby stays fast asleep for quiet and peaceful shopping trip. Oh, and see at the end of the handle, that little black circle cup holder? They’ve thought of everything – this is one of the simple but awesome details about this stroller! You can have your coffee, and push it too :)

GB Evoq Stroller Details

Fast forward a little over a year or so, and your little one has outgrown their infant car seat, now what? Well GB has thought of that too. The Evoq system comes with a toddler seat that is ready for the transition. With a simple click-click (see a pattern? These easy clicks are the best!) you can pop in the toddler stroller seat and you’re ready to go! Plus, you can set the seat to face you (for younger children) or face the world (for curious, older toddlers). Let’s move on to that, shall we? :)

GB Evoq Travel System – Stroller & Toddler Seat

GB Evoq Toddler SeatWith the reversible tilt toddler seat, you’re set for all stages of your child’s life from infant, to baby, toddler, and walking child, making this Travel System the only one you will ever need – just as I wanted!

I remember going to the mall last year with my niece and nephew for a Toddler Tuesdays event they had going on. One wanted to walk, one wanted to ride, and we acquired all sorts of baggage along the way. It was a miserable trip because the walker (my nephew) got tired and wanted to ride on the back – pulling the old stroller over backwards (made possible by the weight of the bags on the handle bar) and frustration ensued. But with the Evoq, this wouldn’t happen. With the large storage basket underneath, along with the glide-on step on the back, and sturdy structure – we wouldn’t have had an issue!

GB Evoq storage and glide on board

It’s the largest storage basket that I’ve ever seen on a stroller, and it doesn’t seem like it really takes up any more space on the stroller design! Plus, there’s lots of room above the storage basket which is half the battle of stroller storage. On the Evoq, it’s accessible. Huge win.

When it’s time to put the stroller back in the car, loading is as easy as pushing the lever on the handle forward, and folding it up. So easy, it literally takes a matter of seconds.

GB Evoq Stroller Easy FoldEasy GB Evoq Stroller Fold UpThis is another one of my favorite features – and it’s just as easy to unfold and set up again when you get to your next destination.

GB evoq easy to use levers

With all that being said, we are so beyond happy with the GB Evoq Travel System. It has everything I wanted and then some, plus it’s as nice as I could ever dream! Baby girl will be safe, secure, and comfortable – plus as a mom, I’ll have the ease-of-use and peace of mind which is worth every penny!

out for a stroll with GB stroller

You can now purchase the GB Evoq Travel System from Babies ‘R Us for $429.99, which as you can see is worth every penny. You can also connect with GB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well to stay up to date with all their latest and greatest!

Until next time!

Sarah

Luna visits chuck and dons giveaway

Luna Visits Chuck & Don’s – Plus, a Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Chuck & Don’s. All opinions are 100% my own.

Luna visits chuck and dons giveaway

Luna and I recently had the opportunity to take a little tour of the Maple Grove Chuck & Don’s pet store. We shop there pretty frequently for her food, but this time around we had the store manager, Liz, giving us a little look behind-the-scenes.

Chuck & Don’s opened their first store (in Eagan) back in 1990 with a mission to be the local destination pet supply store with superb customer service and a wide variety of products for their customers. Ever since, the store has been doing just that, and exceptionally well I might add! They go the extra mile for their customers (they’ll bring your pet food out to your car for you, because it’s heavy!) and they’re well-informed about pets, their needs, and how to care for them in the best way possible.

Not only was Liz super knowledgeable about pet needs and the store’s products, but Luna absolutely loved her as well! It was hard to get a picture of Luna sitting still because she was just wagging her tail and wiggling away, but I think this one captures how much she just loved Liz!

Luna loves Liz

Luna is now 2 years old and very high maintenance. She’s also incredibly smart, like, way too smart. We have to keep her entertained or she gets bored and gets pesty – I don’t think we’re alone in this either, as I’ve heard the same thing from my friends who are also pet owners. Well Liz gave her an Orbee-Tuff Snoop ball that Luna is now obsessed with!

This ball is amazing, you put little treats in it, and your dog has to try and wiggle them out but it’s not an easy task. I’ve tried several interactive treat toys with Luna before and she gets them all out in about 1 minute, but this one keeps her busy for at least 30 minutes! That is saying a lot, you don’t even know!

Interactive Dog Toys

She also gave her this cute, glow-in-the-dark Orbee-Tuff Cosmos dog toy that encases treats as well. This one’s a little easier to get treats out of, but Luna loves just carrying it around and throwing it for herself. And, Luna loves that it even has her name on it ;)

Luna dog treat ball

Store Locations

Now just because we went to the Maple Grove store, doesn’t mean that this is the only store around. There is actually a ton of Chuck & Don’s stores all around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado. If you happen to live in Minnesota (as I know a lot of you do!) here is a list of their current locations:

*Denotes offers grooming services as well

  • Blaine
  • Bloomington
  • Coon Rapids
  • Cottage Grove
  • Eagan
  • Edina
  • Elk River*
  • Forest Lake
  • Lakeville
  • Mahtomedi*
  • Maple Grove
  • Minneapolis (Calhoun and Northeast)
  • Minnetonka
  • Northfield
  • Plymouth
  • Red Wing
  • Roseville
  • St. Paul (Highland Park)
  • Savage
  • Shakopee
  • Wayzata
  • … and Hudson, WI for those of you near the border!

In Colorado, you can find several stores as well! Here are their locations there:

  • Aurora (Arapahoe Crossings)
  • Castle Rock
  • Denver (Cherry Creek)
  • Centennial (The Streets at SouthGlenn)
  • Highlands Ranch – New!
  • Lakewood
  • Littleton

There’s quite a few stores to choose from, as you can see. And there’s bound to be a store near you. Odds are, you probably drive past one on the way to work or school, or wherever you are headed these days!

Chuck and Dons Raw Pet FoodTheir Products

One reason customers love Chuck & Don’s is because of their extensive selection of raw pet food, as shown in the image above. They carry a large variety of options for all kinds of diets, because every dog is different especially in the intolerances they might have to certain ingredients.

They also have options for raw cat foods as well. Now we don’t have a cat, but since Luna just had to check out every square inch of the store, we wandered down that aisle as well. Apparently cat nip is an intriguing smell to a dog as well!

And since Chuck & Don’s is a pet store, and not just a dog store, they also carry food and supplies for other animals as well such as birds, cats, etc…

Pet Supplies at Chuck and DonsAnother thing that we love about Chuck & Don’s is that they often hold events at their stores, and they’re a lot of fun! They range from animal adoptions, to fashion shows, dog nose workouts, play parties, paw print crafts, seminars and even massages for people and pets! The list goes on and on, and varies depending on the holidays but there’s always something fun to do and you get to bring your pet! It’s a win, win – especially during these cold winter days. Sometimes you just need to get you and your pet out of the house and trying something new.

Shopping at Chuck & Don’s

Back during hunting season, the hubby was trying to find this special paw wax that he found with raving reviews online but he needed the next day. When I searched online, I found that Chuck & Don’s was one of the very few stores in the state that carried this product. He was able to stop in that morning before his hunting trip and purchase the wax right then and there. This was just the beginning of our positive experiences there!

They also sell toys, treats/chews, grooming supplies, beds/kennels/crates, cleaning supplies, training aids, collars and leashes, vitamins and supplements, wide varieties of food, and much more. I’ve found that if it’s something I can’t find at most places, I can usually find it at Chuck & Don’s.

Chuck and Dons products

Rewards Program – “Friends of Chuck”

Chuck & Don’s also has a rewards program, “Friends of Chuck” where you receive a quarterly rebate back to use kind of like a coupon on your next purchase. Our rebate that we get right now is around $5.00 which adds up! The rewards program also has a frequent food buyer program, a newsletter with coupons, receipt and product purchase look-up (in case you really loved that last treat you bought your pet but can’t remember what it was called!) and more.

A Few of Luna’s Favorite Things

I’m pretty sure our visit that day was one of the best days of Luna’s life. She was so pumped when we were there, and she was even more excited when she seen all the things that Liz had hand-picked for her. I already talked about the two Planet Dog toys that she loved, but here are some of the other items that Luna has made apparent that she also loves…

Fun gifts for your dog

Not pictured above is a Aussie Wild Eats 12″ Bully Stick which she would not let out of her site. She absolutely loved this thing, and it kept her busy for the rest of the day at home as well!

Luna loves bully sticks

The Bully Sticks are made from all natural ingredients, namely 100% free-range beef. They’re high in protein and USDA certified – plus, they even help your pup maintain healthy teeth and gums. I don’t think Luna cared about all this, she was just happy that it tasted good and that I was letting her carry it around!

As for the rest of her favorite things from Chuck & Don’s:

  1. Dirty Dog Doormat – This ultra-soft microfiber doormat soaks up 7X it’s weight in water and mud. Plus, it dries 5X faster than regular doormats! This has been great this winter when Luna comes in with wet paws from melting snow, and I’m especially looking forward to using it this summer when she’s in and out of the lake!
  2. Coral Slo-Bowl – If your pup eats too fast (which can sometimes cause bloat and regurgitation) then this bowl will be a hit. It’s interactive and fun, the dog has to chase his food through the maze which slows the eating process. It’s a win-win! Added bonus: it’s top dishwasher rack safe.
  3. Sojos Simply Beef - A local, Minnesota company (small cheer) creates these freeze-dried meat treats that dogs go crazy for! There are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors and they’re made with natural, quality human-grade meat.

Sojos simply beef dog treats

You can find all of Luna’s favorite things at – you guessed it, your local Chuck & Don’s :)

Now that you’ve made it this far, reading and such, you shall be rewarded. Chuck & Don’s has offered to give away a $20 gift card to put towards your next pet purchases; whether it’s food, toys, supplies, whatever! You’ll be that much richer with money in your pocket.

Gift Card Giveaway!

Enter to win a $20 gift card to Chuck & Don’s! Spend it on whatever makes your pet happy :) Must be a U.S. resident to win, ages 18 and up. Contest ends February 28th, 2015 at 11:59pm CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mommy Makeover 2

Hair & Makeover From Camille Albane Salon

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary makeover by Camille Albane.

Camille Albane Minnesota Makeover

So lately, being six months pregnant and all, I really have not felt very lovely. I’ve kind of been neglecting my appearance and it was starting to show. When Camille Albane Paris (an awesome French salon that just opened up recently in Maple Grove, MN) offered to give me a little mommy makeover, I was so beyond excited. I would finally have some ME time! And these tresses needed some serious love…

Walking into the salon, they wrapped me in this chic white robe before we went ahead and did anything. I made sure to grab some “Before” pictures because I knew it was about to get so much better. I’m cringing now looking at these before photos, my hair was so straggly and dry, and neglected… And the color, which I had attempted from a box, was not doing me very much justice. Yuck. I don’t know how I could even smile in those ‘before’ pictures, with that hair! Oh man, let’s move forward and stop looking at those.

Camille Albane in Maple Grove MN #shop

My stylist took one look at my hair and knew it was sad, and needed a boost. She consulted with me on what cut, color and style she thought would look best with my face shape, hair texture, etc. and I told her to go ahead and do what she thought would look best! I mean, it couldn’t get much worse than it already was… lol :)

The first step was a glorious shampoo and condition in their massage chairs. These things are seriously my favorite, how many salons do you go to that have massage shampoo chairs? Love.

She then proceeded to highlight my hair with their famous balayage which in French literally translates to ‘painting’ of the hair. I especially loved this treatment because it is safer for us pregnant women. It involves painting strands of hair with color and letting it develop. No foil, no strong smells, and it goes really fast too!

Balayage Hair Coloring

Another shampoo and deep condition later, and I’ve got some really good lookin’ locks. But it gets even better, it was time for a haircut which would step up the look even more.

The stylist took into account that I liked volume, and would soon be a mom, so I needed a cut that gave me volume and was also easy to manage once the little one had arrived. She cut a good 4″ off my ends, gave me some good layers, and even added some simple side bangs! It’s been a while since I’ve had bangs, but I really like how they turned out!

Are you ready for some before and after comparisons? These are always my favorite.

before and after hair color before and after hair cut color

And they even did my makeup as well. It was the whole package! I felt like a super star when I was walking out of there. I absolutely love my new cut and color, and it’s super easy to style which is going to be so nice in the future. And as for the bangs, I love them! It adds a nice dimension to my cut that is a nice change :)

A very special thank you to Camille Albane for giving me such an amazing makeover. It was very much needed (as you can see) and so very appreciated! I left there thinking, I’m such a lucky girl!!

Be sure to check out Camille Albane online, they’re wonderful!

Until next time,

Sarah

Mommy Makeover

Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

I was reimbursed by Driscoll’s for the ingredients in this post along with coupons for next time. All opinions are 100% my own.

Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Valentine’s day is only a couple days away, and at my house we always indulge in chocolate covered strawberries, it’s kind of a little tradition for us. This year, I wanted to switch it up just a little bit. Usually in the past, I just dip them in chocolate and let them dry but this year, I came up with an even more delicious way to eat these little treasures and let me tell you, they are delicious! Even my hubby tried one and said, “Hun, these are amazing!” So I mean, they must be at least a little good, right? :)

So I wanted to share my recipe with you in case you wanted to create a little treat for your family this Valentine’s Day. I hope you’re hungry!

Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate-Covered Strawberries Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Driscoll’s® Strawberries (washed and dried)
  • 3 blocks of baking/melting chocolate
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • Mini chocolate chips (optional for garnish)

Directions:

1. Start by coring your strawberries using a spoon or a coring tool if you have one. The deeper you go, the more room you will have for the cream cheese filling.

Prepping strawberries

2. In a mixing bowl, combine your sugar, milk and cream cheese. Blend with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined. Place into a piping bag to fill your strawberries.

3. Place your melting chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir, and if necessary, heat for increments of 30 seconds until chocolate is able to stir smooth.

Melted chocolate for strawberries

4. Roll your strawberries in the chocolate mixture and coat with a thin layer of chocolate. Gently place on wax paper to cool, approximately 10 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

5. After your chocolate has hardened, carefully pipe the cream cheese mixture into your strawberries until full.

Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries

6. Top with your mini chocolate chips for the final touches, then refrigerate until it’s time to serve. Voila! You’ve got a delicious spin off of chocolate covered strawberries!

Cream Filled Chocolate Covered StrawberriesMy first batch of these lasted roughly a day until they were all eaten up! Now I am planning on making another batch for Valentine’s Day that we can enjoy. It only seems right to make some more, I mean, I only got two the first time around! :)

What do you think of my little twist on these treats? Leave a comment below with your favorite way to make chocolate covered strawberries. I’d love to hear your guys’ special recipes! And while you’re at it, be sure to check out Driscoll’s many different recipes for Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They’ve got some great ideas on their site!

Until next time,
Sarah

WCCO Super Bowl Snack Ideas

Easy Super Bowl Snack Ideas & WCCO TV Segment!

Disclosure: Parrano reimbursed me for the ingredients used in the making of these recipes. Post contains affiliate links.

Easy Super Bowl Snack Ideas

This morning I had the opportunity to share some great Super Bowl snack ideas on the early morning news at WCCO. It was an absolute blast, just as I had expected, and we had a ton of fun. I think it helped that it’s Friday and everything is just a little more fun on Fridays!

Hubby and I woke up at 4am to get to the studio by 5:45am. I half sleep-walked through getting things packed up and ready to go, and prayed that I remembered everything! As he hauled all the ingredients and dishes into the studio, I prepped it all as I got mic’ed up and set to go on air. It was so much fun (for me, more or less for him… lol!)

As the segment neared, I got to meet Jamie Yuccas, a reporter/journalist for WCCO, and she asked if she could get a picture that was truly “Real Housewives” style. Here’s what came from that, and I seriously chuckle every time that I look at it:

She was seriously so funny, they all were, and we had a blast demo-ing the Super Bowl snack recipes. Now if you missed the TV segment, you missed out on a lot of goofs and mess-making, but you can still catch it here:

WCCO Segment

We even snuck a snacking candid after all was said and done, hubby is such a great photographer!

WCCO Super Bowl Snack Ideas

Alright, so as promised, I will share with you these delicious recipes that you seen in the segment. And trust me, they are delicious – especially the nachos, those were my personal favorite as you can see!

Here we go!

Easy Super Bowl Snack Ideas

Let’s start with the easiest (and healthiest) snack recipe… a delicious variation of your everyday popcorn.

Gouda Popcorn Recipe

Gouda Popcorn Recipe

Gouda Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups of Plain popcorn
  • ½ cup of finely grated Parrano® (gouda) cheese
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp Seasoning Salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions:

While your popcorn is popping, mix together all other ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Once your popcorn is finished, stir in your mixture until completely mixed. I especially enjoy this popcorn if you can add in your mixture when the popcorn is still hot so it can melt the cheese a little bit. Yum!

Cheese stuffed mini bell peppers

Cheese stuffed mini bell peppers

Cheese Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 10 small peppers (can be small sweet bell, jalepeno, etc.)
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 6 oz. shredded Parrano® cheese
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp chopped chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by washing your peppers and pat dry. Then you can either cut off the tops to pipe from the top or you can slice them sideways (as I did) and remove all the seeds.
  2. In a bowl, mix together all other ingredients with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined. Then place your mixture in a piping bag (or I used a Ziploc bag and cut the corner off).
  3. Pipe your cheese filling into each pepper and voila! You’ve got a delicious and super easy snack.
Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1 cup shredded Parrano® cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp minced chives

Don’t forget an awesome football platter for your nachos! Check out this one from Amazon (click to view):
Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, heat butter in a saucepan until melted. Stir in diced onion and cook until transparent.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until it is light brown.
  3. Slowly stir in warm milk, mixing until thickened and smooth.
  4. Bring to a simmer (don’t boil) and cook until mixture thickens and heavily coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Reduce to very low heat and add Parrano® Cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and hot sauce.  Stir until well blended and cheese mixture is completely melted.
  6. Arrange tortilla chips on plate and cover with shredded chicken, then warm cheese sauce.
  7. Garnish with chives and serve!

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I hope you enjoy these snacks, and have a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Sarah