A Daily lifestyle website. Sharing the latest products on the market, Parenting stories, travel guides, and destination information you can use! Along my travels, I became a Certified Food judge so you can also enjoy Food related posts!

February 28, 2020

Our Stay-cation at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Western New York

If you followed my travels last May, you might have read about my Empire State Road trip. We traveled through the beautiful Chautauqua, NY area and stayed at the newly built Harbor Hotel! Ever since I have wanted to return and spend more time at this luxurious place. Since my birthday falls in the winter months we rarely get to travel, due to harsh Winter conditions.

February 25, 2020

What to Look for When Buying Nonstick Cookware

Sure, being a good cook and having high-quality ingredients are a big part of what makes a meal delicious. However, right along with the quality of the cook and the food, the tools you use in the process can have a huge say-so on the overall potential of your finished result. When it comes to cookware, of course, nonstick is almost always a sure bet.

This post was in collaboration with Calphalon. All opinions are 100% my own.

Unfortunately, choosing the right nonstick cookware for your home kitchen can be quite difficult. There are nonstick cookware options at many different price points, from many different brands, and of varying quality and look/feel. With all these options out there, it can be overwhelming just knowing where to begin.

But no worries—we’re here to help. To aid you as you begin your search for better kitchen tools, here’s a quick guide on what to look for when buying nonstick pans for the kitchen. You’ll see that as long as you know what to look for, choosing the best nonstick pan is a piece of cake...or perfect balsamic chicken. Let’s dig in.
1: Proper Coating

You’ve probably heard the news about the cancer-causing nonstick coating that was used for quite some time. However, the good news is that most
nonstick cookware—if not all nonstick cookware—are no longer made perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is the cancer-causing substance. Just make sure that you see “PFOA-free” on the packaging or on the cookware itself when you search for it.

Nowadays, there are two primary types of nonstick coatings used for cookware. The first (and the most popular) is Teflon (or PTFE), which is a water-repellent coating. This can be found commonly—from T-fal, Calphalon to All-Clad.

The second type is called ceramic. However, it’s actually a silica-based gel instead, like Scanpan, GreenPan and Zwilling. While both are proven to be safe and effective in the kitchen, Teflon pan is reported by thousands of users to last longer in comparison to ceramic.
2: Affordable Price

When it comes to kitchen cookware, the concept of getting what you pay for is almost always true. Sure, you can save money initially by purchasing cheap cookware. However, you’ll most likely have to replace it sooner than later, costing you even more money and hassle over time.

You don’t have to opt for the most expensive options, either. The thing is, even the most premium of nonstick cookware is bound to wear and tear as the coating begins to peel off. Instead, purchase nonstick cookware that
comes at middle-of-the-road pricing. They will last a bit longer than cheap versions and will serve you better in your cooking endeavors.

3: Quality Material

Most nonstick cookware is made of one of two materials: either aluminum or stainless-steel tri-ply. When it comes to quality and performance in cooking, stainless-steel tri-ply cookware offers more even heating to ensure your meals are cooked thoroughly. However, they are usually heavier and more pricey in comparison.

On the other hand, aluminum cookware tends to heat up more quickly but is not the best for an even distribution of heat. Furthermore, aluminum cookware can’t be used with induction burners so if you have these burner-types, opt for stainless-steel tri-ply instead.

February 24, 2020

Caramelized Onion and Apple Ciabatta Sandwich

 Caramelized Onion and Apple Ciabatta Sandwich 
Every day my spouse and I sneak a little lunch date into our rather busy work schedules. Sometimes we go out to eat, grab take out or make lunch at home. I run out of ideas so I opted to activate our Home Chef account for some inspiration! I love the quality of the ingredients and the recipe ideas. This particular lunch idea is an inspired recipe with our own twist. I hope you enjoy it!! If you are interested in Home Chef I will leave you my referral links, which scores you a $30 credit off your first purchase! The best part...they delivery everything you need right to your door, no grocery shopping required! You can easily pause or deactivate your account like we do and nothing is charged!

9 Ways to Paying off Debt

I am sure by all of the travel I post on social media you would assume my family is well off. I wish I could say we are millionaires but that just is not the case. Honestly, just a hard working couple raising our son. When I was younger I came from a very poor family. My mother, was the Queen of saving money and pinching every penny we had! I learned so many great money saving tricks from her that I thought I would start sharing them. Many of us want to pay off our debts but it can be so overwhelming you might not even know where to start (have a mentor like, Jason Vanclef)
Sponsored post in collaboration with Jason Vanclef.
1. Know how much you owe! Knowing how much you owe can help you figure out what needs your immediate attention. I classify these to: Mortgage, utilities, Water/Gas, Vehicle for work purposes, Kid/YOUR needs, Food and Insurances.

2. Start making meals at home! I would wager you probably eat out during the week. I understand as a busy Mom, I myself, eat out to get to all of our commitments on time. I also enjoy a night off from making dinner. This can get rather expensive! If you grabbed a $2-4 coffee every morning it adds up. You think you DESERVE that for your all your hard work. On some levels I agree BUT if you are serious about saving money and or paying off debt this is NOT a need based expenditure! Besides that is a $1,092 ($3 x 7 days a week x 52 weeks a year) a year habit! 

3. Sell your never worn or out grown kids clothing. You can sell any clothing that is in good condition really. So many great online places can help you with this. Ebay, Swap.com, Thredup and Esty to name a few! Sell a few jackets just laying around for $20-50 (depending on brands) each. Jeans and tops can be $5-15 each. Together you can surely get a few hundred dollars for clothing you no longer wear or have out grown.
4. Eliminate the Clutter! Over the years I have just flat out realized I have hoarding tendencies. I save things, I have no intention of ever using, reading, seeing or playing with again. I used to collect things but I had no where to store them. After going through my rooms I realized I could sell several items for someone to use/love instead of letting them to continue to collect dust! So many apps (Letgo) are out there to help you with this. Join Facebook garage sale sites even to get rid of some of your household items you no longer want. 

5. Break up your bill payments. I find this to really help you feel less overwhelmed. If you only get paid every other week break up your payments. An example would be rent, say you owe $300. Instead of coming up with that in one paycheck break it up between two (Every other week pay $150).  

6. Car pool or have pot luck dinners. So many people want to save money why not branch out to others? I love getting a bunch of families together and saving money together! If you only have to make one dish to pass it really helps save and lessons the time in the kitchen. Not really your thing how about sharing rides to work? Still not comfortable? Try riding a bike to work or the store or even walking. This save wear on your vehicles and gives you exercise!
7. Start getting crafty. I make my sons birthday party decor, invitations and games. You can see a few examples here. Sign up for HP instant Ink and they send you printer ink in the mail at a fraction of the price. Because of this I can print invites, photos, signs you name it! This is also great for gift ideas as well. I save SO much money on stationary and party stuff just by doing it myself. 

8. Find events that are less expensive. I LOVE going to concerts but they can be so overpriced! I find sites like Groupon or Living Social are lifesavers! They sell tickets at a fraction of the price including vacations!!

9. Send something in. If you have racked up credit card payments or have medical bills the key is to be honest. Many agencies will work with you you send them something. Payments can be arranged as low as $5 a week! Pay a little at a time might take a while but it will keep them at bay and you less stressed. 
Do you have debt you want to pay off (have a mentor like, Jason Vanclef)?
How do you pay off debt you have??

February 21, 2020

7 Ways to Enjoy Miami, FL

Spanning for two plus miles along Miami southeastern tip, this stretch of beach is graced with turquoise waves and white sand. Northerners like myself flock to it as an escape from the harsh winter weather. There are many things to see, experience, taste and enjoy whilst here! 
Let's explore a few:
1. Take a cruise. The Miami Port is filled with different cruise-lines for every type of family and vacation. I just got off the Fathom Impact cruise to the Dominican Republic. They combine giving back activities with tropical excursions. It was such a life-changing trip that I would highly recommend it! If you are looking for other options check out, Carnival, Norwegian and Disney cruise lines! Each house different places to travel, experiences and on board fun.
2. Enjoy the beach. My hotel, Stanton South Beach, had beach access directly connected to it. I could use an umbrella, beach towel and enjoy the sand from only a few steps from my room. Build sand castles, fly kites, catch waves and just overall enjoy the sun. Just remember to wear and reapply sunscreen because temperatures can get up into the 90s plus quickly!
3. Talk a walk. I found so many great street art murals, statues and fascinating things to capture while in town. Vibrant artistic colors are all around the beach front and in the city. A few places even host walking tours you can enjoy! Just grab your camera and have a little photo stroll!
4. Visit Vizcaya Museum and Garden! If you only hit the beach and this you will NOT be disappointed. Enjoy this historic landmark that takes you back in time to 1910! Each room is detailed, designed and full of rich history to absorb. The gardens outside are breath taking to say the very least. Each sea formed statue greets you in as the flowers and landscape captivates you. Complete with a garden maze, grotto and lovely cafe! Here's a tip: TRY the chocolate chip cookies in the cafe, to date, the best that has ever graced my cookie loving pallet!
5. Stay close to the beach. One big "problem" in Miami, is parking. The rates vary from place to place but average around $4 an hour. I suggest staying in a hotel close to the beach and take advantage of valet parking.Staying in the Stanton South Beach was so convenient! I enjoyed the luxury penthouse, with a panoramic view of Miami city and beach. Everything I needed was within walking distance without paying heavy parking fees. Great for families, couples or solo travelers! Another great tip: enjoy the rewards program and have access to daily breakfast, snack, drinks and outdoor patios.
6. Try new foods. Miami is graced with so many wonderful food possibilities. Enjoy food-chains or go out of your comfort zone and ask a local for recommendations. I had the pleasure of doing this and enjoyed Pizza Rustica! It was by far a personal favorite while in town and relatively inexpensive for the serving size given.
7. Be adventurous. Enjoy a day snorkeling, wind sailing, sail fishing, deep sea fishing, paddle boarding and more. The coast is lined with fun excursions for any type of family or friend group. I enjoyed snorkeling for the first time and it was truly a wonderful experience that I cannot wait to do again! 
Have you ever traveled here? 
If so what places did you enjoy? 
I would love them to add them to my next trip; just leave me a comment below!

February 13, 2020

Keeping Romance alive in a Marriage

Marriage has had a bad rap in the years it has been a "thing"? When I was growing up everyone was married and they liked it. You aspired to meet that special someone and settle down with them. Girls dreamed of planning a big ol' wedding! As, I grew older I realized that life is not so easy and things can really stand in your way. You may not meet that special someone right away. You may have to survive a few bad apples until you find "the one". I was one of the lucky one's, I met my spouse at age 25 and have been happily married for almost 8 years! 
Does that mean our life is easy? That it has been sunshine and roses ever since we got married? Ha, NO! It has been some of the most trying times, in my life. If I had told my spouse what we would endure in our first four years, I wonder if they would have signed up so enthusiastically? Ok, they would but I have to wonder is THIS why marriages do not last? I'm from a generation of "instant gratification". Marriage, ladies and gents, it's WORK, work, WORK, work. Enjoy some tips on how to keep the romance alive in your marriage or relationship, blow:

February 10, 2020

Copycat Chipotle Bowl Recipe

 We LOVE Chipotle but sadly there is not one close to where we live.  I have to get extra crafty and make my own Copycat Chipotle Bowl Recipe!!
What you will need:
Steak (cut into small squares)
Pinto Beans
Pico de gallo salsa (or any kind you enjoy)
Cooked rice
Sour cream (optional)
 Mix the Corn and Cilantro together and heat in microwave. I also heat up the Pinto Beans until they are soft.
Cook steak squares the way you like them. I suggest around Medium!
 Mix all ingredients together and stir.
 Top with sour cream.
 Serve & enjoy!

February 7, 2020

Eat Your Way Through St. Simons Island, GA

While visiting some of the Southern States, I came across a culinary gem! It seems many of you might have visited this island before but if you haven’t give your taste buds a delicious vacation. Capture picturesque salt marshes, as you ride over the tidal rivers and enter St. Simmons islands.  Saturate yourself in history or enjoy the sandy stretches like East Beach. While it is one of the largest islands, in a chain of islands, it is easily navigational. Just find Frederica road and you will be able to locate just about anything the island has to offer.
I escaped the cold weather in New York by staying at the King and Prince Resort. Many accommodations are offered to tourists from Bed & Breakfasts to chain hotels. The Resort offered some modern luxuries I was personally looking for in this particular trip. My first stop was brunch in the ECHO Lounge. Arriving on a Sunday I was “Welcomed” with a Bloody Mary Bar! It did look very appetizing but I settled down after my road trip with a Prosecco and Crab Cakes. Light taste, perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of sauce to compliment this fresh dish.
After settling into my room I caught a ride on Lighthouse Trolleys by Cap Fendig. While out exploring we watched anglers fish off a nearby Pier located in the Pier Village for all kinds of seafood, including crabs (pictured above).
A full day of exploration meant it was time to enjoy a meal at the King and Prince Resort. Executive Chef James Flack prepared a delightful meal incorporating Southern Hospitality at its finest. He started off with a roasted heirloom apples slow roasted with candied walnuts, figs and apple brandy vinaigrette. The appetizer was my personal favorite, smoked venison tournedos. I would like to say he was paying homage to his Northern roots with this dish. Tender, moist, flavors described as “wild” verses the traditional “game” taste and cooked to absolute perfection!
With such a hearty dinner, I ate a light breakfast at the Sand Castle Cafe & Grill located by the pier. Afterwards, climbed the 129 steps to enjoy the views at the top of the St. Simons island Lighthouse. Imagine a 360-degree coastal view of the area. I love saturating myself into the history of a place while visiting. Georgia was the epicenter of conflict in the 1700s and St. Simons Island is a perfect place to learn some history. Fort Frederica, for examples (pictured above), was built as a southern boundary marker.
If you are exploring and learning about a place try to have one of their local dishes. At the pier I heard many anglers talking about the Georgia Shrimp being caught and decided to try them out. They were so much larger compared to the shrimp we have back in New York!
Another captivating view I think worth mentioning is the Avenue of Oaks (pictured above). Each new location I visited, I felt the people were so inviting and genuine. It was easy to pass the hours just listening to stories of how they came to the island and how is has changed over the years. In these conversations is when I find the best places to snap some photos or find local food joints! It is amazing what you can learn about an area by just asking a local! With all this scenic beauty you can really work up an appetite while exploring it all.
Personally, I love finding “off the beaten path” places to eat. A place I can bring my family and enjoy a meal without dressing up or worrying if my son is “too” loud. Gnat’s Landing not only had a great place to sit and rest they were extremely family friendly. A bulldog statue is out front waiting to greet you, what more could you ask for? The Vidalia onion dip was worth the trip entirely!!
One of the many things I noticed while out exploring is the majestic Oak trees. They are dripping with moss and truly a marvel frozen in time. With so many areas tearing down trees, it’s refreshing to see establishments embrace them! While out on the King and Price Golf Course, I saw many Oak trees. I even heard a pair of Eagles reside on the property and could you blame them?
We embarked on a little “putting” competition while enjoying the course. Would it surprise you I have never played gulf before (Even though I live extremely close to many courses)? I was excited to learn some techniques but more excited to taste their food. Whenever I hear an establishment cooks from scratch, my taste buds do a “happy dance”.  The Hawaiian Cake was hands down the best dessert I’ve consumed in my whole 32 years. As a professional Food Judge who recently graded a competition based on only desserts, that is saying something. It is a moist cake, filled with chopped walnuts, pineapple and magical ingredients topped with homemade frosting, yum! Do not leave this island without trying a piece, it is THAT good! I wonder if they would ship some to NY?
While I know St. Simons Island has so much more to offer food-wise these are the places I enjoyed this visit. I plan on coming back to try out more. It was truly a delight to find a place with such hospitality and passion for the food scene. From culinary chefs to every day home cooks this island has it. 
Have you ever traveled here? 
If so what places do you enjoy eating at? 
I would love them to my next trips  itinerary; just leave me a comment below!

February 5, 2020

How to score CHEAP tickets for Sporting Events & Concerts

Everyone keeps asking how we get CHEAP tickets for the Buffalo Sabres game..... 
It's super funny because last year we wanted to go to at least ONE Buffalo Sabres game. Now, we go pretty much every other week. Hey, when you score tickets for $38 in the 100 level, you go to games!
So here is how I score inexpensive tickets, step by step ( I expect invites when ya'll purchase tickets 🤣😉).

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