Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Easy Peasy...

All moms know that feeding our children healthy foods is a good idea. Unfortunately, convenience and healthy don't always go hand in hand.  I love it when I find something that is both easy and healthy to serve to my children.

Therefore, I was excited when Revolution Foods asked me to review their lunchbox kits.  They send me vouchers for 5 kits and I had to go to Walmart to get them. I'm not a big fan of Walmart but I am a big fan of both free and healthy so I ventured there and got my kits.

The kits are like those Lunchable ones but these are healthy and, according to my son, they were quite delicious. His favorite was the turkey & cheddar.

* Disclosure: Revolution Foods gave me 5 free lunchbox kits to test for free. All opinions are my own

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mrs. Green Thumb (not)

I bought two orchids in pretty pots right before the holidays at The Home Depot. As I was paying, the cashier commented that they were pretty. I replied, "I hope I don't kill them right away". She mentioned that if I did murder the orchids, as long as I had the receipt,  The Home Depot would accept a return on them within a year. 

By January 1st, they were both dead. Normally, I would just throw them out but I still had the receipts. Yesterday, I dragged my husband to Home Depot. He could not believe that I was going to try to return two dead plants.  When I arrived at the returns counter, the cashier could not have been nicer. "I don't think it was your fault, we've had a lot of returns on orchids lately. I think that the plants were bad ", she said. 

Luckily this was right in front of my husband. She gave me a full refund and I was back out in the plant section and bought two more. This one was only $14.98 and I will try my best to keep it alive forever. If not, I have the receipt in a safe place.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Don't forget the pigs (in blankets)

      During the Holidays, I was lucky enough to host a 60th Anniversary party at my home for my husband's family.   (please note, party supply stores do not carry 60th anniversary party supplies. I guess that they figure that people just won't stay married that long. Despite living in an area overrun with senior citizens, they also don't carry any paraphernalia for 80th Birthdays either. They need a new inventory specialist!)

     Despite the lack of pre-printed party supplies, my husband and I transformed our humble home into a lovely diamond jubilee celebration (60th anniversaries are Diamond anniversaries). We bought gorgeous black linens. I made pretty diamond napkin rings. We had gorgeous flowers and balloons. Candles were floating and flickering all over.

    We decided to go all out and planned an over-the-top menu of tons of appetizers, lots of wine and spirits, as well as steak and lobster tails for everyone.  We found little dipping dishes for the butter (this is not something that I had)*. I baked lots of delicious deserts including Oreo fudge from scratch and an amazing carmel chocolate ganache pie. I bought an adorable little white cake and placed a bride and groom on top.

    The day before the party we headed to Costco. This is not normally an amazing feat, however on December 18th, (one week before Christmas and smack in the middle of Hanukkah) this was like heading into a war zone. The parking lot alone is enough to require tranquilizers. We bought the steaks and the lobsters. We loaded the cart with wine. We loaded up with butter (for the little dipping dishes ).  I then wove my way into the frozen section. To my horror, they were out of little pigs in blankets.  This is a mandatory thing in my husbands family. The require them at every party. Even at black tie events! 

I checked Publix. They were out too. I guess that due to all the celebrating going on, there was a shortage. I had a lot to do so I decided not to make them myself (I would have needed at LEAST 100) I had about 20 of them in the freezer so I did make those.

We had plenty of other appetizers. Tons of other food. We figured that the relatives would just be happy. We were serving steak and lobster for Pete's Sake!  My sweet husband SLAVED over the BBQ cooking 16 steaks perfectly and expertly broiling 16 lobster tails simultaneously.  I  was the hostess with the mostest. 

You know where this is going right?

"Where are the weenies?"
"Aren't there any more hot dogs? "
 "Uncle X just ate 7 weenies and I did not get any!"

 The 20 that I did serve were like gold. What was I thinking just serving 20 of them? The weenies were the main topic of conversation (complaints) . The next day one of the guests came by to mooch around for some leftovers while still complaining about the lack of weenies. 

Moral of my story, make sure that you load up on the cocktail franks at your next party. 

*By the way, I got the butter dipping cups at IKEA in the candle section. They are for tea lights but were the perfect size and $1.99 for 8 or something like that! 


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Sorry that I've been too busy to blog very much this year.  I do appreciate you when you did read and comment when I actually blogged this year! It's been a great year here at Japolinaland. I am going to be counting my blessings at midnight tonight!

I gave up making New Year's Resolutions a few years ago when I realized that I sucked at keeping them but I think that I am going to write down some tonight that are very specific and can be accomplished. They will have to do with learning tai chi, practicing more patience and drinking more water.  There will be some fruit and vegetable increases in there also.  I'm also going to try to stop spending money on stupid stuff. 

Wish me luck!

Happy New Year! 

Love, Japolina

Monday, December 15, 2014

Free stuff alert...

I've never met anyone, rich or poor, that does not love a little swag from time to time. I sure do. That is why I joined Influenster.  Influenster is a community of tastemakers, social media hotshots (like you) and educated consumers who live to give opinion of products and experiences.

Just sign up and make a short profile. Once you do, you may get invited to get a VOXBOX.  I've received two already. The VOXBOX is loaded with products like makeup and such for you to try for free! They want you to blog, tweet, Facebook, instragram or tweet if you like what they send you. If you don't like it,  you can say that or keep your mouth shut.  

I promise you, it is not a scam. Just click over to influenster.com and let them know you are a good friend of mine! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5 reasons why you should check out Ebay for your holiday shopping…

As most of my loyal readers know, I've been a powerseller on eBay since 2000. I have two eBay "stores" and over 10,000 positive feedback between the two.  I also love to buy on eBay.

Here are a few reasons why checking out eBay is always a good idea when you are shopping…

1. A lot of people are on eBay to make extra money, so deals are to be found: 

I started out on eBay because I had quit my job to take care of my kids when my live-in nanny went bonkers and I had major trust issues about leaving them with anyone for a while (I got over that). 

 I started selling my maternity clothes because I was sure that I was never going to ever have another baby because the two I had did not sleep.  I also sold all of my lawyer clothes because I decided that a lawyer who did not sleep was a bad idea. 

I wanted the stuff out of my house. I wanted some extra money. I was not trying to get rich. My stuff was reasonably priced and sold instantly. When I explained what I was doing to the moms on the playground, they started showing up at pre-school carpool with bags of their own stuff. A little business was born.

My point is that many sellers on eBay are not trying to get full retail value for their stuff. They just want it out of their homes and to make a little spare change while decluttering. This means that there are great values out there.

Yes, many eBay sellers are regular businesses who need to sell at a certain price. But others are about to donate these $500 + Roberto Cavalli boots to Goodwill but figure that if they get a few bucks, that is even better. 

2. There are things on eBay that are not found anywhere else on the internet:

Ever find a pair of jeans or a lipstick color that you adore and realize that the manufacturer had discontinued it? I have and have also found that I can often replace it with a new pair or tube on Ebay.  It is the best for that.

3. There are tons of new things on eBay it is not just an online junkyard

Not only do major retailers have eBay stores these days, many sellers like me get new things to sell. Many items have the "buy it now" option so you don't have to bid on an auction and wait to see if you get it.

4. You are protected if you get burned.

Ebay has a buyer protection program. If you get something that is not as described or fake, just let eBay know. You won't get burned. Trust me, 99% of things that I have purchased on eBay are excellent but I have had a few small issues that were easily resolved. 

5. eBay is super fun. 
If you love to shop, you should shop on eBay. There are so many funny and fun things being sold there. Some unique ones. Some silly ones. Some things that you never even knew that you needed.  It is like the Skymall catalog on steroids.

Here are a few examples…

Vintage Moroccan Pearl Necklace

Christmas Garfield from 1981!

A cradle for your precious baby vodka!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A great place for gifts in Miami...

I was recently invited to a party for a two year old boy.  It does not seem that long ago that I was going to two year old birthday parties every week but with two teens in my house and birthday gifts (besides gift cards) a thing of the past,  I was totally stumped. I needed to bring a nice gift to this party.   I don't really know the child or the parents very well but they are work colleagues of my husband so I wanted to bring something good.

I stumbled into Give Wink which is right next to Aroma on Miami Gardens Drive (Aroma is a coffee bar which may have the best croissants in town). 

Give Wink is a boutique that sells high end baby and kids gear , toys and bedding. The best two things about it (besides being next to the croissants) is that they not only gift wrap for free  (a rarity these days) and they personalize tons of gifts.

The very helpful sales clerk immediately had many suggestions for my two year old recipient and I ended up getting this adorable dino backpack which they instantly embroidered with the birthday boy's name and a matching water bottle.  Give Wink gift wrapped it and threw it into a reusable shopping bag and I was off to party town.  The boy's mom absolutely loved the gift ! She texted me right after the party to tell me so.

If you are in the need of a special baby or little kid's gift, check out Give Wink! 

DISCLOSURE: Like 99.9999% of my posts, this is not a paid post. Give Wink does not even know that I am writing it. I was given nothing in exchange for it.  I just liked the store and feel that I am doing a favor to my local readers.