August 28, 2015

Run For It...

As most of you know, I run a dachshund rescue.  Fundraising is never-ending for nonprofits and we've decided to try something fun this time! We've just opened registration for our first annual "virtual" 5K. The registration fee is $30, but there are two ways to get discounts (details below).

This is a 5K run that you can do on your own time, and in your own neighborhood! Run, walk, skip, hop...WHATEVER!  You don't even have to do the 5K all at one time.  Just use a phone app to log your distance and time. When you complete the race you will receive our awesome race medal in the mail to display on your medal rack!

Starting on September 19th, you'll have two weeks to complete your 5K and log your time. Register before August 31st with promo code "RUNLPDR" and you get $5 off our registration fee! 

Want a second $5 discount? Share our link on Facebook before you register! The registration system tracks who shared!


August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - National Dog Day

These four.  What can I say?  They're loud. They're opinionated. They're goofy.  But they're also sweet, affectionate, loyal and love me for all of my flaws.  I'm thankful for them every single day.

Happy Nationals Dog Day from Meadow, Beckett, Paisley and Brady.  And me, of course.  :-)


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August 25, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

Happy Tuesday! I hope you're all having a great week and that you'll share one a recipe that you really enjoy - or one you just found and are trying for the first time.  :-)

This week I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes.  It's been a family favorite for YEARS and I could probably make it in my sleep.  In fact, we had a family gathering on Saturday and I made these yummy little bars, hoping that there would be a few leftover so I could hide them and indulge in a midnight snack.  No such luck!  My mom's cousin met me at the front door of her house, asked what I made and then started sampling before they even made it to the kitchen.  I think my "dessert" turned into a "pre-meal snack" for everyone.  I'd like to say it's because I'm that good of a cook...but I know it's because no one in their right mind can say no to these bars!

Reese Peanut Butter Bars

2 sticks butter
1 cup peanut butter (I don't the recommend low-fat version)
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
12 oz. (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the margarine. Stir in peanut butter, powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs. {Note: This works best if the powdered sugar isn't mixed in last.} Pour out and flatten into a greased 9x13 pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Pour out chocolate over the cooled peanut butter bars, covering evenly.

Refrigerate for about an hour and cut into bars.

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?


August 21, 2015

Five on Friday - Heatwaves, Facebook Pages, Doggy Stuff and Friday Funnies, OH MY!

Happy Friday, everyone!  As noted in my title, we've been ever-so-lucky to have a heatwave here over the past week and fingers crossed, I think it finally broke!  This girl would rather be cold than hot.  After all - there's only so much you take off and maintain your dignity, but you can always add another layer!

I'm happily linking up with April again this week. :-)

You all love FREE as much as me, right?!  Have you ordered your free pet tag from Shutterfly yet?  Act quick and get yours with promo code: DOGGIETREAT.  :-)  The freebie only last through midnight tonight!  Brady is my lucky recipient of the freebie.  I think gray will look nice against his red fur!

Fall is coming (thank goodness), but this accurately depicts how I feel about companies starting to put out their pumpkin spice "stuff" already.  By the way, I'm a weirdo...who doesn't like pumpkin spice ever, so I find this graphic even funnier!

Calling all runners (and walkers).  My rescue, Little Paws Dachshund Rescue, is holding our First Annual "Dachshund Dash" Virtual 5K.  Register HERE and then you'll have two weeks starting on September 19th to do your 5K and record your time.  :-)  Register before August 31st, and you get a $5 discount.  Share the registration link on Facebook and you automatically get another $5 off.  The registration software tracks social shares!

I mentioned to you all last week that I finally took the leap and created a Facebook page for this humble little blog.  I've decided that I'll be doing a little David's Tea giveaway when the page reaches 100 followers.  You know...because I love you all.  And because I'm obsessed with David's Tea!

I know that most of the country hates the New England Patriots right now.  (Sorry!) But the new commercial for Sports Center is making everyone here giggle.


August 19, 2015

Fall Movie Challenge

My bloggy friends Karen and Christina posted about this last week, and I just can't stop myself from joining in!  Every year Jenn hosts this fabulous movie challenge...

Here are the rules:
the movie challenge begins one minute past twelve a.m. september first / concludes midnight november thirtieth. you may NOT use a film you have already seen, even in part (excluding trailers), for this challenge. all films MUST be new to you. each film chosen for the challenge may be used ONLY ONCE, i.e. a film used for the something miraculous category may not be used for the personal victory one as well. all films selected for the challenge MUST have a page on the internet movie database. films can be viewed in the theater or at home, but all films must have (had) a theatrical release; made-for-television movies are not eligible.

the first three people to complete the challenge prior to november thirtieth will each receive a redbox gift card valued at twenty dollars. the one person to accumulate the most points at the contest’s conclusion will receive an amazon gift card valued at fifty dollars. each film is valued at ten points, yielding a total points of two hundred fifty. details of a bonus round will be revealed october fifteenth. 

to participate, you must be a member of the fall film challenge facebook group. once you have joined and chosen your films to fit the below categories, post your list to the group’s page or email it to criticalcrass at me dot com so that i may add your selections to a master list. only those who have submitted lists to me are eligible for the prizes. 

Here's my list:
oneany set in new york cityLimitless I figure this will be good to knock out at the beginning before the TV show starts!
two. any incorporating hot air balloons in the story. Casanova (2005)
three. any featuring a child as the main character.  The Professional
four. any disney filmWreck-It Ralph  I know, I'm one of a handful of people who haven't seen this...
five. any set in egypt OR have an egyptian character OR star an egyptian actor/actressTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen
six. a close friend or family member’s favorite film. Into the Wild  This is one of my brother's favorite movies.  I've read the book...but never seen the movie.
seven. any with the word great in the title Oz the Great and Powerful  I love the Wizard of Oz, so I think this will be fun to compare/contrast against.
eight. any starring harrison ford. The Age of Adeline
nine. any featuring an idiot as the main characterOur Idiot Brother
ten. any mentioned in levis strauss’ listdenim in the oscars: a look at jeans in cinema. Drive.  It's by's the only movie on the list I haven't seen.
eleven. a film about a knight. Season of the Witch
twelve. a love storyThe Best of Me...because who can say "no" to a Nicholas Sparks book, turned into a movie?!
thirteen. a movie about something miraculousThe Martian
fourteen. any starring an actor/actress with the same first name as yoursMargot at the Wedding
fifteen. a film about the olympicsMiracle
sixteen. a film on time magazine’s listthe top ten newspaper movies. State of Play
seventeen. any with a question in the titleDid You Hear About the Morgans?
eighteen. any with a score of ninety percent or greater on rotten tomatoesSilver Linings Playbook
nineteen. a film about a superheroIron Man III
twenty. any with subtitlesLeviathan
twenty-one. any incorporating unicorns in the storyInkheart
twenty-two. a film about a personal victoryThe Theory of Everything
twenty-three. a film with black or white in the titleWhite God (It's not what it sounds's a story about a dog a man gave up and the girl that tries to get him back.)
twenty-four. any set in a country you would most like to visitThe Decoy Bride
twenty-five. a film set in a zooFierce Creatures

Have you seen any of these movies?  Have suggestions for alternate ones?  I want to know!


August 18, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Strawberry & White Zinfandel Granita

Happy Tuesday!  The Boston area is officially having a heatwave...and I'm NOT liking it.  I'll be thrilled when the temps cool off and fall arrives.  In the meantime, there's no way I'm cooking anything substantial in my non-air conditioned kitchen after work.  In fact, this might be my dinner.  Don't judge...

Thanks to you lovelies that linked up a delicious recipe last week.  I hope you all come back again this week to share a recipe and maybe bring along a few foodie friends!

Strawberry & White Zinfandel Granita

2-1/2 pints raspberries (hulled)
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 (750 ml) bottle white Zinfandel

In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, allowing sugar to dissolve. Take off heat and allow to cool to room temperature then transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Stir in wine.

Pour out into shallow pan (I find that a 1 quart or larger Tupper Ware/Glad Ware container works well) and pop it into the freezer. Pull the container out every half hour and stir with a fork. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom so everything freezes evenly.

Such an easy, yummy summer treat! *Remember, this is supposed to be grainy/full of ice crystals; like adult version of a stick-less Popsicle!*

What's cooking in your kitchen?


August 14, 2015

Five on Friday...

Happy Friday!  Lately, it seems like an accomplishment to have made it through the week.  Am I alone in feeling that way?

I'm linking up with the lovely April again this week.  :-)

A few days ago, I took the plunge and started a Facebook page for Weiner Tales!  Click on my little social media button and it will take you there now instead of to my personal profile.  :-)

Have you seen the videos that Sean Hayes and his husband Scott do?  They never cease to bring a smile to my face!  Flo Rida liked the one they did of  "I Don't Like It" so much that he put it on his YouTube channel.  You can see them all on Sean's Facebook page.

Is it weird that I'm ready for fall so my favorite TV shows come back and to check out all the new shows premiering?  I'm so excited to see the new Muppets, for Marvel's Agents of Shield to come back and Scorpion too!  What shows are you looking forward to?

Have you heard of David's Tea?  They are a Canadian company that just opened a location in the shopping plaza between my office and my house (a distance of less than three miles) and given my new obsession with iced's a dangerous thing!  I'm catching the tail end of their $1 tea program for the summer and drinking my way through their tea wall.  Someone stop me!

Last...I saw this, and couldn't help but smile.  Happy Friday, everyone!


August 12, 2015

Product Review: OZ Naturals

When my birthday rolled around last month, it hit me that I didn't have a strong skin care routine. Or any defined skincare routine at all.  I've been lucky. While my skin is very sensitive, there are only a few tiny laugh lines. However, I knew that someday, I'd wake up and *bam* there would be the wrinkles that had been sitting in wait.  The time to act was NOW...

When I was chosen to try OZ Naturals - Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Skin, it was the kick I needed to start taking better care of my skin.  After my bottle of OZ Naturals arrived, I waited another few days to try it.  I got nervous that my sensitive skin would make using a new product as difficult (or downright impossible) as has happened with a few other products.  

Two weeks ago, I finally opened the package.  Part of me was hoping for instant changes, while the other part was expecting just to start a routine to prevent the wrinkles from arriving.  A few days in, those few wrinkles started to disappear!  Then I got a comment from a friend at the gym that my skin was glowing...and this was before the "glistening" that comes from a good workout.

The only minor downside is that it seems to have faded some of my freckles a bit.  This is a total plus for a lot of people - I just happen to LOVE my freckles!

As both an animal lover and a small business owner, I'm also really happy to say that this serum is natural, organic, NOT tested on animals and is made in the United States!

It's safe to say that I'm going to keep using OZ Naturals - Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Skin


Disclosure: I received a free bottle of OZ Naturals via BrandBacker in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

August 11, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - York Peppermint Brownies

Happy Tuesday, loves!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and great start to your week.  :-)

One of my favorite flavors is mint, and I'm sure I'm not alone.  It's so versatile and can be incorporated into so many recipes.  About a month ago, I made these little morsels for a work baby shower.  You all know I don't like to be the center of attention, so the positive feedback from co-workers was a bit overwhelming.

A huge THANK YOU to the few of you that have participated in Tuesdays at the Table so far.  I encourage you all to pick a recipe and link up...or even submit a link from an older post.  Good food is good food; who cares when it was posted!

York Peppermint Brownies

Make your favorite boxed brownies...or use my favorite recipe (below)

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more to butter baking pan
2/3 cup all purpose flour, plus more to flour baking pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.  In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. 

Whisk the sugar, vanilla and salt into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then whisk in the eggs. Add the flour and whisk lightly just until smooth. Spread ⅓ of the brownie batter in your baking pan, and place the peppermint patties on top in a single layer, leaving a narrow border on all sides. Pour the rest of the batter over the patties, and smooth out the surface.

Bake 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick in the center of the pan comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

I love brownies...but these suckers are molten lava due to the minty goodness that is the center of the peppermint patties.  Let them cool for a few hours (better yet, once you can safely handle the pan, refrigerate them for an hour or so), then cut into delicious squares and serve.


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August 07, 2015

Five on Friday...

Hurray, it's Friday!!  It's been a long, busy, productive week around here.  :-) How is your week going? I'm linking up with April, and hope I get to visit more lovely blogs this week than I did last week!

I'm leading off with a confession.  I had a few posts written in my head that should have made it to the blog this week...but didn't.  #bloggingfail  I promise you'll all get more than two posts from me next week!

A video posted by Nicole Fowler (@cole711) on
Animals of all kinds must know I'm a soft touch.  I was greeted by these four (loud) sweeties as soon as I got out of my car.  After a little research, I'm going to bring them some air popped popcorn and leafy greens this weekend.

Jamberry's new catalog comes out September 1st.  Guess what?! We're going to have a line of gel nails!!  Please leave me a comment or email me if you're interested in being one of my September hostesses and being one of the FIRST to check out both the gel nails and the new release of Jamberry wraps.  (Psst... we have a lot of wraps retiring, so stock up on your favorites from my "Going, Going, GONE!" page.) I'll also be having #manimonday Instagram giveaways this month.  So if you're not following me, you should.  Just sayin'. :-)

I have been drinking this tea like it's going out of style.  If you like peaches, you really need to try this tea! It makes a really yummy iced tea! I've made it as sun tea a few times and have to say that I've cheated a bunch and steeped it using the "hot water" function of my Keurig and then poured it over ice.

Does anyone have a FitBit?  (I know...insert laughter HERE.)  How about a FitBit One?  I'm considering the FitBit One.  I like that it is supposed to track my activity and my non-existant sleep.  Plus I found what I think is a good deal HERE.  I need advice!

Have a good weekend everyone!


August 04, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Mexican Pasta Salad

Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone's week has gotten off to a good start.  :-)

This week I'm reposting one of my most popular recipes.  It's a summer staple in my family and no cook-out is complete without it!

I hope everyone will pick their favorite recipe (old or new!) and link-up!

Mexican Pasta Salad1 box bowtie pasta
1 pint container of cherry tomatoes
1/2 block (approx 4 oz.) of Pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and strained
3-4 stalks of scallions

Prepare bowtie pasta using box instructions. Strain, rinse to cool and strain pasta again. Chop scallions fine; cut cherry tomatoes into halves (or quarters if they are large) and cut cheese into little 1/4 inch squares.

In a smaller bowl, mix 1/2 cup mayo and 1/3 cup salsa. (If you use a chunky salsa, you may need more).  Combine above dressing with all other ingredients, mixing well.

Chill for a few hours and serve.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

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