Thursday, September 25, 2014


Tonight I will be participating in a Twitter chat along with the WWE Moms. While the chats are always fun, they are usually focused on very serious subjects, which is the case tonight. Tonight's chat is about the Be A STAR movement.


Be A STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) is a program to stomp out bullying. The goal is to teach everyone to be kind to one another, and to be an example for others to follow. The message in itself is very encouraging, but it just means so much to me that it is coming from the WWE.

WWE has such a huge global presence, and the fact that they choose to use their influence to spread such a positive message is so inspiring. Bullying is, unfortunately, such a huge issue nowadays. Anything that helps teach kids that it is cool to stand up against bullying is wonderful.

As a parent, bullying is something I will always worry about, but the fact that my son has autism and it is likely that my daughter does as well(we have been having her evaluated), my fears are only intensified.

I want my children to be different, because being different makes a person interesting, but I don't want the differences that they have no control over to be a source of stress for them. I experienced bullying as a child, and I would never wish it on anyone.

My experiences were not nearly as severe as many cases I have heard about, but I was Caucasian girl in a neighborhood nearly exclusive to African Americans. I did not fit in. They did not want my family there, and it was made very clear. At school, while there was more of a mix, I was still the target as we rode the same buses.

The fact that we were also very poor did not help at all, and almost nobody wanted to be my friend. I was not a target of violence or horrible teasing, but I was very clearly unwanted, and it is a horrible feeling. I would never want any child, especially my own, to feel like that.

I will do anything I can do to help prevent my kids and other kids from being bullied(or bullying others), and the fact that WWE is doing everything they can to help as well means a great deal to me. I hope that through the Be A STAR initiative, we will be able to put an end to bullying once and for all. We all need to work together to prevent bullying.

To learn more about this wonderful program, please join me tonight for the #BeASTAR Twitter chat from 7-8pm EST. You could win some great prizes, but supporting the cause is the best prize of all. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Recipe For Success®

I love food. I love to eat and I love to cook, or at least I used to love cooking and still enjoy it at times. Now that I have 2 children, both of whom are autistic, and a house to take care of, and a blog to run and countless other obligations to worry about all at the same time, cooking has become more of a chore than a passion, which is actually quite sad.

Now I look for any shortcut to get a meal on the table quickly, but I don't want to sacrifice quality, flavor or nutrition to do it. That's why I was so excited when I was offered the opportunity to write a sponsored post for Success® White Rice.

I have always been a huge fan of rice. I love practically every flavor and variety. Whether as a side dish or as part of a main dish, rice it one of my favorite foods. While I fancy myself a good cook, I am embarrassed to admit that rice was one food I often had difficulty with. I know, how hard can it be to cook rice? Well I don't know, but mine comes out too hard or too mushy and it drove me crazy.

With practice I can make decent rice now, but while trying to help my son with homework and pick up 14 different messes and answer the phone, etc. I am not able to make rice(that is edible) too. That's what is so perfect about Success® Rice, it does the work for me.

Success® Rice is the original no measure, no mess boil-in-a-bag rice that cooks perfectly every time in only 10 minutes. It can be made on the stove-top or in the microwave. That is a huge convenience since I have only 1 large burner(the 3 small ones never cook right).

I still usually use the stove-top, just because I don't normally cook anything in the microwave, but knowing I can is awesome. Since it only takes 10 minutes, I can cook it while I prep the other items in the meal. I can create anything using Success® White Rice, and it is so wonderful for casaroles and jambalaya, but I use it even more frequently as a side dish.

We have Success® Rice at least twice a week, and it is a huge favorite. My go-to dish using Success® White Rice is Cilantro-Lime rice. It is so easy to make and can be eaten as a side or added to a meal(like burritos).

There are only 3 ingredients(besides salt & pepper if desired).

Since the bags are so perfectly portioned and easy to cook in multiples you can easily alter the recipe to feed as many as needed. I use:

2 bags of Success® White Rice
Juice of 1 lime(or 2 Key limes)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Just add 2 bags Success® White Rice to water and bring to boil.
Once boiling, cook for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, Juice the lime(s) and chop the cilantro.
After 10 minutes, the rice will be cooked to perfection. Drain water and allow bags to drain. Then cut the bags open and pour the rice into the pot.
See how perfect the rice came out? mine never looks that good without Success®.

All that is left to do is add the lime juice and cilantro to the rice and stir to combine. Add salt and/or pepper if desired(I add a bit of salt), and enjoy.
This rice is fantastic. It takes almost identical to the rice used in one of my most favorite made-to-order burrito places. I love being able to make my own and enjoy it anytime I want without having to overpay or leave the house.

Success® White Rice is not only great-tasting, it is Gluten-Free and a great source of complex carbohydrates. It is available in two sizes to accommodate any household size(or rice addiction).

If for some reason you are not a huge fan of white rice, Success® still has you covered. Success® Rice comes in 4 fantastic varieties. Success® White Rice(or course), Success® Brown Rice, Success® Thai Jasmine Rice and, my favorite, Success® Basmati Rice.

With  Success® Rice I can cook like a pro without having to know how to cook like a pro. There is something for everyone and all my recipe needs. Success® even helps me find inspiration with over 300 recipes on All of the recipes look amazing, and I cannot wait to try them ALL(like I need an excuse to eat more rice).

Success® Rice is also one of the brands participating in a sweepstakes from O, The Oprah Magazine! To enter, visit There you will submit the entry form and pin with inspiration from the "How Are You Cooking This Fall" Promo Pinterest Board. For doing so, you could win culinary-themed prizes!

I would love to know your thoughts on Success® Rice. Have you ever used it? Do you plan to know? What is your favorite variety of race? I would also love it if you would share your favorite rice recipe. I am always looking for new ones to try. If you have anything else to share, please leave me a comment. I love connecting with you all.

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Success® Rice.*
Tracking Pixel

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Live a No Barriers Live with Help From Nature Valley

*Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are 100% my own.*

You only live once. That saying is used a lot in an attempt to push yourself to do something you normally wouldn't or justify doing things that maybe you shouldn't, but it definitely true. You really should be living your life to the fullest without endangering yourself or harming anyone else.

Life is entirely too short, and people often do not realize just how true it is until it's nearing the end. There are so many excuses as to why you can't do this or haven't done that. I am not criticizing, I make them too, way more often than I'd like to admit.

The problem with that is no one wants to look and reminisce about doing the laundry or running errands or watching some crappy reality show. It's the adventures that make life memorable(good and bad), and I am sick of only watching adventures on TV.

I have not had many adventures yet, but thankfully there is still time for me(God willing). I plan to take my life back and make it better than ever, and take my family along for the ride.

I was motivated by Erik Weihenmayer. I have been following Erik's journey on Tumblr and it is so inspiring. He has done so many incredible things, whereas I have never ventured out of my home state.

It is incredible to see his pictures and watch videos of him in the most breathtaking places in the world. It makes you really want to be there too.

Erik climbs mountains, goes kayaking(in the Grand Canyon) and so many other amazing feats that are mind blowing in themselves, but made nearly incomprehensible when you factor in that he is blind. I cannot do any of that, even with my sight. I am so moved my his dedication and his hunger for life. If everyone approached life that way, the world would be a much better place to live.

Currently, Erik is doing The “No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition”. It is a 21-day, 277 mile journey through some of the world’s most challenging whitewater terrain in the Colorado River. Erik Weihenmayer will be supported by an experienced paddling team, and joined by accomplished kayaker and Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell.  Together, Erik and Lonnie will demonstrate the power of harnessing inner strength to overcome challenging barriers.

This expedition serves to inspire people to not limit themselves, eliminate barriers in their lives and live life to its fullest.  Nature Valley is joining Erik in inviting people to pledge to get out there and live a No Barriers Life.

From here forward, I vow to be more active, to seek more adventures and to never give up. While I will never be climbing Everest, I will do so metaphorically by overcoming my perceived limits and making the most of what I am capable of - to live a No Barriers Life.

There is an actual pledge to do this, that I have already taken. I hope that you will join me in taking the No Barriers Pledge.

Now that I am determined to overcome the mental barriers I had been playing the victim to, I can focus on the physical barriers. I am not the most athletic person. In fact, I am totally out of shape(aesthetically and in terms of ability). I get tired, I run out of energy, you name it, it happens. And on an adventure, those things slow you down and make you sloppy, which is a huge hindrance.

That is where Nature Vally comes in. Erik uses Nature Valley to fuel his epic adventures, and if it is good enough for him, I know it will work for me. I'm really glad that its Nature's Valley, too, because I already have that part mastered. I am a Nature's Valley addict. The Oats 'n Honey Granola Bars are one of my favorite snacks ever.

I would love to keep raving about my love of Nature's Vally and bragging about my great "talent" for eating Oats 'n Honey Crunchy Granola Bars, but life is waiting. There is an adventure out there, and I am going to find it. Thanks to Nature's Valley, my stomach is full, but I am still hungry for life. I can't wait to see what I can discover. #MyAdventure #GetOUTThere

I would love to hear about your adventures. Have you ever done something amazing? If you don't have anything notable so far, what do you plan to do?

*Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saving (and Earning) Made Simple with Jingit

I obviously cannot speak for everyone. There may be people out there who do not want to make money by doing a few simple activities like watching videos and checking in at the stores you already shop, but I certainly am not one of them. In fact, no one I know would pass up the chance to earn money so easily.

I know that there are plenty of places that promise fast, easy money, and that the majority have fine print, and so many hoops to jump through you feel like you are preforming a circus act, but Jingit is different. That is why I am so excited to share this sponsored post with you.

I only share things like this when I really believe in them. I have been talked into trying some less than reputable sites in an attempt to make money before, and I it definitely no fun. I am not about to waste my time on a site that is not worth it, and would never recommend if it was not great.

The awesome thing about Jingit is that it is not technically a "survey site" or "sharing site" like I am used to. First of all, Jingit is an app, so you can earn money from anywhere, right from your smartphone or tablet. Whether you kill time watching the paid videos while you are waiting for you meal or at the doctor or you check in during your regular shopping trips, earning is easy.

How does Jinget earn you money when you shop? Well there are several ways. Using your smartphone and the Jingit app to check in at your favorite stores, You can scan the barcodes of products in the store(no need to buy them) to earn even more. You can also earn by purchasing selected products. Simply scan the receipt of the participating products and earn cash. The cash back offers are personalized for you too, making it more likely you will WANT to buy the featured items.

You can also earn by watching videos. Any tie you see a video with the Jingit logo online, click it. Whether it is on Jingit or on one of their partner sites, you will earn cash. There are surveys that will earn you cash too.

It is not tedious or complicated, and while it will not pay your rent, it is pretty good cash, especially considering how simple it is. I have seen things that earn you like 3 cents and such, which is only pointless and infuriating. Jingit is not like that, they pay fairly and the cash adds up fast.

I have only been using Jingit for a short time, since I just learned about it, and I have already earned $23. To some people that may not be much, but for doing very simple activities for a few minutes a day, it is pretty great to me.

Every bit of extra money comes in handy, especially with the holidays coming faster than any of us would like to think about. Not only with this help me save money for the holidays, it will help me save ON the holidays. All my holiday spending will be even more rewarding.

The Jingit app makes it so simple to earn cash online, in-store and on the go with their participating brands and you'll even get personalized offers for cash back when you shop using the Jingit app. Download the Jingit app now to check out all the fantastic earning opportunities including Grocery and Home Essentials, Back To School, Progresso Recipe Starters and so many more. Use Jingit, earn cash, it's that easy.

I would love to hear about your experience with Jingit if you have one. If you are only learning of Jingit now, I would love to know what you think and if you plan to give it a try. I would also love to hear of any other experiences you may have with simmilar concepts for earning. Have you been let down before? Can you tell that Jingit is different. Let's chat about it in the comments.

Be sure to enter below for your chance to win a $500 Mastercard Gift Card! Good luck!

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Jingit.* a Rafflecopter giveaway Tracking Pixel

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Straight Talk on Straight Teeth with Invisalign

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Invisalign.*

From the earliest time I can remember(but especially from my tween years on), I have had bad teeth. I have always hated it, and it has only gotten harder as I have gotten older. Throughout my entire childhood we were very poor, so my teeth were very low on the priorities list(even lower than they should have been).

Along with many other things I have promised myself I would never let my children suffer(like I did), is dental problems. You only even get one permanent set of teeth, and they don't heal, cannot be replaced(with a real tooth anyway), and are not something you can function well without.

For me, the combination of genetics and upbringing led to a smile that I am embarrassed to show. I could never stand to have my kids feel that kind of self-consciousness. If they even try to bite something too crunchy I shudder and worry about their teeth.

And while cavities and broken teeth can happen if one is not very careful, there are other problems that can happen no matter what precautions are taken, like crowding, excessive spacing, overbite(such as I have), underbite, etc.

I have always worried that one or both of my kids would develop and overbite like me. I did not want them to have to suffer through braces. Traditional braces would be just one more thing for people to focus on and judge. Kids can be so cruel nowadays and having the "right" look means everything. While I want my kids to stand out and be original, I don't want them to stick out because they NEED to wear braces to correct their teeth.

I have known(a little) about Invisalign for awhile now, but never really looked into it thoroughly. I assumed it was way too expensive and only for adults. Little did I know that Invisalign Teen is for teens and even tweens.

Not only that, but the price for Invisalign treatment is about the same as the average cost of braces. Invisalign is even covered by most insurance. Insurance should pay up to 50% of the cost. That is a huge burden lifted from me. If one of my children needs their teeth straitened, I will definitely look for an Invisalign Dentist. Not all orthodontists specialize in Invisalign Teen.

Before you even talk to your orthodontist about Invisalign Teen, you can take the Smile Assessment to see if Invisalign is right for you or your child.

For anyone wondering, "What is Invisalign?", it is clear aligners that can straighten teeth without a mouth full of metal. That vastly limits the disruptions associated with teeth straightening(that traditional braces would cause). Because Invisalign aligners are removable, brushed and flossing is much easier and no foods are off limits. Invisalign wearers can also play sports, instruments and participate in activities like dance and cheer leading without hindrance or risk of injury from braces. 
I know that deciding on a plan to straighten your child's teeth is a monumental decision. The plentiful, and often conflicting, information that comes from friends, family, colleagues and  even your doctor or orthodontist can be overwhelming. Insivalign is here to set the record straight and help you make the best decision for your child's smile.

I know that I have considered it(without even being presented with the need yet), and Invisalign seems to be the ideal choice for our family. I love knowing that my children could straighten their teeth with less social awkwardness to effect their self-esteem and confidence, something that most kids struggle with enough as it is.

I want them to never feel as though they are left out of living life to the fullest. he freedom that Invisalign offers means they will never have to(not because of their teeth at least). I want to always be sure my beautiful children have something to smile about.

I would love to hear any experiences you have had with traditional braces or Invisalign if you are familiar with it. If you are just learning about Invisalign, what aspect is most appealing to you?

Is Invisalign Teen something you think would benefit your child? How would you like to win a FREE full treatment? I bet that would be a smile on your face. Enter here for your chance to win a full Invisalign treatment your your child or yourself. Good luck.

The sweepstakes will run from now until September 30th, 2014 at midnight PST.  Invisalign will select (1) grand prizewinner from the entries who will receive a full Invisalign treatment for themselves or their child. (ARV: $5,500.)

Be sure to follow Invisalign on Facebook and  Twitter  to stay up to date on all the happenings, including wonderful sweepstakes like this one.

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Invisalign.*
Tracking Pixel

Thursday, August 21, 2014

SummerSlam - The Biggest Event of the Summer

On Sunday I watched the biggest event of the summer, SummerSlam, on the WWE Network(for only $9.99 a month). Any WWE PPV is a big deal, and SummerSlam is the second biggest PPV of the year(behind WrestleMania). This particular SummerSlam though may have been THE biggest WWE event this year.

What made this year's SummerSlam so special? Probably the most significant factor was Stephanie McMahon (facing Brie Bella) in her first in-ring appearance in over a decade. Stephanie McMahon has been one of my favorite female superstars since her debut.

Despite the fact that I am not a fan of Brie at all, her match was fantastic. She showed that she is STILL leaps and bounds above the competition. She looked great and has a presence that makes everything she does exciting.

The entire match was great, but the best part was the end when Nikki Bella turned on Brie to cost her the match. She is not aligned with Stephanie and HHH. The ongoing feud between the 3 of them will be very entertaining was it unfolds, especially thanks to Stephanie's immense talent on the mic.

As if Stephanie's triumphant return to action was not exciting enough, there were so many other incredible matches at SummerSlam. There were 3 titles on the line, and all 3 changed hands.

Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz in what was an exceptional match to win the Intercontinental Championships. I love both Ziggler and The Miz, so  was happy with the outcome either way and just enjoyed a fabulous match.

Paige defeated AJ Lee for the Divas title, which was very upsetting to me. Not only is AJ Lee my favorite Diva, but I am not fond of Paige at all and I don't think she was ready to have the title at all, or even challenge for it with so many other talented Divas who have been waiting much longer.

In the main event match, Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena in one of the most brutal and decisive matches I have ever seen. I have never seen Cena be completely destroyed like that. I respect Cena and while I was a bit tired of him always being champ, I did not want Brock to win it(even though I knew he would).

I have no respect for Lesnar because he only shows up when he feels like it. He left WWE years ago to do UFC and when they tired of his attitude, he come back to WWE, but only part time to big matches, which is disrespectful to WWE fans and the talented guys in the locker room who deserve a title shot more than he does.

As entertaining as the title matches were, there was one match that topped them all(in my opinion). The Lumberjack match with Dean Ambrose finally getting Seth Rollins in a match, months after Seth betrayed him and their former partner Roman Reigns.

What made it so phenomenal is that Lumberjack matches are designed to keep both parties in the ring, and this match was anything but contained. Ambrose fought the Lumberjacks just as much as he did Seth Rollins, and it was utter chaos. Chaos, as it happens, makes for a very entertaining match.

In the end Rollins took advantage of a distraction to hit Dean with his Money In The Bank briefcase and pick up the victory. No mater the outcome, this match was perfect from start to finish. Those two guys are the future of the company and deserve to be main eventing right now.

And speaking of their former partner Roman Reigns, he was in a grueling match against Randy Orton. Although Orton is a heel and many people are against him and on a Reigns bandwagon, I was hoping Randy would win. It was a fun match to watch anyway though.

There was also an insane match between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho. I am a huge fan of both of these guys. I was a Jericho fan like 12 years ago, and have been a loyal fan ever since. Bray has the most amazing energy I have ever seen. Not that he is energetic, although he can be, but he has this charisma that just sucks you in.

Their feud thus far has been epic and I hope it continues because no matter who comes out on top, the fans are the real winners. On this particular night, however, it was Bray Wyatt that was victorious, avenging his loss to Jericho at Battleground.

Honestly, this was a PPV that lived up to all the hype and then some. WWE PPVs are always top notch, but SummerSlam was on another level, and with the talents the company has right now, I am confident they will be this good each and every time.

If you don't have the WWE Network, you are missing out big time. Not only does your subscription get you this and every PPV live each month, but there is a library of every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV of ALL TIME, plus tons of specials and original programming like WWE Countdown(my favorite WWE original).

If you do not have the WWE Network and/or did not watch SummerSlam, I would love to know one good reason why not(comment). I know I can't think of any.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Andrea's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

One of my favorite WWE Superstars, The Miz, challenged all of his followers to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As a fan, I was not about to back down from a challenge by The Miz, especially when I have no Moneymaker to protect and it's for such a great cause.

*Audio did not work on the video

I now challenge my sister Lauren my brother Zach, my beautiful friend Jenny Lovefield and ALL of my readers. If you are challenged, you are to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge, make a donation to the ALS Association, or BOTH!