Rethink Sweet with Buddy Valastro & Whole Earth Sweetener Co.

Buddy Valastro has recently partnered with Whole Earth Sweetener Co. in a campaign to Rethink Sweet, featuring new and exciting ways to make tasty treats using Whole Earth’s line of sweetener – and if the Cake Boss says it’s good then you know it’s good! Whole Earth Sweetener Co. offers a line of lower calorie, non-GMO sweeteners that have 50% fewer calories per serving than their traditional counterparts. Fortunately for me, I was able to see the sweetener put to the test firsthand when I was invited out to the Lackawanna Cake Factory & Filming Studio out in Hoboken a few weeks ago. I don’t often find myself in that neck of the woods, but I don’t think twice about crossing state lines when cake is involved.

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First off, the inside of the factory/filming studio smells insane! Like butter and sugar and everything good and lovely to eat. If you don’t know (I didn’t!) the factory is where all of the Cake Boss cakes are made. This means not just the wedding cakes, but the store-bought Cake Boss cakes that you see at other bakeries and places like BJ’s. Basically they bake up all the pieces of the cakes and pastries and send them off to be assembled closer to the location of where you would buy them.

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We were given a tour of much of the factory, which was super exciting. There were giant mixers, a room where we saw employees rolling out innumerable pastries, and so much more – but my favorite had to be the decorating room.

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I actually tried my hand at cake decorating a few years ago and it is hard work, and I for one do not have the knack for it. While I’ve resigned myself to the life of a mere cake-eater, I have such an appreciation for the decorating team at Lackawanna Cake Factory –  if you’ve seen the show, or have been on their website, then you know that their work is beautiful.

Buddy also stopped by to tell us a little about why his partnership with Whole Earth Sweetener Co. –

“As a fourth-generation baker, quality and taste are a top priority, and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. uses ingredients sourced from nature, like stevia and monk fruit, which are crafted and manufactured into a great tasting line of lower calorie sweeteners that you can’t find anywhere else. Not only do Whole Earth Sweetener Co. products taste great, they also let you indulge in the sweet foods you crave and love, but with fewer calories.” – Buddy Valastro, Cake Boss

He also spoke about working with Whole Earth’s Sweetener and how he went through a testing process of using the sweetener and altering some recipes to accommodate any changes in the final product. He really stressed how that was most important to him – that what you bake tastes good, which is why he really loves Whole Earth’s sweeteners because it is a lower calorie sweetener that was still an excellent tool for him as a baker to make great treats.

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After having a couple of slices (yes, it was that good and I have no control over what happens when me and cake are in a room together) of cake made with the sweetener, I was completely sold! We also decorated these cute gingerbread men that were also made with Whole Earth Sweetener Co. – I put my, albeit limited, decorating skills to the test and created this little gingerbread man who is clearly ready for colder weather.

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Whole Earth Sweetener Co.’s range of products feature a Baking Blend, Turbinado Raw Cane 50, Whole Earth Sweetener Honey 50 and Whole Earth Sweetener Agave 50 – which are now available in 45 states from more than 60 select retailers as well as on amazon.com. To find out more about Whole Earth Sweetner Co. click here.

Preparing for Financial Success in 2015

As I’ve gotten older my finances have, naturally, become more and more important. As a student it’s so easy to lose track of where you stand financially. Loans can stack up in the background as the most pressing financial decision you make in a month can be whether or not to splurge on a cute (but oh so pricey) pair of shoes. This holiday season I got to thinking about what it means to be financially successful – being able to give myself the gift of financial peace is high on my list of priorities, so if you’re like me in the regard you might want to open up Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale in a new tab before you continue!

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It’s so easy to get swept up in the hustle and general busyness of the holidays that it’s easy to lose sight of your financial goals. For me financial peace of mind means being aware of your finances, having a reliable banking resource, and having realistic financial goals. This year I began a journey towards financial success, so I thought I would share with you how you also can prepare for financial success in 2015 too!

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Give your personal finances a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a business planning method that lines out a business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I think this method could be a great tool when used for personal finances. Think about what are your financial strengths – do you already have a savings account? A steady income? Are you good at budgeting and saving? Personally, being able to see and keep track of my finances with my Capital One account is something I list as a strength. What are your weaknesses? Do you have a weakness for making impulse purchases? Are you a stranger to making a budget? Knowing your strengths and weaknesses are crucial to creating a battle plan.

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Avoid the threat of losing sight of your goal for financial peace this year by taking advantage of the opportunities offered with Capital One’s Black Friday sale! Capital One is decking the halls with financial deals you can bank on including deals on banking, brokerage, and mortgage products! Also, if you refer a friend (or family member) and they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 bonus for sharing the love.

As someone who banks with Capital One already I love that they’re having a Black Friday sale – it’s always easy to find an atm in the city, and the mobile app has to be the most useful app I have on my phone right now. Plus, Capital One 360 Checking and Savings are not only fee-free, it’s also interest earning!

If you’ve got financial peace on your mind this year, be sure to click here to check out Capital One’s Black Friday Sale!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Silk’n For The Holidays!

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Ain’t no party like a Silk’n holiday party! Okay, maybe that was a little cheesy, but it isn’t every day that I get to chat with you all about an at-home-microdermabrasion product! I’ve made a few trips to the dermatologists office in my time and the one thing I remember enjoying about my experience was that their tools seemed to streamline the process and give pretty quick results. Not too long ago at a press event I was introduced to the magic that is Silk’n – whose products deliver amazing results, simply, painlessly, at home! I was able to demo a couple of Silk’n products and I was really truly blown away – I guess I didn’t believe that things like at home permanent hair removal or microdermabrasion were possible until I saw and experienced it for myself.

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The ReVit by Silk’n is a diamond microdermabrasion system. What it does is remove dead skin cells via light abrasion. I know what you’re thinking “abrasion?!”, yes abrasion, if you follow this blog you’ll know I have very sensitive skin and this did not irritate my skin in the least – I promise! This treatment promotes the growth of healthy new cells. The ReVit vacuums up all the dead cells, so nothing is left behind, while also stimulating blood flow to the epidermis which promotes collagen and elastin for younger looking skin. Basically, you know that glow that celebrities often have? Well this is how to get it.

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With a brand new ReVit in hand I invited over a couple of girlfriends for a little bit of a spa day replete with holiday tunes, treats, possibly some bubbly, and an opportunity to try out the ReVit.

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With the ReVit you can actually see results in the appearance of your skin in as little as one week. But how did we know that the ReVit was actually removing all that dead skin? Well, the dead skin – and bare with me as this does sound a teensy bit gross – is deposited in a black felt dot at the bottom of the tip (it has to go somewhere). Which means not only can you see what’s coming off your face but you can also change it out and keep your ReVit clean and in order.

Looking for a more deep treatment like some of my friends were? Well, the ReVit offers three different treatment heads, precision, fine, and coarse – so you can tailor your treatment to your preferences and skin type.

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We all loved the ReVit and we love that Silk’n products are really offering professional results…no appointments necessary!

To find out more and/or order your own ReVit click here!

*Although this post was Sponsored by Silk’n, all opinions presented here are my own. Thanks for reading!

L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter Tin Set – QVC Holidays!

I’m one of those that starts their Christmas shopping ridiculously early. Actually holiday shopping is one of my favorite aspects of the season, as potentially shallow as that sounds let me just mention that gift giving is one of my love languages – it’s how I like to show my friends and family I care. And ever since I was a little girl one of my favorite places for gift ideas was QVC. I know it sounds kind of funny but when I was little I used to window shop on the QVC channel, dreaming of the day that I would be older and could buy everything I wanted for the people I loved. Now that I am older, I’m happy to say I still rely on QVC for gift giving – except now I do a little less dreaming and a little more shopping, lol!

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One of my favorite of QVC’s holiday offerings  is their easy-to-regift items. If you’re like me, you probably have loads of people on your list, so items like this L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter Set of 5 tins is perfect!

 

Loccitane-Holiday-Gift-SetQVC-Gift-Ideas-LOccitaneAren’t they gorgeous?! They’re perfect for separating, adding a little bow or ribbon and a holiday card for friends, co-workers, or family. This also makes a perfect stocking stuffer for shea butter lovers and fans of L’Occitane!

I’ve been a fan of L’Occitane since I discovered them in my mom’s beauty stash way back in high school. Their shea is super luxurious and are a must-have beauty multi-purpose product. I use it to hydrate my hands (especially in the cold winter months), cuticles, feet – most places that suffer from dryness and could use a pick me up. I’ve also used it to tame fly-ways while on the go. Also, these tins are not only unisex, but they’re also travel friendly too!

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QVC has loads of amazing items this holiday season, I’m not kidding you – I attended a press preview months ago (check it out for more exciting gift options) and despite hot temps I was ready to plunk down with hot cocoa and start wrapping gifts! You can find out more about L’Occitane’s Pure Shea Butter Set of 5 Tins here!

Have you done holiday shopping with QVC? What products are on your wishlist this holiday season?

Holiday Essentials with Duane Reade!

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I absolutely love the holiday season – especially because it gives me the chance to not only attend a fair few of holiday parties, but also because I get to host a few myself. My favorite place to go to pick up some holiday essentials is Duane Reade. While I shop there all year ’round, it’s always fun to stop in during the holiday season because not only do they have great everyday items, Duane Reade’s seasonal holiday items are amazing!

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I love the deLish line of foods, their frozen selection is perfect for throwing a holiday party. They don’t require any prep time, are fast, and dependably delcious! My favorites are the Spanakopita and their Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip – which I’ve only discovered after trying their ready to eat version which is equally delicious.

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Speaking of ready-to-eat, Duane Reade also offers a wide range of fresh prepped food in many of their stores. I love looking over their offerings because they have a lot of great options if your throwing a party or just want to grab something to bring to a party.

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I love browsing their Christmas items – things like this NYC themed Santa hat are right up my alley! I really love that about Duane Reade though, that you can buy really cool NYC themed things from them. I love to rep my city, and even have little NYC ornaments that I put up on my tree so I was excited to see that they have things like this in stock.

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I had a small party with family and a few friends, and I have already gotten a few people as in love with the deLish Spinach & Artichoke dip as I am – nobody believed that it came from Duane Reade! I have a couple more events that I’m hosting and I definitely plan on serving it again!

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Fab & Festive with Lane Bryant – and a giveaway!

Thank you Lane Bryant for sponsoring this post! Lane Bryant’s 12 Days of the Most Wonderful Surprises is the perfect way to get your must-haves from Lane Bryant and Cacique for the holiday season. Click here for surprise offers announced daily through Dec 16.

I am a massive fan of fashion and as a curvy fashionista – one of my favorite places to shop is Lane Bryant. They have such a wide array of options and styles, that it’s hard not to get stuck in store for hours. This past week I was in Lane Bryant looking for some fab festive fashions. I ended up buying some gorgeous outfits and I picked up some awesome gifts for my friends and family!

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I love this outfit, it’s very versatile and can easily move from a day to night look. During the day you can pair the blazer with a white button up shirt and black flats. Then to move your look to the evening, you switch your flats out for these gorgeous heels and festive top, add on some accessories and ta-da! Your look is seamlessly and fashionably complete! For me this is my perfect holiday look. I want to easily be able to go from day to night just by removing/adding a few key pieces. Plus the blazer is to die for, and I’m a huge fan of statement pieces like the ring and set of chunky bracelets.

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Speaking of accessories, I was totally in love with the gorgeous pieces offered at Lane Bryant! I think I purchased like three sets of these bracelets to give to my loved ones for Christmas – they’re totally glam!

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I also loved these glittery manicure sets – which I also picked up for a few friends. In fact, Lane Bryant had a whole wall of beautiful accessories that I had a great time browsing through. The great thing about the holidays is that you can totally pile on the accessories for a more glamorous look – it’s an especially great time to layer on pieces.

I am SO excited to share with you guys that Lane Bryant is now running a special offer for you today! Check it out here!

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Also The NYC Talon will be giving away not one, but TWO $30 Lane Bryant Gift Cards!!! Woo hoo!!! How exciting is that?! All you have to do is pin your favorite Lane Bryant look to your Pinterest account – but be sure to use #LB12Days hashtag. Then come back here and leave me the link to your pin in the comments section below! See – super easy! This giveaway ends on the 18th (12/18/12) so get pinning!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.