OC Fair On-A-Stick

Got a press release from OC Fair and all I see is one of my favorite summer things: FAIR FOOD! GLORIOUS DEEP FRIED FAIR FOOD! GOT TO WORK ON MY SUMMER BODY YASSSSSSSSSS!!! Check out my favorites + enter my giveaway!

Deep-Fried Pizza Log: Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni are wrapped inside of thin pizza dough which is deep fried until crispy and flaky. Served with marinara sauce on the side from the Apple Fries booth.

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Everyday Essentials at Sam’s Club

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This special Husbands of Bloggers Comic & #FullHomeHappyHome collaboration is sponsored by Acorn Influence. All thoughts are my own.

My family is never not gonna need paper towels. If there is one thing I’m sure of in life, it is that. No joke, my husband is always on me about keeping ’em in stock, he is obsessed. Buying everyday essentials in stock-up sizes is the only way. Happy to say Sam’s Club is my BFF when it comes to buying quality brands like Bounty, Olay, Swiffer, Febreze and Gain. Especially around the holidays when I’m trying to save money for the fun stuff like gifts + entertaining! Keeping a full home is having a happy home.

This is how serious it is. My husband is so silly with his husbands of bloggers comic strip!
#fullhomehappyhome raisedbyculture.com

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Taste Wine Like A Pro With BevMo! Cellar Master Wilfred Wong

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I was invited to a private wine tasting at the new BevMo! store in Riverside last month with Wilfred Wong, BevMo! Cellar Master.  A few awesome things happened that night – I was handed a glass of Veuve Clicquot which is a new favorite, I got to chop it up with Wilfred before the lesson started and my husband got to pick out hard-to-find craft beer before the store officially opened to the public.

Wine is intimidating to some people like me but Wilfred Wong is quite the character and sold us on wine without being a salesman.  I love when industry folks talk with us and not at us.  The biggest takeaway from the cellar master himself was that it’s okay if you don’t like a wine but know why you don’t.  He certainly has the resume to back up his thoughts:  40+ year veteran of the industry, Wong tastes 6000-8000 wines, spirits and beers annually!  He is responsible for managing the wine rating system at BevMo!, creating product descriptions for all the wines and working with the wine team to develop private label wines.
BevMo Wine Tasting Riverside
The 4 S’s of wine tasting:
SEE: The color of the wine.  As white wine ages, the color gets darker, and as red wine ages the color gets lighter.  Color can also help you determine how heavy or light the wine will taste/feel.
SWIRL: Coat the side of the glass to help the wine open up and release aromas for the next step
SMELL: Sniff three times and come up with three words to describe the wine
SIP: You will taste sweet, sour, salty and bitter

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My Minions Love Despicable Me 2

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We are so excited for the dvd release of Despicable Me 2!  Waiting felt like forever and now we can watch it fifty times a day if we want to!  There was a little bit of a party here when the review copy and goodies came in… I had two of the happiest littles in the whole wide World!  Not only are we huge fans of the movie but the 3 Minion mini-movies were a big treat.  “Puppy” is our favorite but who am I kidding… “Panic In The Mailroom” and “Training Wheels” are also our favorites – they are just so cute!  Without giving away the whole movie, Despicable Me 2 is about Gru adjusting to life as a dad, the girls growing up and Gru’s adventures now being the good guy.  We absolutely loved the Mexican villain El Macho.  I would tell you more but you should watch it – out on dvd on December 10th!              
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We are giving away a Despicable Me 2 Prize Pack to one lucky winner!  You will receive (1) Despicable Me 2 DVD (1) Minion Plush (1) Minion Beanie (it’s reversible!) and (1) Minion Pen
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I’m sharing my Despicable Me 2 folder with recipe cards and activity sheets, you can check it out here.

“Despicable Me 2 is the top box-office comedy of the year and is poised for spectacular success on home entertainment this holiday season,” said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “This adored franchise, with its iconic lovable Minions, stands apart from all others and is sure to be at the top of everyone’s wish list this December.”
Gru, his adorable girls, and the mischievous Minions are back with a cast of unforgettable new characters in the blockbuster sequel to the worldwide phenomenon.  Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world.   Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, along with the wildly unpredictable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a father.  Assemble the Minions for laugh-out-loud comedy in “one of the funniest, most enjoyable movies ever!” (MovieGuide®)

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Turning Leaf Refresh #WineOverIce Giveaway

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Refresh by Turning Leaf
Being a brand ambassador for Refresh by Turning Leaf clearly makes my top 5 favorite things I did this year.  A Summer full of good wine, an incredible growing and learning experience at BlogHer ’13 in Chicago and a blurb on Collective Bias blog about What Bloggers Really Want From Brands!  The best way to celebrate is to share the love with a Turning Leaf Refresh Wine Over Ice kit Giveaway! Let’s toast to pink moscato, red moscato, moscato and crisp white!  This kit will be the perfect addition to your holiday party or a relaxing night at home!

I partnered up with fellow Refresh brand ambassador Deb of Just Short of Crazy and we’ll be picking TWO WINNERS to get this awesome kit!  Here is what’s inside:

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Win 2 Tickets To Danny Elfman’s Music From The Films Of Tim Burton!

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I cannot fully express how excited I am to host this giveaway for two tickets to see Danny Elfman LIVE at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live next week!  This is Danny Elfman’s first live U.S. appearance in 18 YEARS.  What an early Halloween treat, these performances are so rare and you should take advantage.  His last performance was on Halloween in 1995.  Again, I emphasize rare.  Not only will Danny Elfman be bringing a concert of Tim Burton movie music but the award-winning composer will sing the role of Jack Skellington!  He has never done this LIVE.  The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra And The Page LA Choir Conducted By John Mauceri will back up Danny Elfman as the night is filled with movie music and visuals from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Frankenweenie, and more.  15 films in all including newly created suites from the composer-director!

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Mexican Inspired Chicken & Waffles #SafewayMarcela

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I love when companies give me complete creative control.  There were no guidelines when I created this recipe – I was sent a box of Marcela Valladolid products exclusively from Safeway/Vons along with a gift card to cover other ingredients.  I went wild with ideas.  Some background on Chef Marcela Valladolid – she is a Mexican powerhouse.  Top-selling cookbook author and cooking show host with her own tequila and dinnerware.  Her own tequila, people!  I was honored to be invited to show off my skills but I knew I had to bring it.  I wanted to highlight the meat especially since it’s already marinated with real flavors from Mexico!  I actually worked on a recipe last week but I wasn’t happy with the pictures and decided to head back into my test kitchen today and I’m excited I did… Behold the bold Ancho Chipotle Chicken & Waffles sandwich.  Inspired by Mexican (and not-so-Mexican) friends that love flavors that pop!  This is for you!  

I decided to go Pioneer Woman old school style recipe on you.  (If you don’t know what that means, the recipe will be between here and the pictures.)  This recipe feeds 4.  The waffles recipe is from allrecipes.com – make those and set aside.
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The package calls for grilling but I pan-fried.  Add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan at high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side.  Finish in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  It was so easy to cook and the flavors were on point.  I almost ditched this recipe and went for arroz con pollo with beans on the side.  And while I was waiting for the chicken to finish in the oven, I dreamed of laying the Chef Marcela’s Ancho Chipotle Chicken flat on a waffle and topping with a sunny side up egg with cilantro and onions or pico de gallo!
Mexican Inspired Chicken & Waffles
While that’s baking, make my Tapatio Ranch dressing and toss with Spring Mix.
Mexican Inspired Chicken & Waffles
You might have to cut the chicken to fit (there were 3 huge thigh portions in my package)
Assemble and serve!
Mexican Inspired Chicken & Waffles

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Skylanders Have Invaded Our Home!

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The Skylanders invaded our home on Christmas but Duke didn’t even open the package until the end of January!  I’m kinda glad he held off for so long because now he’s addicted.  These fellas are hard to find and thank goodness the sales on ’em are easy on the wallet.  19 figures later… he beat the game over the weekend and unlocked Nightmare mode.  I have no idea what that means but he was so excited about it.  I just got my credentials to E3 in June and can’t wait to report back on what Activision is doing with Skylanders SWAP Force!

I decided to do a formal introduction to Duke’s blog, Days with Duke with a post on my blog and a giveaway!  I teamed up with Growing up Blackxican who is sharing “5 Reasons Every Kid Should Play Skylanders” and hosting a giveaway!

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Celebrate #KnottsSpring & Giveaway!

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We love our city and one of the big reasons is because its also home to one of our favorite amusement parks in Southern California Knott’s Berry Farm!  It has been one crazy cold & wet Winter here in Southern California and I am looking forward to Spring!  Knott’s always has fun activities planned for every season and this year they are doing it up with their first ever Spring Fling!  
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National Wear Red Day at Mimi’s Cafe

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Did you know that Heart Disease is the number 1 killer of women?  Ladies, take care of your hearts!  You can start by exercising, eating healthier and not stressing out so much!  If you are already taking these steps to prevent heart disease you are already on your way to a longer life!  Join me on National Wear Red Day, February 1st at Mimi’s Cafe to raise awareness to our cause, our hearts <3     
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