Giveaway! $300 Lush Decor Gift Certificate

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
BRRRRR! Baby, it's COLD outside! Even down here in Texas we're turning up the heat and spending our evenings buried under blankets. I am not fond of cold weather, which is why I live in Texas. This beautiful Zelie Throw from Lush Decor arrived at my home just in time for this Arctic blast!
Since we moved into our empty nest home last fall, I've been forever searching for the perfect throw to toss over the love-seat in our family room. When I saw the brown stripe Zelie Throw, I was instantly drawn to the colors and movement of the stripes. The construction of it is immaculate, with playful fringe on each end and angled top-stitching along the sides. Measuring 50"x60", it's big enough for both my husband and I to snuggle up in it together.
Made of 100% bamboo fiber, it's the silkiest blanket I've ever touched. The blanket profile is thin, but it's very tightly woven which gives it a heavier feel than you would expect. The Zelie Throw is warm without feeling bulky or itchy, and is the perfect blanket to snuggle up with during these incredibly chilly winter nights. It's also the perfect artistic touch to an otherwise boring tan love-seat. This throw also comes in aqua, royal blue, or orange stripes. I simply love it!
Here are some interesting facts: Since the Zelie Throw is made of bamboo fibers, it has natural antibacterial properties and is biodegradable. Bamboo is an excellent choice because it's a sustainable resource, growing quickly and regenerating itself completely in 5 years or less after harvesting (which is actually good for the woody plant). You're actually doing the earth a favor by purchasing products made from bamboo!
Get this luxurious Zelie Throw at www.lushdecor.com, as well as many other beautiful products for every room of your home, including comforters, pillows, quilts, window treatments, shower curtains, and much more. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, then enter below to win a $300 Lush Decor Gift Certificate!

Win a $300 Lush Decor Gift Certificate!
To enter just fill in the contest form below. One winner will be selected randomly. Giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and older. Giveaway ends at midnight on 1/31/2015. Good luck!

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Giveaway! Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Dehydrated food is incredibly good for you. When you dehydrate fruits and vegetables, you remove only the water. Dehydrating raw, fresh foods preserves them, yet keeps the vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes intact. If you have a home garden, you can dehydrate your harvest and store it from one season to the next so you can enjoy the foods all year long. Dehydrated food is easily stored in baggies, mason jars, or vacuum-sealed packages, plus it's more lightweight so it's perfectly portable. I was thrilled at the opportunity to do a review of the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator!
The Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator comes with nine drying trays. Each tray is fully removable, so if you're drying "taller" foods like broccoli, you can simply remove the tray above it for extra room. The nine trays allow you to dehydrate a lot of food at one time. This dehydrator also features two drying fans so if you're drying a small amount of food, you can just use the top trays and fan to save energy. When you fill all the trays with food, the dual fans allow food to dehydrate more quickly and completely. The mesh pattern of the drying trays also allows the air to circulate around the food more effectively. The plastic components of this dehydrator are all BPA-free.
The Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator measures 19.7" W x 14.6" H x 17" D and the trays each measure 15.25" W x 1" H x 13" D. To put that in perspective, I was able to fit the slices of two large bananas on just one tray. Its size allows for counter-top storage that will fit under the top kitchen cabinets. I really like the practical design of the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator's door; it opens downward on hinges and features a clear glass window so I can actually see the food as it's dehydrating.
The control panel is located on the front above the door handle. It has a built-in timer for up to 99 hours, although I can't imagine anything taking that long to dehydrate. Most fruits and vegetables take 8-12 hours to dehydrate. Meats for jerky take a bit longer. The control panel is easy to see with its LED digital display and easy to use with just a few buttons to set the temperature (plus a feature for F or C temperature), time, and mode. There is a simple on/off toggle switch and a push button to start the process. The Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator comes with an easy-to-read user manual that includes guidelines, safety precautions, and even some simple recipes.
I originally thought the dehydrator was simply for fruits, veggies, and meats, but Tribest included a hardback, full-color recipe book. Simply Dehydrated by Jenny Ross opens up a whole world of ways to use the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator. This book teaches how to make things in the dehydrator like sweet corn pancakes, bbq coconut jerky, vegetable crackers, honey date bread, cinnamon pecans, strawberry wraps, tortillas, plus soups, garnishes, appetizers, entrees, and even desserts like almond biscotti and chocolate lava cake. Jenny Ross also created two other books, Raw Basics and The Art of Raw Living Food, that I want to add to my kitchen library.
I decided to start learning to dehydrate foods by doing something simple - dehydrated banana slices. I took two perfectly ripened bananas and sliced them. I learned it's best to keep slices between 1/8" and 1/4" for best results. The thicker the food item, the longer the drying time. I also learned it's best to begin the process early in the day, so that I'm not staying up late waiting for them to finish. On the other hand, you could start them late at night before bed, run it overnight since it's a quiet kitchen appliance, and have the foods ready first thing in the morning.
Since bananas tend to brown when they hit the air, it's recommended to dip them in a lemon/water mix before laying them on the tray. I squeezed the juice from a fresh lemon and added about a cup of water. As I sliced the banana pieces, I dropped them into the lemon water. When the bowl began to get full, I moved the slices to the dehydrator tray to make room in the bowl.
I set the dehydrator tray catty-corner over my sink while I loaded it up, so that if any of the lemon-water dripped off, I could just rinse it down the sink. Once I had both bananas sliced, dipped, and spread out over the tray to allow for good air circulation, I set the temperature to 110 and the timer for 8 hours. The Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator kicked on quietly and I barely noticed it was running. This dehydrator also features an automatic pause and resume function when the door opens and closes, plus a timer bell to alert me at the end of 8 hours. My banana slices actually ended up needing to dry for an extra two hours because I sliced them a bit thick.
My dehydrated banana slices turned out beautifully! I am extremely impressed with the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator and I cannot wait to use it more. I definitely want to try some marinated vegetables and beef jerky, and I'll probably take a stab at some of the fancier ideas from the Simply Dehydrated book. I'm very excited to learn more about what this dehydrator can do, since I'm planning on starting my backyard garden this spring, now that we're settled into our new home. I will continue to share with you as I use it more and more.
You can find out more about the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator HERE. There are also some videos on YouTube that will show you how to make foods in the dehydrator. I watched a number of them before I even used mine, so that I would feel more confident while learning to use it. I love this dehydrator and highly recommend it!

Ready to buy the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator? Buy it HERE.

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Win the Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator!
One lucky person is going to win a Tribest Sedona Rawfood Dehydrator! To enter, just fill in the contest form below. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and older. The giveaway will end at midnight on 1/31/2015. Good luck!


Your Education Technology Partner is Best Buy Education

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card
and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Do you work in the field of education? Do you know about the Best Buy for Business (BBFB) Education Program? Best Buy Education can help IT professionals transform their classrooms with the right advice, technology, service, and support from Best Buy Education. They have a dedicated staff to consult with schools, with personal attention and help every step of the way. This direct channel division is dedicated to providing end-to-end learning solutions for K-12 Education. They transform classrooms with the right advice, technology, service and support.

Best Buy makes it easier than ever to give students the tech tools they need to succeed. Their dedicated Account Managers will consult with education professionals to offer knowledgeable, unbiased advice and guidance to the product and service solutions that best meet any classroom's needs and budget. Whether it's to roll out new devices in the classroom, launch a BYOD initiative, or upgrade the technology throughout the school, Best Buy can provide the products, support, and protection needed.

How Best Buy helps you build the right solution for your school:

Knowledgeable Advice - A dedicated Education Account Manager will consult with you, provide unbiased advice, and guide you to the right solutions for your school. You’ll have one point of contact and get the personal attention you need every step of the way.

The Latest Devices - Partner with Best Buy to outfit your classrooms and offices with the latest education technology from top manufacturers you trust. They offer technology solutions like Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, touch screen displays, printers, charging carts, and advanced A/V.

Expert Service - Their team of professionals will assess your technology needs and provide all the services you require, including installation, asset tagging, device management, and more.

Professional Support - From pre-sales engineering to post-sales support and training, they will help you manage your technology and protect your investment. You'll benefit from Geek Squad® Support, Geek Squad Protection, and training and professional development.

The right platform for your classroom - Best Buy offers a variety of platforms such as Chromebooks and Chrome management, Android devices, Windows-based solutions, and BYOD made easy.

Ready to find out more? Visit www.bestbuybusiness.com/education to get started!
If you plan on attending FETC in Orlando, January 20-23, be sure to stop by the Best Buy Education Booth #131. They’ll be featuring daily demos and guest speakers from Google, MakerBot, EdTeach, Amplified IT, and Ergotron, and they will be happy to speak with you about your school’s technology needs and answer any questions you may have.


Weekly Giveaway Linky - Wednesday Wealth (January 7-13)

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Freezing Cold? Warm up with Bear Creek Country Kitchens

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
I've seen many of you posting on your social media that you are freezing cold. It's pretty cold here in Texas too, but I'm keeping warm with delicious foods from Bear Creek Country Kitchens! I received three amazing products that definitely fall into the "comfort food" zone in my house...Creamy Chicken Pasta Mix, Minestrone Soup Mix, and Cheddar Broccoli Soup Mix.
Each product comes as a dry mix in a pouch, and all I had to do was add water and let each simmer on the stove-top for about 15 minutes. All three products are incredibly delicious and I was thrilled at the savory aromas that filled my house while they were cooking. The pasta mix gave us four servings and the soups each gave us eight servings. Bear Creek Country Kitchens offers 7 varieties of pasta mixes, 15 varieties of soup mixes, plus rice mixes and even macaroni and cheese. I can't wait to try them all. They use only the finest ingredients and their own special blend of spices, so each one tastes like a homemade recipe, only without all the work!
I was excited to see meal ideas on the back of the product pouches, but since this is my first time trying the products, I wanted to taste them they way they were created. I will absolutely be trying some of the meal ideas. For example, adding cooked ground beef and some diced tomatoes to the Minestrone Soup for an even heartier meal, sounds like a fabulous family dinner after a day of sledding down snowy hills. I am also going to try the Cheddar Broccoli Soup with some small diced potatoes and bacon bits. There are so many ways to enjoy these products!
Visit www.bearcreekcountrykitchens.com to check out their entire line of products and look for these amazing products in a store near you. I love Bear Creek Country Kitchens and I know you will too. Check out their Facebook page too, where you can find even more meal ideas to impress your family and friends. This cold winter is the perfect time to warm up with Bear Creek Country Kitchens products!


Review: Staybridge Suites, Lubbock, TX #travel

Disclosure: I received complimentary accommodations in exchange for my honest review.
After Christmas, my husband and I set out on a road trip to travel from Texas to Nevada to visit his parents. Texas always takes so long to drive across and as we pulled into the parking lot of the Staybridge Suites in Lubbock, we both agreed it was a welcome sight.
The lobby was beautiful, with its comfortable furniture surrounding a warm fireplace, and the Christmas decor gave it such a homey feeling. The desk clerk was friendly and we checked into our room quickly.
Staybridge Suites in Lubbock features a nice swimming pool, but with temperatures dipping into the 30s, we weren't planning any laps on this trip. We chose a northwest route for the trip out and a southeast route to come home, hoping for good weather and driving conditions.
I was thrilled with the room at Staybridge Suites Lubbock. Honestly, it's big enough to be a comfortable small apartment, with a kitchenette that included a full-size fridge and dishwasher, a countertop stove and a microwave oven.
There were two desks with chairs in the room, plus a comfortable full-size sofa. I especially liked all the available outlets in the hotel room since we have so many gadgets to charge. Our first-floor windows overlooked the courtyard where the pool area was located.
The bed was situated around the corner, making it feel more private and romantic. The flat screen tv swiveled in any direction, so we could watch tv from the couch, the desk, or the bed. The decor was simple and elegant, just the way I like it.
There was even a dressing area with a large mirror outside the bathroom. Everything was spotlessly clean and the bed was incredibly comfortable. The room truly provided a home-away-from-home feeling. It's even pet-friendly!
I was delighted in the morning to look out our windows and discover it was snowing big fluffy flakes. Since I live near Austin, it's been years since I've seen a snowfall. After a long luxurious shower, we checked out and headed back out onto the road.
Based on my stay at Staybridge Suites Lubbock, I absolutely recommend this hotel! We stayed in four other hotel chains along our road trip route and none of them were as nice as this one. I will definitely seek out this hotel chain in other cities when I travel in the future.