Lifestyle * Travel * Food

May 21, 2015

Pay It Forward with Your Vote #CokePayItForward

Hello, all! Some of you may remember me posting about the amazing
Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program a couple months back. That was the nomination phase, and now the final voting is open to help select the winners. Below are the detailed steps on how to vote for the finalists.

Pay It Forward with Your Vote!

Voting is now open for the top Coca-Cola Pay It Forward finalists! These teens have worked very hard, so “pay it forward” by checking out their videos and voting for the nominee(s) you think should win a 3-day summer mentorship experience in Atlanta. Voting ends May 24, 2015.

About The Pay It Forward Program:

The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program embodies the spirit of giving back, helping teens to reach greater heights through education while
empowering moms and communities to help high school students succeed.

The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy, hosted by Steve Harvey, will offer 20 winning teens and their mom/parent/legal guardian 3 days of mentorship, leadership and networking opportunities, and each teen will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship.

Giving teens the opportunity to excel is just one more way that you can pay it forward by supporting the next generation and building tomorrow’s leaders today.

Steps to Vote:

1) Visit

2) Click the “Vote” button and follow the instructions to register or login

3) Check out the nominees’ personal video statements

4) Cast your vote

5) Click on the social icons to share the excitement with friends and family and encourage them to vote!

6) Repeat! You can vote once a day until the voting period closes on 5/24/15

Click here for Pay It Forward official rules:

I was really amazed by the videos the young men and women put up, as that made it super hard to decide. There are so many intelligent youth out there that are really deserving of this great opportunity. I really encourage you all to check out the videos and pay it forward by voting. #CokePayItForward

This post is sponsored by Coca-Cola. All opinions expressed are my own.

May 16, 2015

Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

Do you ever feel bored with what you cook for dinner each week? I know I certainly do. I'm always trying to figure out different ways to prepare meals that make you feel like you aren't eating the same old thing. I have discovered a way to mix things up using Progresso Bread Crumbs. It can take an ordinary meal from plain to fabulous and flavorful instantly.

I made some cheddar cheese stuffed meatballs and the addition of Progresso Italian Style bread crumbs made them even better! Just 1/3 cup took my meatballs to flavor town.
I made my meatballs with both ground beef and ground pork. Of course, you can use turkey, chicken or whatever you prefer. I seasoned my meats with finely chopped Italian parsley, jalapeno pepper, red onion and garlic, along with 1/3 cup of Progresso Italian Style bread crumbs, one beaten egg and a dash or two of my favorite dry seasonings. Once meat mixture is well mixed, I form them into balls and insert a small cube of cheese.
I put the shaped meatballs in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes to chill up and ensure that they stay in the round shape. I pan fry them in a tiny bit of canola oil until they are brown all over and continue the cook in a preheated 375 degree oven. 
The end result is a flavorful, juicy meatball with that wonderful cheesy center. I'm sure anyone would give this recipe 2 thumbs up! 


May 15, 2015

#FreeToBe Comfortable In Your Own Skin with all free clear ($15 PayPal Giveaway)

Ever since my first born was an infant, she suffered from eczema. Her doctors all stated that she would probably outgrow it and for the most part, she did. She went through a good 4-5 years beings mostly eczema free, until last summer. She had a flare-up that was the worst any of us have ever seen. When you have such a beautiful young woman covered in thick patches of elephant-like skin, it can be devastating. She was always itchy and irritated. It turns out that allergies were part of what was making her eczema flare up. She had to start taking daily allergy medications, consume more water and also change all of her laundry products.

We started buying all free clear laundry products and she immediately noticed a difference with the itching she suffered with so badly. I was glad to see that all free clear also carries fabric softener liquid and sheets. I know she missed very fragrant laundry, but having clearer skin has been worth it!

all free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin. It's tough on stains yet gentle enough for the whole family. Plus, it's safe for use in standard and HE machines. It rinses clean and has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula. Powerful Clean. Gentle on Skin.

all® free clear detergent (liquid and mighty pacs), fabric softener and dryer sheets have received the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance™. This is GREAT news for my eczema sufferer!

We are so happy that all free clear products have enabled our daughter to be comfortable in her skin again! Do you or someone you love suffer from eczema? I absolutely encourage you to try all free clear products. They have been a life saver!

I am giving away $15 PayPal cash to one lucky Mom Files reader. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open until May 31, 2015 and winner will be contacted via email to claim prize. Follow Rafflecopter instructions and good luck!

May 14, 2015

Regain Your Freedom with Depend and Get #Underwareness (FREE Sample & $15 PayPal Giveaway)

There are many subjects that are really uncomfortable to discuss and one of them that tops the list is bladder leakage. You are feeling uncomfortable now, aren't you? Well, it is something that doesn't only happen to senior citizens. Believe it or not, there are more people with bladder leakage in their 20’s than their 80’s and over 65 million people have experienced this issue. I have known people younger than me complain about this problem when trying to exercise, cough, sneeze or even laugh. It's very common and you should not be ashamed of it!

Depend is entering year two of Underwareness, a social movement and charitable cause to break down the bladder leakage stigma. As part of Underwareness, the Depend brand is encouraging people to show their support for women with bladder leakage. For every photo and video shared using #Underwareness and featuring Depend products, the Depend brand will donate $1, up to $3 million, through 2016 to fund charities that advance the research and education of bladder leakage.

Depend Silhouette Active Fit briefs have a lower rise+ for an underwear-like look, fit and feel. 

  • As a category first, Depend SAF is available in black and beige colors 
  • More people with bladder leakage are in their 20’s than their 80’s
  • The average age of someone with bladder leakage is only 52! 
  • More people with bladder leakage are 50 or younger than 60 or older! 

Are you unsure if Depend Silhouette Active Fit briefs are right for you? Get a FREE sample to try out for yourself (or someone you love). Regain your freedom with Depend!

GIVEAWAY: Want to win $15 via PayPal? Simply go here and tell me what you learned about the #Underwareness Movement. Leave me a comment below and I will randomly pick one winner. You can also Tweet this giveaway (just leave a link to your Tweet in the comments section). Giveaway open until June 5, 2015. Good luck! 

Enter the #BILOfreegroceries Giveaway #AD

BI-LO is giving away $75,000 worth of free groceries to customers in some of the Southern states. Fifteen (15) BI-LO customers in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will win FREE groceries for a year, valued at $5,000 each, by entering the Great Grocery Giveaway. Additionally, every person who enters the giveaway will automatically receive a $10 off $100 purchase coupon. I love this since we use the BI-LO fuel perks. Everybody wins!

Customers can visit now through June 16 for official rules and to enter-to-win the Great Grocery Giveaway. Can you imagine how much $5000 for a year of groceries would help your family? I encourage you to enter if you live in any of the states listed above-- you have nothing to lose! It took me less than a minute to enter (just have your BI-LO bonus card number handy) and you will receive an email to validate your email address. Two minutes of your life that can be worth a year of FREE groceries!

How would you like to win a BI-LO gift card? Three (3) lucky Mom Files readers will win a $25 BI-LO gift card each! Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open until May 30, 2015 to U.S. Residents only, but remember, the #BILOfreegroceries Giveaway is open on their site until June 16. Be sure to leave a valid email address so you can be contacted in the event you win. Good luck!

Thank you BI-LO for sponsoring today's giveaway.

May 13, 2015

10 Tips For New College Students From A College Student (Guest Post)

I remember when I was getting ready to start college – Everything was so new and so different. Two years have quickly gone by, and I’m now a junior. Here are some things I’ve learned from my own experiences and from friends that I’d like to pass along:

1. Get your finances together and be aware of your expenses. – Open a checking/savings account if you don’t already have one. Get in the habit of saving your receipts and documenting them weekly/monthly or however you choose. Your expenses will add up, so it’s best to stay on top of them so you don’t end up in a rut or overdrafting your account.

2. Take the time to read things and understand them. – You are an adult now, and you actually have to read through things to make informed decisions. This will certainly apply if you move off campus into an apartment.

3. Rent your textbooks if you can. – Renting is the best way to go, especially for books for general education (gen-ed) classes. Vendors such as Amazon and Chegg are great places to get them. You can buy books from your institution’s bookstore and sell them back at the end of the semester, but you won’t get nearly as much money back as you spent.

4. Be aware of the available meal plans and your eating patterns. – Most institutions will have a meal plan. Know what plans they offer, and don’t get a meal plan higher than what you know you will eat. Also, PLEASE be healthy! (Don’t eat Chick Fil A every day for three weeks like I did.)

5. Take school seriously. – Your first year of college is so important for your GPA. Focus on your grades first. If you keep it high your first year of school, you have some wiggle room if you don’t do as well one semester. Also, if you have scholarships, you need to make sure you maintain the GPA required to keep the scholarships.

6. Get to know your professors. – Your professors possess a lot of knowledge, and you’ll do even better in class if you sit in the front and introduce yourself to them. If you take the time to get to know them, they will be more willing to help you in class or with other things. Some professors have written recommendation letters for me.

7. Don’t be afraid to get involved, but don’t over involve yourself either. – There are TONS of ways to get involved at your college/university. Try to get involved in at least one activity or organization so you can meet people and begin developing skills. However, don’t get over involved either. You don’t want to be overwhelmed and affect your grades or well-being.

8. TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY. – Get a planner if you don’t have one already! You’ll be super busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and maybe even a job. Be sure to stay organized!

9. Take care of yourself. – People are going to ask you to do things, approach things in their way, but at the end of the day, you need to do what is best for yourself. If people want to go out and do something, but you want to take an evening for yourself and watch TV, then by all means, watch TV!

College goes by so quickly! Take the time to explore new things. Take a class on something you’re interested in, but might not be majoring in. Meet new people and make great friends. The world is yours.

Guest post by my oldest daughter, Chardonnay Ismail.


May 12, 2015

Make Summertime Side Dishes Easy with #SuddenlySalad #ad $15 PayPalGiveaway

Although we are still technically in the Spring season, it sure has been feeling summer-like outside. With the end of school near, this mean more cookouts and barbecues with the family. We grill out almost daily in the summer months and are always looking for easy side dishes to make. I have never tried Suddenly Salad before and thought I would give it a try. There are so many varieties of pasta salads to choose from like: Classic, Caesar, Chipotle Ranch and Creamy Parmesan just to name a few. 

I picked up a box of Suddenly Salad in Creamy Parmesan from my local Publix Supermarket and grabbed some fresh asparagus to make this pasta salad my own. I sauteed the asparagus in a little olive oil and butter along with a little seasoning. I followed the simple instructions on the Suddenly Salad box and prepared the pasta salad. I cut the cooled asparagus in about one inch pieces and tossed it into the pasta salad. 

The results? A super easy, chilled pasta salad packed with flavor that took me 20 minutes to make. To make your mealtime even easier, you can pre-season or cook your protein the day before and make your pasta salad closer to the time you plan to serve your meal. Suddenly Salad pasta salad is a great item to bring to a potluck. You can make two boxes at once with ease. Speaking of two boxes, be sure to grab a printable coupon or you can download one to take $.50 off two boxes at Publix. The ideas are endless when making these pasta salads. You can even make it a main dish if you wanted to.

I am giving away $15 in PayPal cash to help you buy items to make your own yummy Suddenly Salad sides. Enter below:a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open until May 26, 2015 worldwide. Be sure to follow Rafflecopter rules for your entries to count. One winner will be contacted via email to be awarded prize. Good luck!

May 10, 2015

National Women's Health Week is May 10-16- Tips for staying healthy #NWHW

Did you know that Mother's Day kicks of the 16th annual National Women's Health Week? As women, especially moms, it is so important to take charge of our health. I am officially in my forties and have been staying active in keeping up with different areas that affect my overall health and well being. Regular doctor's visits, a healthy diet and exercise are a must as well as a good oral care regimen. I just went to my doctor last week to get labs done and learn the latest updates on my current health. It turns out that my vitamin D levels have dropped extremely low again. Normal levels are between 30-100 and mine was at 19. I'm so glad I met with my doctor and found this out. It explained a lot in regards to how I have been feeling lately. I can now take the steps necessary to get my levels back up so I can have the energy to do all that I have to each day. 

To inspire women to lead a healthier lifestyle, Colgate recommends women follow these small steps provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health:
  1. Visit a doctor or nurse to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings. Schedule your annual well-woman visit on National Women’s Checkup Day, Monday, May 11. Use this time to discuss your health goals, concerns or questions.
  2. Get active. Try to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Walk or bike to work or park your car further away from your destination.
  3. Eat healthy. Making healthier food choices can be as simple as using a smaller plate at meals to help control portions or choosing water instead of soda and other sugary drinks.
  4. Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress. Try and set aside at least 15 minutes each day in your busy schedule to do something for yourself.
  5. Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
Be sure to follow Women's Health on Twitter  and Facebook for important updates and take the pledge to help take control of your health. As women, we have to be strong and present for so many people, we must not forget about ourselves. Wishing you all a very Happy Mother's Day! xo


May 9, 2015

Celiac Awareness Month with Tandoor Chef Gluten Free Entrees

Are you or any of your family members on a gluten free diet? It seems as if many people are going gluten free either because of Celiac disease or just out of personal health concerns. Tandoor Chef, the #1 frozen Indian food in the US, is a great option to incorporate into your gluten free lifestyle. They offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options--15 gluten free options to be exact! The varieties include:

Tandoori Chicken Wings, Lamb Vindaloo, Masala Dosa, Chicken Tikka Masala,
Chicken Tandoori with Spinach, Chicken Curry, Chicken Biryani, Vegetable Pad Thai, Balanced Vegetarian Vegetable Korma, Balanced Vegetarian Paneer Tikka Masala, Balanced Vegetarian Mutter Paneer, Balanced Vegetarian Palak Paneer,
Chicken Pad Thai, Palak Paneer, and Channa Masala.

My personal favorite it the Chicken Tikka Masala variety. This is the only frozen meal I have ever tasted that compares to what you would get in a fine restaurant or cook yourself at home. The best part is that you can enjoy all of the authentic Indian flavor in the comfort of your own home with no cooking! I just can't get over how juicy and succulent the chicken pieces are and how much flavor is packed into the sauce. The rice tastes as if you just scooped it fresh out of a rice cooker. I love that they use all real ingredients. It gets 5 stars from me!

Look at all of that REAL food! 

Tandoor Chef will have a special page on their website where readers can guess weekly what the gluten free dish of the week is. Every week, we will choose one winner from those who answered correctly and they will win a month supply of Tandoor Chef. The contest is going on from May 4th - June 1st.

Be sure to visit Tandoor Chef on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for product updates and promotions.

I was provided with product coupons to purchase items and post an honest review. All opinions are my own as always.
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