EKoffee’s Red Rooster Roaster: In Review! (Hint: Giveaway News Inside!)

Hello and happy weekend, everyone! If you’ve been here for a while or you’re following my glorious (mostly cat) posts over on Instagram, you’ve likely figured out that I am obsessed with enjoy caffeinated beverages. A little over a year ago, I had the privilege of  teaming up with my friends over at eKoffee.com for a review of some of their wonderful roasts. In case you missed it (don’t apologize, it’s okay! I forgive you, let’s just not let it happen again, okay?!) you can find my first post right here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. {Looks around, whistles.}

eKoffee

Welcome back, I missed you! (Did that sound desperate?!). Last month, I was given the opportunity to work with eKoffee.com again (I’m such a lucky girl) on a review and amazing giveaway (more on that later) and guess what?! It’s still great. Really great. To recap, eKoffee.com is an online service that let’s you buy coffee that is roasted to order and delivered fast so as to ensure maximum freshness. Their website allows you to search based on country of origin, type of coffee, or roast (from light to dark) so that you can quickly find the options that suit your taste. One of the things that I like most about eKoffee is that they are very selective about the roasters that they work with. They work with only 8 different roasters and they stand behind the quality of them all.

RedRooster

This round, all of my selections were from Red Rooster, an organic artisan coffee roaster located in Floyd, Virginia. The town of Floyd is not too far from where I went to college and so I like to close my eyes and pretend that I’m studying for an exam or writing a last minute paper (which is pretty much what I do for a living anyway) every time I drink their coffee. They say that a good cup of coffee can make you feel at home, and Red Rooster’s variety surely does just that. Full disclosure: “they” didn’t actually say that, I just made it up.

Red Rooster

I ordered a few bags of coffee and started out with the 4&20 French Roast. This particular roast is bold and strong because I like my coffee how I like my men and it’s a great way to start the day. I will admit that, until I tried the 4&20 roast, I’ve never been one to take my coffee black {gasp! shock!} but I decided to try it out and I really, really like this coffee with absolutely nothing else in my cup (it’s that good). The Farmhouse Blend was the second coffee that I’ve tried from Red Rooster. On the lighter side with citrus notes, the Farmhouse blend is delicious and unique in its own way.

Ekoffee Review

I attribute my love for freshly roasted coffee to my experiences with eKoffee.com (I used to be a Folgers girl, don’t tell anyone!). From their great selection to their focus on providing quality coffees to their great customer service, eKoffee is a great choice for any coffee enthusiast and I’m excited to continue to have the opportunity to share their incredible products with each of you.

I’m also excited to be teaming up with some amazing and talented blogger friends on an INCREDIBLE giveaway headed YOUR way in the coming days. I know I’ve been teasing you on Facebook, Twitter, and in real life (that’s right, I go up to strangers and talk about my blog, you don’t?!) but I promise it’s worth the wait. Here’s a hint: It involves FREE coffee and some other really amazing, super cool products.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to connect with eKoffee on Facebook, Twitter, and on the eKoffee.com blog. As a welcome gift to you (because we all love gifts), eKoffee wants to give YOU 15% off your first order! Shipping is ALWAYS free on purchases over $35! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can have first dibs access to great offers.

If you’re anxiously awaiting news of the amazing giveaway that’s coming up from eKoffee.com, come hang out with me on Facebook and Twitter (I promise I don’t bite :)).

EKoffee

*Disclosure: My friends over at eKoffee.com provided me with an extraordinarly generous (thanks, guys!) discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review of their coffee. All expressed opinions are uniquely my own. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions about this review.

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Design A Sock Contest From Sock It To Me!

SockItToMe

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

It’s Friday, the sun is shining, my neighbor mowed his lawn (praise you eight pound, six ounce baby Jesus), and I’ve got an awesome contest to share with you today! Are you excited yet?! Fun fact Friday (it’s a thing, that I just made up): I kind of, sort of, really really love a good pair of funky socks. No joke, I really do. It’s odd because my style (or lack there of, I need help) is generally fairly plain. Underneath my jeans and cardigans is usually a really cool, amazing pair of socks.

DesignASockContest

I think that’s part of what I was so excited to hear that my friends over at Sock It To Me are celebrating their 10th anniversary this month!

To get the party started, Sock It To Me is hosting a contest for the next three weeks where they’ll be accepting entries for a design your own SOCK contest. You read that right, you can design a sock for thousands of people to wear and enjoy for years and years to come. Incredible, right?!

The contest begins TODAY (Friday September 5th, 2014) and runs through the 26th of this month. Prizes include:

  • The Grand Prize Winner will get a cash prize of $5000, their design manufactured on real socks, and 15 pairs of awesome Sock It to Me socks from our current line!
  • A second place winner will receive $1000 and 10 pairs of socks.
  • Third place winner will get $500 and 5 pairs of socks.

More information, including a downloadable entry form, can be found on the Sock It To Me website.

Good luck, I can’t wait to see who wins! 

 

Wellness Wednesday: Lets Chat About Tea Tree Oil & Shea Butter

TeaTreeOil

 

Happy Wednesday, Folks! As you know, on Wednesdays, we wear pink I talk about something I’m doing (or using) to improve the quality of my life. I like to call this little series: Wellness Wednesdays (because I really am that clever) and today I want to tell you about Tea Tree Oil and Shea Butter, two products that I’m just learning more about and starting to use.

TeaTreeOil

 

For those of you who know me or have been following along with my blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I’m all about using all natural, sustainable materials in lieu of chemicals for just about everything in life. I recently heard about an essential oil that has tons and tons of uses for body and soul (just kidding).

Tea Tree oil can be used to help treat acne, to help with cuts and burns, and even to help treat colds and bad breath (among many, many other things). It can also be used around the house as a cleaning agent, with your laundry, or to help control mold issues (not that you have those, of course).

Disclosure: I found this on Pinterest with no link to a website or blog. I did not create this inforgraphic.

I’m using Tea Tree Oil from Apothecary Extracts. According to their website, a single 4 ounce bottle (like the one I have) should last well over a year with regular use (check back with me on that one). When you order from them, they’ll also include a FREE 100 page guide to help you understand the many uses of tea tree oil to improve your life as well as tips for replacing the harmful cleaners you’ve undoubtedly got around your house (hey, I’m not judging, I’ve got them too). Since I was given a generous discount on my tea tree oil (full disclosure here), I didn’t get the guide with my order but, based on what they’ve told me, it looks like it would be really helpful for novice users.

TeaTreeOil2

 

You can learn more about this product and everything else Apothecary Extract has to offer by visiting them on Amazon.

Shea Butter

Another natural product that I’m really enjoying right now is organic, pure shea butter. Apparently there are a ton of benefits for your skin, hair, and overall health associated with shea butter but what I’m most excited about is the incredible hydration that shea butter offers to your skin, specifically the increase in collagen that it offers. I haven’t been using this product for very long but I’m loving this all natural alternative to some of the lotions I’ve been using in the past. I’d like to know what your thoughts on shea butter are and if you’ve used it in the past?!

Let’s Chat About Lemurs

Island Of Lemurs Madagascar

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words…

When I look at pictures of one of my absolute favorite animals on Earth (I’ll give you a hint, it’s the Lemur) a few words come to mind:

Amazing | Fascinating | Incredible | Adorable

Island Of Lemurs

Happy Sunday, Folks!

After a crazy, busy week I was beyond ready to settle in and enjoy the weekend with my loving family. On the docket was some much needed poolside R&R, a fun Saturday night with great friends, and an afternoon with some Lemurs in Madagascar (note the lack of chores included on my list, looks like I’ve got some catching up to do). That’s right, I said “…an afternoon with some Lemurs in Madagascar”.

Now although I didn’t actually have the time or the resources (hello expensive plane tickets) to physically travel to the island of Madagascar, I was able to experience it through the lense of IMAX 3-D, which came in at a close just kidding second best.  A few of the AMC theaters in our area are playing the 40 minute documentary highlighting these fascinating creatures called “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” right now and it’s a pretty neat and educational experience for families. Check out the trailer:

The film, which follows the story of Dr. Patricia Wright, a scientist who has made it her life’s mission to help these unique and amazing Lemurs survive, is narrated by none other than Morgan Freeman himself. “Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar” captivates audiences and aims to gently remind everyone of the impact we have on the creatures of the World. You see, Lemurs are the oldest living primate still in existence today. Dating back nearly 60 million years, Lemurs have survived a myriad of worldly events including the collapse of the dinosaurs and the evolution of the human species. As incredible as their story is, these amazing animals are facing the possibility of extinction…and that’s pretty sad.

Island Of Lemurs

Now, I’ll admit that I am the type of person that’s into documentaries but I think “Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar” is a great resource for caregivers and educators who are looking for something to help teach young children about one of the oldest living creatures known to man.

Island-of-Lemurs-logo

The journey this film takes you on is both beautiful and extraordinary. It gave me a greater appreciation and deeper respect for an animal that I already adored. So check it out at an IMAX theater near you.

Island Of Lemurs

Succulent Sundays: Wine & Lasagna (Hint: There’s a Recipe!)

It's An Ordinary Blog

As you may remember (reading back to this post), I’m not really into alcohol but when my husband and I saw a Groupon for a small group wine tasting in our home, we pounced on it. 8 bottles of wine, a relaxed atmosphere, and some time with our friends seemed too good to pass up. I learned something…I like wine! The glass pictured above was one that our consultant said would be good with lasagna and so that’s what I made for dinner last night.

It's An Ordinary Blog

I thought I’d take some time to share the recipe…

You’ll need:

1 pound lean ground beef (or ground turkey) browned and drained.

Lasagna noodles (you can either buy the oven ready noodles or cook them yourself).

8oz Pasta Sauce (I use unsalted)

8oz Stewed tomatoes drained and sliced.

2 cups mozzarella cheese.

16oz large curd cottage cheese.

2 eggs.

Combine the eggs and cottage cheese into a bowl and set aside.

Combine the meat, pasta sauce, and stewed tomatoes into a bowl and set aside.

Assembling the lasagna is very simple. Start with a layer of noodles and then add a layer of your cottage cheese/egg mix followed by a layer of your meat and sauce and then a layer of mozzarella. Repeat, repeat (typically you get two to three layers per recipe).

Bake in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Serve and enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine.

It's An Ordinary Blog

 I suggest pairing your lasagna with fresh salad and homemade garlic bread. To make the garlic bread, I sliced a fresh made baguette from my local bakery, used my new Orblue garlic press that I purchased through Amazon (you can find it here). I combined the fresh garlic with melted butter and brushed it onto the bread before baking it at 400 degrees for about five minutes. It was delicious!

Bon Appetite!

 

 

“If I Stay”: A Movie In Review

If I Stay (2014) Poster

Release Date: Friday August 22nd, 2014

Run time: 106 minutes

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material.

In “If I Stay”, Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a smart and talented teenager whose life changes in an instant. After she and her family are in a head on collision, she is left in a coma and has an out of body experience. Her family did not survive the crash and she must decide if she stay with her boyfriend and grandparents or move on and be with her family.

I do not always watch the trailers for movies before I watch them. I did happen to catch the trailer for “If I Stay” and I will admit that I cried. Yes, I cried during a trailer. Stop judging me. So, going into the real movie I was preparing myself to shed all of the tears.  The problem is, the movie is paced so slowly, that I found myself looking at my watch more often than looking for tissues.

A sign of a really good movie is that two or three hours can go by in the blink of an eye. “If I Stay”, by hyped wide release movie standards, has a relative short run time at 106 minutes but it crawls by. Chloe Grace Moretz gives it her all in a strong performance, but it was not enough to make up for a lackluster script and thin story.

On my scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best, and 10 being the worst again, I give “If I Stay” a 9.1 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: simultaneously yawning and sobbing.

“The Giver”: A movie in Review

The Giver (2014) Poster

Release Date: Friday August 15, 2014

Run time: 1 Hour, 34 Minutes

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic images and sci-fi action violence

Imagine a society where people did not remember war, racism and sadness. Picture a world where no one fought over social status or money because everyone owns the same things and lives in the same size house. Or, are the things that make humanity so self-destructive (lust, love, anger) the very emotions that make us human?  These are the questions that “The Giver” asks.


I’m a sucker for young adult novel adaptations (excluding Twilight…boooooo).  For fans of the genre, “The Giver” will hit a lot of familiar notes.  If one were not aware of the timeline, it might be tempting to accuse this movie of borrowing ideas from other source material.  For instance, as teenagers kids are assigned into their profession in a ceremony very reminiscent of “Divergent”.  The only thing is the source material for “The Giver”, a 1993 novel of the same name written by Lois Lowry, predates pretty much all of the movies that you might be tempted to say “The Giver” borrows from.

Even so, those works had the good fortune of making it to the big screen first and it is hard to watch “The Giver” without feeling like you’ve seen it before.  Movies like “Equilibrium” and “Pleasantville also explore a seemingly Utopian society that has thrown the good out with the bad with a hero who sees through it and must bring the rest of society to their senses.

Jeff Bridges plays the titular “Giver”, and although he is not the central character (that would be the “receiver of memories” played by Brenton Thwaites) he steals the show. This is a very personal project for Bridges, who has been trying to make this movie for 18 years, and it shows in his performance.  He originally intended to direct his father, who passed away in 1998, in the role that younger Bridges eventually took over.  Bridges plays the wise mentor well and is great to watch, as always.

Overall the movie is well cast and directed with a visual flair. Having not read the book (at least as far as I remember) I went in with no expectations and felt that it was reasonably thought provoking and enjoyable.

On my 1-10 scale with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and 10 being the worst again, I give “The Giver” a 6.8942 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: verrry interesting.

Wellness Wednesdays: Foxbrim Products

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

As you know, on Wednesdays we wear pink I introduce you to a new product aimed at improving your health or wellness. Today, I want to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on Foxbrim, a company that’s on a mission to provide YOU with a more youthful glow to your skin. Foxbrim offers a myriad of products available for purchase through Amazon.com. I recently had the opportunity to try two of them: The Hyaluronic Acid Serum and their Youthful Radiance Eye Cream. While both of these products claim to combat the impacts of aging on the skin, I prefer to focus more on my thoughts on the product itself instead of the long term effectiveness of it (we’re all so different, results might vary from person to person). That said, Foxbrim products come with a guarantee so if you’re looking for results, it’s worth testing them out to see if they’ll work for you.

FoxBrim

Foxbrim’s Hyaluronic Acid is a mixture of vitamin C, vitamin E, MSM, Jojoba Oil, and Green Tea. This is the second time I’ve tried a hyaluronic acid and the major difference between what I’ve used in the past and this product is the thickness of the compound itself. A little bit of this serum really does go a long way and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky after application.

I appreciate the fact that I can use just a few drops after washing my face each day and I expect that this small bottle will likely last me a very long time. At less than $20/bottle, it’s really not a major investment to make in an attempt to maintain a more radiant glow.

FoxBrim

Foxbrim also offers an organic moisturizer for your eyes that is a combination of vitamins C and E, aloe, and green tea. The Youthful Radiance Eye Cream aims to remove dark circles and reduce wrinkles around the eyes. This product also comes with a money back guarantee so customers can feel secure trying it risk free.

I’ll admit that the first time I used this product I was a little taken aback at how thick it went on my skin. I had to wipe some of it off (maybe I used too much, I don’t know) my eyes in order to comfortably open them. My advice would be to apply this before bed each night and see what difference it makes in the morning for you.

You can find more information about Foxbrim and their entire line of products on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received these products at a very generous discount in exchange for my honest feedback on Foxbrim’s products. All expressed opinions are uniquely my own.

Wellness Wednesdays: Let’s Chat About Gardening!

Ark Garden Seeds

Hello & Happy Wednesday, Everyone!  If you’re new here, welcome!  Allow me to introduce you to my Wellness Wednesday series.  Each week, I spend a few minutes chatting about something I’m doing to improve my overall health and wellness.  So far this summer I’ve covered a variety of topics from skincare to nutrition supplements.  One thing I haven’t touched on yet is the importance of eating whole, natural, real foods.

Garden

A couple of years ago, after the birth of my daughter, I started to research what was in the foods that we were eating.  As she transitioned from a newborn to an older infant (especially when she transitioned from breast milk to solids), I knew I wanted to provide her with the best, most nutrient rich foods that I could.  My goal was (and is) to start her on a healthy diet so she doesn’t have to learn how to eat better as an adult (it’s hard, trust me!).

Garden

Part of my goal to provide healthy, natural foods for my family included the desire to start my own garden with fresh vegetables and herbs but, until this year, I’ve never really gotten my feet wet with that particular part of living a more organic lifestyle. My love for sustainability, my desire to raise my daughter with an appreciation for home grown foods, and a yearning to try something new led me to plant my own garden in 2014 instead of waiting until I was “more ready” to dive in.

Garden

I started out small, growing several of my plants in pots on my deck (I’m absolutely terrified of even the remote possibility of snakes in the yard) and I’m really happy with how well they’ve done so far this year.

Garden

I started several of my plants from seeds (lettuce, summer squash, spinach, catnip, basil, cilantro, tomatoes, and a couple of other plants) and purchased a few starter plants (green peppers, jalapenos, and a supplemental tomato plant). Much to my surprise, most of my plants have done really well with the exception of a few that stopped producing once the Summer heat settled in.

Garden

Even though my little garden hasn’t produced enough home grown goodness to supply my family of three with all of our produce for the season, I’m really happy with how much I’ve accomplished.  As a novice gardener, I wasn’t expecting my plants to do as well as they did on my first attempt. Needless to say, gardening exceeded my expectations and I discovered that I actually (really, really) enjoy spending time tending to my plants.  If I can grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers in pots on my back deck, so can you.  I truly believe that anyone with a little outdoor space can grow their own food.  Gardening is such an incredible experience.  It provides me with an appreciation for this planet and the amazing power of nature.  There’s something truly magical about creating your own food and I can’t wait to grow my garden again next year.

Garden

I am excited to have a starter kit for my 2015 garden provided by my friends over at Ark. They provide 100% USA, heirloom vegetable garden seeds in 30 varieties with over 7500 high quality seeds. Their seeds are non-hybrid, non GMO, organic and come with a lifetime guarantee.  Ark is a company that I personally use and am happy to provide them with my heartfelt endorsement for anyone looking to grow their own food.  You can find more information about Ark and their products by visiting their Amazon listing.

Join Me For Rugged Maniac 2014 (Discount & Giveaway Inside!)

For over a year now, it’s been a goal of mine to complete a 5k obstacle course (mud run) so for my birthday last year, I asked for an entry into this year’s Rugged Maniac in Kansas City. I was elated to discover a note from my husband in my birthday card telling me that I would be participating in the event in 2014. Fast forward several months and we’re rapidly approaching go time! Even though I’m no where near “ready” (athletically speaking) for the race, I’m still going to get out there and enjoy the afternoon. With great friends (and amazing readers) to complete it with, I’m sure it’ll be a blast.

Rugged Maniac

I’m so excited to participate that I wanted to invite ALL of YOU to join me in the fun and my friends over at Rugged Maniac want to offer It’s An Ordinary Blog readers a generous 25% discount when you sign up this week! In addition, they’ve provided me with two FREE Rugged Maniac race entries to giveaway to a couple of very lucky readers so you can join me in the fun!

Rugged ManiacYour 2014 Rugged Maniac race entry includes:

  • The opportunity to hang out with me for a couple of hours, let’s get dirty together!
  • 25 FUN obstacles including a massive 50′ slide, underground tunnels, and fire.
  • An Awesome Rugged Maniac Shirt
  • Professional Race Photos
  • A Beer (Ages 21+)
  • The opportunity to have a near death experience (just kidding!).

Rugged Maniac

Online registration for this event closes one week from today and the race is scheduled for Saturday August 9th, 2014 at the Snow Creek Ski Area in Weston, MO. In order to take advantage of the 25% discount offered exclusively to It’s An Ordinary Blog readers, simply enter the code: OrdinaryBlog14 at checkout.

Rugged Maniac

TWO lucky readers will be joining me for FREE! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what obstacle you’re most excited about. You can earn an additional entry by heading over to the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page and commenting on my Rugged Maniac post! I will randomly draw two winners on Thursday morning at 10:00am CST. As always, good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Rugged Maniac

Rugged Maniac Kansas City

Saturday August 9th, 2014

Sign Up Today By Visiting The Rugged Maniac Website