Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Beauty of Christmas Day, a poem

The holidays are looming towards the present, as the stars up above shine ever so brightly. A holy night where we come together with everything we are grateful of, ever so tightly. Near the old, habitual chimney lies the stocking and greeting cards given by friends and foes. Under the Christmas tree lies gifts and presents worthless to and worthy of those. 

Dead leaves continue to fall off the leafless trees, as the ice continues to cultivate and grow. Splendid wind chimes move readily, as you're inside wrapping each gift alone, with a bow. Unanticipated guests show up at the front door, hoping to earn your admiration and overall respect. The phone rings off the hook, as you occupy your precious and treasured time to reflect.

Mucky incognito populace attempt to ruin the moment and encourage the plight. Optimistic people who live in the moment with goals and accomplishment have the spotlight. Holiday galas have their ups and downs, the life we inhabit is sublimely imperfect precision. The life we choose is the life we befall, one big accomplishment, one big mission.

Santa Claus, Christmas Gifts, Cards, Fruitcake, and Old Fashioned Egg Nog. Glossy chestnuts roasting peacefully on a fresh new wooden log. Christmas is a celebration that promotes immaculate joy and splendid glee. Despite the adversity endured, we are approaching a special day. Can't you see?

This is the time to cherish, a time to bear, the love of God and the birth of his son. Christmas is the time that brings us together, together as one. The old and the new, the rich and the poor, the black and the blue. The weak and the strong, the fat and the thin, no matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all belong.

The circle of life, controls the prosperity and richness of the soul. Peaceful meetings of sublime happiness are in our control. Stillness is golden, in that final month, six hundred hours until the day. A time to give, a time to receive, and a time to love the beauty of Christmas Day.

TBT: Christmas 2013

Today is not only Christmas day, my favorite holiday, but also Throwback Thursday. Although Christmas is great this year because I get to spend it amongst loved ones and snow, I had a great Christmas last year. In fact, I don't think I ever had a horrible Christmas ever because even through the rough times in life (death of my grandmother, for instance) I still managed to love, cherish, value, and appreciate this amazing day.
For Throwback Thursday, I want to share my Christmas Tree I had last year and prior from my home in Bozeman, MT. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and just remember, if your day is not as bright as it should be, think of all of the wonderful things that have happened, that are currently happening, and the best that is yet to come.

Merry Christmas everyone!

2014: Merry Christmas

Can you believe it's Christmas? After months of waiting for the big day to arrive, it is finally here. Right now I am attempting to make a kringle, but I am unsure how it is going to turn out. I think I am a little ambitious. I know, I haven't been blogging as I should be and I do apologize.
I know being busy should no longer be an excuse, as I am in the process of several things which include working full time until January 2015 before making my permanent move to Pennsylvania from Montana to live with my amazing soul mate and best friend, Joe, along with writing for Examiner and AXS. I have had to endure quite a few things so far, but so far so good.
On top of that, I am working with several companies/people on future projects for 2015. Although I don't want to tell you everything (and I do have a habit of doing this sometimes because I get excited and think so far ahead), I will say that one of them includes an amazing partnership with one of my favorite vegetarian food brands where I will attend an online culinary arts school and use their products to create and execute recipes.
There are a lot of things just getting started, as there are a lot of things coming, so expect the unexpected. I do apologize for not blogging as much as I should be, but I promise when I get everything settled, you can expect me to blog much more. In the meantime, check out my "Best in Beauty 2014 Awards" via Examiner.
On that note: Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be happy, joyful, cheery and as bright as you are.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Three-Fourths of an Ounce

Three-Fourths of an Ounce was founded in response to a growing awareness that in our culture there is a taboo around death that has deprived us of a living, vibrant language to speak about one of the most important events and rituals in life. As fascinating as this is, there is a plethora of inspiring products included from Three-Fourths of an Ounce. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Lauri London Freedman about this amazing brand. Here is what she had to say...

(Q) Tell me a little more about Three-Fourths Of An Ounce...
I can tell by your questions that you've already read everything on the website, but I think the welcome letter and the is still probably one of the best things I've written about the site as a whole. Also, I'd really like to emphasize how much I hope that the website inspires someone to take another look at a tradition that they didn't think there was a place for in their life. The ideas and products on Three-Fourths of an Ounce are all rooted in ideas and actions that have withstood the test of time and are meant to spark conversation and reinvention as much as they are there for people to adopt wholeheartedly.

(Q) Your products truly do facilitate modern, design-focused products. I have to ask, what inspired you to create Three-Fourths Of An Ounce?
Thank you for that. The inspiration for Three-Fourths of an Ounce was manifold and developed over many years. Both my husband and I were raised as Jewish, but struggled as many young couples do to find the balance between the reason of traditions and the rhyme of reinvention. I found that the world supported creative expression and offered endless inspiration when we were celebrating weddings or births but that when it came time to celebrate a life well lived or grieve a life cut short there was nothing there. I craved and needed a way to offer my condolences and say what was in my heart without feeling like I was breaking rules. Three-Fourths of an Ounce was born from the belief that I couldn't be alone in that struggle and that there must be other people who also needed help finding the right words or the right gift when it felt like there were no words that could be adequate.

(Q) I heard you collect rocks. My second home is in Bozeman, Montana and I am always finding some sort of rock that I wanna pick up and take home with me. I want to ask, what else do you like to collect?
First of all, I adore Bozeman. I was there with my kids during the potato festival a few years ago and I've never seen so many happy kids with potato guns in my entire life. It's actually my oldest son who collects the rocks. It's a small collection of beautiful rocks he's gathered from all of our travels. All three of my kids seem to have inherited my collectors' gene and wherever you look in our home you'll find a little collection of something. One of the first you'd see is a collection of small, vinyl toys that started with a little set of Disney figurines about 17 years ago and has grown to hundreds of little art toys in that time. It is a wonderful and wacky assemblage of collectibles from artists like Takashi Murakami and Tara McPherson and then more mainstream little figures like Smurfs from toy stores wherever we find ourselves.

(Q) You have quite a few products that really caught my attention. One in particular was the "Weight of the Soul" piece. Tell me a little more about this piece...

The story of Duncan MacDougall is one that has captured my imagination and inspired me in many ways. I haven't done exhaustive research on his methodology or the minutiae of his work which has allowed me to create an almost unimpeachable version of him in my head. I imagine him as a man - a fairly crazy man--who wanted desperately to use his vocation as a scientist and a physician to support his religious beliefs that God exists. I imagine him as someone who saw the tide of society turning and he passionately and fervently wanted to hold it back. That story was both the inspiration for the name of the company and this gorgeous carved stone that Ted has created for us. Each one is hand carved and finished and is completely unique. They weigh 3/4 OZ which is, as you know by now, what Dr. Macdougall determined was the weight of the soul. Ted and I have come to think of each of them as a little soul unto itself and they are the most wonderful little objects to hold in your hand.

(Q) When you choose products you want to place in your store, do you select them yourself? Tell me a little more about the designers of the products you sell at Three-Fourths Of An Ounce...

Each object that is available on the Three-Fourths of an Ounce website has been designed just for Three-Fourths of an Ounce with a designer who I've admired for years.
For details on each of the designers that helped create each of the Three-Fourths of An Ounce objects, please visit

(Q) For those individuals reading this interview, what would you like them to know about Three-Fourths Of An Ounce?
I hope that both the journal and the objects on the website inspire people and provide some tools to find and share compassion in the aftermath of death and illness. I hope they are pieces of a larger revolution in the way we approach commemoration and that they offer people beautiful, thoughtful and creative ways to mourn and remember.
For more information about Three-Fourths of an Ounce, please visit today.

Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Gifts: Decorative Deep Fried Oreos

When it comes to the holidays the word creativity should always be in your forte. I am not saying that the holidays are necessarily the epitome of creativeness, but they do allow you to get inspired. I love everything about the holidays. Whether it be the music, the decorations, the love in the air, the entire ambiance, the food, etc. It is a well known fact that money doesn't grow on trees and not everyone can afford to spend an obscene amount on the latest item. Homemade gourmet gifts are not only incredibly affordable, but highly effective as everyone can and will appreciate them. Do you know anyone who doesn't love food?

Recently, I had the opportunity to discover one of the best homemade gourmet gifts. I was inspired at the local grocery store when shopping for cookies. I know there are many people that cannot stand Oreo cookies at all, however, once they try a decorative deep fried oreo they are hooked. Before you decide to make oreos, you can look at what type of oreos you want to buy. I like to buy all different types, however; I am fond of the original oreo cookie the most because it's the most common and it is what everyone expects when they bite into an oreo, especially a decorative deep fried oreo. Let's get started!


Deep Fryer (If you don't own a deep fryer, a thick cast iron pan is helpful and will work.)

Paper Towels

Metal Tongs

Oreo Cookies

All Purpose Flour

Granulated Sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Coconut Oil

Almond Milk





Edibles decors (Everything from sprinkles of sorts to actual images, whatever you intend to use to decorate your deep fried Oreos.)

Powdered Sugar (optional) 


Pour about 2 quarts of vegetable oil into your deep fryer. If you are using a thick cast iron pan, you want to pour about 1 quart of vegetable oil into it. You want to set the stove on high, but do not walk away from it. You want to only put it on high for about 5 minutes and then set it to a medium temperature.

As you continue, you want to make your batter. Although you can use pre-made pancake batter, I do not recommend it because the deep fried oreos taste better when you use homemade. You want to add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar into a big round bowl.

Once you combine the ingredients, using a mixer (I love to use my Kitchen Aid for this, however; any mixer with do) you want to mix them together until you have a relatively thin consistency. It should not be watery, but it should not be thick either. For those of you that have made crepes, it should be on the same wavelength. If you are looking to create a flavored deep fried Oreo, you can add just about any type of spice or extract to the batter.

Sit aside your batter. You want to get the oreos together. It is important that you look at each Oreo to make sure they are not cracked. Although some people like to take melted butter and apply it onto the oreos before applying the actual batter, I usually leave that step out. I tried it once and the batter didn't turn out the way I wanted it to turn out.

Using a pair of tongs, take each Oreo and dip it into the batter. If you are skeptical about doing several oreos at one time, try one and see how it turns out. You want to fry 6 at the most. You want to fry the deep fried oreos until they have reached a golden brown color. Most of the time, they will rise to the top when they are done, however; if you are confused, just set the time for 5 minutes, as that is the maximum time they can cook.

Now this is where the paper towels come into play. You want to make sure you have several paper towels laid out. They must be laid on a hard, flat surface so any flat plate will do. Also, make sure they are not crowded together because you are going to decorate them later. Using the pair of tongs (and they are highly recommended) you want to remove them from the deep fryer and apply them on the pair towels to dry. Let them dry for at least 10 minutes minimum.

Once they have dried, you can start decorating them. Some people like to leave them the way they are and just sprinkle powdered sugar. I like to decorate them. I love to apply icing all over them and apply an array of different edible decors. During the holidays I love breaking out my crystal sprinkles, as well as, sprinkles of seasonal things such as Christmas trees, snowman, and Santa Claus. You can be simple or you can be like me, creative. I also like to decorate my deep fried oreos a little over the top because it's fun and exciting.

Congratulations! You just made your first decorative deep fried Oreos. Now, all you have to do is box or bag them up and give them to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son, your wife, your girlfriend, your husband, your fiance, your boyfriend, your BFF, your father-in-law, your mother-in-law, and everyone else you can think of. Trust me, in the end, people not only love, but appreciate homemade gourmet gifts and the Decorative Deep Fried Oreos are one of them. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2014

National Pie Day: December 1st 2014

Not only does today mark the first of December, it is also "National Pie Day". So, what is your favorite pie? I love all pie, but I think right now I have garnered an obsession with Lemon Meringue. It's just soooooo good.

Monday, November 24, 2014

American Greetings talk Care Bears, Christmas, and the new Advent Calendar app

American Greetings presents the Care Bears
Advent Calendar app.
American Greetings is the biggest greeting card company in the world. Established in 1906, it's been around for over 100 years. American Greetings allows you to personalize and send greeting cards in a variety of ways, making every experience memory breeding and fun. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Janice Ross, the VP of brand marketing and public relations of American Greetings Properties about Care Bears, Christmas, and the new Advent Calendar app. Here is what she had to tell me...

(Q) First and foremost, as a huge fan of Care Bears, I have to ask you more about the latest app you have available for the holidays. Tell me a little more about it...

J.R: The Care Bears Advent Calendar app stars the lovable and friendly Care Bears and invites children to countdown to Christmas with all the sights, sounds and anticipation of the holiday. With wholesome themes and fun activities, the app is a great way for parents and grandparents to connect with children during the season.

In the app, which begins on December 1, children can start the countdown by ‘unlocking’ activities like holiday-themed puzzles, videos, coloring pages and more, returning each day to unlock another activity to get them closer to December 25. Kids can color with Tenderheart Bear, do a puzzle with Share Bear, wrap a gift with Cheer Bear and much more. And just like the traditional advent calendars, on December 25, the app gives users a sweet surprise with a full-length Care Bears video episode.

When not visiting the Care Bears each day, the app also provides activities for kids. Children can design hundreds of snowflakes and create their own white Christmas with the Care-a-Lot Snowflake maker, decorate the Care Bears Christmas tree with special ornaments found within the app and enjoy other wintry fun activities.

(Q) Can anyone download the app?

J.R: The app is available now for download on iPad and can be found on iTunes for $2.99. There is also an app for PC and MAC desktops that can be found on the American Greetings website here.

(Q) In the past days, weeks and months Care Bears has created a buzz for implementing fresh marketing tactics like crowd sourcing, Tell me more about the campaign and how it is engaging fans...

J.R: Earlier this month, we announced a fast moving, creative video campaign with the popular crowd sourcing digital platform, Tongal, with Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears. This contest is a chance to create video content that will connect with people who already know and love our brands and attract a new audience as well. Tongal seemed like the perfect community to tap into with a big range of ideas and people who might already have an emotional attachment to our lovable characters. Tongal challenged its creative community to come up with fun and engaging videos that will celebrate each of the iconic '80s franchises. There will be three winners for each brand, with first-place video winners earning $15,000.

(Q) I read that you have signed an exclusive deal with Netflix for Care Bears. Tell me about it...

J.R: There is a massive shift in the way kids consume content, and we have strategically positioned the Care Bears to be at the forefront of new media. We continue to focus on key collaborations and partnerships that allow a new generation of fans to discover Care Bears on the platforms that they want, and just announced that we're partnering with Netflix to create an exclusive new original Care Bears series called Care Bears and Cousins, expected to premiere in 2016. Our fans love the ease of streaming video and this partnership with Netflix will make it easy for our younger fans to connect with Care Bears on any device on demand.

(Q) Care Bears have their very own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, how do you engage fans on those pages?

J.R: Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake fans span from young kids and their parents, all the way up to grandparents who enjoyed these characters when their kids were young - and they are all super connected through Social Media. Whether it be through apps - we have more than a dozen - or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, YouTube or more, we have exciting and unique content to extend our brands everywhere and on every platform for our fans to engage with them!
For more information, visit American Greetings today.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: How To Prepare A Tofurky Roast

Well, it is official, the holidays are here. As we grasp the realization that in a few days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas and the New Year, it has become a tradition to prepare a Tofurky Roast. In fact, one of my favorite things to make during the holidays is definitely this amazing Tofurky addition. So, how do you prepare a Tofurky Roast?

First and foremost, it is very important that you remove the roast from the plastic casing before cooking. I also recommend thawing it out, as it makes it a lot easier to work with. Also, before cooking the Tofurky Roast it is important to preheat the oven for 350 degrees F. I love to just drizzle the entire roast with olive oil, as well as, salt & pepper. 

It is key to thaw the Tofurky Gravy, however, if it is mushy, just apply it all over the Tofurky Roast before baking it. Almost like a plaster of paris for food. Why? Because this will create a very flavorful yet natural crust. 

Before placing the Tofurky Roast inside of an aluminium foil or in glass casserole dish, you are going to want to add your vegetables, along with any type of homemade baste you want to create. To create the baste, all you really need are - carrots, onion, olive oil, fresh sage, and salt & pepper. You can also add various vegetables such as chopped carrots and onions to increase the flavor.

Cover the Tofurky Roast with aluminium foil or a dish cover. Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check sporadically. Then cook for an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered. 

There is stuffing inside of the roast, however, you can make your own stuffing (or dressing) to compliment your dish using bread, butter (I love Earth Balance's vegan butter best), onion, celery, rosemary, parsley, thyme, and salt & pepper.

If you want, you can actually prepare the stuffing while the Tofurky Roast is cooking, so than you can cook it with the Tofurky Roast. Even though there is stuffing (or dressing) inside of this amazing Tofurky addition, the homemade stuffing compliments the dish incredibly. 

If you are cooking it with other dishes, it is key to cook at least an hour to two hours prior to the last dish cooking, so it's ready in time. If you are eating with "meat-eaters" (this usually happens with me because my mother, stepfather, soon-to-be mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, etc. all eat meat) place the Tofurky Roast in the oven an hour before the actual main entree is done.

When you serve the Tofurky Roast, it is very important to make sure it is cooked inside. Although this is made from tofu, it is important that it is cooked all of the way through. As it sets, you can begin to serve when you start your meal. Happy Holidays!

Quorn Chik'n Cutlets with Cranberry & Goat Cheese

Well, it is official, Fall is here and this Thursday, Thanksgiving will magically appear. If you are uncertain what to serve to the vegetarian guests this year, you may want to consider Quorn's Chik'n Cutlets with Cranberry & Goat Cheese. 

I am not a fan of goat cheese all that much. In fact, if I had to choose my least favorite cheese, goat cheese would definitely be at the top. I have to admit though that I do enjoy it when paired with sweeter elements such vanilla, figs, apricots, pineapple, and cranberries. Yes, cranberries. In fact, when I first tried this amazing Quorn addition, I guess you could say that I found myself grabbing quite a few after I discovered how incredibly flavorful it actually was.

The flavors in this entree simply work. You can cook this in the oven and/or microwave. Personally, I love the oven for this fantastic entree simply because the food is crunchier and still has that robust, acquired flavor which is great. If you are searching for a good vegetarian meal to enjoy or to serve this holiday season, you simply cannot go wrong with this one. 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: How To Prepare A Quorn Turk'y Roast

As a lacto ovo vegetarian, I have discovered that eating a Thanksgiving meal is very much possible. Although there are many traditional dishes you can enjoy, there is more than just "sides" to a great meal. In fact, one of my favorite things to enjoy on the best time for giving thanks is definitely "Quorn's Meatless & Soy-Free Turk'y Roast" with "Tofurky's Savory Giblet Gravy".

First and foremost, you want to begin thawing your Turky's Roast. Even if it's still frozen, the key is to allowing it to thaw as much as possible. Before placing the roast onto a baking sheet, you want to cover it with aluminum foil. Add a little extra virgin olive oil followed by some salt & pepper.

Not many would think that freezing the actual gravy is a good idea, however; that is what I did when I prepared this particular vegetarian roast. In fact, I froze the gravy and then continued to let it thaw throughout the day until it turned into a paste-like gravy.
You want to pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees. You want to cover the entire turk'y with the giblet gravy. Use as much gravy as you can to cover it. It's a little thick, so be it. Think of it as a project and you have to cover it up with plaster. Once you have accomplished this, you want to stick it into the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes.
Yay! It's done. Although it is going to be hot, you can cut into it. Just make sure not to serve it until you are ready to eat.

Whether you are a vegetarian or simply choosing the vegetarian route this holiday season, you cannot go wrong with choosing this food idea.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Deals: CheapOair

When it comes to the holidays and traveling, you can expect the unexpected, as traveling is something to expect, especially if you have family and friends who live far away. As a world traveler, I find myself interested in grabbing the best deals for the season and one of them I recently discovered is at CheapOair.

CheapOair is currently offering the following deals for the holiday season:

-Get 40% off of your next flight. Use code: HOLIDAY40. (ongoing)
-Save up to $15 on your next flight. Use code: NVB15. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
-Save up to $20 on your next flight for Thanksgiving. Use code: TURKEY
-After November 30th until December 31st, use code: CHEAPAIR15 to save up to $15 off.
-What are you doing the day and weekend after Thanksgiving? You may want to take advantage of these super savings. Get up to $20 off now. Use code: BFCM2015(Black Friday & Cyber Monday)
-Do you have any plans for the New Year? Check out more super savings. Use code: NEWYEAR2016. (New Year)
-Round Trip Flights for Under $150.
-4-Star Hotels Under $99.
-Get $10 off your next rental car. Use code: RENTACAR. (Expires: December 31st 2015)

Other offers:
Save up to $30 on your next flight to New England. Use code: NEWENG30. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
Save up to $15 on your next flight to Europe. Use code: EURO15. (Expires: November 30th 2015)
-Save up to $15 on your next global flight. Use code: WORLD15. (Expires: December 31st 2015)
-Save up to $15 on Last Minute traveling and get 40 to 65% off now. Use code: LM15. (Expires: December 31st 2015)
-Get $50 off group packages. Use code: GROUP50. (Expires: December 31st 2015)

Whether you are heading home for the holidays or simply heading to a new destination, you may want to check out CheapOair for your next flight. Just click here to book your flight now.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hot in Music: Top 10 Christmas Albums of All Time

Christmas Eve and Other Stories from
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is definitely
the best Christmas album of all time.
I don't know about you, but Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. Everything from the decorations to the food and many more, including the music. Yes, the music. Because Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and because I love music, I have decided to countdown the many Christmas CDs put out by the numerous artists and bands to only the top 10 Christmas records.

10. The Lost Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra never fails to disappoint, especially when it comes to the holiday season. They are always on top of their game. This CD is exceptionally astonishing because it provides you with more than just good music, but compositions filled with raw masterpieces. The songs include: Music Box Blues, Faith Noel, The Lost Christmas Eve, Christmas Dreams, Wizards In Winter, Remember, Anno Domine, Christmas Concerto, Queen Of The Winter Night, Christmas Nights In Blue, Christmas Jazz, Christmas Jam, Siberian Sleigh Ride, What Is Christmas?, For The Sake Of Our Brother, and The Widom Of Snow. Whether you are looking for an amazing Christmas gift or simply looking to enjoy amazing music, this Trans-Siberian addition is it. (Check out my interview with Paul O'Neill of Trans-Siberian Orchestra here.)

9. Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald is a jazz legend. I never get tired of hearing her naturally gifted vocals. The songs include: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, O Holy Night, We Three Kings, Away In Manger, O Come All Ye Faithful, The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, Sleep My Little Jesus, and O Little Town Of Bethlehem. If you are looking for a great gift to give, give the gift of Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald.

8. Jingle Bell Rock by Brenda Lee. Christmas isn't complete without Brenda Lee. The songs include: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, This Time Of Year, Jingle Bell Rock, Strawberry Snow, Silver Bells, Winter Wonderland, Blue Christmas, A Marshmallow World, Christmas Will Just Be Another Lonely Day, and The Angel And The Little Blue Bell. Every time I go anywhere after Thanksgiving, I am always hearing Brenda's classic "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree" and to be honest, I never get tired of hearing it.

7. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. Nat King Cole is a legend in his own right. The songs include: The Christmas Song, Deck The Halls, Adestes Fideles, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, O Tannebaum, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, I Saw Three Ships, O Holy Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, A Cradle In Bethlehem, Away In A Manger, Joy To The World, The First Noel, Caroling Caroling, O Come All Ye Faithful, and Silent Night. "The Christmas Song" may have been covered by many artists and bands, but none of them touch Nat King Cole's rendition.

6. Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey proves why she is ultimately amazing, when she made this holiday album. The songs include: Silent Night, All I Want For Christmas Is You, O Holy Night, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Miss You Most (At Christmas Time), Joy To The World, Jesus Born On This Day, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and Jesus What A Wonderful Child. This is one of Mariah's best records to date and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" will go down in history as a classic. If you are looking for a last minute gift, give the gift of Merry Christmas Mariah Carey. Everyone who receives this is most definitely certain to love it.

5. Christmas Spirit by Donna Summer. Disco diva and soulful soprano Donna Summer's CD is truly a force to be reckoned with. She proves that she still has it with this album, making this a definite top Christmas record. The songs include: White Christmas, The Christmas Song, O Come All Ye Faithful, Christmas Is Here, What Child Is This, Do You Hear What I Hear, Joy To The World, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Christmas Spirit, Breath Of Heaven, O Holy Night, and Lamb Of God. This Christmas CD is very much worth owning.

4. White Christmas by Bing Crosby. If you have ever watched the classic holiday movie "White Christmas" (or commonly referred to as "Holiday Inn") chances are, you have heard Bing Crosby. The songs include: Silent Night, Adeste Fideles, White Christmas, God Rest Ye Gentlemen, Faith Of Our Fathers, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, Silver Bells, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Christmas In Killarney, and Mele Kalikimaka. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Yes, I've heard "White Christmas" covered numerous times, but let's face it, the song belongs to Bing Crosby. This CD is a classic.

3. Christmas Album by Michael Crawford. Michael Crawford proves why he is and always will be the true Phantom of the Opera. This CD is wonderful. The songs include: The Very Best Time Of The Year, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Peace Peace, Silent Night, Mary Did You Know?, A Journey To Bethlehem (Christmas medley), O Holy Night, Scarlett Ribbons, Candlelight Carol, Angels We Have Heard On High, The World, and All Is Well. I have to be honest, I don't think there is anyone who can cover "O Holy Night" as good as Mr. Crawford. Looking for a last minute gift or just a great CD to listen to overall? This is it!

2. Christmas Songs by Elvis. If you don't own this Christmas CD, you really are missing out on a great album. Brought to by the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, this holiday inspired album is the best Christmas Album to date. The songs include: Blue Christmas, Silent Night, White Christmas, Santa Claus Is Back In Town, I'll Be Home For Christmas, If Everyday Was Like Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me, and Mama Like The Roses. I absolutely love all of the songs, however; if I had to choose my favorite, I would definitely choose "Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me" followed by "Blue Christmas". Whether as a gift to yourself or that music lover who appreciates great tunes, this is it.

...and the #1 Christmas CD is...

1. Christmas Eve And Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you are a fan of rock or a fan of symphonic metal and industrial, chances are you are going to love this album. If you are not, well, you are still going to love this amazing addition by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The songs include: An Angel Came Down, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Star To Follow, First Snow, The Silent Nutcracker, A Mad Russians Christmas, The Prince of Peace, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, Good King Joy, Ornament, The First Noel, Old City Bar, Promises To Keep, This Christmas Day, An Angel Returned, O Holy Night, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I know you have heard "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" played everywhere, because it is a brilliant work of art. Whether you are looking for a last minute gift or a great holiday CD, this is it. (Check out my exclusive interview with Paul O'Neill of Trans Siberian Orchestra here.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holidays 2014: Top 10 Gifts for Zebra Print Lovers

Zebra Print Scale + Toothbrush. Two
amazing essentials that make wonderful
One of the most popular animal prints in the world is definitely the zebra. This print is not only incredibly chic, it's addicting in a sense because it replicates a trend that is used in virtually everything. As a zebra print lover myself, I can honestly say that I have almost everything in the popular print. So, what are 10 gifts for zebra print lovers?

10. Cupcake Studio Baking Activity Kit. This kit is a lot of fun and includes: a frosting pen, decorating sugars, zebra print cupcake papers, and a safari baking map that gives you so many different ideas. You will also receive an all-natural chocolate and vanilla mix along with frosting. Whether you are looking to channel your inner cupcake master skills or simply looking to give this to someone who will, whoever receives this gift will not only love it, but appreciate it too. Great for all ages, you can grab this at for only $17.50 today.

9. Wallpops 'Zebra' Wall Art. This amazing Wallpops addition includes three 18 1/2"W x 26 3/4"H sheets which are not only 100% Vinyl, but both spot clean and residue-free. They are also repositionable and reusable, making application quite easy. What is better than that? Available at Nordstrom for $56, this makes an incredible gift for the zebra print fanatic in your life.

8. Woodland Importants New Metal Zebra Lamp. When it comes to any kind of decor, some of the best gifts are those little gems that you can't find just anywhere. When it comes to this lamp, you aren't going to find this in just any store. Made balanced metallic base structure, tis exclusive piece is great for every table. You can find this lamp at HandHelditems for $99.  

7. Safari Zebra Car Set. What I love about this set is that you get 15 pieces that work for virtually every SUV under the sun. You get a set of zebra print animal print seat covers, which include one for the front and one for the back. That is four total. You also get a rear bench seat cover, a steering wheel cover, along with two seat belt pads, two front carpet mats, and two rear mats. Available at for only $46.99, this set is perfect for not only a car enthusiast, but zebra print one too. 

6. Bathroom Shower Curtain. The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year. What is better than being surrounded by family and other loved ones? Aside from the joy, the music, and the food, another thing to admire is gift giving. One of the greatest gifts of  2014 is definitely a zebra print shower curtain and every single enthusiast who receives this will love you for getting it for them. You can purchase this shower curtain at for $21.99. 

5. Jonathan Adler 'Zebra' Porcelain Stacking Dish. Can you believe the holidays are approaching us? Available at Nordstrom for $24, this Light Blue, zebra print addition is as unique as the individual that loves and appreciates it. If you are searching for a great zebra print gift, this is definitely the one.

4. Embroidered Beach Towel. What do you get when you combine an oversized towel with zebra print? Not only do you get to choose the color you want, you can also get this amazing zebra print addition personalized. For $49.95, this extremely versatile towel is definitely a must-have and one of the best gifts you can give this holiday season.

3. Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. What is better than cooking this holiday season? If you're anything like me, the holidays are simply not complete without the joy, the happiness, the laughter, and of course, the food.  Available at for only $19.38, this will make any zebra print enthusiast's holiday better in more ways than one. 

2. Taylor Glass Digital Scale. Are the best things in life really free or are they just zebra print? If someone asked me today "Sarah, if you were to give a great gift to someone, what would you get them?" I would say this one. Available at Dollar Days for $24.99, this is definitely one of the best gifts you can give to the zebra print lover in your life.

1. Pursonic Dual Handle Rechargeable Toothbrush. If you can think of one thing everyone in the world needs, what would it be? Definitely the toothbrush. With a one year warranty available, this toothbrush not only includes so many features. It is the gadget to end all gadgets. You can grab this amazing zebra print addition at Best Buy or your nearest retailer for $99.99. Looking for the ultimate gift? This is definitely it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Kylie Jenner teams up with Bellami to launch Kylie Hair Kouture

It is official, Kylie Jenner has branched out into the hair business. As one of the youngest sister's in the Kardashian/Jenner legacy, Kylie has teamed up with Bellami Hair to launch Kylie Hair Kouture. As one of the most highly anticipated launches for 2014, Kylie remains to be one of the most inspiring role models to young women around the world right now.

"The collaboration with Kylie is ideal for Bellami", Julius Salerno said. As CEO of Bellami Hair LLC., Salerno went on to say "Kylie has been extremely active in contributing to the development of Kylie Hair Kouture. It is extremely important to her that the product is able to be used by all hair types. The entire team is extremely excited for the launch."

Kylie Hair Couture will feature 10 signature colors, including an amazing black to teal ombre, which Kylie is known for. Kylie loves hair extensions because they have allowed her to achieve an array of looks without the obligation to a specific style.

"I wanted to create a line of clip-in hair extensions that would be versatile enough for any girl to install herself, without the commitment of permanent extensions" Kylie Jenner said about her line.

When it comes to beauty and hair, Kylie is known for making a statement. In fact, she is well-known for being a trendsetter. There is nothing stopping this reality star who appears on E! reality's Keeping Up With the Kardashians from continuing the legacy. I don't know about you, but I am very excited about Kylie Hair Kouture.

Keep up with Kylie Hair Kouture by following Bellami on Instagram. For more information, visit Bellami today. #KylieHairKouture

Saturday, November 1, 2014

World Vegan Day: Emmy's Organics

Emmy’s Organics is one of the best brands I have recently discovered. Emmy’s Organics is not only vegan and gluten-free, but they are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Emmy’s Super Cereal ($6.49 a box)
+ Sweet Buckwheat (I wasn't sure if I was going to love this one, but I did. It has a very naturally sweet flavor that is somewhat acquired in a good way.)
+ Apricot Vanilla (I really enjoyed this cereal, but was kind of disappointed in a sense where I couldn't taste the apricots that much in it. Definitely good.)
+ Blueberry Cashew (I really enjoyed this cereal. The flavors go great together. The cashew really balances the blueberry, which I enjoyed. This is great with Almond Milk.)
+ Cacao Coconut (This is my favorite. I loved this one with Coconut Milk. Everything from the flavor to the texture, etc.)

Emmy’s Macaroons ($2.95 a bag)
+ Chai Spice (I really enjoyed this macaroon. It reminds me of healthy carrot cake, yet you can really taste the natural flavors.)
+ Lemon Ginger (To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect because when it comes to combining these two flavors together, I always find myself thinking of the pickled ginger that you get when eating sushi to cleanse your palette. Needless to say, this macaroon was incredibly delicious and is my favorite of the bunch.)
+ Coconut Vanilla (This is one of greatest raw-vegan macaroons I have enjoyed yet. It tastes even more amazing when enjoying Coconut Milk on the side.)
+ Dark Cacao (Absolutely delicious. They have a mild flavor which I love. When drinking Coconut Milk, they seem to taste even better.)
+ Chocolate Chip (To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to love this flavor, but I did. A healthy chocolate chip cookie that has the perfect balance of sweetness.)

Friday, October 31, 2014

National Caramel Apple Day: Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting

Although today is officially Halloween, it is also a day to honor both candy and caramel apples. I decided that today, for "National Caramel Apple Day" I would share my Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting recipe. It is very important that you have the following ingredients…
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (you can use Almond Flour)
2 cups Granulated Sugar (you can use Stevia)
3 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt
2 cups Silk’s Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk’s Vanilla Almond Milk)
1 cup Coconut Oil
2-3 tablespoons Green Food Coloring

3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
For the frosting, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients…

cups non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup Silk’s Vanilla Coconut Milk
3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract 
Let’s Bake!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your batter by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. As you continue you want to  fold in the remaining ingredients. So you want to add oil, milk, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. 
Once you continue, it is important to get a cupcake pan ready. Whether you want to make mini cupcakes or large cupcakes. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. 
Once you have accomplished this, let the cake cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
As you can continue, let the cupcakes set for 5 to 10 minutes before transporting it onto a plate and then, onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Set it aside.
Let’s Frost!
I used my KitchenAid mixer to make the frosting.  It is important to combine all of the ingredients, except the confectioners’ sugar (or powdered sugar), vanilla, and soy milk into the mixer and mix until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners’ sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla followed by the milk. 
Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the consistency are you hoping to achieve. 
Take your cupcakes and start to apply the vegan frosting. You an pipe this because of the consistency of it. Decorate the cupcakes however you choose. Keep them simple or add various toppers and/or fondants. 
Guess what?! You’re done! Congratulations! You have just made the Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hot In Music: Girls of SKAM share their Beauty Secrets

SKAM Artist Havana Brown.
Starting out as a DJ agency, SKAM is taking the music world by storm. SKAM (Sujit Kundu Artist Management) is all about the music, the talent, and the family dynamic. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the most talented and beautiful women in the world who are part of SKAM about their beauty secrets.
When I asked SKAM Artist Havana Brown her secret to amazing skin, she told me that she doesn't use too much on her skin, but likes to use facial wipes. She also told me that she absolutely loves rosehip oil. "I find that I breakout quite a bit, but I find that rosehip oil works amazing for me" she tells me. "It's all very natural and clean, which I love. It works really well with my skin."
As we continued our conversation, I discovered that Havana loves using MAC Cosmetics and went on to tell me how much she loves the Studio Conceal and Correct Palette, as it is great for covering blemishes, under-eye circles, and great for contouring. "I love this palette because you can use it in so many ways."
I went on to ask her if there were a product she could not live without, she also told me that she cannot live without her MAC Mineralized Skinfinish, as it is her favorite bronzer. "If I couldn't live without a product, it would definitely be that because I can wear it at any time. I just love it."
When we talked about foundation, she told me that she loves Bobbi Brown foundation because it has great coverage yet it isn't too heavy. Havana told me she loves Kiss false eyelashes and went on to tell me how much she loves Max Factor Mascara. "I have been using Max Factor mascara forever. It is my favorite."
We started talking about MAC Cosmetics again where she let me know that she loves their brow products including their brow liner. The lipstick vs. lip gloss debate started where Havana told me that she was a fan of lipstick along with the lip liner. She mentioned how much she really enjoys Rimmel London's lip products.
After we talked about makeup, I asked her what her favorite fragrance was. She proceeded to tell me "I love Versace's Crystal Noir. I have been wearing it for many many years now. To me, what it smells like is a strong woman. It is definitely my favorite perfume."
So, after talking about makeup, skin care, and perfume, we started talking about hair care. What is Havana Brown's secret to amazing hair? "I absolutely love to use Kerastase. It makes my hair look and feel amazing." She went on to tell me "I also love my Silver Bullet Hair Straightener. It is one of those products that I just cannot live without."
Havana leads an active lifestyle, but one the most important things she really emphasizes on is healthy eating. In fact, all she eats is organic and non-GMO food. "I find that what we put into our bodies is important. I don't eat much meat, but I am not a vegetarian. Generally, I will not eat anything that is not clean or genetically modified. I love Whole Foods because I can find everything I want there." She went on to tell me "I love to eat well because I have noticed such a huge different in my appearance, as a result." As we continued the conversation, I asked her what motto does she use to get through life. She told me "everything happens for a reason".
After hanging up with Havana Brown, who was such a joy to speak with, I received a call from SKAM Artist Samantha Ronson. I proceeded to ask her virtually instantaneously what her skin care secrets were. She went on to tell me that she loved the Chanel serum. "I use the Chanel serum. It's a product that really makes my skin look and feel great."
She said she doesn't use much face products because she is allergic to a variety of things, but did mention she recently quit smoking and that it has changed her life in more ways than one. "I just recently quit smoking almost a month ago and the difference is incredible. You don't realize how much it holds you back until you stop doing it."
We started discussing makeup. She told me that she used some things, but wasn't hesitant to let me know that she didn't use others. Samantha told me that she loves Sue Devitt's Eye Intensifier Pencil and Yves Saint Laurent's Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Lip Balm. "I love Sue Devitt's liner along with YSL's balm. They are my favorite products."
After we discussed makeup, we started talking about perfume. Samantha told me instantly how much she loved the new fragrance by Pharrell Williams. "I absolutely love Pharrell Williams Girl. It's a newer fragrance that recently came out not too long ago. It is such a fresh, nice clean scent. I don't even know how to describe it, it's just dope."
When it comes to hair, Samantha loves to use a variety. "I use Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner. I also use their serum, as well. My hair is bleached, so this keeps my hair looking good. Then, I use Unite Second Day. I really love Unite Second Day because it gives my hair great texture. I also love to use A Perfect Mess Beach Hair by Charlotte Ronson. It gives my hair that look like you are at the ocean. It smells so good and is one of my favorite products." So, what is Samantha Ronson's motto in life? "It could be worse."
It was great speaking with Samantha and after we hung up, I had the pleasure of speaking with SKAM Artist Caroline d'Amore. We immediately started talking about skin care. Caroline told me that she doesn't use many products. When I asked her why, she said because they tend to dry her skin out and make her skin react differently. When I asked her about her regime, she told me she likes to keep things simple. "I like to keep things simple. My skin can be easily irritated. I love to use Cetaphil. It's very gentle on my skin. I also love to use Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil." She continued to tell me "There are so many uses for coconut oil, but I have to tell you, this is what I love to use as a moisturizer on my skin. It's all natural and makes my skin look and feel amazing. I love that it is natural, as well."
I asked Caroline if there was one beauty tip she would like to share and she said to me - "MAC Strobe Cream is amazing. After a night of DJing and then having to get up early, I love applying this cream to my face. It brightens my skin. It goes on sheer and is light. I will walk into my radio station and people will compliment me. I really love MAC's Strobe Cream. This is literally one of my favorite products."
We started talking about makeup shortly after. When I asked her about her favorite, she was not reluctant to mention how much she loved MAC's Strobe Cream, but then proceeded to tell me how much she loved Dior's Lipsticks. "I absolutely love the lipsticks by Christian Dior. I tend to go for the matte finish more than anything else."
I asked Caroline a series of questions about her favorite makeup products. She informed me that she loved the Colossal Mascara by Maybelline, Brow Art 23 Cake, Brow Art Gel, and Blast Flipstick Lip Color by Cover Girl, along with MAC's Strobe Cream and Dior Lipsticks. She did tell me she's in search of a good foundation, so I recommended the Silk Creme Foundation by Laura Mercier.
As the conversation progressed, we started to talk about perfume and fragrance. Caroline told me that she loves Kai. Everything about the scent is good. "I love how it smells natural and so clean. Everything about it is amazing."
When we started talking about hair, she told me how much she loves Big Sexy Hair's Dry Shampoo. "I really love this product a lot. Right now I have a short style and it just adds so much to it." She then said "I really like the Tancho Stick since I have a shorter hairstyle now." We continued talking about hair a little more where she told me how much loves Mark Hill's Miracoilicious.
Does healthy eating play a factor in living an amazing lifestyle? According to Caroline, it definitely does. "I know when I changed my eating, I noticed a huge difference." She went on to say "I really only go to Whole Foods Market now. I only eat natural. I don't eat anything with hormones, GMOs, etc." She then said "don't get me wrong, I still love to eat sweets and my family owns a pizza parlor, but for the most part I am eating healthier things."
As the interview concluded, I asked Caroline what her motto in life was and she proceeded to tell me "be true to yourself and don't let others change you" and then she said "stay who you are and never let go of that".
After concluding my amazing conversation with Caroline, I had the chance to speak to SKAM Artist Sky Nellor. When I asked what her secret was to amazing skin, the first thing she said was to drink more water. She also mentioned that as an Australian woman, she loved to keep things simple and she didn't follow a specific regime. She did tell me that she loved Karin Herzog's Oxygen Face. "This product is amazing for me because I am playing night clubs and traveling, so it really does a lot for my skin. I have been using this product for years and just love it." She told me that she loves travel sized products because they can fit inside her handbag and she can use them on the go. "I love travel sized products. They are very convenient for me because I am always traveling."
We started talking about New York where she mentioned her facialist who introduced her to the Oxygen Face product by Karin Herzog. When I asked Sky who this amazing facialist was, she told me her name was Lena and her spa is the Maksim Spa located in the heart of the big apple on 80 fifth avenue, suite 1208 "I have been going to her for 20 years. She is the only one who touches my face. My clean and clear, healthy skin is basically all of her doing. She is amazing."

As the conversation progressed, I asked her what beauty tip she had that she wanted to share. "It's very important to drink water. I also find it important to remove your makeup before you go to bed." I asked her what her favorite makeup remover was and she told me that she loved Shu Uemura's Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil. "I love everything about this product. It's really something special and even has green tea extract in it, which does amazing things for my skin."

We started talking about makeup. Sky told me that she loved Giorgio Armani Beauty's "Eyes To Kill" Waterproof Eye Pencil and says it is the best eye pencil ever created. "I absolutely love it and what it does for my eyes. It has to be one of the best products ever." She went on to tell me that she loves lip gloss. "I use everything from Chanel to Burt's Bees to Creme de la Mer to Giorgio Armani Beauty and more." She told me that her go-to lip glosses are Jordana's Squeeze n Shine in Berry Cute and Giorgio Armani Beauty's Flash Lacquer in 400.

The conversation then went to mascara where Sky told me that she had a few favorites, however, Revlon's Bold Waterproof Lacquer in Blackest Black is her current favorite. "There is something about this mascara that does amazing things to my lashes. I just love it."
I asked Sky what her other favorite products were. She told me that she loved Dior's Diorskin Sculpt Concealer along with Shiseido's Natural Eyebrow Pencil. When I asked her about foundation, she immediately said she loved Giorgio Armani Beauty's Maestro Fusion makeup the best. "It's like magic in a tube. It makes my skin look and feel absolutely amazing. It feels like silk. It is the best one out there."

After makeup, we moved onto fragrance. What is Sky's favorite perfume? She told me she loves an oil. "I absolutely love Zuzu Petalz oil. It's my favorite. It comes in a cute little vial. All you need is one or two dabs and you are good to go."

When it comes to hair, Sky has quite a few products she loves. She loves a product that gives her hair shine. "I absolutely love Leonor Greyl because it really gives my hair something special. My hair looks amazing because of this." What is Sky Nellor's motto in life? "Go hard or go home."

Keep up with Havana Brown, Samantha Ronson, Caroline d'Amore, and Sky Nellor at