Thursday, February 23, 2017

Port, Wine, and Chocolate Lover's Weekend

***This post is for the 21+ crowd!***

Over the years, I've heard of the Port Wine and Chocolate Lover's Weekend at the Old Sugar Mill.  It is always the weekend before Valentine's Day and I had been meaning to go for YEARS!  It sounded perfect for me since I like sweet wines and I LOOOOOOVE chocolate!  This year, I would lucky enough to be invited* to go to the event!

The event takes place at The Old Sugar Mill which is in Clarksburg while it's technically in Yolo County, it's super close to Elk Grove and Sacramento.  My biggest piece of advice for you for this event is to take an Uber or Lyft or taxi (I'm not affiliated with any of these companies.)  The reason is the parking lot is very small and the event gets very full.  Beyond that, the ticket price includes tastings at each of the 13 wineries plus you'll probably find wine you love, want to have a few glasses, and you don't want to drink and drive.

The admission comes with an Old Sugar Mill wine glass that you get to keep and that's what you use to go around and taste.  There is also a designated driver ticket available at a lower cost that includes admission with no tastings.  Most of the wineries have a table set up in the main hallway of the OSM so you don't have to go inside their tasting room unless you want to pay for their full tasting.  Most of the tastings came with a piece of chocolate or a piece chocolate dessert.  I discovered at this event that my palette has changed a bit and I don't drink wines quite as sweet as I used to.  I really enjoyed the most of the ports but some of the late season whites and muscats leaned a little too sweet for me.  My absolute FAVORITE thing I tasted was a Petite Sirah and sparkling wine mixed "cocktail" from Clarksburg Wine Company called L'Etoile Rouge.  I've never thought to mix wines together to make a wine cocktail.

Beyond the wines, OSM brings in some vendors (mostly food) and food trucks to the events.  All of the vendors I checked out were giving away samples of their goods.  We ended up buying some delicious marshmallows from The Rustic Puff for Valentine's Day to make the kids special hot cocoa and some yummy lime curd from 2 English Ladies.  For lunch, we got some tacos and an aqua fresca from Masa Guiseria and a gyro and some fries from Gyro King.  It was a really yummy lunch and we got to sit outside since that weekend was beautifully sunny!  They had live music set up outside.

There was a really cool mix of people at the event!  I met a young couple from Canada that were super sweet!  I also met a whole group of people from Sacramento AcroYoga which I've only seen on Instagram and Snapchat and it was awesome to see them doing their acroyoga in person.  They were all so kind and welcoming!  You never know who you'll meet at these events!

The Old Sugar Mill has events like this throughout the year, next up is a Brazilian Carnaval which I've never been to but sounds like fun!  I would recommend these events!  I've gone out there for a Wine and Cheese event and a Grapes and Grub event and they were both fun.

I've done something different and made a Youtube video of my SnapChat story from the Port Wine and Chocolate Lovers event.  It was my very first time doing this and I hope to improve in the future. Please let me know if you enjoy the video more than the usually handful of pictures I normally post.  Thank you!

*I was gifted tickets to this event through work.  This blog post was not solicited or sponsored.  I am simply sharing my experience about a cool event I went to in hopes that people looking into these events can get some information.  All opinions are my own.  

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Monday, February 20, 2017

How To: Help Your Friends Who Blog (5 FREE and Easy Ways)

I hope that this post isn't weird coming from a blogger.  I've been blogging for almost 10 years and while that seems like a long time, blogging is still a relatively new thing when it comes to occupation or making some supplemental income.  This post is going to cover how to help your friends who are bloggers.  I think that most people WANT to help their friends but they don't know how.  I also think if people knew HOW then they would.

Here are some FREE AND EASY ways to help your friends who blog:

1. Read their work.  Most bloggers spend hours writing a post.  Rewriting.  Editing.  Taking photos.  Editing photos.  Making graphics.  Making projects.  Formulating recipes.  Reviewing products.  Whatever it is they do.  The only reason is so that people will read it.  This is their work or their passion or often both.  And they just want you to see it.  While you're at it, click around and read another post they wrote.

2. Leave a comment.  It's hard to tell that someone has been to your blog unless they leave a comment.  Comments are a huge form of validation that tells someone "Hey, I saw your hard work and I wanted to let you know that I saw it."  Just imagine when you're at work and your boss or coworker tells you that you've done a good job.  For bloggers, there is no one at your office.  A comment says that your work doesn't go unnoticed.

3. Like and share on social media.  Most bloggers share their posts on social media.  If you "like" a post you see on social media, there's more chance of people seeing it.  If you "share" a post on social media; your friends, family and followers are exponentially more likely to see it.

4. Become a follower or subscribe via email.  Numbers matter when you are trying work with different companies.  If you like someone's blog then following is a way to show people that they deserve more attention.  While following a celebrity might not mean much to them since you're in a sea of millions of fans, following a blogger means a lot especially if they only have a few people following them and supporting them.

5. If you have an interest in products or services they posted, use their link to purchase or sign up.  Using these links will NEVER cost you any extra money, in fact some times they will even SAVE you money since companies will give bloggers a coupon to pass onto their readers.  Usually the blogger will get very little if you do use their link, but some credit is better than no credit.  The hope is the a little bit from each person who visits will build up.

I hope that this post helps give a little insight to the world of blogging and gives you things to do if you were looking for ways to help out your friends.  

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Amazing Lash Eyelash Extensions Review

If you know me, you know I LOVE a big lash!  I was super excited to hear that Amazing Lash Studios were coming to my town of Elk Grove and when they asked me to partner up with them, I was ecstatic to try out some lash extensions!  It took me a few months after they opened to get to a point in my life where I could get the lashes and you KNOW how I love to do a thorough review for you all.   (While I did receive some services for free, I give 100% honest opinions of products whether I pay for them or not.)
Lash extensions are little light weight extensions that are glued directly onto your lashes with a semi-permanent glue.  They last 2-4 weeks depending on how fast your lashes grow and how often they fall out which varies from person to person.  Amazing Lash uses glue that is formaldehyde-free and they use a sterile application process where they soak their tweezers in disinfectant solution then sanitize them in a UV sterilizer.  After you get your lashes, you can't wash them or touch them for about 48 hours.  You can shower but you need to make sure no water or steam gets on your lashes.  This helps the glue to set.  

My first set of lashes went on at the end of October.  I loved loved loved the results but I have sensitive eyes and had to find a way that worked for me with the lashes.  Thankfully, the team at Amazing Lash Studio Elk Grove worked with me to figure out the best way for me to get lashes.  I use what they call "Sensitive Procedure" which is where the lashes are glued further away from the lash line.  However, since the lashes are further out they can grow out quicker.  If your eyes are not sensitive, I would try the regular way so you can get the most out of your lashes.

The first time you go, you'll get your full set.  This will take about 2 hours.  I suggest wearing comfy clothes and you can even take a nap during your application.  You will lay on a padded massage table (face up, obviously) and there's a pillow, a cushion that goes under your knees, and they cover you with a soft and cozy blanket.  They put on soothing music and you can choose to talk to your lash stylish or you can nap or I'm SURE you could bring in ear buds and listen to an audio book but I've never tried that.  Once I tried just laying in silence but that makes it seem like you've been there FOREVER, once I tried napping but I'm pretty self conscious of my snoring, and what works for me is chatting with my gal.  I'm a social person and hearing about someone's school and family is really enjoyable to me and it makes the time go by faster.  My lashes usually last about 3 weeks but there has been one time when I needed to come in closer to 2 weeks to get a fill.  The fills are much faster, usually under 1 hour.
Before and After - sorry about the lighting

I've done something that the average person hasn't done.  After I figured out the regular procedure wasn't going to work for my eyes, I had all my lashes removed and waited a few days before getting a new set.  I've seen my lashes underneath and they are perfectly fine and actually nice and full.  The extensions did not hurt my lashes at all.  I've also already tried two different styles of lashes; The Gorgeous Style and The Cute Style.  I think The Cute Style suits my face better though it's hard to tell in the photos.  I think you can tell when I'm looking forward and not smiling but I don't take pictures like that.

Cute Style Lashes
Cute Style Lashes
Cute Style Lashes 
Gorgeous Style Lashes
Gorgeous Style Lashes
I can't explain to you how much I love having lashes!  I've never been a person who looks in the mirror with no makeup and thinks "oh, I look so cute" but I do with the lashes on.  I don't even put on very much makeup anymore.  It takes me about 5 minutes to apply some face makeup, lipstick, and I'm good to go.  I didn't realize how much time I was spending on eye makeup.  I'm someone who struggles with self confidence and I think the time, money, and bit of care that goes into having lashes is worth every single bit if I can look at myself and be happier with me.  I feel like I look more like myself, is that weird?  It's not about changing who I am or what I look like, it's about putting forth the best version of who I already am.

If you are in Elk Grove and want to get lashes, please use my referral link to make your appointment and put in Ashley Newell as the blogger. My lash stylist is Kaozer and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her!  She's efficient, friendly, and I feel like she cares about me.  Plus she does an awesome job on my lashes!  I hope this review helps you!  Leave me a comment if you have any questions.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Sola Bee Farms: Using Honey to Combat Allergies

***Since allergy season is upon us, I've decided to repost this post on Sola Bee Farms from my other blog that I decided not to post on any further.***  

One of the very best things about living in California is the amazing produce which is abundant this time of year and you know who we have to thank for so much of our produce?  Bees!  I don't ever think that the importance of bees can ever be stressed enough.  I partnered with Sola Bee Farms for an informative post and a review of their honey.

First off, I asked Claire from Sola Bee Farm to give me some important facts about bees and honey to share with you.  Here is what she had to say: 

California Honey Bee Facts

California’s agriculture system- the fresh foods we all eat!- are highly dependent on pollination by managed honeybees colonies like ours.

Studies show the 1 in every 3 bites of food is pollinated by a manage honeybee.

Here’s a quick list of some of the food we can thank our honeybees (and beekeepers!) for: Apples, Oranges, Broccoli, Blueberries, cherries, Onions, Cucumbers, (& pickles!) Cantaloupes,
Avocados, Almonds,
Alfalfa (for cows!)

Managed honeybee colonies support the health and habit for native pollinators, including butterflies, bumblebees, birds and other beneficial insects.

Raw honey contains antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, D and K, and helps fend of seasonal allergies! It's also a natural antiseptic, and has is a natural energy food. It's much healthier than eating processed sugar!

I think it's really important for us to understand the importance of bees in our community.  It is also very important to teach kids that while they do need to be cautious of bee stings, bees are extremely beneficial to our environment and shouldn't be destroyed.  Beyond pollinating plants, bees also give us honey.

Sola Bee Farms is a really cool business.  The Tauzer Family has been in farming since 1861 and has evolved with the times.  Sola Bee Farms is the newest endeavor started in 2011.  They have their bees in different bee friend farms and ranches all over Northern California to create different varietals of honey.  Sola believes in sustainability and innovation.  All their honeys are raw, 100% pure, and only the excess honey is harvested from the hives because taking care of bees is their top priority.  They also use "green" products in their packaging.

For my review, I decided to try the California Seasonal which is said to help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies.  First off, this is the most delicious honey I've ever tasted in my life.  I am officially swearing off honey purchased at the grocery store or big box stores.  There are so many subtle flavors within the sweetness including floral notes and something that almost hits a tart note on my tongue.  As for allergies, I'm going to admit that I'm not excellent at eating honey every single day and I could probably get much better results if I could remember to eat it every day religiously.  I did, however, notice a huge change.  I could skip taking allergy medicines most days because I ate the honey, on days with high wind I added in an allergy nose spray and that worked really well for me.

If you're looking for some delicious honey that will help out with your allergies, check out Sola Bee Farms!  You can also find them at the Sola Bee Farm Facebook page.  I get my honey from the Old Elk Grove Farmers Market.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dressember Week 1 - Featuring ALL Lularoe Dresses

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  I'm doing alright.  It's starting to get cold here.  And by cold I mean by my California standards which is 40-50 degrees F.  I know that's not very cold to other people but I'm chilly!

As promised, I'm doing updates on my Dressember fundraiser.  After week 1, I've raised $56.  My goal is $500 which I don't think I'll make.  I will be adding my own donation after the event is over.  I feel like fundraiser is rough because the topic is so serious yet I feel like most people think that Dressember is just a parade of dresses for fun.  Either way, I hope that I can spread some awareness.

Dec 1 - Lularoe Carly with leggings and flip flops

Dec 2 - Lularoe Carly with leggings, a cardigan, and boots

Dec 3 - Lularoe Nicole with leggings and flip flops.  I think Avery's dress is from Gap.

Dec 4 - Lularoe Amelia with booties

Dec 5 - Lularoe Nicole with leggings and boots

Dec 6 - Lularoe Ana with flip flops and a black purse

Dec 7 - I was so tired.  Lularoe Carly with leggings and slipper socks

 If you'd like to make a donation to Dressember to help end human trafficking, please do so here:  Thank you!