Monday, January 8, 2018

EASY Instant Pot Beef Tips Recipe

Raise your hand if you got an Instant Pot for Christmas!  I've actually had one for a few years (my first Instant Pot post)  but this Christmas, my amazing friend and fellow blogger Jax from Jax Chronicles (be sure to check out her blog for Instant Pot Recipes too!) gave me an 8 quart Instant Pot!  Oh my goodness!  It's been such a huge upgrade.  We have a family of 5 and my boys are big eaters so this gift has been life changing!  Today, I'm sharing a recipe with you that my WHOLE family including the picky eaters like.

I've been making Beef Tips in the oven for years based on the No Peek Beef Tips recipe from Mommy's Kitchen that my friend Angie shared with me.  My family really enjoys the beef tips especially over egg noodles!  Over the years, I've adapted the recipe just a little.  My only issue with these before tips is the consistency of the meat.  Sometimes it would be tender, sometimes it would be tough, other times it would be dry and stringy.  I felt like I was doing the same thing every time but it was a crapshoot what the beef texture would be like.

One day, I had purchased some stew meat but it was too tired to make stew.  It was already passed 5pm so my usual oven method of slow cooked beef tips would not work.  I asked my hubby if I should try making the beef tips in the Instant Pot.  I scoured the internet and didn't find ANY recipes for Instant Pot Beef tips.  I thought maybe it was a dumb idea since no one had done it before.  But Dustin told me that if I didn't try it, I'd never know if it would be great.  FRIENDS, you should never doubt yourself if in your heart you know something might work.  And in this case, if it didn't, I'd just be out a few ingredients and we'd have peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.  But that didn't happen!  They were the BEST darn beef tips I'd ever made and everyone raved about how tender the meat was!

Instant Pot Beef Tips:
1-2 pounds Stew Meat
1 can Light or Heart Healthy Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 packet reduced sodium Brown Gravy Mix
1 packet Onion Soup mix
1 cup Ginger Ale
1 drizzle oil

1. Turn your Instant Pot on Saute Mode.  Add your preferred oil to the pan.  Brown stew meat.  Turn off Instant Pot.
2. Add all other ingredients.  Stir until meat is coated.
3. Close lid and set Instant Pot to manual for 9 minutes.
4. After 9 minutes, let Instant Pot naturally release.  If you're in a hurry, slowly release pressure after letting the meat rest for 10 minutes.  This helps the meat from becoming tough and dry.
5. Serve over egg noodle, rice, or mashed potatoes.

Now, I'm not saying this is the healthiest recipe but I did try to make some healthier substitutions.  This is a stick to your ribs comfort meal that is perfect for winter and fall.  We have it about once a month during the colder months and it's always a huge hit!

What are you making in your Instant Pot?  Let me know!  I'd love to try some new recipes!

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Friday, January 5, 2018

My Son in a Pizza Guys Commercial with Doug Christie

Hi all!  I wanted to tell you about the time my son was in a Pizza Guys commercial with NBA Kings legend and sports caster Doug Christie.  The shoot took place last summer but I wanted to wait until the actual commercial came out before blogging about it.  It was a super exciting experience!

One day, I was scrolling through Instagram (follow me on Instagram if you don't already) when I came across an ad for a Pizza Guys commercial.  The ad was looking for kids between the ages of 10-13 to be in a commercial with a "Kings legend."  On the ad, there was an email to inquire about being in the commercial.  I emailed them and found out that the commercial was being filmed at the Wackford Center.  I decided that this was a safe enough location and let my son skip school to have this experience.  (Now, I'm not saying that it's a good idea to reply to random people on Instagram.  I checked out their social media and confirmed across platforms that they were doing a commercial.  The email seemed legit and I was most secure in the fact that it was at a community center that I am familiar with and I know that they have staff from the city working on the desk at this location. Please be safe!)

We didn't know who the Kings player was or what would be happening in the commercial.  It just said to have the kids come in athletic gear.  We showed up at the Wackford and Brady was given a t-shirt after I signed a release.  As I looked around the room, I noticed that there were a bunch of kids who looked under 10 and I felt really bad for not letting Parker be in the commercial too but I follow directions, what can I say?

After a little while, Doug Christie showed up!  I was FLOORED!  I used to LOVE the Kings back in the early 2000's.  I call them the Glory Days of the Kings and I thought each member of the team was amazing!  I may have been secretly hoping it would be Bobby Jackson since I not so secretly had a crush on him.

Behind the Scenes Photo Courtesy of Pizza Guys

The commercial shoot was REALLY cool!  Doug Christie  (in my brain, I use his whole name so that's what you get in writing too) literally walked the kids through a basketball camp.  They warmed up.  They practiced playing basketball.  At one point I saw him lift a sweet little boy with down syndrome so the little guy could dunk.  It didn't feel like a commercial at all.  It felt like a bunch of kids having a great time playing basketball.  Doug Christie was SO encouraging to the kids!  It was such an honor to meet him!  He seemed like the most genuine, kind hearted person!

Behind the Scenes Photo Courtesy of Pizza Guys

Behind the Scenes Photo Courtesy of Pizza Guys
Then, at the end, the Pizza Guys truck made a bunch of pizza and each group of kids had a turn to go up to the table to get a slice from Doug Christie.  After that, the kids were given all the pizza they could eat and we got to go home.  The whole thing only took a few hours but it was an amazing experience!

Here's the commercial:

I will leave you with a closing thought.  There was a point in the day when I really badly wanted to get a picture of myself and Doug Christie but the kids didn't want to go with me to ask for a photo.  I felt silly asking for a photo for myself.  But as I sat there and stewed over it, I decided that I NEEDED to ask because this could be my only shot EVER to get a photo.  I went up, asked, and got my photo.  He was SO gracious!  Now, I'm not saying hunt down celebrities and ask for photos but use your best judgment.  This was a work type situation and he was on a break so I felt like the time was fine.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Super Affordable Full Figured Bras

It is no secret that I am a busty full figured gal.  I mean, it would really be a miracle if someone hadn't noticed.  LOL!  Being well endowed comes with a plethora of issues like back pain, trying to find the right length necklace, laying down on your front, and so much more.  (Like where do I cross my arms if I'm angry?  Over?  Under? On top?  I don't know.)  One of my biggest issues is finding a bra especially an affordable bra.  (Scroll down for giveaway info!)

When you're bigger, finding a bra is a chore.  For years, full figured bras lacked in cuteness.  They looked industrial.  They looked like something a grandma would wear.  Say goodbye to pretty flowers, rhinestones, unlined mesh, and basically anything pretty.  Which is so sad when you're a young woman who wants to feel confident in her undergarments!  This seems to be slowly changing in the plus industry.  

Beyond the appearance of the bra was the hefty price tag!  Full figured bras are usually at least $50 each for plain solid color bras with no frills or thrills.  If you want a cute print or lace or special back smoothing technology, it came at an additional cost.  I have friends who were skimping on bras and giving themselves back and breast pain because they didn't want to pay the huge price tag.  

Thankfully, us busty girls now have a solution!  DreamFit bras available at Walmart!  Now, I know what you're thinking and this is not your Walmart bra of yesteryear!  I've tried those ones and these are nothing like that!  The DreamFit bras are thoughtfully made offering a few different styles including one that can go strapless.  They also have cute designs like stripes, lace, and floral!  They also go to a triple D in store which is usually a challenge for me.  Best of all, they retail for $11.44!  I actually got mine on sale for $8!!!  My mind was blown!  

Display at Walmart
I picked the DreamFit Deep Plunge since I like more of a demi cup.  I find this cut best if you have a variety of necklines in your wardrobe.  I also liked that it had a touch of lace for added femininity.  Of course I had to select the floral print since for so long all I had was beige, black, and white.  The bra is comfortable!  The straps have a nice width to them.  It offers a nice amount of support.  This is a great everyday kind of bra!  

I find it so important that things like bras are becoming more accessible to plus sized women!  We deserve pretty bras with nice prints too!  And we also deserve to get a good deal.  Not everyone has $50 to drop per bra.  I appreciate having lower cost options especially since you're supposed to replace your bras every six months!  

DreamFit is giving 4 gift cards to Walmart worth $250.  Plus 10 other winners will receive a DreamFit bra of their choice.  ENTER HERE!  Good luck!

I decided that it was important for you all to see the bra on so you can see the fit.  I don't usually do bra pictures so I tried to find comfortable ways for me to show you.  I also wanted to show you the bra on with a t-shirt over it since I'm gonna guess that is how most people will want to wear it.  But you know, you do you.  

Top: Forever 21+ | Skirt: Lularoe Madison | Necklace: Just Jewelry
Shirt: Torrid | Jacket: Charlotte Russe | Leggings: Walmart 

I hope you guys found this info as useful as I did!  I love knowing about options especially lower cost ones.  

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Little Black Dress Blogger Collab - Dressy Plus Size Look

Over this last year, I've had the pleasure to connect with a lot of local bloggers.  Most of this is due to The Blog Bloc which is a Sacramento blogger networking group.  It is so amazing to have a group of people who do what you do and understand your plight!  When my sweet friend Racquel asked me if I wanted to join in a collaboration with a few other ladies to show how to style a Little Black Dress for your body type, I was all in!

With holidays approaching, a little black dress is always good to have in your closet!  I find that when I don't know what to wear, a black dress can be the answer to every occasion.  Obviously, little black dress means different things to different people which is part of the fun of this collaboration.

My style is very weird.  On the daily, as a mom, I'm very causal.  Probably too causal.  I wear joggers, leggings, graphic t-shirts, etc...  But if I have a meeting, a press event, or any kind of get together, I normally wear a dress.  You guys are probably used to seeing me in dresses.  I will don a dress unless I'm at an event where I need to be down on the floor with my kids.  I feel like a casual dress is just like a regular Tuesday for me.  I wanted to wear something a bit more formal since the holidays are coming and I love a little something extra at holiday time.

I was so lucky when it came to my dress!  I was watching Vintage or Tacky on YouTube and she mentioned that City Chic was having a huge sale (about a month ago).  Earlier this year, I discovered that I LOVE City Chic and it is definitely my aesthetic.  I was able to get the City Chic Audrey Dress for only $30!  Since the dress has a high neck and so much lovely lace, I didn't want too do too many accessories.  I wore big chandelier earrings and some shiny peep-toe wedge shoes from my wardrobe.

Don't forget to check out the other ladies to see the details on their outfits:
Britney from Seams and Sprinkles
Kachet from The Kachet Life
Racquel from Racquel Always

Our GORGEOUS location was the Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento and they let us use their Revival at the Sawyer rooftop bar and lounge.  This space is absolutely stunning!  The furniture is so beautiful and the view of Sacramento is breathtaking!  Everyone needs to check out this hotel and this lounge!    We had an incredible shoot with Shelbie from Seeking the Sea Photography.  You can also find her work on her work on Seeking the Sea Instagram too.  We also go to work with Kyle from eNVy Films who created an amazing behind the scenes video!

Here are some more photos from the shoot.  I love each and every one of these ladies!  I think they are all so beautiful in their dresses and in their style!  I am so lucky to have them in my life and you should be sure to check them out!

Do you like wearing a Little Black Dress?  If so, what design to you prefer?  Do you have parties you are attending this holiday season?  Tell me all about them!  And remember, if you drink please drink responsibly.  

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 Year Blog Anniversary Giveaways!

Holy smokes!  It's been 10 years since I started my blog!  There's been a lot of evolution over the last ten years.  I started my blog to review things I bought on Etsy and to show some of my simple DIYs. Then I did that thing where I became a professional crafter.  After that, I did that thing where I didn't blog at all because I was so busy having three kids.  Now finally, I have no idea what I'm doing but you're here for it and I love you!

I started this blog a few months after I had my oldest son.  I had stopped working and I was getting so depressed.  This blog has been such a blessing to me!  I met SO MANY AMAZING FRIENDS that I could cry tears of joy.  I have friendships I made through this blog that I've had the entire life of the blog.  TEN YEARS of friendship based on being bloggers, crafters, and makers.  I accomplished so many things and have gotten several different jobs based on this blog.  This blog keeps nourishing my soul and I could not thank it enough.

One of the amazing friends I met is my friend Racquel of Racquel Always who took these amazing photos for me and made my vision come true.  You can see more of her beautiful photography and life on her Racquel Always Instagram Account.

Enough sappy stuff!  Let's get to the GIVEAWAYS!  These giveaways have been so kindly donated by my friends who I've met along this journey.  HUGE thank you to each and every one of the kind people who gave a prize!

Since I want this to be BIG, I've decided that we will only have 2 winners.  You MUST have Facebook and Instagram to enter these giveaways.  Prize Number One is available to anyone with a United States mailing address.  (Sorry, some of these companies have strict rules about shipping out of the country.)  Prize Number Two is available for local pickup only.  I can try to gather a few of the prizes to my house for you to pick up and we can meet at a coffee shop or boba tea to get you the prize.  Also, each prize will have a little gift from me.  I'm gathering more things but here's a peek.

Prize Number One:

Boss Lady set from The Kachet Life

doTerra Breathe Oil from The Inverted Nurse
Whitening Toothpaste from Nu Skin Consultant Melinda Zhang

Shine-a-Light Book from Usbourne Consultant Waiyee 

Perfectly Posh Gift Set from Consultant Anita Autore

An Outfit Handpicked for You up to $100 value by Lularoe Consultant Heather Frick

Two sets of Color Street nail polish strips and a file from Consultant Jenn

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize Number Two:
(Local pick up required)

Gift Basket and $50 Gift Certificate to Fats Restaurants

One pound of coffee and a $10 gift certificate to Coffee Spot Co

NewSongs School of Music $50 Gift Certificate and Bracelet
Jojoba Scrub from Maven Mindy 

Stress Away Infused Bath Salts from Young Living Distributor Summer 
bottle of oil not included

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and thank you so much!!!