Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekend Stay at Eagle's Nest Hotel

I've stayed in my fair share of hotels and motels. Some are downright dumps while others are quite swanky. One of my absolute favorites is Eagle's Nest Hotel & Conference Center in Quincy, IL.

The Eagles Nest Hotel is a 118 room hotel and conference center overlooking the mighty Mississippi river in scenic downtown Quincy IL. They offer guests free WiFi, breakfast, indoor pool, guest laundry facilities, business center, and a variety of rooms.

Last weekend my husband and I stayed in the jacuzzi suite at Eagle's Neat. It wasn't our first stay there. In fact, we spent Super Bowl night in the family room with my sister and her husband. And we were able to do so for free.

Eagles Nest Hotel is very actively involved with Facebook and they sometimes hold giveaways for overnight stays. My sister won Super Bowl Sunday and my hubby won for a stay last weekend. Regardless of the fact that we didn't pay for our stays, I promise I'd still say how great the place is even if I'd shelled out the money.
The jacuzzi suite was beautiful and had a romantic aura about it. A mini fridge, one-cup coffeemaker, microwave, and wine glasses were available in the room. Jason and I relaxed in the jacuzzi a couple times but, for the most part, we enjoyed the room with friends who came to visit.

A small campfire ring and picnic bench is located at the back of the hotel. The staff was kind enough to let us build a fire Friday night and gather around.

I absolutely adore the decor of the place. The hallways are lined with pictures, frames, and knicknacks. There are sitting places scattered everywhere for people to visit and lounge. There's no one theme on each of the floors but it all ties together so well. On the main floor is an area that will sometimes have free popcorn, soft cookies, and chips.

The continental breakfast that's offered every morning has a variety of food options. Doughnuts, waffles, yogurt, muffins, bacon, sausage, cereal, and biscuits and gravy are just some of what's available. Breakfast is served on the third floor in a restaurant-style lounge with lots of seating. There's no bumping of elbows or limited space.

Of course every hotel has its cons and this one was no different. There are three floors and the elevator doesn't go to the second, only to the third. I didn't get the gist of the whole story but, from my understanding, it's an original elevator to the building and was made that way. Another con was that the pool was out of commission. The part for the heater was broke and the pool was closed because it was too cold to swim in. Free passes to the local YMCA were offered as a condolence. The other con (and it's a personal one) is that Jason and I were to have received a Texas Roadhouse gift card as part of our giveaway package. It was not available to use last weekend and I'm not sure when we'll be receiving it. (I can't complain too much there because we did receive a free weekend stay, after all.)

One major thing that draws me to this particular hotel is the staff. Their friendliness and commitment to the community is amazing. Jack, Lorie, and Chris are always super nice and accommodating. Even with our craziness and zaniness, the staff held on like troopers and were always kind.

Eagle's Nest Hotel not only holds wonderful giveaways, they also reach out in other ways. In fact, this weekend the hotel is holding an indoor garage sale with several booths to help benefit a local family whose child has a medical condition. And yes, I will be there!

If you're ever in Quincy, IL or in the area and need a place to stay, I strongly suggest Eagle's Nest Hotel & Conference Center. The staff is friendly, the place is comfy and cozy, and it's locally owned.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Old El Paso Frozen Entrees - PlateFull Co-op Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from Plateful Co-op. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.

I use Old El Paso products often when making tacos or enchiladas. Now the company has a line of frozen entrees that are already made up and just require heating. Chef Jonathan traveled to Mexico to come up with new delicious recipes. Now these authentic flavors are available at your fingertips with Old El Paso frozen meals for two.

When browsing the grocery store selection of Old El Paso Frozen Entrees, I have to say that each product on the shelf looked mighty good. The prices at my local stores for the frozen entrees are a little high, but I like Mexican food and don't always have time to prepare it from scratch.

I picked out two selections from the available frozen entrees and ate them with my husband at home. We first ate the Chicken Enchiladas. They can be microwaved or cooked in the oven. When the option is available I always cook my frozen meals in the oven, even if it takes a little longer. The chicken enchiladas take approximately 45 minutes to cook in the oven, and there are six to each package. They come out looking a little sloppy and I wasn't able to dish them up without it looking like a big mess on the plate. Appearances and taste did not go hand in hand. The chicken enchiladas tasted quite wonderful. The Chicken Enchiladas are made with a traditional Ancho chile sauce, strips of chicken breast, a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses and onions wrapped in a toasted homestyle corn tortilla. Truth be told, I could've ate all six enchiladas in the meal. They were delicious and cooked evenly throughout.

The Chicken Quesadillas consist of Quesadilla cheese and cooked, seasoned white chicken in a traditional salsa verde with fire roasted onions, bell peppers and poblanos, hand-folded in a flour tortilla lightly brushed with real butter and grilled. There are six quesadillas per box and each one is individually wrapped. You can cook them all at once or one at a time. The Chicken Quesadillas have one cooking option, and that's the microwave. It's best to only microwave one at a time. After each quesadilla is cooked, there are instructions with the option to place each one in an ungreased skillet and let it brown on each side for a short time. This gives the tortillas a crispier crunch. I tried it both ways and, although both are good, I think they taste better when the tortilla is browned in the skillet.

I enjoyed the tastes and flavors of Old El Paso Chicken Quesadillas and Chicken Enchiladas. They are products I'd purchase in the future and I look forward to trying the other frozen entrees in the Old El Paso product line.

Win It!

One person will win a free product coupon for one package of Old El Paso Frozen Entrees (any flavor or variety).

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Boxtera: Healthy Snacks Delivered To Your Door - Review

I received products for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
Boxtera is a monthly subscription of the best gourmet products found on the market. Customers choose a monthly subscription of 5, 10 or 20 full-size healthy boxtera snack pouches which are delivered directly to their office, dorm or home door. Each boxtera discovery box includes five adventurous all-natural snack varieties that fall into one of the five taste categories included in your gustatory perception; savory, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. You can also find individual snack pouches sold separately by visiting their Market Place.

My eating habits within the past few months have changed for the better. I still divulge in junk food and fast food from time to time, but I've become more aware of what goes into my body. That's because I've been working out so much lately and participating in roller derby practice that I need snacks and foods that will be beneficial to my body.
Boxtera sent me one of their monthly subscription boxes of healthy snacks. Inside the box were five indiviudal snack pouches. Of the five snacks, I've only tasted one prior. The other four were a whole new tasting experience for me.

Mango Chews - With no artificial flavors, these orange edibles are chewy with a little bit of sourness. These were my husband's favorite and he'd eat handfuls before heading to work. He liked the different spin on the mangos and their texture. The Mango Chews looked like flat orange strips of leather, but definitely tasted better.
Dried Tangerine Slices - These tangy and sweet dried tangerine slices also had a chewy texture. I ate them by theirselves as a snack and also added a couple smaller pieces to a salad for additional flavor.

Pub Mix - I've had snack mixes similar to this one and the Pub Mix I received from Boxtera was close to them. There's a whole crunchy mixture of pretzels, sesame sticks, rye chips, crackers and peanuts. It's a perfect combination.

Hisbiscus Flowers - This is the only snack I wasn't a big fan of. The dried hibiscus flower blossoms were pretty and I like the concept but I couldn't get past the fact that I was eating a flower. The texture was chewy and there was a slight perfumy taste.

BBQ Banana Chips - Who would've thought barbeque and banana would go so well together? These crunchy chips were a combination of spicy and sweet. Upon first bite, you were welcomed with a BBQ flavor. By the time the whole thing was chewed, you could taste the sweetness of the banana. It's an interesting combination that works!

Justin Time, Winx Club, and 1000 to 1 Out on DVD in March - Giveaway

I received no products or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Courageous Basketball Player Becomes A Hero Both On And Off The Court In Moving Drama Arriving On DVD, VOD And Digital March 4 From Cinedigm

Experience a heartwarming story of perseverance and hope when the touching drama 1000 To 1: The Cory Weissman Story debuts on DVD, Blu-Ray, VOD and digital March 4 from Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM). Based on actual events, David Henrie ("How I Met Your Mother," "Wizards Of Waverly Place") stars as Cory Weissman, a talented Gettysburg College basketball player who overcomes incredible odds in the aftermath of a devastating health crisis. The film co-stars Golden Globe and Emmy® winner Beau Bridges (The Descendants).

Delivering a message of unflinching courage, 1000 To 1: The Cory Weissman Story follows Weissman, an eighteen-year-old basketball star, on his journey to recovery after suffering a horrifying stroke. Partially paralyzed, unable to play the game he loves, and facing an uncertain future, Weissman overcomes enormous challenges in this inspirational story.

1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story is produced by former longtime Disney executive Bruce Gordon and Bob Burris ("Growing Pains"), who also wrote the script, and was directed by Michael Levine (Nowhere Man). The film is a production of Gettysburg Great Productions, LLC, a subsidiary of Weissman's alma mater Gettysburg College, and was shot on location at the college with the help of local residents, staff, and students.

For more information, visit

The Fan-Favorite Fantasy Adventure Spreads Its Wings
On DVD and Digital Platforms on March 25

Join five fashion-forward best friends - who also happen to be fairies! - when the series takes flight on DVD and Digital Platforms March 25 with three exciting releases, including:


A tale about friendship, magic and fun, see where the blockbuster global Winx Club franchise began when every episode of mega-hit freshman season of the beloved series becomes available in one collection.

The hugely entertaining first episodes of the television series follow Bloom and her five best friends: Bloom, Stella, Flora, Musa, and Tecna. Residing in both a magical universe and Earth, the fashion-loving fairies unlock mystical adventures and battle against darkness, all while helping Bloom find out about her mysterious past.

In addition to the hugely popular Winx Club line of consumer products, the long-standing series currently airs on Nickelodeon, including new episodes and TV specials.


The Premiere Season of The Hit Sprout Show
Arrives On DVD For The First Time Ever March 18

Join the adventure when the hugely imaginative series "Justin Time" arrives on DVD in three volumes March 18 from Cinedigm. Nominated for a 2013 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Preschool Animation Program and six Annie Awards, "Justin Time" has garnered massive popularity since it made its U.S. broadcast premiere on Sprout in 2012.

Packed with preschool themes including animals, science and nature, the innovative and incredibly fun series follows the wild imaginations of Justin and his friends, Olive and Squidgy, as they travel to fascinating places including Ancient Egypt, the Ice Age, the Old West, and more, for unforgettable, action-packed adventures.

Aired in over 70 countries on top broadcasters such as Disney (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy), Discovery Familia (U.S.), and Discovery (Latin America), "Justin Time" is currently Sprout's #1 highest rated program for ages 2-11 and the highest rated series on the channel's website. "Justin Time" is also the #1 rated program for ages 2-5 on NBC's Saturday morning kids block. With two books inspired by the series out now by Immedium, and a global consumer products program on the horizon, there's no better time to relive the animated adventures of "Justin Time Amazing Adventures," "Justin Time Goes Exploring," and "Justin Time Far Away Friends."

Win It!

One person will win three DVDs that include:
1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story (Out on DVD March 4)
Justin Time The Adventure Collection (Out on DVD March 18)
Winx Club: The Complete Original First Season (Out on DVD March 25)

Perfect for a movie night-in with the family, or just keeping the little ones entertained with heart-warming and educational content, this prize pack retails at about $95.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

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Love2Love - Fragrance Review

I received products for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

I like to experiement with different fragrances. Some just aren't my style and then there's those that make me want to flare my nostrils for another smell. I'm more into girly scents and like fragrances that are noticeable. Long-lasting and noticed by others are strong suits that make a fragrance favorable for me.

I was able to experience one of the four scents from the Love2Love fragrance line, available only at Walmart stores and I don't normally shop Walmart so that's kind of a downer for me, but I do have a good impression of Love2Love.

The Love2Love collection is enclosed in feminine and sophisticated flacons with juice that is tinted in soft shades of pink, green, lavender and orange. The white flowers on the front of the cartons and on the bottles were incorporated to capture the spirit of the unique floral notes in each scent. The colorful packaging is designed to appeal to every woman’s inner romantic. Each fragrance is available in an EDT ($9.98/3.4 fl. Oz) and Body Mist ($6.98/8.0 fl. oz.).
I can't vouch for all the scents but I do like the one I was able to try, Fresh Rose + Peach. This particular fragrance has top, middle and base notes but the most noticeable are definitely rose and peach. It's what you'd imagine a peachy rose would smell like. The fragrance is prominent but not overpowering. The EDT seems to leave a more lasting scent.

I like the pretty colors of the pink packaging and that there's the option to smell the fragrance from the packaging and bottles before purchasing it. I tend to use the body mist after roller derby practices or when I need a quick spritz. The EDT, for me, is more often used for when I'm going out somewhere. I like the design of both bottles but the EDT has a more sophisticated feminine look.

Have you seen or tried the new Love2Love fragrance line?

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Help - DVD Review

I received DVD for review. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.

It's time for everyone to help out as best they can in these three delightful Strawberry Shortcake episodes. It's Strawberry to the rescue in "Babysitter Blues" when the princess asks her to look after a very special Baby Berrykin. Orange and Lemon take on the role of "Fashion Elves" in "A Stitch of Time" to help Raspberry with her fashion design dreams. And there's no place like home when Orange adopts a bitty fish that turns out to be a homesick tadpole. Join in the sparkly fun as the girls learn that lending a helping hand can be a berry big deal indeed!

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Help became available on DVD and Digital HD on February 18.
Geared towards little girls, Strawberry Shortcake and her friends show values of friendship, kindness, and concern in Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Help. Each of the three episodes has a main theme of helping others. The DVD, with a running time of 88 minutes, is a viewing delight for youngsters.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tabbisocks - Knee High Socks Review

I received product for review. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.

I've always had an enthrallment for socks. I own several pair and don't normally gravitate towards the plain colored socks. I like socks that make a statement. Now that I'm in roller derby I am especially enamored with socks of funky patterns and styles. Knee high socks are a norm in derby and the more prominent they are, the better.
Tabbisocks is a company that specializes in socks for the playfully sophisticated. Founded in 2006, Tabbisocks is rooted in the belief that legwear should not be an accessory, but a statement. I second that motion! Their merchandise is created in Japan and also includes tights, arm warmers, and leg warmers along with their socks. There's a mixture of colors and designs in every category.

I received the I Love Music Knee High Socks from Tabbisocks and have worn them a few times already during derby practice and workouts. I'm not a music major or anything but I still like to listen to tunes. Even more, I like the design of the socks. They're black with a white treble clef in the middle and music notes circling the top. Made of nylon, the socks are comfortable to wear and super cute. I've had problems in the past with knee high socks cutting off circulation at the knee and, thankfully, that hasn't happened with these socks. I like the overall style, pattern, and comfort.

The Book Thief - #FHEInsiders Discussion Guide and Giveaway

This post is in partnership as a Fox Home Insider. I will receive product for review. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.
Based on the beloved best-selling book comes an “extremely moving” (Leonard Maltin, Indiewire) story of a girl who transforms the lives of those around her during World War II, Germany. When her mother can no longer care for her, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is adopted by a German couple (OSCAR® Winner Geoffrey Rush* and OSCAR® Nominee Emily Watson**). Although she arrives illiterate, Liesel is encouraged to learn to read by her adoptive father. When the couple then takes in Max (Ben Schnetzer), a Jew hiding from Hitler’s army, Liesel befriends him. Ultimately, words and imagination provide the friends with an escape from the events unfolding around them in this extraordinary, acclaimed film directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).

*Actor, Shine, 1996 **Actress, Hilary and Jackie, 1998; Breaking the Waves, 1996

Blu-ray Special Features

•Deleted Scenes
•A Hidden Truth: Bringing The Book Thief To Life
•Theatrical Trailer

DVD Special Features

•Deleted Scenes
•Theatrical Trailer

Win It!

One person will win The Book Thief on Blu-ray.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

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Polar Plunge: Freezin' For A Reason

Saturday I took the plunge and participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge at Moorman Lake to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. Nineteen teams signed up to jump in freezing, icy waters. I jumped in with a few members of the roller derby team. Crazy insane, yet crazy fun!

Each individual was required to raise a minimum of $75 to participate. Thanks to family, friends, and blog supporters I raised $95. That scored me the opportunity to jump, a hooded sweatshirt, and free on-site meal.

On the morning of the jump I was surprised with a gang of supporters who came out to watch. I knew my husband was going to be there, but eight other friends and family members showed up to cheer me on. I felt kinda popular!
Everyone was corraled in a large tent before the big event. We were treated to free Starbucks coffee and hot chocolate. Heck yeah!

There are several people on our roller derby team, but six of us braved the cold to represent. Three other members were there to be a part of our support team and hold our towels.

The large semi trailers we posed next to were there for changing purposes. Once a person came back up out of the lake, they could change into dry clothes by entering the semi trailer and swapping out wet for dry apparel. One trailer housed the men and one housed the women. Modesty went right out the window! We were corraled in like cattle, several of us at a time. It was boobs and butts everywhere. I should've snuck into the men's trailer!

Before the big to-do, the fire department chipped away at the ice with chainsaws and axes. It gave jumpers time to rethink their sanity.

We were group #17 to jump. That allowed us to watch most everyone else and plan our strategy. We collectively decided that it was "Go Big or Go Home" mode. We weren't going to be toe dippers or pansies about it. We were to all go completely under. And that we did!

To say that the water was cold is an understatement. It was freakin' freezin! Somehow my shirt and my leggings separated and I bared part of my backside.

The weather was cold, the water was even colder. And I loved every minute of it!

I was freezin' for a reason and would absolutely do it all over again.

Have you ever participated in a Polar Plunge? Would you ever jump in icy cold waters to benefit a special cause? If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend it. In one word: Exhilarating!