Dec 15

Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Popcorn

You may remember last week when I reviewed Kettle Brand Real Sliced Potato chips. This week, I’m going to tell you about the Kettle Brand Popcorn that I received for free from Kettle Brand.

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Popcorn

The husband picked up White Cheddar popcorn for me this time. This is actually the second time I’ve tried Kettle Brand popcorn – the first time was when our local Kroger bought WAY too much Sriracha popcorn and put it on sale for $1 a bag. That stuff was GOOD. JUST spicy enough, but didn’t burn your mouth like most Sriracha snacks. The white cheddar, though, these were amazing. One thing I especially love (other than the love affair that I’m still having with these bags) is the fact that there’s WAY too much white cheddar powder on them. Every bite has a perfectly cheddered flavor, and they use safflower, sunflower, and canola oil to pop the popcorn!

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Popcorn

The popcorn is all also Non-GMO project verified, which is a feat in and of itself, but for all intents and purposes, it’s flavored popcorn. Fortunately, it’s not much more expensive than other flavored popcorns, and it does have a lot of flavor, which is wonderful.

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Popcorn

I would probably buy this again. I am a popcorn lover, and they have a ton of flavors – other than the White Cheddar, there’s Maple Bacon, Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Ground Pepper, and Sriracha. I want to try the Maple Bacon next. What’s your favorite flavored or pre-popped popcorn?

 

I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Dec 08

Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Chips

I’m signed up for a few trial programs through various websites, and this time around I was given some Kettle Brand snacks to review! Specifically, popcorn and kettle chips.

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Chips

Today, I’m going to tell you about the chips, and next week, you’ll get the full story on the popcorn. I’m really excited about this because it’s the introduction to a new series the husband and I have planned where we’re going to review various snacks and candies for you. If you’re following me on Twitter, you already know that I signed up for BoCandy to get a monthly package of candy to review.

Anyway, here goes!

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Chips

I sent my husband out to grab the snacks while I was at work because I’m not allowed to go to the store by myself (I get super angry) and we forgot to get them when we were there over the weekend. My first reaction is – I LOVE the bag. It’s the kind of bag that doesn’t crinkle when you try to open it, which I’m a huge fan of. I’m really bad at opening bags, to the point that Chris calls it “pulling a Kim” when he opens a bag and it rips down the side. You can’t do this with these velvety bags. You also can’t open them by pulling them apart – you actually have to rip the little notch at the top. Not a big deal, just different.

We ended up with the Real Sliced Potatoes. These baked, not fried, chips are slightly thinner than the homemade kettle chips that I’m used to getting from the cafeteria from work, but thicker than your regular Better Made chip. They have a good bite to them, and make it easier to eat one at a time rather than by the handful. I love that the skin of the potato is left on before they’re cooked, which means I get to enjoy the illusion of a healthy snack while I eat handful after handful of these delicious chips. These chips come in 5 flavors – Olive Oil, Cheddar & Roasted Tomato, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Hickory Honey BBQ, and Sea Salt. I got the Sea Salt, but next time I’ll definitely be trying the Cheddar & Roasted Tomato, and then the Sea Salt & Vinegar.

The regular Kettle Brand chips come in 15 flavors – which can be found on their website.

SwankyLuv: Snack Reviews: Kettle Brand Chips

They’re also very nicely salted, and the sea salt has a totally different flavor than regular table salt. It’s sort of subtle and clean. I can’t really describe it, other than a memory of a trip to the beach in Florida 6 years ago, but our bag of these didn’t last more than an hour or so. I do wish that they were a little cheaper, because I would be more willing to actually make a purchase, but I did happen upon the fact that all of the Kettle Brand snacks are Non-GMO Project verified, which means that the ingredients that they’re made of are verified to contain no GMOs. This is always a plus. Overall, I’m pretty impressed with these chips. My only regret is that I didn’t get to try more flavors!

 

I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Dec 01

Rest in Peace Little Prince

On November 10th, 2014, our dog passed away in his sleep. I wrote this that day for him.

SwankyLuv: Rest in Peace Little Prince

You would have loved today. It’s beautiful out. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s not snowing or raining – you hated the rain. You hated being outside. We would have cuddled on the couch on your favorite blanket, snuggling up with me on the back of the couch. We would have had spaghetti for dinner, and you would have licked the plate and gotten red sauce all over your face, but you couldn’t have been happier.

Tonight, daddy would have brought home chicken nuggets and french fries for you, and you couldn’t have been happier. You were the sweetest, most stubborn best friend that anyone could have, and I loved you more than anything in the world. I love you still.

When you were a puppy, you jumped up on the counter in the kitchen of our old apartment and ate a sponge. When you were a puppy, you learned to jump so high that we had to get a second baby gate to keep you in the kitchen. You chewed up my favorite shoes, and wouldn’t sleep the first night until I pulled you up into bed with me and we slept together. We moved together to the house on Waldorf, and we slept together there. We cuddled at night and you jumped on all my friends. Soon, you moved to grandma’s house, and I went to college. I missed you every day, but I knew I would see you soon. You loved me through everything, and when I came home, you loved me still. You loved me through heartbreak and joy and mundane, average days. You loved me when we went for walks, and when I took you for training at Petsmart that summer. You loved me when I took you to see Tami to get your hair cut, and when I took you to the vet to get your shots.

Once, when we forgot that we’d taken you with us to Jeanette’s house, we left you outside. We got all the way home and realized that you weren’t there. When we called, you’d been sitting out front, just waiting. When there were no fences, I knew I could just let you out, and you wouldn’t go anywhere. You wouldn’t go in the street, and you wouldn’t stray too far off of your yard. Unless you wanted to poop on the neighbor’s lawn.

When I came home from college, you were the same dog I had left. You were full of joy and energy, and all that same love. You still hated men wearing hats, and every new guy who came into the house had to sit on the floor with you and feed you cheese until you were happy. And boy, did you love your cheese. Whenever you were sad, or did something good, you would happily take the cheese. Whenever you needed to take a benedryl in the spring when your allergies were acting up, you would take the pill wrapped in cheese, and the only way we could get you to swallow the pill was to offer you another piece of cheese immediately afterwards. You were greedy, and selfish, and you always showed everyone you loved that you loved them unconditionally. You loved peanut butter and tomato sauce and pizza.

When you met your daddy, you loved him too. You jumped on him and loved him the same way you did me. When you moved with me into this apartment with him, you settled in easily. The two of you would cuddle all day, watch tv, and sleep together, and when daddy left for work, I would come home and we would cuddle and sleep together. You almost never spent more than a few hours in your cage anymore, unless you wanted to.

You lived a great life, and after 12 years, all I can say is I miss you. I will always miss you and love you and wish you were still here. This morning was horrible, but I can’t change it now. You will always be the love of my life, and I know that no matter how many dogs I have in my life, none will hold up to how amazing you were.

Rest in peace, Kirby Jonathan Schoenherr. You’re not in pain anymore.
July 2002 – November 10, 2014

Nov 24

The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

Welcome to part 4 of our 4 part series detailing the details of our wedding. What? So far we’ve talked about the dresses, the cake and favors, and the centerpieces and flowers. Today, we’ll talk about… everything else.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

First, I suppose it’s time that I go into detail about the curse that someone had placed on my wedding.

As I mentioned before, my maid of honor broke her foot four days before we were set to walk down the aisle. She stepped on a ball while chasing her son and smashed it and her face into various parts of her basement. Fortunately, her face healed quickly, so no one had to worry about covering up the giant bruise, but the picture that her husband sent to me just days before our wedding looked like someone had implanted a golf ball into the side of her foot.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

Then, the day before, I received a text from one of my good friends asking if I knew of a way to get him to the wedding. His car had broken down, and he had no way to get there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help, and he wasn’t able to make it. That’s nothing to mention the other 10 people who didn’t show who said they would, but that’s neither here nor there.

A few hours after that text came through, I got a call from my now-husband. He had been on his way to work when his transmission stopped working. Just stopped. No warning. After talking for a bit, we decided that he would rent a car for the next day so that we could get around, and figure it out when we got home from our honeymoon. (Fortunately, it was only $1700 to fix. A far cry from the $3000 that we thought it was going to be)

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

Finally, the day of the wedding came, and it was gorgeous. The sun was shining and it was warm outside. Except there was an ominous weather forecast of “late-afternoon thunderstorms”

Oh good.

The whole day was perfect. Sarah from 24Luxe Hair and Makeup came and did our hair and makeup, then our photographer, Bruno Postigo came and stole my dress and shoes to take pictures in trees and on rocks. We went to the venue – The Links of Novi – and had our first look, took some pictures on the green at the golf course, and then the wind picked up.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

We were able to take a few pictures together before the ceremony, went inside, and then the rain came. It showed up right on time which is more than I can say for some of the guests starting at 6PM on the dot, which is when we started walking down the aisle. The golfers were none too happy, but the wind held off, and there weren’t any lightning strikes until everyone was safely inside.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

Other than being cursed, our wedding was beautiful. My friends from college came up with an amazing hashtag (#thenewlyshedds) halfway through, and instead of clinking glasses, we had our guests get up on the microphone and sing a song with the word love in it to get us to kiss. Some people got some pretty great laughs out of it. The bartenders told us that they weren’t expecting us to drink as much as we did, I can’t even count the compliments that we received on how amazing the food was, and everyone danced all night to our amazing DJ, Bill, from Detroit Party Pros.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Details, Details

After 3 hours of sleep, my new husband and I made our way to the airport for our flight – which was delayed an hour and a half. The perfect ending to a perfectly cursed wedding.

What bad things happened on your wedding day? How did you get through it anyway?

Nov 17

The Shedd Wedding: The Cake and Favors

Welcome to part 3 in the series about my wedding! My absolute favorite things at the wedding were the cake and favors and apparently the alcohol.

I’d essentially planned my entire wedding on Pinterest before booking any vendors, splitting my boards into every possible category before pinning anything. This actually made it WAY easier when I was sitting in Sorella’s Bakery, being asked what I wanted my cake to look like. I could just pull up the “Weddings: Cakes” board and say “I want the top and bottom from this cake, and the middle from this cake.” (I’ve since moved all of the pins from the separate boards into one wedding ideas board)

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The Cake and Favors

The cake turned out fantastic. The top-tier was German chocolate with Bavarian Cream filling, the middle was Maraschino cherry cake with strawberry filling (It tasted like fruit snacks!), and the bottom was German Chocolate with raspberry chocolate filling. I, naturally, had three pieces.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The Cake and Favors

As for the favors, we had a candy buffet!! I swear I’ve been talking about this thing since I knew there was a thing called a candy buffet. We bought most of the candy in February after Valentine’s day, and the rest in the coming months, like when twizzlers went on sale at Meijer for 8 for $10, or when I happened upon a wonderful deal on peach gummy penguins at the bulk food store, and kept it all in its packaging in front of our cold air return until it was time to sort it out.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The Cake and Favors

We put them all in labeled ziplock bags, corresponding to the labels I’d made for the jars that I’d spent months buying on sale at Joann’s and Marshall’s. The scoops and tongs came from Party City (they were 50 cents each), and the bags were a Halloween purchase at Joann’s about a week prior to the wedding. All in all we probably spent about $150 on the whole buffet, so I’m absolutely not complaining!

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The Cake and Favors

What did you do for your favors?

Nov 10

The Shedd Wedding: Flowers and Centerpieces

On to part 2 of the wedding series AKA a series of unfortunate events! This time, we’re going to cover how I did my flowers and centerpieces.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Flowers and Centerpieces

A long time ago, I made the decision that I didn’t want to spend a million dollars on flowers, which naturally meant that I didn’t want a lot of flowers, and I definitely didn’t want someone else doing my flowers. You may remember a long, long time ago when I posted a video that I had found showing how to hand tie a wedding bouquet. Well, I watched the darn thing so many times, I was able to complete three bouquets without watching it again!

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Flowers and Centerpieces

I bought all of the flowers at Costco – 120 flowers for $96, and everything else from Hobby Lobby and Joann’s. All in all, the flowers cost me about $115, even after I bought the square vases that held the extra flowers that sat on the head table (that was a super last-minute plan), and the supplies for the boutonnieres.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Flowers and Centerpieces

As for the centerpieces, I had so many plans and ideas. Initially, I was going to make a bunch of paper flowers into balls and balance them on top of Eiffel Tower vases. We got through three of them before deciding that that just wasn’t going to work out for us. It was extremely time-consuming, hard on the fingers, and I was going back up to 50 hour work weeks, so I couldn’t quite justify the time.

After a late night freak out over wanting to spend a thousand dollars on ostrich feathers and Styrofoam, I found some 29 inch, plastic, curly willow branches on Save-on-crafts.com that were perfect. If not the wrong color.

 

Three trips to Home Depot for three cans of red spray paint later, and we had some pretty awesome bright red sticks. Paired with the Eiffel tower vases and pulverized black quartz masquerading as sand I’d gotten on super sale when I took my teacher-mom and teacher-bridesmaid to Joann’s during teacher appreciation weekend, and we ended up with some relatively inexpensive centerpieces that rocked the tables.

We also included some candles and candle holders that we had bought at Dollar Tree for my brother’s wedding a few years ago, and I designed a table number and escort cards, based on some damask table numbers I’d seen online.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: Flowers and Centerpieces

What did your centerpieces look like? Am I crazy for making my own flowers the night before my wedding?

Nov 03

The Shedd Wedding: The dress

As many of you already know, I got married! After months of planning and weeks of crafting and days of panicking, our wedding went off without a hitch, um, happened.

This is part 1 in a four-part series about our wedding, and all the happy little details that helped the thing take place. I’m going to link to all of them at the bottom of the posts, but in the meantime, let’s talk about the most important part – THE DRESS!

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The dress

I originally went dress shopping about a year and a half prior to the wedding, just to try out the dresses and have a little bit of fun. I already had a dress in mind, and it sure as hell couldn’t be bought at David’s Bridal! We just happened to be in the area and at a wedding show, so I made the appointment and we went.

I fell in love with the first dress that I tried on, and only tried on two others before making my decision.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The dress

I’m still obsessed with my dress and I love it very much. I got so many compliments on it and it made me feel very very pretty, despite all that was going wrong that day.

As for the bridesmaid dresses, after a lot of searching and pinning, I landed on a gorgeous, black, floor length, mermaid-style, all over lace dress by Mori Lee, even though I really really wanted tea length dresses. And boy, am I glad I didn’t get what I wanted, because 4 days before my wedding, my maid of honor broke her foot and wore an air cast down the aisle. She could barely stand or walk throughout the wedding, but she was a really good sport about everything.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The dress

I chose it because it’s a dress that can be worn on more than one occasion, and it was beautiful. It turns out, they hated the way they felt. I’m still convinced that they just went to the wrong place to get them altered, and they got messed up.

SwankyLuv: The Shedd Wedding: The dress

Either way, I thought all of our dresses were beautiful and wonderful, and I love them very much.

By the way, just in case you were wanting to steal my wedding, my dress was David’s Bridal style 9YP3344 in ivory, and the bridesmaids dresses were Mori Lee style 696

Jul 24

My $15 Wedding Invitations

As many of you know, I’m currently in the process of planning my wedding. Our invitations we out on Monday, but I felt the need to share, since I save a TON of money by designing and printing my own invitations.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

I found a kit at a discount store called Ollie’s, which, according to their website can be found in 16 states, but they’re similar to Big Lots, but a bit cheaper. If you have an Ollie’s near you, I recommend going, even if you’re not planning a wedding. Anyway, the kit was originally from Target and came with 50 invitations, and as far as I can tell, generally cost between $18 and $30. At Ollie’s, I paid $7 per 50.

I designed the logo when we first started planning the wedding, and after looking at some invitations on Wedding Paper Divas,  designed the swag across the top in Photoshop. They turned out perfectly. But back to the invitations.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

These invitations consist of fie parts – the invitation, the inner envelope, the RSVP, the RSVP envelope, and the outer envelope. The inner envelope was reminiscent of the logo that I created, and it ended up looking perfect!

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

The invitation itself has a similar design to the inner envelope, and it is intended to be used at the top, but it worked both ways, and worked better for me at the bottom.

SwankyLuv: My $15 Wedding Invitations

I especially love the RSVP cards. The edges are embossed, and I was able to use our wedding logo and the fonts are beautiful. A great tip that I found on the About.com wedding page was to number the back of each RSVP card in case someone’s handwriting is illegible. These numbers correspond to the numbers that you put on your guest list, so if one comes back blank (this happened to me already), you know what happened and who you need to call. It turns out, one of my invitations came open in the mail, and the RSVP card came back to me, blank.

I’m considering offering this design for sale on Etsy as a custom file. Is that something you’d be interested in? Do you love my invitations as much as I do? What do you think?

Jul 22

Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work One of my biggest excuses for not going to the gym is the time it takes to change out of my work clothes and into my gym clothes. You have to change your pants, shirt, and bra, and my workout clothes are fitted, so in the hot locker rooms, things can get pretty sticky pretty fast. Paired with an hour long workout, and a 15 minute drive home, we’re looking at a good hour and a half of time to get something done that you really only planned an hour for.

Not long ago, I was thinking that I could skip the part where I change, and find some workout clothes that I could also wear to work, and I came across an article on Self.com. Now, my office has an extremely lax dress code. Essentially the only thing we can’t wear are t-shirts with logos, leggings as pants, bright tennis shoes, sweat pants, and inappropriately short or low-cut clothes. Generally, we just have to use our judgment. That said, the clothing mentioned in the Self article pretty much violates every one of those rules, so I can’t imagine how it would work for anyone with a stricter dress code.

So I thought it through, and this is what I came up with.

1. Figure out what you’re going to wear to the gym.

My workout outfit is pretty basic. I wear a perfect tank from Old Navy, leggings, a sports bra, a regular bra, and running shoes.

 

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

Pretty basic, right? But SO not something you can wear to work. Except, I HAVE worn half of this outfit to work. In the winter, it was so cold that I was wearing leggings under my jeans. And I regularly wear the perfect tanks as undershirts because they’re so comfortable, and I’ve even worn them with cardigans and denim shirts.

2.Layer!

The goal here is to put on your gym clothes first thing in the morning and have no excuse when you’re driving home after a long day at work. Here are some examples, one a little dressier, and the other a little more casual.

SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work
SwankyLuv: Gym Outfits You Can Wear to Work

3. Rock it!

Don’t leave behind your accessories and hair. I’ve found that braids are best because they keep your hair out of your face, and if you’re wearing jewelery, you can just take it off and throw it in your gym bag with your heels when you get there. As for the sports bra, you can forego it altogether if you want to, or just wear it throughout the day if you need it. When I’m at the gym, I wear it with another bra because I need as much support as I can get, and I’ll just lift up the tank top and slip the bra on over my head without taking the tank top off. This isn’t the best solution, but it’s better than peeling off all of my clothes and spending 15 minutes changing.

Do you have any suggestions to help speed up your gym process? What do you think of the outfits I’ve put together here?

Jul 21

I Think I Subconsciously Hate My Fiance

I sincerely love my fiance. He’s one of my favorite people, and he’s hilarious. He gets my sense of humor, and he keeps me grounded when I am SO not. SwankyLuv: I Think I Subconsciously Hate My Fiance

But I’m starting to think that I subconsciously dislike him. Specifically in my sleep, I do every possible thing that could annoy him. The other night, he came home from work and I was positioned perfectly in bed. I was asleep on my side and there was no way that we would touch, so I couldn’t set him on fire in my sleep (apparently I get extremely hot when I sleep).

And then he closed the door. As soon the door clicked closed, I rolled onto my stomach and fully into the area that would make me touch him. He woke me up to move, and I slid over – half an inch. After a little bit of coaxing, I finally moved over fully onto my half of the bed, but this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m constantly laying across both sides of the bed, and sometimes I steal his pillows right out from under his head to hug while I sleep. I’ve pulled his blankets over onto me, and then subsequently flipped them off of the bed on my side.

Maybe I’m just a really bad person to sleep with.

Does your partner do anything funny to you while you’re sleeping? Do you drive your partner crazy when you sleep together? Should we just get a king-size bed?

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