Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Style
Maybe it’s the tacos or the bright colors, but Cinco de Mayo is such a fun holiday to celebrate! Here are a few ways to get your Fiesta on in style:
Maybe it’s the tacos or the bright colors, but Cinco de Mayo is such a fun holiday to celebrate! Here are a few ways to get your Fiesta on in style:
If you’ve ever had mold or mildew you know how unsightly it is. But, did you know it also has detrimental effects on your health? People with compromised immune systems, the elderly and infants are especially susceptible.
Left untreated, growing mold can cause a variety of health problems:
Mold and mildew may be in your home without you even realizing it. It tends to grow in damp, humid places, like the bathroom, or around leaky pipes or windows. Mold looks like green or black dots, and sometimes grows in a circular pattern.
You might not see the mold if it’s growing under the sink or in the basement but if it has been growing in an enclosed space you will definitely be able to smell it. Mold and mildew have a strong musty odor.
Since mold is hazardous to your health it’s advisable to protect yourself when cleaning it by wearing gloves, a mask or respirator and eye protection. In fact, mold can be so dangerous that if the area of your mold problem is more than 3 square feet you should consider hiring a professional.
If you choose to do the cleanup yourself, you have a few “green” options. You probably have some of these products in your cupboards already.
Vinegar & Baking Soda Paste
Items you will need:
Combine baking soda and vinegar in a bowl. Be careful because vinegar and baking soda will fizz and overflow if you do not add it slowly. Once you have a thick paste you can take your applicator and apply generously over the mold spots. Allow it to dry overnight.
Then, add hot water and liquid castile soap to your bucket and use your cloth to remove the dried paste.
Tea Tree Oil Spray
Items you will need:
Add water and tea tree oil to your spray bottle and liberally spray on effected area. Leave on for 30 minutes and wipe with damp cloth. Tea tree oil has a very strong scent but it will dissipate in a few hours.
** Don’t forget your protective gear.
This should remove the mold and mildew. But once you have a mold or mildew occurrence it is likely it will return without regular care. Regular care can mean cleaning up to once a month or more depending on the level of humidity. It’s much easier to keep up with the regular cleanings than having to deal with the mold problems.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it can absorb things we touch or wear. This means that our clothes, sheets, blankets, towels and everything else we wash with most commercial laundry soaps are transferring the toxins from these products into our bodies.
“I didn’t know laundry soaps include toxins,” you say. Yes, they do. A few of which are: phenols, phosphates and artificial fragrances. Yuck!
Phenols are made from crude oil by an industrial process. The word crude says enough. The dangers of phenols are many, including heart, lung, kidney and liver damage. Since the skin very easily absorbs phenols you should avoid any laundry products with these toxic chemicals. If swallowed, phenols can cause circulatory collapse, coma and even death. Scary, right?
Phosphates are used to soften hard water so clothes absorb water and detergent to lift soil from the fibers of your clothes. The problem here is that phosphates can cause skin irritation, nausea and vomiting. Another issue is that phosphates released into the environment cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. This is why many states have regulated the amount of phosphates that can be used.
Artificial fragrances are made from mostly petroleum products and various man-made chemicals that can be hazardous to your health. Man-made, or synthetic fragrances, contain phthalates. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors which means they interfere with the natural hormone processes of the human body. Phthalates are linked to birth defects, learning and developmental disabilities and cancer. It’s hard to find out exactly what other chemicals are in these synthetic fragrances because they are considered “trade secrets” and manufacturers do not have to disclose them.
Those are just three of the many toxic chemicals found in commercial laundry soap.
That is why making your own homemade laundry soap is preferable for you and your family’s health. Homemade laundry soap is easy to make and takes only a few ingredients, many of which you already have in your pantry.
Combine all ingredients in a plastic or glass bowl one at a time in the order listed making sure to mix each one thoroughly before adding the next ingredient. Be sure when you add the liquid castile soap that you immediately blend it all together because if you wait it will get hard and really tough to stir.
Store in a non-metal container with a lid. Use approximately ¼ cup per load of laundry.
Add the vinegar very slowly to the baking soda because it will bubble up and overflow if you’re not careful.
If you prefer fragrance in your laundry soap you can buy scented liquid castile soap or add 5-6 (or more to your liking) drops of essential oil to each batch.
Using a food processor to combine ingredients makes a quick job of it.
This past weekend we flew to the City of Angels and tried a new blue pill that promised bigger and better results. And bigger and better results it delivered! The upcoming 2016 Fiat 500 X meets that criteria to the T.
If you think this video looks fun, filming it was 10 times better!
For quite a while now, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) designers and engineers have racked up their frequent flyer miles traveling from Detroit to Turin, Italy to build the Fiat 500 X and Jeep Renegade’s global platform. I’m glad to inform their effort and endless jet lag has paid big dividends — The results are molto bello!
The 500 X is available in five different trims: Pop, Easy, Lounge, and for a more aggressive and rugged look, Trekking, and Trekking Plus. The base model “Pop” will take advantage of a fuel efficient 160-hp, 1.4-liter Multi-Air Turbo engine paired to a six-speed manual transmission. But for the “Easy” trim or above, then Fiat’s power plant of choice is a beefy 2.4-liter 180-hp TigerShark engine, paired to a nine-speed automatic tranny. (Hint: Choose this one, it sounds great!)
You can have your blue pill and eat it too, by choosing the standard front-wheel drive, or opting for the available all-wheel drive. It’s worth mentioning that the all-wheel drive 500 X features a high tech disconnecting rear axle to aid in fuel consumption when traction to all four wheels isn’t necessary.
Impressed? Well, there’s more. Also a first for Fiat, is a brand-spanking new keyless-access, and push start button system. And my favorite — selective driving modes.
Cruising in the 500 X through Malibu, and pushing it through the never-ending and challenging twisty canyon roads, was the perfect way to discover how well built this muscular little Fiat is. More than twice I drove HOT into a hairpin, only to be pleasantly surprised by how the front suspension and electronics quickly decipher the situation, and zip me out the apex into the next corner. It was impressive. It was fun.
Of course — not everything is Cannolis and Biscottis. Unlike it’s European siblings, American-bound 500 X’s won’t offer steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, the reason why is unknown.
And when it comes to price, a decked out Fiat 500 X will cost around $31,300, and thats unchartered territory for the young brand in America. But most importantly, it will pit it against established competitors like the Mini Cooper Countryman S, and the hot new Mazda CX-3.
I personally hope that Fiat’s creative advertising manages to drive customers to their “studios”. As for me, I believe this could be the best Fiat to sell on American soil.
Of course you remember the Fiat Superbowl commercial, but in case you don’t, here it is again.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Is there a special woman in your life who you’d like to treat even though you’re strapped for cash or short on time? Or maybe you want to do something more personal and creative than running to the store or the florist? To make Mother’s Day gifts from the heart, try some of the following ideas. You’re going to love them all!
These Butter Herb Breadsticks are the perfect starter and accompaniment to soups, salads, pastas, and entrees of all types, these bread sticks keep you coming back for more. They are addictive and delicious. The light seasoning makes them practically melt in your mouth. You might as well plan on making a double batch because the first few will be gone before you know it.
Yield: 12-14 breadsticks
– 1 packet dry, active yeast
– 1 1/2 cups warm water
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp salt
– 2 tbsp melted butter
– 3 1/2 cups bread flour
– 1/4 cup melted butter
– 2 teaspoon Olive Garden garlic seasoning, or regular garlic powder
– 1 tsp salt
In a warm bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast with warm water. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, until foamy
Add salt, melted butter and about 2 cups of the flour. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary.
Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Divide dough into small balls, large enough to fill about 1/3 cup. Make larger if desired but not too large as your bread will rise.
Roll and shape dough into cigar shapes. Place in baking pan at least 1 inch apart. Let stand for about 1 hour, covered a clean cloth.
Bake 7 minutes at 375F. While baking, combine melted butter, garlic powder/seasoning and salt for brushing.
Pull baking sheet out of oven, brush the bread sticks with the seasoned, melted butter. Return to oven, bake another 8 – 10 minutes.
Brush with remaining seasoned butter. Serve warm.
You know what I’m talking about, a can of spray paint that can patch a hole in the Titanic, a wrench that can become a table saw. True or not, multi-purpose devices are convenient, for example: I have a screwdriver that stores about 16 different bits in its handle, and what about our smartphones? They are the perfect interpretation of a multi-purpose, all-in-one device. But could you get that level of convenience out of a car? If only Billy Mays was still around…
We spent a week with the Mazda 3 hatchback (or 5 door, as it’s advertised by Mazda), and that’s exactly how I felt at the end of our test — it succeeds at playing different roles rather well. The combination of good mpg, plentiful cargo, and striking looks, is able to retain loyal customers, as well as convert new ones. Has it ever happened to you that as soon as you buy, or gain interest on a particular car, you start seeing more of them? That happened while driving the 3, and I was happy to notice everything from grandparents to high schoolers driving this agile and capable little hatch. And I believe we figured out why.
Think about it, its got the same number of doors as a sedan, almost as much cargo room as a crossover/SUV, and nearly the performance of a sports car. What more could you want?
We tested the following real world scenarios:
Some of the features we love the most were the navigation system, and the interior design. Mazda’s nav system features a 7-inch screen, which primarily relies on a control knob for operation, but also doubles as a touchscreen — so you get the best of both worlds. Although I found the control knob, volume button and shortcut cluster to be the highlight of the Mazda 3’s interior, as it literally puts all the controls at your finger tips.
As a Grand-Touring model, our test car was fitted with beautiful almond leather seats, which are also perforated. Missi and I loved the seats and found them to be very comfortable and supportive, without being over-bolstered. The rear seats offered simple access to the LATCH system, and provided ample leg and head room for our kids, as well as adults. Cargo room is plentiful for every day needs, while folding the rear seats allows you to almost double your cargo capacity.
There are a lot of mixed opinions when it comes to the driving dynamics and performance of the Mazda 3. Some say it’s quick and nimble, but the ride is a bit stiff. Some say it lacks power and handling composure. And while I can only speak for the particular car I drove, I feel like the 3 is well balanced to offer an engaging driving experience to a broad range of buyers. With the optional 184-hp 2.5 -liter engine, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission, it certainly looks capable on paper. Although for my own taste, it feels a bit tame. The suspension was bang on for how the car is engineered to perform, not too stiff, but not too soft. Acceleration is on par as well, as it allows you to take off in a hurry, but it’s not overly quick that the driver may feel overwhelmed. The brakes do their job, but pedal feel is questionable. The Mazda 3 delivered 26.6 mpg over a 481 mile city stint, which is better than the 26 mpg city advertised by Mazda. Certainly no complains there.
To me, safety starts with lighting, and the Mazda 3’s optional Xenon headlights certainly do a good job illuminating the road ahead of you. Systems like back-up camera with cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring, work overtime to keep you and your loved ones safe. Should an accident be imminent, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the 2015 Mazda 3 achieved a 5-star rating in government crash tests, as well as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Features like Smart Cruise Control, Smart City Brake, and a Heads-Up Display (HUD) help you have a safer and more comfortable road-tripping experience, and are available as options.
During our time with the Mazda 3, we had to do a photoshoot for a 2015 BMW 428i. And as Missi was driving the BMW, she said: You know, I really love the way the Mazda feels, even more than this BMW. Obviously I looked at her in disbelief, as the 428i had every interior amenity offered. She went on to say that she couldn’t describe the reason why, but the Mazda just fit her right. So that’s how we got the inspiration to share this. The Mazda 3 is one of those cars that can grow with you, as a college kid heading out to the real world, as a first time parent, as a grandkid-spoiling grandparent, etc. This is the car that could be sold on TV, and all they’d have to do, is show us all the things it can do well.
The not so great:
Starts at: $18,945
Price as tested: $28,3855
By Francisco Javier
I live in the city of San Antonio, Texas. A city that is growing tremendously, due to a business-friendly climate, and a strong local economy. But all you have to do is read about their ban on Uber, and at a state level — Tesla, to realize there is much room for improvement.
Uber is awesome. For the very few of you unfamiliar with the ride-sharing app, it is a way to allow regular people like you and I to become drivers for hire, all through the magic of an app on your smartphone.
According to information from the people that knock on your door, and send you questionnaires in the mail (U.S. Census), the Greater San Antonio area and Bexar county are projected to grow at a massive rate of over 7% from 2015 t0 2020. Compare that to a busy metropolitan city like Phoenix, that is projected to grow 3.1% from during the same period of time.
Bus giant VIA has a monopoly on buses and downtown trolleys, and the taxi companies like Yellow Cab really hate competition like UBER. The layout of the city makes it too cumbersome to operate a large-scale mass-transit system. The city is too widespread, and still growing.
The city’s layout consists of two loops and inter-connecting highways. But the grunt of the growth is all happening outside of Loop 1604. This is when you understand that the 50’s public transportation model is simply a joke here. A public mass-transit system is out of the question.
Ride-sharing is the solution to many problems
Sadly, the city of San Antonio has a disproportionate number of drunk-driving, and alcohol related-incidents. Now, these statistics may be a bit shocking, but keep in mind, these are only the people who were caught. Countless more went undetected.
The benefits outweigh the risks by a large margin. Texas enjoys being on the headlines — and most of the time are for positive things. Though this time, seems the taxi lobby has strong-armed the city council into ousting their competition, as well as affecting the income of thousands of San Antonians, it’s something to write about, and it’s something to be mad about.
Wake up, brush my teeth, throw my hair in a mom bun and I am ready for the day. At least that’s how most of my days go. But, there are some days when I actually do care what I look like and I enjoy putting on makeup. Though I am cheap and I hate spending a fortune on something I am just going to wash off. I know! The logic…
Anyway, since I gave birth to my second daughter my hair hasn’t been the same, including my eyelashes. Once upon a time I had long beautiful lashes that required very little mascara, if any. Unfortunately that isn’t the case these days. I hardly have any! Sigh… so naturally I was spending more money than I care to find a mascara that does what the package actually says it does. Most of them are full of empty promises and goopy messes.
Being the Social Media guru that I am, I was browsing Instagram while waiting for my oldest at the bus stop and happen to stumble upon a picture posted by Alyssa (The Lash Babe) and it was of “regular” mascara on one eye and some of the 3D Mascara by Younique. I was quite shocked and like most, figured it was too good to be true. I mean look at the difference!
Being the nosey biddy that I am, I decided to reach out to here and see what all the fuss was about. And because she is such a gem SHE SENT ME SOME!! (Insert happy dance here)
My first impression was of how fancy the case is. Its a hardshell almost like a sunglasses case. Impressive!
There are 2 different tubes that this set comes with. And YES! I did have to read the directions… as you should to. This is very serious stuff ladies.
So the first tube is the longest one and works as the “glue” so to speak. I had to coat my lashes heavily as I don’t have as many as most. Before it dries you have to use the second tube which is filled with these tiny little fibers that stick to the “glue”. Do 1 eye at a time so that the fibers stick better.
The first I opened the second tube I was actually a little taken back by the fibers. I was thinking there was no way those were getting near my eyes and people are crazy for trying this stuff. But hey, we only live once so what the heck, right? What’s the worst that can happen…
After the first time trying it out I was hooked! And not just like “this is cool” hooked. The hooked where I will most likely never use anything again. And I am not just telling you this because I am trying to push products for Alyssa. Promise! I am telling you this because it truly works!
This product is perfect for busy moms. When you don’t have time to do your full glam routine mascara is the perfect way to wake your face and eyes up quickly. Like I said, i am in love!
(Not sure why it looks like I have a black eye, but I don’t… long night? Yes!)
So if you want to try it out for yourself check out TheLashBabe.com! Tell her I sent you
Read more about the complete line of Younique Cosmetics
Car seats, more specifically toddler car seats — love them or hate them, we need them, and our little ones need them even more. But allow me to be honest, and please be honest with yourself as well… don’t you just hate how clumsy and pain in the butt they can be? I do.
So I set off to research some of the top rated car seats in the market, by going on a huge road trip and testing one seat on the way there, and another on the way back.
Disclaimer: No kids were harmed in the making of this article. No actual crash testing took place, and Josephine is certainly no dummy.
There are a few things in life that bring the worst out of me, and having difficulty installing or removing a car seat is one of them. Seriously, how many fingers have you pinched, how many knuckles have you busted, how many ways have you contorted you body to attach or detach and anchor? Or when you finally get those straps nice and tight — only to make your life miserable when you have to loosen them. That car seat is there for good, it’s going with the car when you get rid of it.
So I asked my friend Google which were the absolute best car seats for sale in 2015, with one car seat in the high end price range, and the other in the lower price range. Google got back to me and said: The $336 Britax Advocate Clicktight Convertible Car Seat, and the $110 Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat .
You’d think that for a $226 dollar price gap there better be some massive differences — right? Well, read our story to find out, or scroll all the way down for the result.
Britax Advocate Clicktight Convertible
Because why not use the longest, most tongue-twisting name to set you apart from the competition. All jokes aside, I am genuinely excited about this pink and girly car seat, it looks very well built and seems it could carry an astronaut into space.
Short history lesson, Britax and Volkswagen got together in 1996 to design a safer and more reliable standard of safety for car seats worldwide, and they invented the ISOFIX system, which is known as LATCH in the United States. LATCH has been a federally mandated safety regulation since 1998. So right off the bat, Britax knows a thing or two about safety.
The Britax, along with the 2015 Kia Sedona offered first-class seating during our trip
For your viewing pleasure, the kids and I decided to make a video showcasing the qualities of the Britax Car Seat. That way you don’t have to read a whole lot, and you can skip to the good bits — like Josephine farting.
(Please ignore the quoted total weight, the correct weight is 30.1 pounds)
Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat
Graco offers a plethora of kid products for all age ranges, and because you are most likely a parent, then you are very familiar with the Graco brand, along with their impeccable safety reputation.
The My Ride 65 has everything you can expect from a good car seat. I unboxed both car seats expecting the Graco to feel like the peasant of the two because of it’s price, but once I paid attention to the details — I was quickly proved wrong. At a solid 20 pounds, it’s sturdy and built to withstand a crash force two times the industry standard. It ’s also made of a special mesh fabric to help it remain cool during hot days, as well as retain warmth in the winter. And my favorite part, TWO cupholders!
Sadly, it uses the traditional anchor and strap system that I’ve grown to hate.
Once it was strapped in, I struggled to push the button to let the strap slide in order to loosen it. I guess they can’t all be easy like the Britax. But, at $110 bucks, this is a heck of a buy, and by far takes the cake by offering the most bang for the buck.
Josephine throughly enjoyed her time in the Graco My Ride 65
I hate that button
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
It’s hard to come up with a winner, because some parents are willing to spend more money for nicer quality products, and then we have ballin’ on a budget parents looking for the lowest price. But I can easily settle that debate by lining up the features and facts of two products, and tallying up how many they share in common. Which brings me to the conclusion, that the Graco is the better seat for the price, because it offers most of the safety features of the Britax without the extra bells and whistles.
But, I initially set sail in this car seat voyage because I am tired of the dealing with painful straps and anchors. So which car seat would I buy? Definitely the Britax. Only because of the Clicktight system.
Keep in mind this test was performed for information purposes only, and other than my own observations and my kid’s feedback, no other in-depth testing was performed. I Hope I helped you shine some light into the dark and mysterious world of car seats. If I didn’t, or you have questions, please leave a comment or send us an email!