Honor Roll: Popped Potato chips and pumpkin pancake mix

imageI love Trader Joe’s! Finding new products to try is so much fun. Today, I found two new things to test…

This pumpkin pancake mix is amazing. I have been eating pumpkin pancakes for dinner all week! They are that good and really easy to make. You just need to add milk, an egg, and some melted butter. Delicious! I might plan a brunch just so I can serve this awesome fall treat and watch other people enjoy them.

I love barbecue flavored Pop Chips. I was excited to find that Trader Joe’s had their own version called Popped Potato Chips. I had to try them to see if they were comparable to the original brand. They were… as evidenced by the empty bag in the picture! Plus, they were only $1.99. You must try them!

Head to Trader Joe’s and try out these yummy products!

Homework: What is your favorite fall product at Trader Joe’s?

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Honor Roll: The telescoping selfie arm

imageI live alone, so taking pictures of my daily Dress Code outfits can sometimes be problematic. My arms just aren’t long enough to get the perfect shot! No problem, with this new gadget, the telescoping selfie pole. It’s amazing! It might be the best $10 gadget ever. I found it at Amazon.com and it even qualified for free shopping. It’s totally taking my selfies to a whole new level. I use it in combination with the Cam Me selfie app. For more information on the Cam Me app, please see my March 31, 2014 Cam Me Honor Roll post. The combination of the Cam Me app and my new selfie pole makes my life so much easier! #bloggerproblems

Homework: None! Take tonight off!

Honor Roll: Cool Brew Celestial Ice Tea

imageI’m always looking for new products that will help me quit my Diet Coke and Crystal Light addiction. I recently discovered this Cool Brew Celestial Ice Tea, and I love it. You add cold water to the tea bags and it brews in approximately five minutes. There’s no wait time while you boil water and then wait again for it to cool down. It’s express ice tea! I bought this box at Sprouts for $3.99. I’m hooked on the raspberry flavor. Plus,it tastes great with Boom Chicka Pop! Try it, I think you will like it!

Homework: What’s your favorite summer drink?

Honor Roll: Boom Chicka Pop

imageIf you are looking for a low calorie and super filling snack, you need to try Boon Chicka Pop! It delicious! It’s great to grab and go! The sea salt flavor is my favorite and only 35 calories per cup. You can make single servings by portioning out the entire bag in Ziplock bags that are easy to take to work or to the movies! I might have hidden a bag of this treat in my purse last time I went to the movies. I bought my bag at Sprouts. You need to try it!

Homework: What’s your favorite low calorie snack?

Home Economics: A $5 bouquet can brighten your whole day… and house!

imageI love having fresh flowers in my house. Since, I’m pretty frugal, I like to get the most out of the bouquets I buy. I collect small vases and jars and have them on hand for when I purchase or receive a bouquet of flowers. The farmers market is a great source for inexpensive flowers. I bought this bunch of lavender mini roses for $5 at the farmers market near my house.

imageFirst, I gather up the vases and jars I want to use. Empty spice and jam jars are cute and free! I grab my shears and get to work. I try to end up with groupings of three for display purposes.

imageOnce I have the vases filled, I display them up all around my living room. So for $5, I have brightened the whole room!

Homework: What is your favorite type of flower?

Honor Roll: True Foods

imageTrue Foods at Fashion Island is one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. I’ve never ordered anything that wasn’t amazing! The menu is seasonal and everything is customizable. If you can’t decide between salads, they will split the two you want. You can also order half portions and combine dishes. Click here to check out the menu. My favorite things to order are the street tacos and the shaved turkey pita sandwich. They give you a choice of their kale salad or sweet potato hash as a side, or you can have a combo, which I always order.

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I love the communal dining table on the patio. It’s fun to sit outside and see what other people are ordering. We always end up chatting with our neighbors and checking out their dishes. True Foods is my go-to place to take friends who are visiting the area. It’s also a great place to meet for a first date! 🙂

This is how True Foods website describes their vibe:

You don’t have to be a die-hard Yogi to dine at True Food Kitchen. You need only a desire to give your body nutrients, and your palate something memorable. The basis for the anti-inflammatory diet isn’t meant to deprive a healthy body of great flavors, it’s meant to take popular trends in cuisine and pair them with healthy living. With a wide, healthy selection of vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free options we offer something for everyone. Try the kale and quinoa, you’ll live longer. Drink the seabuckthorn and acai, you’ll feel better. At True Food Kitchen, we want you to feel better, live longer, and make your mouth happy in the process. It’s honest food that tastes really good.

If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! My friend Christy is super picky and she requests that we eat their each time she visits.

Homework: What is your favorite restaurant?

Honor Roll: PB2 and Chocolate PB2

imageHave you tried PB2? I recently discovered this powdered peanut butter and it is pretty much life changing! I love peanut butter and don’t usually buy it because I don’t have much self control. One teaspoon turns into half a jar sometimes. I love the taste and flavor, but the calories add up. This peanut butter powder is great in my chocolate protien shakes. It took my morning Shakeology drink from 6 Weight Watcher points down to 4 when I substituted the powder for the real thing. You can mix the powder with water and create “peanut butter” or you can add it to plain Greek yogurt and it makes a great fruit dip. It also comes in a chocolate flavor and it is great drizzled over cut up fruit. There are a ton of Weight Watchers recipes using PB2. It’s a quick search on Pinterest to find dozens of recipes. I saw one that was for a Thai peanut chicken stir fry that sounded really good.

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I don’t usually like products that are considered “fake,” but this product has only three ingredients: peanuts, sugar, and salt. Each serving has only 1 g of sugar.

I bought mine at Target and I’ve also seen it at Wal-mart. It retails for approximately $5 a jar.

Homework: How would you use PB2?

Honor Roll: Tender Greens

imageMy friends Meredith and Allison try to get together on a regular basis. They are part of my Sister Day group and their friendships are very important to me. Last week we met for dinner on Tuesday and Meredith suggested we try a new place at The Irvine Spectrum called Tender Greens. It was amazing! Here’s a quick summary from http://www.fastcompany.com:

Tender Greens decided to nix service and gratuity in favor of high-quality ingredients sourced from local farms. Which means for $11 (which every main dish on the menu is priced at), customers can dine on seasonal delicacies from braised rabbit or octopus, to grilled local yellowtail paired with Bhutanese red rice with a cabernet vinaigrette.

imageWe each ordered a different salad at the counter and we were all pleased with our choices. I had the chiptole barbecued salad and it was great. Click here to view the whole menu.

Of course, the company was the best part of this dinner! We sat for quite a long time catching up and the servers were very attentive refilling our ice teas and waters. I would definitely go back! It’s the kind of place that is great for meeting friends, but would also work for a solo meal during a marathon shopping trip!

Homework: What is your favorite new restaurant?

Honor Roll: The Dry Bar

imageIf you have never been to a blow dry bar, you need to treat yourself! The Dry Bar at Fashion Island is my favorite. I’ve been a couple of times before a big event and it is completely worth the $40. I received a Dry Bar gift card a few months ago (I drove some friends to the airport), and saved it for my next special occasion. In this case, it’s an annual trip to Las Vegas.

Please note that my “before” picture, on the top left, was taken after two boot camp and one spin class. I was a hot mess! I selected the Manhattan style, for sleek, straight hair, and I was really happy with the results. With a bit of dry shampoo and few flat iron touch ups, I can make this blow out last for at least three days. I really don’t like to wash my hair when I travel. My hair is super thick and washing and drying it just wastes time. Vacations are for fun!

The Dry Bar is the original blow dry bar, but there are other options out there. The Nordstrom at Fashion Island has a style bar. They do blow outs and also dry styles. If you go in with clean, dry hair, they will straighten or curl it for $20. It’s a great way to prep for a fun night out. A style bar called Blow Out OC recently opened in Aliso Viejo. I haven’t tried it, yet, but I bought my niece a gift card to get a blow out there. Think about a blow out gift card next time you need a gift. It’s a great gift. I have received two Dry Bar gift cards and they have been by far two of my favorite presents. Everyone deserves to be pampered.

Homework: Have you been to a blow dry bar?