New Oikos Greek Yogurt– Dannon-Licious!*

*I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Clever Girls on behalf of Dannon. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program but my opinions are my own. For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.oikosyogurt.com or www.Facebook.com/oikos. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.*

I love yogurt of all kinds – whether it is yogurt from the store, homemade yogurt (my mom makes the best home-made yogurt ever) and of course, the renewed craze of frozen yogurt.   So, when I had the opportunity to try out new Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt, of course, I was thrilled! For a year or so now, I have fallen in love with non-fat Greek yogurt and specifically, Chobani brand.  The protein content is high so I was buying it by the bulk and mad about it and didn’t expect anything to beat it at taste test.  Of course, I was excited to learn that Dannon Oikos o% Fat Berry Flavors beat Chobani 2-1 in taste tests.  So, I took the taste test challenge myself and was very impressed.  Greek Yogurt has a thick texture which turn some people off but I absolutely love it and the protein is just perfect for me.  Also, I am a vegetarian so I need more protein in my diet to make-up for the lack of meat, poultry, etc., and I have to say, I love, love, love Dannon’s new OIKOS yogurt.  Your grocer’s dairy section will carry plenty of flavors in both the traditional and the fruit on the bottom version.  I tried the key lime (Traditional), Strawberry (Traditional and Fruit on the Bottom) & Blueberry (fruit on the bottom), and I have to say, even the Traditional Vanilla tasted very good.  Out of all of these my favorite was Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom- there is just something about mixing in the fruit yourself and getting the right amount in each bite and if you plan to add granola or other toppings, you can really have fun with the Fruit on the Bottom flavors.

And I am excited because I get the protein I need as well without all that fat and extra empty calories.  Dannon® Oikos® Plain and Fruit on the Bottom contains 0% fat, while the Dannon® Oikos® traditional blended varieties contains about 3% fat. Both are an excellent source of protein, twice that of most regular lowfat yogurts.  As a working mom, these are convenient too- I can pack them in my lunch with ease and do the same for my kids and their lunch boxes.  The protein is great for kids too and with this yogurt, it is tasty too which is important to them!  Don’t forget to try Dannon Oikos and taste for yourself!

Important Disclaimer:  In addition to my general disclaimer, here is specific information to this posting: I have partnered with Dannon to help promote the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Series.  I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product.  However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. 

Share

New School, New Start & Learning how to pack lunches

Tiny Prints makes Back to School easy

Since about 6 months old, each of our daughters has attended home care, day care, or school of some sort. I am a working mom of two little girls and of course, with that comes the delicate balance of many things and back to school carries a different meaning for us. Everyday is school even in the summer so I suppose we view back to school with milestones and of course, increased traffic on the roadways (sigh). This year marks such a milestone for my eldest- she is starting Pre-K! Recently, a reputable day care opened up near our home so, we are uprooting my eldest from the daycare/school she has known for 2 years, and bringing her closer to home. Of course, next fall she will really hit a huge milestone of attending Kindergarten so, this outta give her the adjustment she needs.

20110815-091017.jpg But, this year, it is an even bigger adjustment for my husband and I as we pack lunches for both kiddos. So, our adventure begins…and will officially kick off on Monday, August 22.  Wish us luck! For two years, my kiddos have attended a day care that serves all meals and snacks and we got a little spoiled even though it probably was not the best thing for them to have some of the food they were eating. In any case, it was easy. Now, we are buying lunch/bento boxes, thermos, lunch sacks to put all that stuff in, and personalized labels to make sure it all comes home daily. I hope it is not as exhausting as it feels right now, and yes, we are doing test runs the week before school starts, but I am excited to know I will be able to see what they eat and don’t eat daily. In a way, this is a good lesson for us since the older one starts real school next year and the little one is not too far behind. Yes, change is in the air this back to school year, and not just for the kiddos- new teachers, curriculum, new school, new equipment, and toys and of course, different lunch methods. But I think kids adapt to change easily- it is the parents who will need a little hand holding. We are excited and anxious as our kiddos make new beginnings and certainly, milestones and all, will make this back to school year the most memorable… well, at least until next year.

Back to school woes? Check out Tiny Prints at http://www.tinyprints.com/back-to-school.htm and see all the neat things they offer from gift tags, cards, teacher’s notes, allergy notes (essential if your kids are eating lunch or snacks at school) and my favorite–labels.  I have already purchased some and I have a feeling, I will need plenty more.

*Note: this is a sponsored post and written as part of Global Influence’s back to school campaign sponsored by http://www.tinyprints.com.  Please read Get Clued In’s disclaimer here and please note that the writer is not responsible for content at Tiny Prints or the quality of products therein.
Share

The Help- A Movie Review & Book Review Revisited

This past weekend, I saw the movie, The Help which was based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett.  I finished reading the book in May & loved it.  The book review is posted here and I’d like to re-visit it before I talk about the movie and how fabulous that was as well.

The Help was a gripping book – at times, I could not sleep after reading it.  I was hooked and what was neat about the book is how the author wrote it from the perspective of the three protagonists- the main characters of the book. She not only shifted from accent to accent when she did this, she kept the reader focused on each of their lives and she did it quite gracefully.  You were able to get to know everyone in this town quite intimately and felt like you knew them. The book, of course was amazing to read and I would highly recommend reading it even if you watched the movie or the type of person who just watches movies in favor of reading the book.  While the movie was excellent (I give it five stars) and gripping in its own right, the story derives its basis from the book and the book will let your imagination run wild in ways the movie did not.

Of course, considering the book was 451 pages long, the movie was made quite well and did not miss a beat.  The premise of the book is the same and the movie captures it perfectly– the 60s, the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, and the South- specifically, Jackson, Mississippi, and the point of the view of the help- the hired maids, nannies, and help that enriched so many homes but yet never received the respect they seemingly deserved.   This is a heart and gut-wrenching movie and book about the struggles the help faced and what they put up with to keep their jobs, their homes, their families in-tact, and all the while living in silence.  They accepted separate but equal, accepted being treated like fourth and fifth class citizens, lived in fear, and accepted their fate.

There is a line in the movie which sums it up the best because no one seemed to care about the stories of these men and women.  In fact, even the police at the time took it at word when a white man or woman reported a robbery or pointed the finger at a black woman or man. No one listened, no one cared but when these women were able to speak, when they were able to write the truth, when they were able to share their stories, they felt, despite their physical and societal status… Free!

Share

Josh Groban in Concert- Simply “Adorbs”

copyright Josh Groban Straight to You Tour 2011

We had a great time seeing Josh Groban for the first time ever when he came through Denver this year.  Josh Groban’s “Straight to You Tour” came to the Denver Pepsi Center on August 12, 2011, and while our seats appeared better on paper and at a Pepsi Center.com map than in real life, that was okay because Josh moved around a lot so we got up close and personal.

Yes, we are now on a first name basis not because he said we were but because after being in a 2-hour concert with this man, you definitely feel like you know him personally.  He is personable, funny, runs around the stadium meeting fans and talking with them as if he were just the guy next door, and yes, of course, his singing and talent keeps us all engaged the entire time.  I have to say, it was a great concert!  Josh is a genuine rock star- one that you can appreciate the voice and music of, while at the same time just downright liking him.  He plays several different instruments as well and his music and voice are breathtaking.  And, you should know that “adorbs” was a word he used while he was referring to someone he called on stage.  I loved that word, had never heard it before, and had to use it in the title of this blog.  Of course, all rights to that word belong to Josh- ha!

I did not get good pictures but when he came into the center round, he was quite close and we were able to get a good glimpse of his running shoes too- yes, folks!  He wears big, white running shoes with his black jeans and blazer – that was a first for me too! No dress shoes and casual as can be– this Colorado girl loves casual so Josh was right up my alley!  Let me tell you, there is nothing pretentious or stuck up about this guy and how he performs or behaves at a concert.  It was just great talent, and class the entire time. The backdrop, which Josh joked about a little and how it cost him a fortune, was quite neat and the special effects are quite cool. The themes change from song to song and it is well done.  Gone are the days when a singer would just come out and play a piano or guitar without all the special effects and visuals and I gotta say, I do not mind it.  It was not distracting or all-consuming but I think, enhanced his performance.  If you can catch Josh Groban on his Straight to You Tour near a city near you do so- it is a great concert and amazing performance!

Now, to the venue- Pepsi Center is a good venue.  Of course, parking can be a nightmare and if you park off-site anywhere, you should be wearing your tennis shoes too! No matter how close off-site you park, you will walk a ways to get in and once you are in, there is the usual walking around as well.  The concessions were plentiful and plenty of options and the prices are about what you’d expect.  I liked the Pepsi Center concessions options and did not mind the walk but be prepared to pay anywhere from $10-15 for downtown close-up parking.  Inside the stadium, the seat are fine and are geared more towards sporting events not concerts.  If the person next to you is jamming, well, get ready to jam and move too because the entire row will shake so join in on the fun and definitely dress in layers.  It is hot inside the pepsi center and of course, with a performer like Josh, it can only get hotter (ha) …. Josh Groban, please come back to Denver – you put on an amazing show!

Share

Southwest Rocks! A tale of a 24-hour trip

This is a true story – a story which has it’s basis in being a busy working mom of two little kids who as you can expect, throw curve balls at their parents every now and then. I got such a curve ball on Friday before my weekend trip to New Orleans to attend my 20-year high school reunion. The curve ball was a horrible illness – massive stomach pains which kept us all up the entire night. At about 430am, I gave up and decided I would not make my 0600 flight out of Denver. I was right. I finally slept for close to 3 hours but not quite when I thought the kiddos might be better. So, I called Southwest Airlines and explained and the very nice customer service lady told me to head to the airport. She said they try to accommodate everyone.

Off I went fully expecting to return home but Southwest treated me like a person and throughout made me feel okay. They did not give me a hard time, charge me extra, or put me through heck.  The great ticket agent at the gate, Lynn, is her name and she is Denver-based even confirmed me and I boarded in the A group and if you fly southwest, you know exactly how cool it is to board with the A group. I was completely taken back. No need to explain, to cry or fight or threaten to write customer service. I was completely flabergasted probably because before Southwest, I was not treated like a human with worth and dignity. Before Southwest, there was anxiety, stress and sheer panic- and let’s not forget anger. In any case, thank you Southwest- here is a shout out to you for making this mom’s life easier and a little stress-free.

I know I have mentioned before that Denver International Airport (DIA) is an easy airport and again that was prove true on this trip too.  They are consistent for sure and honestly, based on my travel experiences, I think DIA is the best airport in the world and I have never had issues in security either.  My approximately 28 hour to New Orleans and back was great and I am really happy with the service I received both on Southwest and of course, at DIA.  All I can say is to the other airlines and to other airports, daily life is stressful enough, and it clearly costs nothing to be nice to people so why not … just do it?

Share