Author Archives: Carrie

Chefs’ Most Desired Restaurants

If you have decided that you want to be a chef for a living, you are about to get started on a fun career path that will be very rewarding financially and emotionally. You will meet many people in the various kitchens you work in. These people will teach you a lot and enhance your working experience. There are certain restaurants that chefs fantasize about working in because of how prestigious they are. These restaurants are operated by some of the most well known chefs in the industry, so landing a job at any of these places is a very hard thing to do. Here are some of the restaurants that chefs want to work for.

1. Spago

Ever since 1982, the top restaurant for show business people to be seen at in the Hollywood area has been Spago, owned and operated by Wolfgang Puck. The famous clientele of Spago has made it a very prestigious job to land for all of the chefs that are lucky enough to work here. There is also the added advantage of being able to work under someone like Wolfgang Puck, who is generally considered to be one of the finest chefs in the world by people in the culinary industry. Working at a restaurant owned by Puck is definitely something that every chef wants to have on his or her resume.

2. White Elephant Saloon

Tim Love is the owner of this historic restaurant that is based in Fort Worth, Texas. He also serves as the executive chef. The food that is served here has become famous for the special Tim Love spices that are included in many of the dishes. Over the many years the the White Elephant Saloon has been in business, it was gained a reputation of being one of the best places in Texas to impress clients if you want to have an important business meeting over dinner.

3. Nobu

Nobu is not just a single restaurant, but rather a chain of elegant Japanese restaurants that can now be found in many countries around the world. They are co-owned by legendary actor Robert De Niro and Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, after whom the restaurant is named. The Nobu chain of restaurants has received rave reviews from various culinary critics, establishing itself as one of the most successful and profitable restaurants in the world. Nobu is also know for being frequented by various celebrities.

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Blood Matters by Aviva Bel’Harold

Blood Matters

by Aviva Bel’Harold

YA Supernatural

Book Description

Grief changes people.

Brittany used to be a normal teen. She ate like one, slept like one, and had typical teenage mood swings. But after she found her best friend dead, everything changed.

Grief might explain her loss of appetite and her lack of sleep. It might even explain why she sees her dead friend everywhere she goes. But it certainly won’t explain why everyone she touches develops bruises or why she’s attracted to the smell of blood.

And, she’s pretty sure grief dosen’t make you want to rip apart your boyfriend just to get closer to his beating heart.

But what happens when it’s the choices we make, not the creature inside, that proves the monster is in us all?


1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

I love people. I love being around them. Listening to their life stories. Talking to them. Entertaining them with my life stories. I love doing this so much that for a long time I figured I should have been an actress. But I had kids before I could pursue a career in acting.


2.  What made you want to become a writer?

I never wanted to be a writer… No, actually, that’s not entirely true. I never thought I could be one. You see, I’ve always had stories — huge epic fantasies in my head. But I’m dyslexic so I never thought I could become an author. I always figured I’d just be a good story teller — you know, the kind of person who’s good to have at parties.



3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?
I think we need to find inspiration wherever we can — daily! So for me my kids inspire me. Growing up is never easy even when things look like they are. Growing up is met with challenges and learning opportunities. And the way kids will face them head on is an inspiration. My kids have inspired me to keep on trying even when I don’t succeed (or at least it doesn’t appear that I am succeeding).
My husband also inspires me to be better. He loves me, just the way I am, but for him I constantly want to be better.
My friends inspire me to find joy in the now. They tell me time and again that if I’m not having fun then I should reevaluate how I’m doing things. Even if its a simple change of attitude.
And finally my fans inspire me to keep going even then I feel like I’m all tapped out. A simple note or mention can to a long way for inspiration to pick up my pen and get another chapter written, edited, finished.
4.  Tell us about Blood Matters.
Blood Matters is the only way I could envision vampires to be real. Up to coming up with this idea I thought vampires were a nice idea but not really feasible.
However, as I wrote the book I fell in love with EV (the parasite). And it was my love for her — my heroic villain — that kept my pen moving across the page to the books completion.
5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part is balancing everything. I mean, how much do I write each day/week? How many days do I let the dishes pile up? When the story is flowing I don’t want to stop to make dinner or clean, or even spend time with my family. Yet when I’m in problem solving mode (others might call it ‘writers block’) then the dishes, no the whole kitchen, in fact the whole house is cleaned! Sometimes I worry that living with me is like being with someone who’s bipolar. It’s can’t be easy for my kids or my hubby (but I think the dogs are ok with it…)
6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I need my pen. Silly really. My Uni-ball Signo 207 pen. Its not the best out there, though it’s not the cheapest either. They are disposable so I go thought a couple each month. But without my pen I’m lost. My second necessity is coloured paper. I have a crazy system with different colors of paper for different editing stages… Oh, and printer ink — I’m hooped if the printer runs out of ink.
Other than that… I guess my sauna is also a necessity. I go in there and it’s like a dark room — no distractions. I get a lot of good writing/editing done there.
7.  What are some of your favorite books?
Favourite books are like clothing to me. I will love a shirt of pair of pants so much that I’ll wear it until it is falling apart. Books are the same. If I love it I read it over and over again until it is completely worn out so the words aren’t legible any more. Then I put those books on my featured book shelf so everyone can see them (even if they don’t look like much to look at). Some of the books that have made it there are:
Harry Potter (all of them)
The Twilight series
The Left Behind series
Ann McCaffery’s Dragon Rider’s series
Kelly Armstrong’s The Summoning as well as The Gathering
Artemis Fowl
And all books by Torey L. Hayden 
8.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?

No, not in this book. I did however borrow names for it but not because the characters represented anyone, I just liked the names.



9.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?

Right now I am working on a space adventure that takes place in a solar system ruled by magic that’s being misused. It’s a YA that’s a dystopian space opera with magic. It’s going to be amazing!



10.  Why do you love writing?

Writing makes me feel like I’ve lived more lives than the one I’ve been given. Also, I like meeting new people and when I write I feel like I do that with each new character. And lastly, even if I wasn’t writing I’d still be making all these things up — so being a writer helps me justify all my daydreaming.



About the Author

Aviva Bel’Harold writes young adult fiction: Horror, Science Fiction, ­Urban Fantasy, etc. — as long as the ­characters are young, full of life, and out for adventure. When she’s writing, you’ll find her curled up on a sofa with a pen and a pad of paper, ­surrounded by her adorable puppies.Born in Winnipeg and raised in Vancouver, Aviva Bel’Harold ­currently resides in Calgary with her husband, four children, and six dachshunds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter: @AvivaTheAuthor

Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube


Amazon | B&N

Why Proactiv May not Work for You

If you’re thinking about making the switch to the Proactiv Acne System, you are not alone.  The acne treatment product is probably one of the most well known on the market, and has millions of customers as well as celebrity endorsements.

While I don’t have severe or cystic acne, I have been looking into different acne treatment lines because I can’t believe that I am still getting breakouts at age 29! While researching the best solution for my problem, I came across this in-depth Proactiv review that reveals the truth about how effective it is.

I found out that while Proactiv is strongly marketed as being the best acne clearing product out there, it scored a less than 50% satisfaction rating from everyday customers! That’s not too great in my book.  Also, for a majority of people, the multi-step process was just way too complicated, and they found the products to be rather harsh on their skin.  Finally, the system is quite expensive!  Proactiv is a product you have to consistently buy in order to keep your skin clear, and sometimes you may not be able to afford the extra cost.

I’m glad I did my research and I’m happy to share it with my readers.  There are much better alternatives to Proactiv in the wide world of skin products, and I hope to find the one just right for me!

REVIEW: SweeTarts Soft & Chewy Ropes


SweeTARTS Soft & Chewy Ropes offers a new mouthwatering licorice rope with the electrifying flavor fusion of sweet and tart.

The result is a delightfully chewy, smooth texture, never tough or waxy candy, that makes a tasty anytime treat! Don’t miss out on SweeTARTS Soft & Chewy Ropes when you’re reaching for something sweet & tangy!



This candy is pretty unique.  It’s really a candy within a candy.  It’s a sour powder filled licorice, that is very soft and so easy to eat.  I found the candy to be a bit too tart for my own liking, but my six year old LOVED it.



I didn’t feel too bad about giving it to him, either, because SweeTarts Soft & Chewy Ropes are made with NO artificial colors or flavors.  I think this candy would be a great road trip or baseball park snack…so stock up for the summer!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent free product for reviewing purposes from Smiley360. No other compensation was given, and my thoughts and photos are my own.

REVIEW: Mixcups Coffee Subscription Box


We were early adopters of the single serve coffee trend.  Our trusty Keurig is used several times daily, and my husband and I both enjoy everything from coffee to cappuccino to cider to cocoa.  We are always looking for a new beverage to try, and that’s why we were so thrilled to try Mixcups!

Mixcups is a single serve coffee subscription service for those who want to try a little variety in their morning drink.  For $28.95 a month, you are sent 30 individual cups, in your choice of regular or decaf coffee, or tea.


The box is beautifully basic, and reminiscent of those cardboard sleeves you can get for your cups at coffee shops :)


Here are all 30 of my cups.  As you can see, I got a mix of flavored and non-flavored coffees. There are dark, light, and in between blends.


Out of 30 cups, there were 10 individual flavors, meaning that yes, some of the cups were repeats. I was thinking there would be a bit more variety, but it was alright, because all of the brands featured were ones we had not yet tried.

My husband’s fave was the Mystic Morning Marley Coffee.  It had a little bit of cinnamon that paired nicely with the flavored creamer he likes to use.  It is also organic, so that’s a big plus.

Personally, I preferred the Cake Boss Italian Rum Cake.  I liked that it was on the lighter side, and was just sweet enough that it complemented the sweet snacks I usually have with my coffee in the afternoons.

The espresso was something we both liked if we needed a little extra help getting up and going in the mornings.


Mixcups is a great way to get introduced to coffee brands you may not have heard of, and to maybe find a new favorite!

You can subscribe per month, or shop the website for the flavors you liked in your box.

**DISCLAIMER: I received free product from the company above to test for this post.  No other compensation was given, and my photos and opinions are my own. Powered by BrandBacker.

REVIEW: Purex ScentSplash Scent Booster


If you haven’t yet used Purex Crystals to freshen your laundry, you don’t know what you’re missing! The scent has the power to keep your clothes smelling fresh for weeks in closets and drawers.  And now, the crystals come in a new form: Purex ScentSplash.


Purex Crystals ScentSplash is the next evolution in laundry in-wash fragrance boosters. It contains refreshing scent beads that release bursts of fragrance with irresistible freshness that lasts! This new Liquid Crystals formula is convenient and versatile enough to be used directly in the washer or in-wash tray, and is safe for all wash fabrics.

The formula is more like a thick gel than a liquid to me.  It comes in all of the Purex scents you already know and love, including Fresh Spring Waters and Fresh Mountain Breeze.


A half cap full is enough to scent even big loads of laundry!  It’s even fine to use in HE washers.  Your clothes will smell amazing out of the dryer, and just as great when you put them on days later.

Purex Crystals ScentSplash is available now in your favorite store.

Check out the Purex Website or Facebook Page for more info and promotions!

REVIEW: Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap

If you regularly follow my blog, then you’ll know that I recently posted a review of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash. Today I’m going to introduce you to another Miracle Oil product: Dial Liquid Hand Soap with Marula Oil!

The Miracle Oil Hand soap is made with the same Marula Oil as the body wash.  Marula Oil is added to nourish and deeply hydrate your skin while protecting it from skin-damaging free radicals.


The soap is definitely moisturizing and you will feel a difference in your hands after the first wash.  My favorite thing about this soap is its’ scent, which is not too flowery and is perfect for my husband and son. A lot of times a hand soap may be overly perfumed and my guys deem it “too girly” to wash their hands with!

Dial Miracle Oil Liquid Soap is just what your hands need to recover from the harsh winter weather.  Treat your hands and your body with nourishing Marula Oil!


For more info on Dial products, visit the Dial Website or Facebook page.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Veri Soda Organic Soft Drinks



If your kids are anything like my son, they are always asking for soda. Of course, you don’t always want to give it to them! Now there is a soda you can feel a little better about giving your kids–organic, low calorie, Veri Soda.

Veri Soda comes in four delicious flavors that are made with the finest ingredients, including organic stevia, cane sugar, and real fruit juices.

Veri Cola delivers the subtle taste of cola with hints of cinnamon and real lemon juice.
Veri Orange is made with 12% real orange juice from oranges grown in Mexico and
Veri Lemon Lime is created with real juice from organic lemons and limes to deliver a
truly refreshing taste.
Veri Ginger Ale harnesses the flavor of Asian ginger and finds the perfect balance of
spice, sweetness, and light carbonation.


The lemon lime soda is my son’s personal favorite.  He likes to drink the brand name version, of course, and I sometimes let him have it because it has no caffeine–but giving him the Veri Soda version is even better! It’s made with a low glycemic load, meaning I won’t have to worry about him having a sugar crash after drinking it.


The cola was the one I liked best.  I am into eating healthier, but I haven’t been able to give up my soda a day habit!  Veri Soda Cola definitely has a different taste than I am used to–the cinnamon is the most prevalent taste.  I still found the cola quite refreshing, and a unique change from the soda I am used to.


My husband likes his cocktails after work, and so the ginger ale was the perfect base for him to make some new ones.  The one he liked best was ginger ale and spiced rum over ice.  He reported that the realistic ginger flavor really made the spice in the rum pop.  He also appreciated that the ginger ale was not adding extra calories to his day!

Veri Soda is the better soft drink for your family! Try all four flavors for yourself and taste the organic difference.

Connect with Veri Soda online to learn more and get exclusive access to discounts and special offers!

MomsMeet Bloggers


I have several coupons for FREE Veri Soda that I would love to share with my readers! Please leave a comment letting me know which flavor you would like to try. US only, please.  Winners will be drawn April 19.

DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the Manufacturer of this product.

REVIEW: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

The Homesick Texan’s Family Table

by Lisa Fain


Book Description

From beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, aka the Homesick Texan, comes this follow-up to her wildly popular debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 recipes for wonderfully comforting, ingredient-driven Lone Star classics that the whole family will love.

There are few things finer than a delicious, homemade meal shared with family and friends. Take it from Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan who loves to cook and serve up the best dishes her home state has to offer—even though she now lives half a country away.
     The Homesick Texan’s Family Table showcases more than 100 of Lisa’s best and most-loved recipes, ranging from down-home standards (think cheesy nachos, comforting chicken and dumplings, and fiery wings) to contemporary riffs on the classics (who knew adding Mexican spices to a German chocolate cake would taste so good?).
All of Lisa’s recipes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, yet still packed with real Texas flavor that will make your grandmother smile. Whether you’re looking for a party-friendly snack like Pigs in Jalapeño Blankets, a Mustard Coleslaw to bring as a side to your next potluck, a weeknight- and family-friendly meal like Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy, or a mouthwatering dessert like Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table has you covered. After all, with some mighty fine food and mighty fine people to enjoy it, any meal can be cause for celebration.

3 fleur


I appreciate cookbooks that don’t have a ton of unattainable ingredients, because I live in a small town and would have to travel far from my tiny grocery store to get them.  The recipes in this book might have a LOT of ingredients, but for the most part they are easily gotten.

There are recipes that you already know and love, like Chicken Spaghetti, and there are some familiar favorites that are given a Texas twist, like Jalapeno Cornbread Sticks.

One thing to know is, don’t get this cookbook if you don’t like things spicy.  Nearly every recipe contains a pepper of some kind, and there is even a lengthy section on the beginning to teach you about the different kinds of peppers and how to handle them. I guess you could omit the peppers if you wanted…but that means eliminating a lot of the flavor too!

As a Louisiana girl I do like my food with a kick, so this book was a nice get for me. The inclusion of similar ingredients in many recipes makes it a bit one note at times, though.  I am looking forward to making my own Texas Sheet Cake!


Find the Perfect Gift for Mother’s Day at ClubsGalore.Com!

If your mom is anything like mine, you have quite a hard time shopping for her.  You know she deserves a great gift, but she has everything. You know what she likes–and so does she, which is why she’s already got it! Instead of spending a ton of time searching for something your mother may or may not like, why not gift her a subscription from ClubsGalore.Com?

ClubsGalore offers more than 40 monthly clubs that make an amazing choice for any occasion! If you are not tempted by the Wine Club, the Cheese Club, or the Cookie Club, maybe you would rather pamper yourself or someone you love with the Bath & Body Club or Plant Club!


I myself got the opportunity to experience the Chocolate Club. For $31.95 per month, you receive a one pound selection of fine chocolates, expertly packaged and ready for gifting.


The outside of the package distinctly makes it known that you are receiving your monthly gift from ClubsGalore!


My box of chocolates were nestled in a bed of shredded gift paper.

The chocolates come in a festive gold box that is suitable for any occasion.


And here is a look at my selection! My candy got a bit jostled, so this pic was taken before I could get all the pieces back in their correct compartments. There is a fantastic variety of truffles, caramels, nut clusters, creams and more, in both dark and milk chocolates.  My favorites were the peanut butter crunch, the butter toffee, and the coconut clusters.

Here are a few closeups of individual chocolates to show you how finely crafted they are.




As your can see, ClubsGalore offers items of superb quality.  The most difficult thing is choosing your subscription!

In preparation for Mother’s Day, ClubsGalore is offering $5 off your first month’s purchase of any subscription.  Shipping is always free!  You now have the choice to pay by month, or you can purchase deliveries for up to a year.  If you order by April 25, the package will get there in plenty of time for Mother’s Day with the free shipping option; or, you can order with two day shipping between April 26-May 7; and finally, there is an overnight shipping option available for orders from May 6 to May 8.

Something that’s really cool is that you can print a gift announcement, perhaps to place in a card, to let your recipient know their gift will be coming to them soon!

Visit ClubsGalore today and use code CGMOM5 at checkout for a $5 savings.


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