Review: Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania – what an experience!

Disclosure: I received free admission to Longwood Gardens to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving free admission in no way influenced my opinion in this review. 

 

I lived in Pennsylvania most of my life before moving to New Jersey about twenty years ago.  Friends suggested for years that we make the trip to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, especially at holiday time.  There are things you plan to do and just never get around to doing but this year I was determined to make the trip with my family.

On Monday, December 17th my husband, son and daughter-in-law and I made the trip to Longwood Gardens and I am still in awe of the amazing display of holiday lights and beautiful foliage.  This trip is a “must see” for any family.

Longwood Gardens operates year round but my advise to you is to visit during the Christmas holiday season – it is just breathtaking.

The Christmas season at Longwood runs from November 22 to January 6, 2019.  Non-Peak Days are Mondays–Thursdays, November 22–December 25, 2018; and every day January 2–January 6, 2019.

A stop at the Conservatory is a must to see where there are thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees all decorated differently, and fragrant flowers all thorough the building.  You can spend hours in this one exhibit just marveling over the massive effort it must take for the folks at Longwood Gardens to care for and construct this holiday display.

Bring your walking shoes to stroll around the estate and see the beautiful manicured gardens even in the winter they are an amazing sight to see.

Plan to spend the day there to really get your money’s worth from the trip.

You can leave and come back into the facility with a stamp of your hand.  That’s all it takes. We were there most of the day and went outside the Gardens to eat dinner.

Take a break in one of the three dining options offered in Longwood Gardens. Your choice of three dining facilities (see info below) are available.  We did manage to eat at The Cafe for lunch but dinner was not so accommodating.  We really wanted to eat at 1906 Restaurant but when we arrived at the reception desk we were told we needed a reservation. Unfortunately it does not state so on the website that a reservation to dine is required or we would have made a reservation in advance.

The only other option for us to eat dinner was back at The Cafe which was mobbed.  Longwood gets very very very crowded after the sun sets.  Most people come out to see the light exhibits and of course they do not start until after the sun goes down.  I started to notice the lights slowly coming on around the facility at approximately 4 PM.

Since we were unable to eat inside the gardens we ventured out to an restaurant about 20 minutes from the gardens called La Verona Italian Restaurant.  It is located at  114 E. State Street Kennett Square, PA 19348 | Phone: 1-610-444-2244

Now understand that we Italian’s do not usually eat at Italian restaurants since we always feel no one can make it better than we can LOL but I have to tell you the food was delicious and I would highly recommend you visiting La Verona for a meal.  The waitstaff was friendly and attentive and the food was to die for. The portions were so big we all had to take the leftovers home with us and let me tell you my son and husband are big eaters and never leave food on their plate.  I would make that trip (over 1 hour from my home) just to go to dinner at LaVarona again.

After dinner we went back to Longwood Gardens to enjoy the spectacular light displays all over the gardens.  One amazing sight after the other with each corner you turn.  I’m telling you I was like a big kid with my mouth dropped in awe!

There are more than 500,000 decorative lights that glitter in the trees and colorful fountain displays set to music in the gardens.  Evening choral concerts, strolling carolers, and organ sing-alongs fill the gardens with festive holiday sounds.  I was like a child at Disneyland for the first time.

Here is a montage of photos I took at Longwood Gardens and a few short video’s mixed in.

At this point we were all pretty tired and ready to go home. On the way out of the building we passed the huge and amazing gift shop which was all decorated in holiday splendor.  You will want to stop there if for no other reason but to see the beautiful display of lights and decorations.

I strongly advise you to make the trip to Longwood Gardens with your family during the holiday season, it’s something you will never forget.

Information on tickets, show times, etc., can all be found on their website at https://longwoodgardens.org

 

Dinning at the Gardens:

The Café
Sun–Thurs: 10:00 am–8:00 pm
Fri–Sat: 10:00 am–9:00 pm
December 21–31: 10:00 am–9:00 pm

1906 – we were told by the receptionist that a reservation is required to eat at this restaurant but it does not state so on the website.
Sun–Thurs: 11:30 am–7:30 pm
Fri–Sat: 11:30 am–8:30 pm
December 21–31: 11:30 am–8:30 pm

Beer Garden (Open November 23–December 31) – this was closed during out visit.
Mon–Fri: 4:00–8:00 pm
Sat–Sun: 12:00–9:00 pm
December 21–31: 12:00–9:00 pm

 

Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill-Griddle Review, Demonstration!

 

Disclosure: I received a sample (as described below) to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving a sample(s) of this product in no way influenced my opinion in this review. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.) 

 

 

So you all know how much I love my Copper Chef products and this one is no exception.

The kind folks at TriStar sent me their latest product to test and review called the Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill-Griddle.  No more standing outside in the rain, snow or freezing cold to grill your favorite foods, all you need is the new Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill and you are set to go.

This amazing counter-top appliance will grill your food without the hassle of standing out in the extreme temperatures (hot or cold) to get those amazing grill marks and grill taste we all love.  The grill has an extra large surface (13.5L x 8W) to fit enough food for your entire family.  The removable non-stick plates make for easy clean up each time you use your smokeless grill.  It has a easy to read LED Smart Temperature Control which adjusts up to 450 degrees.  It is made of heavy-duty die-cast aluminum and has 1200 watts of power.

Your Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill easily converts to a griddle.  All you have to do is remove the grill plate and replace it with the griddle plate and you are ready to go.  The griddle’s large surface is enough room to do several pancakes at one time to cut your cooking time in half.

It also comes with a tempered glass lid and two wonderful cook books by my hero Chef Eric Theiss the inventor of the Copper Chef products.

Both the grill and griddle plates are non-stick material making clean up a breeze.  You can put the cooking plates in your dishwasher but I didn’t feel the need to do so as clean up was so easy.  I just used some mild dish soap and water and that took me all of 5 minutes to clean.  Set it on the drainboard and let it dry.

I have prepared for you a demonstration video so that you can see first hand some of the amazing features of this product and how it works with both the grill and griddle plates.

Just wanted to point out a few tips that I recommend before you get started with using your Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill.

  1. Wash and dry all the parts that are washable
  2. After you assemble the grill turn it on and let the “smell” burn off.  All new appliances let off an odor because they are new so it’s best to let it burn off before you use it for cooking.
  3. Don’t be afraid to play with your grill.  I spent time playing with the temperature control and familiarizing myself with exactly how it works.  Obviously there are some instructions in the booklet but experimenting is best.
  4. Turn your grill on about 10 minutes prior to using it allowing it to reach the required temperature.  The temperature dial will blink until it reaches the temperature that you have chosen for cooking.  Allowing it to heat up will insure proper cooking of your food.
  5. Allow your Copper Chef Smokeless Grill to fully cool down before you attempt to dismantle it for cleaning. You don’t want to get burned.  It’s like any other grill it gets hot.
  6. Make sure that you keep the fan going the entire time you are cooking to cut down on and grease build up.
  7. Enjoy your Copper Chef Smokeless Grill I certainly am enjoying my cooking experience with it.

To purchase your very own Copper Chef Power Smokeless Grill I have found this to be the best price at this time – click here!

 

 

 

Shark Ion Robot Model RV750 Review and Demonstration

Disclosure: I received a sample (as described below) to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving a sample(s) of this product in no way influenced my opinion in this review. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.) 

 

If you have been following my blog for any length of time chances are you have read a review of a Shark product previously.  I love my Shark products.  I was a huge fan of their products way before I was asked to review a product for them. I purchased several Shark and Ninja products prior to my association with the company.

In 42 years of marriage, prior to owning my first Shark, I purchased every major brand of vacuum cleaner from the very high end to what I call “disposable” models which can be purchased at any mass retailer for less than $100.00!  For my hard-earned money nothing compares to a Shark vacuum cleaner.

The kind folks at Shark sent me the Shark Ion Robot RV750 vacuum cleaner to test and review.

I have reviewed two similar robotic vacuum cleaners by other brands in the past and wasn’t a big fan as they seem to lack suction power.  The Shark Ion Robot is a much superior version hands down.  The other two robotic vacuum cleaners were okay for picking up crumbs or something small but I didn’t find the other two brand’s suction power very effective.

The Shark Ion Robot did a great job on my carpet and hardwood floor and most importantly freed up time for me to do something else while it did the job of vacuuming for me.  No babysitting the Shark Ion Robot, it moves from room to room adjusting from carpet to bare floors, doing an excellent job of picking up anything from coffee grinds to crushed cereal and more.

As with any new product I advise you to read the instructions to familiarize yourself with the features of your new Shark Ion Robot vacuum before you use it for the first time.  There are tips for allowing your new Shark Ion Robot to work at maximum effectiveness.

Not home during the day and you want to vacuum your home – no problem your Shark Ion Robot has the ability to be controlled by a smart phone app for Apple or Android phones and voice control feature through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.  The apps can be found and downloaded at Google Play or the Apple app store.  Further instructions for these applications can be found in your Shark Ion Robot instruction manual.  I do not recommend you use this feature if you have pets unattended at home. 

There is nothing to assemble you just plug the charging dock into a wall outlet, charge it for the recommended number of hours before your first use, place the Shark Ion Robot in the charging dock and you are ready to go.

I do advise you test your Shark Ion Robot a few times to familiarize yourself with, not only it’s features, but setting up barriers or “botboundaries” as they are referred to in the manual (which are included in the box) for places you do not wish the Shark Ion Robot to go.  I have mine set up to block the vacuum from going under my couch as the couch slopes downward towards the back and the unit was getting stuck.  Walk around the house with the Shark to see where it may get caught up with insufficient clearance (under your bed is one example) so that you can avoid the unit malfunctioning.  This is an instance where you would want to set up the “botboundaries” so that the unit will instinctively know not to travel into that area.

Here is a short video I prepared to show you my new Shark Ion Robot and some of the features.

My husband discovered how to use the “zoom” button and he went crazy in this video LOL.

 

 

The Shark Ion Robot has a one year limited warranty.  Contact Shark customer service at 1-800-798-7398 and a product specialist will assist you with warranty issue.

You can purchase the Shark Ion Robot Model RV750 at many retail stores but I have found the best price here!  

For the latest model S87 with the hand vacuum go here for the best price!

  • Self-cleaning Brushroll captures short and long hair, dust, dander, and allergens to prevent everyday buildup in your home
  • Smart sensor navigation seamlessly navigates floors and carpets while proximity sensors assess and adapt to surrounding obstacles
  • Dual spinning side brushes pull in debris from corners and edges. One-touch activation
  • Long-life lithium-ion battery allows for over an hour of cleaning time
  • Includes: (2) side brushes, (1) filter, (1) lithium-ion battery, charging dock, 9 feet of botboundary, (2) botboundary connectors and (1) cleaning tool

 

Sephora Holiday Items Review

Disclosure: I received a sample (as described below) to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving a sample(s) of this product in no way influenced my opinion in this review. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.) 

Much to my delights I received a box of goodies from the kind folks at Sephora.  I always get excited when surprise items come from them for me to review.

The items I received are what I would call Holiday themed items and I loved them all.

Sephora brand cosmetics are wonderful if not better than the high priced brands on the market today.  If you haven’t tried them I suggest you do they are wonderful.

Now I don’t consider myself a “makeup” guru but I just love all the innovative products that Sephora has to offer in store and on line.

Since I am not a makeup guru I rely on the sales associates at Sephora to help me when I need to purchase a product.  I find that very helpful and it takes the “fear” out of shopping for me.  As I don’t keep up with all the new makeup trends, I can get very intimidated when I go looking for a product for a specific need.  The sales associates are always so friendly and very knowledgeable so I know I will get exactly what I need.  If you are shopping at Sephora.com you can always give them a call (1-877-SEPHORA) and the associates are eager to help as well.

I received these items for review:

Sephora Advent Calendar ($99)

Sephora “In The Blink Of An Eye” shadow pallet ($9)

Sephora Almond foot masque ($5) – my apologies the foot mask is only $5 not $8 as stated in my video.

Sephora Glitter Pots ($14)

Sephora Twinkle Makeup Sponge ($10)

Prada “Candy” Parfum Gift Set ($30)

 

 

I love the advent calendar such a wonderful gift.  A surprise each day starting the 1st of December up to the 24th.  Each day a new gift is revealed as you open each calendar day door.  So cute.

The In The Blink Of An Eye shadow pallet is amazing – the colors are beautiful and such a reasonable price only $9.00 for three shadows.

The Almond Foot Masque will be a wonderful addition to any pedicure.  If your salon does not offer a masque take this with you and ask your manicurist to incorporate it into your service.  It will leave your feet feeling silky smooth.

The Glitter Pots will come in handy during the holidays to glitter up my eye lids.

The Twinkle Makeup Sponge will be put to good use applying my foundation.

And the Prada Candy parfum will make a wonderful addition to my perfume collection.

 

Copper Chef Grill And Baking Mats Review!

#Sponsored – Disclosure: I received a sample (as described below) to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving a sample(s) of this product in no way influenced my opinion in this review. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.) 

If you have been following me for a while you know I have a love affair going on with the Copper Chef products.  I’ve yet to be dissatisfied with any of the products that they have sent to me for review and this one is no exception.

I receive a set of two Copper Chef Grilling And Baking Mats for review.  I must admit we did not have the opportunity to use them on our outdoor grill as the weather has now gotten crisp here on the East Coast so grilling season is pretty much over for us.  However I was very curious to see how the mats compared to my silpat silicone baking mats that I usually use for baking so I mixed up a batch of my sugarless oatmeal banana cookies (recipe below.)

These mats are AMAZING, they put my silpats to shame!  They stay cool to the touch and the cookies, that are normally difficult to get off the sheet pan, came off without hesitation.  I am hooked.

Check out my video demo below:

My one suggestion for Copper Chef is to make them the exact size of a cookie sheet.  These were obviously primarily made for use on a grill but if I can convince Chef Eric to make them the size of cookie sheets I’m sold for life.

You get two mats in each box – (1) small that measures 13.25” x 9.25” and (1) large that measures 15.75” x 13”

Here are some of the features of the Copper Chef Grill & Baking Mats:

  • Reversible & Reusable
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Nothing Falls Through the Bars
  • Preserve Your Bake ware
  • Help Keep Your Grill & Oven Clean

I found this amazing deal for you all – you get (4) mats (2) small and (2) large for the low price of only $7.99!  That’s less than what you would pay for 1 set! Check them out here!

Sugarless Banana Oatmeal Cookies

You will need the following ingredients (this is what I used in the video):

2 Ripe Bananas (the riper the sweeter your cookies will be.  Do not use green or very hard bananas they won’t be sweet and your kids won’t like the cookies.)

1/2 cup of Raisins (organic is best but use what you have.  You can use any kind of raisins doesn’t matter.)

2 cups of raw oatmeal (organic is best but I have used others in the past)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (use only good quality vanilla not the artificial)

A cookie sheet.

A Copper Chef Baking Mat or silicone baking mat (not necessary you can use parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet)

A mixing bowl.

A mixing spoon.

Measuring Spoons.

A glass mug or a glass measuring cup.

And that is it!  You are ready to start.

Baking Instructions

Before you get started take about 1 cup of water and place it in a glass container and pop it in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  Place the raisins into the heated water and set them aside for now.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the bananas and mash them in your bowl.  You can use a potato masher or you can use a fork.  DO NOT put them in the food processor it liquefies them and you don’t want that.  You want them it to have bits and pieces of banana in the cookie.

Mix in your raw oatmeal.

Add the vanilla.

Remove the raisins from the heated water and add them to the bowl.

Mix it all together.

Spoon any size cookies onto your baking sheet.

Also them to bake at 350 for about 12 to 15  minutes depending on the size of your cookies.  You just want the ingredients to dry out and mesh together.  You won’t want to leave them in too long they will be all dried out and no one will want to eat them.

Once you remove them from the oven let them sit for about 10 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.

You can store any left overs (there will not be any believe me) in an air tight container they will be a little soggy the next day but they are still delicious.

Enjoy!

 

Product Review: EveryPlate Meal Kit with Demo

Disclosure: I received a sample or samples (as described above) to conduct my review for this blog post. All opinions expressed in this post are truthful and mine alone. Receiving a sample or samples of this product in no way influenced my opinion. 

Many of you know that my husband and I are now empty nesters. Our only child got married last January and it’s now just the two of us at home.

Cooking – as I do five out of seven nights a week – can be a chore. This is especially true for someone like myself who doesn’t have time or the strength (medical issues) to go out and pick up fresh ingredients each day to make a meal. That’s why I love EveryPlate!

EveryPlate is a meal delivery service that puts together all the ingredients you need to make a delicious and economical meal for your family. At just $3.33 per meal (average for 2) or $4.16 per meal (average for a family of 4), you just cannot buy the ingredients needed locally EveryPlate sends in your weekly box. Believe me, I have tried but it can’t be done. Not for the quality ingredients that EveryPlate is sending you each week at the price they are charging.

My First Delivery of EveryPlate

My first delivery arrived today. The produce is amazing, beautiful and fresh, like the day it was picked. I can’t purchase produce like this locally, regardless of what I pay for it. Produce in the area where I live is just dreadful.

Along with the necessary ingredients, you’ll receive easy-to-follow recipe cards that tell even the novice cook how to prepare these meals. I know some people get overwhelmed at the thought of preparing home cooked meals. But with EveryPlate, clear instructions are provided and the meals are not difficult to prepare.

I have prepared a short video to show you the end result of one of the EveryPlate meals I prepared this week, Skillet Apple Pork Chops.  We truly enjoyed the meal. My husband raved. It’s a winner!

Just a few tips: I had to adjust the temperature on the oven. 450 degrees was way too high for the potatoes and green beans. They started to burn.  It could have been my oven but I think that lowering the temperature to 400 would have been better. Also, this is very important: my pork portions were VERY THICK and required longer cooking than suggested on the recipe card. Please use your judgement when it comes to cooking pork. You must cook it thoroughly so it is safe to eat. Here is the USDA recommendations for cooking pork. I suggest you check it out when in doubt.

It took me a little over 1 hour to prepare and cook this meal today. So you won’t be in the kitchen all day preparing and cooking a meal for your family. It’s fast and delicious!


Here are some of the typical questions that EveryPlate has answered on their website about their delivery plan.

How do I choose my meals?

Selecting your meals is the last step in the sign-up process. Once you sign up, you’re in control: review your pre-selected menus or change meals for any delivery.

What meals are on the menu?

Our menu of 5 delicious recipes rotates weekly to keep things new and exciting. If you’d like a peek of the current and upcoming menus before signing up, click on “Weekly Menu” in the navigation above.

Can I skip a week or change my plan?

You bet! EveryPlate plans are commitment-free. You may skip or close your account at any time. Want to just try us out? No problem. Skip as many weekly deliveries as you’d like.

Will the recipes meet my dietary needs?

All ingredients and corresponding allergens are clearly listed, and everything is packaged and labeled separately. Substituting or omitting an ingredient at home is easy. We do not currently offer vegetarian plans.

Does EveryPlate deliver to my area?

We’re cooking up big plans to make ourselves available everywhere, but we aren’t there just yet. Select a plan to find out if we deliver to your area.

How long will my ingredients stay fresh?

We recommend enjoying your meals within a week of delivery for maximum freshness. Some items do best in the fridge, while others (like herbs) are better at room temp, so be sure to store each item appropriately to ensure freshness.

Suzanne Somers Organics Make Up Review

Disclosure: I received a sample (as described below) to conduct my review for this blog post.  All opinions stated in this post are truthful and mine alone.  Receiving a sample(s) of this product in no way influenced my opinion in this review.

The kind folks at Suzanne Somers Organics send me a gift card to purchase products from her new line of organic make up in order to facilitate this review.

I was so impressed with an ad that I saw recently about Suzanne’s line of organic cosmetics that I just had to try them.

More than natural, more than organic, Suzanne’s cosmetics are all Certified ToxicFree®. They contain no PEGs, no parabens, no synthetic fragrances, no chemical emulsifiers, no animal testing and completely gluten-free. You can learn more about her commitment to botanical active ingredients for the highest quality products to nurture your skin and the environment – all while providing incredible anti-aging benefits by visiting her website at www.suzannesomers.com

I chose a kit that contained three products for my skin color and I will review them below.

The first product that came in the kit was the Sheer Flawless Foundation in Porcelain-Light.  I am extremely fair (you’d never know looking at me both of my parents were 100% Italian but they were) and I burn very easily so I stay out of the sun.  People tell me it has served me well as they don’t believe I am 62 years old, however, other parts of my body are aging and it shows LOL.

The foundation went on very smoothly and covered well.  I don’t have the best facial skin, I’ve always had an issue with breakouts from a teen, but I do my best to stay away from product that contain tons of chemicals (and most make up products do) so when I found out that Suzanne’s line has no chemical additives I was thrilled.  Her foundation contains natural organic ingredients like soothing Aloe Leaf Juice, Tea Tree, Jojoba and Grape Seed Oils, antioxidant-rich super juice blend includes Pomegranate, Goji, Acai, Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry.  Nothing but good ingredients to nourish your skin.  Her foundations are made without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances – I can’t even pronounce most of those things that she left out of her cosmetics but I can pronounce and I know exactly what is included in Suzanne’s line.

The next product that came with the kit is the Perfect Finish Concealer in light-medium shade which was recommended for my skin tone.  This camouflaging concealer combines organic shea butter and Jojoba with soothing Lavender and Vitamin E for smooth, coverage.  I used it under my eyes as I’ve recently developed dark circles which I’ve never had before.  I have to assume it has something to do with one of the medications I take but this concealer is wonderful.  It went on smoothly and evenly unlike other’s I have tried that crack and cake up.  

The next product in the kit was the Sheer pressed Powder in light-medium shade.  This pressed powder is amazing.  So sheer and light you cannot even tell it’s been applied.  Unlike other brands that I have tried in the past that make you look like a ghost, Suzanne’s pressed powder worked amazingly well all day to keep the foundation from running or fading. Unlike most pressed powders – which use harmful chemical petroleum binders that suffocate the skin and settle into lines and wrinkles – Suzanne uses rich, organic Jojoba Oil combined with mineral powders, allowing the skin to breathe while creating a flawless finish on a range of complexion tones.

The kit also included a wonderful “powder brush” and a zippered case to keep it all in.

I found the products reasonably priced and they are easy to order on line at Suzanne’s website www.suzannesomers.com  You can also find other products that Suzanne manufacturers and sells at that same website address.

I do have one negative – I’m sorry Suzanne!  The make up has a distinct smell and that’s probably one of the natural ingredients.  It’s not a bad odor it’s a clean smell but I tend to shy away from anything with scents.  I’m really very sensitive to them.  It’s not horrible and I don’t think it would stop me from purchasing these products again because I really like the line.  However the scent seems to fade as you apply the products to your skin.

You all know I am 100% honest when I do a review and I tell it like it is. These are my “personal” observations about the products.  As I always tell you when I do a review your experience (and opinion) with any product may be different than mine.