Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be Smart and Safe With Street Safe Mobile Security #cbias


I love the city and I am lucky to live close enough to Seattle that I can go there often, to a fun event, or to go visit friends. But whenever I am there after dark, I do get nervous about walking to the bus stop or walking through the city by myself.

I was very happy to recently learn about a service called Street Safe Mobile Security. With Street Safe, you have an app on your Smartphone that provides you with a trained safety adviser who will talk to you until you safely reach your destination.

Or, if you need immediate help, your safety adviser will call 911 with your exact location, thanks to your phone's GPS system. They will also have all relevant personal information, such as a medical condition, to pass on to 911 authorities.

Street Smart has received lots of media attention, including major TV coverage, about how this service can keep you and your loved ones safer.

I like the fact that Street Smart can be of value to so many people, in so many situations. Whether you are the parent of a college student, a student yourself, a person who works at night, or a senior citizen, this service can make all the difference when it comes to personal safety.

Street Smart is available 24x7, with state-of-the-art monitoring centers, offering live off-duty law enforcement officers and trained safety advisers.

I can personally think of so many times when I would love to have Street Smart available for myself, or my two college age children who live in the city. I showed my son what Street Smart has to offer, and asked him if he would possibly ever use it. He said he thought it was a good idea, and could really ensure someone's safety. I would actually love to have this for my daughter, for her safety and my peace of mind.

My two daughters and granddaughter were in the city last weekend. We had lunch at a great restaurant, that is very popular with the employees of all these office buildings. But because it was a Sunday, there were no people around, and when we were walking, I actually felt very uncomfortable.

It would be great to have Street Smart, and know that someone is available to calm my fears, or actually send immediate help if I needed it.

The Walk With Me service allows you to connect with a trained safety adviser  day or night, and knows your exact location, and can advise you about reaching your destination safely. They will stay on the phone with you, and are trained in stress management to help keep you calm. If you are in real danger, they will immediately send 911 to help you.

I was given the chance to try out the Street Safe app for myself. I was walking home through my relatively safe neighborhood just after dark. Just the fact that I had this service available, made me feel safer.

Though I wasn't in any danger, I wanted to test out how the Walk With Me service worked, and what the response time was in them answering my call. If I want to talk to a safety adviser  I slide the green button on my phone. If I need immediate 911 assistance, I simply slide the red button, and it will be dispatched to me, with the help of the GPS system on my phone.

Here is my phone, and I have slid the green button so that I can speak to a safety adviser.  Within about twenty seconds, they called me and asked if I needed help.

I explained that I was fine and was just testing out the service. They were extremely professional, yet very nice, and told me they are here if I need help. I really like this!!!

I can absolutely say that I think this is a great idea, and a service that I would recommend to many people, especially women and seniors. You don't just have to live in the city to use this and benefit because personal safety is something we have to be aware of regardless of where we are.

This is truly a great service for seniors because they can connect immediately to 911 and have their medical information and exact location given to help receive medical attention as quickly as possible.

Within a couple of hours of using Street Smart, I received an email from them asking me to send them feedback about my Walk With You experience. I appreciate a company that is interested in my opinion of their services. I really like Street Smart, and plan to continue using this very valuable service.

If you would like to find out more about Street Smart Mobile Security, you can go to their website, or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's A Red Shoes Kind Of Day!!!

Red Mary Janes are my favorite shoes.
These are just plain adorable.

The days are still gray here in the Northwest, and I am looking forward to spring more than I ever have before. To put a little sparkle in my day, I have decided to look for a new pair of red shoes to buy.
Of course the first place I look for ideas and inspiration are my Pinterest Boards. I have pinned a lot of red shoes, I discovered. Some I would buy, and some just because they caught my eye

kate spade galoshes, really really cute
Classic Kate Spade.

Jimmy Choo  Jimmy Choo  Jimmy Choo
Pretty and shiny red peek-toe.

Red ankle boots.

IVANKA TRUMP Flats - Annulio Pointed Toe | Bloomingdale's
Perfect red flats.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Personal Creations Gifts Review

I like giving and receiving gifts that are not only special but personal as well. On some occasions a gift can be made even more special by personalizing it with a name, greeting or saying.
Personal is a company that offers many beautiful and high quality gifts for family, friends or yourself.
I have started cooking more at home lately and am always looking for great products for the kitchen.
I recently ordered a stoneware casserole dish from Personal and I love cooking with it in the kitchen.

This great looking, but heavy duty casserole dish comes in three glazed colors, deep green, cobalt blue, and rich burgundy. Its generous size lets you cook up a large hearty casserole with style.

The makers carefully hand-etch the glaze away, revealing your personal name or message in the bisque stoneware. I chose the cheery expression "Bon Appetit" to be on my casserole dish, and it came out perfectly.
This casserole dish is something I am very happy to put on the table and have already received compliments on it. This is a great gift for the food lover or cook in your life, and personalizing it makes it all the more special.

This has quickly become my favorite casserole dish, and I will be ordering a couple for family members as gifts.
It is also lead-free and oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe. Whether you are cooking a breakfast casserole or dinner casseroles, this is a great dish that you would be proud to use in your home, or give as a gift.

Farm Animal Play Sets

I also ordered this cute little Easter themed play suit for my granddaughter Ashley. It comes personalized with your child's name embroidered on the front of the shirt. There is a darling little bunny on the side of the shirt, and a cotton tail on the back of the pants.

Personal Creations offers all kinds of gifts for the home, the family, the kitchen, babies, holidays and more. I had fun browsing their website and looking at all the great items they offer.
There are currently coupons available to use when you are shopping at

Giving personalized gifts is a great way to show you care by going that extra step to make your gift special and one that will be remembered for years to come.

*I received the products mentioned for my review.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gray Days, Good Days

Cheerful tulips for sale at the grocery store.

Winter days in Seattle are gray, and it can make you a little stir-crazy, depressed, or both. One just has to find another kind of sunshine, if the real kind won't appear.

My daughter Megan and I found a little sunshine of our own making when we went and had coffee, lunch, and did a little window shopping. And buying some bright pretty tulips certainly helped take away the gray day.
A little design from my coffee barista.

Colorful rugs outside of a rug shop.

One of my favorite shops, I can always find something to love here.

This cute guy was waiting for his owner outside the coffee shop.

A display inside of a local flower shop.

Happy Friday, and have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Simple Suppers - Orange Pork Tenderloins With Caramelized Onions

I used to cook pork chops all the time, and I really like eating them a lot. But it's been a long time since I've cooked pork of any kind, so the other night I whipped up this delicious Simple Supper.

I think the thinner pork tenderloins work best for this dish, and they cook faster than the thicker kind. This recipe is super easy, and makes a great week night meal, but is also impressive enough for a dinner with friends. I made mashed potatoes and a green vegetable to go with it, but the sides you can serve with this is endless. It really is yummy!!

Orange Pork Tenderloins With Caramelized Onions


8 thin sliced pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Pace Picante sauce
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Cooking Instructions:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned on both sides.

2. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 15 minutes, until soft and browned.

3. Put the picante sauce, marmalade, and orange zest into the skillet and stir together with the onions.
Return the pork to the skillet. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.

Serves 4-6 depending on serving sizes.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I Love The Library and What I'm Reading This Week

It is no secret that my love for books is legendary in my family. What can I say, I love to read, and there are certainly worse addictions I could have picked up through the years, right?
I do buy books as often as I can, and a gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or my local bookstore is always a great gift for me.

But the library is still one of my favorite places to spend a couple of hours each week and I always come home with my book bag stuffed with some treasures. I thought I would share what I picked up to read this week. It's a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, as it usually is.

1. Barefoot In Paris is by one of my very favorite cookbook authors, Ina Garten. This book is all about easy French cooking that you can do at home. I have all of Ina's other books, but somehow I never managed to buy this one. I love the gorgeous pictures in this book and I'm looking for an easy recipe to make from it.

2. The Healthy Back is all about what you can do to keep your back strong and healthy throughout your life. There are easy exercises and yoga poses that can help, and lots of good tips. A few years ago I hurt my back and the pain was agonizing. I was happy to find this book and incorporate the information into my daily life.

3. Trader Joe's Cookbook is from one of the grocery stores that I really love, Trader Joe's. The recipes are all very easy, with an emphasis on portable lunches and picnic food.

4. The Last Lovely City is fiction, and it's a book of short stories by one of my favorite writers, Alice Adams. These nine stories take place mostly in San Francisco, and the characters in them stayed with me long after I closed the book.

5. Aging As A Spiritual Practice is a book that caught my eye and is written by a Buddhist Priest who tries to impart his wisdom into something we all face, aging. I can use all the help I can get, and I'm loving his kind and practical words on this often difficult path.

6. Urban Pantry is written by a Seattle author and it's all about keeping what you need to keep on hand to have a well stocked and interesting pantry. I love her writing style and great recipes.

7. What Can I Bring Cookbook is about what you can bring for a potluck, holiday dinner, picnic, or anywhere else someone might ask you to bring a dish to share.

I didn't realize I had brought home so many cookbooks. But the great thing is, I can take them all back and get new ones that interest me.
I always encourage everyone to use the library. It's free, there are great free programs for adults and children, too. And it's a great place to spend an afternoon.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sending A Valentine's Day Treat Package With University Snacks #cbias

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year. Even though my children are all grown, I still love giving them something special to celebrate the day.

I recently found University, a place where parents can send care packages to their kids who are in college. This is such an easy and convenient way to send snacks, food, health and beauty products, or a special holiday package.

I thought sending my daughter Meg a sweet Valentine's day package would be a great way to let her know I was thinking about her on this day.

My daughter Meg is the youngest of my five children, and she leads a very busy life. I love the idea of doing something special for her by sending her a care package from time to time, and I know she really appreciates it.

But, like lots of other busy parents, I don't always have the time to go to the store and shop, put a package together, and then take it to the post office. University Snacks does all this for you, and is so easy and convenient to use.

I thought my daughter would enjoy receiving this fun Valentine's Day package. It includes candy, a balloon, and a cute Valentine's Day mug for her coffee.

It made me happy to think about surprising her, and this was such a great way to send her something special.

When your student is having finals, or studying for a big test, sending them a thoughtful care package from University Snacks is a good way to ensure they have plenty of snacks and food in their dorm room or apartment. You can pick from different packages offered, or custom order the food, snacks, or other items you would like to send to your child.

They even offer laundry detergent to help tackle those piles of dirty laundry that all college students seem to have.

I really like the extensive list of items that are offered. From cereals, cold medicines, toothpastes, cleaning supplies and more, you are sure to find lots of things that your student would love having come in a care package.

I also like that there are vitamins to choose from, which is something my daughter, and I am sure other kids, often forget to buy for themselves.

The easy to use website lets you browse for all your items or packages, and offers an easy to use check out and secure payment method.


Like most college students, my daughter drinks lots and lots of coffee. She definitely loves her caffeine. But when she is super busy, I like knowing I can easily send her a care package and she has a choice of healthy snacks to eat, instead of only drinking coffee.

I really appreciate the convenience, price, and ease of ordering from University It's a great place for parents or grandparents to order care packages online for their students.

Check out the University Snacks 'About Us' page on their website to let you know all about them, and how easy it is to place an order for your own care package for your student. You can see more of the site features by reading my Google+ story.

Now all I have to do is wait for them to deliver my daughter's Valentine's Day Treat Package. I just know she'll love it!!

My daughter Meg loved receiving her Valentine's Day surprise!!! It was fun for both of us, and really added to the festivity of the holiday.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric All opinons expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!

By Patricia
Valentine's Day is all about love. I don't believe romantic love, as wonderful as it can be, is the only love that is important today.
Friends, family, your children and yourself should all be celebrated as well. Today and everyday. And chocolate, and cookies and cupcakes, and whatever treats you are loving today. This is a day to treat yourself and the ones you love. I am a firm believer in this.
So have a Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Photo via Sacramento Street

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dana Renee Style Earrings Review and Giveaway - Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Dana Renee Style
The Posey Earrings
I don't often wear a lot of jewelry, but I do enjoy wearing earrings almost everyday. I feel my outfit isn't complete unless I am wearing a pretty pair of earrings.

I recently found a shop called Dana Renee Style that makes and sells beautiful and unique jewelry. Dana's inspiration for creating her pieces comes from vintage clothing, nature, photography, and whatever happens to catch her eye.

Dana Renee Style offers earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, in a variety of styles with something to appeal to everyone's taste. There are currently over fifty items in her shop, with pieces being added frequently. Dana also takes custom orders for her jewelry.

My daughter Samantha wearing the Posey Earrings
These lovely earrings above are called Posey Earrings, they are pink glass and foil bead earrings on silver-toned findings.

I absolutely love them, and will be wearing them on Valentine's Day, and many, many times afterwards. One of the biggest surprises for me about Dana Renee Style's jewelry is it's affordability. I very much appreciate being able to buy such lovely and unique pieces for myself and my daughters at such wonderful prices.

Visit Dana's shop to see all of her jewelry, and her gorgeous photography, inspired by her life and style.

Popcorn and Pearls is happy to be hosting a giveaway of one pair of Dana Renee Style Earrings to one of our readers. The winner may choose the earrings of her choice.

Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Feb. 12, 2013 and ends on Feb. 21 2013 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent products to review for my post.

Yummy Strawberry Jam Ricotta Bites

By Patricia

I often have a cup of tea in the afternoon and love having a little something to go with it. Something sweet and yummy and easy to make.

These little Strawberry Jam Ricotta Bites are so simple to make, and have only five ingredients in them. You can actually use a different flavor of jam or use cream cheese instead of ricotta cheese.

The bottoms of them are just pressed down bread, and this could be a fun recipe to make with your little ones in the kitchen.  


3 cups of stale sandwich bread with crusts removed, torn into small pieces
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2/3 cup ricotta or cream cheese
2/3 cup strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Butter or lightly oil a 12 or 24 cup mini muffin pan
In a medium bowl, mix eggs and milk, set aside
Place bread pieces into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Light compact bread with your fingers
Add 1/2 teaspoon ricotta cheese to muffin cup, then pour 1 tablespoon egg mixture on top.
Top with 1/2 teaspoon jam in each muffin cup
Bake for 12-15 minutes until done
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing

Makes 24 mini bites

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fairytale Brownies Review and Giveaway - Valentine's Day Gift Guide

By Patricia

One of the great things I love about Valentine's Day is all the treats that are suddenly available. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is something yummy and delicious to tempt you.

One of my very favorite companies is Fairytale Brownies, and a package from them sets off a happy dance in anticipation of the delicious goodies inside the box.

Fairytale Brownies uses only the purest ingredients available, including Callebaut Belgian Chocolate, pure creamy butter, fine cake flour, and farm fresh eggs. Each gourmet treat is baked in small batches to assure quality and freshness, hand packed in beautiful wrapping, and shipped to it's customers with care.
My family and I recently enjoyed the Valentine Treasure Cookie and Brownie Combo. It includes the Toffee Crunch, Chocolate Chip, and Original Brownies, and the Coconut Walnut, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel Pecan Cookies.

Needless to say, it didn't last long, and was completely delicious. If you are wanting to treat yourself, your family, or your friends, Fairytale Brownies is a gourmet delight that will have everyone asking for more. Perfect for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthdays, or any occasion that you want your gift to be remembered and appreciated.

Popcorn and Pearls is happy to be hosting a giveaway of a Valentine Treasure Cookie and Brownie Combo to one of our readers.

Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Feb. 11, 2013 and ends on Feb. 19 2013 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent products to review for my post.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making Blueberry Bread Pudding With Delicious Silk Soy Milk #rethinkwhatyoudrink #Cbias

By Patricia

I love making and eating desserts. It is hard for me to stop craving dessert after dinner or while watching TV in the evening.

So, I decided that if I didn't want to stop making and eating desserts, at least I can make them healthier. A dessert my family and I really love is bread pudding. But instead of making it with chocolate and whole milk like the recipe calls for, I made it with blueberries and the new great tasting Silk Vanilla Soy Milk. I have been drinking Silk Soy Milk for about a year now, and the main reason is the wonderful health benefits it gives me.

Silk Soy Milk is a natural source of vitamins, heart healthy Omega-3s, and important protective antioxidants. I love the fact that every serving contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk.
So you can see why I have made Silk products an everyday part of my efforts to remain healthy and vibrant.

One of the things I love about bread pudding is how easy it is to make. Any bread product will do in a pinch, and if bread has gone stale, making bread pudding is a great way to keep it from going to waste. I once used croissants that were stale, and it turned out to be one of the best bread puddings I had ever made.

I chose the Vanilla Silk Soy Milk instead of the regular kind because I thought it would bring out the vanilla and cinnamon flavors of the pudding. I already know the vanilla milk is delicious because I have been drinking it like mad. I sometimes add a little cinnamon to my glass, and cinnamon is actually very good for you, too.

 Another great thing about Silk Soy Milk is that it is 100% lactose and dairy free. If you have dairy allergies or find digesting dairy products difficult, then Silk really is a great dairy alternative.
I've assembled all my ingredients to make Blueberry Bread Pudding, and I'm excited to start my recipe.

I just put in the vanilla soy milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, and whisk them all together.
You can use other kinds of berries in this recipe, but I'm using blueberries because they are so delicious, healthy, and packed with antioxidants.

The next step is to take the bread that has been torn into bite-size pieces and push them down into the milk and egg mixture. Let this set for 30 minutes. Some cooks recommend letting it set much longer so that the bread really absorbs the mixture better, but I think that 30 minutes is long enough.

After 30 minutes, just add the blueberries, mix together, and put in the oven to bake.
So delicious, and so easy!!!

While the bread pudding was baking, the kitchen filled up with the heavenly scent of vanilla and cinnamon. My Mom always made bread puddings, so this always makes me nostalgic whenever I smell bread pudding baking.

But she used a lot more eggs and whole milk, and didn't have the option of using a healthy and great tasting milk alternative like Silk Soy Milk.

Their soy milk is made with no artificial flavors, colors, or high fructose corn syrup. It is also made without genetically modified ingredients (non-GMO) and produced responsibly, which is good for your health, and the planet's.

My bread pudding turned out beautifully, and I'm sure my Mom would have approved.

When I was at Walmart buying my groceries, I noticed how many products Silk offers, including the new Silk Soy Latte.

There are so many ways to use Silk Soy Milk products for cooking, baking and making delicious and healthy smoothies. You can go to the Silk Soy Facebook Recipe page for lots of great ideas.

My Blueberry Bread Pudding was a complete hit with my family and didn't last long. I'm excited to try more recipes using Silk Soy Milk and enjoying its great new taste and healthy benefits.

Recipe for Blueberry Bread Pudding

2 cups Silk Soy Milk, Vanilla flavor
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups of bread with crusts on, torn into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a ceramic baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together vanilla soy milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add bread, mixing to moisten all the pieces. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Mix in blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until custard is set. Let cool 20 minutes.
Serve warm or cold, top with whipped cream if desired.
Serves 6.

If you would like to see my shopping trip at Walmart for Silk Soy Milk you can go take a look at my Google+ photo album.

You can also connect with Silk products on their website, find them on Twitter, and follow them on Pinterest.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and WhiteWave #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.