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Sunday, September 14, 2014

#HelloKeurig! My Keurig 2.0 Review

In late August, I received an e-mail from Influenster, and I could barely believe my eyes - I had been selected out of 1,000 lucky participants to participate in reviewing the Keurig 2.0! Soon, I would receive the Keurig 2.0 brewing system for free from Influenster.

I love coffee, but had never jumped on the Keurig bandwagon. Nothing else gets me going as the day starts and nothing else keeps me going all day, so coffee is a very important part of my day. I believed my little $14.99 4 cup coffeemaker was just fine for me, thank-you-very-much... or so I thought...

The Keurig 2.0 arrived at my doorstep and I could barely believe the size of the box. It was huge!

I took it into my kitchen and got it opened. I have to admit, I was pretty awe-struck that this was happening at this point.

I've never had another Keurig to compare it to, but the Keurig 2.0 is awesome. What makes it so different from other Keurig's is that it answers that question that I even had - what am I supposed to do when I want to make more than one pot of coffee? How will I serve all of my guests without brewing them individual cups... which will take forever and will get expensive and wasteful with all of those cups?

The Keurig 2.0 answers that all with a carafe and slightly larger K-cups. The slightly larger K-Carafe Cups make 4 cups of coffee per cup, and all fall into this carafe that sits perfectly under the Keurig spout.

Included was this very large instruction manual, which I was very grateful for. Seeing as though I've never had a Keurig, I knew I had to do things like run a pot of water through first, etc... but I had no idea how. This big instruction manual was very helpful and well-designed to be easy to flip through and store.

Here it is, out of the box! It's large, but not as large as earlier versions of the Keurig machine. They've made it much more compact while still delivering the same great tastes. They've successfully made it more compact even while adding a carafe option!

Touchscreens are everywhere, including your Keurig. The Keurig 2.0 boasts the largest touchscreen they've ever put on a Keurig - and it's customizable even, including backgrounds and down to the LED color of the water.

Say #hellokeurig! This all came in my box - a sampler of the regular sized K-Cups, the Carafe cups, and another box of Carafe cups in Hawaiian blend, and the carafe (not pictured... it was getting washed. :). The Keurig 2.0 works for me because I'm the only coffee drinker in the family - but whenever we have friends or family stay over, it's handy to provide great tasting coffee for all. And that's another thing... I never knew what I was missing out on taste-wise before the Keurig. So many flavors to choose from, my favorite so far has been the Nantucket blend of coffee. Coffee tastes bolder and more complex with my Keurig, and is that much more enjoyable.

So are there any cons? I would say there are a few cons, but nothing that is ultra detrimental.
  • One of my biggest cons is that with the Keurig 2.0 is that it uses scanning technology to scan the lid of your K-cup to determine the best size and strength for taste. Great, but this limits the Keurig usage to only Keurig brand cups with scannable lids - no utilizing a mesh cup using your own coffee grounds, and no off brand. The off-brand doesn't bum me out too much, but it would have been nice to use your own grounds when you're out of K-cups. This has lead me to keep my 4-cup coffeemaker out as well because I am almost out of the samples, and will keep it out until I get a stockpile of K-cups.
  • Weird noises. I'm used to the brewing/bubbling/boiling of the water, but when it's using a cup, it makes weird gurgling noises and squeals like it's trying really hard to squeeze water through. 
  • Lifting to get the spent K-cup out. I chalked this one up to user error the first time I did it... but now I realize it's not. but when you lift the spent K-cup out of the machine, you have to lift the cup out and then close the lid. The system recognizes this as "You must want to make hot water!" because it doesn't sense a cup in there and lifting and shutting the empty holder is how you make hot water. So no, after making a cup of coffee, I don't want to make hot water... and have to cancel the hot water out. Not the end of the world, for sure, but this could have easily been remedied by making it so that hot water had to be selected from the home screen vs. just lifting and closing the lid.
But really, the Keurig 2.0 has been an awesome thing and I've had a blast reviewing it and using it. My "pros" are:

  • Easy to use touchscreen. The touchscreen is large enough where I am not hitting other things as I push buttons, and it's not covered in buttons, either. 
  • Taste. The taste alone had me sold. The Keurig makes a solid, bold cup of coffee and is a world of difference from what I had been drinking before.
  • The carafe option. This was something that stopped me from buying before - now that Keurig has addressed this, I'm all in!

All in all, I love it, and even my non-coffee drinker husband thinks it's pretty cool - he's enjoying the teas and the lemonades! The variety of K-cup options is amazing now and I am planning to buy a large variety pack so I can keep trying them all out!

Thank you Influenster and Keurig for letting me review the Keurig 2.0!

Disclaimer: I received the Keurig 2.0 for free from Influenster for testing and review purposes. I was not compensated monetarily or otherwise to provide a positive or negative review.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Influenster Spring Fling VoxBox {Product Reviews}

Remember last year at about this time, I was selected for an Influenster VoxBox? The Spring Fever VoxBox?

Remember me? From last year?

Well, I was graciously selected by Influenster to receive the Spring Fling VoxBox this year!

As you know, I partner with a few different companies to try products, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. While I unfortunately don't receive very many VoxBoxes, when they do arrive, they are pretty awesome!

So what's in the box?
We've got: Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam mascara, Kiss Everlasting French press-on nails, Nivea Skin Firming Hydration lotion, a peach pie shaped car air freshener to promote Labor Day, the movie, and a full-size box of Playtex tampons.

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons, Regular Size, Retail $3.99-$4.99

The VoxBox shipping box seemed much taller than the last one I received, and sure enough, this was the reason why. Influenster sent a full size box of Playtex Sport Fresh Balance tampons, 16 count. While they are supposed to be "lightly scented," I could smell the fragrance without even opening my shipping box, it was that strong. I thought it might be the car air freshener, but I couldn't smell that at all through it's bag. So if you're sensitive to smells, you may want to avoid these.

NIVEA Skin Firming Hydration Body Lotion, for Normal Skin. $2.49 for 2.5 fl oz, $10.99 for 13.5 fl oz.
Next was the NIVEA Skin Firming Hydration Body Lotion. This lotion boasts that in as little as 2 weeks, you'll see firmer, more toned skin. It contains co-enzyme Q10 & Hydra IQ for deep and long lasting moisture. It says its for normal skin. I rubbed in the lotion on my inner arm and the feeling of being lotioned up didn't immediately go away. The scent was nice and clean - other firming lotions I have tried have almost an acidic smell but this one was bearable and not overpowering. 

Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara in Extreme Black, $5.99
Next up was the Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam mascara. I'm always looking for new mascaras to try, so this was exciting. Some of my eyelashes tend to grow and curve the wrong way (down instead of up), so finding a mascara brush to help bring those ones up and out is what I'm always looking for. First, can we talk about the size of this thing?

The wand and container are MASSIVE. 5" long and an 1" at the widest point. The brush is what was surprising - it's 1.25" long and about .25" wide at the widest point. That's a lot coming at your eyeball. But, I think it's what helped get every single eyelash for me. 

You've got a new fan, Rimmel London!

Next up...

Kiss Everlasting French Nails, $6.49
The first time I ever got to experience Kiss Everlasting nails was the last time I did a VoxBox through Influenster, and I loved the experience. An unfortunate run with fake nails and crappy glue for my junior prom had left me weary about fake nails that we not professionally put on, but the Kiss brand stays without having to feel like you can't touch anything for a day. While I didn't care for these ones in this VoxBox nearly as much as my last (my last box they came with a sort of "sticker" on the back of the nails for easy application, these ones had glue) they stayed for a good day and I loved having clean, perfect looking nails for my date night.

Peach Pie Car Freshener from the Labor Day movie
This was a cute little throw-in as marketing for the Labor Day movie. It had a good, not overly chemical-y smell like peaches - although I will admit that the pie made me think of American Pie (the movie) instead.

All in all, thank you to Influenster for the Spring Fling VoxBox! It was a lot of fun as usual and hope to get another one sometime soon.

(Disclaimer - I was sent these for my review for I was not compensated in any other way to give a negative or positive review of these products and was allowed to keep the products in return for my honest reviews.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

This Weekend

Colorful tiny potatoes... so delicious!
Here are a few links to take you into your weekend:

Bourbon chicken reminds me of being a teen and eating a fair amount of mall food. And I'm okay with that. ;) We're attempting it this weekend crockpot style using this recipe.

The crockpot will be getting a fair amount of use this weekend - I'm craving some White Chicken Chili. We're trying this recipe out this weekend.

I want these boots to come back in stock in a size 8.5... :)

I dabbled in needlefelting about a month ago and while I definitely need practice, I'd love to make this little guy someday.

What are you up to this weekend? We've been going to the gym every day for the past week and it feels amazing to be getting stronger. The endorphins have been nice too! ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jerk Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

My brother is a foodie like me, and so for Christmas he gave me a Crockpot cook book filled with delicious recipes. We sat on the couch after opening and ooh'ed and ahh'ed over the pretty pictures and I mentally made a list of recipes I had to try out... and this was the one that stuck out me the most.

I can list the number of recipes I've made with "jerk" taste on one hand. One finger even... this is my first go at it. I have had things with the taste, so I know I like it at least... so at least I have that going for me, right?

It's also my first time using allspice in a recipe, and it's my first time buying pork shoulder. Lots of firsts! A fair warning though... this recipe is cheap in theory. You only need 1 1/4 pounds of pork shoulder for this recipe, but the smallest one I could find at my grocery store was a whopping 8+ pounds and it cost $15. So... lots of pork in our future!...I also had to buy allspice, which was $2.72 - not bad, considering I couldn't find an offbrand, and I'll probably use it in more things. But besides those two - this is a pretty cheap and amazingly good dinner. Especially with these sort of temps outside!      

I've added a new feature to the blog - printable recipes! Now you can press the Print This Recipe link and it'll take you to my Google Site, where my printable recipes are housed!

Ready to make it? You'll need:
Print This Recipe
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small-medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions, green only, divided
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 cups white rice, cooked
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  1. Chop your pork shoulder into bite sizes pieces. Add flour, salt and pepper to a ziplock-type bag. Add your pork shoulder to the bag, seal, and shake well to coat.

2. Heat your oil in a pot or skillet until hot. Add your pork and brown on both sides. Add this to your crockpot.

3. Chop the sweet potatoes if you haven't already, then add those to the crockpot. Add your corn, 2 tablespoons of the green onions (hold on to the rest for later), mince the garlic and add, mince the jalapeno and add, and add the allspice.

4. Stir in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.

5. Before serving, prepare the white rice. Also before serving, top the stew with the remaining green onions and lime juice. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the stew over the rice and enjoy!