Archives for January 2016

New Year, New You….New Car?

DisclosureThis post was made possible by iConnect and Kelley Blue Book. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.

There is no doubt that as the calendar year came to a close, you started to think about what was in store for you and your family in 2016. As for me, I made a few new year resolutions including finding more time to just do me. As a business owner, scientist, Mom, and wife, time is certainly of the essence so in order to achieve my new year resolution, streamlining daily tasks is paramount.

Buying a new car can definitely be a time drain. Between researching, test driving, deliberating and financing, you can be caught in a never-ending loop for weeks. Fortunately, Kelley Blue Book can help! Not only is the book itself an invaluable resource for determining the best value for your trade in, but the “Best Buy Awards” can help you find the perfect car for your budget and needs as vehicles are given awards in 12 major categories.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 11.27.15 AM Designed as a service to the American new-car buyer, the Best Buy Awards recognize the best of all available 2016 model-year vehicles completely eliminating hours of footwork for you, the consumer. The awards are the culmination of a year-long regimen of expert vehicle evaluation and testing of nearly every new vehicle available in America (over 300 tested each year!), along with analysis of a broad swath of vehicle-related data, including pricing/transaction prices, 5-Year Cost-to-Own information (which includes depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, fees and taxes for new cars), consumer reviews and ratings, and vehicle sales information.

Knowing that the winners were thoroughly tested by experts definitely helps to narrow down the list of potential purchases significantly cutting the time I will need to spend in local showrooms. If you are looking for a new car in 2016, make sure you check out the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winners included in the infographic below. Happy shopping!

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Finding My Fringe Hours

In the last few months of 2015, our family was struck with a tragedy. My mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital and found herself in the midst of an 8 hour brain surgery that changed her life. Fortunately, she is stronger than any adversity and has truly amazed us with her resilience. Even though I was not the one going through a life changing event, those few weeks changed me forever.

Life is fragile.

As the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, my year flashed before my eyes. I saw myself starting a new full time career. I saw myself growing iConnect Influencer Management to it’s biggest numbers to date. I saw myself hosting a successful blogging conference and helping colleagues grow their own brands and businesses. I saw myself raising two beautiful girls, helping with homework, attending dance recitals, working the school fair and chauffeuring my little ones to many social events. I saw myself taking care of the home, bills, and laundry. And I did see glimpses of spending quality time with my husband. What I didn’t see? Me just being me.

If not now….when?

During this little flashback, it was obvious that I had a busy year. But I definitely noticed that I spent very little time focusing on me and that needs to change. But since my life pace is not anticipated to get any slower in 2016, how am I going to find time for myself? Fortunately, I have some pretty amazing friends in this world of blogging and Jessica Turner reached out to me to take a look at her new book, The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.

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What is a fringe hour? Turner defines it as:

“…a limited or appointed piece of time that is found in the margins of the day….something decorative. Activities and passions pursued in the fringe hours make your life more beautiful.”

Sounds great, right? But how do you find your fringe hours? Well, you will have to read the book! But I will tell you that following Jessica’s suggestion of tracking your time for a week was a real eye opener. This exercise allowed me to better understand where my time is being spent, how I can streamline activities and where I can possible find my fringe hours.

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While it is still very much a work in progress, I am genuinely excited about finding time for me in 2016.  Want to join me in finding your fringe hours? You can find the Kindle version of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner on Amazon for just $1.99 this week! It’s time to focus on YOU. If not now….when?

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I was compensated for my time and effort, I genuinely love the book and know you will love it, too!

New Orleans Welcomes Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Tonight, we had the pleasure of being some of first guests of the newest restaurant in New Orleans, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse. Located inside the JW Marriott hotel on Canal Street, Fogo de Chao offers a truly unique dining experience. From the beautifully appointed decor to the Brazilian trained gaucho chefs, you immediately feel a sense of hospitality when walking through the door.

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After being seated (I recommend requesting second floor seating so you can take advantage of the balcony views) and a quick explanation of how the dinner would flow, we headed to the centerpiece of the restaurant, The Market Table. Immediately, you will notice the colors of the offerings as the market table is almost a work of art.

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A spread inspired by the grand kitchen tables on the farms of Southern Brazil where family and friends gather to share the finest and freshest from their harvests. We bring you seasonal salads, irresistibly fresh vegetables, imported meats and cheeses, artisan breads and more.

 

My husband and I tried a sampling of many of the foods but my favorite was the butternut squash soup and the brown sugar black pepper bacon while hubby could not get enough of the Feijoada (black bean stew).

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On every table, you will find the “red light/green light” place cards. When you are ready for the gaucho chefs to begin bringing a selection of meats to your table, simply place the card on the green light and get ready to eat!

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Our Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs carefully select and prepare every item before presenting at your table. From the best cuts of meat to the fresh selections of our Market Table, they ensure every bite will be memorable.

With sixteen variety of meats, you are sure to find something (or many things) that will delight. The gaucho chefs bring a cut of meat to your table on a sword and carefully carve it table-side. Shortly after, another chef appears with another selection until you call it quits by turning your card to the red light. We tried sirloin, bacon wrapped chicken, lamb, and pork ribs along with garlic mashed potatoes, polenta and caramelized bananas. Every dish was seasoned beautifully and cooked to perfection (I prefer my meats medium well so they gaucho chef brought selections to our table that were cooked to my liking).

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If you are looking for a unique date night in NOLA, my hubby and I would highly recommend checking out Fogo de Chao!