Take a Vacation Everyday with Pfister

This post was written by Jennifer of Experimental Mommy in partnership with Pfister. All opinions remain 100% honest.

Every day, I take a vacation. It only lasts about 15 minutes, but I make sure it happens every single day. It’s my “me” time. Time when I don’t have to think about my job, which child needs attention, whose homework isn’t done yet, the next night’s dinner, or what the dog has gotten into and destroyed.  The location isn’t tropical, adventuresome, or scenic. But, it is luxurious, and I don’t have to go far to get there.

It’s my shower.

I love my shower. I love everything about it. It’s my place to literally wash off the day’s events and get myself completely relaxed and refreshed. I spend a long time just standing under the water and not thinking about one thing except for how relaxing it is. So, when I was offered the chance to make my shower even better, I was thrilled.

After receiving Pfister’s Bronson Shower in Brushed Nickel, I could not wait to get it out of the box and installed. I had to wait a bit for my husband to get back in town from an extended work leave but once he got home, I became the loving (nagging) wife because I couldn’t wait to use it. After installation, we both agreed it was a major upgrade from our previous standard shower head that got the job done but was much less aesthetically pleasing than what Pfister had to offer. We both loved how the shower head has both square angles and rounded curves that go together beautifully.

shower head

That night, I made a beeline for the bathroom and was tempted to just watch the water come out of the shower for a long time. I know it sounds strange, but the Pfister shower just looks like it would be amazing. And it is. The Raincan showerhead gives you more coverage and provides you with an endless, relaxing flow of water that is not too soft or too hard, it is just right. I wanted to turn my little 15 minute shower vacation into a permanent residence, but the to-do list and the threat of pruney skin prevented me.

My little “vacation” is made even more relaxing knowing that Pfister products carry the Pfister Forever Warranty that covers function and finish for life. In addition to that, the Pforever Seal means the durable all metal construction has an advanced ceramic disc valve with a never leak guarantee! My husband and I are looking forward to eventually changing out the shower in our children’s bathroom to something even better from Pfister. In short, Pfister faucets are Pfantastic!

Improving my Cooking Skills with Morton Salt’s #NextDoorChef

This post was written by Experimental Mommy in partnership with Morton Salt. All opinions are 100% my own.

Being a New Orleans native, I am truly spoiled with the number of quality restaurants in my backyard. I have heard of acclaimed local chef Nina Compton‘s new restaurant, Compere Lapin, but regrettably, I have not yet made it there to sample the fare.  Imagine my surprise when this past Monday, I got the chance to meet Chef Compton in a literal backyard restaurant!

Next Door Chef: New Orleans

Have you heard of Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef? I was fortunate enough to join a number of guests at the filming of the next episode which was set right here in New Orleans. In this episode, a New Orleans resident is paired with Chef Compton to learn how to prepare a remarkable meal using different types of salt. The local’s home (and backyard) was transformed into a fully decorated pop-up restaurant and we were served an amazing meal along with tips on how to transform our own home cooked meals to gourmet dishes by using the correct type of salt.

Different Types of Morton Salt

At the event, I learned more about the benefits of using Morton Kosher and Sea Salt, versus the standard table salt when cooking. Did you know that you should use Morton Kosher Salt when rimming drink glasses like the Americano cocktail we sampled at the event? Or use Morton Coarse Sea Salt to add an artistic “pop” you and your dinner guests can see and taste? The larger than table salt crystals provide contrasting texture.  Turns out a lot of us are using table salt for almost all cooking purposes, which is a huge miss in the kitchen. But don’t forget to use the conversion chart if you decide to try out other types of Morton Salt in your recipes!

Next Door Chef cocktail

I can’t wait to share more about the cuisine we sampled and the tips we learned, but because I know you are all prepping for holiday cooking, make sure you check out Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef: Chicago (aired on November 10th) which was focused on improving your cooking techniques for the holidays. The second installment set in Nashville will debut in the Spring but I am super excited that the summer episode will showcase my hometown, New Orleans, which is known for amazing Cajun/Creole inspired cuisine.

salted charbroiled oysters

In the meantime, if you decide to host your own “Next Door Chef” party or have a recipe idea using Kosher or sea salt, post your photos on social media using #NextDoorChef.

Tell Your Long Story Short with CROSS Pens

This post was written by guest author, Maureen Wright of RH90 Pens in partnership with CROSS Pens.
Many years ago I was offered an opportunity that was also a challenge – teaching in an adjunct capacity at a local university. Accepting the role meant still doing my full-time job,  and being a wife and mom, while also creating a course and making time to meet with students. Something told me to take the leap. The payoff was enormous, and it wasn’t just about the pay. I had the chance to share what had been shared with me. In the span of a semester I got to watch students mature in both learning and communicating their ideas. I bonded particularly well with the class I taught early one morning, Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Our world changed as we discussed the inner workings of microbial cells. It was as though time froze for us, until class ended and we learned what happened.

 

I also had a somewhat frightening encounter, which in retrospect is quite funny. I had a student who sat in the far corner of the back row of the room. And she stared at me, just stared. I don’t recall ever seeing her write a note. Well, over the course of the class I got to know her. That student is now one of my closest friends, and she also now teaches at a university. Our encounter is proof positive that you should never judge a book by its cover.

In taking on the extra responsibility of an adjunct teaching position I had to take a leap, a big leap, and dared myself to do it. I haven’t regretted it for a minute, and have used my experience to talk others through taking their own leaps.

My long story short, ” Be not afraid, just jump.”
Consider encouraging your loved ones with a CROSS Pen this holiday season! It makes the #WriteGift!

Top Five Places to Get King Cake in New Orleans

UPDATED for the 2017 Carnival Season!

If you are not from New Orleans, January 6th might just be an ordinary day, or perhaps you know it as the Epiphany or King’s Day.  But for us New Orleanians, January 6th marks the start of something spectacular….CARNIVAL!  The parades, floats, marching bands, traditions and throws are all great fun, but my favorite part of Carnival is the KING CAKE!

King Cake Baby King’s Day (January 6th) is celebrated as the date the gift-bearing kings visited the baby Jesus. The King Cake is baked in honor of the three kings and the baby (plastic, porcelain or gold) placed inside the cake symbolizes the baby Jesus. Originally, these oval cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today’s King Cakes are much more festive! After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple, green and gold.

In New Orleans, King Cake parties are held throughout the Carnival Season (generally on Friday). The person who receives the slice of cake with the baby inside is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

If you are looking to be a part of this NOLA tradition, I thought I would help you find some of the BEST places to buy King Cake (and I should know because over the course of my 41 years, I have tasted a LOT of King Cake!).

5 (tie).  Party Palace: Typically, I have seen these King Cakes in PJ’s Coffee stores, but now you can order these thick, heavy on the icing cakes online, too!

5 (tie). Marguerite Cakes: If chocolate is what you love, Marguerite offers a Brownie Delight cake that is truly spectacular. Their traditional King Cake (in my opinion) has a hint of almond flavoring making this cake different than the rest.

4.  Gambino’s:  While Gambino’s is known for their Doberche Cakes, they make a mean King Cake, too! These King Cakes can be stuffed with cream cheese, pecan praline, raspberry, peach, pineapple, blueberry, strawberry, lemon, apple, cherry or chocolate brownie!  I recommend the cream cheese!  Gambino’s offers some great packages to give out-of-towners a real Carnival experience.

4. (tie) Haydel’s:  In September, Haydel’s created a World’s Record for the largest King Cake ever made… it actually circled the New Orleans SuperDome! This Carnival, they are celebrating by offering the World Record King Cake Care Package which includes one large Traditional or Filled King Cake plus Haydel’s own Mambo Beat Mardi Gras Magazine, a king cake history scroll, one pack of Haydel’s Coffee and Chicory, Haydel’s Specialty Bead Pack, this year’s handcrafted Porcelain Collectible (while supplies last), Mardi Gras CD, Mardi Gras poster and a World Record Edition Mardi Gras cup.  Follow Haydel’s on Twitter so you don’t miss any special deals!

sucre king cake

Sucre King Cake…sooo pretty!

3. Mandeville Bake Shop (Krummel’s):  Not on the Southshore?  No problem!  Try out this Northshore favorite!

2. Randazzo’s:  Making King Cakes since 1965, Randazzo’s is the favorite of many locals.  The line remains out of the door, through the parking lot and down the street which means they are doing something right! From now through Mardi Gras Eve (known as Lundi Gras), you can have a King Cake shipped just about anywhere!

2.  Sucre:  Even though I was born and raised in New Orleans, I was just introduced to the Sucre King Cake a few years ago for a product review.  This is by far the prettiest King Cake I have ever seen….and one of the tastiest.  For only $20, you can own a slice of heaven! I absolutely cannot wait to get one this year.  In fact, I loved it so much, I shipped a few of these to friends last year so I wouldn’t be the only one to love Sucre!

1. Don Phuong’s Oriental Bakery: My new favorite for 2017! I am a sucker for cream cheese icing and this King Cake does it perfectly. This bakery is located in New Orleans East but I have found a few places in Lakeview (Pizza NOLA) and Metairie that carry the cakes for those who don’t want to travel (even though it’s totally worth the trip).

Check out these related posts:

How to host a Mardi Gras Party

Bake Your Own Traditional New Orleans King Cake

Happy King’s Day!  Where are you going to get your King Cake?