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!

Encourage Active Play with OgoDisk RAQ

This post is written by Lena of the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

It amazes me how different two children can be. My oldest son would be happy playing video games all the time as long as someone tossed food into his cage…room every now and then. My younger son, however, wants to be outside. He’s one of those kids who we have to force to come in when the streetlights come on. So, outdoor toys are a must for us. He has a bike, scooters, basketballs, soccer balls, water guns, etc. But there’s always room in the garage for more cool active toys. He was thrilled when the OgoSport OgoDisk RAQ arrived.

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The OgoDisk RAQ is basically a handheld trampoline. There are two OgoDisks, so it can be a two-player activity. You bounce a ball on the disk and volley it to the other player. As an added bonus, the ball included with the OgoDisk RAQ has ‘tails’ you can attach to make the ball move more slowly. This is a great feature for younger kids and for new players. But if you are looking for a more intense game, the handle on the disk gives you incredible control and power.

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My son loves playing with the OgoDisk RAQ! He and our neighbor’s kids played with it for a couple hours the first day. Then, when Carson was out of town with his Grandpa, the neighbor’s kids knocked on the door to ask if they could play with it. The OgoDisk RAQ has gotten used almost every day for weeks and it still looks practically new.

I think it will continue to be a favorite outside toy for a long time. Plus, I’m looking forward to trying it out in the pool next summer. If you are looking for an active toy for your child, check out the OgoDisk RAQ which retails for just $38.00!

Get a Taste of the Holidays at Denny’s

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. As a member of #DennysDiners, I am compensated for my time and effort but all opinions remain 100% mine.

In typical New Orleans fashion, I believe we will have another “shorts and flip flops” kind of holiday. Definitely no white Christmas, roasting marshmallows by the fire, or Jack Frost nipping at our noses as the songs suggest for New Orleans residents this season. Because of the warm weather, I am having such a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit!

With two small kids, we are searching the City to find ways to inject some Christmas cheer into our holiday despite the fact we are selecting our tree in tank tops. Fortunately, we found exactly what we were looking for at Denny’s. With three new dishes and a few returning favorites, guests of all ages are sure to feel the holiday spirit at breakfast, lunch, dinner or any time in between.

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As soon as we walked in, my daughter spotted an advertisement for the new Rudolph Pancake Breakfast and told our server that she did not even need a menu because she was eating Rudolph. The dish includes two fluffy pancakes topped with turkey bacon antlers, whipped cream, chocolate eyes and nose, served with two eggs and crispy hash browns (I will admit that I secretly wanted to eat Rudolph, too).

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But after taking a look at all of the holiday offerings, I am a sucker for traditional turkey and stuffing so I knew I had to give it a try. This dish features the finest tender sliced turkey breast, savory stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, served with a choice of two sides and dinner bread….and was delish! While I was too stuffed to make room for dessert, I can’t wait to go back and try the Santa’s Milk & Cookies Shake made with creamy vanilla ice cream blended with tasty sugar cookies and topped with whipped cream and more cookie crumbles. Honestly, I think Santa would love if we left this for him on Christmas Eve.

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If you need a holiday pick-me-up, take the first sleigh to your local Denny’s and try out the new holiday offerings. This special menu is available through January 6, 2016.