Kassi Stainless Steel Food Containers – Sponsored Product Review and Giveaway

April 23, 2013
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Kassi food containers
Receiving a set of Kassi stainless steel food containers this week was truly serendipitous. I had just decided to prep a bunch of salad ingredients in order to avoid hefty salad bar prices. I drained olives and beans, chopped celery, and sliced cucumbers, and was happy for the two 8-ounce, high quality, food grade, BPA-free, phthalate free containers. The easy-open tabs on the lids were appreciated, and I also liked the bright orange color of the lids since lids tend to disappear in my cabinets.

Although I have sandwich bags and dutifully rinse them out and reuse them, these containers are much more convenient. I used them in a lunchbox for the strawberries pictured above, and there was no leakage. They also went through the dishwasher with no problems. I feel good about storing my salad fixings in BPA-free and phthalate-free containers, and since these Kassi containers were easy to stack in the fridge they more than fit the bill.

I was given the set of Kassi containers to test and review, and I also have a set to give away. You can enter to win a set of two 8-ounce stainless steel containers like the ones pictured above by visiting our Facebook page and completing the form. Good luck!

Best Apps for Achieving Work-Life Sanity

March 28, 2012
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Is there such a thing as work-life sanity? If there is, what apps help make it possible?

Sometimes, despite our best laid plans, our work lives and personal lives have head-on collisions. Last-minute out-of-town client meetings coincide with teacher conferences. Sinks explode at home on our way out the door. Important new work projects share a deadline with a 50th wedding anniversary party, a graduation, or a wedding. So what’s the best way to handle the many work, home, and family demands, with only 24 hours in the day, and no clear way to keep it all together?

Part of the answer, at least, could be residing right on your smartphone or tablet. Many productivity, calendaring, and other apps can do double duty in managing and coordinating your professional and personal lives. Here’s a roundup of some of the best apps for work-life sanity.

Kindle 2, Kindle 3, and iPad

Instapaper (iPhone, iPad)
Stuck in a tunnel during your commute? Waiting outside your daughter’s dance class? No Wif-Fi? No problem. Instapaper saves web pages (usually as text only) so that you can read them offline.There is nothing more freeing than clicking Instapaper’s “Read Later” bookmarklet at work, knowing that you can catch up with the article or website later, and make use of some of that “lost” time during the day.  What’s equally convenient, the bookmarklet works with Google Reader, FlipBoard and over 140 other apps. You can even send links and long email messages to your Instapaper email address to read them later. This one is well worth the $4.99 price tag.

Cozi Family Organizer  (iPhone, iPad, Android)

The Cozi Family Organizer, a free app, was made with busy families in mind. Each family member can view, add and share items on the calendar, shopping list, task list, and family journal from the website, or from their smartphone or tablet. Reminders, sent via text message,  can be set up in advance to make sure that all bases are covered.

HomeSmarts (iPhone, iPad, Android)

You know that nagging feeling that your list of home maintenance projects is growing by the day? Well, the HomeSmarts app will help you get a handle on things so you can keep up and enjoy more of your weekend time. The free app by ServiceMagic lets you customize your maintenance tasks and timelines, and offers DIY tips and seasonal pointers.

Asana (iPhone, Android)

Another versatile, free app, Asana offers a simple way to manage and share projects (along with related notes and documents), and also schedule and assign tasks. While it’s lacking in looks, with its very basic, grayscale design scheme, it more than fits the bill for managing projects with family and friends.

Work-Life App-titude

This roundup is a small beginning to getting a handle on the many competing personal and professional demands on your time and attention.  You might even find that you can use some of the time-saving, communication, and organizational features of your other favorite apps in ways that simplify your work-life balance. Here’s hoping we can all find easy and efficient ways to manage the daily juggle.

Adventure Challenge 2012: Overnight on a WWII Battleship

March 13, 2012
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photo 5

All Aboard

Call me crazy, but this month I passed up a weekend at SXSW to spend a night on the USS Massachusetts, a decommissioned WWII-era battleship. The trip presented itself, and I realized I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to step into a bygone era and get a taste of what life was like for a WWII sailor.

The overnights give visitors a taste of what communal living aboard a steel battleship was like for the thousands of sailors that called the ship home. Upon entering, each group is assigned a bunking area. The steel and canvas bunks are stacked four high, from floor to ceiling, and are as basic and uncomfortable as they sound. I soon learned that visitors opt for the overnight for the authentic experience, and not for a terrific night’s sleep.

Guests in each bunking area are assigned times for dinner and breakfast, and each group lines up and files through the food line to get a “one size fits all” meal of basics including chicken patties, mashed potatoes and pudding. “Taps” are played at 11 PM, signaling “lights out,” and “Reveille” is the morning wake-up call at 6:30 AM. Again, this is not where you want to book your anniversary getaway.

Exploring History

One of the most prized experiences of the overnight was a short video on the history of the USS Massachusetts followed by a question and answer session with a sailor who had served on the ship. How wonderful it was to get a firsthand account of the day-to-day life, dreams, and fears of someone who served our country at such a critical point in our history. To hear accounts from Medal of Honor recipients, former Red Sox slugger Dom DiMaggio and others, access the Veterans’ Voices Oral History Project.

Visitors are transported back to December 7, 1941 by the force of the audio and video footage of “The Pearl Harbor Experience.” Activities also included storytelling and a knot tying class. If I can master the “monkey’s fist” I’ll be happy!

Maneuvering throughout the ship is an adventure in and of itself, because of the multiple, windowless levels accessed via steep steel ladders. In the process, though, visitors are treated to amazing exhibits of wartime memorabilia, photos, and historical videos. Each area is well labeled and equipped with period supplies, ammunition, and tools, from the dentist’s office to the mail room and communications center.

Anchors Aweigh

Despite the less than stellar night’s sleep, I left knowing I’d be back to further explore the other ships in Battleship Cove. I’m living proof that you don’t need to be a naval history buff to appreciate all that “the world’s largest naval ship museum” has to offer.

 

Vegan Blueberry Corn Muffins Recipe

March 7, 2012
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Vegan Blueberry Corn Muffins

Nothing gets you off on the right foot in the morning like a tasty, fresh-from-the-oven muffin. These mildly sweet, moist muffins combine the flavors of corn and blueberries in a nutritious and satisfying breakfast choice.

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup applesauce

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a muffin pan.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir in the applesauce, coconut milk, and canola oil. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into the muffin pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick or small knife inserted in the crown of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

Shop the Kitchen Aisle for Super Bathroom Storage Solutions

March 1, 2012
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If you’ve ever come up short when shopping for bathroom storage solutions, don’t despair. Before throwing in the towel, take a stroll down the kitchen aisle to see if there are items you can repurpose in unique ways.

Bathroom wall rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hang It Up

Make use of even the smallest wall area with a kitchen wall rack. Ensure that it will work with your bathroom decor, and that the shelves are large enough to accommodate modestly sized storage containers. You’ll end up with something that’s decorative as well as functional.
Bathroom storage canisters
Can-Do Canisters

Check out these ClickClack lidded polycarbonate canisters for attractive and unbreakable small item storage. The lids come in a variety of colors, including this metallic finish, and they keep your Q-tips and cotton balls visible and at the ready.

Make-up Drawer Makeover

Keeping all those make-up brushes, tubes of lip gloss and eyeshadows organized can be a nightmare. And who wants to paw through a drawer at 6:00 AM looking for the same five go-to items you use every day? Enter the inexpensive but indispensable plastic utensil tray. Many are expandable and/or modular, meaning you can arrange them to fit the dimensions of your drawer. The Rubbermaid 2-Tier cutlery tray allows you to see what’s in both trays, an attribute that will speed up anyone’s make-up routine. Because these trays are plastic, you can run them through the dishwasher periodically to keep them looking clean and new.

Round and Round 

You know that lazy susan that keeps things neat and orderly in your kitchen cabinet? Try out the large and sturdy OXO Good Grips 16-inch turntable beneath your bathroom sink to keep all the necessary cleaning products at your fingertips.

For more storage solutions for small bathrooms, read “Five Sneaky Storage Solutions for Small Bathrooms.”

Don’t feel that you’re limited to the bath aisle when seeking out attractive and functional bathroom storage items. Your next great find could be waiting for you in the kitchen aisle.

 

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The Gratitude-Happiness Connection

February 9, 2012
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Gratitude

Did you know that the simple act of being grateful can have a profound effect on your happiness and overall well-being? Scientific research has begun to uncover many benefits, including:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More joy, optimism and happiness
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

To further scientific research into the benefits of practicing gratitude, The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley (in collaboration with the University of California, Davis) has launched a three-year project. Another goal of the project is to promote the practice of gratitude within medical, educational, and organizational settings, as well as in schools, workplaces, homes and communities.

Practicing gratitude is such a simple yet powerful act. So how can we make it a regular part of the day? HSquared Living has set up a Gratitude Photo Journal on Pinterest.  A calendar reminder will ensure that a day won’t pass without pausing to be grateful.

Welcome to 

HSquared Living

Jill HSquaredLiving Headshot

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