“The Big Life”- A badass book review!

I love to read but am horribly slow at it! I wish I could carve out more time to do so. When I do get into a book, I love to share the ones I enjoy the most. Many are self-help, inspirational or teach me something. Once in a while I will get into a good non-fiction novel but I tend to gravitate more to the books that I can learn from.

Ann Shoket, hustle, big life, determination, blogger, CT, books, reading

The Big Life by Ann Shoket (photo by Charging You Up)

This one hit me straight on at the library. Author Ann Shoket, The Good Life. What a title? As if no one wants that right? Ann goes right into her busy 20 something life years ago as a wanna be editor in NYC working a menial job at an attorney’s office. That menial job ended up teaching her a lot about what kind of life she didn’t want and catapulted her to where she is now as Chief Editor of Seventeen Magazine and inspiring millennial woman everywhere.

As I look back on the many  of the first jobs I had, I totally learned what I wanted next and what I know I never wanted to do again. Our experiences shape us. Pain, agony, stress and determination are sometimes necessary to getting to where we belong in life. Says me, not Ann. 🙂

Ann tells countless tales of young woman going beyond the grain to get what they want in life. And by no mean does this mean they are missing out on life! If anything this book outlines that you can go for what you want professionally and still have a valuable social life and romantic life. It is about going against the norm and being consistent and persistent in your beliefs and dreams. Not letting others get in your way and carving out the new norm for professional woman on your way to the top.

Much of what I like about this book is that it inspires young woman to not settle. Have a hustle! Do something on the side that is inline with your passion. And this does not even mean it has to earn you money. This spoke to me greatly as a blogger. I am no famous author, but by all means use blogging to share my thoughts, inspiration and life hiccups with the world. It’s my side hustle. My little passion and my happy place.

I wish I had this book in my twenties. However, I feel like I did a pretty good job finding my own grit and confidence as I got older with the experiences I took chances at and a role model professional for a mother who instilled in me confidence to create my own path. Great recommendation for a new female grad or a young female setting off on her first big move!

If you want to learn more, you can find Ann Shoket at http://annshoket.com/   

Click  on the link to join the Badass Babes community and carve out your own path!

Foxwoods Resort Casino Partners with the CT Lottery on Innovative Foxwoods High Roller Scratch Ticket

$10 Scratch Ticket to Feature Exciting, Unique Prizes including VIP Property Stays and $125,000 Grand Prizes

MASHANTUCKET, Conn.– Foxwoods® Resort Casino and the CT Lottery announced today that they have entered a groundbreaking, exclusive partnership to launch the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. The cross-promotional agreement marks the first time the CT Lottery has partnered with a casino in the state, and will provide lottery players and Foxwoods’ guests with even more ways to win.

“We are thrilled to offer a Foxwoods branded scratch ticket to the state of Connecticut in conjunction with the CT Lottery,” said Felix Rappaport, President & CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “Through this partnership, we are bringing together two of the best gaming brands in the state to provide our loyal supporters with the opportunity to win exciting prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket. We look forward to building upon this relationship to continue providing our guests with innovative and fun ways to win in 2017 and beyond.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket is the next step in Foxwoods’ mission to provide the premiere gaming experience in the Northeast. Available at multiple locations on property at Foxwoods (including Grand Effects, Outpost and Winners) as well as 2,900 CT Lottery retailers throughout the state, the lottery scratch ticket features thrilling, luxury prizes only available through the Foxwoods High Roller ticket including $125,000 top prizes, VIP overnight stays at Foxwoods and more.

“On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Government, we are thrilled to be working with the government of Connecticut and the CT Lottery on this exciting new initiative in honor of Foxwoods’ 25th anniversary,” said Chairman Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. “We greatly value our ability to give back to the local community, and the Foxwoods High Roller ticket provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to add to the nearly $4 billion dollars in revenue we have generated for the state.”

The Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket provides 25 chances to win, in honor of the property’s 25th Anniversary. Players simply need to match any of their numbers to the winning numbers to receive the prize shown. Ticket bonus symbols and multipliers include a money bag to instantly win $50, a dollar sign to win double the prize shown and 5X or 10X symbols to win 5 or 10 times the prize shown, respectively. There is also an added bonus play option, which provides the chance to win all 25 prizes listed if the “win all” symbol is revealed.

However, players that don’t reveal a prize won’t walk away empty handed, as every non-winning ticket will be a winner at Foxwoods. Guests will soon be able to redeem their non-winning Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket on property to receive an exclusive offer, which will include select discounts and prizes.

Including 25 Second Chance Drawings, players can enter non-winning Foxwoods High Roller tickets for a chance to win the “Wonder of It All” Weekend Experience. It includes a complimentary two-night stay at a Foxwoods designated hotel for the player and guest, round-trip limousine service, a $2,000 check from the CT Lottery and a $1,000 Foxwoods Gift Card to be used during the player’s stay for non-gaming purchases, including food and beverage, spa and entertainment.

For more information on the Foxwoods High Roller scratch ticket, visit https://www.foxwoods.com/lottery.

About Foxwoods Resort Casino

25 Years Proud: Since 1992, Foxwoods Resort Casino has offered guests The Wonder Of It All as the premier resort destination in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in seven casinos, AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to quick service, world-renowned spas, award-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and was the first full-service casino built on tribal land, pioneering a nationwide movement that now includes more than 400 gaming properties owned and operated by over 200 tribes across the U.S. For more information on Foxwoods and the property’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, visit www.foxwoods.com.


Kidz Gear Headphones Make the Grade

I don’t do a ton of product reviews. Mainly, because I need it to be something I would use, believe in or is in my circle of values. I was happy to take on reviewing Kidz Gear headphones for kids.

If you have children, you know they are the best advocates for tech savvy products and know what is hot and trending. The problem with them being so informed, is much of what they want comes with a hefty price tag. That is exactly why Kidz Gear was invented. Their creator is a mom just like you and I. She hated having to buy expensive yet cheaply made tech products such as headphones, Bluetooth accessories to have an adult product experience only to have it break. And we all know kids might not have the best judgement controlling the sound level so why give them a product made for adults?

Kidz Gear

Kidz Gear Wireless & Wired Headphones

Wired Kidz Gears KidzControl products provide high adult like quality products made for kids. The headphones come in bright, fun colors and are very comfortable to wear. I wore them while writing this post and I would choose them over ear buds any day. For kids this is important for being encouraged to even want to use them. They also have a volume limit to them so are safe for kids ears and ergonomically fit.

The Kidz Gears products have won several awards such as Academics Choice Award, Creative Child Award and Teachers Choice Award to name a few! The product line includes Wired, Wireless, Bluetooth, Boom Mics and accessories. I was able to sync the Bluetooth with Mic in 2 minutes to my iPhone and listen to Pandora. Super simple! I know my son will love to use this for his iPod when we are in the car. Do you think those ear buds we stick into our large ears kids enjoy? Likely not. They are awkward to put in small ears and always fall out once children start moving around. Problem solved!

You can learn more about Kidz Gear products here at http://www.gearforkidz.com/shop4.html

Products can be bought online through Target or Amazon to name a few retailers!

I was asked to review Kidz Gear in exchange for headphones and this review. My comments and opinions are my own,


Connecticut Unveils All-New State Tourism Website

ctvisit, connecticut, travelNew CTvisit.com Site Offers More Than 4,000 Reasons to Visit Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (April 21, 2016) ­ Travelers can now find information on more than 4,000 places to visit, stay and eat in Connecticut as well as hundreds of inspirational travel stories, vacation deals and event listings all in one place ‹ www.CTvisit.com.

CTvisit.comThe completely redesigned and rebuilt website, launched today by the Connecticut Office of Tourism, makes it easier for visitors and residents alike to learn more about the state’s major attractions as well as its hidden gems and to plan their next getaway in just a few clicks.

Just in time for summer travel, the new site is highly visual, content rich and entirely mobile responsive. Leveraging the latest interactive technologies, it features:

  • Information on 4,000+ tourism attractions, accommodations and restaurants ­ more than double the number of listings offered on the previous website
  • Intuitive navigation that organizes information based on types of activities (Do), styles of accommodations (Stay) and options for dining (Eat)
  • Suggested getaway itineraries and travel stories for visitors looking for Ideas based on the type of experiences they enjoy
  • Calendar of events that can be filtered by date range, type of event or region and a special what to do this weekend² feature
  • Regional site views which provide visitors with an in-depth opportunity to explore the unique offerings in each region of the state
  • Individual pages highlighting each destination, which are free to the businesses and allow them to showcase photos, videos, upcoming events, travel deals and can even automatically bring in their social media feeds and TripAdvisor® ratings
  • While You’re in the Neighborhood feature which serves up suggestions and directions for other attractions, hotels and restaurants that are close by the destination you’re viewing

CT, travel, connecticutConnecticut now has a state-of-the-art website to support our $14 billion tourism industry, which supports 80,000 direct jobs, said Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. The new site, a key component of our still revolutionary Connecticut marketing efforts, makes it easy for visitors to find and explore our states rich array of destinations, which will help keep tourism a thriving industry in Connecticut.

Nearly a year in the making, this new site was a collaborative effort involving the stateÂąs many different kinds of tourism businesses, local associations and other Connecticut state agencies.

In our research, we learned that potential visitors, even our own residents, wanted more specific ideas of things to do in Connecticut. So we designed the new CTvisit.com to bring our state’s dynamic blend of offerings to life using lots of great imagery, engaging content and streamlined navigation,² said Randy Fiveash, Director, Connecticut Office of Tourism.

Regional tourism districts also worked closely with the stateÂąs tourism office to enhance content and aggregate listings so that visitors could enjoy a seamless experience of all Connecticut has to offer.

³The new site gives the tourism regions the best tools we¹ve had in years to market not only destinations and experiences in our own footprints, but also to build interest and exposure for events and attractions a short drive away,² said Ed Dombroskas, Executive Director, Eastern Connecticut Regional Tourism District. ³The whole state benefits,² he added.

At every key milestone in the process from identifying what the site should do to evaluating how it should look, the team reached out for quantitative and qualitative feedback from consumers (both in-state residents and out-of-state travelers) as well as from tourism business partners across the state. This research guided every phase of the site development process.

This has truly been a team effort involving tourism businesses from all across the state, the Connecticut Office of Tourism, the regional tourism districts, the regional visitors bureaus and many local organizations, said Andrew Wood, SVP, External Relations, Mystic Aquarium. We couldn¹t be happier with the process ‹ and the result. Potential visitors to Connecticut now have such a breadth and depth of information and inspiration at their fingertips.

The site is also built on a Content Management System (CMS) that empowers tourism partners to manage their own free feature page. They can edit their information, post events, add deals, update imagery ‹ making it easier to keep the entire site¹s content fresh.

It’s exciting to see it all come together, said Matt Fleury, President and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center. This has been a research-driven, inclusive process. Since the first input session last year, we’ve all been focused on one key objective: to provide potential visitors and our residents with a great online experience ‹ one that inspires them, maybe even surprises them, and ultimately motivates them to explore more of Connecticut.

About The Connecticut Office of Tourism

The Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), created the Connecticut still revolutionary strategic marketing initiative to build pride among residents and bolster the state’s reputation as a tourism and business destination. Connecticut offers such a diverse mix of activities and attractions, all in such close proximity to each other, that visitors can enjoy multi-dimensional experiences within a short drive ­ from the exciting and relaxing to the historic and innovative to the culture and nature-focused.

For more information, visit www.CTvisit.com and join the Connecticut still revolutionary community on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.


Deep River Snacks Brings Support to Autism Awareness

Did you know that April is National Autism Awareness Month? Deep River Snacks is celebrating the month by bringing to the forefront the cause that’s close to its own heart by supporting the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism through exposure on all HONCHOS Nacho Cheese bags. CEO Jim Goldberg donates over 10% of all profits to charity and is personally committed to autism awareness, noting, “With a son who is on the spectrum, I am incredibly passionate about the work that the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation is doing to help families affected by autism live life to the fullest.”

deep river snacks, tortilla chips, honchos, ctExtreme Nacho flavor, from real ingredients? It’s possible. Each organic whole grain corn chip has with real cheddar cheese, real herbs and a mind-blowing combination spices to deliver the intense, crave-worthy taste you love without the artificial ingredients you don’t. The Nacho Cheese tortilla chips are 90% organic, certified gluten-free and proudly made in the USA with non-GMO ingredients.


I was given some delicious samples from Deep River Snacks. Having been a fan of these chips already and made in my home state, I wanted to take the chip a bit further and use them in a creative way. I give you Honcho Chicken!honchos, tortilla chips, deep river snacks, CT

Honcho Chicken

2 cups of Deep River Honchos Tortilla Chips chopped coarsely

2 ounces of chicken breast sliced thin

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 lime

 salt and pepper to taste

honchos, tortilla chips, deep river, CTPut chips into a food processor to chop chips into crumbs and put aside.  You can also use a hand-held chopper as I did. Cut the lime and juice it into a small bowl. Save a few slices for baking. Coat chicken with lime juice.  Then using a spoon or butter knife take mayonnaise and slather onto each side of chicken. After both sides are coated, dip chicken into the crumbs and cover evenly on both sides generously.

deep river snacks, ct, honchos, tortilla chipsPut into a baking dish and top with extra lime slices. Bake at 350 degrees at 25 minutes. Serve with salsa or avocado on the side. Enjoy!


Deep River Snacks — a Connecticut-based chip brand dedicated to providing families with better-for-you snacks — makes it own contribution to bettering the lives of parents and children affected by autism. The Nacho Cheese flavor of the brand’s HONCHOS tortilla chips offers a natural alternative to Doritos — you won’t find Red Dye 40 on the ingredient list, which is known to cause hyperactivity and behavior problems. So parents of autistic children can still treat their kids to the flavorful snack without the negative side effects.

Jim has been adding charities to Deep River Snacks packaging since 2006, fervently dedicated to raising awareness in an organic way. In 2014 alone, the brand donated 14% of its proceeds to charity and continues to support charities that affect employees on the back of every bag.

(sponsored) Deep River snacks provided me with samples and company information for this post. All opinions and views are my own.

Garden Lites Product Review


Garden Lites Chocolate Muffin & Carrot Berry Muffin

I like to keep a somewhat healthy diet in my life.  Garden Lites garden products have a full line of veggie snacks that not only taste good, but are good for you!

Garden Lites is on a mission to create DELICIOUS foods that are truly healthy because every one of the products is veggie-rich with vegetables as its first ingredient.  Why veggies?  Because the one message on health that has never changed is “eat your vegetables”.


Garden Lites muffins

They offer foods made with clean/simple ingredients, but go a step further to deliver the nutrition consumers are seeking. As pioneers in this movement, Garden Lites is bringing solutions that meet the next stage in the ever evolving consumer definition of healthy food – delicious veggie-rich foods.

I was able to try the Chocolate Muffin and Carrot Berry. It is hard to believe that each start off with zucchini and carrot in the ingredients! These taste like homemade muffins and are moist and dense. Just the right size and easy to prepare from the freezer to your plate. The muffins are dairy and nut free and gluten free for anyone not able to have wheat products. Even my 9 year old could not even taste the healthy veggies hidden in these snacks. This is such an easy way to keep snacks healthy and feel like you are having a treat at the same time.

Anyone who might be having a hard time getting vegetables in your diet I would suggest pick these up. The souflee’s make a great side to any meal or snack during the day and you won’t feel guilty about what you are having! Especially at work when the co-workers are bringing in leftover goodies from the weekend.

If you are interested in purchasing these they can be found here in bulk http://amzn.to/212pRpr. For coupons, click here at coupon . Garden Lites are now available at Costco as well as many of your local grocery stores in the health food section.

Have you tried these before and if so, which is your favorite?


(* This post contains affiliate links that are designed to provide compensation)

ThermaCell Insole Review

Got to try out these babies over the weekend skiing. ThermaCell Heated Insoles! My feet typically stay pretty warm in my ski boots but if there is near freezing temperatures and the wind is kicking, extra socks were always required. This time I was toasty and super comfortable! Anyone who works outside in harsh weather or extreme conditions would benefit from these.


ThermaCELL Heated Insoles: wireless remote control insoles for your shoes have two heat settings and a built-in thermostat. Comes with a wireless remote and charger. These rechargeable remotes fit in most boots and outdoor shoes. Plus they can be trimmed to size. Ranging in price from $130 to $180 they are good for 500 used which makes them more affordable than disposable heat packs in the long run. Please include your shoe size to request a sample. 

 ThermaCELL Heated Insoles products have temperature settings controlled by a wireless remote, allowing for easy temperature adjustment without removal from shoes or boots, ultimately offering convenience as well as comfort.   The wireless remote control allows the user to choose from two temperature settings (Medium 100°F and High 111°F), as well as no heat.  Both ThermaCELL Heated Insoles products are equipped with high-tech wireless thermal technology and boast many benefits.


Skiing in VT, staying warm with ThermaCell Insoles

ThermaCELL Heated Insoles are the leader in comfort technology, featuring these benefits:

  • Regulated Heat – Advanced heat sensors maintain consistent temperature up to five hours per charge
  • Remote Control – Easily adjust temperature settings with a small wireless remote
  • Three Temperature Settings – Select Medium, High or No Heat on the remote control to maintain desired temperature
  • Wireless and Rechargeable – Lithium-Ion Polymer batteries fully recharge in less than four hours and are completely wireless, requiring no external straps or packs
  • Water Resistant – Insoles are protected against moisture and perspiration
  • Custom Fit – Insoles come in five sizes and can be trimmed to fit most types of boots and shoes
  • Quality Tested – SATRA, a worldwide leader in footwear research and development, tested ThermaCELL Heated Insoles for durability and heating.

 Wireless Remote Control Benefits include:

  • Designed to hang from belt, keychain or zipper
  • Small enough to easily fit in pocket
  • Activates insoles and allows the user to select from two temperature settings plus no heat
  • Controls the insoles from a distance up to seven feet away
  • Programmed to control one specific pair of insoles and works in a variety of environments


Both styles of ThermaCELL Heated Insoles are customizable to fit any shoe size from women’s 4.5 to a men’s 14, and are available in: small, medium, large, x-large and xx-large.

Now Introducing ProFLEX ThermaCELL Heated Insoles that have all of the benefits of ThermaCELL Heated Insoles, with additional product features including:

  • One-of-a-kind – The only insoles on the market today with removable, rechargeable batteries and remote control operation.
  • Rechargeable, removal battery – Battery can easily be changed without removing insole from footwear.  Simply pull out the battery and replace with a spare for extended heat. Additionally, battery is covered is covered in Poron, an antimicrobial, shock-absorbing cushion.
  • USB or Wall Charging – Wall charger is included, and contains a USB cable so insoles can be charge from any USB powered port or wall outlet.  The wire on the battery charger can be disconnected and used as a protective carrying case for the batteries
  • Highly Water Resistant – Insoles are highly water resistant to protect electronics from moisture and perspiration, and were manufactured using a unique protection process
  • Advanced Comfort – Created with a superior material for advanced comfort and flexibility.  Made from Polyurethane foam that is breathable, conducts heat efficiently, has great retention and shock absorbency for continued comfort.
  • Developed with SATRA – SATRA contributed to the development of the ThermaCELL Heated Insoles ProFLEX model, including extensive testing on durability and heating performance.


These now adore my plastic bin of ski gear ready to use each ski season!


( I was given ThermCell insoles from Heated Products for a product review in exchange for my review)

Tips on Creating Self Love

Cheryl Bridges book Me, Myself & I, 28 Days of Creative Self Love is a multi-dimensional exploration on how we can learn to love all the different parts of ourselves (including the parts that are hard to love). The book includes inspirational pictures, artwork, links to uplifting music, plus creative exercises and inspirational journal reflections that will empower you to bring more self love into your life. And I am always looking to share inspiration with my readers so this book is just perfection!


                                     (photo courtesy of Cheryl S. Bridges)

It’s not just a book, it’s an adventure! An adventure you take yourself on. Day One starts with what I think is the easiest and most simple start to self-love and that is affirmations! Affirming how you feel about yourself, your attitude, your surroundings and your perspective. Bridges states “that affirmations that points our hearts, minds and spirits toward something we desire in our lives”.

Here’s a few affirmations Cheryl gives you that you can try on for the next 24 hours. Write them on index cards; use your markers to write them in your journal; send one in a text message to yourself; tape your favorite to the bathroom mirror.  Do with them whatever brings them to your attention through the day and into night.

♥ I am okay, just as I am.

♥ I treat myself with the same kindness and compassion I show others.

♥ I am learning to love myself. I am enough.

♥ I forgive myself for what I haven’t known when it comes to loving myself.

♥ I am beginning to notice the still, small ways my true self expresses inside of me.

♥ I honor my self-judgments and my self-rejection, even as I learn to let them go.

♥ I give myself permission to love myself well.

♥ I am filled with gratitude for my body and all that it has accomplished.

♥ I radiate love and compassion to myself throughout the day.

♥ I am beginning to learn to love and accept myself unconditionally, exactly as I am.

♥ I is smart. I is kind. I is important. And, I is loved.

Good luck on your self-love journey. You and everyone else deserve it!


To learn more about Cheryl Bridges, log onto www.creativeselflove.com or www.cherylbridges.com

$40 Gift Card Giveaway

It’s almost game time! As a thank you to my readers, I am giving away a $40 Gift Card to Domino’s pizza so you can have your own Superbowl pizza party right at home! Click on the link for entries and details.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveawayfootball