Fantastique French Wine Tasting & Art Exhibit

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Nothing goes better together than art and wine. Immerse yourself in elegance and culture this Saturday, March 1 from 5-8 pm at Whole Foods Market Venice in Venice, CA. The Fantastique French Wine Tasting & Art Exhibit gives attendees the chance to sample value-priced French wine paired with petit fours. Some of the featured wines at tomorrow’s event includes, but not limited to, Chantebelle Sauvignon Blanc ($9.99/750 ml), which is a bright and brisk beauty with crisp citrus flavors, and Anciens Temps Cabernet – Syrah ($9.99 /750 ml), which has robust flavors of black pepper and berries, and a vanilla-kissed finish.

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Aside from extravagant flavors, the wine labels are eye-catching all thanks to Germany-based French artist, Gildas Coudrais. A renowned international artist, his artwork gets close to the aesthetics of pop-culture. His work is reminiscent of the gigantic billboards on the Sunset Strip but remains loyal to European tradition.

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The piece below appealed to me the most because I highly agree with the “me, me, me” generation. It doesn’t pertain only to young people, but it also pertains to society as a whole. We don’t give back enough, we don’t spend enough time investing our efforts toward others, and because of the negative things that have been happening around the world, people in general shy away from smiling strangers. It is a very powerful and simple piece.

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The Fantastique French Wine Tasting & Art Exhibit is a great way to help give back. The $10 admission fee to the event goes to the Whole Planet Foundation.

To RSVP, visit Whole Foods Market Venice’s Facebook event page.

Also, for more information on Whole Foods Market Venice, you can visit their official website. You can also stop on by their Facebook page and their Twitter account.

Hope to see you tomorrow evening!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Venice.

MIXIM Love Boat Party: A Night of Love

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Like I mentioned in a previous post, I attended the Ehrmann MIXIM Love Boat part on Valentine’s Day, and it was an amazing experience. The party took place on the famous Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, CA, and not only did bloggers and other media reps get to experience the event, but so did the public. It was great to see couples, friends, and families attend. It was definitely a great night of love and fun!

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As a blogger, my husband and I had access tot he VIP lounge provided at the event. We filled our tummies with tasty main dishes, appetizers, drinks, and desserts. And, of course plenty of full-size servings of Ehrmann MIXIM yogurt. I’m not a big fan of pink, but the event area and VIP lounge were tastefully decked out in pink. It was gorgeous.

20140214_172743 20140214_172753 20140214_172924 20140214_172944 20140214_175525Since there was still some time before things were going to get started for the night, we headed outside the lounge to the main area of the deck to get some samples of the MIXIM yogurt. I chose the Strawberry and Granola and my husband got the Raspberry with Dark and White Chocolate. The Greek yogurt was amazing and was not sour like most Greek yogurts I’ve eaten in the past. Pair and mix in the toppings, and it was decadent. And, no one ever really says that about yogurt, let alone Greek yogurt.

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There are many great things about Ehrmann MIXIM Greek yogurt, but one of the first things I liked about the yogurt was the yogurt itself. It’s creamy, it’s fat free, and it has a unique heart-shaped contained that easily allows you to mix in the ingredients. My husband and I must have had at least a few that entire night. The other thing I like about the MIXIM yogurt is that Ehrmann USA is a partner of and contributor to The Children’s Heart Foundation. A company that supports a great cause like that knows what dedication and charity means.

During the rest of the night, my husband and I were able to participate in the many contests and giveaways that were held at the event. We had a great MC, great live music, and fireworks. Best of all, we helped initiate a Guinness World Record for the most couples feeding each other simultaneously. And, you guessed it. We fed each other Ehrmann MIXIM yogurt. By the way, my husband and I are in the bottom center of the picture below. Can you see us?

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Since this was our first time on the Queen Mary, we had got to witness the beauty of the ship and its history. And, what’s more perfect than fireworks and a beautiful sunset and moon?

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Overall, it was a fabulous experience, and thanks to Ehrmann for holding such an extravagant and fun event for everyone to enjoy!

Don’t forget, you, too, can enter the Ehrmann #MIXIM LOVE sweepstakes like I did. All you have to do is visit this link. For every picture posted with the hashtag, #MIXIMLove, $1 will be donated to The Children’s Heart Foundation. Your picture and hashtag can give you a chance to win an Apple iPad Air and $1,000 in Visa gift cards.

OFFERpop_HashtagFangateDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Ehrmann MIXIM.

 

 

Celebrate Love with Ehrmann MIXIM on the Queen Mary

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Ehrmann MIXIM.

Ehrmann, a German family-owned, global dairy company that has been producing yogurt for nearly 100 years, is now introducing its latest product, MIXIM. MIXIM is a flavorful, creamy, and rich Greek yogurt made from high quality ingredients. The yogurt is packaged in a heart-shaped container that allows you to mix and match toppings any way you desire.

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Ehrmann USA, a subsidiary of Ehrmann AG, brings a new Greek yogurt concept to Southern California: MIXIM. MIXIM yogurt is now sold in Southern California stores, and comes in six different flavors: Cherry and Chocolate Curls; Raspberry with Dark and White Chocolate Curls; Mango Pineapple with Coconut & Almonds; Honey with Coconut & Almonds; Strawberries with Granola; and Blackberry Pomegranate with Granola & Dried Fruits. 

As an example of commitment and love, Ehrmann and the Queen Mary cruise ship in Long Beach are partnering to celebrate love and MIXIM yogurt at the MIXIM Love Boat party on Friday, February 14 on the Queen Mary from 5-10 pm. This is a free, public event for everyone to come and enjoy. There will be live music provided by Don’t Stop Believin’, a Journey cover band, yogurt sampling, a romantic fireworks display, and much more! To RSVP for the event, please visit http://bit.ly/1f8bgQC.

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Also, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win the MIXIM Year of Love Valentine’s Sweepstakes: http://tinyurl.com/psq3b87.

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For more information about Ehrmann MIXIM yogurt, connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Gaufree: A Healthier Waffle Sandwich Eatery Alternative

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Last weekend, I was invited to a media tasting event at Gaufree in Irvine, California. Gaufree, pronounced “Go Free,” is a waffle sandwich eatery that has recently opened its doors. Founded by Paul Hortobagyi, Gaufree uses artisan waffles, decomposable or recyclable packaging, fair trade organic coffee and espresso beans, free range chicken, grass fed beef, gluten free alternatives, and the list goes on. Basically, everything on the menu has been made with fresh, local, and organic ingredients.

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At the tasting, I ordered the Philly Cheese Steak waffle sandwich. It was heavenly! Personally, there is perhaps only two other places in Orange County that makes the Philly cheese steak sandwich the way I like it. The beef was tender and the Swiss cheese and the sauteed peppers complimented well. I also ordered a Cane Cola, which was tasty and did not leave me thirsty. As for dessert, I tried a bit of the Peanut Butter Pie, and it had the right balance of sweet and saltiness. Overall, the food and beverages were amazing. You get a large portion of food for what you pay for, and everything is very fresh.

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Philly Cheese Steak waffle sandwich and cane cola.

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Nutella Madness with Sliced Bananas and Whipped Cream

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Brussels Street Waffle with Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Couis

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Espresso shot using Fair Trade espresso beans

Another thing I loved about Gaufree was the service. Paul and his staff were terrific and always went out of their way, even being busy tending to an enormous media group, to make you feel welcomed and part of a community. My husband, my friend, John, and I were sitted all the way in the back of the eatery, but the staff and Paul always came by to chat with us and make sure we were doing alright. We were even give a little bit of extra treats. I felt like I was with family, always making sure you’re happy and well fed. That is the kind of service I love.

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Alex, one of the awesome staff members who brought us extra treats. Sorry for the blurry picture.

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The sense of community is a huge thread that binds Gaufree together, and that is a value that I hope to see more in other food establishments, and in any business. For those who live in the Southern California, I highly recommend stopping by Gaufree and have a bite and chat with Paul and his staff. You will not regret it. I was back this weekend, and Paul and the staff welcomed us right back with warm smiles. I know I will be back many more times.

For more information about Gaufree, visit www.gaufree.com.

For a chance to win a $15 gift card to Gaufree, please enter through the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!
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Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this blog post. I was invited to a media tasting event, and all opinions are my own.

Gone Writing

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Well, as you obviously have noticed by now, I haven’t been blogging lately, and it has not been without just cause! As you remember, I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November, and I am continuing my efforts to revise my novel, and start the process by editing and then carry on by finding a literary agent. Regardless of getting an agent or not, I am pushing to publish the novel this year, and work on the next book as well as some other books ideas. Thus, I will be gone for an indefinite period. This is definitely not goodbye. Just a hello to a new priority in my life.

I hope everyone’s new year has been wonderful! I know mine has (despite being sick for nearly three weeks), but I know it will be filled with many milestones to come. Please do continue to follow me on Twitter and Instagram as I transition to update you about my latest book endeavors.

Tanya

Film Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

663208802My Christmas holidays for the last decade or so have been marked by a release of either a Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and, now, The Hobbit movies. Watching these fantasy/hero’s journey movies always puts me in the mood for winter and helps me gear up for another goal-charged year ahead. The Hobbit movies are what I thrive on now every winter until the end of 2014. I remember watching the animation version of The Hobbit when I was in 8th grade and having to read the book for class. My husband, at the time, even played Bilbo Baggins in our school’s play of said book. So, we both have had a connection to The Hobbit long before Peter Jackson came onto the scene. Being big fans of the book, we were thrilled when Warner Bros. released the first installment last winter. I was very impressed. Peter Jackson has not failed us yet! Jackson’s adaptation for the first installment was amazing. The way he interpreted the details from the books definitely did not detract from the greatness of the book.

Last night, Jimmy and I, along with our close friends, went to an advanced screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, thanks to Advanced Screenings, Campus Circle, and Gofobo. The journey continued to be amazing, and I promise you will not find any spoilers here. I will say the second installment of the trilogy is definitely full of more laughs, action, and a bit of romance. All in all, it just gets better with every installment. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. As a bonus, we got to see the movie in 3D with Dolby Atmos. I am not usually a 3D fan, BUT it was a great fit for the movie. The Dolby Atmos was fantastic, too! You could definitely feel like you were walking along with the characters. Most movies that I see in 3D don’t even seem like they’re 3D. And, If you were wondering, we saw the movie at an AMC theater.

Jimmy and I will be seeing the movie in theaters at least a couple more times, and I know I will be enjoying every minute of it! I highly recommend it. Like I said, Jackson has yet to disappoint. If you have The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD, do watch it with the commentary. I loved hearing the filmmakers talk about their thoughts about why their thoughts, decisions, and back story about how they planned and filmed the movie.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug comes out in theaters this Friday, December 13.

Photo credit: http://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/663208802.jpg

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2013

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover-newDuring the month of November, I started to feel bad that I wasn’t catching up with all my blog posts, but you know what? I stopped and ignored those guilty feelings. It’s not to say I don’t care about my blog. I had a bigger priority this past month, and that was writing a complete novel — in 30 days. Yep, you read that right. Thirty days!

If you haven’t heard about NaNoWriMo, it’s basically an annual event that runs from November 1-30, and, along with all other NaNoWriMo writers around the world, you are tasked to write a 50,000-word book. It doesn’t matter what kind of book you write as long as it meets the challenge. And, you have 30 days to write the whole darn thing. Most people can’t even fathom writing that much in a lifetime alone. And, believe me, I was one of those people. But, I’ve been a writer of all trades all my life. I knew I had to participate. Writing a novel has been my lifelong dream since I was a kid, and to finally complete something so epic has proven I can do this for the rest of my life.

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is the community bond you form with others who have the same passion: writing. The local chapters provide meetups where you meet up to write together. Just knowing there is someone right there along with you gives that ounce of motivation and inspiration to keep on going. Trust me, there were plenty of times I almost wanted to quit and I was tempted to revise and edit as a I wrote the darn thing. But, the one rule of NaNoWriMo is you never, ever edit or revise. You have to push forward, whether your material for the day is crap or not.

I’ve been a member of NaNoWriMo for the past three years, and it was only until this November I was able to get the courage, time, determination, time, motivation, and more time to write that dang novel I’ve been envisioning in my head for the last few years. I prepped the week before the first week of November, and I went straight to work. I avoided almost all types of social outings, only making my appearance at holidays, birthdays, blog events, and the regular family dinners and outings. But, I made sure to adhere to my writing schedule everyday, even turning in late for bed every night.

To be able to inch that much closer to your end goal is a pan of mixed emotions, but overall, there is sense of accomplishment that is more than satisfactory. With the immense support of my Jimmy (who decided to participate with me) and my dear and loving friends and family, I continued my trek through the unknown month of November.

During NaNoWriMo, curious friends and family asked if I had everything outlined and ready to fill in the blanks. Nope. Probably just the beginning scene of my novel, but that was about it. Everything else I made up as I wrote. Between the hours of the previous and the following day, I had no time to think of what was going to happen next. Working full-time doesn’t really leave you much time to think about anything else. I used my lunch time, and my time after work to write. So, you can imagine how tired I was during November.

The best part was I completed my novel the day before Thanksgiving. I had a few days left before the deadline, and let me tell you, writing those last words for the ending of my novel felt incredible. I had finally finished it, and it felt freeing. Now, whether it’s good or not, well, that’s an entirely different story. I do feel there is great potential with the story. If you’re wondering, I wrote an epic/high fantasy novel. It’s new territory, but that’s the fun of it. Challenging myself has always been a high priority in my life, especially as a writer.

With NaNoWriMo over, it’s now time to move on to the next destination in my journey with my novel. Lulu, NaNoWriMo’s publishing option, gives every NaNoWriMo writer a chance to obtain a free review of their manuscript, a free hard cover edition of their novel, and to be hand selected as one of the 10 writers who will embark an author adventure, courtesy of Lulu. The deadline was just yesterday, and with instructions not to edit or revise the manuscripts, I went ahead and turned it in as is. I’m really curious as to how Lulu selects these 1o authors, but I am hoping I am one of them!

Whatever that may happen from here on out, I know I will be publishing fairly soon. My plans are to polish my novel after peer reviews, and hopefully by early spring, I will be shopping around for a literary agent. I already have my next book idea (thanks to a very vivid dream I recently had). Thanks to NaNoWriMo, my husband, and those who have supported me, I have finally come to a stage in my life where writing books is not just a fantasy, but it is now a reality.

For those beginning to write or for those who think it isn’t possible, it is. NaNoWriMo is a great community of levels of writers, but they all have or are experiencing the same things you are. Take the challenge. Whether or not you finish the book, the experience, the lessons, and the community you gain from it is worth so much more.

Tanya

Post-Black Friday Shopping

Oh, that bittersweet time of the year where many Americans wait in lines for an insane amount of time, while in the cold and in the dark. I used to think that Black Friday sales were the only sales you could score items at an amazing price. But, I have learned the hard way that isn’t always true. I have given up on the hype, the crazy people, the cold, and the long lines for my sanity and being able to enjoy what little vacation time I get — and to sleep in. Listen carefully, if you want the best sales, shop literally the week of Christmas. Last year, I scored a lot of great deals (anywhere from 50-70% off), and I was happy I didn’t shop on Black Friday.

This year is no different, but I did splurge, using mailed store gift coupons and app coupons. I love Kohl’s and I am an loyal card holder and rewards card holder with their store. So, I was mailed store gift coupons coupled with their usual percent off coupons. I ventured in the very late morning to my local Kohl’s and I was able to buy both a new pair of Apt. 9 jeans and a Croft & Barrow long sleeve crew neck for a little over $8, after coupons. Now, that was amazing.

image 02Don’t forget, if you post on Instagram or Twitter, and you have recently bought or planning to buy something from Kohl’s, there’s a daily chance to win a shopping trip by simply posting your Kohl’s receipt and using the hashtag, #InstaDream. This is part of their Dream Receipt contest. This contest runs through December 24.

As for my other post-Black Friday purchase, Wrapp was giving users $12 H&M gift cards through their app if you sent out H&M gifts to at least five friends. I used mine wisely, and waited until Monday and headed over to the H&M near my work. They were having a clearance sale, tacking on an additional 50% off already reduced clearance items. I was able to walk away with two crossbody purses for only $0.54 — together. Score.

image 03I don’t regret not participating in Black Friday shopping, unless it’s truly something I know I will have an equal chance of buying and if it’s dirt cheap. Right now, my financial priorities are high, and as I will start to unveil, things may be changing for me in the upcoming year. But, for the better. :)

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was splendid!

Fathom Event: “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Review

13-FEMK-338_-DrWho_900x900_Twitterv4Thanks to BBC, IGN, BBC America, and NCM Fathom Events, the theatrical release of “Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor” was a huge success. It grossed nearly 4.8 million dollars that one night, and Jimmy and I were lucky to see it on behalf of NCM Fathom Events. Since the reboot, I have been a huge fan. And, I have seen the lows and highs of all the “Doctor Who” series. David Tennant will always be my first doctor and favorite doctor. When I read he was going to be back in action, I was already all on board with seeing the special the event at the theater. The last couple of seasons of “Doctor Who” have not been up-to-par (no offense to all of you Matt Smith fans out there). Lately, I haven’t been invested in the stories, especially with gaping plot holes all around. The last season especially was all over the place, and I couldn’t help but not care if I didn’t catch up with the latest episodes.

Before going to see the 50th anniversary special I will say I was insanely hoping it was going to be worth watching — and I was right. It was. It was fantastic! John Hurt, David Tennant, and Matt Smith beautifully played off one another, and it was like the old episodes I fell in love with when I first started watching the reboot series. Billi Piper made an amazing come back as the interface, too. You could feel the amazing tension when her and David Tennant were in the same scene. And, if you still haven’t watched the special, the following is a spoiler alert. It was best of all good to see Tom Baker in the movie, too!

The behind-the-scenes footage at the end of the special was enjoyable, but nothing too fancy. My only concern was the episode itself, and did I say it was amazing? Things actually were making sense, in terms of story plot. No more of “Huh?” and “What?” from me.

I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t done so. Do it. Now! I will be surely watching it again to enjoy the home experience. :)

Film Review: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

MittyLately, I’ve been on an advanced screening kick, and I’ve been able to attend some pretty fantastic screenings lately. (Note: If you don’t know, make sure to sign up for a free account at Gofobo and look for updates on Advance Movie Screenings). Jimmy and I were able to attend a weekend screening of a new version of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which stars Ben Stiller. The 1947 version was different from this version Ben Stiller directs and stars in, but it is absolutely worth the watch.

It is a heart felt story about taking chances in life, and stepping outside of your comfort zone to truly see and experience the world. What stunned most, aside from the plot, was the visually amazing cinematography. Every moment of the movie, I was genuinely invested in Walter Mitty and I was rooting for him all the way.

It was a bonus hearing Ben Stiller talk during the live Q&A. He answered some questions from the Hollywood Reporter and also took some audience questions, talking about his role as both actor and director in the film, his process, and he even gave a hug to one of the audience members. It was a fun time overall, and I am glad we were able to attend such an extraordinary event.

image 01“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” comes out on Christmas Day.