Memorial Day Food Ideas

From pronto pups to s' more cups, I have rounded up some of my favorite summery and patriotic themed recipes that would be the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue or Memorial weekend gettogether. 


How To Be Productive Working From Home

{this is a sponsored post}
We live in a digital age, where more and more people are being granted the luxury of a flexible work schedule, which includes working from home. If you’re like me you dream of having a life where you can roll out of bed and get to work without sitting in traffic. While working from home may seem like a dream, it’s a sure way to get distracted, procrastinate and justify things you wouldn’t ever do if you were in the office every day. Whether you are new to working from home or have been doing so for years, you may be looking for ways to be more productive, and that’s why I am here. I might not be lucky enough to have one of those at home jobs, but I do have tips on how you can make your at home work environment more productive.



1. Set your alarm and don’t press snooze

This may sound basic, but it is the most important and effective way to get you going. Working from home means flexibility, creating your own schedule, starting and stopping work when you want, oh and the luxury of waking up when you want. Setting your alarm forces you to get up and get your day going. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.



2. Don’t check your Emails in bed

When your alarm goes off, don’t spend half an hour scrolling through your inbox before getting out of bed. Save it for when you get to your desk. While it may seem like you’re getting ahead, you’re really just unwilling to leave your bed. Those emails will still be there when you get to your desk. If you’re worried about not answering them in a timely manner - maybe you should have woke up sooner!



3. Get dressed

Get prepared for the day as if you’re going to an office job. You’re only as productive as you feel, and if you’re working in your PJs you’re bound to make your way back to your bed for an afternoon nap. Seriously though, don’t work in your pajamas.



4. Create a to-do list

Having a to-do list that outlines what and when you need to accomplish things will help you stay focused and on task. 



5. Create a designated work space

Nope, the couch is not somewhere you should be working, while it’s comfortable it’s not where you should be doing your work. Instead, you should create a designated workspace, this will not only increase your productivity but give you a place to go and work without distractions.



6. Time is money

Find an app that will allow you to keep track of how much time you’re spending working and how much of that time is being used per project. Time tracking lets you see how productive you’ve been and can help you stay focused on your tasks. 



7. Avoid social media

Hello, little time sucker! We mindlessly scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more daily - this is just a distraction. If you don’t feel like you can remove yourself from social media during a 9 to 5 work day, then block some social media time in your day. Once that 10-15 minutes end that’s it social media goes away and you get back to business.



8. Change of scenery

Working from home sounds like a dream come true, and really I’m sure it is - I am jealous of all of those people who get to. However, you are literally working from your home and spending countless hours there. Be sure to leave your home once in awhile to change things up. Maybe today you’ll work from a coffee shop or Panera Bread instead of sitting in your office.



How do you stay productive working from home?

Aladdin Movie Review: It’s Not a ‘Whole New World’


Aladdin recently joined an increasingly long list of Disney classic animated movies that have been adapted into live-action films, and this Friday, you can take a magic carpet ride with the live-action Aladdin when it hits a theater near you. This live-action version is based on the classic 1992 Disney cartoon we all fell in love with as kids, with a bit of flair that the Broadway musical brought.

As you prepare yourself to fall in love with the story of Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie all over again, go into this movie reminding yourself that it is no longer that childhood cartoon you fell in love with. While there are parts that are direct copies of the movie, songs you know and love - there are also additional musical numbers as well. I found these additional musical numbers to be oddly timed, especially when Jasmine breaks out into what appears to be a rap music video (you’ll understand when you see it).

When it was announced that there would be a live-action Aladdin, I was beyond excited. I mean remember how amazing Beauty and the Beast turned out to be? Then the cast was revealed, and I learned that Will Smith would be playing the Genie - that’s a big lamp to fill since Robin Williams had more energy and piazza in that role. Will Smith brings a unique kind of flair to the Genie’s musical numbers, however, the success of said flair is up for debate. In all honesty, I did not like Will Smith as the Genie - at all. No, it’s not because of the fact I love Robin Williams so much, I did go see the Broadway production when it was in Detroit and loved Michael James Scott as the Genie - now he brought some serious flair. From the start, I just wasn’t in love with how Smith portrayed the Genie, and as the movie went on I disliked him more and more. With the Genie having such a large role in Aladdin it definitely made it hard for me to like the movie. I mean honestly when beatboxing starts in Friend Like Me I was done - and I love beatboxing, but in Aladdin, it made no sense what so ever.

Since Agrabah is a made up country, this gives Disney the creative freedom to go above and beyond - and they did… maybe a little too far. Agrabah featured a mash-up of several Middle Eastern cultures, and there was even an out of place Bollywood musical act thrown into the mix. When seeing the movie pay close attention to the outfits and architecture - it’s gorgeous.

In the end, this is a remake, it’s a story that has already been told before and has been told better. The live-action version definitely has some spotty CGI, that offered some awkward scenes. I definitely cannot say that it is better than its 1992 animated predecessor or the Broadway Musical.

Hitch a ride on the magic carpet when Aladdin flies into theaters May 24, 2019!

Who Plays Who: 

Will Smith as the Genie

Mena Massoud as Aladdin

Naomi Scott as Jasmine

Marwan Kenzari as Jafar

Navid Negahban as the Sulton

Popcorn Cookies


Let’s get down to business. I am a professional snacker and I take snacking very seriously. It has to be a great snack in order to make the cut, and with the changing of the weather, I have been thinking about outdoor movies and popcorn. That’s when the idea of Popcorn Cookies came to mind. These cookies feature pieces of Grand Rapids Popcorn Company Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn, to create the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Beware, these cookies are highly addictive.


Popcorn Cookies


Ingredients

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup sugar
1 large egg

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups popcorn (I used sea salt caramel), lightly crushed

1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.

5. Gradually beat into creamed mixture.

6. Stir in popcorn and chocolate chips.

7. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet.

9. Bake until golden brown (7-12 minutes).

10. Remove and cool on wire racks.

11. Enjoy!


Waitress the Musical


A recipe for success, Waitress has been delighting audiences with its sugary sweet presence on Broadway for awhile now, and the national tour finally came to Detroit, Michigan.


From the moment you walk into the Fisher Theatre you are transported into the world of Joe’s Pie Diner. The air is full of the delicious smell of apples and cinnamon and Achatz Handmade Pie Company was even there selling mini versions of their Dutch Apple and Four Berry Pies..yum! A number of ingredients come together to create this whimsical and flavorful show. The cherry pie themed curtain is adorable, there are even two rotating pie display cabinets on either side of the stage really make it feel like you’re in the diner. Music and lyrics are by Sara Bareilles, and trust me you’ll be singing them on your way out of the show.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna (Christine Dwyer), an expert pie maker stuck in a horrible marriage. She disguises her woes with her inventively named pies; Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, Lonely Chicago Pie, I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie and more. Jenna’s gal pals Becky (Maiesha McQueen) and Dawn (Ephie Aardema) both work at the diner with her and are all about Jenna living out her dreams of getting out of her small town and away from her awful husband Earl (Jeremy Woodard). A sudden pregnancy and an encounter with the attractive Dr. Pomatter (Steven Good) gives Jenna a glimpse of what she could have if she only had the courage to bake up her dream life.

With seamless scene changes, and actual ingredients used to whip up recipes this show is like one you’ve never seen before. The lyrics are so catchy, and I think I will be singing sugar, butter, flour the next time I bake a pie. Waitress is a sugary sweet show, filled with comedy and moments of grit that will leave you hungry for more.


Coming to Detroit: Jersey Boys


this is a hosted post

Get ready Detroit! The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-Winning Best Musical Jersey Boys will be at the Music Hall for a three night engagement Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19.

JERSEY BOYS is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award®, the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). JERSEY BOYS worldwide has been seen by over 26 million people (as of January 2019).
 
"JERSEY BOYS has proven over and over that it is one of Detroit's favorite touring shows," stated Broadway In Detroit Executive Director Alan Lichtenstein. "We're excited to bring this hit show back to the city at the wonderful and intimate Music Hall."
 
Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
 
JERSEY BOYS is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard... and the radio just couldn't get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story - a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. The show features all their hits including "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Oh What A Night," "Walk Like A Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Working My Way Back To You."
 
JERSEY BOYS opened in New York on November 6, 2005 and by the time it closed over 11 years later on January 15, 2017, it was the 12th longest running show in Broadway history, passing such original Broadway productions as 42nd Street, Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Producers. The JERSEY BOYS US National Tour opened to rave reviews in San Francisco on December 1, 2006 and is still breaking house records in cities across North America. JERSEY BOYS is also currently touring the United Kingdom and Australia.
 
The JERSEY BOYS design and production team comprises Klara Zieglerova (Scenic Design), Jess Goldstein (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (winner of the 2006 Tony Award® for his Lighting Design of JERSEY BOYS), Steve Canyon Kennedy (Sound Design), Michael Clark (Projections Design), Charles LaPointe (Wig and Hair Design), Steve Orich (Orchestrations) and Ron Melrose (Music Supervision, Vocal/Dance Arrangements & Incidental Music).
 
JERSEY BOYS is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.
 
JERSEY BOYS will play in Detroit at Music Hall May 17-19. The performance schedule is
-         Friday, May 17 at 8:00pm
-         Saturday, May 18 @ 2:00pm
-         Saturday, May 18 @ 8:00pm
-         Sunday, May 19 @ 2:00pm
-         Sunday, May 19 @ 7:30pm
 
Music Hall is located at 350 Madison Avenue, Detroit MI 48226
 
Tickets for JERSEY BOYS start at $30 and are available online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 982-2787 or in person at the Fisher Theatre or Music Hall Box Office. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, please visit www.JerseyBoysTour.com or www.broadwayindetroit.com.
 
The Original Broadway Cast Recording of JERSEY BOYS, produced by Bob Gaudio, was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.The cast recording is available on Rhino Records. JERSEY BOYS: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Broadway Books) is the official handbook to the smash Broadway hit. Seasons Greetings: A JERSEY BOYS Christmas, a holiday CD featuring international cast members of JERSEY BOYS, produced by Bob Gaudio, is available on Rhino Records.
 
For more information on JERSEY BOYS, go to www.JerseyBoysTour.com or www.broadwayindetroit.com

Will Tuck for Tacos


How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? I may not drink, but I still hit the barre (pronounced "bar") for a Tuck and Tacos Pop-Up event at my gym. I personally love taking themed workout classes. So you know I couldn't miss one that was perfectly themed for Cinco de Mayo, including a pinata.

Barre is a combination of ballet, yoga, pilates and strength training. During most classes you will use a yoga mat, light weights, gliding disc, resistance bands (booty bands) and more. You do a lower number of reps in a shorter range of motion to create a burn that will build muscles and endurnace, while torching calories. Before you begin a class you'll have a chance to select the weight you want. While those three-pound weights may look puny to the eye, you'll be surprised at how heavy they feel after a minute of continuous exhausting movements. 










2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC Plug-In Hybrid


I drove the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC Plug-In Hybrid for seven days in exchange for an honest review

Growing up in the motor city you quickly fall in love with the diesel trucks that come through sounding like the world is about to end, and the off-roading vehicles you can hit the dunes and trails with. So you can imagine how hesitant I am every time someone mentions a hybrid vehicle.

Recently, I had the opportunity to drive the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC. Since this is my first time ever driving and being in a hybrid vehicle let me tell you, it didn’t come without a lot of questions. When the vehicle runs out of electric charge is it just going to shut off? Will this vehicle run solely on gas? Do I need a special place to charge it? Is this a good vehicle to bring on a road trip? How big is the gas tank? How many times will I need to stop to get gas on this trip if it is running solely on gas? I mean wouldn’t you have all these questions?


Grab a seat, and let this Detroit girl breakdown her thoughts and opinions on the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC.



Let’s jump right to it, and talk about my hybrid concerns.



1. When the vehicle runs out of electric charge is it going to shut off? Nope! It’s electric, it’s gas, it’s the best of both worlds! Hybrid vehicles are designed to automatically switch to run solely on gas once you have used all the electric charge.



2. How big is the gas tank? This was about an 11-gallon tank, which is typical for most hybrid cars. 



3. Can a hybrid vehicle run solely on gas? Yes!



4. How many MPG do you get with gas only? About 25.




5. Do I need a special outlet to charge the vehicle? Nope! You can charge it right in your garage, or at a charging station, some places have. It does take a while to charge about eight hours at home. 



6. How many miles do you get on a full electric charge? About 22 miles. 



7. Is the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC a good vehicle to bring on a road trip? Yes! On this vehicle when you combine both gas an electric you can get upwards of 74 MPG - that is amazing!!! -



As I previously mentioned, this was my first experience… ever with a hybrid vehicle so it was really a learning experience for me.   I drove the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC from Metro Detroit, Michigan to Fort Wayne Indiana. This trip is about three hours and just under 200 miles away. On the way there the vehicle was running on both electric and gas and I made it there is just a little above a half a tank of gas. Which in my mind is amazing and was such a money saver with gas prices nearly $3.00 a gallon! On the way home I, unfortunately, did not have the electric features as there was no place for me to charge the Outlander. Riding into the wind, combined with no electric feature and I had under a quarter tank of gas when I pulled into the driveway. I definitely loved the difference that the electric feature made - as someone who loves road trips that was definitely a huge selling point for me. With both gas and electric combined you will get up top 74 miles per gallon. On gas-only mode, you’re looking at about 25 miles per gallon - which is still fantastic. 


Key Notes About the vehicle:

Touchscreen makes it easy to navigate through a variety of features such as Sirius XM Radio.



Heated seats, this is a feature my car doesn’t have so I definitely always take advantage of it when I am in a car that has it.



Cameras, back, side, and front cameras made it easy to parallel park - which I am absolutely horrible at.

Stay in your lane! The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has Lane Departure Warning - you know the annoying beep you get when you weave out of your lane or don’t use your signal to switch lanes.



Blind Spot Warning, this is a feature that I really love - especially on the expressway when I need to change lanes.



Gear shift has a button for Park, rather than gear. The first time I used it I definitely kept my fingers crossed that it would actually park, and of course it did - but a little bit of anxiety there for a moment.

4x4 off-road ability. 



World’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with DC Fast Charging - allows you to get a quick boost while running errands or plug it in before bed and wake up to a full charge. In just 25 minutes you will you be 80% charged with the DC Fast Charger. Plug into a 120V standard household plug to have a full charge in 8 hours, or us a 240V public/home charger to get a full charge in just 3.5 hours.



Electric driving range of 22 miles. This is great because a lot of us would be able to commute to work emissions-free.



On a full charge, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC can go upwards of 310 miles.

You can select if you want to operate the car in “normal” hybrid mode (gas + electric combined) or EV (electric) only, as well.

Is this thing on? This car is almost SILENT when you start it, especially when it is in hybrid mode. I mean this car barely makes any noise at all. 



Moonroof, if you know me you know I love this feature and will have it open even when it’s freezing outside - I mean I’m pretty sure that's why companies invented heated seats. 


Have you ever driven a hybrid vehicle before? What was your opinion of it?