Pork Chomp- dog treats- review

-sponsored review- I was thrilled to be asked to review premium pork chomps 100% rawhide-free dog chews.  Emma-the-wonder-labradoodle is a large dog, and she is more content when left home alone when she has something to chew.  I had read that raw-hide treats can be dangerous, so I am constantly on the lookout for treats that will satisfy her need to chew but that will be safe.  Pork Chomps are made from baked pork skin, have no dyes or fillers and they are more digestible than rawhide chews, dissolving up to twice as fast in a dog’s digestive enzymes.  ( Journal of Animal Science article here)

 photo Emmavsdoggiebones_zps4278ebce.jpg

I was given a nice assortment of products for Emma to review.  The delivery of a big box of treats just for her, caused much excitement, she always seems to know when I bring home something just for her. I was sent quite a variety to sample including: Bacon Flavor Mini Twist, Baked Stripz, Baked Bones, Premium Sweet Potato Wrapped Sticks, Premium Bacon Flavored Twists, and Premium Sweet Potato Wrapped Bones. Emma has enjoyed everything she has tried, even the smaller plain-looking chews.  I appreciated that the chews are not messy, won't stain fabrics and aren't odorous.

You can read more about these products at the Pork Chomps website , find descriptions of their products and find a list of retailers who carry these chews, I have noticed these chews at my local Petsmart. Pork Chomps has a facebook page, also


{now for the fun part}

Pork Chomps is giving away 2 bags of premium pork chomps to 2 readers.  Easy to enter, just leave a comment!  Two winners will be chosen Wednesday, September 11th through rafflecopter.  Giveaway is open to mailing addresses within the continuous United States, void where prohibited.  Pork Chomps will ship the prize directly to the winners.  *if you don't see your comment after hitting submit, don't panic, some comments end up in the spam folder, I will check it regularly and approve them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Circle of Moms video series: The Mom that Does it All

Sponsored~ I think that my role of homeschool mom pretty much lines me up as a mom who likes to be in charge of all the little details.  This also lines me up to be a mom that puts pressure on herself to do it all.  This age of social media, which I have embraced, also piles on a lot of expectation and comparison.  I love my pinterest boards; in one way, they make my life much easier by being a place I can bookmark ideas and recipes- but I fear that pinterest also sets up a lot unrealistic expectations on moms.

This Circle of Moms video series in partnership with Kia deals with this high pressure we moms seem to place on ourselves. I liked that this  latest video segment with Tia Mowry and other mom friends was upbeat and helpful.  I liked that Tia said that she reminds herself to "take an hour at a time" and that "not everything is going to be perfect, and that's okay".  The moms touched on the role of social media and the pressure to compare.

Okay, I had two spots that jumped out at me during the latest video from Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR -the first high-spot was the discussion on teaching a child to ride a bike>>filmed in the all New 2014 Kia Sorento -this caught my interest because my last van was a Kia Sorento but was several years old, I was interested to see how it has changed...and I could not tear my eyes away from the double sun roofs in the segment.  I heart sunroofs!  My current ride- which is used, has a sunroof and I really believe it has helped with my depression- having that natural sunlight on me daily as I do errands.   So...sunroofs (plural) ~I was mesmerized.  I also liked the ending segment on showing other moms gratitude.  The moms offered several ideas on how to simply show another mom how much you appreciate them.  We could all use a little appreciation these days, yes?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kia through their partnership with Circle of Moms. While I was compensated to review the Kia Motors video and write a review, all opinions are my own

Asiana Grill Yoshinoya -Review

Sky and I enjoyed a night out at Asian Grill Yoshinoya in Fullerton.  Yes, it's the Yoshinoya brand I remember from our starving student days, but more sophisticated.

asiana grill yoshinoya store

it was casual dining, the menu tells you to pick a "style" such as big platter, lots of soup or big yellow bun.  You then pick a protein to fill it with such as chicken, shrimp, steak, tofu, etc. and then you pick a sauce.

I went for the big yellow bun, because I love all breads...though I do love a good rice bowl. I was a little conflicted but I was sold when I heard that the big yellow bun is a unique item here in the States.

asiana grill fruit drink

Sky had the big platter, but the chef kept bringing out other tempting delights, so we kept eating.  Noodles and steak? Yes!  Gyoza?  (think steamed-seared potstickers...) um, yeah!!  Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken bowl? oh yes, bring it on!!  It was all delicious.

We tried the cucumber lemongrass flavored water (my fav) and the lychee lemongrass flavored water (Sky's fav) and they were really good.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  I could see this becoming a favorite special treat for my kids.


we finished it all off with dessert, we went with the vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with daffy apple crush topping.  It was really, really good.  Again, I could see this becoming a big hit with my kids.  They also have a kid's menu.

It was really good food, everything was prepared fresh and there are almost limitless ways you can order your entree.  The vegetables were all very fresh and tasty.  We will definitely be back for more :)

okay, now for the fun part- I have two free entree vouchers to give away for Asiana Grill Yoshinoya.  Sadly, so far there are only two locations, one in Fullerton and one in Los Angeles so I know this is going to be a limited giveaway...

so, if you'd like to win two entree vouchers for Asiana Grill Yoshinoya in either Fullerton Ca or Los Angeles, Ca please leave a comment.  Please make sure your comment is linkable to you, or put in your email or something so I can contact you if you win.  Winner will be chosen by random generator, giveaway ends Wednesday, January 16th.

good luck!

7 Quick Takes -Tedx edition



I was invited to attend TEDx Orange Coast at Segerstrom Center of the Arts.  I could bring a friend, so my best friend, Sky went with me.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  There are two big 4- day TED conferences each year, and then there are smaller, locally planned, 1 day conferences called TEDx.  TED  brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). TEDx does the same, but in a local venue, organized by local people. The theme this year was: Redefining Relevance.

The photo above is is Jazz musician Ray Goren who is 12 years old.  Wow.



Our introduction to TED was through Ted Talks online.  Ted Talks are a way to share what TED is, a way to share the world's most inspiring voices.  Sky found TED talks online, and would come home and share them with me and the kids.   I didn't know how it would all work when we got to TEDx, I thought we would move around and pick the talks we were interested in.  Instead, everyone went to the main concert hall and each speaker followed each other with a few breaks in between.  It was like listening to a college professor lecture,  a lecture where the speaker was sharing their biggest passion to you.  It was very easy to listen to, and easy to capture the inspiration.

The sign we are standing next to above was made by Ryan McCann, retired quarterback for the UCLA Bruins.  He makes art using fire. His wooden portrait "Coach" can be seen at the UCLA Hall of Fame.


My favorite speaker was Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old high school student who invented an accurate and inexpensive test for early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers.  He began searching for a way to test for pancreatic cancer after loved ones died of the disease.  He decided to find away to test for a certain protein and then had to research through thousands of protein to find a likely candidate.  Next, once he found his protein and researched a way to test for it, he had to convince University professors to lend him a lab.  It all sounded impossible, but he did it.  He had this message for teens on facebook:  "We don't want to see your duck-face photos, instead, you can be changing the world or curing pancreatic cancer."



The lovely ladies/beekeepers from Backyard Bees had a table in the lobby.  They make and sell honey products, rescue/remove/re-home bee hives and manage hives.  Sky has a big interest in keeping bees, but our lovely, golden neighbor is allergic to bees, so we don't have a hive.  Maybe someday. Did I mention that they are local?  One of the ladies lives in my neighborhood.  :)


Other favorite speakers:

*Nigel Nisbet.  A Mathematics teacher from England.  Moving to the U.S. and teaching his first highschool class here was a bit of a negative revelation.  He finally had success with a bar of chocolate...{he had my attention there!}  He moved into challenging his students to think about something they can touch, feel, and smell.  He had such success in the classroom that he became the Mathematics Specialist for LAUSD; instructing other teachers how to teach Math effectively.  From there he moved on to the nonprofit MIND research Institute.  He is working on using a computer game that is fun, engaging, visual and interactive to teach students Math.  The game looked good- I'm hoping for a homeschool version someday :)

He spoke about teaching students effectively, teaching them to think in Math.  The hands-on aspect of his talk spoke to this homeschool mom.  I hunted him down afterwards and tried to put in a pitch for smart, determined homeschool moms everywhere.

*Lara Lee, named a "Master of Innovation" by BusinessWeek...smart, positive woman.  She said "Channel your fear. If you want to change directions, you need to lean into it."  She was referencing riding a motorcycle and how you have to lean into the turns, and how the faster you are going, the more you have to lean...which can be really scary at first.

*Pascal Finette,  he talked about Chaord: Chaos and Organization.  He said to participate in the culture, and not be only a consumer, but a producer.  "It is those who participate that will create change."  He also said, "Let go of something to make room for something."  He said a lot more that I wrote down, but I'll stop now...hopefully soon I will be able to link to their recorded talks.

*Reggie Littlejohn, former high-power attorney who now leads the fight in combating abortion, gendercide and sex trafficking in China. She represents Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases and is President of Women's Rights without Frontiers.  She is actively working to change things for women in China.



Mike Kenyon from Free Wheelchair Mission spoke.  They provide wheelchairs for the disabled poor in the developing world. He spoke about being on a mission trip with his church and realizing that the disabled were totally invisible in poor countries because the could not move about and were often left alone in small, dark homes or even laying out on the streets.  In his talk, he said, to "focus on one need, one issue" and "go out there and make a difference because out there is someone who needs you." I had the chance to talk to a representative of Free Wheelchair Mission and learned about how they make and ship the wheelchairs.  They are really ingenious.  The seats come off, and are like regular backyard plastic chairs, except thicker and stronger.  The rest of the wheelchair comes apart and is shipped in flat boxes.  The wheels are bicycle wheels, better suited to rough/uneven terrain and easy to fix or replace.  There is a bicycle pump on the back and a patch kit for easy repairs.  They also have a second model for children that is more adjustable.  This mission really spoke to my heart because my stepmother has to use a wheelchair most of the time now.  Her wheelchair is electric and very well-made and very much a necessity.  I can't imagine not having access to a good wheelchair like so many of the disabled in poor countries.  I think this is a charity well worth giving to.


All in all, it was an amazing day.  It was one of those experiences where your sleepy brain wakes up and comes to attention.  I haven't felt so challenged and stimulated to go out and be part of the change since I was in college.  As an adult with a full life of family and duties and cares...it's kind of easy to get into a comfortable routine.  I liked how TEDx challenged me to think deeply about things I hadn't really thought a lot about.  I hope we can attend next year.

*7 Quick Takes is hosted every Friday over at Conversion Diary. Click over to join up!

fun at C Wonder Store, now at Fashion Island

C Wonder opened its first West Coast store at Fashion Island this Summer.  Christopher Burch's colorful store has a little bit of everything, a shopper's dream, really.


Affordable luxury, bright, bold, patterns...fun...all these words describe this store.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a pre Grand-opening party.  Bloggers and shoppers had the chance to tour the store, mingle and watch the crowds lining up- all before the big reveal.  Did I say fun?


I had such a nice time talking to Kristina of Nook & Sea,  [on the left] and Susan & Jennifer from Tiny Oranges [on the right].  The shoes? Yeah, I'm going to have to go back, there is a pair of flats with my name on them....

Kristine at Nook & Sea described C Wonder "like an explosion between Kate Spade, Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew – could it really get much better than that?"  I think she hit it.

I loved all the gift items with initials on them- specially the plates, I have a thing for plates.  There were so many beautiful initialed items that would make lovely gifts.  The monogram store? -Inspired.  You can purchase a gift and have it monogrammed right in the store.  C Wonder had clothing, shoes, hand bags, fun eye-wear.   Oh, and the pet items!  Fun! Lots of fun, chunky and bright jewelry and a section with ipod and ipad accessories.  Again, the gift-giving possibilities are pretty endless here.

This is a fun store, a great mix of luxury items and affordable-luxury items.  You can shop C Wonder online or in person at Fashion Island.

*this is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated.  I just partied :)

Mr. Chewy.com -pet food retailer {review}

I was invited to review the online pet food retailer- Mr.Chewy.com recently. I have to say that, as a  dog-mom, a homeschool-mom, being both busy and a procrastinator; the idea of ordering dog food online and having it delivered right to my door was really appealing to me.  Heck, it's an answer to prayer!  I haven't ordered dog food online before because frankly, I figured the prices  would be higher and then I'd have to pay for shipping too.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Mr. Chewy's prices to be competitive, and sometimes even lower on the many products they offer.

MrChewy.com is an online pet food retailer offering more than 70 brands of pet food, treats and supplies.

***MrChewy offers free shipping on any order over $49

***orders under $49 pay just $4.95

***offers automatic shipments - and you save 15% off your first order when you set up automatic shipment. *** you can easily cancel, pause or change any part of your order schedule.

 Emma the- wonder-labradoodle is allergic to rice.  (and I think, eggs)  Um, guess what ingredient is in almost all dog food? Rice.  I spend most of my time in pet stores reading labels.  I have found a few brands of food Emma can eat, but they are not sold in the pet store closest to me.

Ordering online is the way to go, I've seen the light!!

MrChewy.com has a very easy to use website.  They had all the familiar brands, and also the hard to find rice-less brands I can buy.  I appreciated the handy tab for each item to click for the list of ingredients.  Because of this handy tab, I was able to order a box of treats we haven't purchased before- but I knew they were safe because I could read all the ingredients right there on my screen.


I ordered two cases of canned dog food for Emma, a box of carob/peanut butter cookie treats (these are her all-time favorites now) and a chewy bone.


It was very easy to place my order online, I got a notice the next day that it had shipped- and then, 5 days later I had a package at my door.  Easy peasy.  I am now, quite the fan!


Emma was quite the fan, also.  She gets so excited when we bring something home for her, she knew this package was for her and had to sniff it.  (We gave her the bone right away)

if you want to try ordering with Mr. Chewy, you can use the discount code MARM6630 for 10% off and Mr. Chewy will donate $10 to an amazing animal charity.

 disclosure: I was given a coupon so I could order from the website and give my honest review of their service. My opinions are all my own.

Lucky Nola {affordable art} giveaway

Dear bloggy friends, I have a giveaway for you!  I am giving away this beautiful double heart ceramic wall hanging by Lucky Nola.


as you can see, it is beautifully made, and it is stamped with first- "Home is where your heart lives"  {be still, my heart!} and also with a pelican and some other neat etchings.  It is about 4 1/4 inches by 6 inches and has 3 hooks on the back for hanging.  Her pieces are kiln fired for permanency.

You can visit Lucky Nola at her facebook page  *Lucky Nola on FB

or visit her Etsy store to see more handmade lovelies.  (I am particularly crushing on her bunny items and her other bird items<3)

*Lucky Nola Etsy store

click over, Lucky Nola will satisfy your gift-giving ceramic whimsy needs :)


I am giving away this double heart pelican wall hanging I have right here + Plus + a $10 Starbucks card.

You can now have tasteful ceramic art on your wall, and soothing caffeine at the same time!  If that is not love, I don't know what is...

**all you have to do is click over to Lucky Nola's Etsy store and come back and tell me what spoke to you in an "I need" sort of way.

follow the directions on the rafflecopter button-thingy...it's okay, they will walk you through it.